I'm looking to rebuild my gaming computer. I received a Dell (I know, I know) XPS Gen 3 back in August 2004 and have been nothing but pleased with it until recently. I tried playing Left 4 Dead and found my framerate less than stellar, even on low settings. I replaced my x800 with a 9800 GT 1 GB DDR3 card (got it for a good price at $130) and bought a new HD to replace an old, corrupted one.
Now I'm finding that, due to my lack of knowledge during my purchase, the GPU is being bottlenecked by my archaic P4 3.4 ghz with 2 GB ram.
Left 4 Dead runs at nearly max settings with an incredibly smooth performance, so I'm happy with that. However, other games, with much newer engines, don't seem to run as well.
I think the XPS tower and power supply are excellent (and huge), and I'm perfectly happy with my hard drive, graphics cards, and DVD/CD drives. I know almost nothing about building my own computer as far as components go, so I need some help.
I'm looking to invest in some components (motherboard, processor, RAM). Is it possible to get motherboards with multiple PCI x16 slots? Is it worth it to run my new 9800 with the older x800 in another slot? What is a good combination of components to last me for a few years? I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I think my system is in need of an upgrade.
The PSU is, as far as I know, 460w. I'm thinking that that is not enough for a new mobo. The DVD and HD are both SATA. I'm thinking I should have gone EIDE before I replaced the HD...
EIDE is the last thing you want, and with that budget we can build you an entire new rig. If you want to keep using that vid card, I'l keep it in the build, and that 460w should be just fine to push it w/that vid card. But to be honest, we can build you a nice rig...and leave the case and burner out of the build. Sell the vid card on ebay or give it to someone as a present. It's time to bring you into 2009.
You can get motherbaords with up to 4 16x PCIe slots.
The midrange motherbaords have two PCIe slots.
You can't run an ATI card and Nvidia card together.
For nvidia you have to run the exact same GPU (manufactuer and model) on a SLI compatible motherboard.
AMD CPUs are easy to overclock (all done in windows, no BIOS stuff required) and this CPU overclocks well for most.
I'd stick with the 9800GT until you find it doesn't suit your needs. That card is going to play every game including Crysis on at high (resolution or AA/AF settings may have to be managed) with a decent CPU.
Yeah i would just resuse your case, gpu(until you get a game that you really feel you are getting robbed in quality just to get fps) and psu for now save that for upgrade later get a nice phenom II 720 good am3 so it will help with future upgrades(also this is very cheap end). Consider getting a dvd drive sata and new hdd sata (a new clean hdd would help with loading speeds etc) also help with cable control IDE origami isn't for everyone to make airflow great in a case. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. A few noob questions:
-Will I see a huge difference in FPS/overall performance between duo- and quad-core processors? What exactly is a "core?"
-What effect does the mobo have on performance? What exactly does a motherboard do?
-Is overclocking safe for beginners?
Again, I'm looking to bring my build into 2009. I'm okay with keeping things cheap, but I want it to last.
1) You won't neccesarily see a huge jump in performance in gaming with more than 2 cores as, except for Supreme Commander, they aren't optimized for it. That being said, I recently went with a tri-core PII720BE over a dual-core E8400. The Exxx series is at the end of its line, and having an extra core can be very beneficial for running multiple applications while gaming.
2) If you plan on overclocking (see 3.) you need to get a mobo that overclocks well. If you plan on getting another 9800 in the future, or you decide to get a new ATI card or two, make sure you get a mobo that supports SLI (nVidea) or Xfire (ATI). If you prefer a single card the ATI 4890 offers great performance for ~200$, and if you want to go Xfire, a pair of 4770s will beat most any other solution for ~200$. If you can find them in stock anywhere, that is.
3) Overclocking is safe for beginners unless you're a complete retard. I'm not scared by overclocking, but I'd never done it before either until a few weeks ago. With the PII 720 (my cpu), you go into the BIOS, change two numbers (voltage and multiplier), restart and run prime95 to stress your system. If its stable, increase the numbers, if it crashes, decrease back to the last stable pairing. Even if you don't want to push it to the max, you can increase your performance drastically with 15 seconds of work. The nice thing about having an unlocked multiplier with the PII Black Edition cpus is that you dont have to mess with the FSB which makes it more complicated with some of the Intel chips.
If you do want to overclock, read the sticky in the OC forum.
Any good deals at Newegg? My 2-month old HD looks like it's already disfigured beyond formatting and I'm going to build a new system while I have the chance. Looking to keep it all under $500, keeping the GPU, case, and power supply in the build.
Ah, wonderful. Built myself a new rig, new MOBO, new CPU, new HD, cooling system, VGA cooler, etc.
And I find out upon receiving these things that my Dell XPS Gen 3 tower (a very large case, apparently) will not fit my 775 mobo. The PSU, because it's a Dell, apparently cannot be removed. So there's another $200.
I am very disappointed with the Xigmatek cooler. I've read that it's fantastic, but the installation was a nightmare. Why would they not supply the buyer with the $6 mounting bracket? Wouldn't it make sense to make a superb product at a touch more expensive than a product that you hate before you even get the computer turned on for a bit less?