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Old Pc but would like advice

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August 7, 2010 7:20:24 PM

Hey all ...

I hope that I can get some advice without ppl laughing ...

I currently have 1 good highend gaming pc and then I have an old pc with the stats

Pentium 4 630 (overclocked) : 3.3ghz
DDR400 : 1gb <2x512mb chips>
7600GT (agp)

It can run most older games at medium to low settings (borderlands, fear 2, mass effect 2, etc)

I am wanting to upgrade this machine as much as possible without having to buy a new pc so that I can lan with friends.

My questions are this :

1) How much difference would 1.5gb ramm make compared to 1gb and
2) 7600GT vs HD4650 (keeping in mind the bottle neck aspects)

All feedback appreciated.

Best Regards.

More about : advice

a b } Memory
August 7, 2010 8:41:35 PM

What mobo do you have, AGP is tricky, all sorts of cards and slots.
a b } Memory
August 7, 2010 9:07:33 PM

True, there is a difference between AGP 4x/8x and AGP Pro.

The HD 4650 should allow playing of some newer titles at low resolutions and settings, but as you suggest the bottleneck is going to be the older single core CPU. To me in your shoes, I think it would be worth it. I imagine you would have a larger memory which is good. But don't expect a miracle.

As far as the ram goes, more ram is always good. I think you would see quite a bit more responsiveness in XP. That's been my experience in upgrading older systems from 1GB to 1.5.
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August 7, 2010 9:39:48 PM

Hi there,

There are a couple things you should consider before deciding which road to follow.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with a 3.3 GHz Northwood, That was the fastest CPU in that series and it has hyperthreading. They can run hot but if you have not had any temperature related problems, it can be a good computer.

In relation to additionial RAM, while you are gaming, check the task manager on the performance tab, and check out the Physical Memory. It will tell the Total RAM installed, and how much is Available (still not used). If it's all committed, then additional RAM will help with speed. If it's not all used, it won't make a big difference. If you can add a single stick or RAM, then an additional 512MB could be a consideration.

Most of the gaming RAM used is on the graphics card, and that could make a difference. You said your 7600 GT is an AGP card. I think the fastest cards in the AGP series was the 7800. The 4650 AGP with 1GB or RAM would be a good not too expensive choice, and still available on Amazon.

But first check your system while gaming and see if the physical RAM is a bottleneck, or not.
August 8, 2010 7:18:51 AM

@ mosox : ... The motherboard isnt that great ... pc partner p4m800 ...

@ Buzznut : ... It is agp 8x ... I dont expect the newest titles 2 run and especially not at max ... I can do that on my main pc ... the main thing is lanning ... borderlands and lower without lag and maybe with a push Call of Duty WOW ( but I know that it's impossible )

@ John_VanKirk : ...

I ran the task manager as u suggested and I am definately using over the 1gb ramm I actually have ... when stationary in borderlands straight after loading I am using 1.3gb ramm ... and cpu usage obviously drops but was at 40% ... obviously 100 while gaming I assume ...

How stable is the P4 630 4 overclocking ?? ... I am already pushing it 300mhz with stock cooling ... if i get some better cooling could i go further or is the cpu just not meant 2 go more ?? ...

I have always been an nvidia supporter (call me crazy) ... So I will look at the 7800 unless u can advise me that the 4650 is better ... will the graphic card bottleneck ??

Is 450w psu strong enough ??


Thanks 4 the info so far ... :) 

Regards.
August 8, 2010 3:40:59 PM

Hi there,

Well, you have found a bottleneck. If you are using 1.3 GB while gaming, then at least .3 GB has to be paged to the HDD pagefile which is very very slow compared to RAM. Might consider 2 500MB sticks of DRAM giving you 2 GB (some overhead buffer if other appls are running) I have 2 GB in my computer, and it uses 750 MB just for the OS, IE, and Outlook Express.

Either card should be fine. I couldn't find the NVidia 7800 GS AGP available but do a search yourself. The 4650 AGP is available with 1 GB of RAM. I like NVidia but I always select a company with a lifetime warranty and Good tech suppport that answers your calls, like EVGA or XFX. If you use your computer mainly for gaming, then the more DRAM on the video card the better. It will do most of the heavy lifting. For networking, the CPU RAM is more important

The 7800 AGP takes one additional Molex 4 pin power adapter, as does the 4650 AGP, so the 450 Watt PSU should be OK.

August 9, 2010 7:16:01 PM

Hey all ...

I took all the advice and have bought myself extra ramm ... replaced a 512mb with a 1gb and will replace the other 512 with a 1gb and have 2gb ramm ... so far i notice a decent difference in performance ...

The problem I am having now is that I can only find a 7800GS not a GT ... and the GS is designed for mac ... does that mean that it wont work under normal windows ??? ... ...

<<>>


The other problem is that I am not sure of ati ... it's not that I dont trust them or the chart that MOSOX gave ... but has any1 had experience with ati as i have only eva owned nvidia ... what are the pro's and cons of ati compared 2 nvida ...



Thanks in advance ...

Regards.
August 9, 2010 8:03:31 PM

Hi there,

I don't have any experience with the 7800 GS cards designated for MAC, so hopefully someone with MAC experience can answer that question.

I wouldn't be afraid of ATI cards, zillions of them sold, used in lots of Dell, HP machines, etc.

The one feature of the ATI 4650 AGP card is that it is available on Amazon in both 512 MB and 1 GB RAM on board, the largest RAM on the 7800 GS is 256 MB.

Most of the cards are made by either NVidia or ATI with commercial companies putting their name and labels on them for sale, like Diamond, Saphire, EVGA, and XFX.

For me the more important feature is excellent tech support. My favorites are EVGA and XFX that both have lifetime warranties and live tech support should you have questions or problems.
August 9, 2010 8:14:09 PM

Hey John ...

I just found a 7950GT by xfx ... I have heard some nasty things about their stock cooling though ... While I am looking into solving this problem ... do you think that that card would be completely wasted due to bottlenecks ??

Regards.
August 9, 2010 9:05:03 PM

Hello,

Yes, I think you will be pushing the limit of your single core CPU with the NVidia 7950 GT AGP card. Also the cost goes up significantly, over $100.

One of the other value judgements you need to make is how much money you are willing to put in your present computer, before considering putting that same money toward a newer faster system.

Hopefully someone with MAC experience can tell you if the 7800 GT MAC edition would work for you, and then you should have enough information to make an inforned decision.

With the significant addition of RAM and a higher end Video card, you will see significant improvement which should be fun.
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