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October 28, 2003 2:33:46 PM

Greetings to you all. I hope you do not mind a newbie question. Currently I have a 5 year old Dell, so it is time for me to get a new computer. I am planning on becoming a DIY'er in the next few months (as I feel an urge to be adventuresome with this), and trying to do research prior to doing this. Been to several sites, and just have a couple of questions.

1) Have about $2-3k to spend (so am looking at "mini-dream" systems, I guess). Wishing for a computer that will last about 2-3 years with minor upgrades (no complete overhaul of the entire system). Would you go with Intel or AMD based systems in this respect? Suggested systems would be wonderful if you can point me in the location.

2) Planning on building this in the next couple-three months (November-January) Are there any "big" changes that are coming to any components (vid card, mobo, cpu, or soundcard) that would completely make you want to wait a little longer than that? (Was really ignorant 5 years ago. Bought the best computer Dell had at the time, and then 2 months after buying, Intel came out with new line of chips--so am kicking myself for not doing the research prior to that last purchase--and not wanting to make the same mistake again.)


Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am a complete newbie in this, but would love to do this right the first time! :) 

Thank you,

More about : newbie questions

October 28, 2003 2:43:46 PM

That's a good sized budget for sure.

What do you want this computer to do? Or put another way what do you do with a computer. We can get it a lot closer for you that way.



Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
October 28, 2003 3:10:06 PM

Oh, sorry for forgetting to mention this.

I am a physician, so do not really use the computer for work, except to surf the web and write powerpoint presentations and other papers. I do use some digital photography of the family and also of work, but that is fairly limited.

I mainly use the computer for relaxation--playing games (mainly RPG'ers, both MMOPG and singleplayer, and strategy games). Not really a FPS'er person, but occaisonally play them. Hope this helps.

Thanks.
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October 28, 2003 3:30:22 PM

Well budget wise, AMD is the way to go. The Nforce Chip Sets are the best ones out there right now.

On the Intel the side 865 & 875 Chip Sets are the best.

Here's a AMD system you can look at that would do more than what you listed. Look at newegg.

ASUS A7N8W Deluxe V. 20.
AMD XP 2500
2 x 256 512 Kingston Hyper X DDR 3200
Radon 9600 Pro
2 x 120 gig Western Digital JB edition HDD's ran in RAID 1 for your business
HighPoint Rocket RAID card
LiteOn Combination DVD, CDRW ROM 48X
Any Floopy
Antec 1080 SOHO case with 430 w True Power PSU
Creative 5.1 surround speakers
Viewsonic A95f + Monitor
Bundled Microsoft Multi Media Keyboard & Intelieye mouse @ $30 some it's a steel at new egg

I put on of those together last Sat. & had about $1200 to $1300 in all the parts I just mentioned. For Intel, swap out the CPU to like a P4 2.6 & get the ASUS board & there you go!! Either system would scream for what you do.

If you need anything else, let me know! Hope that helps.



Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
October 28, 2003 4:09:28 PM

Oh man, I love doing this...

CPU: Pentium 4C, 2.8 Ghz 215.00 @newegg (I recommend going to about 3.5GHz by overclocking)
RAM: Corsair XMS PC4000 Twin-X 1024MB (2x512MB) 351.00 @newegg (run synchronously with the FSB at 250MHz)
Motherboard: Abit IC7-Max3 210.00 @newegg
Video Card: Sapphire ATi 9800PRO 128MB (from what I have heard, you can easily overclock this card) 352.00 @newegg
Sound Card: Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS PCI Internal 88.00 @newegg
Monitor: Viewsonic P95F+B 19” CRT 279 @newegg
Boot Drives: 2X 36GB SATA 10k RPM Western Digital Raptor in a RAID0 array (built into the motherboard) 221total @newegg
Storage Drives: 2X 160GB Seagate 7200RPM SATA 7200.7 in a RAID1 array (buit into the motherboard) 285total @newegg
Keyboard/mouse: Logitech Cordless MX Duo 75.00 @newegg
Case: Thermaltake Xaser II A5000C 88.00 @newegg
PSU: Fortron 530W 75.00 @newegg
DVD-ROM: Samsung SD-816BEPB 33.99 @newegg
CD-RW: Memorex Ultra Speed CD-RW (52x32x52x) 66.99 @newegg
Speakers: Logitech Z-680 5.1 500Watt THX 284.00 @newegg (on backorder)

Total: 2633.98 after shipping (which is free, minus the $10 for the monitor)

If you don't want to overclock, replace the 2.8GHz P4C with a 3.2 (+184) but get CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series, Low Latency (Twin Pack) 1GB(2 x 512MB) RAM rather than the PC4000 RAM (-67). Total non-OC'd price: $2750.98 after shipping.

BTW, it looks like little will happen in the next month or so (P4EE may come out, maybe the FX-53 as well, but both are too expensive). I do not know of a time frame for the next ATi or nVidia cards (but have heard rumor of no sooner than January/February).

RDRAM = ENEMY
October 28, 2003 4:22:25 PM

The pc it appears that you are looking to build is just under the price range I'm planning on building in, I'm going to modify a few components of my build and leave it at that. This isn't a moderate level pc this is pretty much "dream-machine" level. I'm including monitor, keyboard, mouse, and operating system... you may or may not need those. It sounds like this will be a pc in your office? So I downgraded the speakers a bit to simple 2.1 (2 Sat speakers, and 1 sub) instead of 6.1/7.1 surround sound (No point in getting 500$ in speakers if you can't really crank em up and enjoy em to their full potential.)

Motherboard - Abit IC7-MAX3 - 204.00
Processor - Intel Pentium 4 2.6c HT 800FSB - 174.00
Ram - Corsair TWINX1024-4000PRO - 369.00
Hard Disk - WD CavSE SATA WD250JD 250GB 8MB 7200RPM - 243.00
Video Card - ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb - 320.00
Sound Card - Creative Audigy2 ZS - 97.00
CD-RW - Lite On 52x24x52x CD-RW - 40.00
DVD-RW - Sony DRU-510A - 227.00
Speakers - Klipsch Promedia GMX A-2.1 - 125.00
Floppy - Teac 1.44 Floppy Drive - 12.00
Case - Xaser III V2000A Case - 156.00
Power Supply - Antec TRUE550 Power Supply - 103.00
Monitor - NEC FP2141SB-BK - 614.00
Mouse - Logitech MX500 - 42.00
Keyboard - Logitech Elite Black Keyboard - 30.00
OS - Windows XP Professional - 165.00
Total - $2921.00 (Includes S&H)

You won't need to upgrade anything on this for at least 2 years. Perhaps 3 if you are lucky and depending on what games you are playing at the time. When you do upgrade my suggestions would be A) Fastest processor the board will take (most likely a 3.4/3.6 800 FSB P4) B) Second SATA Hard drive (Backups, more storage, etc) C) Newest videocard the board will take.

The disadvantages of building right now are as follows:

1) 64 Bit wars. Intel and AMD have opposing 64bit extensions (Intel hasn't enabled theirs yet) and god knows who will win or if both will in their own way.

2) Next gen of video cards is due out near beginning of next year... perhaps Q1/Q2 (2004).

3) New sockets on both the AMD and Intel fronts are coming shortly (Next Year)

4) New video card slot is coming... (Next year or following year)

This isn't a bad time to build, but there is going to be alot of changes coming up in the future, but you shouldn't have a problem getting parts to upgrade with and this is expandable to as far as they carry the socket. Also if this is going to be a couple months down the road, most of these prices are going to drop... especially the hard disk and the processor and motherboard. All of the components in this system are top of the line and I am familiar with them and the company that makes them and am confident that they will last as long as the pc is useable for you.

Good luck and let us know on what you decide on!

Edit: Oh yah, that monitor is pretty expensive but you WON'T regret it. It's one of the hands down best monitors on the market... It also goes by the name Mitsubishi 2070SB-BK... its a real winner. Excellent clarity, good refresh rates even at insane res, and 22"/20vis... killer monitor.

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/28/03 01:27 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 28, 2003 4:24:38 PM

I'd disagree because he is doing MMP games, the particle engines in those slaughter video cards, he's going to need/want a 9800. Other than that it's not a bad system for what he is doing. Just a bit below what he said he was aiming for.

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/28/03 01:30 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 28, 2003 4:40:04 PM

Well if he's doing it on a 5 year old Dell now, I think what I spec.'ed. would more than work for him. IMO

Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
October 28, 2003 7:16:50 PM

Nod, but what happens when he upgrades to the first current mmp game? EQ1 with maxed settings chewed up a 4800SE in large raid situations... sure I could turn the card down to everything off pretty much and the frame rate was fine during raids but that sucks ass. SWG/Daoc+Current Expansions/AC2 and anything coming out in the future will max a 9600/9500 out easily... He wants this to be useable for mmp games in 2 years he better have something better than a 95/96. They take more resources than most fp games do anymore just due to sfx engines and massive ammount of textures used.

Shadus
October 28, 2003 7:38:45 PM

Just to answer your questions about MMP's--I did upgrade my vid card with my 5 year old Dell 2 years ago, purely for this reason. When EQ first came out, my computer was doing well with it, but by the time Kunark/Velious came out, I was on minimum settings and still with lots of lag. I will probably lean to the higher vid card.

Thank you all for your advice (but do not stop, cause I am still writing it all down!) Shadus, it will not be for an office, but home PC--but 2.1 speakers will be just as good as I have little children, so cannot crank the system like I would like. :) 
October 28, 2003 8:01:27 PM

I would wait until later this year December 2003 or Mid January 2004. We'll start to see PCI-X boards, SATA II, DDR-II & new processors from Intel about this time. Recently AMD and Intel have dropped prices on certain processors which makes it a good time to buy now. With the emergence of PCI-X Graphics and newer memory modules the older AGP and DDR400 products will drop to a lower level. I guess it all depends on how much of a necessity you think it is. Right now a complete system for all areas of work could run you $2,500. The same system in a few months would run you close to $2,000 or less.
October 29, 2003 12:06:43 AM

If gaming is not priority which Video Card would you recommend? I see that many video cards have fans on them. I am looking for the quietest PC possible, so the less # of fans the better for me. Are there any video cards without fans? What do you think of the Antec Sonata case? Are there other cases that are as quiet as this one? Thanks.
October 29, 2003 7:45:28 AM

Quote:
What do you think of the Antec Sonata case? Are there other cases that are as quiet as this one? Thanks.

The Sonata case isn't bad, but I don't like it that well. Here's why.

1. No fan on the side door to cool the vid. card.
2. the fan mount for the front fan isn't on the back of the face plate. It's located inboard on the rear side of the HDD bay. So the fan is to far inboard to get a good pull of fresh air from outside the case.
3. The HDD's mt. cross case so your HDD's mount by either, crushing the cables to the far side of the case, or they are pointing right at the door leaving it kind of a mess when you open the door. 4. 380 w True Power PSU, it's to small for the future.

I recommend the Antec 1080 AMG SOHO server case. At newegg the are about $13 more than the Sonata & you get a whole lot more for the $13.

1. Fan on side door is included.
2. There 2 fan mts. on the rear of the face plate. I of them is at the bottom of the case with no obstructions from the outside air. The other fan is up above the lower one & Mts. in the front of the HDD bay, thus cooling your HDDs.
3. The HDD's mt. fore / aft. A lot cleaner way to run cabling to keep max. air flow through the entire case.
4. Has 430 True Power PSU installed.

Now either case will run just as quiet as the other even with more fans in the AMG case, because of the Smart Fan arrangement that's built into the True Power PSU.

Any Who, that' my take on it. I've built a lot of machines with both cases & IMO the 1080 is the one I prefer over the 2. Especially when the difference in price is so little.



Dazzle them with Brilliance, or Baffle them with BS! :wink:
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 8:04:31 AM

With such a generous budget, and the desire to hang on to your system for several years, I'd *really* suggest an Athlon 64 based system. Its hardly more expensive than the suggested P4 2.8 systems, much faster, especially in MMORPGs, and definately future proof (both in terms of hardware and software upgradeablilty). You don't want to be kicking yourself in one or two years because you can't run that 64 bit port of your favourite MMORGP (those games EAT ram by the tons).

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 10:59:44 AM

> especially in MMORPGs

Back it up. Thus far I've not seen many eq, swg, ac2, and daoc benchmarks for any of the systems. I would be willing to put money on eq being much faster on the intel due to opts.

Secondly, I don't expect ANY MMP to go 64bit for a minimum of 4-5 years. There is way to much work involved in supporting multiple codebases... so long as the 64bit chips support 32bit I don't expect to see them going to 64 bit (although they might add in support to existing codebase to take advantage of the larger memory limit (not that I know anyone who has 4g of ram presently or who will in the next 2 years that is playing mmp games.))

64 Bit != Automagically better.

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/29/03 08:00 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 12:48:56 PM

>Back it up. Thus far I've not seen many eq, swg, ac2, and
>daoc benchmarks for any of the systems.

You're right, can't find any either :(  I thought aces' had one or two in their review, but I confused games like <A HREF="http://www.aceshardware.com/read.jsp?id=60000265" target="_new">Medieval: Total War with a MMORPG</A>. My bad. Still this doesnt exactl prove your opposite claim either; The A64 and FX are faster on almost every game (especially large map/large unit count games), I don't see why MMORPG's would be any different.

>Secondly, I don't expect ANY MMP to go 64bit for a minimum
>of 4-5 years.

And why is that ? Why would a MMP be any different from another type of game ? I'd say the opposite if much more likely, since a lot of MMORPG's are being developped as open source projects, i'd expect those to get ported real soon (if not already). Also, those games are among the most memory hungry games around, so if any type of game is to benefit from 64 bit addressing, its probably MMORPG's.

>not that I know anyone who has 4g of ram presently or who
>will in the next 2 years that is playing mmp games.

*Sigh*. Will this never stop ? I'm getting so tired of debunking this myth; 64 bit addressing expands your addresseable memory range beyond <b> TWO </b> GB per process, not 4. And that includes virtual memory, so it doesnt matter how much or how little RAM you have to benefit from 64 bit addressing. You can not run a 2/3+ GB app on any 32 bit machine, no matter how much RAM you have, but you can run it just fine on 64 bit machine (and OS), even with just 512 MB Ram. I think it was SPUD that claimed he often came close to exceeding what a 32 bit CPU can handle while playing Anarchy Online (or was it NWN ? not sure..).

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 2:31:46 PM

Alrighty, are you just making stuff up or do you actually know *ANYTHING* about mmp games? 2g/4g it doesn't matter. The most frequent config even for hardcore mmp gamers is 512mb right now, it *MIGHT* be 2g by 2006. Maybe. I doubt it. I'd say by late 2005/early 2006 it will be "normal" for the hardcore mmp players to have 1g and *maybe* 2g on the extreme side. Secondly, I don't know of ANY "modern" mmp games that are open source (muds genearlly were), I mean, I suppose that could be because the server side of the game requires 2-3 hundred thousand dollars of hardware/network connectivity to power it for a few thousand users. I think there is one... still very very very early alpha but honestly it doesn't even compare to daoc or eq (and doesn't support enough simo users per server to be considered mmp anyways.)

The thing with mmp games is that they are very very graphically and cpu intensive. Current mmp games are grinding the limits of the cpu and graphics, they're not yet needing more than a gig of physical memory plus a bit of change. The way mmp games develop (and I've been playing/beta testing since M59 and later UO...) they'll devour cpu and graphics cards, but they're not nearly so harsh on memory, yes they use alot compared to a FPS... but they have a much tigher constraint on memory based on the normal user than most other game types (and most people buy from gateway or dell or compaq or emachine and get 256m of memory or 512 at best.) I've tested EQ, SWG, and AC2 while I was building machines for people with 1g and 2g of memory, the frame rate difference is less than 5%. EQ2 is using a modified SWG engine. Horizons uses its own engine but isn't as intensive as SWG/AC2 on memory useage. Those are all coming out late 2003 or 2004 sometime. Nothing out before 2006 is going to require more than 1g of memory to max out the settings if you have a good gpu and cpu.

NWN isn't a mmp. Nor is Dungeon Seige.

MMPORPG: Massively Multi Player Online Role Playing Game. If you don't see more than 1k players at once on a single server its not mmp.

MMP: Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Everquest, Dark age of Camelot, Atriarch, Final Fantasy XI, Middle-Earth, Everquest2, Asheron's Call, Asheron's Call 2, Shadowbane, Horizons, Starwars Galaxies, Worlds of Warcraft, World War 2 Online, etc

Basic rule of thumb: 1k + players each server. Monthly fee to play.

Honestly the first game I can see benefiting from 64bit extensions is probally EQ3 or something that hasn't even started development yet (most mmp games have much longer dev cycles than other types.)

Oh yah, and AO uses a sick ammount of memory or did last I played... it also LEAKED memory like a sieve... which is where most of the memory usage beyond 1g was at as far as I could tell. Had to reboot the os to get your memory back or use a memory recovery utility.

Edit: Oh and one other thing, I honestly wouldn't recommend a A64 of any variety to anyone who doesn't already consider themselves an expert until they have been in the field for almost a year. To much chance of problems on a new chip like the ol pentium div/0 bug and to many issues with compatibility and such. I wouldn't hesitate to get one for myself if I felt it was the right time but I wouldn't honestly recommend them yet.

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/29/03 11:50 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 4:34:37 PM

> The most frequent config even for hardcore mmp gamers is
> 512mb right now, it *MIGHT* be 2g by 2006.

christ.. I am about to give up preaching this. One last attempt: it doesnt matter how much *RAM* you have in your system, ever since the 386 (and windows 3.11) we have had virtual memory, swapfile, paging.. remember ? WHile most gamers may only have ~512 MB RAM, they are probably using anywhere from 800 to 1500 MB virtual memory. x86-32 realistically can only handle 2 Gig per process (2.5-3 using recompiled software and running the /3GB switch), wether that is 64 MB Ram and 1984 MB on disk or vice verca doesnt matter one bit (well it does, but not really in this discussion).

Whenever users start having 2 GB RAM, they will likely be using 4-6 GB virtual address space (rule of thumb, virtual memory = 2x actual ram). In theory this is still even possible using 32 bit x86, but only when using the PITA and slow PAE extentions.

So, I agree 2 GB *RAM* may not be maintream anytime soon, but 2 GB address space will begin to hurt much sooner, and/or game developpers (as well as others) may want to take advantage of the increased address space without requiring 2 GB or more of physical RAM at all. You will begin seeing this as early as next year IMHO with optional features for things like eliminating inbetween map loads, usage of extremely big textures, etc.. So 64 bits can/will matter, even if you're only having 512 or 1024 MB RAM.

As to your AO comments, I tend to agree leakage is probably one of the greatest RAM consumers, but then, I'm sure you will agree the textures arent really stunning, and the maps far from gigantic. Every 3 steps it has to load a new map. I wouldnt be surprised if a future 64 bit port could enhance this substantially.

>I honestly wouldn't recommend a A64 of any variety to
>anyone who doesn't already consider themselves an expert
>until they have been in the field for almost a year.

Opteron has been around for quite a while now, and very few, if any real problems have surfaced. Also, are you not going to recommend prescotts until 2H2005 ?

A last thing; you're right most game engines arent open source, but here is one example (doesnt look too bad either:)  http://www.planeshift.it/download_source.html

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 5:17:00 PM

Quote:
christ.. I am about to give up preaching this.

Maybe you should. I mean honestly, THGC, as a grouping of enthusiasts (whom are generally more educated about PCs than the typical layperson), in general is having a difficult time buying your saga of the 2GB limit = impending doom. We just don't see it as a wall that most people will be hitting anytime soon.

Quote:
So, I agree 2 GB *RAM* may not be maintream anytime soon, but 2 GB address space will begin to hurt much sooner, and/or game developpers (as well as others) may want to take advantage of the increased address space without requiring 2 GB or more of physical RAM at all. You will begin seeing this as early as next year IMHO with optional features for things like eliminating inbetween map loads, usage of extremely big textures, etc.. So 64 bits can/will matter, even if you're only having 512 or 1024 MB RAM.

You know, call me slow, but I've only just now realized why from a technical standpoint you're completely wrong.

What is virtual memory but just a Windows-controlled swap file that seamlessly integrates itself with the system memory? Yet since the days of DOS games have been using their own swap files to handle their own privatized version of virtual memory.

There's no limit to the addressable space of swap files controlled outside of Windows because you can use as many individual swap files as you'd like as pages in your own virtual memory system in methods that could easily far exceed 2GB of storage. And there's no difference in speed between swap files created programmatically by and used exclusively for applications and the Windows virtual memory management.

So if software developers know that they're going to run into a 2GB limit and know that users aren't going to have the physical memory to run their app purely in physical memory, then there's absolutely no reason at all why they couldn't just implement their own swap file system to overcome that 2GB limit and still have the exact same performance as if their software had been using virtual memory.

Sure, a 64-bit system that actually has enough physical RAM to store their whole >2GB pile of data without using any virtual memory would run better. But a 64-bit system that didn't have enough physical RAM and had to use virtual memory wouldn't run any differently than a 32-bit system with the same physical RAM. (Well, not counting other AMD64 optimizations anyway.)

So where is this great wall then? It's only a limit to software engineers that aren't smart enough (or are too lazy) to write software that uses it's own swap file system for virtual memory. And again, since such has been done from the days of DOS, that would have to be a small group indeed.

<pre><b><font color=red>I've always wondered why people liken the taste of blood to copper.
It tastes much more like iron to me.
<- :evil:  - :evil:  - :evil:  - :evil:  - :evil:  -></font color=red></b></pre><p>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 5:53:24 PM

>I mean honestly, THGC, as a grouping of enthusiasts (whom
>are generally more educated about PCs than the typical
>layperson), in general is having a difficult time buying
>your saga of the 2GB limit = impending doom

Its fine if no one wants to believe we'll be hitting the 2 GB wall soon enough, but its not fine by me if everyone keeps claiming its a 4+GB RAM wall, when its really a 2 GB virtual memory wall.

>You know, call me slow,

You're slow :) 

>but I've only just now realized why from a technical
>standpoint you're completely wrong.

I'm not...

>What is virtual memory but just a Windows-controlled swap
>file that seamlessly integrates itself with the system
>memory?

Its a lot more. In fact, the cpu does (most) part of the virtualisation. You need cpu support to properly support virtual memory; there is just no way to achieve VM on a 8086 cpu, the first cpu to introduce (mostly broken) VM support was the 286, and it was fixed in the 386.

Anyway, VM translation is done in <b>hardware</b> by a Memory Management Unit or MMU, an integral part of the CPU.
The role of the OS is to just to install the virtual-physical mapping and to intervene if the MMU reports that it cannot complete the translation (raise an exception), so to the OS can intervene, swap the requested memory back from disk to ram, and let the MMU complete the request. This MMU that translates virtual addresses (pages)into physical addresses (stored in registers) is simply limited to 32 bit on a 32 bit cpu. A process therefore, can't see or use more than this 32 bit address space, no ammount of clever programming can get around this, since applications are not allowed to use real physical memory addresses in a protected mode environment. They can only use the virtual addresses that are handled by the MMU (and to a certain extend, the OS).

Since I assume you won't be believing me as usual, here some good reading on the subject:
<A HREF="http://www.winntmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/3686/pg/1/1...." target="_new">http://www.winntmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/3686/pg/1/1....;/A>

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 6:17:15 PM

> christ.. I am about to give up preaching this.

Thank god, cause everyone pretty much gets it but you.

> One last attempt: it doesnt matter how much *RAM* you
> have in your system, ever since the 386 (and windows
> 3.11) we have had virtual memory, swapfile, paging..
> remember ?

Yes, you mean that thing most hardcore people either turn way down or turn off so that it doesn't rape their performance? I understand that any part of that is considered part of memory, the people in general here are computer literate, I build computers everyday, I work as a sysadmin, I understand. I'll also tell you when I say how much memory a process is using that it i'm including vmem (which is a whole nother story of crap-- vmem is dirt slow, anyone who is letting their vmem usage hit anything above the ammount of physical ram they have needs smacked in the head. Hell I run mine at 25% of my physical ram because I get better performance the less vmem I let windows use.)

I fully realize what you are saying, I understand, and I still say... IT DOESNT MATTER YET AND ITS NOT GOING TO FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS *because* until people are putting 2g of physical ram in a machine any vmem they are using is hurting their performance not helping it for the most part (there are exceptions but in general.)

As far as AO, that is entirely a lousy programming problem. That game is trash imo. Look at AC2, SWG, DAOC, Shadowbane, etc... those are well done engines (even if the game play isnt great.) Higher poly models, better textures, and less lag.

Man, you are really stretching it. The reason for zoning isn't physical memory on the machines (well not primarily although I'm sure that places a finite limit also) it is because of the ammount of memory on the graphics card (have to hit lowest target not highest).

Opteron isn't A64. I feel fine recommending prescott, it's functionally just an upgraded version of current technology, it's not nearly the leap that AXP->A64 is. I'm always leary of the pentium step ups from intel too (P2->P3, P3->P4, etc), I generally give the chip a little time to mature and the bugs to get worked out before I start telling people to buy them, because its *MY* reputation on the line.

and last; Nod, like I said there are a few out but most aren't truely mmp. I don't see any servers running that with 1000+ people on them (besides the fact that it is currently nothing more than a tech demo basically... Beta 1/2 perhaps of a comercial product... It's a good start, but nothing more and unless someone is willing to back it in a real significant way (for server/bandwidth resources) it will never be a mmp game.)

Shadus
October 29, 2003 6:23:49 PM

Good point Slvr :p 

Secondary point is this: VMEM is slow. Damn slow. When you are looking to see if your machine meets the minimum/recommended requires to run a game you don't go "Well, I have 128mb of ram and 128mb of vmem, so I can run a game that requires 256mb of ram." (and if you did you would be in for a real rude awakening.) Vmem is only useful as a swap space for physical memory, it's just to slow to be used as true memory.

Oh, I did just think of one *really* good use for bb's 64bit memory addressing, Ramdrive! Toss 8gb of ram in the box and make yourself a nice 6gb ram drive and move the game you're playing over onto it.

See there is a reason we need 64bit today!

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/29/03 03:29 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 6:35:20 PM

>mem is dirt slow, anyone who is letting their vmem usage
>hit anything above the ammount of physical ram they have
>needs smacked in the head. Hell I run mine at 25% of my
>physical ram because I get better performance the less vmem
>I let windows use

YMMV. What you are saying here, isnt an absolute truth; while of course physical ram is much faster than VM, if you are having a lot of semi random disk access, it may actually help to swap more inactive threads to disk, and therefore have more RAM available as disk cache, depending how often/soon you need to reload the paged threads back to ram. Disabling or reducing swap file may help in some case, it will hurt performance in others.

> IT DOESNT MATTER YET AND ITS NOT GOING TO FOR THE NEXT FEW
>YEARS

Well, we'll see. I can't prove this, neither can you. I like to compare this to HD capacity; no one or no app needs 200+ GB HDs, though its nice to have one as prices come down. I wouldnt want to get a MB that somehow limits me to 200 GB storage, even if that is generous today and even if its doubtfull this will disallow me to run a certain game/app in the coming years. Same goes for CPU speed, no app will need 3+ GHz performance anytime soon, but as prices drop, why limit yourself to just 2 GHz ? 1 GB of ram costs $122 today. Next year or so, you'll buy 4 gigs for under $200..

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 6:40:59 PM

>Good point Slvr :p 

Its not a good point. He is dead wrong. Nice try, but it just doesn't work that way. I thought you where a sysadmin that "understood", you should know too ;) 

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 6:52:04 PM

Thank you for all this input. I really do appreciate it. I can just about almost follow your conversations. :)  Shadus, I understand your point about new processors and am torn between getting the new AMD 64 or sticking with the stable Intel.

Started pricing systems. Am not going to get a monitor or speakers yet, as in July I will be leaving fellowship and moving to another town, so will be able to set up the computer room better at that time. (Would wait for the whole system till July if I could--but I really am having trouble running anything at this point on the old Dell).

The 2 systems I am looking at making (prices at newegg today):

AMD FX-51 Version


Component Type Cost
Motherboard Asus Motherboard for AMD Athlon 64 Processors, Model# K8V Deluxe 138.00
Processor AMD Athlon 64 FX51, ,ADAFX51CEP5AK 740.00
Processor Fan COOLERMASTER SK8-7I53A 14.00
Grease Arctic Silver 3 6.00
Ram CORSAIR MEMORY TWINX1024-4000 PRO 372.00
Hard Disk WD CavSE SATA WD250JD 250GB 8MB 7200RPM 262.00
Video Card ATI SAPPHIRE RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DVI/TV 8X AGP RETAIL 458.00
Sound Card Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro PCI Sound Card - Retail 202.00
CD-RW Lite On 52x32x52 Black Color CDRW Drive LTR-52327S - OEM 40.00
DVD-ROM LITE-ON XJ-HD166/XJ-HD 165H 16X DVD ROM Drive BLACK- OEM 31.00
Floppy Teac 1.44 Floppy Drive 8.00
Case ANTEC Performance PLUS Model PLUS1080AMG 127.00
Fans COOLER MASTER DAF-B82 Dual Ball Bearing Fan (5) 30.00
Power Supply Antec TRUE550 Power Supply 110.00
Mouse/Keyboard Logitech Cordless MX Duo - RETAIL 75.00
OS Windows XP Professional 141.00
TOTAL: $2754


Intel 3.0 Model

Component Type Cost
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-8KNXP 204.00
Processor INTEL Pentium 4 XEON 3.06GHz 512K 533 MHz Retail Box Processor 479.00
Processor Fan Zalman CNPS6500B-AlCu 38.00
Grease Arctic Silver 3 6.00
Ram CORSAIR MEMORY TWINX1024-4000 PRO 372.00
Hard Disk WD CavSE SATA WD250JD 250GB 8MB 7200RPM 262.00
Video Card ATI SAPPHIRE RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DVI/TV 8X AGP RETAIL 458.00
Sound Card Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro PCI Sound Card - Retail 202.00
CD-RW Lite On 52x32x52 Black Color CDRW Drive LTR-52327S - OEM 40.00
DVD-ROM LITE-ON XJ-HD166/XJ-HD 165H 16X DVD ROM Drive BLACK- OEM 31.00
Floppy Teac 1.44 Floppy Drive 8.00
Case ANTEC Performance PLUS Model PLUS1080AMG 127.00
Fans COOLER MASTER DAF-B82 Dual Ball Bearing Fan (5) 30.00
Power Supply Antec TRUE550 Power Supply 110.00
Mouse/Keyboard Logitech Cordless MX Duo - RETAIL 75.00
OS Windows XP Professional 141.00
TOTAL: $2583

Thoughts on either model? Again, all input is greatly appreciated.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 7:00:19 PM

You need registered memory for the AMD Athlon FX. I would suggest a Athlon 64 3200+ instead, with a Asus K8V motherboard; it will take the unregistered ram, be a lot cheaper, and hardly slower than the FX.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 7:08:39 PM

Thank you, bbaeyens, for that. Actually the registered Corsair is cheaper than the Pro originally listed by about $40. And your point of going to the 3200 is taken as well. Will look at configuring that as well.
October 29, 2003 7:15:51 PM

> Well, we'll see. I can't prove this,
> neither can you.

Nope, it's just conjecture and personal experience in both of our cases speaking. I'm speaking as an ex-extremely hardcore gamer (12-16 hours a day). I'm speaking as someone who's in several beta's right now for upcoming mmp games that look damn near as good as doom3. I'm speaking as someone who has been following computer tech since 1987 and been building my own pc's since within a year or so of that time period. I've been pretty good at predicting hd increases, cpu increases, and memory increases for my customers thus far, I really don't believe I'm off this time either.

> I like to compare this to HD capacity; no one
> or no app needs 200+ GB HDs, though its nice
> to have one as prices come down. I wouldnt
> want to get a MB that somehow limits me to
> 200 GB storage, even if that is generous
> today and even if its doubtfull this will
> disallow me to run a certain game/app in the
> coming years. Same goes for CPU speed, no app
> will need 3+ GHz performance anytime soon, but
> as prices drop, why limit yourself to just 2
> GHz ? 1 GB of ram costs $122 today. Next year
> or so, you'll buy 4 gigs for under $200..

The problem with that theory is motherboard and computer technology evolution. Right now I don't need 3ghz. By the time I would need 3ghz the tech will have moved so far ahead that i'll need much more than that... so it'll be time to buy a new pc. Generally, I'm of the belief pc's are a three year commitment, by the time three years has passed generally no matter WHAT pc you bought you ARE going to need things that you CANT upgrade to. Good examples right now would be: agp->PCI-express, sata1->SATA2/3, ddr->ddr2, etc.

My suggestion was based on the fact that I trust the components, I know the pc will do what he needs it to for at least 2-3, and the fact that the hardware is tried and true from chipsets to processors there is nothing in that machine that is so screaming new that unknown bugs have a high probability of existing in the chipsets and processor. Still.

If we see 200$ for 4g of "decent" (cors, mush, geil, kings, etc) ram before 2005, I'll eat my shoes. You can't even get 1g of "decent" ram now for less than 200$.

Edit: If you're looking for equiv systems upgrade the P4 to 3.2 800mhz fsb. You could also go with much cheaper ram, like I said, that is just what I'm putting in my machine and I'm going to be overclocking my baby quite a bit... you could easily go down a long way if you aren't going to overclock. I'd go down to 2 x Corsair XMS 512MB PC3200 C2.

Edit 2: I'll be honest, I'm real leary of brand new tech, and the A64 is brand new tech. Not only is it brand new tech, but the chipsets desgined for it are brand new tech. The drivers for the boards are brand new tech. You have to buy a different version of Windows to get full support for the 64bit functions. Which means new windows bugs (No, now wait this is Micro$oft, we know it won't have any NEW bugs right... right? Somebody?! Right?) To much new stuff for my taste, I'll give it six months to a year for the worst issues to get resolved, newer more stable chipsets and bios to come out, and then if it's the best system at the time I'll make one. I build pc's for a living but that doesn't mean I like spending my time trying to resolve hardware issues that I have no ability to correct.

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/29/03 04:32 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 29, 2003 7:17:59 PM

One comment, do NOT get a 3.06.

Get a 3.0, the 3.06 is a 533mhz fsb, you don't want that. You want the 800mhz fsb.

Shadus
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
October 29, 2003 7:30:40 PM

>If we see 200$ for 4g of "decent" (cors, mush, geil, kings,
>etc) ram before 2005, I'll eat my shoes. You can't even get
>1g of "decent" ram now for less than 200$.

I sure hope you don't wear combat boots or something :D 
<A HREF="http://www.pricewatch.com/1/33/5025-2.htm" target="_new">http://www.pricewatch.com/1/33/5025-2.htm&lt;/A>

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
October 29, 2003 7:34:45 PM

Hold on sparky, that's cas3 crap throw away ram, hardly better than the 122$ crap. You don't put that in a real pc. :p  It's for expensive keychains. I didn't say nothing about eating em for ram under 200$ now, I said for 4g under 200$ i'd eat em.

Edit: and no boots, I wear loafers.

Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by shadus on 10/29/03 11:41 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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