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Upgrade recommendations

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Last response: in CPUs
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May 24, 2004 8:14:55 PM

I currently have the following system below.

Windows XP
ASUS P4T-E Mother Board
P4-2.60 GHz(400 MHz FSB) CPU
512MB PC800 Rambus
GeForce FX 5900 128MB
SB Audigy Sound Card
60GB Western Digital 7200RPM Hard Drive ATA-100

I'm not sure if it makes since to upgrade at this point. I only use this computer for gaming. I use my notebook for business and do more multitasking on that. This machine is 100% gaming and noticed on some games I can't max out my settings.

Should I get a better video card? Or MB/CPU/RAM combo? I read the documentation on my Motherboard http://www.asus.com.tw/mb/socket478/p4t-e/overview.htm and it talks about ability to overclock. With Doom3, HL2, and other games coming out soon, what's the best route you would go if you were in my shoes? I have about 700 I can allocate to this upgrade.
May 24, 2004 8:27:50 PM

The PCI-Express motherboards will be out within the next month or so as will the 939 pin Athlon 64's. A system based on this would be a significant upgrade. The new mid-highend cards, Geforce 6800GT and Radeon X800Pro, while not cheap are much faster than the last generation and have new features (the Radeon has a cool new AA mode that can double performance in some instances). I'm sure once the PCI-E mobo's hit the market the PCI-E versions of these video cards won't be far behind. I don't know if you could do all that and stay in budget but it would quite a boost for you I'm sure.

If you're looking at all to upgrade your P4T-E setup, one thing I just did was add 2 sticks of 128MB PC800 bringing me up from 512mb to 768mb. Still not enough for some games like Far Cry (I've read people say it's used over 900mb on there systems) but helps with many like BFVietnam.


I have a P4T-E as well with a P4 1.8 Willamette and a Radeon 9800 and was considering upgrading to the 2.6 400fsb northwood like yours. How does your system play current games like Battlefield Vietnam, Painkiller, or UT2004? I like to play with 4XAA and 8xAF at 1024X768 or above.
May 24, 2004 8:59:39 PM

I didn't noticed much of a difference from 1.8 to 2.6. When I first bought my system, it was a 1.8. I bought the MB back then, so I could upgrade later. When I upgraded from 1.8 to 2.6 I did noticed a little difference. Maybe about 10fps? Then another small difference when going from 256mb to 512mb of RAM. Reall bummer; because I have 4x128, so I can't add any more ram unless I throw away the 128s.

Not sure if I should add another fan and overclock it and wait until 6 months for a much bigger leap. Was hoping there was big a big difference with an Anthon 64 3200 or 3400 and SATA Hard Drive, and 1gb of Ram.
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May 24, 2004 10:04:28 PM

I think if you went with a x800pro or a x800xt (if you could stomach the price) it would be a very big upgrade for you. It's rumoured that ATI will be releasing the R500 this Winter but I'm dubious about that.

I can get the 2.6 400fsb Northwood for $160 which seems pretty cheap but if it only nets me 10fps maybe it's not worth it...
May 24, 2004 10:14:28 PM

I have 2 computers. Every time I do upgrades, I always do them in pairs. Of course, my son was bummed out; because I bought the 2.6cpu and didn't get one for him; because my wife had bought him a 19in LCD and didn't get me anything. lol. I might go ahead and buy the 2.6cpu for him now, but figured since both are computers are exactly the same, except his is 1.8 and mine 2.6, might want to run some benchmark testing and compare both, to see if it's worth purchasing the 2.6 and wait 6 months for big upgrade. He is already complaining on the fps for his system. I know the biggest upgrade I seen with my 2.6 was the upgrade from GeForce3 Ti200 to GeForce 4 FX5900. That's where I noticed the huge increase.

What good benchmark testing can I use to do testing on both of my computers?
May 24, 2004 10:27:08 PM

Futuremark has 2 pretty good benchmark programs in the 3dmark series, you can download them here...

http://www.futuremark.com/download/

3dmark 2001 is more cpu representative and 3dmark 2003 is more video card representative. If you do benchmark your 1.8 and 2.6, please post both the results here so I can get an idea of what kind of improvement I would get from upgrading (especially since I have almost exactly the same system as you).

Thanks,

Chris
May 24, 2004 10:34:10 PM

One thing I should mention, if you use the online result browser in the 3dMark programs(it's part of the program) you might want to benchmark with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering off in your drivers as they can skew your scores.
May 25, 2004 3:52:45 AM

I couldn't get that program to work. I kept getting error message saying I had to use DirectX 8.1. I read the support pages and it said to uninstall, then reboot and reinstall the software. Did that 3 times and still no luck. I checked google and found some software called CPUBench2003. I installed and ran that on both computers.

Overall Result
2.6MHz - 6481 CPUMarks
1.8MHz - 4625 CPUMarks

Integer/FPU Performance
2.6MHz - 4222/5660
1.8MHz - 2452/3882

FPU Single/Double Precision Results
2.6MHz - 6295/5025
1.8MHz - 4340/3423

RAM SIMD Bandwidth MByte/s
2.6MHz - 2853/2360
1.8MHz - 2733/2227

RayTracing/D3D SW Rendering Results
2.6MHz - 2849/2344
1.8MHz - 1912/1567
May 25, 2004 2:36:50 PM

Thanks for posting those benchies. It looks like a moderate increase from 1.8 to 2.6. I wonder why your getting that directx error with 3dmark? Strange. If you've got directx8.1 or directx9 loaded it should be no problem (you can check your directx version by running "dxdiag" from Run in the Start Menu). Anyway the benchies you listed tell the same story I'm sure.

I'm not sure if I'm going to bother upgrading to 2.6. The game I wanted to run faster was Battlefield Vietnam and with the new patch and latest Catalyst drivers it's running pretty good now.

Chris
May 25, 2004 2:39:42 PM

If you have 3dMark 2001SE and directx 9 it won't work without a patch, IIRC.

3DMark '03 & DX9 should work fine though.

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Epox 8RDA+ rev1.1 w/ Custom NB HS
XP1700+ @205x11 (~2.26Ghz), 1.575Vcore
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