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Buy question:Faster CPU vs. Faster Memory

  • CPUs
Last response: in CPUs
June 28, 2004 2:19:18 PM

Ok I'm buying a new system and I have sort of a semi-flexible budget in mind. So far I'm thinking I'll get:

motherboard - MSI K8N Neo Platinum
CPU - Athlon 64 3200+ 1MB L2 (clawhammer)
power- Enermax noisetaker 420W
video- ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB
memory - Corsair XMS Low Latency DDR PC-3200 (512MBx2)

I have optical drives and a good hdd already...

My question is, should I buy that expensive RAM or would I be better served by getting cheaper RAM but a faster CPU like a 3400+? I don't really want to dish out the cash for both. I've heard the low latency ram works well with the amd chips, but I don't know if it increases system speed more than the difference between a 3200+ and a 3400+.

I should say that I plan to use my system for some of everything. Some graphics, some business apps etc etc, and of course games. Also,if it matters, I don't know a lot about overclocking, but as I learn more I may decide to overclock although I don't know. Thanks to anyone that may have advice.

Oh yeah, is that power supply acceptable for that system (brand/power etc)? And I heard that card produces a lot of heat....will I need to compensate somehow for that?

More about : buy question faster cpu faster memory

June 28, 2004 3:39:50 PM

Thats up to you. When I upgraded mine I bought the Cpu I wanted and good ram. Yes the power supply is a good one.
June 28, 2004 3:50:45 PM

Don't buy the ATI 9800, it's an old generation video card.

Buying either ATI X800 Pro or Nvidia 6800 will make A LOT MORE DIFFERENCE than memory quality.

<A HREF="" target="_new">clan CHAOS</A>
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June 28, 2004 4:33:59 PM

I was just going to say, if you play a lot of games(new ones), you should definitely go with a better video card. The A64 does not OC *that* well and by the time you upgrade DDR2 will probably be the new standard, so faster memory would be pretty much useless.

And the difference between the 3200 and whatever is also very slight.

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June 28, 2004 5:09:21 PM

Thanks for the responses. The thing about the video card... the difference between a 9800 Pro and a X800 Pro/6800 ultra is like $250-$370. That's some serious cash for a video card... The 9800 Pro doesn't really seem old generation to me, but I may be wrong.

As far as upgrades and DDR2, if DDR2 is the standard when I need to upgrade again, I'll have to buy a new motherboard anyway in order to use it and probably a new processor to fit on that new motherboard. So if that ever happens I'd basically just be buying a new system....which sorta has nothing to do with this system :) 

Really what I'm trying to say is that I have $130 more in my budget to spend on my system. I can either spend it to get the low latency ram or I can spend it to get a slightly faster CPU. I just don't know which option would give me the most benefit if I'm trying to maximize my system speed within my budget. It's hard for me to justify spending 500-600 dollars on a vid card that probably wont be that much more useful than a 9800 Pro.
June 28, 2004 5:58:34 PM

Better get the memory then, 200 difference of Athlon 64 is less than better memory.

<A HREF="" target="_new">clan CHAOS</A>
June 28, 2004 6:04:45 PM

9800 Pro is more than sufficient for every game out there today... and will continue to be a decent card for probably another year at least.
June 28, 2004 11:26:23 PM

I am a gamer, though not very good. If I were looking to drop that kind of cash, I would get cheap ram (probably samsung, like scottchen has), the odc gives all the LL you need. I would say the balance between graphics and chip would work out to A64 3000+ and X800. This should fit the budget, and give an extra year or more at top of the line gaming.