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Gaming Computer Specs - whats best?

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January 25, 2005 6:34:08 AM

Hi all,

I am looking at purchasing a new PC, I have narrowed it down to maybe one of the following. I am sure that they both have their pros and cons, but I would like to get your opinion on the performance of these two from a gaming perspective.

1. Intel Pentium 4 550 "LGA775 Prescott" 3.4GHz (800FSB)
North bridge:Intel 915, South bridge:ICH6-R
ATI Radeon X850 XT 256MB DDR3 (PCI-Express)


2. AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Winchester 90nm (Socket 939), 2000MHz HyperTransport technology
North bridge NVDIA nForce 3 Ultra Chipset
ATI Radeon X800 XT 256MB DDR3 (AGP)

TIA,
possom
January 25, 2005 8:14:23 AM

If he'll go with the 1st option, he'll sure worry about the heat.
January 25, 2005 8:30:16 AM

There is the one thing that Wusy forgot. For the prescott to run in games, it requires water cooling, or better, to prevent throttling.
Related resources
January 25, 2005 10:01:26 AM

Its not just for gaming, photo/audio media, DVDs etc... but I want it to be able to handle itself with HL2 games with ease. I thought if it can handle awesome games, then there is not much that it can't do for 'home use'.

I am leaning towards A64, since I have heard that A64 is better for games, and I will also have the choice of using WinXP 64... but the PCI-E is tempting.

Depending on the choice, I will probably get this for the P4:
http://www.uc-solutions.co.uk/asp/product.asp?recorprod...
or this for AMD64:
http://www.uc-solutions.co.uk/asp/product.asp?recorprod...
(or something similar). Cheers.
January 25, 2005 11:16:28 AM

One of my systems is a P4 550 socket 775. I am well pleased with it, but I think that you would be better off with the AMD. The P4 775 do have heat issues. The heat can be managed, but it takes some work and know-how to deal with it.

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
January 25, 2005 2:11:37 PM

Here's my recommendation:

A64 3200+ S939 Winchester
Motherboard nForce4 Ultra Chipset (might have to wait a week or so...I recommend the DFI, ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte).
ATi X850XT PCIe

Might even be able to save a bit of money compared to both those systems if you are willing to OC the processor (which is why I recommended the 3200+).

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 25, 2005 7:12:24 PM

Yeah, sorry, shoulda given you some credit....I revised not because you can get the same performance out of a 3200+ or because the difference in required skillz is neglible, but rather because of price.

I'm assuming, of course, that both PCIe related parts (NF4U mobo and X850XT) are going to cost more than their AGP counterparts.

I'd also recommend TCCD, just a more specific brand for highish FSB OCing....G.Skill. I've been over at XS a lot and it seems that G.Skill really is the shiznit for high FSBs, while VXgold, BH-5 and EB are still best for sub 265FSB (and of course really need an experienced OCer).

With the G.Skill, you'll get a ton of headroom for OCing (making sure that doesn't slow you down) with great performance (and tight timings) at all clocks (but especially the higest clocks).

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 25, 2005 8:23:50 PM

OCZ VX Gold really are gems...but in a special way.

Winbond UTT was originally put into value ram modules on cheap PCB because they simply had no ability to run tight timings or OC particularly high. Then somebody had the bright idea of throwing tons of voltage at them (like 3.3+V) and they turned out to act very similar to BH-5. They would hit 250-270MHz with TIGHT timings (2-2-2-5 or TIGHTER at those speeds). Since they're so cheap, OCZ could spend a lot on the PCBs (turns out they didn't, they just use their usual high-quality PCBs) and get them to run, consistently and with reliability at those speeds (with those voltages, of course).

You can still find some UTT (though <b>these</b> aren't guaranteed to bring any miracles) on cheap-o TwinMOS memory for next to nothing.

As for VX Gold's place in the market, they're strictly for the über-enthusiast. It seems they will NOT clock above 280MHz no matter what you do (voltagewise or loosening the timings) and don't work well with P4s. They're really pecilular as loosening timings doesn't ever do anything for them (or any looser than 2-2-2-5) in terms of clockability. Best of all, they're relatively affordable, will be in long supply (most likely) and can run these timings easily in 2x512, much unlike BH-5.

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 25, 2005 8:40:18 PM

Quote:
The guy whom I bought my pair of cheap Buffalo from told me he's getting some OCZ VX and putting them on 4.0V using a DFI mobo.
At first I thought he was crazy, but after all the stuff I've read about those WInbond UTT I guess 3.8V is the minimum requirement for it to run tight timing over 250Mhz.

Hmmmmm, everything I've read says that only about 3.3V is needed to get to those levels and only about 3.5V to hit 265MHz. 3.8-4.0V really doesn't gain much (maybe an extra MHz or two....).

Quote:
What do you mean by they don't work well with P4s?

They don't run the same tight timings (at all) and often can't clock as high. Some people have gotten away with 3-3-2-5 for timings at like 250MHz, but it won't go higher or tighter (at any clock). These seem to be a strictly A64 RAM (with MINOR success on AXPs).

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 25, 2005 9:15:14 PM

Unless the quality of VX has significantly changed since the first two batches, 3.8V is still above optimal. Even these mems, at a certain point, stop responding to extra voltage and start downclocking.

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 25, 2005 9:48:20 PM

That would make sense why he needs 3.8V. As for the DFI mobos (or at least the new NF4 ones), YES, they can provide 4V. You just need to enable the 5V line off the PSU to power the RAM (done in BIOS). Early reports said that the MOSFETs got extremely hot while doing this, but newer boards seem to do this perfectly fine.

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 25, 2005 9:55:03 PM

Wow, this thread has taken on new meaning... OCZ VX, TCCD, DFI Mobo... I assume you are talking about motherboards... ;) 

Cheers for the system recommendations fellas.
January 26, 2005 1:51:52 AM

Yeah, I'd say Wusy and I successfully hijacked this thread. :tongue:

Anyway, we were talking (mostly) about the various types of RAM that work particularly well with A64s, especially when voltage is applied. The DFI motherboard only came up because they're the first to come to the table with an A64 board with overclocking in mind.

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 26, 2005 4:42:14 PM

The MOSFETs heat up cause there's actually MORE resistance since they run the 5V lane once beyond the 3.2V setting (more resistance, as you probably know, to get the 5V line down to 3.4V than to get the 3.3V down to 3.0V).

Quote:
Which DFI mobo is your?

Don't have one, just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night (sorry, just had to do it). Actually, I just know a lot about it as I'm going to be upgrading midsummer and it doesn't look like NF4 will be getting any better than it. At this time, the only ones that have been released so far are to OCZ, G.Skill and other mem reps. They've all been SLi boards (same as Ultra with an extra 4 SATA ports).

Unless Abit comes out with a truly tremendous Fatal1ty board, people will go to DFI (just like Oskar Wu did :smile: ). The ATi Radeon Xpress 200 chipset seems to be superior so far (in terms of memory and at least equal in all else), but it's features and board support are likely to be rarer.

Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
January 26, 2005 11:54:33 PM

I do really don't understand why some suggested you to buy the Intel CPU. Gaming is the AMD stronghold. No P4 can beat AMD at gaming.

And for HL2 performance, check this article :

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=233...

You'll be convinced that AMD is the way to go for gaming!

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green> <- <i>Is this affecting my credibility?</i>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
January 27, 2005 10:32:02 PM

Cheers for that TheRod, very insightful... BTW, you need to upgrade ;) 
January 28, 2005 1:20:58 PM

I plan to upgrade later this year. Since I mostly play World Of WarCraft right now, I don't more that what I have. I heard that 1Gig of RAM make a difference. But right now the game is really smooth at 1280x1024 with my current rig! So, I'm not in an upgrade rush.

Here is what I plan to buy :

<b>- nForce4 ULTRA or SLI based MB</b> (Depend on price, right now there is no reason to not buy SLI based MB, the price difference in Canada is less than 10$ between ULTRA an SLI. I might consider ATI Xpress 200 MB if they are good and have a good pricing)
<b>- Athlon 64 3000+ S939</b> (I'll overclock it)
<b>- 2x512 Megs of good DDR400</b> (probably Corsair)
<b>- GeForce 6600GT or Radeon X700 PRO</b> (I would like to buy ATI, but in this price range nVidia have an edge right now in performance and the 6600 supports SM3.0, not useful today, but in the future it might extend the life of the card a couple of months!)
<b>- Probably a new PSU</b> (My current Antec 350Watts PSU might suffer from my CPU overclocking + GPU that take more power than my old 8500).

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green> <- <i>Is this affecting my credibility?</i>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
January 28, 2005 1:27:21 PM

Quote:
Nah, he only needs some new RAM.
That 8500 should last till X800XL becomes widely spread and for under $300.

I will not invest anymore money on my SocketA based system. I will get S939 + PCI-EXPRESS, to keep the rig for a long time.

I'm more than happy with the "Return On Investment" of my current SocketA system! It's time to warp to the next level!!! :smile: I keep my PC for long time, I based my buying decision on this factor. If I buy X800XL for this RIG, the CPU will limit the performance of the system and I'll be stuck with an AGP card that will not fit in future systems...

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green> <- <i>Is this affecting my credibility?</i>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
January 28, 2005 10:05:01 PM

Quote:
Don't you want to overclock that damn thing to over 200Mhz FSB and get some 2.3Ghz+ free performance out of it by buying some quality TCCDs which can later be used on your upcoming A64 rig.(Unless that upcoming rig is still months away then I guess it's not worth it)

The truth is that Sempron 2800+ is a en XP 1800+ overclocked to 2.0GHz.
tbred @ 12x166MHz and 256K cache = Sempron 2800+. :smile:

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green> <- <i>Is this affecting my credibility?</i>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
January 28, 2005 11:06:29 PM

Hey Wusy, I just hit 1040FSB on my 3.4 775!

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
January 29, 2005 12:33:46 AM

17 is stock, but I was running it unlocked at 14. That was 667 with the DDR2 by Crucial. I havent started adjusting the voltages yet, this thing is going to hit 711 im sure. Running the memory at SPD, I jumped the CPU up to 3.9 on the second attempt. Again with no voltage adjustments. Its this Asus MOBO thats letting this CPU unleash its potential. Oh, and I am pushing this rig with Thermaltakes new 680W PSU.

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
January 29, 2005 12:35:14 AM

The RAM is PC2 5300

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
January 29, 2005 11:09:24 AM

Quote:
You're a dumbarse Rod! Why couldn't you grab a 2500+ like the rest of us did for only a few dollars more???

You like feeling special don't you?

Like I said in an earlier post....

Actually I bought an XP 1800+ long time a go... And I now overclocked it at 2.0GHz (12x166MHz) which is the Sempron 2800+ specs...

I should modify my signature to reflect that... So, I'm not dumb! I would never buy a Sempron for SocketA anyway!

I'll go update my signature right now!

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green> <- <i>Is this affecting my credibility?</i>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
January 29, 2005 11:11:46 AM

Check my new signature...

-
A7N8X / <font color=green><b>Athlon XP 1800+</font color=green> o/c to <font color=green>Sempron 2800+</b></font color=green>
Kingston DDR333 2x256Megs
<font color=red>Radeon 8500 128Megs</font color=red> @ C:275/M:290 <- <i>It's enough for WoW!</i>
January 29, 2005 12:04:42 PM

I liked "Is this affecting my crediblity?"

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
January 30, 2005 4:29:23 PM

Alright well lets c, i just bought and built my first and new rig about a few weeks agoa nd i must say it is quite impressive. ASUS 18N-2LI MOBO, yes the PCI-E NF4 one. The best AMD cpu for the preformance/price is the AMD 64 3200+ / 3500+ i got 3500+. My video card is amazing, The Nvidia 6800 gt 256 Mb pci-e. and 1 gb of cosair 2-2-2 ram. I run half lfie 2 beautifuly, but half life 2 isnt realy demanding on the comp, Far cry IS ACTUALLY more demandin that half lfie by 5 fold. I would reccoment waiting for a bit, get the ati x800xl, and by then, u will see a few more nforce 4 mobo's. Also try to get an 90nm 3500+. Gaming wise, intel just doesnt cut it. not even on the lg scoket. Oh and i highly recommend a s-ata hard drvie, my 250gb one starts my comp in 18 seconds with bios and xp login.

ASUS NF4 A8N-SLI-DELUX, AMD 3500+, MSI 256 6800GT PIC-E (NO SLI), COSAIR TWINX 1024MB 2-2-2, CM STACKER BLACK, 250WD HD S-ATA, AUDIGY 2ZS,
January 30, 2005 7:53:04 PM

Not to mention that the DD2 ram is soooo slow! Geeze!

Amd for games most definatly.

"If youre paddling upstream in a canoe and a
wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse? None! Icecream doesn't have bones!!!"

"Battling Gimps and Dimbulbs HERE at THGC"
January 30, 2005 8:53:48 PM

Wusy, why on earth are you recommending option 1 over option 2? If strictly for gaming, you'd recommend the Prescott?

I think the A64 3500+ and an AGP X800XT would be better than a 3.4GHz prescott and X850XT. Besides the heat issue, I just think the P4 is going to hold that X850XT back to where the other option would outperform it. Both are nice rigs, but I'd never do option 1. Only Option 2 or your option 3. If it is strictly for gaming, I'd go the A64 route, either NF3U & AGP or NF4U and PCI-e.



<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
January 30, 2005 9:06:05 PM

Quote:
1. Intel Pentium 4 550 "LGA775 Prescott" 3.4GHz (800FSB)
North bridge:Intel 915, South bridge:ICH6-R
ATI Radeon X850 XT 256MB DDR3 (PCI-Express)


2. AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Winchester 90nm (Socket 939), 2000MHz HyperTransport technology
North bridge NVDIA nForce 3 Ultra Chipset
ATI Radeon X800 XT 256MB DDR3 (AGP)

Quote:
If you're going for gaming only then the 1st option would be the choice.


Right there. :lol: 


<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
January 31, 2005 1:04:46 AM

Yeah, that's why I questioned it like that, as I saw your third option was what you considered best, just wondered why option 2 wasn't next best. So you saw X850XT and basically couldn't think straight. :wink:

Looking at that <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=233..." target="_new">Anand cpu scaling chart</A>, as well as their <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=233..." target="_new">HL2 cpu performance</A>. I would say that on a P4 3.4GHz, at least in HL2, their would be no difference in performance between the X850XT and X800XT. And this is interesting (to me anyway). The P4 3.4GHz is behind the (my) 1.8GHz Winchester A64 3000+ in every single chart. So it is safe to assume that P4 3.4GHz < A64 1.8GHz. Now move to the scaling charts and look at the A64 @ 1.8GHz. Notice that the X850XT<b>pe</b> and the plain X800XT (non-pe) perform almost identical with the A64 at these speeds. As they say in the review, it takes 2.2GHz or above on an A64 to see a difference between the X800XT and the X850XTpe in HL2. Anyway, this is just explaining why I think option 1 was the worst, even though it has the best video card. It would seem that the X800XT is able to max out what the current P4's are able to take advantage of, in HL2 anyway.

Anyway yes, A64 3500+ - 4000+, NF4U, and X850XTpe....ooohh baby!


Side note, look at Coast_05 timedemo chart. It is amazing that with the same video card, a Athlon FX55 manages 140fps, while a P4 3.2 extreme edition only manages 88 fps. Wow what a difference.



<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
January 31, 2005 3:06:13 AM

Oh, and no problem, LOL. I actually had to stop and skim all the posts, thinking wait, Wusy just recommended that P4 system for gaming, and knobody has said anything...what am I missing. I guess everyone was blinded by the X850XT. :wink: If they made it in AGP right now, I'd be blinded by it too. I desperately WANT to upgrade this 9800 pro to a 16-piper.



<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
January 31, 2005 9:13:56 PM

i have a pentium 3.2 proc and my brothers amd athlon 2700 xp is just as fast if not faster and seems to play games better.I am a gamer and i will probably never buy a pentium processor ever again nothing is definite but at this point amd from here on out. the best proc is amd fx 55 but its wicked expensive the best value or money performance ratio is athlon 64 3500 90 nano. there is nothing a pentium can do the amd cant plus the amd is 64 bit capable which is the direction computers are going i have an amd xp 2100 which is old so i have been able to try both amd and intel they both can do the same things except amd is the best processor for gamming period!! if your going to stay with agp motherboard and video card i would suggest a mobo with an nvida chipset you will have less problems than with via i would go with asus if possible but either msi,gigabyte,abit will all do you good.and for a video card theres not a whole lot of difference performance wise i personally would go with ati they have single slot solutions, hi definiton tv, and you can turn up the aa/af without affecting your fps too badly.i ve had both and the picture qualitiy and performance seems to be better for ati plus they have been leading the industry for the past couple years with the 9700 and the 9800 vide cards.this is just my opinon hope it helps

pentium 4 3.2
oczpc3500 el ddr platinum matched ddr433
western digital raptor 74 gig 10k rpm
8knxp gigabyte
geforce 4 titanium 4600(i know get a faster card)soon!
January 31, 2005 9:41:01 PM

Man, don't you just hate those broken shift and CAPS keys? Oh yeah, intermittent punctuation keys are almost as lovely. I honestly lost you after "pentium processor ever again", maybe you said something really important, too bad lots of people won't bother reading it. I followed a bit of the rest, and it was full of innaccuracies...

Overall, a great post. :eek: 

<pre>maybe it's just me, but n00bs posts get crappier every damn day</pre><p>Maxtor disgraces the six letters that make Matrox.
February 1, 2005 5:36:22 AM

LMAO :lol: 

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
February 1, 2005 5:44:44 AM

Here is a parital list of my collection.

(1) 4 Compaq desktop with the Intel P3 550
(2) 3-5 Compaq desktops with Intel P2 450
(3) 3-4 Compaq desktops with an assortment of Intel P2's
(4) 2 Compaq Notebooks with Intel P2's
(5) 8-13 working monitors (CRT's) most are 17" some 15"
(6) A pile of old generic PSU's most of which are in the 150-250W range.
(7) My 2 new rigs.

There are alot of other spare parts also quite a few sticks of old SDRAM for those P2 and P3's. Im not sure if this makes me a collector or a pak rat.

To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
!