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Upgrading Question

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October 6, 2002 10:35:53 PM

System Specs:
AMD Duron 1.2GHz
ABIT KG7 (AMD760 chipset)
512MB PC2100 DDR RAM
GeForce 2 Ti 64MB DDR

I'm thinking of upgrading my system right now, the primary reason being that I just bought the game Unreal Tournament 2003 and it isn't even playable, regardless of resolution. My benchmarks:

1024x768:
55fps flyby / 28fps botmatch

640x480:
90fps flyby / 30fps botmatch

This seems like a CPU bottleneck problem to me since the botmatch results don't change hardly at all. I was almost set on buying a GeForce4 a few days ago, but I think I need a new CPU first now.

So the question is, how much is my AMD760-based chipset holding me back (as opposed to a KT266A or KT333)? I know it's slower, but how much slower than the newer VIA platforms? Is the chipset holding me back so much that it wouldn't even be worth investing in an XP1900+ or XP2000+?

I really want to just order an XP1900+ or XP2000+ right now, but if we're talking about a 15% or greater deficit in overall system performance because I'm running on an AMD760-based motherboard, it really isn't worth it.

Thanks in advance for any responses...

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October 7, 2002 9:47:36 AM

I wouldn't upgrade unless you get a bargain. I recently picked up an msi kt266a board new with xp1700 retail boxed for only $99.95 at Fry's electronics. I built an extra system around it for a spare. I know it' not the latest and greatest, but for that price, I got a rig that overclocks to 1600 megahurtz and is almost as fast as my p4 at 2400. It's hard to tell the difference. My p4 rig is based on a refurbished asus p4s533 I found at newegg for $66 (bare board only). I've used the amd 760 chipset, and you will notice a difference running games. It's a reliable but slower chipset. The kt266a or kt333 boards are faster. I would also check newegg's refurbished section on Wed afternoon, when they usually get a new batch of bargains in.
October 7, 2002 1:59:08 PM

The Abit KG7 is without doubt one of the fastest motherboards with the AMD 760 chipset, about as fast as (~6.5% slower) motherboards with the KT266A chipset. Though 6.5% may seem like a high number, it does not justify the purchase of a new socket A motherboard. That is to say, your motherboard is not the problem. Your system is hampered by two things, CPU and Video Card. Get the latest BIOS for your motherboard and get a AMD XP 1600+ ($55 at newegg.com). It can be overclocked quite easily (increase the FSB) to XP 2000+ speed. As for the graphics card, I would wait for the ATI 9500 but if ya must have a graphics card now, the Leadtek GeForce4 ti 4200 ($132 at newegg.com) can be overclocked (not difficult) to about GeForce4 ti 4600 speed, which represents nVidia's current top contender. If ya get GeForce4, get the latest nVidia Drivers.

<i>It's your world kid!!!</i>
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October 7, 2002 2:17:54 PM

First, try to overclock the mobo. This Duron will probably work fine at 1.3 - 1.4 GHz. Then test it again. If you see any difference, buy a new CPU. I'm not quite sure, but this chipset must support all XPs with 133/266 MHz bus. Only the newest ones XPs (PR2700+ and 2800+) might not run, but however if your bus supports 166MHz,... Nevermind, you should go to www.amd.com and there it is explained which CPU what chipset needs.

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October 7, 2002 5:30:29 PM

Unlock your Duron (fill in the L1 bridges) now, drop your multiplier to 9.0x and raise your FSB to 133MHz....raise the VCore a bit ONLY if needed for stability.....now ur CPU has a FSB of 133MHz (266MHz DDR, just like an Athlon XP) only difference now is u have a little less L2 Cache.....thats ok the game should still be a bit better now......after this....Buy yourself a brand shiny new GeForce 4 Ti4200 and OC it to Ti4600 Speeds....

Now all in all u just baught a new video...as opposed to a new Board...CPU AND video card......the game will definently be playable now.........try it out with ur current video card also....raising the FSB to 133Mhz after u dropped ur multiplier to 9.0x......

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=13597" target="_new">-MeTaL RoCkEr</A>
October 7, 2002 8:19:46 PM

Thanks for the advice...

I unlocked the Duron CPU about two months ago, and I'm now running it at 1333MHz (133MHz FSB * 10 multiplier). However, the difference in UT2003 is negligible -- as far as the botmatch goes, it goes from ~27fps at 12*100 to ~30fps at 10*133. My PC2100 memory is running at CL2.

Does it seem like maybe the small cache is the limiting factor in the game? The fact that going from 12*100 all the way to 10*133 only gives me 3fps extra makes me wonder if getting an XP1800+ (11.5*133) would even help much.

I'm really stuck here -- it seems like the benchmarks I've seen online show a big advantage of running even a 1600 or 1700 over an Athlon 1.2GHz, yet when I overclock my Duron to 1500+ speeds, it still doesn't perform that well. My PCMark2002 CPU score overclocked at 1.33GHz is ~3500.
October 7, 2002 8:39:23 PM

Forget all that overclocking crap man.... nothing will help your system play this game better than a new video card.... get yourself a Gforce 4 ti and enjoy. 1.2 Ghz CPU is more than enough to get the most out of the current games. RAM and Video Card effect the performance 10 fold in comparison.
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