I find myself in a bit of a quandary and was hoping for a bit of advice. I have what can only be considered a dinosaur of a computer: P3 600 MHz, Win98SE, TNT2 Ultra 32MB video card, Creative Audio PCI Ensoniq sound card, 20 GB hard drive, 384 MB RAM, ASUS CUV4X motherboard with VIA 694X AGPset. I find that with these specs I cannot take advantage of some of the latest games out there, and would like to upgrade my system (I am a student and therefore cannot afford to buy a new system, so price is everything for me).
I am rather happy with my OS, and my motherboard has not given me any trouble over the last couple of years, so what I was thinking was to upgrade the processor and my video card (I know that I won’t be able to take full advantage of all the bells and whistles of some of the latest games out there, but that will come later).
My question: Given that my motherboard is restricted to P3 processors and SDRAM, am I wasting my time upgrading? If not, what would be the best combination of processor and video card for under $500 (I am a Canadian so this is about $300 US)? I have been very happy with the NVIDIA card, and would like to stay with their product, but with so many options on the market I’m not sure what to get (note: the GeTi4000 series card is simply out of my league). I would also find it very helpful if folks could let me know which cards NOT to consider.
I must admit to being somewhat computer illiterate, having just figured out how to turn on my monitor, so I’m afraid that most technical jargon will go right over my head. However, I would be most appreciative to those who take the time to respond with advice based on their own experiences.
What kind of games you'd like to run? I have 1GHz P3 with a ATI Radeon 8500le, and 512 MB RAM, and I can run most current games e.g., MOHAA, even with relatively high details, but I don't think it will last very long as newer games require more power. If you are not in a hurry, just wait for another six months, you can have much better specs with same kind of money
I know it's hardly cutting edge at this stage, but the TNT2 Ultra is a reasonable performer. I'd tend towards getting a new motherboard/CPU/RAM setup, and waiting a bit longer to upgrade your video card.
I'm in Ireland so I have no idea what the specific prices are, but I'm sure that you could get a good motherboard, 256MB DDR RAM and an AMD XP1800+ for about US$300, maybe even for less.
You could even go for a board that takes PC100 SDRAM (which I'm assuming you're using at the moment), which would allow you to use your existing RAM sticks. You can buy some boards that will accept either SDRAM or DDR RAM, so you can retain an upgrade path and spend that money elsewhere.
If you have some cash left over I'd upgrade your hard drive too. I don't image you have much room left, and it probably runs at ATA33, or ATA66 at best. You could pick up an ATA100 60GB drive quite cheap.
I looked up pIII 1ghz on pricewatch.com and they are $99.
You can pick up a radeon 8500le for around $100, or a geforce4 4200 from $120 to $140(64mb)So thatsbetween $200 to $250 American, maybe lower.
I think some of these newer video cards need a lot of power so you should have a good power supply, at least 300 watts.
Of course if your mb doesn't support the 1ghzPIII, then you would have to try whatever it does support.
Unless you want to flash the bios of the mb.
Check out Newegg.com they are a very good place to buy from.
Maybe buy a asus nforce mb with on board video for $73, plus some crucial ddr 2100 memory 256mb for $68,+ Athlon xp 1600 for $52, less than $200 for that upgrade. Or a ecs sis mb for $54, 1600xp $52, plus chaintech g4 4200 64mb for $117, $223 for that upgrade.etc etc.
I hope this helps,
I have a 1Ghz P3 with a PCI 64MB video card and I am able to run UT2003, not with the best graphics, but it runs smoothly, and I just got Hot Pursuit 2, and that is running just fine at medium detail settings. But in another four months my computer probably won't handle the games. So I would say that getting a P3 is not a good idea. If possible save the money, get a new motherboard and CPU and whateverelse you need.
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And you've got yourself a whole new computer. If you want to splurge a bit more then get a retail AMD XP 1800+ to 2100+, and/or a 128 meg Radeom 8500 or better still a geforce4 ti 4200. Upgrade your hard drive later on when you have the money. You can probably get around $100 trade-in for your old MB+P3+RAM+TNT2
Unfortunately, ther is also tax and shipping on the purchase, and you'll probably have to pay someone to install it all for you (figure on $35 to $60 for installation, unless you know someone). And all this is assuming that your current power supply is large enough to powwer all this new equipment.
I do not recommend buying anything from the US, as the duty charges when it crosses the border is fairly hefty.
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