Advice on Gaming system specs

Hi,
Im currently shopping for a new Gaming PC. I want to be able to run the latest games (Half-Life2, Far Cry, Black and While 2 etc) with maxed details/settings and I would like the system to last me a reasonable time.

Basically Im torn between two systems, both the same price.

System 1:
P4 3.4GHz
GeForce 6610XL (PCI-E)
1GB DDR 400MHz
(loads of multimedia extra's)

System 2:
P4 3.0GHz
Raedon x800 XT (AGP)
1GB DDR 400MHz

System 1 has a lot of extra's and has a faster processor but Im worried the memory may be a bottleneck and Im unsure about the video card. Though it is a PCI-E Motherboard so possibly I can upgrade in the future.

Researching on the internet Ive found that the 6610 XL is an OEM only card and is slightly more powerful than the 6600 though below the 6600 GT

I found a set of benchmarks for the 6600 GT here on Tom's Hardware. They emulate a vanilla 6600 by underclocking a 6600GT. It gave decent results, especially considering the 6610 XL is faster and the CPU I would have if I bought System 1 is also faster.

However it seems that due to the x800 XT System 2 would provide me with better performace and I could upgrade the processor in that system for the same amount I would be paying to upgrade the Video card in System 1.

So Im not sure what to do. I feel that while System 1 has a PCI express motherboard, ram and processor support would limit the ability to upgrade it anyway so I might aswell go with the AGP based System 2 as it will give me better performace in there here and now. Am I right?

Any help with this is greatly appreciated as Ive been racking my brains (and internet connection) with this for days now and I want to play HL2 ;)
18 answers Last reply
More about advice gaming system specs
  1. For nothing but the best.

    System 1:

    P4 3.2GHz

    Raedon x800 XT (PCI-E)

    1GB DDR 400MHz
    (loads of multimedia extra's)


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    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  2. Oh I should have specified. These systems are supplied as is. I cannot make any changes to system 1 before purchase as its a special deal (it being a special deal is the only thing bringing a PCI Express system into my price range)

    I can make changes to system 2 but my choices are limited. Changing it to a PCI-E motherboard and graphics card if possible would be far too expensive. I hope that more clearly shows my dilema.
  3. I hate to say it, but I'd go for system 1. Why do I hate to say it? Because I suspect that the ATI X800 card is faster than the 6600 card. Nowever, things keep changing and if you want to keep the system for some years, then the faster CPU is going to be a big factor. As time goes on, faster and better PCIe cards will come along and you can just upgrade the card. For today, anyway, both cards will likely handle anything that's currently on the market in the way of games. PCIexpress is defintiely the way of the future. so the best cards will be for that bus.


    <font color=green>****</font color=green> Never Assume <font color=red>ANYTHING</font color=red> <font color=green>****</font color=green>

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by peartree on 11/21/04 04:06 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  4. Im going to be limited though. I mean I cant just keep upgrading the card the CPU and RAM are going to cause a bottleneck?

    Im thinking of going for System 2 because it will give me better performace now. With system 1 I will have to upgrade just to get to the performance of System 2 let alone future upgrading.
  5. What mobo brand for each?

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  6. If you check the newest video card review here on Tom's, you'll find that nVidia cards are comfortably ahead of ATI's X800. No, I was referring to upgrading in a couple of years when there should be some really new cards out there that are required by the best games.

    And I should think that the 3.4 GHz CPU will doa lot to make that system better.

    <font color=green>****</font color=green> Never Assume <font color=red>ANYTHING</font color=red> <font color=green>****</font color=green>
  7. Peartree, the ATI X800 XT PE is faster than the 6800Ultra in most areas. Especially HL2, but not in Doom 3.
    IMO, looking at the reviews, at first release with those previous drivers the 6800 appeared like a faster card, but now that the drivers are maturing, the tables have turned, and the X800 is clearly the overall faster card.

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    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  8. What I gathered from the benchamarks on the site was that there was little difference between the 6800's and x800's and the difference were talking about is a handful of fps.

    Ive been talking to another shop and they have told me they will beat the current price I have been quoted for system two. Im not too sure they can do it but if they can do that I'll be going with them as it would be an amazing deal. Ill post again when they get back to me.

    The point I was making in my previous post is that I dont know if system 1 being a PCI-E system will be beneficial to upgrading at all. Despite the faster processor it wont give me the performance of system 2 "out of the box" due to the entry level graphics card in it. And there is a limit to how long I could upgrade the video card in the future. As the CPU and RAM will cause bottlenecks rendering such upgrading pointless.
  9. In Doom3, the 6800U beats X800PE by 10% or so, but in HL2, ATI rules by as much as 50%

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    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
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  10. Would you care to post links to these reviews you speak of? I did a Google search and one of Tom's and found no reviews of any 6610XL card.

    <font color=green>****</font color=green> Never Assume <font color=red>ANYTHING</font color=red> <font color=green>****</font color=green>
  11. <A HREF="http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/half-life_2_athlon_xp/default.asp" target="_new"> Benchmark Comparison of X800's and 6800's with different CPU speeds! </A>

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    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  12. Excuse me, but what does that have to do with the 6600 series cards? I can look at reviews using a system similar to the one he wants to get (P4 3.4G) and see quite clearly that the 6800 cards beat the tar out of the ATI X800. However, the 6600 is NOT a 6800 card. If you did a little homework, you would, however, find that a 6600 GT or equivalent 128-bit card (i.e. the series 4 GPU) is competitive with an X800. Not only that, but if the motherboard supports the new SLI spec, you can put TWO 6600's in one machine and get about the same performance as a 6800 series card.

    If you have anything more to say, kindly be ready to provide a real review of the two cards in question.

    <font color=green>****</font color=green> Never Assume <font color=red>ANYTHING</font color=red> <font color=green>****</font color=green>
  13. Quote:
    and see quite clearly that the 6800 cards beat the tar out of the ATI X800

    That does not even resemble reality.

    <A HREF="http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/half-life_2_athlon_xp/page6.asp " target="_new"> http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/half-life_2_athlon_xp/page6.asp </A>


    <font color=red><pre>\\//__________________________________
    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  14. Okay, you look at <A HREF="http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041110/buyers_guide-08.html" target="_new">http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041110/buyers_guide-08.html</A> and tell me what YOU see.

    <font color=green>****</font color=green> Never Assume <font color=red>ANYTHING</font color=red> <font color=green>****</font color=green>
  15. In Doom 3 only, they are showing the 6800 15% faster, but in HL2, the X800XT PE is nearly 50% faster than the 6800.

    Overall, they are both fast cards, just the X800 overall is faster.

    <font color=red><pre>\\//__________________________________
    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  16. I am basing my thoughts on the benchmarks here: <A HREF="http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20040907/index.html" target="_new">http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20040907/index.html</A>
    In that review a vanilla 6600 is emulated. According to the specs I was given for system 1 and my own researching it seems a 6610 XL is an OEM only card similar to a 6600 but with DDR3 memory and increased clock speeds. I just dont understand why Nvidia's own website has no reference to this card at all?

    Oh for the days when you would get consistent performace in any game.
  17. Just incase anyone is interested I eventually found the following system at the price I was looking for:

    P4 3.0GHz
    1GB DDR400 RAM
    PCI-E X800XT

    I recieved it yesterday and have been working my way through a backlog of demo disks. I may have to buy Painkiller, after HL2 naturally ;)
  18. Looks like a nice rig, and great video too.

    <pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
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