APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Tonight
BUDGET RANGE: £400-£450
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (Left 4 Dead 2, The Lord of the Rings Online, Burnout Paradise, World of Warcraft)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Case, optical drives, PSU
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Anything UK based
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK
PARTS PREFERENCES: None
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm looking for decent performance at a reasonable price with some room to upgrade/overclock the system over the next few years as money becomes available. Must have an HDMI output to hook up my TV/monitor (it has no DVI port and VGA doesn't support aspect scaling for displaying 4:3 resolutions). It would be nice if I could get decent performance at the native 1920x1080 res, but I don't mind dialing down the res as long as I can still play at higher quality than the machine being replaced. That shouldn't be too difficult because this ancient beast is an Athlon XP 3200+ sitting on an nForce2 motherboard, with a mighty 2GB of 400MHz DDR RAM and a 512Mb GeForce 7800GS AGP. It manages to limp through Left 4 Dead 2 at 15-20fps on medium settings at 1360x768, which is pretty much the lowest possible point on the playability scale.
After a week or two of research and pricing things up, this is what I'm about to place an order for tonight on Ebuyer:
I was originally planning on a Phenom II X4 955, but decided to gamble on unlocking the cores of an X2 550 instead to upgrade the video card. I planned to scavenge as much I could from the old machine to cut down costs, but that just ended up being the case, DVD-RW drive and PSU in the end. The Samsung F3 is recommended so often that I just had to replace my old 120GB PATA drive with it.
The PSU is the thing that I'm unsure about... I'm using a 680W Thermaltake Pure Power (PURE POWER-680APD) which has served me well for a couple of years and I'm fairly sure it can power this setup, but if it won't then I'll have to drop the OS and use XP for a while longer. I hate spending almost a quarter of my budget on an operating system, but if I want to play games then it has to be done.
So, any glaring incompatibilities that stand out? Terribly overpriced / underpowered parts?
Now that I look at it, it's the same over here. This Radeon HD 5770 is only £20 more than the HD 5750. I think I tuned out anything over £100 when I was picking out parts. Oh well. Swapping the cards does put me slightly over budget, but I think the performance gain will probably be worth it.
You get around a 15% performance gain over the 5750, so yes, the upgrade is worth it.
You might want to look into getting a student copy of Windows 7. Over here, Microsoft has a program where you can get a copy for $30 (it's normally $100 for an OEM model). I'm not sure if it's a worldwide thing though.
A 9800 GTX+ (around the same performance as a 5750) plays Lotro at DX10 high settings with AA off at 1680x1050. A 5770 plays at Ultra high Dx10 with 2xAA. (Thats on a computer with an Athlon 64 x2 at 3.2GHz) <at least if you dont count the various server side problems Lotro has had, are they still having rubberbanding and entire raids dumped and such?>
It really chugs when more than a few characters are on screen at once, but I've been playing LotRO with my current setup in DX9 mode at 1280x1024 with high settings for the eye candy. I should be in heaven with the new setup I don't know about raids or anything since I only play casually, but Turbine did a complete overhaul of their hardware recently which was supposed to fix a lot of issues with the high population US servers.
The order's now been placed and everything should arrive tomorrow. I decided to wait on buying Windows 7 until next month, I'll install Ubuntu until then and play around with WINE, or install XP and suffer through only having half my RAM usable. I used the money saved on the OS to swich to the Radeon HD 5770 and upgrade the Samsung SpinPoint F3 to the 1TB model. Final total was £422.24 and I'm really looking forward to putting the thing together. Feels like ages since I've messed around with raw components.