New mobo & CPU or new Videocard ... decisions descisions ;o)

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by BillL, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. BillL

    BillL Guest

    Hello all

    Probably an oft asked question but ...

    My current core system:-

    Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro (Using on-board audio & NIC)
    AMD 2800+ (2.08 GHz) Barton core
    Sapphire 9700 128 MB (non-pro) video
    1 GB PC3200 RAM (2 x 512 Dimms OCZ & Kingston HyperX mix)
    Antec 430 Watt PSU

    I'm quite into games and have annoying slow downs in some games (Far Cry,
    Ground Control II, Dawn of War) although generally when there is a lot of
    action on screen. I play most games at 1024 x 768 with no AA & 2xAF.

    I have two broad choices. I can by an ATI X800 (or nvidia equivalent) or I
    can replace the mobo and CPU (I've decided I'd go down the Socket 939 route
    with one of the lower clocked 90nm 64 chips). I can't afford to replace the
    videocard, CPU & mobo at the same time (though I've not yet looked into
    selling any old components).

    Would the videocard upgrade be the *best* way to go performance wise (CPU
    limited with the 2800+?) or should I be thinking of future upgrades as
    Socket A is on its way out (well within a year)?

    Alternatively should I just sit tight?


    BillL, Oct 31, 2004
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  2. BillL

    Dave C. Guest

    Well, you are at an awkward time for upgrading. If you think of the systems
    as 1, 2 and 3, with "1" being your current setup, you can't really build "2"
    without replacing CPU, Mainboard and Video card, or you will be starting
    over from zero when you get to "3".

    To get significant performance upgrade from your current setup, you'd have
    to buy some pretty high-end components. But if you go (mainboard and CPU)
    or (video card only), then you are locked into AGP video. So that's a lot
    of money to throw at a system that will be completely replaced within a
    couple of years, at most.

    If you save a little bit of money and do Mainboard, CPU and Video card all
    at once . . . and go PCI Express for video . . . then system "2" might just
    survive one upgrade in the process of building system "3". -Dave
    Dave C., Oct 31, 2004
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  3. BillL

    Ruel Smith Guest

    I'll give you my take, and you decide for yourself.

    First off, to generically answer your question, a video card upgrade will do
    the most for you in game performance. Your CPU is plenty fast, and you have
    lots of memory. I'd advocate avoiding the high-end stuff, and get an nVidia
    GeForce 6600GT board, when AGP models hit the shelves.

    Now, here's the big dilemma, and I'm in this very same dilemma with my
    system. All boards, both AMD and Intel based, are going to PCI-X based
    graphics. The AMD boards are just hitting the shelves. Your board is plenty
    fast for now, and a video card upgrade will do wonders, but that's $200
    spent on a graphics card you won't be taking with you on your next mobo &
    CPU upgrade. The Athlon XP is just about at the end of it's life, and the
    Semperons have less performance, so there isn't much you can do about
    upgrading the CPU alone in the near future, which would prolong getting a
    new system.

    Undoubtedly, within the next year or so, you'll be wanting to upgrade to an
    Athlon 64/FX machine and chances are, it'll be a PCI-X model, since surely
    you won't want to build a machine that's already old technology. If you
    game, you need to stay more on the bleeding edge of hardware, since newer
    games slow systems down and that's a trend that'll go on forever. Every new
    major release has more and more polygons to render and they obsolete
    hardware fast. My 2.6 GHz P4 machine (OC'd to 3.0) has a GeForce Ti4600
    card that cost me plenty when it was new. It's really showing its age in
    just over 2 years. The graphics card is the culprit, but I'm weary of
    upgrading because next year I'll probably build an Athlon 64 machine to
    replace it.

    So, armed with that knowledge, decide for yourself...
    Ruel Smith, Oct 31, 2004
  4. BillL

    BillL Guest

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure that PCI-X is the way to go just yet -
    doesn't supply a significantly higher performance than AGP?

    However, to add to my confusion (if I go with PCI-X) I've noticed that the
    Nforce4 (I've had some bad experiences with VIA chipsets!) chipset does not
    come with PCI-X but with PCI Express??

    Anyhoo thanks for both replies to my question so far.

    BillL, Oct 31, 2004
  5. BillL

    Dave C. Guest

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure that PCI-X is the way to go just
    PCI-X never was the way to go. Someone abbreviated PCI-Express as PCI-X,
    not realizing that there WAS a PCI-X, and it has nothing to do with
    PCI-Express. PCI-Express is the future of video cards, and all other
    expansion cards. -Dave
    Dave C., Oct 31, 2004
  6. BillL

    Ruel Smith Guest

    Not yet, but in future GPU's, it probably will. The big deal is the
    replacement of the PCI bus itself, since just about everything, whether
    onboard or through a PCI slot runs through the PCI bus, and it's reaching
    its maximum bandwith and becoming a bottleneck. The PCI-X 16 slot for the
    graphics card will just ensure future upgradeability because both ATi and
    nVidia have announced there will not be any new graphics cards released
    after the current core generation for the AGP slot. That means, next year
    or the year after, when they release new cards, they will all be for the
    PCI-X 16 slot. That's the big deal. Otherwise, currently, PCI-X 16 cards
    are no faster than AGP 8X cards.
    PCI-X and PCI Express are one in the same. I've had a bad experience with my
    first and only Via chipset using Linux. However, using it in a Windows
    setting could yield much better results, so I'm not holding it against it
    just yet.
    Ruel Smith, Oct 31, 2004
  7. BillL

    Ruel Smith Guest

    You're right. I used it as an abbreviation for PCI Express. I don't like
    typing the whole damn name for it. My apologies.
    Ruel Smith, Oct 31, 2004
  8. BillL

    Matt Guest

    Try Fedora Core 1.
    Matt, Nov 1, 2004
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