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A Challenge


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6 replies to this topic

#1 GottaHaveFaith

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 03:37 PM

Hi All !!!

Ok ill get right to it. Like most everyone else in this forum, i want to build a new rig. The problem, however, is that due to financial problems, combined with a severe case of impatience, i would like to do it through a series of upgrades.

What im saying is i would like to take my old rig (described below) and turn it into a good gaming rig, by upgrading parts one or two at a time. I understand that i will be bottlenecking until the entire process is complete.

Is this even possible?

I have about 400 dollars for my first upgrade, what should i do?

You opinions are very much appreciated.

Thank you so much.

My old rig:

CPU - AMD Athlon XP, 1533 MHz (11.5 x 133) 1800+
Motherboard - Abit KR7A (-RAID) (6 PCI, 1 AGP, 4 DIMM)
Motherboard chipset - VIA VT8366A Apollo KT266A
Memory - 512 MB (DDR SDRAM)
Hard drive - MAXTOR 4K020H1 (20 GB, 5400 RPM, Ultra-ATA/100)
Video Card - NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 (64 MB)
Sound Card - Creative SB Live! Sound Card
Optical Drive - Samsung CD-ROM SC-148F (48x CD-ROM)
PSU - I have a few different one available to me, think im using a generic 400W right now.



Oh and in case interested, i use my comp mainly for 3D gaming, like all the newest MMORPG (I wish) and internet connectivity (Broadband) but will be attending school soon so will need to be able to do school work on it as well.

I am very determined and will end up with a very good rig, please steer me in the right direction.

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#2 JPHarvey

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 04:29 PM

If you want to continue gaming well into the future, your are really going to need to look at upgrading to a DDRII and PCI-Express Mainboard. BUT, because of your finances, probably the best upgrades you'll want to do first will be your Video card and ram. You could get a decent 128MB or lower end 256MB ATI or nVidia for around the $300 mark, and then you would still have enough to buy another 512MB RAM stick (depending on you current RAM configuration and available slots). This will boost your 3D gaming performance pretty quickly.
HOWEVER (and this is only my opinion), be aware that PCI-x16 and DDRII are the new standard so AGP and DDR will eventually be phased out, and with the 3D games coming out these days (ie. F.E.A.R.) you need a pretty good setup to keep up.
For example, I have a Powercolour ATI x800 GTXtreme 256MB (PCI-x16), 2GB DDRII RAM, 3.0GHz P4 630, Gigabyte 8i955x-pro MB, and I still can't run FEAR at full tilt (at 1024x768) without the FPS dropping right off!!
So what you might want to do is look at purchasing the parts to build your NEXT PC, starting maybe with the Motherboard....
Hope this helps....
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#3 Mr Alpha

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 07:04 PM

Oh, boy! This is going to be a challenge. Your lucky I love a challenge. I think it is doable but you will need two things: (1) Be able to continue cough up cash for the upgrades, and (2) have lots and lots of luck.

Upgrade 1:
ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 @ $70. This board will give you both AGP and PCIx, which is essential to make this madness work. :thumbsup:
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ @ $290. This is a very nice processor for your future gaming machine.
NOTE: You better hope and pray that your old RAM will run it or your without it until you can afford the next upgrade.
NOTE2: With the old RAM and video card bottlenecking you won't see any performance increase.

Upgrade 2:
CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 400 (PC 3200) @ $240. Model: TWINX2048-3200C2PRO. Time to get some RAM that will let that processor of yours run. You won't be getting the increased bandwidth of DDR2, but with PC 3200 running in dual channel mode you should have enough. 2GB because MMOs use loads of RAM. The difference between 1GB and 2GB in WoW is huge.

Upgrade 3:
XFX GeForce 7900GT 256MB @ $300. This thing will give you the same performance as a 7800GTX but while using less power. It will give you better odds that the machine will run on a power supply you got running around.
NOTE. By now you will be relying heavily on the 12V on your power supply. Older power supplys usually don't give enough amps on the 12V rail to handle modern high end computers, so you better keep you fingers, toes and anything else you got lying around crossed, hoping that the machine will still run.

Upgrade 4:
ENERMAX All in One Noisetaker Series EG701AX-VE @ $150. Time to get a power supply that surely will run this beast of yours.
Antec Performance I P180 @ $130. A case that will keep things both cool and quiet. Besides, it got filters in front of the air intake, which will be a great help in keeping the computer dust free and alive. They are also some of the easiest filters to clean I've come across. Might want to add another 120mm fan at the front intake, though.

Upgrade 5:
A 20GB 5400rpm hard drive just won't do for modern games taking over 5GB space.
Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB 10,000 RPM @ $160. This thing should do a world of difference on loading times. Put Windows and the games on this one, and everything else on:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 250GB @ $100. Here will come all other programs, music, and anything else you'll end up filling your harddrive with. Plus, it comes with a 5 year warranty.

Upgrade 6:
SONY Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1615/B2s @ $25. To be able to deal with the games that are on DVD.
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic @ $ 120. you'll also need a good soundcard to avoid stuttering in modern games while using stuff like EAX4. And the sound quality is way beyond and onboard solution or old Soundblaster Live.

NOTE: You'll need Windows Xp SP2 to properly run some of this hardware.

I don't know how much of your old rig is left anymore but to do this monster justice you might want to continue you upgrading with a new monitor and some good speakers. Maybe a sleek mouse and keyboard.


Wow, talk about extreme makeover. I should get my own TV show. :flowers:
This will be a very good gaming rig, that should be able to handle anything you'll throw at it.
"Anyone who cannot form a community with others, or who does not need to because he is self-sufficient [...] is either a beast or a god." Aristotle
Intel Core 2 Quad | XFX 780i SLI | 8GB Corsair | Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX | Auzentech X-Fi Prelude| Logitech G15 | Logitech MX Revolution | LG Flatron L2000C | Logitech Z-5500 Digital

#4 GottaHaveFaith

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 10:20 PM

Mr. Alpha,

I posted this topic in 3 different forums on the web, and your response was the only one that actually got me excited. Most people said it couldnt be done!

I am going to leave this topic for debate for a little while, and see what other people think.

I have to ask a question though.

Is it ridiculous for me to be doing this?

Would it be more cost effective to just buy parts and stockpile them until i have everything for a new rig?

You see, i dotn want to sacrifice performance because of my impatience.

The end result will not have DDR2, SLI, Dual core processor, etc... Is that going to come back to haunt me in a year when i buy a new game and it wont run properly? Do i even need any of those things anyhow?

I obviously dont have much knowledge with this stuff.

Thanks a ton for your help.

Edited by GottaHaveFaith, 16 March 2006 - 10:28 PM.


#5 JPHarvey

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 11:09 PM

Like I said mate, you'd be better of getting all the parts for your NEXT computer!
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
[GPU]XFX 8800 GTX 768MB [SLI] @ Stock
[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#6 Mr Alpha

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 05:54 AM

Is it ridiculous? No, a bit crazy perhaps, but not ridiculous.

This might in fact ending up being a bit more cost effective if you consider all factors, but generally I won't see big of a difference either way. You don't have to follow the exact order of the upgrades I recommended, you can always get a bit creative if you happen across some nice rebate or something.

I've been doing small upgrades on my computer since PII, and found it a nice way to spread out the cost. By doing a few upgrade a year I've kept going for years.

The end result will not have DDR2, SLI, Dual core processor, etc... Is that going to come back to haunt me in a year when i buy a new game and it wont run properly? Do i even need any of those things anyhow?

The DDR2 isn't a big thing to give up. The increased memory bandwitdh comes at a price in memory latencies, which in gaming also is important, and so the impact of the loss of DDR2 is minimal. SLI's never been worth it. Within a years and a half there will be a new single card that beats the SLI solution, so you might as well save the money from the second card to upgrade to the new card. Dual-core at the moment only hampers gaming, so no big loss there. In a year we will propably see games using dual-cores but it won't be until some 3-4 years from now before you actually need a dual-core. The board also supports dual-cores so in a few years you can always slap in a FX-60 in it when it has come down in price.
"Anyone who cannot form a community with others, or who does not need to because he is self-sufficient [...] is either a beast or a god." Aristotle
Intel Core 2 Quad | XFX 780i SLI | 8GB Corsair | Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX | Auzentech X-Fi Prelude| Logitech G15 | Logitech MX Revolution | LG Flatron L2000C | Logitech Z-5500 Digital

#7 Enthusiast

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 10:54 AM

Is it ridiculous for me to be doing this?

Yes. Because bottom line you still have old technology at a great expense.

Your max bus speed is 200 MHZ

Your USB ports arent 2.0

It will only support a max of PC2100 RAM

The AGP slot is 4x but not AGP Pro compatible, not 8x.

The mb is not worth investing the dollars, and what you buy to upgrade it will most likely not be compatable with new technology boards when you realize you need one.

It is sufficient for schoolwork just the way it is - with no additional expense.

Gaming is another matter - the more advanced the game, the faster everything must be - the processor, the graphics, the RAM, the HDs etc.

You aren't even using the ultra ata 133s now your present board is capable of supporting, much less a sata raid array.

No matter what you do, you will never have the capacity for today's games by "upgrading".

Start again and get a current mb and fast processor when you're ready.

Save your bucks and build a screamer when you have enough saved.
What you are trying to do is like making a major investment in a 100,000 mile, ten year old car.




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