upgrade advice - whole system or just video

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by thomase, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. thomase

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    I am running a P3-500E @667 with a Voodoo3 3000. Originally, this was running on a Soyo 6vba133 with the Apollo Pro 133 chipset (not 133A) but I noticed that performance seemed to be crippled compared to BX systems (+30% framerate decrease in Quake series!). So I bought a SOYO 6ba+IV and put the other mobo in the closet. Since then (Dec 1999), my BX mobo has died (Nov 2001) probably from lack of adequate case cooling, so I'm using the 6vba133 once again. To add to that, the Voodoo3 no longer seems adequate to run the games that I want at a good speed with high detail (Medal of Honor, RTCW, etc). Can I revive this system's potential with a GF3 Ti200 or should I just bite the bullet and upgrade to a shiny new P4 or AthlonXP? My fiance has an old socket 7 system so she could use the upgrade if I gave her my current setup. Advice?
     
  2. Althornin

    Althornin Senior Lurker
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    Shouldnt this be in the hardware forum?
     
  3. BenM

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    I would say just do both, depending on your budget. A Radeon8500 or a GF3Ti200 can be had fairly cheap now...so can a Duron or Celeron "A" setup.

    For example, a 1.0GHzA Celeron (w/256k of l2 cache), a Gigabyte i815 motherboard, and an Radeon8500 LE is roughly 300 dollars from NewEgg.com


    *edit* Althornin's probably right here. If the mods could move it to the hardware forum, maybe we could get some traffic in there.

    *edit* typo


    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: BenM on 2002-02-27 21:04 ]</font>
     
  4. Althornin

    Althornin Senior Lurker
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    I would say that you need (desperately) to upgrade that processor/mobo. I dont think you current system can drive a GF2/3/4 or R8500 to close to its potential. So only a new video card would be a waste, imo, as you would just hit CPU bottlenecks anyways. Ben is right, you need to upgrade mopram (MOtherboard, Processor, RAM) AND you video card, as either one alone will see you verly little improvement in game speeds.

    PS to mods: Thanks for putting this where it belongs, just trying to keep things organized.
     
  5. pascal

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    thomase

    What games do you play or plan to play?

    - Upgrade your CPU first, at least +1GHz CPU. If you are going to buy a new i815 mobo then make sure it is b-step. P4 and Athlon XP are good options.
    - Try your games and if you feel you need more power or features then buy a new GF3Ti200 or Radeon8500 (both good price/performance).

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: pascal on 2002-02-27 22:55 ]</font>
     
  6. thomase

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    I'll probably upgrade the cpu/mobo/memory (I have 2x256MB PC133 Crucial by the way....).

    The question is, what combo!?

    AthlonXP/KT266A? Seems to be the best performer for the money right now. But aren't there still random compatibility issues? I keep hearing about this VIA chipset problem with nVidia cards (not sure if its hardware or software) where you get a huge double digit performance decrease if your AGP aperture just happens to be set to 64MB. Also, I've not been to comfortable constantly upgrading to the latest 4-in-1 drivers, PCI latency patches, etc. with VIA chipsets. Just seems generally shaky.... Have these issues been resolved?

    Pentium4 with P4X266, SIS645, i845D, or i850?
    DDR is just as expensive as RAMBUS right now, so is it worth it just for the piece of mind to go with an i850 system? I worry less about compatibility issues with Intel chipsets but it seems that the best price/performer right now is a SIS645 mobo by far. Are there any compatibility issues there? Also, with Intel 's exponential price scale, its not like you can just get the fastest P4 available without feeling like you've been ripped off.

    Too many choices!

    By the way, I play Medal of Honor, RtCW, Counter-Strike, Wizardry 8. Looking forward to JKII, Morrowind, Dungeon Seige, WC3....
     
  7. pascal

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    IIRC you will have problems with Voodoo3 3000 and P4. Something about the intel AGP slot only support the 1.5v AGP.
     
  8. thomase

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that I was going to keep my Voodoo3. The question is: just video card, or video card AND cpu/mobo.
     
  9. thomase

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that I was going to keep my Voodoo3. The question is: just video card, or video card AND cpu/mobo.
     
  10. pascal

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    Well you will need both, but it is all about budget.

    Very low cost sugestion:
    -Keep the Voodoo3 3000
    -Buy a Duron 1.2GHz ($62), good kt133a mobo ($62) and keep the ram, case, etc..
    -Wait until you really feel you need to upgrade.

    Safe/conservative mainstream sugestion:
    -GF3 Ti200 ($140)
    -Asus P4B266-C mobo ($110)
    -P4 1.8A ($175)
    -512MB PC2100 ($120)
    -new atx case ($??)

    The other guys will give you more options (Althornin ?) :smile:
     
  11. pascal

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    edited: forget this post :oops:

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: pascal on 2002-03-01 15:26 ]</font>
     
  12. pascal

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    thomase,

    I just read your post and this thread carefully. Sorry my english is not good and I was reading/writing too fast (doing other things simultaneously) :oops:
    Forget my previous posts :oops:

    My opinion is you need to upgrade the CPU too, because the P3 500 will not get the full potential of the GF3 Ti200. But it dont need to be a shiny new P4 or AthlonXP. You have a lot of ram and case. A cheap upgrade sugestion is below.

    Safe /Low cost (agree with BenM):
    -GF3 Ti200 ($140)
    -Celeron 1.2GHz/256KB (Tualatin) / i815 b-step mobo ($170)
    -and keep the ram, case, etc..

    But if you have the budget then get something like this mainstream system:
    -GF3 Ti200 ($140)
    -Asus P4B266-C mobo ($110)
    -P4 1.8A ($175)
    -512MB PC2100 ($120)
    -new atx case ($??)

    Now I have to finish my work :smile:
    edited: english again :smile:

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: pascal on 2002-03-01 15:30 ]</font>
     
  13. thomase

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    Well, I have money, so I guess I'd rather go for a P4 or Athlon. I just feel bummed by the fact that I shelled out $200 last June for 2 sticks of crucial 256MB PC133 (damn you Ultima9!). I thought that the price was as low as it was going to get! I guess I don't trust myself to make good decisions anymore.

    BTW.... I have an SBLive and I don't feel the need to replace it. Should I avoid Via chipsets in this case?
     
  14. BenM

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    If you have the money, an i845D w/a 1.6A or 1.8A P4 would be very good idea, IMO.

    If you wanted to go the Athlon route, an XP2000+ and either a KT266a or nForce would be a good idea, too.

    As for the video card, if you want to go all out, get a VisionTek GeForce4 Ti 4600 or 4400. Other than that, the GeForce3 Ti200 is a good choice. I don't have much experience with ATI, but the Radeon8500 seems like a good choice.
     
  15. BenM

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    If you go P4, I'd suggest DDR, just because some of the i850 boards have a tough time hitting the 533 (133) FSB. (However, Abit claimed that it's board could hit the 533 FSB, IIRC) It makes sense if you go P4 to get a lower clocked Northwood (1.6a or 1.8a) and then overclock it to the 533 FSB.

    It's like getting a 2.1GHz processor really cheap. For that option, you've basically got the i845 or SiS 645 based boards.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: BenM on 2002-03-01 17:47 ]</font>
     
  16. Dave Baumann

    Dave Baumann Gamerscore Wh...
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    I think the biggest problem is the RAMBUS clock generators used.

    The ASUS P4T-E i850 MB generally tends to be OK at 133Mhz (533 effective) FSB; at least, when sites were testing PC1066 and PC1200 RDRAM modules some found the stock P4T-E to be more stable at these speeds than the specially modified P4T that ASUS has provided them!

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  17. thomase

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    Regarding the 850 boards.... What if you overclock the fsb 33% to 533mhz, but then set the memory clock ratio so that it thinks its using PC600 RDRAM (3/1)? Effectively, the memory will stay non-overclocked at PC800 speed. Is this possible? It seems pretty safe. Can you do the same kind of thing with the 845D? Set the memory ratio to DDR200 speeds and then overclock 33%? This would remove overclocked memory stability from the equation - at the cost a less overclocking benefit of course. I guess that still leaves the issue of PCI/AGP speeds though....

    The low-speed northwoods seem like they could be the next Celeron 300A or Coppermine. I'd love to push a northwood to its true potential, but not at the cost of stressing every other component in the system. I killed my SOYO 6ba+iv in less than 2 years by overclocking to 133 fsb (should have used another case fan).
     
  18. thomase

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    And another thing....

    If I decide to switch from Win98SE to WinXP, should I also convert from FAT32 to NTFS? What is the gamer/enthusiast angle on FAT32 vs. NTFS?
     
  19. Saem

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    The P4T-E had it's clock generator change specifically to be able to produce a better signal. I believe it's possible to easily head upwards of 600MHz, provided your RAM can handle it. I suggest you get the highest quality Samsung memory you can get, it's usually very comfortable at PC1066, but it will require some extra cooling, a simple duct would be enough to fix that.
     
  20. pascal

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    Do a new installation with WinXP and NTFS.

    I have a WinXP pro and it is very good. I use two disk partitions, the second partition is small (1GB) and have the backup of important data files. If something go wrong with the first partition then you can reinstall without losing data.
     
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