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Minor upgrade suggestions?

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  • Minor upgrade suggestions?

    Armed Assault is getting me thinking about my hardware, which is really an inevitable question regardless of the game, but none the less I am requesting comments on a $200-$300 intermediary upgrade for this system:

    Dell Precision 8400 (sorry, I get deeply dicounted dells through work)
    Intel 3.2GHz HT, 533M FSB
    1GB PC2 3200 RAM, 333MHz
    EVGA 6600GT 256M (PCIE)
    Dell 350W PS

    This setup got me an average of 35-40 fps in a full BF2 game at 1024x768medium settings, which I am happy with. Armed Assault seems to stress it out to 20fps or less at 'normal' settings (AA off), which is why I'm thinking some change may be worthwhile.

    I am thinking a minor GFX upgrade will give me what I want, but fear the power supply might need to go with it. Or perhaps just adding RAM. Again, I'm ideally looking at a $200-$300 upgrade to get me through another 12-18 months with ArmA. Curious if anyone has comments or suggestions.

  • #2
    Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

    Geforce 7900GS:

    $182 (shipped plus $20 mail-in rebate)

    512 MB (2x256MB) Kingston Value Ram:

    $62 (shipped)

    So, that's $244, before the rebate on the video card.

    Alternatively, you could go for a cheaper Geforce 7600GT like this one, for $110 shipped, and upgrade to 2GB RAM. That would probably run you around $215 with shipping.

    As for the power supply, they recommend a 400 watt one for the 7900GS. You might just try to run it on the one you have. I ran the 6600GT on a 250 dell power supply for a year, and it's still going. I think the recommended wattage for that was 300 or 350. Do you have multiple hard drives? Or, you could get a cheapo 500 watt power supply (it probably couldn't be any worse than whatever Dell has in there) for around $40-50. Or, you could go over your budget and get a nice power supply, and use it in your next computer (although if you plan on buying another Dell next year, this probably isn't the best way to go).


    • #3
      Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

      Id say without a doubt increasing to 2gig of RAM would help so much.

      Your 6600GT isn't a bad card but for around $150 you could pick up a X1900GT 256 or a 7900 series card. This would be a significant upgrade and you would indeed notice the difference in speed. You could sell yours on the bay to bring your cash level up :)

      Regarding the PSU i had an Antec 350w Silent powering a 7900GS with no problems at all. I couldn't tell you what the Dell PSU's are like though. I would email the manufacturer or visit some FX card forums before buying :)


      • #4
        Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

        Thanks for the advice. I checked the dell forums and it seems the 350W PSU can support the 7900GS and GT cards. I don't have any extra drives, nor do I run any peripherals other than a mouse and headset, so I think I should be in good shape. It's funny, I was looking at the same stats back when I was upgrading to the 6600GT. Here I am again. Cha-ching.

        Unfortunately in the memory department I'm at 4x256, so an upgrade requires me to lose chips. I'm thinking I will go with a video card to start and see where that gets me. Because I'll probably be getting a new system in another 12-18 mos. I hate to buy more memory that I can't transfer to a new system. A GFX card can carry over.

        So my last question is if the 7900GS is the best fit for this system, or should I shoot for the 7900GT? Or something else entirely (I need a 400W max card though, seems the upper limit of the Dell 350W ps). I am dazed and confused at how many cards there are to choose from.
        Last edited by Mosely; 12-24-2006, 09:51 AM.


        • #5
          Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

          The Geforce 7900GS gets you the best performance for the price--at least in the midrange segment. When it comes to computer components, it's probably best to go for performance/price rather than just performance or just price unless you're really rich or really poor.

          By the way, Mantis linked to a great deal on a 7900GS in this thread:


          • #6
            Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

            Thanks Sordavie - I just edited my post but it seems the price difference between the 7900GS and the 7900GT is at least $50 difference for not a huge difference in performance? I guess it's worthit to save the $ and go with the GS in this case?


            • #7
              Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

              If you can find somebody to buy your old RAM, try to squeeze in an upgrade to 2GB.

              Another upgrade could be a new 500W PSU that will supply your needs for a long time.

              - It's who you game with.


              • #8
                Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

                I just ordered the EVGA 7900GS (I like EVGA, they've never let me down) - we'll see how it takes to the system. The memory upgrade will be my next step, much depends on how far the GPU upgrade gets me.

                Thanks for the advice!


                • #9
                  Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

                  Just as a heads up, Armed assault is overly CPU bound. I think what you'll find with your intended upgrade path is that your overall frame rates won't increase much with the new card. What you WILL be able to do though is turn up some of the video options without negatively impacting your frame rate. So, if you are getting 25 fps average now, you'll still be getting 25 fps, but you'll be doing it with AF, AA, and high textures.


                  • #10
                    Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

                    As an update, the 7900GS is doing well - works fine with the Dell 350W PSU, and got me about a 5-10fps boost in ArmA (averaging 35 now) plus the jump in settings to mostly high (running AA and AF at 'normal'). Every other game I've got runs on max.

                    Now I just need to sell the 6600GT.

                    Thanks for the comments and advice. The next intermediate move will be a memory upgrade, then I'm all outta upgrades, time for a new system.


                    • #11
                      Re: Minor upgrade suggestions?

                      Without doing the research, I can't comment on the ability of Dell PSUs since I do not know who manufactures them, and what their capabilities are on each each rail.

                      I suggest using this PSU wattage calculator to determine a estimate of your peak power consumption: click here. The number is slightly inflated (couldn't find my usual non-inflated one).

                      From prior research, your rig (w/ the 7900GS) shouldn't draw more than 300 watts of power at peak load.
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