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  • Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

    OK, first my system:

    MB = Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, Socket 939 for AMD Athlon 64FX / Athlon 64
    CPU = AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 2.01 GHz
    RAM = 2 GB
    Video Cards = 2 7600GT 256MB DDR3 PCI-X in SLI
    PSU = 600W from OCZ (OCZGXS600)
    OS = XP SP2 Home Edition
    HD = Maxtor 250GB PATA

    Problem:

    Part 1.
    While playing around with setting and frame rates I noticed the following;
    There was only a slight difference in frame rates (1 to 7 loss) between the medium and High default settings when playing Highway Tampa. I did notice a larger difference when playing Carebear on the High (25 to 30 loss).

    Part 2.
    When playing on Med settings; I was able to; Have Teamspeak up, Alt Tab to my desktop, Open up powerpoint and save a screen shot and Alt Tab to get back into the game.
    When playing on High settings; I was able to; Have Teamspeak up, Alt Tab to my desktop, Open up powerpoint and save a screen shot, but then have to soft reboot to restart 2142.

    Question? Which, if any, of the following would allow me to play BF2142 on the high settings and be able to save a screen shot and get back into the game with out a reboot??

    a. Upgrade the CPU. (Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego 2.4Ghz L2 Cache $43.00 New Egg)
    b. Upgrade CPU and MB to Dual Core (and beyond)
    c. Upgrade to a single 8600 or 8800 Video card. (Anywhere from $130-289 for 8800gts, Does SLI make a difference? Should I wait for a price drop to keep SLI?)
    d. Add more Memory (My understanding 2GB is adequate for most game)

    Any other recommendations / options?

  • #2
    Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

    Few thoughts for ya:

    2 gigs of RAM are adequate for most games, but from what I have seen, BF2 and 2142, like more RAM than that. It will use more if you have more, and allow you to do things in the background, like powerpoint. Problem for you is you are on socket 939, which means DDR1 memory, and that is pretty expensive compared to DDR2 at the moment. Most 2 gig kits are over $60, and if I remember, lots of 939 boards only allowed 2 gigs max anyway, so that may not be an option. Check with your MB manf. website and fourms to make sure you can run more than 2 gigs. And any money spent on DDR1 memory now is wasted.
    As a side note, I have also read somewhere that 2142 does not like you to alt-tab, and a lot of people have problems with it.


    Also, right, if you can't wait to see what is going to be released by both ATI and Nvidia early this summer, (supposed to be 1st week of June) the 9600GT and 8800GT offer the best bang for buck seen in a long time. Most 9600gt go for under $140 after rebates, and the 8800GT can be had for under $200 with rebates. I would try to get a good quality factory overclocked one of those. You should get better frames just from 1 of those cards than with your SLI setup now. Do not get a 8600, the 9600 runs circles around it. And the 8800gts you mention starting at $130 is for the old generation, and it is actually equal to the 9600GT. If you do end up going for the 8800gts, make sure it is the 512mb version, but it will be over $200 for a good one even after rebates.

    As far as the CPU/MB upgrade, I would vote no at the moment compared to the other 2. If you have made it this long, you should be able with the gfx card above to hold out till this time next year and can get a Nehalam generation upgrade and start fresh with a computer that will last a few years.

    If you want to upgrade the CPU/MB though, will be happy to help, but is sounds like what you have now would also require you to get new memory and power supply to support it (I looked for your PSU on newegg to see what kind of connections it had, like SATA and stuff, but couldn't find it.)

    EDIT:
    Have you tried overclocking? That CPU was well known to be a good overclocker, and so was your motherboard. I remember wishing I could afford them when they 1st came out.
    If you have good airflow in your case, and maybe get a $25 aftermarket cooler, should have no problem getting that CPU close to or above 2.5 safely.
    Here is just a quick example of what you could do right now with just the stock cooler and changing 1 number in the BIOS (the FSB)
    http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=Njg2
    Took it up to 2.32 stable. Not bad for the stock cooler.

    LINKS

    * *


    Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

    -Carlos A. Urbizo-

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

      Well again Bamboo has laid down some very sound advice.


      I would strongly suggest overclocking your rig, I'm still socket 939 and with an OC and strong(ish) video card I have managed to keep playing current titles.

      You have two things though your trying to achieve. Better frames and multiple processes. The processes will be helped by more ram and a faster and or dual core processor. The frames will come down to the video card. Though a faster video card may releave some work from the cpu and ram to allow for a smoother alt+tab (speculating).

      I remember with BF2 that alt+tab was a pain in the butt. The game is a memory hog and for some reason is slow to alt+tab. I know that in COD4 I can alt+tab rapidly and have TS and admin programs running all at once and Im still single core. I really think that BF2/2142 just sucks up a lot of resources.

      I think your best bet is to grab a good video card and see what that, along with some overclocking, gets you. You can always upgrade everything else after that if you like but the video card will still be forward compatible.

      I don't know if you want to wait for Nehalms as they won't be in the market until Q1 of 2009 and if the release was like the current q9xxx processors it could be more like Q2/Q3 before there readily available for a decent price.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

        I dont think any upgrade would be worth it at this point. I would upgrade the whole thing or nothing. each part in your system is well matched to the other. cpu, mobo and vid cards are all on the same performance level. if you upgrade anything it would be the cpu imo. but 50 bucks for a cpu that will get you like 8 fps is not worth it imo.

        If the reason for the upgrade is being able to alt tab then you should not upgrade. 2142 with settings on high is very angry when alt tabbing regardless of hardware.

        “Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough!” Benjamin Franklin

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

          Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
          Few thoughts for ya:

          2 gigs of RAM are adequate for most games, but from what I have seen, BF2 and 2142, like more RAM than that. It will use more if you have more, and allow you to do things in the background, like powerpoint. Problem for you is you are on socket 939, which means DDR1 memory, and that is pretty expensive compared to DDR2 at the moment. Most 2 gig kits are over $60, and if I remember, lots of 939 boards only allowed 2 gigs max anyway, so that may not be an option. Check with your MB manf. website and fourms to make sure you can run more than 2 gigs. And any money spent on DDR1 memory now is wasted.
          As a side note, I have also read somewhere that 2142 does not like you to alt-tab, and a lot of people have problems with it.


          Also, right, if you can't wait to see what is going to be released by both ATI and Nvidia early this summer, (supposed to be 1st week of June) the 9600GT and 8800GT offer the best bang for buck seen in a long time. Most 9600gt go for under $140 after rebates, and the 8800GT can be had for under $200 with rebates. I would try to get a good quality factory overclocked one of those. You should get better frames just from 1 of those cards than with your SLI setup now. Do not get a 8600, the 9600 runs circles around it. And the 8800gts you mention starting at $130 is for the old generation, and it is actually equal to the 9600GT. If you do end up going for the 8800gts, make sure it is the 512mb version, but it will be over $200 for a good one even after rebates.

          As far as the CPU/MB upgrade, I would vote no at the moment compared to the other 2. If you have made it this long, you should be able with the gfx card above to hold out till this time next year and can get a Nehalam generation upgrade and start fresh with a computer that will last a few years.

          If you want to upgrade the CPU/MB though, will be happy to help, but is sounds like what you have now would also require you to get new memory and power supply to support it (I looked for your PSU on newegg to see what kind of connections it had, like SATA and stuff, but couldn't find it.)

          EDIT:
          Have you tried overclocking? That CPU was well known to be a good overclocker, and so was your motherboard. I remember wishing I could afford them when they 1st came out.
          If you have good airflow in your case, and maybe get a $25 aftermarket cooler, should have no problem getting that CPU close to or above 2.5 safely.
          Here is just a quick example of what you could do right now with just the stock cooler and changing 1 number in the BIOS (the FSB)
          http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=Njg2
          Took it up to 2.32 stable. Not bad for the stock cooler.
          Thanks for the reply. I didn't notice any difference when playing on the high settings, other than the mentioned frame loss. But my sons computer is basically a copy of mine so I might have access to some DDR1 memory :). I have four memory slots, and I think?? I remember the documentation said up to four Gig, so I will look that up. I have done multiple Alt Tabs on the medium setting, so that might be a high settings issue, as Science mentioned. I don't mind playing on the med settings, so I don't have a problem waiting for the price on the vid cards to drop. If I get brave enough I will try the overclock on my son's computer :). Thanks for the offer, Bamboo. If I go with the CPU/MB upgrade I will most likely go with Science remarks and do a complete upgrade. So when that day arrives, hopefully in the near future, I will put out a post for help.


          Thanks for your input as well Long Bow. I will keep playing as is and wait for that price drop, and maybe throw catuion to the wind and try an OC on my computer:)
          Last edited by Reader1234; 04-23-2008, 08:46 PM. Reason: I placed my edit inside Bamboos quote, doh!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

            Really, if you take things slow and read up on overclocking in advance, you won't be throwing caution into the wind. Your chip was well liked for overclocking so plenty of guides out there.

            And overclocking isn't as dangerous/scary as it used to be a few years ago even. I think CPU companies just expect that lots of people will overclock these days, and if they want good buzz about their products (which equals free advertising for them), they will put a good CPU out that will allow some overclocking headroom.

            I did read an article the other day though that said starting with Neleaham, Intel will not allow overclocking like they have in the past. Some kind of built in thing to prevent it actually.

            LINKS

            * *


            Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

            -Carlos A. Urbizo-

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

              That doesn't surprise me that intel would do that. The current C2D's seem to overclock like crazy. People picked up on that and didn't bother spending more on chips rather oc it. It's funny how Intel interpts these things, they have a huge market share and people love their chips because there fast and can be overclocked. Then they release the ridiculous extream chips for $1000.

              AMD on the other hand is struggling to get sales, there chips don't OC so great now and they release the Black Box editions. The black box editions are such a nice option and I really like that AMD is saying "here, we know you want to overclock, we'll make your life a little easier and not charge you much for it". Now that is what intel should be doing, a reasonably priced OC edition and lock the rest against OC'ing. Not lock all their chips down except the million dollar extream chips.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Best upgrade to improve my Gaming experience

                if you want to be really cheap you could just download xfire and take screenshots without having to minimize the game at all


                Comment

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