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  • I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

    Alright, with bf2 on the horizon, I've decided to upgrade my computer. What I'd like to do is get a barebones system and bring over my existing 3 harddrives, DVD player, and video card (I'll upgrade that later).

    Ideally, it would be a slick black case, have 1 GB RAM, a very fast processor, good upgradable hardware (good fans, PS, slots, etc.), and easy to install into. I intend to bring over my current HDDs as-is.. I don't want to have to reinstall everything, just update windows as needed (someone here said I could do that).

    Budget: <$1000.00

    Anybody have any good recommendations? If my plan is flawed, feel free to criticize.

    Many thanks!

    3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

  • #2
    Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

    So you'll need the following...

    Case
    You may be able to re-use your existing case. Is your current computer a name-brand machine or something you put together?

    Motherboard
    Here is where it might get tricky with your video card. You have to decide if you want to go down the PCI-Express / SLI route. I'm guessing your current video card is AGP and most of the PCI-e / SLI mobos don't have AGP slots. If you get a mobo that supports AGP, then you won't have the SLI capabilities.

    There are a few newer boards to choose from that will provide you with the features and functions you can use for a while... assuming you figure out your graphics card route.

    Memory
    Depending on your board, processor, etc. you may be able to re-use your memory. Do you want to go intel or AMD? Once we figure that out, then we can suggest the memory to use. For example you may want to go the dual channel route which provides faster access to the memory if you have two chips of the same size / type.

    CPU
    Here's the big question... do you go AMD or Intel? I'm an AMD fan myself. Are you wanting to go 64-bit?

    Cooling System
    Depending on your case, you can order additional 80mm or 120mm fans. They aren't expensive. Some cases allow 7 or more fans, others only allow 2. You want to increase airflow so the case and number of fans makes a difference. You can also go with the water-cooled system, but that's going to cost you.

    Sound Card
    Most boards do not include great built in sound. nVidia used to provide a 5.1 chip on some boards that handled all of the sound processing. They don't do that anymore so any onboard sound uses processor power. You can find a nice Audigy II for pretty cheap. You won't need the latest in sound cards.

    If you're interested in going the AMD route, let me know. I've built multiple machines and can point you down a road that should be able to get the parts listed above within your budget.
    |TG-12th| asch
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    • #3
      Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

      Thanks for the response.. I've seen plenty of sites where I can build a barebones system and customize it online. I'd probably do something like that.

      Well, I've got a Dell 8200 case.. My vid card is 9600xt.. I'm not glued to it.. If there's a compelling reason to upgrade to the new interface now, I can do so..

      I have no real preference between AMD and Intel. I own stock in both. :)

      I can get a new sound card as well.

      The rest of your list is what I know nothing about.. I don't need anything fancy in the way of cooling or cabling or whatever. I just want something that works well, is reliable, and is not ugly. :)

      3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

        Originally posted by Tempus
        Well, I've got a Dell 8200 case.. My vid card is 9600xt.. I'm not glued to it.. If there's a compelling reason to upgrade to the new interface now, I can do so..
        Sounds like you'll need a new case since most name brand places make them proprietary.

        I won't get into the nVidia vs. ATI debate, though I do only use nVidia. :icon16: When it comes to price / performance, they alternate back and forth and who is the best at a given time.

        The only thing I would possibly look at is the PCI-e / SLI route. This allows you to use two (cheaper) graphics cards to gain in performance. For example, you could get two nVidia 6600s (less than $200 each) and get more power than a nVidia 6800 (~$400). This allows you to go with the one card now and add another card later when you get more money. There are definitely pros / cons to each. It will be the route I go when I have to build my next machine.
        Originally posted by Tempus
        I have no real preference between AMD and Intel. I own stock in both. :)
        AMD has been winning the processor choice award for gamers and overclockers. I think their price / performance ratings have been better. I also like to overclock my machine. BTW, overclocking is getting easier with the newer mobos and with proper cooling (just good airflow and fans) you won't really run into problems.
        Originally posted by Tempus
        The rest of your list is what I know nothing about.. I don't need anything fancy in the way of cooling or cabling or whatever. I just want something that works well, is reliable, and is not ugly. :)
        The case is a tough one. I can't decide what you like to look at. I use a Lian Li, but they tend to be on the pricey side... but one of the best case makers around. When it comes to the case, you want something that offers good airflow and slots for fans. Something in aluminum is better for heat conduction. Watch for cheap parts (i.e. screws, doors, etc.). And some cases make it easier to get inside than others.

        Do you plan to mod your case at all (i.e. lights, windows, paint, etc.)?
        |TG-12th| asch
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        • #5
          Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

          I do believe that BF2 will be the catalyst of many, many upgrades.



          A good man stands up for himself. A great man stands up for others.

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          • #6
            Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

            I put together a system that you might want to look at. It's a wish list at Newegg.

            http://secure.newegg.com/app/WishR.asp?ID=1473270

            This list does NOT have a power supply (PSU) and you'll probably need a good 450W unit. There are a ton out there, some better than others. This list also does NOT have speakers. I figured you probably have those already. I also did NOT include additional fans. Depending on your case, you may need one or two more. They are pretty inexpensive.

            Now this list is pushing your budget but I also didn't go cheap.

            The case is a Lian Li. I'm partial to those cases. The looks and price of cases vary so much, I just selected the case I have. I try to stay with aluminum, good airflow including a 120mm fan, and something that I can get into easily.

            The motherboard is an Asus 939pin SLI board. There are one or two other brands that have comparible boards, all for around the same price. I tend to buy Asus.

            The processor (CPU) is an AMD Athlon 64 3200+. I just went with the pricepoint 64 bit processor. The next step up was a huge increase in dollars.

            Ok, here's where the kicker is. Due to the type of motherboard selected, you will need a new video card. I selected an nVidia 6600 GT that supports PCI-express. You aren't taking advantage of the SLI capabilities because you only have one video card, but you can add one at a later date for more power.

            The memory is CORSAIR XMS Xtreme Memory Speed Series. This is expensive memory compared to many other brands. If you plan to overclock your system, then I would suggest this type of memory. It's fast and stable. If you go with another brand, just make sure to get two identical chips (2x512Mb) so you can utilize Dual Channel.

            I also added in a sound card. It's a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Value card. This card should have everything you need for sound. It's great for movies, games, music, etc.

            Total price without the power supply & fans comes to around $950.
            |TG-12th| asch
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            • #7
              Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

              Wow Asch, thanks alot! I'll investigate it further, but I have a couple of questions...

              The case.. Do they have a black one?

              Also, would it be cheaper to buy a customizable bare-bones system? For example, this: http://www.onlinepcdeals.com/config....roduct_ID=2182

              3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                Originally posted by Tempus
                The case.. Do they have a black one?
                Newegg offers a ton of cases in various colors and sizes. If you specifically want a Lian-Li case, they do offer black. Just go to newegg and search cases by Lian-Li and black case. Here are two near the same price.

                http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...112-040&depa=1
                http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...112-078&depa=1

                Originally posted by Tempus
                Also, would it be cheaper to buy a customizable bare-bones system? For example, this: http://www.onlinepcdeals.com/config....roduct_ID=2182
                For comparible parts I don't think you'll save a whole lot on the bundle. However, if you purchase quite a few products from the same site, you can sometimes receive a discount. I've done that with newegg before. Instead of ordering everything online, I just created my wishlist and then called them up. I told them everything I wanted and they gave me a discount. It wasn't much, but it was something. They sometimes will throw in a free USB key-chain drive instead of giving a discount though.

                The other thing about those "customizable" sites like the one you listed, they don't always tell you the brand of products you get. They say you get "name brand" memory. I personally don't like not knowing what I'm getting.
                |TG-12th| asch
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                • #9
                  Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                  My only suggestions for making it cheaper would be to choose a different motherboard and keep the 9600xt, that's what I use and it's still really good (not to mention, I have no problems finding motherboards with onboard audio, newegg makes it so easy to find what you want). The AMD processors are indeed awesome right now as well, I use an AMD 64 bit 3000+... and if you want to compare prices on RAM, you aren't limited to the Corsair XMS series, Kingston Hyper X is just as good, just check and see which one is cheaper, Newegg generally runs great deals on 2 chips together. Also, look around for towers, most all towers I've seen come with a power supply, and at least 2 fans. I bought an ATI mid tower case with 2 fans, power supply, LED lights and a processor thermometer for $45 from newegg. Either way, Asch's suggestions are all good, just look around on Newegg until you find a set of everything that you want that works in your budget (and works together).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                    Originally posted by Uchiha Obito
                    My only suggestions for making it cheaper would be to choose a different motherboard and keep the 9600xt, that's what I use and it's still really good (not to mention, I have no problems finding motherboards with onboard audio, newegg makes it so easy to find what you want). The AMD processors are indeed awesome right now as well, I use an AMD 64 bit 3000+... and if you want to compare prices on RAM, you aren't limited to the Corsair XMS series, Kingston Hyper X is just as good, just check and see which one is cheaper, Newegg generally runs great deals on 2 chips together. Also, look around for towers, most all towers I've seen come with a power supply, and at least 2 fans. I bought an ATI mid tower case with 2 fans, power supply, LED lights and a processor thermometer for $45 from newegg. Either way, Asch's suggestions are all good, just look around on Newegg until you find a set of everything that you want that works in your budget (and works together).
                    I agree with you to an extent.

                    Yes, you can definitely save money by not going to the PCI-express / SLI route and keeping your current graphics card. One of the reasons I suggested this mobo and a new graphics card is because it should last longer. Theoretically of course in this day and age of computers. I don't expect AGP boards & graphics cards to disappear anytime soon... but with SLI you can increase your graphics power w/o having to purchase the latest graphics card. You can add a second graphics card.

                    If you don't plan to overclock, don't get the corsair XMS. I overclock and have found only a few brands that remain stable at the state I push my machine. I also look at cas latency, etc. on memory.

                    Almost all boards have onboard audio. Here's the problem with on-board.... it uses your CPU cycles. Have you ever had a game that lags when there is a lot of sound? Having a separate card is supposed to help that by using the processor on the card to do some of the work.

                    There are definitely other cases out there that come with power supplies. I'm partial to Lian-Li because of their design, durability, looks and airflow. The case I noted for you has a 120mm fan. Having a 120mm vs two 80mm fans reduce noise and increase airflow. Aluminum is better than steel or acrylic in helping to get the heat out. The power supply you'll want with this particular setup needs to be able to handle everything. I would suggest 450W or more. Some PSUs are more silent than others too.

                    In the end, this is not the cheapest machine to get. I will look for inexpensive parts... but not cheap parts. I've run into cheap parts before and I always end up having to replace them.
                    |TG-12th| asch
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                    • #11
                      Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                      Price shop. I saved 50 bucks on 1gig of mem by buying it from zipzoomfly.com instead of newegg.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                        Thanks for the great suggestions so far.. Now's the tricky part..

                        Can I do what I wanted? That is, can I bring my old HDD, with OS and all programs intact, and drop it in the new system and let plug and play do it's work? Will XP freak out? Will it be especially bad if I'm going from Intel to AMD? I really don't want to have to reinstall everything........

                        3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                          Originally posted by Tempus
                          Can I do what I wanted? That is, can I bring my old HDD, with OS and all programs intact, and drop it in the new system and let plug and play do it's work? Will XP freak out? Will it be especially bad if I'm going from Intel to AMD? I really don't want to have to reinstall everything........
                          We've talked about this, but I thought I would put my comments here so everyone could see.

                          You can try it...it may work. i'm not saying it won't. but for my money, it seems much less of a pain to start off with a clean system you know is optimized and has no problems then try to get a hybrid running. You've had your computer for quite a while and I know it's a major pain to switch over, but that seems vastly preferable to always wondering if the computer is acting flaky because of some slightly incompatable device driver that did not plug-and-play correctly. I know I would hate spending endless frustrated hours trying to track down why the system isn't as peppy as I thought it owuld be.


                          I would be much more inclined to start this new system off as a gaming only system and just get a KVM switch to easily switch to your other computer for the non-gaming stuff. This would also allow you all the time you need if you later on decided to migrate everything onto your new system.
                          Twisted Firestarter
                          a.k.a |TG| Harkonian
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                          • #14
                            Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                            lol, well-played defense of your choices Asch..... well-played indeed.....lol, anyways, yeah, I didn't know half of the things you mentioned so, any new and reliable information regarding building computers is welcome information.

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                            • #15
                              Re: I'm ready to upgrade - need your help..

                              I agree with Twisted that you should probably rebuild the hard drive. If you were swapping out one part, I would say no... but with this many, you'll have more headaches without reinstalling.

                              On a side note in terms of rebuilding the hard drive, it's usually recommended to rebuild it once a year. That may sound like a lot, but with all of the things people install, uninstall, update... things people download, browse, etc... your machine will run smoother. An even better solution to this that I just recently started doing was to use Norton Ghost. I built my hard drive and then ghosted it so I can put it back to that state. Granted that doesnt' work with major hardware upgrades, but it does cut out some time.

                              Tempus... you should be able to use your other parts (i.e. hard drive, CD / dvd drives, etc.)... but I would reformat and reinstall your HD.

                              How many HDs do you have? There are certain ways to partition drives and use your hard drives on gaming machines that I've found to help performance and also reduce some headaches of the reformat / reinstall process.
                              |TG-12th| asch
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