Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

    My gaming rig is getting a bit long in the tooth, and I was thinking about replacing the old girl with something newer. But then I got to thinking maybe I didn't want to spend that much money right now. I thought maybe if I just replaced the GPU and added some memory, I could live on a little longer until I was ready to shell out for a new rig. So here is what I have now:

    MSI K8T Neo-V MOBO w/ onboard SATA (1st gen) supports AGP 8x (no eIDE)
    Sempron* 3GHz
    1024MB (2 x 512) Kingston PC3200 (400 mhz) DDR(1) CL3
    80GB WD Caviar IDE(!) 7200 RPM 8MB cache**
    GeForce 5200 (!!! lawlz!)
    400W PSU
    DVD burner***
    CD burner***

    *I had an Athlon but had to get it replaced one time quickly by local computer guy. I didn't realize he put a Sempron until way after the fact. I know that the Athlons are better, but I don't really know how much better. If this affects anything, please let me know.
    **I just (today) received my 1TB WD Black SATA 7200RPM 32MB cache HD. I want to point out though that I will only be getting about a 30% performance increace as sadly, my mobo only supports 1st gen SATA. But I will eventually take this with me to another computer anyway (probably move it to a media server actually).
    ***Both IDE. Only include these for power concerns. May replace later with SATA ones which can be had new now for like $25 and could always be moved to a new rig later.

    Believe it or not, I play PR with this! A few months ago, I was able to OC the GPU to achieve blazing fast fps in the 20s (before that, I am embarrassed to say, I was in the 10-15 range)! I have tweaked this system beyond belief in order even to achieve this (mainly eliminating every single process (and I mean every one, even turning off OS processes like the themes in XP) that is not essential before loading up PR, I wrote a batch file to do this). I don't know if that makes me very smart, or very dumb. lol

    Anyway, when I built this system, my main games were StarCraft, Civilization, Age of Empires and other strategy, building, or sim type games like that. I had never been into shooters or that type of gaming really (until I found Project Reality). Therefore I never decided to spend a lot of money on a graphics card. So now I am thinking, what if I just find the best 8x AGP graphics card I can, and upgrade my 1024MB of memory to 2048 (which is the max the mobo can support)?

    2 x 1024MB sticks of Kingston can be had (I looked today) for about $32 each, brand new. Then I searched craigslist, and lo and behold I found a guy near me with some 1024MB sticks of PC3200 (Kingston no less!) for only $15 apiece! So $30 to upgrade my memory.

    Now on to the graphics card. This is an area that I don't know a lot about, as I have never been one to keep abreast of the latest technology in graphics cards. I know I could do research for hours to find out the best 8x AGP graphics card out there for my particular situation, but you guys will probably know right off the top of your heads. Also, upgrade path questions are very situation dependent, and the few threads I have read so far did not fit my situation exactly. So which 8x AGP video card should I be looking for? I realize that some of these may require a bigger PSU as well. If this is the case, please point that out as well.

    I am hoping to find the GPU on craigslist as well for relatively cheap. Which leads me to my second question. If I upgrade the RAM and GPU as discussed, will that allow me to achieve decent fps/gameplay in PR (and especially on some of the new maps in .9, as I have been hearing some issues)? Keep in mind that I have been playing everything on all low, I am not expecting whiz bang graphics at all high settings and 8xAA, I just want to play (well wth, since we are on the subject, if I do these upgrades, what sort of performance should I expect to get)?

    And how about ArmA? I have been really, really interested in playing that as well after reading about it here on TG. But of course if I could barely play PR than I knew that ArmA would be completely out of the question.

    So I think those are my only 2 requirements for the foreseeable future really. As I said I am not a hardcore gamer that has to play the latest greatest thing that comes out. If I ever fall in love with some new game, then I know that would be time to build a new system. So would these upgrades get me to where I want to be, and keep me going a bit longer? Or would other parts of my system bottleneck a GPU and therefore would it make more sense just to build a new rig from scratch? I didn't want to throw good money after bad into a dead end system, but I figured that since I never had a good GPU or enough memory, that by changing just those things I might get much better performance. So, amirite?

    I figured that if I drew a Venn diagram of:
    • People who know about gaming computer hardware
    • People who play Project Reality
    • People who play ArmA

    then at that intersection, I would find this forum. :) So I figured this would be the perfect place to ask. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I'm sure it will save me a lot of time.
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw




  • #2
    Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

    Use this chart for a "ROUGH" guide:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...rd,2544-7.html

    Your card is near the bottom, this card(35+S/H+tax) is near the middle.

    Vidja card:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...IN#detailspecs

    Pretty decent deal. You might be able to find something better used if you get lucky.

    It'd play PR pretty decent overall but compared to your 5200 would be like icecreamandcake.

    ARMA or ARMAII?

    I'd imagine you have a sempron 3000+. The number is a rating system, its actual clockspeed is somewhere around ~2 probably.
    |TG-12th| Namebot

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

      Sempron 3000+ runs at 1.8 ghz.

      (PR)
      I'm afraid that the CPU will bottleneck(there's room for a slightly better graphics card though) and looking at the processors available for your Socket there's only CPU's which are slightly more powerful available (2.0ghz).
      That CPU will not run anything higher than most low and some medium and how much Memory is used with those settings? If it's under 800mb more RAM won't help.

      If I were you I'd save up some money and buy a new low-end system or a second-hand semi-new system(you don't need the newest stuff for PR...atleast if they fix the performance problems, the newest high-end system doesn't cut it atm anyway).

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

        I would say the RAM and video card are your bottleneck, and I went from a 5200 to an ATI 9800 pro (which the 2600 crushes) and it was a huge improvement so I would go with Namebot's suggestion if you don't want to start from scratch. You should aim to get 2 to 3 GB of RAM, so if you have 4 RAM slots try using yours alongside the new stuff and separately as sometimes volume is more important than raw speed.

        Don't spend over 100 bucks on that machine though, nothing it has will be compatible with a new system except the RAM and possibly the hard drive. Better to save up for a full upgrade.
        |TG-6th|Snooggums

        Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

          Originally posted by snooggums View Post
          Don't spend over 100 bucks on that machine though, nothing it has will be compatible with a new system except the RAM and possibly the hard drive. Better to save up for a full upgrade.
          No matter what ideas you may get here, this is going to be the bottom line.
          Don't put alot of money into this old beast.

          |

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

            I concur with these opinions. I'm in the process of upgrading my system, which is somewhat better than yours, but I'm getting off the AGP platform altogether since there's nowhere to go with it.

            If your Sempron is a Socket AM2, then you've got a good start. Get a PCI-Express capable motherboard and video card and just move over your CPU, RAM and components. That's what I"m doing - re-using my Athlon x2 4200+ and 2GB RAM on a new Gigabyte motherboard and a second-hand PCI-E card. i went with a motherboard that is AM2/AM2+/AM3 and PCI-Express 2.0 compatible, so I can later replace both the CPU and GPU (as well as the RAM, but that's just DDR2).

            While you're thinking of making these changes, also consider your power supply. You'll want to have at least 500 watts (like mine is) if you're going to keep upgrading the machine.
            |TG-6th|Belhade
            "I am actually looking forward to watching Jon and Kate plus 8." - Dirtboy




            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

              Thanks everybody for all the great input.

              Yeah I had forgotten about that video chart. I have actually seen that before, but forgotten about it. Wow, what a bewildering array of different graphics cards! :icon_eek:

              And the Sempron is a Socket 754, btw. So many different "sockets" and upgrade paths, and gimicky marketing numbers and letters. Man, there was a time when I used to be up on most of this stuff, but now it just makes my head hurt. :row__691:

              I realize that I a have a limited upgrade path due to the AGP architecture on the mobo. Also this mobo will only accept a max of 2048MB of RAM in 2 slots, another limiting factor. So you guys are exactly right, in fact my thought all along was just to see if I could just put about $100 or less into this, and make it last a little longer. It looks like I would have $30 into 2048 MB (2 x 1024) of DDR + $46 on the card that Namebot pointed out (as an example) brings me to $76, which leaves a few bucks towards a PSU. Which really, the PSU can be used in the next computer, so if I spend some money on a good one I don't consider that throwing good money after bad.

              So now that I think it's probably feasible, I had a couple further questions (sorry for your answers only breeding more questions! I really do appreciate your guys' help!):

              Question 1:

              At what point in that Tom's video card chart do I start to run into the upper limit of what my CPU bottleneck limitations will be? Or is the card you recommend just about the best card that is available in an AGP interface? Or did you just recommend it because it was a great price/performance point (it certainly seems that it is to me, great find btw Namebot!).

              The reason I ask is because I will probably see what kind of searching I can do on craigslist in my area and maybe get lucky. Should I be looking for cards maybe slightly above that, if I can find them on CL, or is that the upper limit of where I should be looking (due to my CPU being the bottleneck at that point and/or no more AGP cards above that)?

              Question 2:

              If I upgraded the RAM and video card as discussed, would I be able to play ArmA? And would it really be playable or would I just barely be in the game, like I am now sometimes in PR? If I could get ArmA to work, that would probably seal the deal as well as making me a very happy camper!

              Nobody really answered that, it looked like a couple people started to, but then got maybe sidetracked of something? lol This is a pretty important consideration to me, being able to play ArmA I mean.

              Question 3:

              If I were to go a different direction, more like 2Clips suggests, and scrap this computer altogether (actually I would re-purpose it for something else, media server / TV capture box maybe, but I digress...), how much could I expect to spend on a "second-hand semi-new system"? A few hundred? $500? If so, maybe I would consider going that route, especially if it would be a significant boost in gaming performance, and I knew I could play ArmA on decent settings. I know that in my area, lots of cool stuff can be had on craigslist for pretty cheap! In fact I used to be a firm believer in building myself from scratch, until I found some great deals on computers on craigslist recently. In fact, what I am able to find there (in terms of whole systems vs. video cards) may sway me one way or the other. I just don't really know exactly what I am looking for.

              So if I were to go that route, what kind of rough range of specs would I be looking at then? I mean, what kind of systems should I be looking at / searching for (roughly, I mean CPU, memory, GPU)? I suppose I will need to get back into hours of reading at that point, and get back up to speed on some things as it would no longer be a simple question of upgrading the GPU + memory. But if you guys could give me some rough specs of what I should be looking for, that would be great.
              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                Here's a quickie search on newegg.com (my one and only parts supplier):

                http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.334818
                AMD X3 proc and Asus DDR3/PCI-E motherboard combo - $145

                http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.328334
                6GB DDR3 RAM and EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX combo - $275

                http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817182191
                Rosewill 700W power supply - $70

                Total is $490 before shipping. That gets you a very nice system with some room for growth later on.
                |TG-6th|Belhade
                "I am actually looking forward to watching Jon and Kate plus 8." - Dirtboy




                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                  Just thoughts off the top of my head:

                  Question #1 - Im guessing Namebot chose an AGP card based on price/performance. There are more powerful AGP cards...you'll just pay more. AGP is dieing out anyway.

                  Question #2 - Forget ArmA on this rig....even if you beef it up. It'd be a slideshow.

                  Question #3 - I still say put money into a new rig. If this was war and it was in the triage of a field hospital, they'd make it comfortable and let it die.


                  I base my thoughts on the idea that your looking towards ArmA and the future. If it was just PR, I'd be thinking along the lines of Belhade's 1st post and Namebot.

                  |

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                    My experience is that that card is a good deal. To get anything better you are looking at $50+ unless you get lucky and find someone selling a used one for a good price. This doesn't happen a lot because a people either try to sell it for what they bought it at and not its current value or they know that AGP cards are scarce and someone will probably pay the inflated price. The 2600pro would be a pretty good match for your CPU.

                    I haven't seen a bunch of good deals on Craigslist on used systems(especially for gaming) if you are willing to build one yourself instead. I'm sure we could help you with any questions you have.
                    |TG-12th| Namebot

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                      Originally posted by Belhade View Post
                      Here's a quickie search on newegg.com (my one and only parts supplier):

                      http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.334818
                      AMD X3 proc and Asus DDR3/PCI-E motherboard combo - $145

                      http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.328334
                      6GB DDR3 RAM and EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX combo - $275

                      http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817182191
                      Rosewill 700W power supply - $70

                      Total is $490 before shipping. That gets you a very nice system with some room for growth later on.
                      The prospect of that is getting me very excited in my pants. lol As I said, I already have a new HD and I have plenty of cases around here. And that is certainly a figure that I would be comfortable spending, especially considering the performance gained! Are those some kind of specials? They seem like very good prices!

                      FYI, I have always been a "best price / performance" point shopper when building a new gaming system. I have never been an early adopter of technology (too expensive, imo). When I built my current system, even though it was many years ago, it fit that description and I got a lot of mileage out of it. So I am guessing that this system fits that description in the current marketplace? I am not up to date on all the latest hardware, but that sure seems to me like an awfully good system for the price!

                      Originally posted by warlab View Post
                      Just thoughts off the top of my head:

                      Question #1 - Im guessing Namebot chose an AGP card based on price/performance. There are more powerful AGP cards...you'll just pay more. AGP is dieing out anyway.

                      Question #2 - Forget ArmA on this rig....even if you beef it up. It'd be a slideshow.

                      Question #3 - I still say put money into a new rig. If this was war and it was in the triage of a field hospital, they'd make it comfortable and let it die.


                      I base my thoughts on the idea that your looking towards ArmA and the future. If it was just PR, I'd be thinking along the lines of Belhade's 1st post and Namebot.
                      #3 - lol

                      Yes, any advice given here should be in terms of me wanting to play ArmA at decent settings (which of course would allow me to play PR just fine). So therefore your comments make a lot of sense to me. In fact, now I am leaning towards maybe building a system like Belhade suggests, especially if it can be done for that kind of money.

                      Originally posted by Namebot View Post
                      My experience is that that card is a good deal. To get anything better you are looking at $50+ unless you get lucky and find someone selling a used one for a good price. This doesn't happen a lot because a people either try to sell it for what they bought it at and not its current value or they know that AGP cards are scarce and someone will probably pay the inflated price. The 2600pro would be a pretty good match for your CPU.

                      I haven't seen a bunch of good deals on Craigslist on used systems(especially for gaming) if you are willing to build one yourself instead. I'm sure we could help you with any questions you have.
                      Yeah that's kind of what I suspected. That card did seem like a really great deal, good eye in catching it!

                      And I am not averse in any way whatsoever to building a computer. In fact I have built (almost) every computer I have ever owned, and thoroughly enjoy the process (well, sometimes not the research and specifying so much, but certainly the purchasing and assembly). :) It was always just a question of money and whether or not it would be throwing good money after bad, i.e. "is it worth putting $x into this old rig vs. putting $y into building a new rig." And I really do want to check out ArmA pretty badly. Bad enough to make me spend a few hundred on a new system.

                      And you may very well be right about gaming systems on craigslist. To be honest I haven't really spent a lot of time thoroughly looking at gaming systems. I do know that you can get major OEM P4 2.4GHz 40-80GB HD type computers (w/ onboard sound and video) on there all day for like $70 (sometimes less). Those are great for the kids, web browsing, or even setting them up to do things like answer the phone or serve files. In fact I just bought this one for that very purpose (so I could get online and do research / order parts to fix my main comp). That's the computer I'm on right now. Anyway, when I was on CL, I did look at a couple gaming rigs, but only very briefly as that was not what I was shopping for at the time.

                      ----

                      So I suppose that I will spend a few minutes looking about on craigslist and see if I can get lucky. But barring finding some kid's awesome gaming rig that he suddenly needs to sell because his college financial aid is being cut off this semester, I will probably look towards doing something in the ballpark of what Belhade suggested. So if any of you guys happen to come across any other great deals like that, please post them here! Just to reiterate, my requirements are:

                      "I want to play ArmA at decent-good settings and want to buy something that is, in the current marketplace, located at the best price/performance point. An added bonus would be if the CPU socket / memory types, mobo technologies, PSU, etc. would have good upgrade paths so that in a few years I may be able to do some upgrades to it and get some more life out of it before having to build a new system."
                      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                        Originally posted by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL View Post
                        The prospect of that is getting me very excited in my pants. lol As I said, I already have a new HD and I have plenty of cases around here. And that is certainly a figure that I would be comfortable spending, especially considering the performance gained! Are those some kind of specials? They seem like very good prices!

                        FYI, I have always been a "best price / performance" point shopper when building a new gaming system. I have never been an early adopter of technology (too expensive, imo). When I built my current system, even though it was many years ago, it fit that description and I got a lot of mileage out of it. So I am guessing that this system fits that description in the current marketplace? I am not up to date on all the latest hardware, but that sure seems to me like an awfully good system for the price!
                        The first two links I gave were in the "Combo Deals" section, where they put together bundles like motherboard/CPU, motherboard/RAM, CPU/video, case/PSU, etc. and knock off a few bucks. When I looked, I just found the best low-cost/performance bundles that looked compatible - you may very well find better deals on individual parts (sales, discounts, mail-in rebates, etc). Don't trust my suggestions implicitly, either - be sure all those parts do in fact work together.

                        I, too, am a late adopter. I generally stay two or three generations behind the current trends and upgrade piece-meal. I find it cheaper and more reliable for the performance than going out and buying all the $300 cutting-edge parts before anyone realizes their drivers suck, or they tend to overheat and burn out, or just plain aren't as good as touted.
                        |TG-6th|Belhade
                        "I am actually looking forward to watching Jon and Kate plus 8." - Dirtboy




                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                          Randy..It'd be great to see you in ARMA again.

                          For ARMA 2 ( or really any title now) don't go with anything less than a quad core. Check out the ARMA 2 Forum Stickies. There is a long post there that Bamboo put up in regards to upgrading for ARMA 2.

                          Bamboo pointed me towards a Q9550. SKT 775 is dead as far as future upgrades go but the way I figure it my 9550 will last me 2-3 years until I need to upgrage again. When I got the cpu I also needed a new Mobo with a 775 skt. I found some great reviews on a Gigabyte EP45UD3P motherboard and so went with that.

                          Vid cards are a matter of personal preference. I'm an EVGA NVIDIA fan boy so I continue to stick with that but I've read some great stuff about the ATI vid cards coming out now. I got my vid card reconditioned from Newegg. I was leery about that but I saved about $200 and still had factory warranty on it so it was a no brainer.

                          The CPU, RAM and Motherboard below list for about $469. Add a mid range Vid card for $200 and you'd have a pretty sweet rig for under $700. Of course I don't know what your budget is either but.... Good luck.

                          Intel Q9550
                          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-358-_-Product

                          Corsair RAM
                          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-229-_-Product

                          Gigabyte UD3P Mobo

                          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-358-_-Product
                          sigpic
                          |TG-1st|Grunt
                          ARMA Admin (retired)
                          Pathfinder-Spartan 5

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                            Your SATA300 HDD will work with your SATA150 ports. Both are intercompatible with each other. You won't notice any performance degradation (seeing how the hardware barely makes use of the theoretical max data bandwidth).

                            As far as ArmA1 goes, I was able to play it on a 19" monitor with my old rig just fine at medium settings (Pentium D 2.66Ghz, 1 GB of DDR400, 120 GB SATA150 HDD, 256 MB GeForce 7600GS (AGP 8x)). ArmA2 is a wholly different story, however.

                            If you're going the route of a core components upgrade (CPU, RAM, MObo, GFX), I second the suggestion for the Q9550. It's just a tad bit "slower" than the i7 920. I can personally vouch for the ASUS P5Q series of boards (using the P5Q now) as well as the Foxconn G31 chipset-based boards (used one in a friend's rig). The latter's a budget board and the former is more high-end mainstream.
                            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                            Former 9th & 13th

                            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                            TG Primer and Rules

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Upgrade question on slightly dated gaming rig

                              It turns out that my old mobo has a VIA 8237 southbridge which was one of the early SATA 1.5Gb/s chips and has known compatibility issues with newer 3.0Gb/s drives, particularly bigger ones (>=750GB). I didn't want to believe it either, I actually spent all afternoon one day looking into it, but confirmed it by several sources including MSI themselves (mobo mfr). It's a problem on the chip itself and so can't be fixed via BIOS update, etc. So long story short, my new 1TB WD Caviar won't work at all with the old mobo. It's good at holding down papers on my desk however, which I have currently repurposed it for. :)

                              I had been leaning toward just building a new computer anyway (due to the great performance increase for relative $) but now I am certain that is the only way to go. Now the only question is how much money I would like to spend vs. performance. I would *like* to spend about $400-500, however I suppose I *could* spend $200-300 more if it were necessary.

                              Belhade had me all excited with that AMD x2 / 6GB DDR3 / 8900GTX upgrade for about $500, but you guys are scaring me now with your "near i7 920" talk! lol

                              I suppose I should go peruse that ArmA II Hardware Guidelines sticky, that sounds like it would get me on the right track.

                              So here is my current question:

                              Are the requirements for BF2:BC the same or less than ArmA II? It is kind of sounding to me that ArmA II is getting near Crysis like in terms of hardware requirements, and if I spec my system to those high standards, I should be fine playing any other modern game I might want to play. Is this a correct assumption?
                              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                              Comment

                              Connect

                              Collapse

                              TeamSpeak 3 Server

                              Collapse

                              Advertisement

                              Collapse

                              Twitter Feed

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X