TechSpot

Hardware upgrade assistance

By chkxdragon
Mar 31, 2006
  1. I currently have an Alienware rig thats starting to get old with the current games being released. I have been trying to play the new Oblivion Elder scrolls IV for the PC that is running on bare minimum requirements. I had to use several tweaks to get it to run with my current set up which killed the graphics since my card is unsupported.

    Any suggestions for an upgrade would be appreciated. I am on a budget so I don't want the best upgrades available. Enough to be able to keep up with the times would be sufficient. Looking to spend around 300-400$ if its possible.

    Thanks in advance

    Configuration:AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2800+, 2.08
    Memory: . . . . . . . . .512MB
    Hard Drives(s): . . . . .80.1GB, ST380011A
    Bios & Motherboard. . . . . ASUS A7N8X2.0 Deluxe ACPI BIOS Rev 1Nvidia - 42302e31
    Vid card . . . . NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 (256MB)
     
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    I'd go for the bump up to a gig of ram, get myself a new graphics card (AGP) and OC that 2800+. That's what I'd do.

    How about a 6800GS $219.00
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814143045

    2 sticks of 512mb PC3200 $66
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145440

    That would get your system to a decent level, your CPU would be the only thing holding you back, but if you OC it to 2.2Ghz you'll be happy ..... happier.

    Other than that, you could upgrade to a socket 939 board but that is going to dig a bit deeper into your budget.

    DFI nF4 Ultra-Infinity Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra $91
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136163

    Athlon64 3200+ $154
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103535

    Or if you can afford it, this is a great deal: the 3700+ at $212
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103539

    Note, you'd also have to change the graphics card above to the PCIexpress x16 version if you go for the mobo upgrade, in which case this is a great deal at under $200.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130284
     
  3. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

  4. chkxdragon

    chkxdragon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for the reply,

    However I don't know squat about overclocking. Always heard it was to do especially if you don't have a clue. The case has enough fans I think to keep it cool tho. There is 2 in the back, 2 in the front and 1 on the side. Would you recommend I OC without the knowledge required? And if you don't recommend overclocking without experience, would the 2 upgrades mentioned be worth it?

    Guess it comes down to what I want to spend.

    new card + ram = $300 approx.

    new mobo/ram/cpu/card = $511

    Choices choices..
     
  5. chkxdragon

    chkxdragon TS Rookie Topic Starter


    You are correct, Oblivion relies heavily on the card power as it uses Pixel shaders to power certain details.

    With those upgrades you mentioned, would the cpu still be fast enough to be considered decent enough or you think I should OC it also?
     
  6. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    If you don't know what your doing, oc'ing can cause hardware failure if you mess up. I wouldn't recommend it unless you read up a lot and know exactly what you're doing before trying it. If you know what you're doing, it's not as dangerous. I think, if I were you, I'd just get the best agp card I could get(7800gs), and get a total of 1-1.5gb of ram and try that out. Oc'ing does help, but really if you only get 200-400mhz, then it's not a terribly noticeable difference. A 2800+ shouldn't be that bad, IMO.
     
  7. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,094

    If you do uprade a bunch of Hardware, hang on to the old stuff and fill in with cheaper older parts obtained for instance from friends tossing components ,Flea markets etc.
    Then you can use those parts to learn how to overclock ,if you screw up your loss is minimum to nil.
    Yet the experience gained can be richly rewarding.
     
  8. chkxdragon

    chkxdragon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well I was finally gonna order the card but Newegg no longer carries the 6800 GS mentioned in the first reply. I was going with it due to the price being close to $200. Is there anything else that would work for around 200? If not I'll probably end up going with the 7800GS.
     
  9. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Interesting. I wonder if Newegg is simply out of stock or if there are no more 6800GS AGP cards to be had. They still have the PCIe versions I notice.

    For Newegg and AGP, it looks like you now have to choose between the $300 7800GS or the under $200 6800 (vanilla). The 6800 card is a nice card of course, but nothing compared to that 7800GS. It's all a question of budget I suppose.
     
  10. chkxdragon

    chkxdragon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well since Newegg is out, do you recommend any other online retailers or is that the cheapest site out there? Newegg seems to be most popular for the prices tho.
     
  11. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

  12. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

  13. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

  15. chkxdragon

    chkxdragon TS Rookie Topic Starter

  16. chkxdragon

    chkxdragon TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Question, does having different size Ram chips make a difference? I've always read that the chips should be the same. I have a 512 and ordered a 1 gig, will I be able to use them both or should I have went with two 512's?
     
  17. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Your motherboard supports "dual channel" configurations which is a very noticable difference and highly recommended.

    The only way to get your board to operate in dual channel mode is to have 2 (or 4) identical sticks of ram. So yes, you really should have gone for two sticks of 512mb.

    But to answer your question, it is actually anyone's guess as to whether or not this new 1Gb stick will work with your current 512mb. Mixing ram sizes and speeds is not recommended. Sometimes people get lucky and it works, sometimes it doesn't. You'll know right away when you go to fire your system up. Either it will or it won't. But it definitely won't be working in dual channel mode regardless.
     
  18. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Hey guys I had a question: Would an X800 GTO^2 be a better performer compared to a 7800GS?
     
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