A little help on buying a new computer please.

By B.Charlton ยท 24 replies
Jul 11, 2003
  1. Hello everyone.

    First off I would like your guidence\preferences on these things when buying a new PC for games like Half Life 2 and Doom 3:

    wich one should be sufficient a AMD Athlon XP 2400/2600/2800/3000 with Quantispeed Technology.

    512mb RAM or 1024mb RAM (both are PC 2700 DDR 333mhz)

    A 120GB Ultrafast with 2mb buffer or 120GB Ultrafast with 8mb buffer (both are 7200rpm).

    A 128mb ATI Radeon 9600 with TV out and DVI or a 128mb NVidia GeForce FX 5600 with TV out and DVI or the 256mb version of the FX 5600 stated before.

    These are the only things i'm stuck on as i would get the better ones but i may be wasting money so i thought i'd let you guys choose for me.

    Thanks for the help in advance.
  2. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    If you have the money right now, you would be better off with the following configuration:

    3000+XP(fastest AMD processor out there)
    512MB DDR 333MHZ (512MB is way enough for gaming unless you are into video editing and some graphics work)
    120GB 7200rpm Ultrafast with 8mb buffer (offcourse 8mb will be faster than a 2mb in terms of fetching and writing data)
    Not sure about graphics card though, ATI 9800PRO RADEON is the ultimate choice if you are seeking for a high-end graphics.
  3. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Not necessarily. I'd go with 1GIG of RAM, I was reading an article on how high performance demanding games that had 1GIG of memory actually did 40% better or something. I read it at THG and found the link on this forum, though, the techspot server is laggy tonight so I'll find it later.

    Go for a 9700 Pro....
  4. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    my choice

    3000+400 fsb.......the 3200+ is still pricey
    nf2 board / 400 fsb model
    paired ram, a little above spec............if you overclock..........i'd prefer a gig of ram, as today's games push 512 and climbing
    9800 pro 128.about 60 bucks diff from the 9700 pro
    there you have it :grinthumb
  5. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Yes, today's games push the limit of the RAM, PLUS, Windows XP only runs near smoothly on a bear minimum of 512... minimum isn't the best... if you want that comp to tackle the games coming out, like you stated, get a gig of ram.
  6. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    40% better or something? I m not sure if thats possible, care to show some evidence?
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    .. Lies.
  8. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592


    not possible:knock:
  9. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    I threw a number I just thought of 40% cuz I was in a rush.

    "...40% better or something."
  10. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    No offence XtR-X but honestly speaking, you shouldn't have thrown a number, stats can be pretty misleading when abused. You should have use words instead of figures.
  11. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Yeah... I shoula... but see I'm a perfectionist with computers.... I have to do everything right or perfect.... so I started the message and had to go.... and well you see.... and why am I talking like JSR? Woah.... thats weird.
  12. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Will everyone please remember to ensure that, if you post an opinion and call it fact, that you check those facts first.

    People come here to get good advice, and if people just make things up, or quote disinformation, it lowers the overall quality of the site, and makes for the impression that there is not a good pool of experts here.

    Obviously, its possible for a person to post, in good faith, information that is in fact false because they themselves have been misinformed. But we can all try to reduce the level of misinformation.
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Although modern games do assume a newish CPU and graphics card, no games developer in his or her right mind releases a game that only people with machines bought in the last month can play.

    I imagine that any one of these processors will run these games, and probably do OK with them if the overall quality of the rest of the machine is good, but you would always try to get the best processor that you can for the money. If you look at processor prices, there is usually a new, state of the art processor that's a fair chunk more expensive than even another slightly slower one. If money is not too much of a problem then get that one, however if you are on a budget aim for the "next best thing" which will likely be nearly as good but a lot cheaper.

    You could get 512MB, see how that is, and then think about upgrading again if you want to. Try to get a motherboard that has at least 3 DIMM slots, and try to get your memory as 1 x 512MB module, instead of 2 x 256 MB.

    512MB is kind of becomming the standard now. I'd say start with that and upgrade later if you feel that its necessary. There will still be memory around to buy in the future - its not like you have to get it all now. And it will likely drop in price later as well.

    You do see performance boosts from a bigger hard drive buffer. The hard drive is basically what slows a modern machine down. Its partially mechanical, therefore access times move from nanoseconds to milliseconds, etc. The buffer helps to speed things up by placing frequently accessed data into a memory location onboard the HDD that is much faster than the HDD itself. Again, get the best that you can afford but both of those drives sounds like excellent, fast HDDs. If the price difference is not big, go for the better one.

    No comment, really. We could debate "ATI vs nVidia" all day. They probably both kick ***.

    Overall, you have specced a very good, fast and modern machine that even if you went with all of the cheaper choices would be just fine.

    When buying a computer, or building one, future upgradability is the key. Try for a case that can hold additional, extra HDDs. Look for motherboards that can accept as much additional memory as possible, and have lots of free PCI slots. Get a good quality, high wattage PSU. Get case fans and if necessary, hard drive coolers. Ensure that your system is flexible, changeable and has plenty of scope for alteration.
  14. novicegamer

    novicegamer TS Rookie Posts: 89

    Ram is fairly cheap anyway so it wouldnt hurt to have 1gig.And if price isnt to big of a problem go with 2 WD raptors on raid 0.Well thats my 2 cents
  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    That is also a good point. Memory can be obtained pretty cheaply right now. And that may not always be the case. Memory prices perhaps, from what I have seen, fluctuate more than the prices of any other computer components. If you are buying a new machine, and a powerful one at that, it would perhaps not do you any harm to get 1 GB of RAM. Not at all.
  16. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Besides what I made up, go with 1Gig.
  17. Cryo

    Cryo TS Rookie Posts: 49

    I am in the process of putting a similar machine together myself. However in my case I have limited $$$ and even more limited space. Here's my specs.
    AMS gBoX w/ P4 2.53Ghz (533)
    512MB PC2700
    60GB 7200RPM 8MG Buffer Hard drive
    Radeon 9200 128MB

    Personally I've been just trying to catch stuff on sale and buy it slowly since i still have my laptop at home to work with.
  18. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

  19. Steg

    Steg TS Rookie Posts: 269

    i would definatly go for the AMD option! much more bank for your buck!
    AMD Athlon XP2800+ 333 FSB Barton Processor - Retail Boxed or fater if you have the money
    Asus A7N8X Deluxe ATX NForce-2 Socket A Motherboard 6PCI/LAN/Firewire/Audio/Serial ATA/RAID - the fastest AMD board! buy one!
    2 of either of these (couldnt find them on the US site for some reason) Corsair 256MB DDR XMS2700 32Mx64 NON-ECC 184 DIMM Unbuffered CAS2-2-2 32Mx8 DRAMS LOW LATENCY SPD or Corsair 512MB DDR XMS2700 64Mx64 NON-ECC 184 DIMM Unbuffered CAS2-2-2 32Mx8 DRAMS LOW LATENCY SPD
    one of these if money allows NVIDIA 256MB GeForce FX5900 Ultra AGP Video Card or something cheaper NVIDIA 128MB GeForce FX5600 Ultra AGP With DVI & S-Video Out or cheaper still NVIDIA 128MB GeForce FX5200 Ultra AGP Video Card
    thats my $0.02 - hope it helps

    Edit : those damn links will work this time!
  20. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    Actually, if you have ~$350 more to spend, you can go for a new board that supports socket 478, 800MHz RAM, 8x AGP, Serial ATA, onboard 6ch audio, lan, etc. and go for 512MB of ram as the opposed 1GB. I saw this one at Fry's Electronics, if you guys have ever heard of em, it was a SOYO board, I forget what the name is and I have a hard time finding it at newegg.

    That's what I would have done--that's what I should have done.

    There were no good boards that supported 800MHz RAM with 8x AGP and Serial ATA.

    The only benefit I see in AMD is the ability to overclock extremly high. I bought a 3000+ and cranked that thing up to 2500Mhz (2.5Ghz when 3000+ has a clock speed of 2.17GHz) and runs pretty darn stable. That 2500MHz could so easily be a 3400+/3600+ or even a 3800+. I did this with Thermaltake's 900-U, Arctic Silver 3, and a 64CFM fan.

    I really wished I had waited a while for this kind of board to come out. It's double performance on RAM and FSB and to top of that, Intel is already in the lead with this "Hyper Threading".

    Well worth the extra bucks.

    I know I'm going to get flamed for suggesting the Intel is better.
  21. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    damn right x

    the hammer is here bro.....get a grip........snap out of it......get the message.......today's crap is history.......so just float the best......bargain...............out there, i'd suggest the 3000+ 400fsb.........this thing's cheap and fast.......then when 64 bit architecture begins to become the norm.......switch....it's that simple :grinthumb
  22. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    It is impossible to know the real requirements of the game till it actually comes out. Don't assume anyone knows because they don't. I would think a Athlon XP 2100+ would be more than sufficient for them all as long as you have at least 512MB of 333mhz DDR RAM and at least a Geforce 4. Though for all the eye candy I would really recommend one of the higher end FX cards or at least a ATI 9700 Pro.

    If you want to know the true requirements you will have to wait till the game comes out.
  23. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863


    You suggested a 3000+ 400FSB, that's what I bought and decided to boost that shiz up a few levels. I'm running at 2.5GHz (which is in between about 3400+ to 3800+) as opposed to the 2.17GHz with the 3000+.

    No doubt, but hey, I'm not stupid enough to blow several thousands of dollars to buy an Opteron. In fact, I doubt anyone in this forum owns an Opteron--correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also, I am talking about 32-bit here, JSR.

    Yes, acid, I know it's very possible, I have a 1.8GHz P4, 512DDR PC2100, GeForce MX 4 440, and am running a bad bottleneck. I still have crazy *** performance... only with Windows 98. Windows XP is always a bit laggier for everything... that is why I make my new computer purchase.

    I fell in love with Windows XP, though I was a big fan of Windows 98 because I like knew everything and have had like 5 years exp. with it and I can network like crazy--with 98. Though, I don't want to show up cuz you're into networking, I'll get owned.
  24. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    the 400 fsb

    version of the 3000+.........just, came out............you must be running the 333fsb version..........and, who cares, if you are gettin' that kind of overclock, about the 800fsb intel bs................and , who is talkin' opteron? i'm not...........hammer, is out this next month, bro, with windows 64bit os' launching simultaneously..........buy a bargain, stop gap system, that will hold you over until the snowball starts rolling on........the
    hammer :knock:
  25. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    No, I bought a 3000+ 400FSB. And guess what, they've been out for like a month now, and plus, you even told me yourself.

    I've searched for about 15 minutes and I can't find it, though I do remember you telling me about MonarchComputers.com and to buy the 3000+ 400FSB from there, I actually did that and I remember it was you who told me.

    I don't believe in a total 64-bit conversion by the end of this year or even the end of next year. Gradually, it will emerge.

    I made an expensive system to hold up for about 3 years.
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