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The time has come for a big upgrade....


The time has come for a big upgrade....

My current system while still perfectly servicable and reliable is AGP and Socket-A so a meaningful upgrade is going to be difficult without changing the lot. The time has come to boost those frame rates with a serious upgrade. Cheesy

Currently my core components are:
Athlon XP 2500+ (Barton)
ABit VA-20 Motherboard (VIA KM400A chipset)
1Gb Generic el-cheapo RAM (2x512)
XFX Geforce 6600GT (AGP)

My primary use for the PC is surfing, but occasionally I do vanish into a game like HL:2 or F.E.A.R for a few weeks and when I do I want to be able to run at 1280x1024 (native resolution for my TFT) with all the eye candy switched on. Shallow yes, but hell, that's me Tongue

My suggested upgrade spec is:
Athlon 64 3700+ (San Diego)
Asus A8N-E Motherboard (nForce 4 Ultra chipset)
1Gb of CL 2.5 or CL 2 branded memory (2x512)
Geforce 7800GT

My PSU, case, HDDs etc are still more than up to the job (WD Raptor.... Mmmmmm Cheesy ). What I'm trying to acheive is a reasonably balanced system where nothing is blocking anything else too much. I think the CPU is probably going to bottleneck the GFX card a bit in this case but in terms of bang-per-buck the next step up the CPU ladder is stupidly expensive.

I've not gone SLI, personally I think it's an expensive gimmick and with the rate of chipset development unless you have money to burn and absoultely have to have the best performance right now a single card solution will be better value in the long term.

Would anyone reccomend another route or different components? Do you guys reckon the expensive memory is worth it or should I save myself £35 and go for a decent budget brand?

I'm not wedded to any particular brand or platform, just looking for a fast, solid system with the best performance I can get for my budget of about £500.

Any thoughts greatfully received!


The time has come for a big upgrade....

All looks good, the only thing i would suggest is get 2gb of RAM instead, i know its a little more money but you can get the Geil 2gb set amazingly cheap if you look around. The set is CAS3 but Geil are quite relaxed on their timings so it will run at CAS2.5 comfortably

Have a look for some benchmarks on the net, 2gb is a must if you want things to run smoothly with lots of eye candy.

You say you already have a good PSU, does it have a 24 or 20 pin main power connector? All nForce4 boards are 24 pin, if your PSU is decent you may be able to buy a 20 - 24 pin converter.

SLI, you are right not to choose it because for me or you with a native resolution of 1280x1024 it’s useless. SLI really, is only good at high resolution like 1600x1200 or higher with massive amounts of AA / AF, that’s when SLI pulls away from the single card solution.

The time has come for a big upgrade....

Thanks for that, you're quite right about the nForce board needing a 24pin connector - doh!

I've got an Antec TruePower PSU but it's not the v2.0 so has the 20 pin connector. I will take a look, actually it might be worth upgrading the PSU as well while I'm at it, this one is a couple of years old now and I think it would be quite pushed with all the new kit, it's "only" 380W. Wink

I will check into the 2Gb of memory, cheers.

Looks like I'll be off to ebay for some of this to try and keep the costs down!!


The time has come for a big upgrade....

7800s are power hungry beasts, definatly get a 12V2 PSU before you even consider the upgrade. (I would say 450W+ for 1 7800 just to be on the safe side and 550+ if you plan on an SLi in the future)

Also, you mentioned a Raptor, dont go there - over-priced in todays market and although slower your better with a Diamond Max 10 for space/speed.

Also as paco mentioned if your planning on playing FPS games online such as BF2 etc you will require more memory, aslong as it is branded I wouldnt worry too much about the CL rating aslong as its not sky high lol. The difference is often not that great and unless you can get some faster memory at a bargain price (as paco said about the Geil) it really is not worth the hassle.

If I was you I would consider getting an SLi board and just using the 1 card now leaving yourself open for an SLi future. If it never happens you can always re-coup your money selling off the hardware in the future Smiley