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Old 11-25-2007, 08:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

I have a 2-3-year-old custom-built PC...
Specs:
-AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket 939)
-1.0 GB DDR2 RAM
-ATI Radeon 9550 (AGP slot)
-500W Power supply
-250GB main HDD, I have another but I have to fix it/figure out how to incorporate it with my optical drive and other HDD. (Both ATA).

I play games (the most graphic-intensive game I have right now is probably Counter-strike Source, but I want to get something new), edit digital video, browse the internet, and do some FTP transferring for my site.

Should I upgrade now? If I do, I'll be spending (wasting?) money on keeping my AGP and 939 slots alive, and I'll probably have to just get a whole bunch of new things to keep up with each other. I'd want a new CPU and Graphics card in addition to some RAM, so I'm not sure if upgrading is the right choice.

If not, is it worth waiting a little while to save up more cash? Or is there something I should be looking for?

Thanks.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

how much cash you think you'll be able to save up when buying a new pc?

also, what motherboard you have?
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

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Originally Posted by Blind_Arrow View Post
how much cash you think you'll be able to save up when buying a new pc?

also, what motherboard you have?
I'm going to save up until I have enough for what I want; so basically, enough. Just right now I only have enough for upgrades.

My motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-K8U-939.
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

That motherboard has 2 IDE connectors, so a second hard drive won't be a problem. I would put the optical on the secondary slot, and the HDD's on the primary. The HDD you boot from should be jumpered to be the Master, and the secondary one as Slave.

Before you upgrade, figure out what you will need the upgrade for. If your rig is fine for CS:S, and that is what you use it for now, just save up, and start fresh. Unfortunatly, being both Socket 939 and AGP, you really have no (economical) upgrade path.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

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Originally Posted by Ethereal_Dragon View Post
That motherboard has 2 IDE connectors, so a second hard drive won't be a problem. I would put the optical on the secondary slot, and the HDD's on the primary. The HDD you boot from should be jumpered to be the Master, and the secondary one as Slave.

Before you upgrade, figure out what you will need the upgrade for. If your rig is fine for CS:S, and that is what you use it for now, just save up, and start fresh. Unfortunatly, being both Socket 939 and AGP, you really have no (economical) upgrade path.
Thanks for the drive advice, and you're exactly correct about the economical upgrade path. 'Problem is, I can barely scrape out 9 fps on low settings on Dust 2 . Also, I just want some more speed.

BUT seeing as I've been playing mainly older games right now, and since there's little logic in upgrading, I guess I'll wait.

Just wondering, which component influences game performance the most directly?
-CPU
-RAM
-Graphics card
-Other :?
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

AGP is a bit of a restriction but its better than PCI and you can still get something better. The only better options if you can afford it are to build a new computer or replace the motherboard. In that case though usually you're better off spending the extra $100 and you end up with a whole extra computer. I mean in my case I decided not to because only like 2 of my parts would've been compatible. It wasn't worth it.

edit: The graphics card will easily be the biggest factor in game performance. Ram and CPU are probably about even but its so easy to get extra ram (2-3gb is enough) that the CPU will more likely be the problem.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

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It seems to me that as long as your motherboard is up to your standards its always worth it to upgrade if you can. I mean if it doesn't have certain features that you would need to upgrade then you can't do it but I'd say max out the motherboard if you can. If it goes only up to core 2 duo then get that and if it goes up ddr2 1000 then get that etc. Its so so much cheaper to upgrade then it is to buy a whole computer. On top of that you can simply upgrade a little bit at a time.

AGP is a bit of a restriction but its better than PCI and you can still get something better. The only better options if you can afford it are to build a new computer or replace the motherboard. In that case though usually you're better off spending the extra $100 and you end up with a whole extra computer. I mean in my case I decided not to because only like 2 of my parts would've been compatible. It wasn't worth it.

edit: The graphics card will easily be the biggest factor in game performance. Ram and CPU are probably about even but its so easy to get extra ram (2-3gb is enough) that the CPU will more likely be the problem.
Well that's what I'm saying. There's no use upgrading for no reason.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

So in the end I'd recommend upgrading your graphics card by however much you can afford and buying another gig of ram.

On top of that if all you really want is to be able to play counterstrike source at higher frame rates you could try overclocking your card with rivatuner or something like that. Assuming your computer isn't too hot. It shouldn't be a big deal heat-wise if you just overclock it a little and I think it may make enough of a difference. Worth trying anyway.

I really do suggest the gig of ram though DDR2 ram isn't very expensive. Make sure its the same speed as the other one.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

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Originally Posted by Dakaggo View Post
So in the end I'd recommend upgrading your graphics card by however much you can afford and buying another gig of ram.

On top of that if all you really want is to be able to play counterstrike source at higher frame rates you could try overclocking your card with rivatuner or something like that. Assuming your computer isn't too hot. It shouldn't be a big deal heat-wise if you just overclock it a little and I think it may make enough of a difference. Worth trying anyway.

I really do suggest the gig of ram though DDR2 ram isn't very expensive. Make sure its the same speed as the other one.
Okay. I'll get the RAM. Is DDR2 standard right now?

Also, is there anything I should do or know before using Rivatuner?
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Old 11-26-2007, 02:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is an upgrade worth it, or should I wait?

Yeah thats the standard. I mean there is DDR3 but its too highly priced now.

The tutorial in the hardware tutorial says that you should up by only 5 just in case when overclocking. Do the core clock and the memory clock seperately. Make sure to test it before setting it to "apply when starting windows". I think if you want to be safe start with like a 5% overclock. Its not a lot at all but make sure it works with something like CS:S and then if it works perfectly fine without a lot of heat work up slowly from there.

It can be dangerous if you are reckless to overclock but its perfectly safe so long as you're slow and careful about it. There are usually warning signs before it completely overheats though. You'll see dots appear randomly on the screen.

Like I said I don't know if you'll see any real improvement but if you just need more frames that might just do the trick. Now if you want to increase that detail setting from medium to high then it won't help much.
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