I have been doing a lot of research lately and the people on this forum have been outstanding in helping me picking out products, comparing them, and helping me fill in knowledge that I didn't have before.
When I first started my research, I wanted to do a couple of upgrades myself on my Dell XPS 700 now that I have some knowledge to start thinking about upgrading/building my own PC's from now on.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to upgrade were to improve performance in such new high-end games as Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, Crysis, etc. I am trying to get to where I can run these games on the higher settings (maybe not Crysis) without any problems. The main 3 things I initially wanted to upgrade were my RAM, Graphic Card, and Monitor. (please note that I have never overclocked anything on my computer and everything is still stock settings - I did this as to not void any warranties, but now that my warranty is up... what the hey?)
What I am using before:
RAM - 2gigs(2x1) of whatever brand Dell uses on their gaming Rigs(more info at the end of post).
GRAPHICS CARD - Nvidia Geforce 7900 GTX 512mb
Monitor - 19" (non-wide) Dell LCD Monitor (max 1280x1024)
After much research, price hunting, and questions, I have decided to get the following setup:
RAM - Newegg.com - OCZ ReaperX HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
After viewing the advice that was given to a few people wanting to build high budget gaming systems, I saw this ram suggested over and over. With 2x2gb DDR2 1000 and its jut $80 with the rebate...the only downside is that I most likely would have to space out the cards in my 4 available spots because of the huge heat sinks. This would not allow me to upgrade to 8 gigs later if I ever choose to, but thats not likely. I also do not know if I can still run the 2 unit in "dual channel" if they are in say.. slots 1 and slots 3 of the 4 available. Can I)
GRAPHICS CARD -
I viewed some benchmarks and was completely blown away at the performance that x2 9600 GT in SLI provides. I ordered my computer a couple years ago and payed extra for an SLI capable motherboard but I have yet to use it. I know that the new cards are coming out in a few weeks, so I am going to wait and see what happens with the price of the 9600 GT. At the moment, I can get 2 cards from newegg for around $130 each.
My main reason for upgrading from my 19" to 22" wide is that I want to be able to get the most out of my other upgrades and finally run some 1680x1050 resolutions on the newer games (I would like to run 1920x with a 24" monitor but it's a bit out of my price range of low $200's for a monitor)
I decided that Newegg.com - Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support 300 cd/m2 700:1 - LCD Monitors
is the best I can get from newegg for the price (230 but shipping bumps it to 245 or so)
I found Hannspree - 22" Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD HD Monitor - HF-229HPB
at my local bestbuy and it is on sale for $230 as well. I wouldn't have to pay a shipping cost either. I am still a bit undecided on these two.
Well, if I can get these things updated I think I will be well on my way to getting back on top of the game and play the new games on High settings once more. So after reviewing my post, are there any problems that you see in compatability or perhaps you could recommend something better for price
erformance than I have listed here? If there's anything else that I plan to update in the future, it is my processor. I have heard that the Core2Duo and Quad outperform the Pentium D by alot, but the upgarde would be a bit costly for me at the moment. I am sure that other parts of my system are slowly becoming outdated(I have had the computer for about 2 years now) but I have an excellent case and setup and I want to work off of it for as long as possible). I am going to upgrade the above first and see what kinda performance I can get. I want to hold off on upgrading anything else for awhile as price drops, but if anything causes too much of a bottleneck then I will look into it. Below is all of the remaining info I can get about my system from CPU-Z. If there is any other info I should get for the review, please let me know:
Intel Pentium D 950 3.40Ghz
Socket 775 LGA
nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition chipset
nForce 590 SLI
BIOS: Dell 1.1.3
Ram info according to CPU-Z: Samsung, Slot 1 and 2 filled with 1g, Samsung, PC2 5300(333MHz) 5-5-5-13
Windows Media Center Edition 2002 (its 32bit, but I plan on going vista 64bit in the future)
Thank you for taking the time to read my long post and also thanks to all of those who have helped me research these products. Once again, if there is anything that is missing, please just ask!!