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Old 02-14-2005, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to buy a gaming box!!

IMO way too many people have incompatible PC specs for games.
It's important to do a number of things when buying a gaming box{less important when buying a email/net box}, you need to build a machine to meet your expectations, and you "should" do this by matching your components so that their power compliments each other.

Example of a poorly specified gamers box is...AMD 3500, 512 ram, X800XT...in this case the quantity of ram is too low, another example is...AMD 3500, 2 gig ram, 9600pro/XT....this time the problem is with the GPU.

This is what I consider a entry level gamers box: AMD 3000/1 gig ram, 6600GT, and better one would be AMD 3500, 2 gig ram, 6800GT/X800XL, this box would be viable for 2-2.5 yrs as a gaming box without upgrading, 4-5 yrs as a email/net box, and could be upgraded to a R520+AMD 4200 later on giving it another lease on life.

When buying each component, look for value, IOW, at some price point your performance returns diminish, eg, AMD 3500 is the highest CPU you want atm, as the 3800 gives minimal gains for a heavy price penalty.
Same with the GPU, atm the 6600GT is the ideal mid range card, and IMO, the entry level for a gamers box, of course 6800GT/X800XL are much more powerful than the 6600GT and arguably offer value for money, but the X800XT/X850XT/6800ULTRA do not offer value for money as you pay as much as $200AUD for 10-15% more power, whereas going from 6600GT to 6800GT realizes approx 70-80% more power and will allow you to max out some games{1600x1200}.

Btw, SLI is a complete joke in all configurations, is hopelessly overpriced and to boot has compatibility/heat issues.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Another important consideration is timing, consider that in late 2003, the top GPU dog's were the 9800XT/9800pro{Nvidia's FX58/59 range are a joke and widely acknowledged as such}, but just 5-7 months later, both ATI and Nvidia released very powerful new generation GPU's, the 6800GT being the best value for money, although the X800XT was the faster card overall.
The problem was that had you bought either the 9800XT/pro for big $$$$$$ in late 03, you would have been **** on by the next gen cards, IOW, it would have been advisable to wait the six months or start with a $300-400 card and upgrade it later, eg, the 6600GT in October 04...or the 6800GT now at a reduced price.

ATI are about to release their R520 range, these cards will carry 512 mb's of ram, although I've seen Doom3 and HL2 on a P4 3ghz, 2 gig ram, 6800GT and they both look fantastic, so it won't be necessary to buy them, but again would be advisable not to buy the 6800ULTRA or X850XT until performance and pricing is known.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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just some facts I'd like to point out

512MB RAM is enough for pretty much all current games, even Doom 3 or HL2 (although it might be slower) and so is a Radeon 9600 Pro. okay they're not exactly the best hardware, but they do the job

nowadays 1GB is plenty of RAM, with 2GB being a bit much (I can just see someone years from now laughing at this) and so far offers slight if any performance increase over 1GB

as for email and net browsing, a Celeron 500 and a TNT 1 video card is more than enough. they don't require much at all for CPU and video power, the only thing you want to worry about is your internet connection.

SLI is not exactly economical, but there are those people who actually buy into it. SLI gives an average 50% performance boost, and enables people to play on absolute highest settings in Doom 3 and HL2 with no lag
some people just get an SLI board with 1 SLI card, and plan on later getting the other when they can afford it

6600 GT's are around the best bang for buck, and 6800 GT's are for the big gamers who push the price, but not outrageously like with SLI or the 3800+
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by apokalipse
[B]just some facts I'd like to point out

512MB RAM is enough for pretty much all current games, even Doom 3 or HL2 (although it might be slower) and so is a Radeon 9600 Pro. okay they're not exactly the best hardware, but they do the job

need to build a machine to meet your expectations

Now I'm sorry to say that I don't consider either 512 of ram or a 9600 anything as acceptable, especially when you consider that as games progress they become more demanding, so starting with a 9600pro means you're already on the back foot awaiting it's total obsolence+ D3 looks much better with higher specs, 9600's make it look rough and grainy.

Quote:
nowadays 1GB is plenty of RAM, with 2GB being a bit much (I can just see someone years from now laughing at this) and so far offers slight if any performance increase over 1GB
There's two advantages with the 2 gig, 1...it might be what Longhorn requires, 2...if you go for 512 x2, then when comming to upgrading, you take a performance hit with 512 x 4, as opposed to 1gig x2.


Quote:
6600 GT's are around the best bang for buck, and 6800 GT's are for the big gamers who push the price, but not outrageously like with SLI or the 3800+
Ckeck Gamedude, they're selling the Sparkle 6800GT{my brothers card} for $595, yet you can't get a 6600GT for less than $300, so IMO, a 6800GT is worth the money, you get immediate grunt and longevity....and I'd wait for the x800 before I bought a 6600GT PCIe.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a mere 512 and a 9800Pro and my games aren't slow.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Regulus
I have a mere 512 and a 9800Pro and my games aren't slow.
So, they'll be slow when more demanding games come out+ the 9800pro is a good card, but you wouldn't buy one with the 6600GT about....and you'd be playing at low resolutions with moderate eye candy, a AMD 3500/X800XL/I Gig ram can max out some games and run most at 1600x1200.
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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at a guess I'd say the minimum RAM for longhorn would be more like 256MB, since it will have to run on lower end computers which the end user (non-gamer) will have

I have used a computer with a 9600 SE, 512MB RAM and an Athlon XP 2600+ which ran Doom 3 and HL2 fine. I've even seen Doom 3 running on an FX 5200 alright.
sure, the quality may not be on the highest settings, but some people really don't care, because to them the game is hardly different

the 9800 should do you fine in high end games for a couple of years yet, until games are made that the 9800 does not support, or unless you really want to have the highest settings

I'm not trying to say something like "it is a complete waste of money going for the high end hardware" but for some people, it's just not that important.
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
at a guess I'd say the minimum RAM for longhorn would be more like 256MB, since it will have to run on lower end computers which the end user (non-gamer) will have
Yeah but Longhorn may not be out till "late 06"....it's earliest scheduled release is mid 06 anyway.
I had a Dell P 400 I bought in mid 98, it had 128 ram which was a sizeable amount back then, yet it didn't handle XP to well, and XP was released in 2000, just 18months later.

Quote:
I have used a computer with a 9600 SE, 512MB RAM and an Athlon XP 2600+ which ran Doom 3 and HL2 fine. I've even seen Doom 3 running on an FX 5200 alright.
The problem is that I've seen D3 run on a 9600 box and a 6800GT box, and the difference is significant in terms of looks+ you get longevity out of a higher end card....Rid**** for example is more demanding than Far Cry/D3, it would be at lowest settings on a 9600 box and the next blockbuster that comes out won't run at all.


Quote:
the 9800 should do you fine in high end games for a couple of years yet, until games are made that the 9800 does not support, or unless you really want to have the highest settings
The 9800pro was a good card, but these days you'd get a 6600GT/X800, but regardless, newer games look so much better than games of a few yrs ago, so I don't understand the reluctance to pony up on the GPU, people are happy to buy high end CPU/ram, but not GPU...go figure.
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Uhh, I'm quite certain that Windows XP was released in late 2001, I know because I think installed it a day after Christmas the year it was released.

I have two 9800 Pros, one was purchased in late 2003 or early 2004 when it was still in its prime, and I just recently purchased another one in August or September of 2004. Why? The 9800 Pro is still a plenty decent card that will run everything I need it to at the settings I want, and I don't see the point in spending a few hundred dollars more on a card when I can get the performance that I need for much cheaper.

I also don't think I even considered PCIe as an option as I was not planning on upgrading either of my systems motherboards until March this year.

I have always believed in buying technology when it is on its way out as long as it will do what I need, it saves me a few hundred bucks and I could care less if I lose a few FPS.

You have to realize that some of us are consumer smart and realize that the biggest toys with the most bells and whistles are always overpriced upon release, but as soon as a new toy comes out, that one will drop expedencially in price. It's a common fact and many people use it to keep their wallets full of money.
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Longhorn is not going to require 2gb of RAM dude, that's just an obsurd thought. Like Apok said, 256/512mb would be bare minimum.

1gb suffices most anyone by todays standards unless you're doing extremely heavy application uses and rendering some major 3D graphics using 3 different programs at once.

Also yeah SLI would give off a lot of heat, but what incompatibilities are you talking of? I've heard no one reporting any sort of incompatibilities with it although I think SLI is a temp solution for better things to come although Nvidia see's a future in it....yeah only because people will have to buy their stuff x2 so it's basically only for the ridiculously rich or insanely spoiled.

BTW: It's Riddock, that'll keep most of the word from being asterisked out like it is in your post.

Quote:
Example of a poorly specified gamers box is...AMD 3500, 512 ram, X800XT...in this case the quantity of ram is too low
Not really...that'd be a more than adequate gaming machine, as up until recently all I ever had was 512mb. Like apok also said, most games minimum require 512mb. Yes it won't be as fast as 1gb of course, but some people simply can't afford all those luxuries and it'd be really easy to toss in another 512mb down the line.

I think this 'guide' of yours is more based on your opinion of what a gaming machine should be and not so much factual information on how to pick your components carefully. Some of it has it's points, but it's intermittently strewn throughout most of it.

Things like the 6800Ultra/X800XT and whatnot are pretty true though considering the OC'ing potential of the 6800GT and equivelant.
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