I am thinking about upgrading my current system but I am not sure what will give me the best boost for gaming purposes. I have some ideas but I have a ton of questions and any suggestions/opinons are welcome!
My system specs are:
Motherboard - NForce 2 - ASUS A7N8X (not deluxe)
Processor - Athlon XP 2700+
Video Card - Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB
Sound Card - Audigy 2
System Memory - 512 MB PC2700 DDR running 2 256MB sticks in dual channel.
Operating System - Windows XP Pro SP2
Hard Drive - 7200rpm Maxtor 80GB
Here are my thoughts:
1) Upgrade the memory to 1GB. I believe I can purchase a 512 DIMM and use the two 256 MB DIMMS in one channel (slots 1 & 2) and the 512 MB stick in the second channel (slot 3). That being said, would the 512MB stick need to match timings and latency of the 256 MB sticks? Would I be better off purchasing two 512 sticks? If I would buy two new DIMMS, should I continue to use PC2700 or upgrade to PC3200? Finally, if I do upgrade to PC3200, would I need to upgrade my bios (I have never done so) or change any other settings to make sure my cpu is running on the same frequency as the memory?
2) Not sure what the fastest cpu my mobo can take but possibly upgrade to a 3200+. Not sure if this would give me much in the performance dept as the 2700+ is actually clocked higher than the 3200+
3) Overclock my FSB to 400MHz. This way the cpu and memory would stay on the same frequencies (I think) and each get a performance boost. Am I right about this? Is it worth looking into? If so, any tips on how to do it? It is just a bios setting, correct?
4) Overclocking my Radeon 9800 Pro is easy enough with ATI Tool. I was thinking about upgrading the card but all that will really do is allow me to play with AA and AF cranked. I am cpu bound if I don't use AA/AF.
Any other suggestions?
I am not looking to purchase a new system (mobo and the whole enchilda) as my system currently handles FarCry, Doom 3 and HL2 at acceptable frame rates. I just want to push her to the limits and then wait. Unfortunately, with both AMD and Intel going dual-core with lower clocking and games not being multi-threaded yet, I am not sure the cpu front will see any significant gains in 2005 or maybe even 2006. I am hoping my current system can last until the next big hardware advancement.