TF Hardware Guide

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pc_boy

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I've seen lots of threads where people are asking "what should I get" so I decided to write these short "tutorials" you might call them, on what's available. :)

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1. Video Cards:
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If you are thinking of upgrading your video card, right now it may not be a wise choice, because the new generation of video cards are coming out by this summer. You might want to wait for some benchmarks comparing the G70 and the R520, right now little information is available. If you really want to upgrade now, you may want to consider nvidia at this moment since there is the new "Shader Model 3" supported and it will be very helpful for future games. ATI cards are clocked higher, but they use Shader Model 2, and the price is much (depends on your wallet) higher than the Geforece 6 series. Look here for some screenshots comparing the "shader models"

http://www.hardfeed.com/srv/ramp/article/445.html



| 6600GT vs 6800(GT) |

If you are on a budget, and you don't think you will have money for the new video cards, you might want to consider the 6600GT since it is the best "bang for the buck" card right now. It does support Shader Model 3, which is good, and it will run 99% of the games today at good quality.
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RAM:
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Many people think they need more RAM to make your computer faster. Here is a simple illustration on how RAM works. RAM is a fast, memory in your computer that keeps temporary data when your computer is on. Imagine a sink, water comes in through the faucet and goes down the drain. The water coming in is the computer giving the RAM data to write. The sink is the Memory, and the drain is the Speed. If the rate of the water coming in is faster than the rate of the water going down the drain, the basin will fill up, and if it continues, then it could overflow. This is where you need More RAM, and you can know this when your computer stops responding and freezes. However, if you just want to improve performance, you will need a bigger "drain", which is the RAM speed. This reduces "RAM Lag", or the time it needs for the drain to catch up with the faucet. Current DDR memory is PC3200 (DDR400), which means it writes data at 3.2GB/sec and it is clocked at 400MHZ. There are also RAM modules that have higher response times, but they are more expensive. Most brands make a special series, for example Corsair makes "XMS" series, OCZ makes "Performance" series, and so on. These are more stable, and better for overclocking. ;)

| Dual Channel |

Ok, so if each memory module has a clock speed, then when you add up 2 DDR400 RAM sticks, you increse performance in latency and bandwidth, however, it does not double the speed. This is called "Dual Channel" because you are teaming up 2 RAM sticks to get higher bandwidth. Dual channel is only supported on some motherboards, and it could be enabled in the BIOS... you can look at your motherboard manual and see how you can get your RAM to run in dual channel. However, you need 2 sticks of the same kind to run dual channel.
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Processors:
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I'm not going to argue AMD vs. Intel, since there is already a whole sticky dedicated to that... but i'll explain why AMD can keep up with Intel, at lower CPU frequencies... very common question asked by beginners...

Ok, so as you probably know, Intel's highest clocked CPU currently is 3.8GHZ, and AMD's Athlon 64 FX-55, AMD's leading chip, only runs at 2.6GHZ... why?
Well, higher clock speed doesn't mean it will be faster... This following illustration should help.. (yay, another one :) )

You have 2 RC trucks:
1- A truck that carries 10 pounds, and goes 5MPH
2- A truck that carries 5 pounds, and goes 10MPH

Truck 1 is AMD, and Truck 2 is Intel. Let's say you have to carry 20LB, 5 Miles over... if you do the math, then you would say:
Truck 1- 20LB/10LB=2, which means it will take it 2 trips. 5Miles / 5MPH = 1 hour per trip. 2 Trips x 1 Hour per Trip = 2 Hours...

If you do the math for the second truck, you'll end up with the same 2 hours... Now, the MPH is the GHZ, or the Processor frequency; how many circuits/second the processor gets. Notice That higher "MPH" didn't give our trucks better performance, and higher clock speeds don't give our Processors higher performance either... ;) ...well, you might ask, if the "MPH" is GHZ, what is the carrying capacity? well, that's a whole new topic... :D there are lots of strategies AMD uses to keep up...
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Hope this Helps! ;)

I'll write more of these on different topics when I have time. If you think something should be added/corrected, PM me or reply. :D
 

DJ-CHRIS

Golden Master
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Nice but you should explain Value Ram and Expensive Ram have the same peformance virtually, and explain dual channel.
 

pc_boy

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i added the dual channel section... thanks for the suggestion...

..lots of people seem confused about these topics, and I would admit this is pretty hard stuff... but we're here to help aren't we? ;)
 

Elbatrop1

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Good work!

Its a long read, but its informative and pretty well written.

One suggestion:
Saying that running RAM in dual channel is like DDR800 is kinda misleading. I see where you were going with that, but still kinda misleading.

Also, maybe put [b ] and [/b ] around your titles (remove spaces) to make them bold

Again, good work, I'll put a link in my sig for this.
 

pc_boy

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thanks... also, how do you want me to fix the DDR800 so that others will unerstan better?
 

Elbatrop1

Memberbot
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I just took the entire paragraph and changed it:D:

Ok, so if each memory module has a clock speed, then when you add up 2 DDR400 RAM sticks, you get 2x the bandwidth, or 6.4GB/sec RAM. This is called "Dual Channel" because you are teaming up 2 RAM sticks to get higher bandwidth. Dual channel is only supported on some motherboards, and it could be enabled in the BIOS... you can look at your motherboard manual and see how you can get your RAM to run in dual channel. However, you need 2 sticks of the same kind to run dual channel.
 

gaara

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then when you add up 2 DDR400 RAM sticks, you get 2x the bandwidth, or 6.4GB/sec RAM.
I have to correct this, dual channel configurations do not double bandwidth, the numbers you are making reference to are from an Athlon 64 system, in which the HTT bus gives you a memory bandwidth of 6.4gb/sec regardless of whether it is dual or single channel. Dual channel has a slight benefit on latency and bandwidth, but it does not double it.
 

pc_boy

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yeah, you might be right, but i saw it on a motherboard company website and they had on the description of a motherboard "dual channel, up to 6.4GB/sec. bandwidth":confused:
 
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