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* Modern Gaming Computer? [potential upgrades]
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Dogbreath
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 4:26 pm     Post subject: * Modern Gaming Computer? [potential upgrades] Reply with quote

I have a Pentium 4, 2.8GHZ, i850E, Duel Channel, 512MB RAM, WinXP Computer with a GeForce MX 420. From what I've heard, I probably have the bare-bones requirements for running modern games though it'll probably be outdated soon... are there any updates I could make to boost my gaming output here? I submit this case to the Hardware Gods.
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Unknown_K
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 7:33 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on what games you want to play. Anything thats 3d will need a better video card. GeForce MX is crap. Ati 9500/9700 would be alot better.

If what your playing now works dont upgrade. If you do upgrade buy a video card 1 step below top end and then skip a generation or 2 before the next upgrade.

The rest of the system will probably last quite a while.

My system is a 2 year old amd XP1500+ 512mb ddr and an ati 9000 video card, pretty old compared to new systems but it runs every game I like at decent speeds. Will probably upgrade when doom 3 rolls around if needed.
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Dogbreath
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 7:41 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the GeForce 4 MX was #1 priority in my mind, but I seem to currently have a good enough computer to compensate for its shittiness. As soon as I have the money, I'll buy a GeForce 3 or the likes. My main concern is with X-box ports... from what I hear; they are total resource hogs. PS2 games don't seem to give me any problems.
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jmmijo
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2003 8:19 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually you could tweak your RAMbus mobo a bit, most of them can take faster Dual-Channel RDRAM, the 1066MHz kind. I'd up the memory to 1GB for sure then add a better and faster graphics card. The ones that unknown_k mentioned are good for speed Wink
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Splodginator
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 3:54 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if I can run modern games at a decent FPS rate without huge problems, anyone can.
Mine is:
1.1GHz Intel(r) Celeron x86 Stepping
20GB Drive, 14.4GB on my available drive, 5GB Free
"Windows" XP
128 SDRAM
Intel 82810 Motherboard and un-upgradable "good" integrated graphics (can't even run Star Wars: Starfighter with textures, with a whole lot of compatibility problems with other games)

Max Payne runs decently, jDOOM runs between 5-30FPS, With upgraded drivers (which remove the 256 Colour option) Star Wars: Starfighter will work well, and for some reason, I have NVIDIA Drivers preinstalled. And Sound isn't that great either.
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johpower
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 5:02 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

5-30 frames/sec? That 128 mb RAM is a bottle neck. An Andrew Jackson can solve that in a few minutes and you'll find everything will be happier.
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Splodginator
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:20 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the integrated graphics has a limit of 30FPS (okay, its just the DVD Support). I know that it only has 10MB of Video Memory, with up to 12MB for 9x. It also has problems with games that even my old computer can play at a very low FPS Rate (A K6 233MHz is hardly an adequate gaming platform exept for DOS), like Rogue Squadron 3D, it produces Garbled text on my computer.
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Unknown_K
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 8:42 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

128mb wasnt enough ram for gaming 2 years or more ago.

512mb is enough, any more is overkill

Another thing to have is a good fast internet connection, your going to suck in quake like online games with a shitty 56k line.
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Splodginator
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 10:11 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, 56k is adequate for Quake III Demo, and Soldat. Probably because I shut down everything before I play.
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Unknown_K
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 10:16 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

frogboy_90 wrote:
Actually, 56k is adequate for Quake III Demo, and Soldat. Probably because I shut down everything before I play.


Well online the lower your latency the better chance you have of not getting shot. So cable or fast dsl is always better then a dialup for latency.
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jmmijo
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 8:02 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Unknown_K wrote:

512mb is enough, any more is overkill


I guess I'm into overkill, I have 1GB of Dual Channel ram onboard my gaming rig. But since I also have a separate old Dell Optiplex for DOS games, this doesn't really count Wink
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Unknown_K
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2003 8:17 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

jmmijo wrote:
Unknown_K wrote:

512mb is enough, any more is overkill


I guess I'm into overkill, I have 1GB of Dual Channel ram onboard my gaming rig. But since I also have a separate old Dell Optiplex for DOS games, this doesn't really count Wink


Some people need the extra memory, but not for gaming (which is what the topic was for). If your not swapping to the hard drive with 512mb then having 1gb means your helping some taiwanees memory makers kid through college. Of course some day soon 1gb might be needed but it will be a different memory design on a 5+ghz chip/motherboard.
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johpower
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:52 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several bottlenecks imposed by PC platform, BIOS, OS, etc. For example: most 286's have problems accessing more than either 1mb, 4mb or 16mb of RAM, depending on maker (One of the big reasons for the popularity of 386's). Win 95/98 has difficulties with more than 512mb of RAM (one source said 384mb) due to the speed the OS can read all the memory registers. (Supposedly later versions solve this.) If you are still swapping to disk with RAM bigger than this, it may not be apparent. However no one I know has THAT problem.

Admittedly, this isn't Frogy's problem. Frogboy: there's a great little utility called RAMpage (not to be confused with the memory expansion cards for 286's of the same name). It will help figure out if RAM is your true bottleneck and it helps low RAM machines run better in some situations (laptop users!). I use it all the time in my 256mb PC and (usually) allow it to start with Windose. Hints: Set the display update for at least 30 seconds and disable it when installing programs!!

I've copied the info from their webpage below:


"RAMpage is a small Windows utility that displays the amount of available memory in an icon in the System Tray. It can also free memory; by double clicking the tray icon, or by setting a threshold that activates the program automatically, or by having it run automatically when an application exits.

Under certain circumstances, freeing memory may improve the stability of Windows 95, and possibly also Windows 98 and ME. In theory, RAMpage shouldn't make any difference if you are using Windows NT, 2000 or XP, though I have had some reports that suggest it helps.
RAMpage is free to use, and the source code is also freely available.

Features:

Frees memory automatically, on demand, or after an application finishes running. Very low active memory footprint, and very low resource and CPU usage. Can run "hidden", which further reduces memory and resource usage. Can be run from a batch file, or via a shortcut, to free memory on a "once off" basis.

Easy to install, configure and automate.

Things RAMpage does NOT do:

Free System, GDI, User resources, Compress memory, Modify cache, or other system settings."
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jmmijo
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 8:49 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Another freeware utility I found is called FreeRAM XP Pro and the author calls it donationware in that if you can, please make whatever amount of a donation you can Wink
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Kazer0
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 11:44 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, my PII 266 WinXP comp plays modern games. Full speed too. Only a small 8mb ATi Rage XL card.
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Unknown_K
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 11:51 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Kazer0 wrote:
Actually, my PII 266 WinXP comp plays modern games. Full speed too. Only a small 8mb ATi Rage XL card.


Why are you running windows xp on a p2-266?

how much memory does that thing have?
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Dogbreath
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:55 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

jmmijo wrote:
Actually you could tweak your RAMbus mobo a bit, most of them can take faster Dual-Channel RDRAM, the 1066MHz kind. I'd up the memory to 1GB for sure then add a better and faster graphics card. The ones that unknown_k mentioned are good for speed Wink


Hmmm, well, I'll get a new graphics card as soon as I have the money/next time I'm at the computer store... but I'm not sure about upping the RAM yet. I may do it if only because of the i850E. (Though ~5% faster than the i845, it absolutely slaughters the RAM.)
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Kazer0
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2003 12:12 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Unknown_K wrote:
Kazer0 wrote:
Actually, my PII 266 WinXP comp plays modern games. Full speed too. Only a small 8mb ATi Rage XL card.


Why are you running windows xp on a p2-266?

how much memory does that thing have?


192mb SD-RAM. Its quite fast and only crashed once in its lifetime.
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Unknown_K
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2003 12:28 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

If it works for you cool. Slowest machine I have with win2k is a dual ppro overdrive (333 with 512k cache at 333mhz) and 3x128mb edo ecc buffered ram. Runs fast enough for a general purpose server/burner machine and its very stable.
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Splodginator
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2003 1:34 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

XP is quite stable itself, the only time I've got a BSOD was when I tried putting 128MB and 64MB (which I thought was a 128MB) RAMs together. Although the programs on it destabilise it, which isn't their fault. Mostly Games will destabilise it, so will Norton Anti-virus.
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