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 Post subject: Gaming system advice
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:18 pm 
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Hi all, new to the site so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Basically I want to build a machine which is primarily for gaming but I'm unsure which the best cpu/mobo combinations etc are the best for this purpose.

From what I've read, I gather that Athlon processors are the way to go at the minute and my friend who's a bit better clued up on this than me suggests that a mobile chip might be a good option as it can be overlcocked a lot in a desktop machine. Firstly, is this a good option?

Also what sort of cpu speed/RAM combo am I going to be needing to deal with the likes Half life 2, far cry, doom 3 etc with most of the effects on and at high res?

The one part of my systame I already have is a video card in the form of a Radeon 9800 pro 128mb.

Any suggestions as to which cpu/mobo/ram I should go for to satisfy my gaming needs would be a huge help and also if there's anything else that I might have overlooked that will affect game performance.

Cheers,

Stew


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:15 am 
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Although it isnt cheap, I would buy an Athlon64 based system. The athlon 64 3000+ is a much better gaming cpu than an xp 3000+. If youre looking to build cheap follow your friends advice and get a mobile athlon xp chip.

You dont need expensive RAM as long as you buy ddr400. Buy the cheapest namebrand stick at that speed and you'll be fine.

Happy fragging!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:04 pm 
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i second tay's suggestions.

also, a fast hard drive will help load those levels quicker, what one do you plan on using? you didnt mention the need for quiet in your post, but the faster hard drives are, the louder they generally are.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:45 pm 
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I think I can afford to go for the 64 bit system so if you think it would be the way to go I might well go for it.

As for hard drives, that's a good point and not one I'd considered, any suggestions of a good hard drive to go for? I'm not overly fussed about it being quiet (probably on the wrong forum considering the name of this site) speed would be more important.

Cheers for the advice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:42 pm 
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www.storagereview.com should help you with the search for a speedy hard drive. a western digital raptor will be faster than a 7200rpm hard drive, but you pay a premium for it, and when formatted the 74 gig version ends up about 70 gig,

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:57 pm 
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The new Maxtor line with 16 Mb cache are reported to be quite speedy as well, even though Maxtor is not known for silence. I would suggest listening to a Raptor before buying one or you could end up reconsidering your statement that you're "not overly fussed about it being quiet".

Another option is a RAID-0 (striped set) where you use 2 disks to act as one. This will also speed up level loading at the cost of lower reliability (if one disk fails you lose all data).

A socket 939 Athlon64 will be more future-proof than a 754 so I'd get one of those boards. I gather you're not going to upgrade to PCI express for now, because otherwise it could be wise to wait for the nForce4 939 boards with PCI-e. The games you mention will be more limited by your graphics card that ram/cpu so I'd go for 1 Gb or ram and a 3500+ AMD.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:44 pm 
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I was thinking of going for this:

Asus K8V-SE Deluxe S754 VIA k8t800 ATX Sound Gig lAN Firewire USB 2.0 FSB 800 Retail Box

AMD (Newcastle) Athlon 64bit 3000+ 754pin/512 L2cache Retail Boxed with 3 Year Warranty CPU

Crucial CT6464Z40B 512mb DDR 400MHz PC3200 CL=3 Memory Module

Samsung SpinPoint P80 160GB UDMA133

Does 754 and 939 socket make much difference?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:52 pm 
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Sounds OK. Depending on the intended usage and your budget you might want to consider getting 1 Gb of RAM and/or getting 2 modules (so 2x 256 or 2x 512), since the Athlon64 can use dual channel memory. Won't double your system performance :) but it helps.

Any thoughts on silence? Do you intend to use the stock heatsink/fan? I could include all sorts of advice on noise but I gather that's not your main concern.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:59 pm 
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teejay wrote:
Sounds OK. Depending on the intended usage and your budget you might want to consider getting 1 Gb of RAM and/or getting 2 modules (so 2x 256 or 2x 512), since the Athlon64 can use dual channel memory. Won't double your system performance :) but it helps.

Actually, only S939 supports dual channel. The performance increase is really small on A64s as the memory controller has very low latencies compared to PIV.

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:07 pm 
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Thanks for the heads-up on the sockets... I actually knew that... or did anyway :wink:

Dual channel memory performance benefits tends to get overrated as a whole I think... the improvement is there but it will not blow you away in everyday use, as some less informed sites have suggested in the past.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:54 am 
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So it it worth going for a 939 socket? I've read that that mobo I mention is really good but wouldn't know which 939 one to go for?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 9:12 pm 
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Get the 939 so you can upgrade in the future. Even though it can handle 4 sticks of memory you really want to keep it to 2 sticks so you can keep those 1t timings. For your lower temps make sure its one of the newer 90nm ones.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 9:25 pm 
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Get 1 GB RAM for sure. Too many games chug with 512 MB. Socket 939 is a would be nice feature. You might as well save a few bucks and stick with 754 if you know a good board ( i know nothing about A64 boards ). A few people here have the WD raptor drives. Please search the forums to find out what they think of them noise wise. You may be surprised how loud they are.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:23 pm 
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The price on the 939s has come down recently. Get this 90nm version http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDe ... 499&depa=1 or it's 3200 variant.
These 90nm versions put out substantially less heat than the older 130nm versions, easier to cool, easier to keep quiet. The also overclock better than any previous AMD64 versions.
The big advantage of going 939 socket is that you have 2 memory channels and if you put only 1 Dimm in each channel you can get excellent memory timing and performance while still using cheap ram. Or if you overclock you'll be able to run the memory much faster. Since you need 2 Dimms to get 1GB of memory you end up needing pretty good quality memory on a 754 socket to get it to run well. You also get a little better performance on a Dual channel system. With the price of 90nm 939 socket processers at $170 there is no longer any incentive to use socket 754.
I use a 74G raptor drive as my C drive and the speed advantage is noticeable. Pretty fast boot up times and disk access is very brisk. I can recommend them highly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:56 pm 
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I agree with a lot of the above.

What I would add is info about noise. Are you sure that you are not that bothered ??? Have a listen to a few different machines to see what you think is an acceptable level. If you are able to, get a listen to a recent Dell. Most people here have machines that are quieter than Dells, but if you do not pay attention to the components going into your machine you will end up with something a lot louder than a Dell most likely.

Imo RAID 0 is not worth the effort. There have been several performance tests done by high profile reviews sites, and there is next to no difference in performance. You just have to endure the hassle of setting them up, and sorting them out if they go wrong.

This is SPCR, so this will be no surprise to you. But I'm watching the TV now at low volume. I'm sitting next to both of my machines that currently have their cases off, and I cannot hear them. Only in the most quiet dialogue can I detect that they are on. The extra expense to create this bliss is less than £100 over a standard machine (as long as you consider your components from the start).

As for HDDs, these are useful for reducing the noise from Raptors and the like, see there is still hope of a fast quiet machine. Of course, one of those with a slower drive is even better in terms of noise :)
http://www.quietpc.com/uk/harddrive.php#silentmaxxhdd

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