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Thread: Hardware advice

  1. #1
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    Hardware advice

    Hey all,

    Posting this on a few of my regular forums to try get a general consensus on what i should get lol.

    Im looking at upgrading my PC just after xmas, and want some advice if you can please.

    I have a half decent gfx card, so that can wait a bit.
    I need a new CPU, mobo and RAM, and am looking to spend around 350.
    Im not into modeling/rendering and what not, should be aimed at 100% gaming.

    Im looking to go Intel on the CPU, and a dual core 3Ghz 1333FSB costs the same as a quad core 2.4Ghz 1066FSB. The quad core is a "high efficiency" one, so less heat = more overclocking, but im not too interested in that to start with.

    Which do you think is going to give the best in game experience?
    I think all the new games out/coming out (crysis, UT3, bioshock?) are supporting quad cores now, therefore probably any game worth getting from now on will do?
    Which would you choose?
    Is there anything affordable thats coming soon thats worth me waiting for?

    Now onto RAM.

    On my price budget DDR3 is out of the question.
    I can get 2gig of PC8500, 1066Mhz, 5-5-5-15, for about 70.
    I could get 4gig of PC6400, 800Mhz, 5-5-5-18 for 82.

    Which should i get?
    Ive been told to go for the 2gig of PC8500 for the best in game experience, and easy upgrade at a later stage when its needed (and probably cheaper?)

    They said the 4gig of PC6400 will decrease loading times, but not give as good in game as the faster stuff.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    The mobo im happy finding myself, the only thing i would want on that is SATA and onboard RAID, but im open to suggestions if you fancy it.

    Thanks for any advice, will be much appreciated.

    Gareth

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard HarryR's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Tbh a lot of games still appreciate faster cores rather than more of them so personally I'd go for the 3ghz Intel cpu.

    As for memory, go for 2gb now (either single chip or dual-channel) as with 4gb a lot of that will likely be wasted, but you can upgrade in future if you think you need it.

    (FYI, my flatmate runs TF2, Bioshock & Crysis at home with 2gb & a Geforce 8800GTX absolutely fine at the highest settings with a dual core 3ghz Intel cpu).

    If you have the budget I'd see about getting a 10K RPM disk - anything slower will likely be the bottleneck on the system you're thinking of.

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    Hi HarryR, thanks for the reply.

    There seems to be some conflicting stories about dual core or quad core and games.

    Some people has said exactly the same as you, better FSB and higher MHz = better for games.

    Some people have said now that games are accepting quad cores so they might be better, and maybe a bit more future proof.

    One of my uni teachers that does Systems architecture and is up on hardware said that he would go for the quad core.

    Seems a bit of a grey area lol.

    On a site i went to (wont say the name, dont know if im allowed), they do bundles, under different catagories. Under "gamer" their CPU's are mainly the dual core, but none of them use the latest 3GHz dual core, maybe down to price... who knows? Under "enthusiast" they use only quads.

    About the HDD, i was looking at getting two 8.x seek time SATA-2's and raid 0'ing them. They are about £30 per 160gig, so £60 to raid them.
    I heard thats more worth it than a raptor, because the difference wouldnt be huge, but i get alot more capacity per £.

    What do you think?

    Gareth
    Last edited by gwebber; Dec 5, 2007 at 08:30.

  4. #4
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Since you said you are not too interested in overclocking, I'd recommend DDR2-667 RAM.

    Any RAM faster than DDR2-667 is unnecessary and would just cost you money. DDR2-667 will run at up to 333MHz clock speed. The processors you are looking at run at 333MHz FSB speed for the dual core and 266MHz FSB for the quad core. So DDR2-667 has enough speed to run at 1:1 with these chips.

    If you get more than 2GB of RAM you would need to use a 64 bit operating system (such as an x64 version of Vista) to take advantage of most of the RAM above 2GB (the barrier is usually between 2GB and 3GB actually, depending on other devices installed). 64 bit operating systems may have more compatibility problems. I'd recommend sticking with 2GB RAM and 32 bits for now.

    I agree with HarryR that if you are mainly into games, go with faster cores over more cores at this stage. It's true that some new games are taking advantage of multiple cores, so this is going to be less of an issue in future. My flatmate has that new efficient quad core chip and he's quite happy with gaming performance. I have a dual core and am happy with it.

    A 10K RPM disk isn't really worth the money in my opinion, given you can use a small partition on a 7200RPM drive and get better seek times. Even 2x7200 large drives are cheaper than a small 10000RPM drive.

    My flatmate got a 8800GTS card and it runs Crysis really nicely. He also got the Q6600 quad core chip and 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM. If you have money to spare and you are into games, I would go for a nice graphics card like this rather than any more RAM than 2GB or a 10KRPM drive.
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    SitePoint Addict Poiesis01's Avatar
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    You have a half decent graphics card? You'll only be able to play half decent games with that. These days games are optimized for GPUs more that CPUs. A 512MB grafics card will be the minimum requirement for a game pretty soon. NFS Pro street can barely run on naything less! Also newer games will be written for DirectX 10, so your old card will be useless for them!

    It might be more worthwile saving up and buying a decent system a little later IMHO.

  6. #6
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    I recently had the same budget and requirements. I went for the quad core and the 4GB. I have to say I am happy with the results, but thats not to say I would have been hapipier still with the other options. One thing I would say is the RAM usage according to Task manager during a Crysis session did approach 2.9GB! I'd have to say therefore go with the 4GB if you have a 64 bit OS.

  7. #7
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    Try quad core and the 4GB..


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