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Darkling

Lesser of 2 Evils

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OK guys, I need to upgrade one of my machines to play UCSE. I have a self imposed budget of about $300.00, and I'm wanting an opinion here.

The Machine that I'm upgrading currently has an ATI 9200 card with 128 Megs of VRAM and an AMD 2200 Processor and 768 Megs of DDR400 RAM. It doesn't have the Shader 3.0 Technology required to run UCSE.

I'm thinking for $300.00, I can either get an NVidia 7800 AGP Card, or I can get an AMD64 3800X2 Processor/MOBO with a GForce PCIe 6150IGP and a Gig of DDR2-800 RAM.

What's the lesser of 2 Evils, Old Crap Hardware with new Screamer of a video card, or New Screamer Dual Core CPU with Crap Built in IGP?

The 7800 has 16 Pixel Pipelines running at 350Mhz and the 6150 IGP has only 2 Pixel Pipelines but running at 475Mhz. Both have HD output, Shader 3.0 and all the latest technology.

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One note of advice... the 6150 is probably not a notable improvement over your current card. If its not par its probably worse.

However, if you get a 7800 AGP, you're going to find that your processor will be bottle necking. What about just getting a 6800 AGP?

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I know that the 6150 won't be much if any improvement over my current card, but it does have the Shader 3 technology that UCSE requires, and I'm figuring that the X23800 plus chip will more than make up for the Video Card Shortfall (I hope). Actually a couple of my friends bought the 3800 and overclocked it to 2.6 Volts, effectively making around a 4800. What I'm hoping is that even if the Video card isn't any better (other than the newer tech) since the processor is 4X better than what I have, I'll be good to go.

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Well, the big thing about Shader 3.0 is that is VERY card dependant.

Even if UCSE does run, I'm not so sure that with Shader 3.0 required that it would run well. :

If you get the 3800... make sure the mainboard is upgradable.

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Yeah I noticed that it only has 1 pixel processor, where even the cheapest 6200 card has 3, maybe that's what I'll do, get the X2-3800 with a cheap 6200 card for now, I can always upgrade it later. I'm just thinking that getting a high end video card, instead of a high end processor, won't give me the performance I need in a UC game. As it is, by the time I get Fleet Command, the game is running so slow, it's almost unplayable. I mostly end up having to just do the Instant Action scenarios, where I'm not "Activating" too many areas of interest.

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quote:

Originally posted by Darkling:

Yeah I noticed that it only has 1 pixel processor, where even the cheapest 6200 card has 3, maybe that's what I'll do, get the X2-3800 with a cheap 6200 card for now, I can always upgrade it later. I'm just thinking that getting a high end video card, instead of a high end processor, won't give me the performance I need in a UC game. As it is, by the time I get Fleet Command, the game is running so slow, it's almost unplayable. I mostly end up having to just do the Instant Action scenarios, where I'm not "Activating" too many areas of interest.

Yeah, if you do that and can be patient, you can get yourself a DX10 card when they debut sometime later this year. The 6200 is lightyears better than the 6150... you can actually play video games on it, as opposed to imagining you're playing video games on your integrated 6150.

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I'd go with a 939, or AM2 if you can't/don't want to re-use the memory from the old machine. AM2 would be more future proof, or hell I'd even spec out pricing on Intel Core 2 Duo boards for that matter. The 6150 though, is GOING to be a WEAK performer. It MAY do OK for UCSE, but it aint gonna run Oblivion, FEAR, etc. worth a damn. I'd try for a 7600GS or GT if at all possible, or do like I did (see below) get a board with an AGP(or pseudo AGP-PCI bridge slot) and suffer with what you've got until you can afford a better card...)

Try to hauk the old stuff for a little extra cash too... You're likely going to need a new PSU any way you go too, unless you've got something c. 400W(good! no cheapos) or better too...

Check out ebay. I ended up getting a 939 mb(Biostar TForce4 U), AMD 64 3200+ (vencice), and 2G of DDR 400 mushkin RAM for c. $200! (Practically new(2m old), the guy replaced it with an Intel machine for hw virtualization support...) My advice on bidding, decide how much you THINK that it's worth, and place a bid for THAT amount when you find something that looks good. I also check at the end, and tend to go up a few dollars more(sometimes) after re-checking retail prices. It's what I had to do on the above, but I only had to go up a couple dollars more, but I was willing to go $20 more as it still would've been cheaper than all of that new($90 mb, $130 CPU(at the time), c. $180 for the RAM from online stores...). PAY ATTENTION to the item descriptions, as many times sellers poorly word(or intentionally try to mislead) buyers. ASK them questions(click the button) if unsure. Do NOT bid if they don't respond w/in say a day. CHECK the item location(I've seen several items(CPUs & GPUs mainly) listed from Poland and China, not places that I'd want to bid on something from... too easy to get ripped off... with zero recourse.) WATCH the shipping charges, as some of those guys put in ridiculously LOW bid starts, yet have insane shipping like $50+ for an item that should cost $8 to ship!! If you want to play it safe, I'd strongly suggest checking out items from zipzoomfly, monarch computers, and newegg also use pricewatch(not so good any more), and pricegrabber(better) too, but I'd be wary of retailers with lowest pricing, but poor customer ratings, especially the ones that pull the out-of-stock swindle.

I didn't have much luck with other components though, I ended up picking up a WD 250G caviar SATA2 & eVGA 7600 GT KO locally(approx within online prices when you add shipping minus tax, plus I got it RIGHT NOW!!! )

Still looking for CPU, eyeing 4400+ & 4800+s to see if they'll go down any more. If the 4800+ goes down a little more I'll spring for that. Either way I'll also need a new PSU, so I'm also checking those out.

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