Bang for my Buck

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Bang for my Buck

Postby shipwreck » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:07 pm

Okay I finally have some loot set aside for an upgrade to the ol' compy but I'm torn. Here are the specs of the things I'd like to upgrade:

4g DDR2 800 G.Skill RAM
2.53ghz (OC'd to 2.8) Wolfdale Intel Core 2 Duo
nVidia 8800GT 512m

I'm deciding between one of the following:
-buy a whole new CPU (there's a 3.33ghz Wolfdale that allegedly overclocks nicely and shows a lot of promise with games)
-buy a better heatsink for my current CPU and overclock the love out of it
-buy new video card (thinking nVidia GTS 200 series)
-upgrade to 8g RAM

Which do you think would see the biggest overall increase in game performance? If I just do the CPU heatsink I can probably get a new GPU as well, or the RAM. I could also buy a cheaper GPU (like a 9500 GT 1g) and still get more RAM and the heatsink. I'm looking to spend < 300$. I always make stupid purchases like this bigger deals than they need to be so I like to be as informed as possible.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby shipwreck » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:54 am

Well GTS is out of the question. I'm leaning towards a GTX 260 (about $250) or a Radeon HD 4870 (about $170 on NewEgg, but maybe Microcenter can beat that). It's scary to think of switching to ATI!

Then I reckon a better heatsink and OC to over 3.0 should do the trick.

/shrug
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby Beasty » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:15 pm

I recently got a ATI Radeon HD 4890, its pretty blazing fast. I couldn't imagine the ATI Radeon HD 4870 being much slower. I would upgrade your graphics card first. Its probably the part of your system that goes out of date the fastest. 4gig is a fair amount of ram. I dont see you'll see any improvement when it comes to games by upgrading your ram, besides maybe making it faster, if your mobo supports any higher speeds.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:24 pm

The nVidia 2xx series are having shortages (due to nVidia not being able to economically sell them since ATi is making their GPUs at a cheaper price, with comparable performance - yay at nVidia failing to realize that the future is not in huge monolithic processors!). nVidia pretty much pulled the plug on wafer orders, so the partners who are selling higher end 2xx series cards are selling the remaining stock.

If you go with a video card, I would recommend the HD4870/4890 (the 4890 is cherry picked 4870 that's overclocked and runs cooler). Last year I'd go with an nVidia 2xx card, but not now. Stay away from the nVidia 9xxx series, the performance increase is minimal, and the 9500GT is a lower mid-range card. If you can afford it, the newer HD5850/5870 cards are pretty beastly.. they aren't much more than the 4xxx series, and comparable in price to the nVidia 2xx's.

Your RAM seems ok.. shouldn't need more than 4GB unless you're using a lot of memory intensive programs.

A CPU upgrade might be good too .. depending on if you are constrained in games now by your CPU or your GPU.

Ever thought of selling old junk on Craigslist too? I've gotten some luck selling my old gear for a decent price there whenever I was looking into doing an upgrade.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby mooseman » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:59 am

Do you ever sleep, Pr0ph? Or do you just meditate while reading whitepapers and memorizing pinouts of late 19th century argon tube matho-calc processor banks?
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:16 pm

mooseman wrote:Do you ever sleep, Pr0ph? Or do you just meditate while reading whitepapers and memorizing pinouts of late 19th century argon tube matho-calc processor banks?


Whoops, good call Moosey.

*fills up caffeine tank and fills up alcohol tank*

All good now!
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby shipwreck » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:40 pm

mooseman wrote:Do you ever sleep, Pr0ph? Or do you just meditate while reading whitepapers and memorizing pinouts of late 19th century argon tube matho-calc processor banks?


You win!

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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby BigDXLT » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:41 pm

:prayer: :prayer: :prayer: :prayer: :prayer:
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby mooseman » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:34 pm

I really like the techie knowledge that you share w us. It just struck me as funny that day...how whenever there is a hardware thread here, you just waltz in and pwn...effortlessly...completely.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby Furious Gorge » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:00 pm

Which games are you thinking of playing?

I just jumped to the ATI camp with a 5850. Got a really good price on a Boxing Day sale. I've been hardcore nVidia for many years prior. As Proph mentioned, ATI is definitely the way to go if you are looking for the best bang for the buck. And it's been really stable for me.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby shipwreck » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:51 am

The main game is LotRO, for which I want to crank up to all it's high res textured, endless draw distanced glory.

Birthday cash is eeking in so I'll be picking up a new heatsink asap.

Then we'll see if I have the cash/inclination to jump on the ATI bandwagon.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby pr0phetik_dreamz » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:22 pm

The new HD5xxx cards are pretty nifty with the EyeFinity deal too FG. Not sure if it's the weed, but everything seems to feel pretty slow compared to the HD5870 humming inside my box atm.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby shipwreck » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:34 am

I went ahead and got this monstrosity and installed it today. Installation was sketchy at best: there is a 120mm fan that goes on the front of the coils to, I suppose, suck the heat off the coils. I foolishly attached this before securing the heatsink to my board and couldn't get it off, so the thing is basically half-secured. I'm just praying it doesn't fall off.

I used the auto overclock on my mobo to up the CPU to little noticeable effect. So I cranked the frequency from 266 to 400 and poor guy couldn't even start up. Not sure if this a solvable voltage problem or just too much for my lil' guy to handle. So I knocked it down to 300 and it's idling comfortably at 22c.

I'm about to run LotRO and see if there's much of a difference.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby Niteowl » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:42 am

I went from an nvidia 8600GT (passive cooled) to a ATI 4770 (cool, quiet fan), and ti's like I got a whole new computer. Best 100 buck upgrade ever.
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Re: Bang for my Buck

Postby shipwreck » Fri May 14, 2010 10:04 am

Got some more loot for graduating (I'm teh Master!) and was thinking of picking up a whole new rig I found on Craiglist way cheap, but am now leaning against it. $400 for this:

Core 2 Quad 2.33mhz
8g DDR2
640g hdd
1g Geforce GT120
+ lots of extras

At first it sounded like a steal but apparently the GT120 isn't much better than my 8800GT and the quad core won't make a terrible amount of difference for the games I play, from what I understand.

So for about $150 I can get that Radeon 4870, which would probably show more of a difference in actual gaming.
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