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billmaudio
02-20-10, 05:01 PM
hey guys,

I have a few questions that I was hoping you could answer, and being a total noob when it comes to PC gaming please forgive me if I am a bit naive.

I did some searching on this forum, and found some people that are somewhat in the same boat as me, but I was hoping to get some advice on what i should do with my exact system, so here we go.

I am a huge gamer, though for me it has always been with consoles, I've always had a pc that could play a few PC games, but all my money went into consoles. I work in the gaming industry now, and thus have met a ton of PC gamers and I'd love to jump online with them, and honestly PC gaming is starting to really grow with me, ( mouse and keyboard FTW!). But I am hoping to get some advice on how I can beef up my system a bit to give me better FPS, and overall better looking games without breaking the bank.

My current system is as follows:

EVGA e-8800GT 512mb pci-e
core 2 duo 2.4ghz
windows xp sp3
3.25gigs of ram
3 sata hdd, each at 7200rpm ( I also use this pc for music and audio editing, thus the 3 hdd )
monitor is a gateway lcd that gets me 1400x900

as far as what i do for audio editing, my system is pretty strong, but I am wondering what I can do to eek out some more performance from a gaming standpoint. I thought about getting a GTX280 but going through this forum I read that since my monitor tops out at 1400x900 it's not really worth it ( is this true?). My other option is perhaps upgrading to a core 2 quad processor ( wish I could get an i7 but my mobo only accepts LGA775 ) but I am not sure if that will really get me better gaming performance.

Right now I can play BFBC2 at about 30fps but my AA is set at 1x, and my resolution is below 1400x900, as are some of the other options. Bioshock runs ok, but chugs every once in awhile so I have to bring my settings down. L4D seems to run ok as well. But I'm looking to run a bit better then ok, I'd love to get constant framerates above 30.

Again, I am not looking to get the best gaming rig on the planet, but something that will make me proud to own and make me go "wow that looks good" whenever i shoot someone in the face in BFBC2 ( haha ). Any help is appreciated! Thanks guys!

-Bill :afro2:

ragejg
02-20-10, 05:24 PM
Hi Bill and welcome to nvnews. Hope you stick around. :)

Like you, I game at a slightly low resolution, so my requirements aren't as high as others who game at 1680x1050 and above.

A GTX 280 might be a bit of an overkill for you, but do consider that performance requirements are definitely going to get steeper in the coming months/year. A 275 might be a better sweet spot for you right now IMO.

Weigh the benefits of selling your LGA setup for a new intel combo that supports I3/I5/I7. Jumping to the new tech might be worth it at this time. If you can't, a quad will help for now for sure, and difference will still be dramatic.

Good luck. :)

FlakMagnet
02-21-10, 02:27 AM
Hi Bill,

You're rig doesn't sound too bad actually :) I have friends at work who game on lesser rigs, but then they are not really hardcore gamers.

A couple of things you can do with your current rig will really help you decide what needs to be upgraded. It could be that your graphics card is holding you back or that your CPU is the bottleneck. So try the following and see how you get on.

1. To determine if your graphics card is the bottleneck, run your games at the lowest resolution you can, keeping all the detail etc. as you like them. Use FRAPS to measure the game performance. If you get significantly better framerates, then you would benefit from a faster graphics card. If the framerates are not a lot better, then your CPU is probably holding you back.

2. Run your games as you do normally, and look at the CPU usage. There are tools available that can help you graph CPU usage, but you can always use TaskManager as a last resort (I use EVEREST which does have a free trial version ;)). If the CPU is maxing out while gaming, then you could benefit from a faster CPU.

A word of warning when looking at CPU usage (and a lot of people don't realise or understand this) - If you have a Dual core (or more) CPU and CPU utilisation is low when gaming, you can still be CPU limited! For example, if you have 2 cores and you are running a single-threaded game, the CPU will only be used 50% at best. So if you are looking at a CPU graph with 2 cores displayed and they are both sitting at around 50% usage, you are probably running a single-threaded game and are still CPU limited. Try to find out if your game(s) are multi-threaded or not to understand what you see in the CPU graphs.

Another word of warning - if your favourite game does not utilise more than the number of cores you currently have, moving to a CPU that has more cores running at a similar speed will not gain you a lot as the additional cores will not be utilised much. For example, I have an i7 with 8 cores, but most games don't use all 8 cores and I would probably see the same performance in games with a quad core with similar clocks.

Having said that, more games are being written with multi-core support, so more cores will work better with those new games.

If you do upgrade you CPU or graphics card, you will probably find that the other component then becomes the bottleneck as your current graphics card and CPU are pretty well matched :)

I think you have enough RAM for most current games, so don't think you need to upgrade that. Your hard drives sound good too, and generally don't contribute much to overall game performance (except loading times). Windows XP is a good gaming OS, so no need to upgrade to 7 if you are on a budget (forget Vista completely - don't even think about it - ever!).

Hope some of that helps, and good luck with the upgrade :thumbsup:

billmaudio
02-21-10, 08:45 AM
Thanks for the awesome info guys! I think what I might do is upgrade to a core 2 quad, it won't just help me with gaming but it will give me a stronger audio rig as well ( I just realized the CPU I have now is just has a 800mhz FSB, so I am under utilizing my mobo on that end). and upgrade the GPU to a GTX275.

Though trying to sell my current mobo with processor ( and mabe the 8800gt ) to upgrade the whole package doesn't sound bad, but I wonder if i could sell it for enough to justify buying a whole new mobo, processor and card.

Great site with friendly people! Thanks!

methimpikehoses
02-21-10, 10:51 AM
What mobo do you have?

Revs
02-21-10, 11:00 AM
^ Same question. You thought about overclocking? :D

Also, what CPU and cooler is it?

Welcome to the forum, bud :)

EDIT: An idea of your upgrade budget would be helpful for an idea of what to recommend.

billmaudio
02-21-10, 11:53 AM
^ Same question. You thought about overclocking? :D

Also, what CPU and cooler is it?

Welcome to the forum, bud :)

EDIT: An idea of your upgrade budget would be helpful for an idea of what to recommend.

My mobo is: BIOSTAR TFORCE945P LGA 775 Intel 945P ATX Intel Motherboard

My cpu is: Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 Allendale 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W

as far as a budget. I'd like to keep it around $300 or so. I'm getting a nice refund, but also getting married this year so need to keep it low enough that the fiance doesn't really notice hahaha

Revs
02-21-10, 11:58 AM
Get an E8400 and a GTX260, overclock em both and you'll have a nice fast gaming rig for $300 :)

EDIT: What memory do you have? 3Gb is enough, but is it good stuff?

Revs
02-21-10, 12:02 PM
Also, incase you missed it, Sowk is selling a Q6600 and some nice RAM....

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=148098

This would be a good buy if you wanted a quad. They run a little hotter but OC nicely and at that price it's a damn good buy.

ragejg
02-21-10, 12:04 PM
I'd definitely go for more cores in that setup. So hopefully a quad can be had for cheap.

billmaudio
02-21-10, 12:56 PM
sorry guys, I gave you the wrong mobo. I actually have this

BIOSTAR TForce TP35D2-A7 LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel


for ram this is what I have

CORSAIR 4GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)

methimpikehoses
02-21-10, 01:05 PM
I would consider a Q6600 or something comparable, and after that you might try a GTX 275, or an ATI 4850. Either of those would be quite good at 1440x900.

bob saget
02-21-10, 02:34 PM
Yep. Q6600 or Q9550.
Just to make sure, check that you have a power supply at/greater than 600ish watts (someone correct me if I am wrong). I think the 275 needs more juice than the 8800GT, but I may be wrong.

billmaudio
02-21-10, 07:31 PM
wow thanks for all the replies and advice guys, this has been super helpful. The more I think about it, the more I might want to upgrade my mobo and get an i5 if I can. Mostly because the mobo I have now has a pcie x16 but it is not 2.0, so I feel like it would bottleneck any new card because of that. Plus if I can get a decent mobo and a decent i5, I can always upgrade to a i7 when the prices come down next year, and this will make doing my audio work much better as well.

but then again, I could probably survive getting a q6600 and not worring about the 2.0. DECISIONS!!

ragejg
02-21-10, 08:03 PM
the mobo I have now has a pcie x16 but it is not 2.0, so I feel like it would bottleneck any new card because of that.

Just to clear something up and offer some perspective, that slot wouldn't be a real botttleneck. For what it's worth an AGP slot offered no performance disparity between itself and PCI-E even with a card like an HD3850, which even these days is still no slouch. Heck even when kicked down from 8x to 4x there wasn't really any noticeable performance decrease.

Revs
02-21-10, 08:27 PM
I could probably survive getting a q6600 and not worring about the 2.0. DECISIONS!!

I'd do that and start saving for an i7. i5's are a differect socket, and rage is right.

billmaudio
02-21-10, 09:45 PM
Just to clear something up and offer some perspective, that slot wouldn't be a real botttleneck. For what it's worth an AGP slot offered no performance disparity between itself and PCI-E even with a card like an HD3850, which even these days is still no slouch. Heck even when kicked down from 8x to 4x there wasn't really any noticeable performance decrease.


and this is why I came to this board :) Thanks, I'll just stick with my mobo then, you saved me some money