View Full Version : Budget BF 1942 build turns into Bad Company 2 build

06-30-10, 08:44 AM
Warning: This is a story, so it's gonna be long-winded.

My best friend Cass was the only friend I had who did LAN gaming. He was a big tall guy with a ponytail and boundless enthusiasm for his family, his music, his friends, and PC gaming.

When he started off, he had a PII 400 media server and a Duron 1000 rig with a Geforce 2. I helped him upgrade the Duron rig with a Geforce 4 MX and helped him build another rig with an ECS Socket A rig with a GF3 ti200.

Then he got two copies of BF 1942, and good times ensued. :)

After a little while I got him to get a Geforce 4 ti 4200. We put that in the ECS rig and put the GF3 in the Duron rig. Now both systems could play BF 1942 @ 1024x768 @ medium/high detail.

I went over to his house a heck of a lot, and we played a lot of Battlefield, a little bit of C&C Tiberian Sun, and we tinkered/benchmarked a lot as well.

Both rigs sat next to each other in his living room. He had flightstick for vehicle control for one of them, and a PS2 controller for the other. Another cool novelty was a little 1970s 10" or so b&w TV being used as a secondary monitor on one of the systems for Winamp/AIM.

Then I got him to get another decent black and windowed case with blue lighting from Newegg, and we built him a Socket A system on the cheap in 2004, as he was getting into C&C Generals, and was gonna buy BF Vietnam. At the time the specs made it a decent midrange rig... XP 2400+ with a light overclock, Epox 8RDA3i, 1gb PC3200 in dual channel, WD400JB, and a nice FX 5700NU. I did hook him up with a 5700U shortly after but idk what happened to it.

I didn't see him much at all from late 2004 to mid 2005. We kinda had a little bit of a falling out as my gf of five years had left me (for good reason) and was now with his brother; something I wasn't very happy about. We no longer gamed together. Sad John was sad. :(

We hung out a few times in mid '05. No gaming though. Just a couple beers and a couple small arguments.

Then he had a brain aneurysm and died.

That rocked my world, because I hadn't been around much for him in the recent months, and he was a friend that I really, really valued, despite our recent differing opinions regarding his brother and my ex.

So, much time has since passed. Cass' system sat for much of the last few years, getting used once in a while but mostly collecting dust. No more Battlefield.

I have since buried the hatchet with Cass' brother as he's been good to my ex. He's had a couple kids with her, he's a hard worker, and he's remained the pretty cool guy that he always was (I was actually friends with him before I met Cass, but he wasn't that much into computers). Most importantly he's a good (alternate) father figure to my son.

I noticed a few weeks ago that the old Socket A system was sitting in the inside porch. They were ready to toss it, because it was being flaky for some reason. I offered to take it and to try to rebuild it. Justin wanted to play Battlefield again.

So I told him that it'd be really cool if I could upgrade it a little for a small charge so he could play some games on his 32" LCD TV.

So first I worked with the rig to ascertain the possible problems. After getting the BIOS sorted out, I found out that the system was fine, but it needed a better PSU and some RAM since most of the memory was pirated to go into some other machine. I purchased an HD 3850 AGP and a Mobile XP 2800 (with unlocked multi), got some RAM, and also scored a better PSU.

Then I got to thinking, and found out that I could have upgraded the rig to Socket AM3 for pretty cheap. I though I'd have to start out with a bargain basement GPU and a single core CPU. But after some good investgation I found some better hardware still.

The parts are on their way, so here's the final specs... remember, I wasn't trying to build high-end, and the budget was ridiculously limited:

Phenom x3 8600B (2.3ghz)

I got it for $40. $33 would have gotten me a single core Sempron 140, so I think I made a good score.

BIOSTAR A770E AM2+/AM3 motherboard

I got it for $38. Pretty good deal for an AM2+/AM3 motherboard.

MSI HD 4830 OC Edition

$55. Can't beat that. I did buy a 3870 for $40 but this 4830 will OC to 4850-4870 spec... sooo, yeah. :p

1x 2gb DDR2 800

$40. When we put Vista/Win7 on this rig, we'll put another 2gb stick in and go dual-channel.


The rest of the specs are either left over from the old system, or are things I've obtained for free or for a heavy discount.

Cooler Master RS-450-ACLY "REAL 450W" PSU (good rails)
No-name black case, 80mm fans
Ghetto-modded Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 with a new fan on it
WD400JB 40gb 8mb cache hard drive
30gb secondary hard drive (will be replaced soon by a 250 or so)
SB Live! 5.1 (better than nothing, at least it has h/w accel)
DVD Burner
CDRW drive
WinXP legit copy

This rig will make use of a wireless keyboard/mouse setup, and the display is a 32" 1080p LCD TV. I realize that with some newer games, it'll have to run @ 720p, but that's ok, it'll still look nice... a lot nicer than what an Athlon XP and an HD 3850 could do!


So I started building this with BF 1942 in mind, then BF2... and now, I'm certain that Bad Company 2 will actually run quite nicely on it (at 1280x720, medium/high detail, DX9)!

When I give the system to him it won't have BC2 on it, but I'll show off the Crysis demo and maybe some other newer demo that'll show him what the system is capable of. Plus some Sandra benchmark results so he can see how much better this is than the 'ol XP. This system will likely convince him to get BC2 though. :D

Hey, I know this isn't high end, but I didn't have a lot to work with here, and for the money I think I've put together a nice system.

If Cass were around today he would definitely approve of the"reconditioning" I've given his rig. I hope so anyway.


06-30-10, 08:49 AM
Quite nice, its amazing what can be done with some spare parts and a few hundred dollars. I am sure he will be happy with that pc. It should keep chugging along for years to come.

06-30-10, 08:59 AM
Quite nice, its amazing what can be done with some spare parts and a few hundred dollars. I am sure he will be happy with that pc. It should keep chugging along for years to come.

Yeah it'll be nice to be able to be maxed out @ Phenom II x6, GTX 480/HD 5970 instead of XP @ 2.6ghz, HD 3850, that's for sure.

08-18-10, 12:44 AM
Suffice to say, this rig benchmarks "ok". I have the tlb fix disabled which gives back some performance. I got a satisfactory CPU overclock, 2.55ghz. In CPU benchmarks it's about 10% slower than an Athlon x3 425 (2.7ghz) which I gamed on for a while and had great experiences with. The HD 4830... well it gave me some trouble but after a few BIOS flashes and a thorough lapping of the cooler, it's overvolted and still running cool at just under HD 4850 spec.

It runs the COD MW1 demo quite nicely maxed @ 1920x1080, 0xAA/0xAF... that's the only title I've tried at 1080p. The rest I've stuck with 720p. The only problem is that the owner of this rig has some Xbox titles running on that TV @ 1080p, so he does get to see the clarity advantage of that higher rez. Well, what's cool about it is that IF he wants, he could give me the 8600B + $30 and I'd pop in an x3 720BE and unlock/overclock it for him... as far as the GPU I don't think he could get a better deal than almost HD 4850 graphics for $40, so I think he should stick with that for a while... if he wants 1080p visuals in more games then I think I'd have to get at least an HD 5750 for a heck of a steal.