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Kain
07-17-04, 06:41 AM
I have been away from the computer world for some time now. I would just like to be updated as I will be buying a new computer in August. So, who offers the best processor right now? AMD or Intel? And what's up with those new chipsets from Intel that offer PCI Express? How are PCI Express graphics cards versus the AGP versions? Who has the best graphics card? ATI or NVIDIA? I know these are quite simple questions, but I have been busy with other things lately.

Riptide
07-17-04, 09:07 AM
As far as who has the best nxt gen gfx card, that is definitely not a simple question IMO. They are pretty close this time around. I'll let someone else tackle that one. :)

As far as the best CPU, for gaming right now it's the Athlon64. For video encoding and things of that nature, the P4 holds the edge typically. PCI Express is one big <yawn> right now IMO. You don't really need it that badly as expansion bus bandwidth isn't that huge of an issue for most of us right now. Plus, the performance improvements DDR2 bring aren't being realized much yet becuase the initial speed is to slow from what I've read.

If it were me, I'd be looking at an Athlon64 if I were going to upgrade this August. Right now AMD has the upper hand.

Gator
07-17-04, 10:06 AM
Athlon64, Nforce3 250 or Ultra, and 6800GT are all you need to know.
:ORDER:

|JuiceZ|
07-17-04, 10:32 AM
Athlon64, Nforce3 250 or Ultra, and 6800GT are all you need to know.
:ORDER:

.

:)

Kain
07-17-04, 10:58 AM
What is the difference between the GeForce 6800 Ultra and GT? How do they compare with ATI's offerings?

Kain
07-17-04, 11:04 AM
One more thing, what is the difference between the AMD Athlon 64 3800+ and the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53? Does the FX-53 processor still require Registered RAM?

stncttr908
07-17-04, 11:48 AM
One more thing, what is the difference between the AMD Athlon 64 3800+ and the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53? Does the FX-53 processor still require Registered RAM?
Yes, the FX needs ECC registered memory.

I'd hold off for the nforce4 to emerge. Socket 939, Soundstorm2, PCI-Express support with the the ability to use NVIDIA's SLI (http://www.nvidia.com/page/sli.html), it has it all. :drooling:

Couple that with two 6800GT's and you'd be crapping your pants for months.

Kain
07-17-04, 12:44 PM
Why is everyone recommending the 6800 GT and not the Ultra?

Riptide
07-17-04, 01:23 PM
The FX53 does *not* require registered RAM. You need to get the socket939 version for non registered memory. It is available. I know, I have one. :)

The 3800+ has a locked multiplier and 512K of L2. The FX is unlocked and has 1024K of L2.

People say the GT for a couple reasons. For one, it's available (Ultras are not in stock) and two you can *probably* overclock it to close to or exceeding stock Ultra clocks.

Kain
07-17-04, 01:29 PM
Thanks.

Is 1GB of RAM enough for games such as Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 and future games? Or should I get 2GB of RAM?

fleshonbone
07-17-04, 04:33 PM
As these guys said, I would go with the an Athlon64 - whether or not you can afford the FX series is up to you, but considering the price/performance ratio of the A64's compared to Intel, there is almost no question about it.

64bit capabilities aside, it's the onboard memory controllers that make the A64's perform much better in a 32bit environment than their Intel counterparts, as the Northbridge still remains to be a pretty significant bottleneck on those systems.

Also, keep in mind that the absence of the Northbridge makes the stock performance of most all the A64 motherboards nearly identical since the controller is on the CPU itself. So, you should choose your mobo based more on stability or overclocking features (if that's what you're interested in) rather than the stock performance of one board over another.

At the very least, I would stick with the Clawhammer A64's (some 3000+'s, and all 3200+'s and up - all will have a 1MB L2 cache) - as the Newscastles (2800+ and 3000+ 512K L2) had an earlier implementation of the onboard controller and had some problems.

Given the fact that socket 754 was phased out so quickly by AMD (in favor or s939), they are your best bet price-wise.

As far as the vid card goes, I am coupling the X800Pro with an A64 3200+, and other than some driver issues with certain games, the performance is astounding.

1GB of of good quality RAM should be plenty (which is what I'm running), although more won't hurt. I would say Farcry's draw distances and heavy foilage make it a candidate for eating up a lot of memory and with all settings maxed I don't think it even approaches 512MB of system memory - I will let you know about D3 when I get it in about 2 weeks -

Have Fun

coldpower27
07-17-04, 05:03 PM
Well, there is the possibility, if you can hold out till late August, that you can get Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939, for somewhere in the 300-400US range. Considering, that Intel is slated to lower it's prices then and AMD usually follows suit.

I would also like to recommend the Geforce 6800 GT, it's 399US MSRP, but it's offers great performance and advanced features.

If you would like to get a cheaper AMD processor Socket 754 Athlon 64's can be with the lower Athlon 64 2800+ - Athlon 64 3200+ or so.

Kain
07-17-04, 05:25 PM
Thanks for all the info!

I will need a computer before August 30 because that is when my college starts. Secondly, I will be buying a pre-built computer because I won't have the time or build the computer and install the all the software myself. I am looking at Alienware, and yes, I know they are more expensive and building your own computer, but their performance is good and the components inside are of high quality as well.

kahloq
07-17-04, 05:56 PM
I can honestly say I'd recommend Alienware. Especially for someone that doesnt have the time to build their own. I myself bought an Alienware and couldn't be happier with it.

Since you will be going to school(college), you should take into consideration what types of classes you will be taking. If theres any graphics design or anything computer related as far as classes(not meaning like wordprocessing, but like video editing, 3d design, cad, etc).then actually Intel is the better choice here. Yes the Athlons are great cpus and in some cases outpace the Intel in gaming by marginal amounts. That is not generally the case with non gaming environments. Yes there are places the AMD's hold a slight advantage, but if college use is the main purpose of buying a PC, I would recommend Intel. But, if you choose AMD, you wont be dissappointed either. Go with what brand you YOURSELF are most comfortable with. Everyone here will give you their own BIAS and maybe not the most accurate information.
AS far as gaming, Intel and AMD are quite competative in that regards. If you buy an Intel for college use for classes, you wont be dissappointed in its gaming ability. Both will perform extremely well. Depending on your budget, get what you can afford and like.

AS far as the gfx card. I will most definetly recommend NVIDIA over ATI. The 6800 series is by far the better buy. Both in performance in the majority of cases, plus all 6800's support SM3.0 as well as dx9.0c. ATI does not in any way support SM3.0 and that cannot be emulated by SM2.0. SM2.0 can do msot of the same things SM3.0 can but with more passes which means it takes longer. There are other visual enhancements that SM3.0 has to offer, but games are not on the market yet to take advantage of it JUST yet. However, many games coming real soon WILL! Farcry is adding SM3.0 support and there is already a developer patch that does so.

As far as raw speed wise:
6800 ultra(499.99 MSRP) and Ati x800 XT-PE are even. Some case the x800 xt-pe leads(by a slight margin), half the time the 6800 Ultra leads. OpenGL is Nvidia's territory. ATI cannot touch it right now.
6800 GT and x800 pro: 6800 GT leads in almost all cases for the same price(399.99 MSRP). The GT can be overclocked generally to STOCK Ultra levels. This is why many are recommending the GT over the Ultra. I myself own a BFG 6800 Ultra OC and have gotten it to 454 core and 1280 mem with no artifacts with AIR cooling only. Admittedly, some ppl have gotten their gpu cores higher then mine, but I have yet to see many at all reach the memory speeds Ive gotten :) A GT can usually get near 1150 or so on avg. Some have gotten to 1200. For the core, the general consensus seems to be an avg OC of about 420 on the core for a GT. On avg for an Ultra, its higher and usually in the 440's - 450's. However, if your not into overclocking, then the GT is the best bang for the buck at stock speeds(350 core...or bfg's is 370 core). Now, the only problem with Alienware is they want you to pay extra money for a 650 watt PSU if you get an 6800 ultra. I myself am using a 420 watt PSU in my Alienware and still have great OC ability and everything runs stable with my 6800 ultra.

Kain
07-18-04, 06:53 AM
Thanks!

I will be taking business-related classes in college. So nothing to do with graphics design. However, I do want a computer that will play Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 flawlessly.

However, you say that the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra is the better card than the ATI alternative for these two games?

Kain
07-18-04, 07:21 AM
How is this computer?

Warranty: 1-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support with Onsite Service
Chassis: Alienware® Full-Tower Case (480-Watt PS) - Space Black
Power Supply: 650 Watt Max Power Supply Upgrade
Processor: AMD Athlon™ 64 3500+ Processor with HyperTransport Technology
Motherboard: ASUS® A8V Deluxe - VIA K8T800 Pro Motherboard
Memory: 1GB Extreme Dual Channel DDR PC-3200 SDRAM at 400MHz - 2 x 512MB
Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce™ 6800 Ultra 256MB DDR3 w/Digital and S-Video Out
Video Optimizer: AlienAdrenaline: Video Performance Optimizer
Video Cooling: AlienIce™ Video Cooling System - Astral Blue
System Drive: Extreme Performance - Serial ATA RAID 0 - 73.4GB (36.7GB x 2) Western Digital Raptor™ 10,000 RPM w/16MB Cache
Optical Drive One: Lite-On® 16x DVD-ROM Drive with Software DVD Decoder
Optical Drive Two: Lite-On 52x32x52x CD-RW Drive
Floppy Drive: 3.5" 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive - Black
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster® Audigy® 2 High Definition 6.1 Surround
Network Connection: High Speed Gigabit Ethernet
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
Display One: NEC 19" CRT Flat Screen MultiSync FE991SB - Black
Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia™ Ultra 5.1 500-Watt Speakers
Keyboard: Microsoft® Multimedia Keyboard - Space Black
Mouse: Microsoft® IntelliMouse Explorer 4.0 - USB
Gamespot Complete: Gamespot Complete - Free 90-day Trial
Free Alienware T-Shirt: Free Alienware® T-Shirt - White

Kain
07-18-04, 07:23 AM
By the way, do you think I will see the increase in performance due to RAID 0 in games?

Riptide
07-18-04, 09:03 AM
By the way, do you think I will see the increase in performance due to RAID 0 in games?
I don't. There was some testing done over on anandtech recently regarding that and it was shown to have almost -0- perceivable increase.

Now, copying 5gig worth of files right across your volume on the other hand is a different story. But just loading some level in FarCry... No.

Kain
07-18-04, 11:23 AM
Thanks.

Which do you think is the better hard drive? The Seagate Barracuda or the Western Digital Caviar SE?

saturnotaku
07-18-04, 11:38 AM
Stick with the Raptors you have listed in your configuration. But if you want another hard drive for backup purposes, either drive will offer comparable performance. The choice is up to you really. :)

Kain
07-18-04, 01:31 PM
What about the monitor? Should I go for LCD or CRT?

UDawg
07-18-04, 03:57 PM
CRT for gaming as most will tell you, you should.