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Author Topic: An advice on upgrading a PC  (Read 3389 times)

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Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

An advice on upgrading a PC
« on: May 17, 2006, 11:48:01 AM »
I'm going to modernize my computer soon, after a somewheat long time too.
I'm no techie and it was a few years since i kept track of what's the latest super piece of hardware required to run the lastest superhit game.
I'll also add that because the only game i seriously care about is Civilization 4, and because of that, RAM is more significant to me than graphics.

I'm planning to upgrade my RAM to 1GB at least and pick a new graphic card.

Here's what i have at the moment:
AMD XP 2200+ 1.80ghz
512 ram in the form of two 256 chips
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX 400 with 64MB memory.

Does having RAM in many chips instead of one big makes a difference?
And about graphic cards, does AGP vs PCI express make a difference?

The graphich card i'm considering is a GeForce of some sort, 256MB memory on board.

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 12:07:52 PM »
What motherboard do you have, if you know?

PCI Express is the next step above AGP 8x.  Of course, it depends on what slots your motherboard has.

In older motherboards it was useful to use all motherboard memory banks because the blank ones still get polled.  So two 32 MB SIMMS were slightly slower than four 16MB ones.  I don't know if this is still significant, some suggest the opposite now.  If your motherboard supports dual-channel, however, it will be significantly faster to use two.

Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 01:32:50 PM »
A benchmark program gave me the following:
Memory modules
512 Megabytes Installed Memory

Slot 'DDR 1' has 256 MB
Slot 'DDR 2' has 256 MB
Slot 'DDR 3' is Empty

Main circuit board:
Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. A7V600-X REV 1.xx
Bus Clock: 133 megahertz
BIOS: Award Software, Inc. ASUS A7V600-X ACPI BIOS Revision 1001 10/22/2003

And from that i can only understand i have 2 of 3 slots filled with RAM chips.
I'm at a loss if that info is enough, though...

Offline ZK

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 01:57:16 PM »
I'll probably end up getting a PCI-E around mid 2007, early 2008. But, sofar, it's still "new" technology. I'd wait for specific turnpoint to jump ship to another. But the main things you need to update is RAM and Processor.

As for GeForce, they're nice, next month I'll be getting a 7800GT GeForce 256 MB. Right now at regular [non-net trade] store prices it usually goes around 300-350. A rather nice deal for a 7800GT. Sure, on the net you can get it a hell of a lot cheaper, but, it really depends on where you buy it.

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 02:11:17 PM »
You have an ASUS A7V600-X motherboard.  It supports AGP 8x (it's the brown slot) for your video card, and up to 3GB of DDR DIMMS (PC3200).

Offline ZK

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 02:21:18 PM »
ASUS is a decent manufacturer. I tend to stick around ASUS or MSI. Especially 3D cards when it comes to MSI, they're practically ingenious when it comes to their "Hard" Overclocking tech. As well, as for memory I suggest either one or two gigs of RAM. DO NOT put in odd numbers when it comes to RAM, both nVidia and ATI hate odd RAM numbers and love to crash your PC. ATI is a little easier on the PC when it comes to odd numbers, but both nVidia and ATI crash to it. As for performance, it really depends on the software you're using. Some games and programs run awesome on an nVidia card and horrible on an ATI card and vica versa.

I suggest sticking with a regular MB until a bit down the road to get a PCI-E and some PCI-E cards. Unless of course you have quite a bit of money to spend.

Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 02:50:12 PM »
Thanks a big lot, both of you.

My money isn't too huge, and the 7800GT card is probably outside my reach. Something costing half that would be ideal.

What is an odd number of RAM? 1,5 gigs would count as an odd number?
Oh, and does brand matter when buying RAM? Can some kinds of RAM be meaningfully inferior to others, despite having the same number of MB on them?

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2006, 03:09:03 PM »
"Even" is and power of 2 - 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048...

Brand names matter, Crucial is pretty popular.  Also, you want PC3200 for your motherboard, other stuff will be too slow or wasted money on faster chips.

Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2006, 03:21:44 PM »
"Even" is and power of 2 - 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048...

Brand names matter, Crucial is pretty popular.  Also, you want PC3200 for your motherboard, other stuff will be too slow or wasted money on faster chips.

Okay. PC3200 is a type of RAM, yes?

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 03:24:13 PM »
Your motherboard has a 400 MHz FSB, 400*8=3200, so you want PC3200 DDR Ram.  It's just a measure of how fast it is.

Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2006, 03:34:04 PM »
Yes, i see now. Though for some reason there is no Crucial RAM sold, mostly Kingston or Corsair.

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2006, 03:35:18 PM »
Yes, i see now. Though for some reason there is no Crucial RAM sold, mostly Kingston or Corsair.

Both are still name brand.

Offline alahendra

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Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2006, 03:37:00 PM »
I can highly recommend Micron's RAM for a couple of reasons--my own personal experience with it, and having worked in the past as a technician in the manufacturing industry--I have seen how they do their burn-in and quality control testing, and I've never seen any other company do a more thorough job.

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2006, 03:40:05 PM »
Crucial was a subsidiary of Micron IIRC.

Offline alahendra

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Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2006, 03:44:38 PM »
Hmmm...that may be.  I'm not sure.  If so, then I recommend Crucial too. :)

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2006, 03:48:15 PM »
http://www.crucial.com/

Not the Micron logo on the bottom ^_^

Offline Hannibal

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2006, 04:47:00 PM »
My money isn't too huge, and the 7800GT card is probably outside my reach. Something costing half that would be ideal.

If you are only interested in Civ 4 you might want to look at Nvidia's 6600GT range as they are quite a bit cheaper. It might be worthwhile getting one second hand as they should be quite cheap. Maybe a second hand ATI 9xxx series as they should do the job and be as cheap as chips. Well, cheap chips anyway ;D


What is an odd number of RAM? 1,5 gigs would count as an odd number?

No. RAM has usually worked better when purchased in matched pairs, although that doesn't really apply anymore as the feature it enabled is now enabled by most single sticks of memory. Interleaving (I think) was enabled by having two banks of memory. Each stick of memory used to have a single bank, but almost all is now double banked. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong as I'm working from memory, not having built a computer for a few years.

When adding extra memory don't be too surprised if there are some problems getting it working with your old memory. Different brands of memory don't play well together sometimes. Some motherboards are worse than others at this >:(. Also, if you have sticks of memory with different speeds, they will all run at the slowest speed. For example, if your new stick is PC3200 and your old ones are PC2700, they will all run as PC2700 memory. On the other hand, it is sometimes cheaper to buy the faster memory anyway!

Good luck!

Online Vekseid

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2006, 03:13:56 PM »
No. RAM has usually worked better when purchased in matched pairs, although that doesn't really apply anymore as the feature it enabled is now enabled by most single sticks of memory. Interleaving (I think) was enabled by having two banks of memory. Each stick of memory used to have a single bank, but almost all is now double banked. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong as I'm working from memory, not having built a computer for a few years.

Bank interleaving actually refers to the banks of memory inside a given chip.  It doesn't actually refer to the physical banks on the motherboard itself.

Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2006, 03:51:58 PM »
I'd like to thank all you folks for your input here.
A few days now i'm running on the new PC and everything is sweet.
Without your assistance, i might have wasted much more time and nerves, if not money, on getting to it.
Really, thanks a lot and thumbs up.

Offline robitusinz

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Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2006, 01:17:43 PM »
I'd just like to note that I masturbated to this thread.  3 chicks talking tech...too much.  "PC3200...4x800 = 3200..."  mmmmmmm... *squirt squirt*

Offline Jester

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2006, 11:18:31 AM »
I cant believe no one flamed rob for calling Lilac a "chick". Oh well.

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2006, 09:32:59 PM »
I missed his post entirely O_o

Offline Celestial GoblinTopic starter

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2006, 11:50:44 AM »
Wow, and to think i'll probably in some time need to upgrade again...
For warhammer:mark of chaos.
Bad Rob, you didn't pay the goddess her respect:)
Hmm, anyone got tips about how to steal a large amount of money? Bank robbing maybe?

Offline Lirliel

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2006, 12:04:22 PM »
Start a scientology like church?

Offline Lilac

Re: An advice on upgrading a PC
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2006, 02:16:30 PM »
He had the benefit of being a published sci-fi author.

...I can only imagine what kind of religion someone who gets a majority of their writing experience from here would start >_>