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Default Hardware upgrade on the cheap

March 11th, 2010, 08:47
just get a HD4850 or even a 3850/3870. Should be able to play almost any game with just that as an upgrade as long as you don't want a super high res.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/…rd,2569-6.html

My rig isn't that much different than yours and I can play every new game just fine. FO3, Risen etc etc.
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March 11th, 2010, 10:06
So the price on the 9800GT I was bidding for went through the roof, so I opted out on that one. However I managed to grab an ASUS EAH4870, Radeon HD 4870, 512MB instead, for a very good price, actually. So in the end I got a better card for a lower price - I'm happy. A matching memory stick is up tonight. I'll let you know how the upgrade went.
Last edited by GhanBuriGhan; March 11th, 2010 at 12:53.
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March 11th, 2010, 10:52
Make sure to use a tool to get rid of the complete nvidia display drivers before you switch to ATI. And don't accidently delete the nvidia drivers you might still need.
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March 11th, 2010, 11:42
download driver sweeper from guru3d. it always works well for me. Although I would recommend doing a clean install of XP if it's been awhile since you have.
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March 11th, 2010, 12:17
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
download driver sweeper from guru3d. it always works well for me. Although I would recommend doing a clean install of XP if it's been awhile since you have.
While probably sound advice, I'll only do a reinstall if its unavoidable. I'll look into the driver removal tools, although the 'net seems to be divided if they are necessary or even a good idea…
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March 11th, 2010, 14:34
Generally speaking, the drivers from nVidia and ATI are pretty well-behaved. I.e., removing them in the usual way, via the control panel, should be enough. (In fact, things might work just fine even if you don't remove them, other than wasting some time on bootup perhaps.)

(Re the reinstall recommendation, yeah, that's not a bad idea -- but it is a PITA, and if you can get everything to work without it, I can see why you wouldn't want to bother.)
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March 11th, 2010, 15:36
I don't know how far you have come … When upgrading your CPU, take a look at what kind of socket or slot you need.

In my case, for example, I still have the AM2 socket - ith only few possibilities to upgrade left. I'm currently looking for the 4850e by AMD.

The current state is the AM3 socket, if I remember correctly. So, for newer processors you'll need a newer mainboard, too.

What I personally never quite understood is why mainboards are so relatively cheap (or can be, at least), compared to graphics cards. I ould expect rather the opposite, because mainboards are much more necessary for the correct function of a PC than graphics cards.
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March 11th, 2010, 15:46
We talked about CPUs, and there is indeed not much room to upgrade, its a slot 939 board, and there is not much room to upgrade (except for some super expensive and super-rare CPU's that I can't even find for sale anymore). I'll only do the GPU which I just bought and memory, if I can get it cheap enough.
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March 11th, 2010, 21:59
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
We talked about CPUs, and there is indeed not much room to upgrade, its a slot 939 board, and there is not much room to upgrade (except for some super expensive and super-rare CPU's that I can't even find for sale anymore). I'll only do the GPU which I just bought and memory, if I can get it cheap enough.
That's all you really need. Upgrading CPU is a waste of money, since you'll only get minor improvements without upgrading the motherboard also, and it's wasted when you decide to build a new computer (as opposed to a GPU which you can transfer)
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March 11th, 2010, 22:24
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
What I personally never quite understood is why mainboards are so relatively cheap (or can be, at least), compared to graphics cards. I ould expect rather the opposite, because mainboards are much more necessary for the correct function of a PC than graphics cards.
That's easy -- the graphics cards have far more expensive silicon. From a technological, design, and manufacturing complexity POV, the graphics card chipset is about the same as a CPU. The supporting circuitry is comparable to a mobo, and RAM is RAM, more or less.

IOW, a top-range GPU will cost you more or less the same as a top-range CPU plus mobo.
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March 12th, 2010, 10:15
and RAM is RAM, more or less.
Well, GPU use GDDR-5 (so that's not entirely true)
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March 12th, 2010, 11:10
Therefore the "more or less."

Also, only the top-of-the-line ones use DDR5.
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March 16th, 2010, 23:53
So the new card finally came in the mail today, however I wasn't able to buy any RAM yet. Installation went smoothly, just had an issue with the sound device the card installed - had to put the old sound device back on priority to get my sound back. The performance in G3 is rather a mixed bag. The stuttering is still there, slightly reduced, I'd say, but still frequent and goes all the way to outright freezes still. So looks like that is more a memory related problem. The framerate, once its done streaming is a huge improvement though, and I can max everything with no problem which definitely brings some visual improvements. One big downside though: character shadows are gone! That is quite a dissapointment, especially in the desert, where I am right now, I really miss them. I only get shadows when I light a torch now. Seems a couple of people with ATI cards have had similar problems. Tree shadows are still there, but they seem less noticeable than on the Nvidia card, which makes the forsts look less lively somehow.
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April 1st, 2010, 21:39
So finally I managed to grab another GB of RAM, just tried it out. I think that part of the upgrade actually had the bigger impact. G3 is far smoother now, except for the initial texture load, the stuttering is down to some still somewhat noticible but no longer very annoying "lag" now. Time to play again! Thanks again for all the input, guys.
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April 2nd, 2010, 03:21
Strange. If the step from 2 GB to 3 GB had so much impact you must have wasted some serious performance somewhere.
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