August 3rd, 2004


The Upgrade.

Warning: long geek post ahead. If you don't care to hear about bits and bytes and part specifications, skip this post. :)

I did a lot of research last night on it. I was going to do just a patch job, but for what I want (better CPU, and better use of my RAM) I need a new motherboard, which I was trying to avoid. But, now that I've researched everything, I feel better about what I've decided to buy. Plus I told two others which way I planned to go, and they were either using exactly the same gear, or agreed that the gear I planned to get would be excellent. The thing about buying a motherboard is that you're not allowed to buy a cheap one. It's the center of your entire workstation. "Buy quality, cry once," my friend always says (in regards to the high price of quality). But since I DO have to buy a new motherboard, it gives me more of a reason to lash out on a much better CPU.

Currently I'm running:
  • Abit A7V8X Motherboard

  • AMD XP 2100+ CPU

  • 512Mb RAM (400Mhz, but running at 333Mhz)

  • Sapphire Radeon 9600XT.

I can run Doom nicely at 640x480 on medium quality.

I plan to get:
  • Asus P4C800-E Deluxe motherboard

  • Intel P4 3.0Ghz CPU

  • Another 512Mb of 400Mhz RAM

And, while I'm at it, I'll pick up an Auidgy 2; the cheap version.

I won't actually be changing graphics cards at all. I think the current card I have is fine, but the rest of my system is holding it back. After I get the upgrade, I might spend some money on a new card, but at the moment it's not a priority. From what I've read, that upgrade alone will boost the frame-rate I get in Doom 3, as well as a whole host of other games.

I decided to go the hyperthreaded P4's over the pure grunt of the Athlon64s for two reasons. One was price - the 64's are still really expensive. The other was the fact that while 64s absolutely rock at performing a single task extremely well, they fall a little flat when it comes to multitasking. And the hyperthreading makes a noticeable and marked difference for multitasking. It won't be as good for games, but considering I spend more time 'desktop surfing' as one of my friends put it, with 30+ windows open and a whole host of apps running in the background, hyperthreading is going to be a much more cost effective upgrade for me. Plus, when you're running at 3.0Ghz, are you really going to notice a few less frames-per-second in your games? The hyperthreading should also help with my music, to run lots of synths, effects, and audio apps all at the same time. And the Audigy will be good for that, plus it'll provide me with some extra special effects for the newer games that use its EAX HD features.

I'll use the leftover gear to start building a computer for my mum - she's always wanting to compose e-mails, write word documents and get on the net, but I'm on my PC and my sister hogs my laptop. So this should be the catalyst for getting her going. Plus if I do build her one, she's said that she doesn't want cords going about the house for net access, so she might even pitch in and help me make the house wireless. That'd be pretty sweet. :)

So money shall be spent in the near future. For the time being, I won't play much of Doom 3, as I don't want to ruin the experience for myself. I'm going to play it multiplayer with as many people as I can, however. :)

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