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I need some objective feedback on the following situation. Opinions are welcome (AMD vs. Intel, etc...) but I need some feedback from you hardcore techies on how to proceed. Thanks in advance.

...do I use the 30-day return and go back to my old setup?...

Ok, I made an impulse purchase based on what appears to be mis-information (or lack of real knowledge) on the part of the sales guy. I guess *I* should have know what I was getting, but I had a lapse in judgment and trusted an unknown sales associate. I know many that I do trust... anyway, here's my story.

I have been having some minor issues with my current setup as I put more and more resource hungry apps (Battlefield 2 for one) on my machine. It won't run so first I upgrade my display adapter to an ATi Radeon 9250 256MB. Install goes fine, but game performance is choppy at best and will lock for about 3 seconds every time I pull the trigger. So I get to thinking... maybe its time to update the processor. I (have) had the Asus P4T with a P4 1.7GHz cpu and 1 gig of Rambus.

So I'm at the electronics super store, and I'm looking for a mobo that will allow me to update my cpu and still allow me to use my (already paid for) 1 gb of rambus. No Luck. It's almost all DDR now so I'm shown a couple of mobo/cpu combos and am told this will be a *great* improvement over my current setup. It's a Gigabyte GA-K8NS mobo with an AMD Sempron 2800+ cpu. And I buy the necessary 512MB of PC3200 DDR ram. It wasn't until I got home that I realized that 2800+ worked out to be 1.61Ghz - less! that what I already had.

Previous setup:
Asus P4T mobo
P4 1.7GHz cpu
1 gig of Rambus

Current setup:
Gigabyte GA-K8NS mobo
AMD Sempron 2800+ (1.61 GHz) cpu
512MB of PC3200 DDR ram

My system performance in general appears to be slower with the new setup,

Obviously 1gb is better than 512, but I am told that DDR processes faster than Rambus. And since it's pretty cheap I will be buying another stick soon to bring it up to 1gb

So, do I use the 30-day return and go back to my old setup (and use that $$$ to buy the P4 2.4 GHz cpu) Or do I stick with the current setup and upgrade the cpu/ram as I am able to. One plus about the Gigabyte mobo is that it is 64-bit capable, So somewhere down the road I can upgrade to that.

I have about $200 invested in this new setup, and returning to my old setup and replacing the cpu with a 2.4 GHz will only cost me about $150.

Decisions, decisions... Thanks for your input.

rs

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Last Post by redsabre
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It wasn't until I got home that I realized that 2800+ worked out to be 1.61Ghz - less! that what I already had.

A lower frequency it seems, but in case you didn't know, gigahertz isn't the main indicator of performance in CPUs anymore - it's the design of the core and how much work it can do per clock cycle.

That Sempron 2800+ there is based on the Athlon 64 - quite simply the fastest gaming CPU on the market. They've stripped the 64-bittiness and chopped some of the internal cache off, but it's still a capable CPU and easily surpasses your doddering 1.7Ghz P4.

Why the less than stellar gaming performance? Simple - it's your video card. The 9250 you have there is based on technology first released back in 2001 and, unfortunately, is one of the slowest cards currently available. If you want to play BF2 at a decent frame rate (and with graphics detail that doesn't make you cringe), then you'll need at least a 6600GT or an X700 Pro. Doubling your RAM is also a good idea - BF2 seems to love the stuff.

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I didn't know... thanks for the education. I am glad to hear that the technology in the Sempron is superior. I began to have my doubts about the 9250 becasue I was pretty sure that a less than 10% decrease in GHz was not likely my issue, being fairly sure that AMD's Sempron was newer technology. And I do want to stay with the Gigabyte mobo so that I can upgrade when I want to.

That being said, I can't really afford a 6600GT or an X700 Pro. The other card I have my eye on, and it is a card that BF2 recommends under its system requirements as a supported, is the ATI Radeon 9600 Pro AGP 256MB. Obviously not a higer end card, but do you think it will perfom much better that the 9250(not on the list :eek: )??

More ram is my next move after the new video card.

Thanks for your reply and great information...

rs

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The Radeon 9600 Pro sure is better but not by much. For today's games it would not perform that well. Especially not with BF2.

For about 90$ you can get a 9600xt (better than 9600 Pro).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102326
For your budget, it's the best you can get but still won't measure up to a gamer's expectations.

For a gamer, the video card is the piece of hardware that is the most important. If you have a 3000+ cpu with a 6600GT and a 3700+ cpu with a Radeon 9600, the 3000+ will perform better in games.

I know you dont have the budget now but maybe you should wait to have more bucks to get a better card. As of now, you could get a 6600GT for around 144$ here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130220

Maybe it is 60$ more than what you wanted, but it is worth every extra dollar. With a 9600, you will want to change it again next year anyway.

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Ok, thanks for the advice. I will probably wait a few months and get the right card the first time. You mentioned the 6600GT, but it is not listed in the BF2 supprted video cards. Will it still do the job or should I go with the X700 Pro (which is on the list). I also notice that the cards you pointed me to are both 128MB. Is that all I need? Thanks.

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Display card is certainly a problem and your budget is too restrictive. I'd forego some of the games you wish to play for now and do a bit more saving. Many people are reporting that Battlefield 2 will eat up 2Gb of RAM, so 512Mb is hardly sufficient. I'd be looking at upgrading to at least 1Gb of RAM and changing that display card to at least an X700 Pro or preferably an NVidia 6600GT. Anything short of that is going to dissappoint you for the sort of gaming you're after.

Sorry to tell you that, but the lesser alternatives really don't suit!


Edit: The listed cards are the ones they've tested it on, not the limits of what it will run on. 6600GT is a better card than X700 Pro.

Also, more than 128Mb of video RAM is a waste of time unless you plan to spend much more money on a more capable card. It's for storing texture details, and the mid-range cards don't have the capacity to run detailed enough textures to need the extra display RAM.

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OK, now I'm looking at the X700 PCIe. Will the PCI express interface work in a standard PCI slot? I don't think my mobo has the PCI express interface.

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You moved from a Real PRocessor, to a budget processor, which is part of your problem.

You went from a P4 1.7 ghz processor with more cache, to an AMD Semperon Class (equivlant of a celeron in AMD's case) with less cache.

You would have been alot better off with a AMD XP or AMD 64, or even a P4 2.8

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You moved from a Real PRocessor, to a budget processor, which is part of your problem.

You went from a P4 1.7 ghz processor with more cache, to an AMD Semperon Class (equivlant of a celeron in AMD's case) with less cache.

You would have been alot better off with a AMD XP or AMD 64, or even a P4 2.8

Yes, but what about what Cocnut Monkey said?

A lower frequency it seems, but in case you didn't know, gigahertz isn't the main indicator of performance in CPUs anymore - it's the design of the core and how much work it can do per clock cycle.

That Sempron 2800+ there is based on the Athlon 64 - quite simply the fastest gaming CPU on the market. They've stripped the 64-bittiness and chopped some of the internal cache off, but it's still a capable CPU and easily surpasses your doddering 1.7Ghz P4.

The reality is I have already purchased this. My older mobo is not upwardly scalable and it wouldn't take more than a 2.4GHz, not much of an increase.

I will one day move up to the Athlon 64 as my budget allows. Until then I just want to get to playing BF2 (really the only game I'm playing).

So, that being said - do you know if a PCI express card will work in a standard PCI slot?

Thanks for helping a newbie out, I appreciate and respect all the opinions and information I'm getting here!

rs

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No, a PCI Express card will not fit in a PCI slot. They are both totally different. You would need another motherboard to get PCI-e.

You should just buy an AGP card for now and like you said, go to AMD 64 later and PCI-e at the same time. The 6600GT is better than X700 Pro and there is no AGP X700 anyway (dont think so).

EDIT: And BTW it would have been only about 10$ more for a athlon XP 2800+ instead (it has double the cache and it is 2.1 ghz. not same socket though)

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Yes, I am aware of all that fun jazz about processor speeds, but not only did you not gain a whole lot of speed, you didn't gain much raw power.

A AMD XP 2500+ would probally out preform you 2800+ semperon, regardless of clock speed, the 2500+ has a better cache, which means it works harder.

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Cool, so now I am switching focus... I'm gonna bite the bullet (use plastic) and get the Athlon64 3200+ and the 6600GT. You only live once, right? Thanks for all the input.

rs

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Do make sure you have the motherboard to support the AMD 64 processor before you run off and buy one!

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Yeah, I just checked it out... thanks

AMD Athlon 64 3200+(CG,SledgeHammer,130nm,L2-512KB) 1600
- OK!

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You moved from a Real PRocessor, to a budget processor, which is part of your problem.

You went from a P4 1.7 ghz processor with more cache, to an AMD Semperon Class (equivlant of a celeron in AMD's case) with less cache.

I disagree Zachery - the Sempron is question may have less cache than other chips out there, but it does have the A64 core up its sleeve, giving it quite a bit of grunt, especially when compared to the rather ancient 1.7Ghz P4 from before (which, incidently, only has 256Kb of L2 cache ;) ).

As we can see here, a Sempron 2600 does a pretty good job in gaming (and overclocks like the clappers).

In the end however, it's the video card that you should really focus on! I would suggest reallocating money from the CPU replacement to something like a 6800GT. ;)

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I disagree also. The initial Sempron releases were based on the Athlon XP core but had less cache. The current Sempron range, which replaces the earlier version, is based on the Athlon64 core and is considerably better.

Video card is the primary area of concern for 3D performance here, and as stated earlier I consider a 6600GT to be a minimum acceptable level of performance in today's world!

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UPDATE:

Until I decide what to do I have re-installed my old Asus P4T/P4 1.7GHz/1gb Rambus with my newer ATi 9250 256MB P.O.C. Miracle of Miracles... I can play BF2 without it freezing up :) choppy at intense moments and not the smoothest of graphics, but I can live with it for now. I'm gonna save up (plastic's too close to max for comfort) for the 6600GT or better and then go with more processor down the road as the prices begin to drop.

Thanks again for all of the great info guys... good stuff.

rs

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