jwocky

Which component speeds up system most?

Recommended Posts

There are OEM versions of the ATi 9800 for $249 that can be BIOS flashed to the 9800 Pro version for free at NewEgg.com.

I'm looking for a video card for my new setup. I can't afford $500 (my budget is about $200, but could be stretched to $250.) I was considering either the 3-head Matrox (I don't game and like to run my monitor(s) at 1900x1440, or the ATI 9600 Pro.

I'm intrigued by the idea of buying an oem version of the 9800 and, you say, increasing the clock speed by flashing the bios? Don't you need to know someone with the 9800 pro bios to do that?

And BTW, what is a 9800 SE?

-- Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CPU hungry apps like Acrobat, JavaScript, and your RTS games would benefit from a faster CPU.

I would also suggest upgrading the drive as well to a Raptor. The WD800JB is a nice drive (I have one myself), but one thing it is not is 'snappy' unless the files being requested are already in the cache. IMO, the drive is usually the bigger bottleneck unless you have specific CPU bound tasks.

I guess it depends what computing activity/task you would like to improve the most. What specific things do you do with your PC that make you say "I wish I had a faster computer"? Answer that question and then "what should I upgrade" answers itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 9800 SE is the All-In-Wonder version of the Radeon 9800 Pro.

Even if you don't overclock it at all, the 9800 is a good buy today.

The Raptor 72 GB will be a good buy in November, if you've already got an SATA adaptor.

For you, though, perhaps an Athlon XP 2500+ & Nforce 2 Ultra 400 motherboard would be a good buy, since you've already got half a gig of DDR333.

Follow e_dawg's advice, tell us which apps/uses feel slowest and what's slow about them, and we'll tell you which component is holding you back in that use.

To be honest, your specs are all pretty reasonable, so there's no obvious component to recommend you replace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But my 1.6G P4 can't be THAT much of an improvement over the 1.4, and I get 33% improvement over spec speed easily...it doesn't seem like it would hurt to try...

1.6 or 1.6a (northwood)? HUGE difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm looking for a video card for my new setup.  I can't afford $500 (my budget is about $200, but could be stretched to $250.)  I was considering either the 3-head Matrox (I don't game and like to run my monitor(s) at 1900x1440, or the ATI 9600 Pro.

I'm intrigued by the idea of buying an oem version of the 9800 and, you say, increasing the clock speed by flashing the bios?  Don't you need to know someone with the 9800 pro bios to do that?

-- Rick

I believe it is downloadable from ATis web site...check the comments section on NewEgg.com, they have discussion from people that have done it. Everyone that has tried it has reported that it works.

Of course, if you really don't game, then I would bag the ATi entirely and go with something oriented more for pro graphics and CAD/CAM: a 3DLabs Wildcat VP560. Their entry-level board is only $199, and supports dual 370Mhz RAMDACs, ultra-high resolutions, dual DVI-output, and the best dual monitor software support short of Matrox. In addition, while ATi is known for having sometimes problematic drivers, 3DLabs has the best drivers around. Wildcats get bundled with many of the workstation-class systems that IBM/Dell/HP ship, for a good reason. Even back in the old Permedia 2 days, 3DLabs had great 2D...I used to use a 3DLabs Permedia 2 board in my old dual-PII workstation and loved it. You didn't say what you were to use this system for, but if it's not gaming, I suspect that it is more than just web browsing, and a Wildcat or other pro board may make a lot of sense...

Future Shock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a Samsung 170mp.. switching over to the Sony SDM-X73. I'm perfectly content with these components :D

I appreciate everyone's comments... sometimes it just takes some perspective to realize that I don't have a snail of a system in order to run the applications I run. It's easy to get caught up in the numbers, so to speak, when I'm looking at computer hardware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe it is downloadable from ATis web site...check the comments section on NewEgg.com, they have discussion from people that have done it.  Everyone that has tried it has reported that it works.

3DLabs Wildcat VP560.  Their entry-level board is only $199, and supports dual 370Mhz RAMDACs, ultra-high resolutions, dual DVI-output, and the best dual monitor software support short of Matrox.

Newegg no longer carries the plain-jane 9800 -- and hence no longer has comments about them. They've got plenty of Pro's, though. I did, however find a source for the Sapphire 9800.

But on to 3DLabs. The link you posted leads to a WildcatVP at a cost of $199. Would you recommend that over a Matrox P750 or P650?

Oh, my applications. I'm a software developer. I don't run any "rendering" software, but I do need to have my development environment open, a full-sized page of help and another big bunch of pixels for the app I'm working on. That means a two-monitor setup with moderately extremely high (say 1900x1440) resolution at a good refresh rate (85 fps, or better) and razor-sharp text.

I read that the high-end ATI cards had pretty good text, too.

-- Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3DLabs Wildcat VP560. Their entry-level board is only $199, and supports dual 370Mhz RAMDACs, ultra-high resolutions, dual DVI-output, and the best dual monitor software support short of Matrox.

I just checked the 3DLabs website and the VP560 won't give me the refresh rates I need at high resolutions -- I'd need to go to the VP760. I'm trying to find a price on it now, but their website has gone to sleep!

-- Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, my applications.  I'm a software developer.  I don't run any "rendering" software, but I do need to have my development environment open, a full-sized page of help and another big bunch of pixels for the app I'm working on.  That means a two-monitor setup with moderately extremely high (say 1900x1440) resolution at a good refresh rate (85 fps, or better) and razor-sharp text.

I read that the high-end ATI cards had pretty good text, too.

-- Rick

Get the Matrox P650 then. It has much better drivers than ATi, a higher max refresh rate at the upper res than 3DLabs, and is cheaper. ATi does have good text, but still not as good as the Matrox or even 3DLabs, and has worse drivers than both.

FS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Get the Matrox P650 then. It has much better drivers than ATi, a higher max refresh rate at the upper res than 3DLabs, and is cheaper. ATi does have good text, but still not as good as the Matrox or even 3DLabs, and has worse drivers than both.

I'm in there! I'm thinking the P750, though. If I buy it at Newegg it fits my budget, and you never can tell when I'll want to have a three-head display. :-)

-- Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jwocky:

See the next to last paragraph for a comment about your situation - I'm sorry to cut into your topic, but the discussion about video cards lured me in.

I'm interested in non-gaming graphics cards, so 3D's card that FS mentioned sounds like it could be an attractive solution. I read web pages all day long, so 2D clarity is very important. Currently I have an older setup, including a GForce 2 GTX, and that seems to be sufficient for what I do at present. Upgrading will require a new card though.

I do a little bit of graphics in the form of "drawing" fractals, and I'm satisfied with the way they look, but I think that has more to do with the monitor than the card. (Monitor is a 3 month-old Iiyama "Vision Master Pro 454" which replaced an older 17" Vision Master model.) I'm not a professional artist, and don't have commercial intentions, it's just enjoyable to be able to create the images. Aside from that, I think I really don't need all that the even a 5600 or 9600 card offers. The one exception is that there are ways to animate fractals, which I may try to do some day, but the composition of the fractals themselves is mostly a CPU intensive operation. Stringing them together in an animation doesn't really seem to me to require much video processing power.

I'm just trying to scope out what kind of card I'll get for the system I'll build next spring, and 3D's cards look like they may be a real good choice.

I did want to mention to Rick...

Since the discussion turned to these several models of video cards, that you may want to look at Newegg's page for 3D's cards if you happened to not notice earlier. The price ($189) for the VP760 is less than what Future Shock quoted for the VP560! That's not hardly more than half the price of what 3D itself charges! If it would work for you maybe you could save money over the Matrox card. I didn't try to compare features of the two.

As for myself, I'm not interested in gaming or DVD watching, and if a card like, say, 3D's VP560 would be too much, then I suppose other typical Nvidia or ATi cards in the 5600 or 9600 ranges or above would also be totally extravagant. But I will need a card that will work with a P4 motherboard, and I think some of the older ones won't, depending on the board.

What I think is a plus about 3D's cards is what Future Shock mentioned about their drivers. I'm one of those people who has a weakness for upgrading drivers, and with an Nvidia card, upgrading the driver gets to be just about a bimonthly thing. As far as I can tell, after the first couple of 20-something series drivers, none of the later ones really did much of anything besides add a bunch of bloat that I can't or don't even use. Nview is an example.

So I'm curious if people familiar with 3D's cards think that one of them would be a good choice for me.

I wish I could contribute something to jwocky's quandry, but it seems like the only component people haven't mentioned already is the OS itself. Maybe that's an upgrade that would help in the present, and it may be more enduring than any hardware upgrade.

Nice to have found SR btw. I don't know how I missed it earlier (except for there being something like 3 billion websites in "cyberspace")... the info on drives and other topics here is really helpful.

Sorry for my longwindedness; thanks for reading through it.

AppX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RAM is important. Most CPUs above 800 MHz will play games very well. RAM allows file caching, room to hold games and apps without paging. Video adapter is important for gaming. I usually tell people to get 1 GB of RAM to start out with for the prices that it is today. It is a good investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cheaper to start off with 512MB today and get the other 512MB tomorrow when it's 4x cheaper... that's a better investment if you ask me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ApprenticeX said:

Since the discussion turned to these several models of video cards, that you may want to look at Newegg's page for 3D's cards if you happened to not notice earlier. The price ($189) for the VP760 is less than what Future Shock quoted for the VP560! That's not hardly more than half the price of what 3D itself charges! If it would work for you maybe you could save money over the Matrox card. I didn't try to compare features of the two.

No kidding! I'll have to take a look.

Thanks,

-- Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since the discussion turned to these several models of video cards, that you may want to look at Newegg's page for 3D's cards if you happened to not notice earlier. The price ($189) for the VP760 is less than what Future Shock quoted for the VP560! That's not hardly more than half the price of what 3D itself charges! If it would work for you maybe you could save money over the Matrox card. I didn't try to compare features of the two.

Ok, I just looked at Newegg. The reason I missed the VP760 the first time is because if you search for 3DLabs only the VP560 is returned. The rest of the cards are listed under 3D Labs. (Note the space).

Geez, and I had pretty much decided on the Matrox P650....but, the VP760 is a $400 card. If could get it for $189, I'd way rather have that than the Matrox at (full list) $165.....

Thanks for the pointer!

-- Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi all,

I'm currently running an ancient system by the standards of the members here.  It's a:

P4 1.4ghz

500mb ddr ram

80gig WD "special edition" 7200rpm 8mb cache

ATI Radeon 8500

I don't have enough in my budget to buy completely new components so I was wondering what could I change out in my computer in order to get the most impact in speed?  I do mostly internet surfing and real-time strategy games.

I was thinking of either upgrading to the Raptor drive and/or maybe a cpu upgrade.  Any advice?

Thanks in advance!

Your motherboard uses the SiS 645 chipset, which is officially only rated for 100/400fsb processors. But it is functionally equivalent to the slightly later 645DX version that was rated for 133/533fsb. You can run up to 150fsb with a variaty of memory ratios available on the P4S333.

Since 150fsb is the maximum the boards are stable at (bios allows 166fsb, but stability usually disappears above 150), you need a higher multipler to allow a good OC. A late model 2.0a (C1 stepping) is a good choice as it will run 3GHz at 150fsb, and make astounding differences to overall speed of operation as well as fps in games.

You can use a P4-1.8a or 2.4b (same thing, 18x multiplier) at 150 fsb for 2.7GHz. Would also be a good setup. My 1.8a does 3.42GHz, but that requires 190fsb, some 40MHz in excess of the 645's realistic operating range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since the discussion turned to these several models of video cards, that you may want to look at Newegg's page for 3D's cards if you happened to not notice earlier. The price ($189) for the VP760 is less than what Future Shock quoted for the VP560! That's not hardly more than half the price of what 3D itself charges! If it would work for you maybe you could save money over the Matrox card. I didn't try to compare features of the two.

Ok, I just looked at Newegg. The reason I missed the VP760 the first time is because if you search for 3DLabs only the VP560 is returned. The rest of the cards are listed under 3D Labs. (Note the space).

Geez, and I had pretty much decided on the Matrox P650....but, the VP760 is a $400 card. If could get it for $189, I'd way rather have that than the Matrox at (full list) $165.....

Thanks for the pointer!

-- Rick

The 3DLabs VP760 does 1920x1440 at 90Mhz refresh? Is THAT high enough for you rfarris???

Hell, now I want to get one...

B)

Future Shock

N.B. - sorry I didn't check NewEgg for ya - I am so used to few places carrying 3DLabs cards (they don't play games well...) that I didn't think to go anywhere but their website...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allthough this is not an option ?

A dualie would maybe make a difference.

Not to the fact it is twice as much processor

power (cos it's in reality not) but for the

conveniance of parallel thread support.

This is nice when explorer.exe behaves like

a pig and chewing up all CPU cycles on a

single threaded system for a few seconds

waiting for the HDD subsystem.

I used to sit regulary on a dual P3/450 and

reckon the effect traversing to a single P4/2,66.

Dunno if a HyperThreaded P4 would do the

same good as a dualie.

/casa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
duals are greatly overrated for desktop machines

Maybe. Still, it's pretty nice to have one - one CPU hungry app won't immediately drag down the whole system (though it does make itself felt here, memory bandwidth on the trusty i440LX I guess - a BX fares a whole lot better there). Not trivial to build new these days, though - you often need EPS12V PSUs, and good ventilation is a must. Mine may not be the fastest (in fact, most of the time the poor Cheetah is bored to death, looks like I'm rather CPU/memory bound), but at least it's pretty quiet. (And while P2B-D(S) rev. 1.06 prices go down, I'll be investing my little $$$ in shortwave rigs. My collection of Sony's "7600"s is far from complete yet :P)

For 2D only at high resolutions, Matrox cards should still be best, while the 3DLabs Wildcat III (IIRC this was it) didn't have too great image quality in high resolutions.

To the original poster I'd suggest changing the CPU to some Northwood, that should give enough CPU horsepower for a while and heat less. (Plus, I dislike the old Willamette, lots of power dissipation for a computing power that should be in the range of a PIII-1000EB for the P4 1.4.) In terms of general application performance, a fast hard drive should make itself felt most, though. Present amount of RAM looks perfectly fine, the graphics card should also be easily sufficient for all but the most demanding games (it still has more power than entry-level cards these days).

Stephan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now