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Thread: Planning a Mobo/GFX upgrade, thoughts please?

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    Planning a Mobo/GFX upgrade, thoughts please?

    Hi all,

    My rig currently consists of an Ath64 3500+ Winchester, Asus A8V Deluxe mobo and an AGP based X800XL card. I recently got a big 24" Dell widescreen monitor and while my games look lovely in 1920x1200, they obviously run a good bit slower than they did on the old 17" TFT at 1280x1024.

    The general consensus seems to be that dual graphics cards seem to be of most benefit to high resolution displays but being an ATI fanboi (dont even try and convert me please!) I don't want to go the SLi route. I also *hate* nForce chipset with a passion, having had numerous problems with RAM on various machines I've put together for customers. So I'm thinking... Crossfire.

    I read that ATI are about to release the X1900 series of cards early in the New Year so I'm going to wait til they're out and maybe drop a little in price. I was thinking about the Asus A8R-MVP Crossfire board (http://www.asus.com/products4.aspx?l...87&modelmenu=1) since it will work with my current CPU and RAM.

    What I was wondering though is, I'm aware that AMD are planning a new socket type (M2 if I remember rightly) so if I buy the above motherboard and appropriate gfx card(s) am I going to find myself seriously limited in terms of new CPU options very soon after buying that board?


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    Nox
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    Go nvidia & SLI, its had months of driver updates and bug fixes, Crossfire is new, and you can guarantee it will be just as buggy as SLI was when it first came out.

    If you hadn't noticed, i'm completely ignoring the bit about trying to convert you

    btw, were you using cheap, non-branded (or non-manufacturer recommended) ram? You can pretty much wait as long as you like, there is new tech around every corner, wait for M2? I bet theres an M3 (or whatever) allready in the pipeline.

    and in all honesty, I would probably recommend completely ignoring crossfire/sli and just getting the best single gfx card you can, be it an ati x1900 or the new nvidia when it comes out in spring.

    Nox

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    You could go on forveer with "If I wait something better will be coming out" Not having any experience with ATi's recent technology (last ATi card I bought was 6 years ago) but my theory is, wait until the new X1900 cards come out and get them, M2 might offer some performance increase but dont forget the premium on brand new technology?

    Also 754 has been going for a good while now, and even a 3700+ OC'd will be enough for gaming way after your graphics cards give up the ghost (imo). So there will still be a few budget options after M2 come out, ones that will give you increased performance.
    "I've heard there is a common problem with this item from forums" - If you read some forums they believe Elvis was abducted by aliens, doesn't mean it's true.

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    Theres a 754 and board for sale in the FS section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nox
    Go nvidia & SLI, its had months of driver updates and bug fixes, Crossfire is new, and you can guarantee it will be just as buggy as SLI was when it first came out.

    If you hadn't noticed, i'm completely ignoring the bit about trying to convert you
    I did notice and you nearly got flames for it I respectfully decline to accept that particular piece of advice thankewe

    Quote Originally Posted by Nox
    btw, were you using cheap, non-branded (or non-manufacturer recommended) ram?
    Point missed on your part - If RAM is sold as PC3200 and the motherboard says it takes PC3200 RAM then it shouldn't matter. All RAM in question worked fine on my Via K8T800 Pro based board so as far as I'm concerned nForce being picky about "brands" of RAM is either a design flaw or some conspiracy to get us to spend more on "branded" RAM. Either is not acceptable in my book. Any motherboard should run PC3200 RAM at standard speeds, end of story.

    The excuse that NF4 Ultra/SLI is "picky about brands" holds less water than a hot day in the sahara with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nox
    and in all honesty, I would probably recommend completely ignoring crossfire/sli and just getting the best single gfx card you can, be it an ati x1900 or the new nvidia when it comes out in spring.

    Nox
    Granted, I was going to do that anyway just that I want an upgrade path so I don't just have to buy the new £350 card late next year when the X1900 or whatever is starting to look a bit tired on it's own, I'd like to be able to get another of whatever I get in spring at whatever price it has dropped to when the time comes.

    Cheers for taking the time to post Nox. Crossfire has some compelling advantages (IMO) over SLi and I like ATI's approach of new drivers every month as well so I'm prepared to ride the initial teething troubles through. Like I said I'll probably just run a single card for the first while anyway.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit
    Hi all,

    My rig currently consists of an Ath64 3500+ Winchester, Asus A8V Deluxe mobo and an AGP based X800XL card. I recently got a big 24" Dell widescreen monitor and while my games look lovely in 1920x1200, they obviously run a good bit slower than they did on the old 17" TFT at 1280x1024.

    The general consensus seems to be that dual graphics cards seem to be of most benefit to high resolution displays but being an ATI fanboi (dont even try and convert me please!) I don't want to go the SLi route. I also *hate* nForce chipset with a passion, having had numerous problems with RAM on various machines I've put together for customers. So I'm thinking... Crossfire.

    I read that ATI are about to release the X1900 series of cards early in the New Year so I'm going to wait til they're out and maybe drop a little in price. I was thinking about the Asus A8R-MVP Crossfire board (http://www.asus.com/products4.aspx?l...87&modelmenu=1) since it will work with my current CPU and RAM.

    What I was wondering though is, I'm aware that AMD are planning a new socket type (M2 if I remember rightly) so if I buy the above motherboard and appropriate gfx card(s) am I going to find myself seriously limited in terms of new CPU options very soon after buying that board?
    I agree with Nox's last comment about using a single videocard. The new ones are so fast dual videocards are not worth the slight performance increases they offer.

    I'm with you on the ATI vs nVidia card issues. I am a huge fan of the NF4 chipset however. I especially like the Asus SLI-Premium stuff, and the Shuttle SN25P, so much so that these are my main two rigs.

    The new X1800XL is a great bargain. At high resolutions it's faster than an nVidia 7800GTX on many games. The X1800XL also overclocks like mad since it has the same memory and processor as the X1800XT. Get an Asus A8N-SLI Premium and an X1800XL and you will be very happy.

    Don't believe all the negative press on the X1800 series...it's all Fanboy rubbish. The X1800XL is an amazing card.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC
    I agree with Nox's last comment about using a single videocard. The new ones are so fast dual videocards are not worth the slight performance increases they offer.
    Hmm OK, I gather from the review of X1800 crossfire on Hexus that the performance gains to be had were a lot more than "slight"...

    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC
    I'm with you on the ATI vs nVidia card issues. I am a huge fan of the NF4 chipset however. I especially like the Asus SLI-Premium stuff, and the Shuttle SN25P, so much so that these are my main two rigs.
    I fancied the Radeon Xpress chipset as apparently it overclocks very well indeed, and like I said I've been put off NF4 for life.

    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC
    The new X1800XL is a great bargain. At high resolutions it's faster than an nVidia 7800GTX on many games. The X1800XL also overclocks like mad since it has the same memory and processor as the X1800XT. Get an Asus A8N-SLI Premium and an X1800XL and you will be very happy.

    Don't believe all the negative press on the X1800 series...it's all Fanboy rubbish. The X1800XL is an amazing card.
    Hmm ok, I already have an X800XL... How much faster is the X1800XL going to be than my card? I've always worked on the principal of missing out every second new graphics card generation since the premium paid for the next one up is usually not worth the performance gain... Am i likely to see better than 2x the boost from X800XL to X1800XL???


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    Nox
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    Slightly off the original topic, and the ram comment - I agree to a point. In an ideal world if it says 'compatible with pc3200', be it the mobo or ram, then yes, it should be compatible. Unfortunately, we're not in an ideal world, and some manufacturers will cut corners to save a fraction of a penny. I would have no problems recommending corsair, or ocz value series (or any other brnaded memory) but I would not tell a friend to buy non-branded stuff that will actually end up costing more by the time you've taken the extra alcohol and pain killers (from banging your head against the wall) into account!

    Back onto the point - it pretty much depends on the things you do with your PC. I'm not really up on ATI cards, but you will find some types of games will be affected a lot more than others. ie, when I went from a 9700pro to a 6800Ultra I noticed no difference in Everquest 2, but for other games it was a huge leap. (unfortunately I was playing eq2 a lot at the time...) so it got sold!

    Nox

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit
    Hmm OK, I gather from the review of X1800 crossfire on Hexus that the performance gains to be had were a lot more than "slight"...



    I fancied the Radeon Xpress chipset as apparently it overclocks very well indeed, and like I said I've been put off NF4 for life.



    Hmm ok, I already have an X800XL... How much faster is the X1800XL going to be than my card? I've always worked on the principal of missing out every second new graphics card generation since the premium paid for the next one up is usually not worth the performance gain... Am i likely to see better than 2x the boost from X800XL to X1800XL???
    no you're not in todays games at reasonable res (1280x1024) where the new cards really shine is in new games that take advantage of the new shaders and hdr (?) technology and ofcourse at high resolutions. I think 1.5x better at the high end the x1800xl will be, but personally if you're buying RIGHT now buy the 7800gtx 256mb scanfx one on deal at £269, I don't know what brand scan use but I'm sure its reputable enough + SLI capable. Over the next 6months the cards won't get massively better just tweaked to the edge of the current generation higher clocks etc.

    Personally your current rig is fine, mines simular just 939 3700+ and pci-e x800xl. I'm currently contemplating the same as you, perhaps getting 2gb ram would be a better idea?

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    OK Nox, I'll give you that on the basis of it not being an ideal world But I'm still an ATI fanboi so running an ATI card on an NVidia motherboard seems... wrong... dirty... immoral...

    Quote Originally Posted by MuTTy_Hc
    no you're not in todays games at reasonable res (1280x1024) where the new cards really shine is in new games that take advantage of the new shaders and hdr (?) technology and ofcourse at high resolutions. I think 1.5x better at the high end the x1800xl will be, but personally if you're buying RIGHT now buy the 7800gtx 256mb scanfx one on deal at £269, I don't know what brand scan use but I'm sure its reputable enough + SLI capable. Over the next 6months the cards won't get massively better just tweaked to the edge of the current generation higher clocks etc.
    OK I see your point. I'm looking for something that will run my games (mainly X3 The Reunion at the moment) at least as smoothly on 1920x1200 as my current X800XL did at 1280x1024. Like I said tho I'm sold on Crossfire so it's really whether to get an X1800XL now or hold off and get an X1900 of some sort a little later. From what I read about X1900 it will have a lot more pipelines than current 1800 series parts for a start, and a much higher clock speed...

    Quote Originally Posted by MuTTy_Hc
    Personally your current rig is fine
    Thankyou

    Quote Originally Posted by MuTTy_Hc
    mines simular just 939 3700+ and pci-e x800xl. I'm currently contemplating the same as you, perhaps getting 2gb ram would be a better idea?
    Hmm have been wondering about that, thing is my CPU is the Winchester one which apparently clocks the RAM down to a base of 166MHz from 200 when using 4 sticks of RAM. I currently run 2x512Mb PC4000 sticks at their full 1GHz by using a RAM speed of 250MHz, CPU multiplier of 9x and HTT multiplier of 4x so CPU and HTT effective clocks stay about the same as standard.

    I'd need 2x1Gb sticks of PC4000 to be able to do the same thing. Is spending that sort of cash on 2Gb of RAM really going to give a big increase in framerates in games?


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    At 1280x1024 I've seen a 40-70% increase in framerates in DX9 games and benchmarks. At the resolutions you now run you could easily realize a 100%+ increase.

    I have both a 7800GTX (the 470MHz one) and an X1800XL, and overall I am so impressed with the X1800XL that I am eBaying the 7800GTX. Does that tell you anything?

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    hmm interesting, thanks Storm. Just out of interest, what did you use before either the 7800GTX and X1800XL? Just to get some sort of idea of what card that increase is from compared to my X800XL...


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    Quote Originally Posted by 8bit
    hmm interesting, thanks Storm. Just out of interest, what did you use before either the 7800GTX and X1800XL? Just to get some sort of idea of what card that increase is from compared to my X800XL...
    8bit - have a look at this from here

    Does this help at all?

    Interesting one, as I also have an X800XL - has anyone followed this upgrade path from an X800XL to a X1800XL/7800GTX?

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    Is it still true that when using 2 ATI cards in crossfire mode you are limited to 1600x1200@60Hz?

    If so it isn't going to look as good on 8bits monitor, if it should be a resolution of 1920x1200.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StormPC

    I have both a 7800GTX (the 470MHz one) and an X1800XL, and overall I am so impressed with the X1800XL that I am eBaying the 7800GTX. Does that tell you anything?
    Yeah, tells us your an idiot.

    A X1800XL, does not use the same memory as a XT, hench why it's a lot slower clocked. You think ATI uses 1.2ns on a XL model, when it could stick it on a XT model? The XL's usually have 2ns or 1.4ns memory and there is also only the 256mb, not 512mb, of an XT.

    Storm, please show me where a X1800XL beats a 7800GTX? It's on par with a 7800GT, it's not in the same league as a GTX.

    For the money, a sub 290quid GTX is a great buy, even though prefer ATI.

    Oh and SLI and Crossfire, offer massive performance gains, what planet are you from?

    hatsumi that is only true for the X800 series and CF, the X1800 series, have no problems running higher res, and higher refresh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey21
    Yeah, tells us your an idiot.
    LOL

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