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Memory and video card questions

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mcseguy9, Apr 27, 2004.

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  1. mcseguy9

    mcseguy9 Thread Starter

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    I'm looking into buying a new motherboard and have been looking at memory and video cards. I have a couple of straightforward question for you.

    First, would two sticks of 256 MB PC3200 DDR 400 MHz memory be better than one stick of 512 MB PC2700 DDR 333 MHz memory?

    Second, am I correct in my belief that if I can get a 256 MB memory video card for the same price or a little more than a 128 MB memory video card it would be better (both being 8x AGP)?

    I'm guessing there's more to this than meets the eye. Let me know. Thanks.
     
  2. dannyboyfx

    dannyboyfx

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    well, the two sticks would be better, however it does use up two of your memory slots, and the video card really depends on the type of card you are talking about, but generally yes.

    Do you know what the FSB is on the computer, if it is less than 33mhz, you may want to go with the one stick of 512.
     
  3. CAPSLOCK

    CAPSLOCK

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    Go with the 2 sticks of 256.
    PC3200 is faster (just make sure it is a reputable company i.e. Corsair, Kingston, Samsung, etc.).
    Make sure the Motherboard can support 8x (even though there is not really any improvement over 4X) for voltage differences.

    And about the video card...if you can afford more memory...more is always better.
    When it comes to memory on a video card and there will be a huge difference in some of the newer games that require large memory capasity on video cards. Like DoomIII and the new Metal of Honor.
     
  4. StillLearnin'

    StillLearnin'

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    If you are not using the DUAL Channel memory option, then there won't be much of a difference. The PC3200 is about 5-8% faster than PC2700. This isn't real noticeable unless the cpu/memory are in SYNC. The slowest piece of hardware will be the bottleneck of the whole system. IF the 2 sticks of pC3200 were setup in DC, this would be the fastest combo. IF the 512MB PC2700 was setup in SYNC(both cpu/memory at 333Mhz), that would be the next fastest. The last would be just the 2 sticks of 256MB PC3200 adding up to a 512MB total. At this time, the 256MB video cards are pretty cheap because they don't offer much over the 128MB and sometimes have slower-clocked memory chips. The current design of the 256MB cards has been discontinued in favor of the newer cards set to hit the market later on(entirely new memory structure, etc.). Even if the newer games come out as ORIGINALLY planned(which it looks like as changes are being made as time continues on), the 256MB card doesn't offer much increase in fps. A regular 256Mb card can be found for $100-$110. Not a bad buy for the money(that's a 9600Pro besides!):

    http://www.pricewatch.com/1/37/5591-1.htm
     
  5. CAPSLOCK

    CAPSLOCK

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    Agreed, but if you keep the small increase in percentage performance, like a 30% increase in a 8MB cashe on a hard driver vs. a 2% cash, small percentages add up to a very fast computer.
    In my own experience, I have found that optimal components in harmony = optimal system. I agree with StillLearnin' in some aspects (bottle necks), but I'm a stubborn old man, I rely on what I personally have done. DC (Dual Channel) will alway over-rule. Then again, I'm still a fan of RDRAM, even though Intel gave them the boot.

    The BEST way is to get a mobo' that has DC capability.

    As far as www.pricewatch.com.....check the company out with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.com before you even think about purchasing anything from them
     
  6. mcseguy9

    mcseguy9 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the great info, guys. I'm still looking at MoBo's. Just FYI, my money limit is $400 for a new MoBo, RAM, CPU and video card. I play Jedi Knight 2 a bit, but I'm not a big gamer and I do no video editing of any kind. I just want a faster PC than what I've got (P3 700 MHz, 381 MB RAM, 32 MB AGP video, old MoBo). It looks like you guys have given me some things to think about.

    Quick question. StillLearnin' talked about cpu/memory being in sync. Is that something that will be on the MoBo spec's? Will it be obvious or do I need to search for it on the spec's? I don't build new PC's often and have gotten a bit out of the loop on hardware. Any more advice would be helpful.
     
  7. StillLearnin'

    StillLearnin'

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    If you use a 333mhz cpu and run the memory at 333mhz- PC2700 (not 400mhzPC3200) there "can" be a small gain that may or may not be noticeable. PC3200 really cranks on when run with a 400mhz cpu or when it is used in Dual Channel(matching sticks). For the amount of money you have to invest, you might want to save some more up. To run the newer hardware you don't absolutely want anything smaller than a quality 350w power supply and a newer, more cooling efficient case. That can set you back ~ $90-$120 by itself. A decent mobo is going to run~ $65-$120, a cpu~ $65-$150, 512MB of quality/fast PC2700 ~ $100+, a decent video card will run ~ $75-$200. Then you need current hard drives that are either ATA100 or ATA133, 7200rpm or you will be hugely bottlenecked. We might be able to jump your old system up to a P3 1G cpu and a different video card for now............What mobo (brand/model number) and video card (brand/model number) do you have now? Are you usinig a 7200rpm hard drive or a 5400rpm at this time? ATA66 or ATA100? What do you have for memory(PC100 or PC133 or PC1600(DDR 200) or PC2100(DDR 266)? What Windows version? Here is a typical medium range computer for current buyers(the system will run ~ $1100 USA dollars more or less depending on where you buy the parts):


    Asus A7N8X nForce2 SocketA ATX Audio/LAN/AGP8X $91.95
    AMD Athlon XP 2500+ 1.83GHz 333MHz/512KB Socket A CPU (Retail) $83.50
    Kingston HyperX 1GB KIT DDR400 PC3200 CL2 (2-3-2) DIMM $279.00
    LiteOn 52x32x52/16x CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive (Retail) $48.95
    LiteOn SOHW-812S 8X Dual DVD±RW Drive (Retail) $113.95
    Mitsumi USB 2.0 7-in-1 Ext. Memory Card Reader + Floppy Disk Drive $48.95
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB 7200RPM 8MB Buffer SATA HDD $85.00
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120GB 7200RPM 8MB Buffer SATA HDD $115.00
    Sapphire RADEON 9600 PRO ATLANTIS ULTIMATE 128MB DDR AGP8X TVO/DVI $169.00
    Enlight 72500AZ MidTower ATX w/ 300W ATX12V PSU $46.75
    Enlight 420W Dual Fan ATX12V PSU $47.00

    Total $1129.05

    All quality, 3yr.warranty or better and screaming fast. This system will do ANYTHING with no problems. Just an example for you. Post back your system specs and maybe we can beef up your current system with the budget you have now.
     
  8. mcseguy9

    mcseguy9 Thread Starter

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    Let's not bother with my specs. I no more $$$ would be ideal, but I'm going to upgrade regardless. If nothing else I'll get up to my wife's PC specs, which runs everything quite nicely that I would run. Thanks for all the help, people. I really appreciate it.
     
  9. mcseguy9

    mcseguy9 Thread Starter

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    Here's a new question regarding MoBo's and dual channel. I've looked at a few MoBo's at newegg.com and can't see anywhere that any of them are dual channel capable. Is it a given that it will be capable? Also, does the MoBo have to support a certain number of slots (3 or 4)? Lastly, all of these MoBo's say something like FSB 400/333/266MHz. How do you set which speed it runs at or is it automatic to the speed of RAM you use?
     
  10. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    Most modern Mobo's of any quality the FSB will be automatically adjusted by the installation of your particular CPU. Though some make you manually set the 200Mhz fsb (that is the 100Mhz clock speed). And no, it is not a given that a new motherboard will support dual channel memory. Those that do will state in the specs that they do though. The big question is with your budget what do you want. You can afford more by going with an AMD system over an Intel system. Though that is only really counting the CPU and Motherboard, the rest of the parts are basically going to cost the same no matter (Ram wil be different if you go with an 800Mhz FSB).
     
  11. rosh325

    rosh325

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    Rule of thumb..while one stick of 512 is always nice..if it fails, you're pretty much screwed. With 256 however, if one fails...a)you're still ok..b)it's cheaper to replace one stick of 256 than that of 512
     
  12. mcseguy9

    mcseguy9 Thread Starter

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    Well, when it all comes down to it I guess I just need to look at what I want versus what I actually need. My wife's setup works totally fine for me (she's just tired of me playing JK2 on her PC and not mine). Other than an occasional game there is nothing computer intensive that I do on her system. So I guess I don't really need anything better than what she has. I think I'll take all of this new knowledge you all have given me and see what I can come up with. Thanks for all your help.
     
  13. mcseguy9

    mcseguy9 Thread Starter

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    Sorry guys, but it looks like I have another question for you. I've notice on a lot of MoBo spec's or info I'm seeing this next to processors supported:

    AMD Athlon up to 2000+ @ 200 MHz FSB , AMD Athlon up to 2400+ @ 266 MHz FSB , AMD Athlon XP up to 2600+ @ 266MHz FSB , AMD Athlon XP up to 3000+ @ 333MHz FSB , AMD Athlon XP up to 3200+ @ 400 MHz FSB , AMD Duron up to 1.3GHz @ 200MHz FSB , AMD Duron up to 1.8GHz @ 266 MHz FSB

    I just thought of something. Does this mean, going by the above info, that if I got an Athlon XP 2000+ the FSB would only be able to run at 200MHz? So if I got a 2400+ it would only run at 266MHz? I'm trying to understand how these work together. If I wanted the FSB to run at 333MHz would I have to use something between a 2700+ and 3000+? That is how I'm reading it. Let me know if I'm mistaken. Thanks for putting up with me.
     
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