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Author Topic: What's the Standard Gaming Rig Now?  (Read 2059 times)
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ATB
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« on: September 01, 2006, 04:42:42 PM »

I think this is the right forum.

As all may know, I exited PC gaming abruptly due to XBOX acquisition Christmas 2002.  Hence, my knowledge of what the basic minimum specs are for games is vastly out of date.  What's a typical game these days require for operation?
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2006, 05:34:07 PM »

Depends.  Up until Multiplayer Company of Heroes, my sons old 2.26Ghz, AGP4X 6800Ultra machine was fine, then COH showed the bottleneck of his processor FSB and AGP4X slot weren't enough.  (Ironically, this is a machine that ran Oblivion on High @ native 1280x1024).

Secondly, up until recently, processor power hasn't been a big issue in games.  Between machines of varying processor power here, I never noticed any major speed differences UNTIL the latest crop of games/demos/betas started arriving.  Some of the newer stuff seems to be more CPU dependant.

For the stuff coming out these days, I would say a good minimum (for good solid basic operation of the game at Medium+) looks about like this;

AMD 3000+ or Intel 2.8ghz or higher.
1024MB DDR
Nvidia 6600GT+ or ATI 850+

Any lower, and you may stuggle with the newer shit and be forced to nerf your play experience. I personally kicked all of my boxes up to  3.4/3.6Ghz Intels or AMD 3700+ San Diegos, and 7800GT/GS graphic cards and they are tearing up the latest demos/betas maxed.
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2006, 07:01:24 PM »

I usually look to the Ars Technica "budget box" recommendations as the bottom line for current gaming.  Last month's guide lists the following:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
1GB DDR2-667 RAM
GeForce 7600GT

You can get the full details here - http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/system-guide-200608.ars/2
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 01:09:22 AM »

Quote from: Laner on September 01, 2006, 07:01:24 PM

I usually look to the Ars Technica "budget box" recommendations as the bottom line for current gaming.  Last month's guide lists the following:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
1GB DDR2-667 RAM
GeForce 7600GT

I am sadly below even thier budget box, but haven't had many problems at all with recent games, although I don't run them at 1600x1200 with 4x AA or anything. 

Athlon 2600+XP
1Gig RAM
GeForce 6600 GT

I am at the point where it doesn't make much sense to upgrade anything on this system so I am basically waiting for the game that makes me upgrade.  Not sure what that game will be, but perhaps UT2007 will do the trick. 
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2006, 01:18:27 AM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on September 02, 2006, 01:09:22 AM

Quote from: Laner on September 01, 2006, 07:01:24 PM

I usually look to the Ars Technica "budget box" recommendations as the bottom line for current gaming.  Last month's guide lists the following:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
1GB DDR2-667 RAM
GeForce 7600GT

I am sadly below even thier budget box, but haven't had many problems at all with recent games, although I don't run them at 1600x1200 with 4x AA or anything. 

Athlon 2600+XP
1Gig RAM
GeForce 6600 GT

I am at the point where it doesn't make much sense to upgrade anything on this system so I am basically waiting for the game that makes me upgrade.  Not sure what that game will be, but perhaps UT2007 will do the trick. 

I've got a Athlon 64 3000+ that I can sell ya on the real cheap.  I think I even have some RAM. 
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2006, 02:16:40 AM »

Quote from: Laner on September 01, 2006, 07:01:24 PM

I usually look to the Ars Technica "budget box" recommendations as the bottom line for current gaming.  Last month's guide lists the following:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
1GB DDR2-667 RAM
GeForce 7600GT

You can get the full details here - http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/system-guide-200608.ars/2


Woah, that's my exact rig.  Of course, it's not working right now, but that's a whole 'nother story.
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2006, 02:07:25 PM »

I just upgraded in  june with the following :

FROM:

ASUS A7V Deluxe
2.8Ghz Intel 800mhz FSB
Ati 9800 pro
1 GB RAM

TO:

ASUS A7N-SLI Deluxe Doh!
ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe NForce4 motherboard
3800+ Athlon X2 (dual core)
2GB RAM
EVGA 7600 GT CO

with the money I got from the sale of my old hardware, I paid 75bux for the upgrade. ( i also threw in an older HDD and a spare gig of ram I had lying around ... so maybe 175 in "cost" to me).
 
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 02:20:59 PM »

ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe NForce4 motherboard
3800+ Athlon X2 (dual core)
2GB RAM
BFG Gforce 7800 GT OC SLI
320 gig HD

gets me by.
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2006, 04:04:35 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on September 02, 2006, 02:16:40 AM

Quote from: Laner on September 01, 2006, 07:01:24 PM

I usually look to the Ars Technica "budget box" recommendations as the bottom line for current gaming.  Last month's guide lists the following:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
1GB DDR2-667 RAM
GeForce 7600GT

You can get the full details here - http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/system-guide-200608.ars/2


Likewise - same here, mine is on a nforce 4 MB and i'm VERY happy with it.

Tals

Woah, that's my exact rig.  Of course, it's not working right now, but that's a whole 'nother story.
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2006, 09:13:31 PM »

I dropped 2 boxes out of our lineup to cut costs, the three we have now are; (upgraded this month for the upcoming games)

Box one:
AMD 3700+ San Diego 1MB L2 Cache
1024MB PC3200 CL2 DDR
7800GT-OC PCI-E

Box two:
Intel 3.6Ghz LGA775 (@ 4.0Ghz)
1024MB PC3200 CL2 DDR
7800GS-OC AGP8X

Box three:
Intel 3.4Ghz LGA775 (@ 3.6Ghz)
1024MB PC3200 CL2 DDR
7800GS-OC AGP8X
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2006, 11:35:19 PM »

I have an Athlon 2400+, 768MB RAM.

My GeForce Ti4200 just died so I just bought a Ti4600 off Ebay. That'll keep me happy for, oh a week or two more...

Actually, I'm happy to turn graphics down. Most games still look freakin' sweet. I probably just don't know what I'm missing. And don't want to... But WOW runs great, Fear looks just fine, Space Rangers 2 plays great... I guess I'm saying you don't really need to spend an arm and a leg on your new rig.
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2006, 12:10:47 AM »

Quote from: Old Negus on September 07, 2006, 11:35:19 PM

I have an Athlon 2400+, 768MB RAM.

My GeForce Ti4200 just died so I just bought a Ti4600 off Ebay. That'll keep me happy for, oh a week or two more...

Actually, I'm happy to turn graphics down. Most games still look freakin' sweet. I probably just don't know what I'm missing. And don't want to... But WOW runs great, Fear looks just fine, Space Rangers 2 plays great... I guess I'm saying you don't really need to spend an arm and a leg on your new rig.

Not to be a prick, but they don't look sweet on that rig, it simply isn't possible.  I don't see the logic in replacing a 10 year old graphic card with an 8 year old one when you can pick up a pretty basic but much better card than a 4600 for 30-50$ range these days.  I guess the definition of "Arm and Leg" varies, because you can get an "Ok" gaming rig for $500-600 these days.
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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2006, 12:27:54 PM »

You can build a mid to high end socket 939 athlon rig right now for what seems like pennies compared to some of the newer stuff and still get absolutely excellent performance out of today's games.

You're likely to spend more getting a good videocard than you are anything else.

I'd say it's possible to build a really good rig for around $800, easily less than that though if you drop down a level or two on the video end and only get 1GB of ram instead of 2 initially.
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Old Negus
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2006, 05:07:51 PM »

Quote from: Kobra on September 08, 2006, 12:10:47 AM

Quote from: Old Negus on September 07, 2006, 11:35:19 PM

I have an Athlon 2400+, 768MB RAM.

My GeForce Ti4200 just died so I just bought a Ti4600 off Ebay. That'll keep me happy for, oh a week or two more...

Actually, I'm happy to turn graphics down. Most games still look freakin' sweet. I probably just don't know what I'm missing. And don't want to... But WOW runs great, Fear looks just fine, Space Rangers 2 plays great... I guess I'm saying you don't really need to spend an arm and a leg on your new rig.

Not to be a prick, but they don't look sweet on that rig, it simply isn't possible.  I don't see the logic in replacing a 10 year old graphic card with an 8 year old one when you can pick up a pretty basic but much better card than a 4600 for 30-50$ range these days.  I guess the definition of "Arm and Leg" varies, because you can get an "Ok" gaming rig for $500-600 these days.

Actually, it is possible. The games look great. Yeah, they could look better but they play and look absolutely fine to me. I have zero problems with my setup. World of Warcraft looks stunning running on my 37" LCD, with a very smooth framerate. I really can't ask for much more than that. And, honestly, I'm surprised that my system plays it that well.  I'm simply trying to answer the original poster's question by saying he doesn't need to spend a lot on a system. Some people get by quite well on antiquated systems like mine.

As for your inability to see my logic, the Ti4200 and Ti4600 came out in 2002, a whopping 4 years ago. Yeah, that's a long time in the computer hardware world, but not so long in the real world. I decided that the Ti4200 worked great in my system (with its paltry 200W power supply) so instead of going with a much better card and having to upgrade the power supply, I'd go for a slightly better upgrade and keep my power supply. Heck, I'm only looking to get probably another year out of this system. Sure, I don't get great AA and some newer bells and whistles, but what the Ti4600 does, it does well. A "much better" card is going to run much more than $50. I was thinking of GeForce 6600GT but that's still around $130.

Anyway, yeah you can definitely get a nice system for $500-$600 bucks. Great time to be a computer gamer.
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2006, 05:17:25 PM »

The problem is, even toned down, the new shit simply won't run on your box in good playable form.

My oldest system I used to have here, was bottlenecking BADLY with the 533FSB, and 4XAGP under Company of Heroes and some of the other newer demos/betas of stuff coming out. Turning down the graphics didn't  help at all, there just wasn't enough bandwidth on the box to push the game.  I noticed similar experiences with a lot of the new shit out or coming out.  That box had to be fully retired (2.26ghz Intel, 6800GS-OC AGP, 1024MB PC3200 DDR)

Plus, I think most of the newer games dropped support for the Ti series of cards.  For example the minimum specs for COH are;

Windows(R) XP
DirectX(R) 9.0c (included on disc)
3.0 GHz Pentium IV or equivalent AMD Athlon XP processor
1 GB RAM
3 GB free hard drive space for installation
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 and above with 128 MB Video Memory, or ATI x800 and above with 128 MB Video Memory
DirectX(R) 9.0c compatible 16-bit sound card
Keyboard, Mouse
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« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2006, 05:28:58 PM »

My current system is an intel p4 3.2ghz, ATI 9800 XT 256mb, and 1gb ram.  The system performs decently well.
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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2006, 05:53:22 PM »

Yeah, you'd have to be an idiot to buy a system like mine now.

I guess my last big test for it was Fear, which it passed surprisingly well. I think I'm a time-shifted computer gamer, meaning I like to buy and play computer games a year or two after they come out. The hobby's much cheaper that way, and just as much fun. And it's pretty bug-free as well, as the games are usually actually done (patched) by the time I buy them.
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2006, 08:22:00 PM »

The ti4 series card was a great card - the 5 series in comparison was a bit of a let down

http://www.pcvsconsole.com/features/video/

Certainly its better than people probably imagine.

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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2006, 08:44:53 PM »

Oh they were good cards back in the day.

The point I was making was, the card can't push enough, fast enough with the bandwidth it has for almost every single newer game coming out.  But frankly, with his machine, he would have too many bottlenecks to make it worthwhile to just upgrade the video, he would have to make significant changes to the rest of his system.

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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2006, 08:48:46 PM »

Quote from: Kobra on September 08, 2006, 08:44:53 PM

Oh they were good cards back in the day.

The point I was making was, the card can't push enough, fast enough with the bandwidth it has for almost every single newer game coming out.  But frankly, with his machine, he would have too many bottlenecks to make it worthwhile to just upgrade the video, he would have to make significant changes to the rest of his system.



You're not wrong - the great thing is he could probably get a nice sale for the Graphics Card from ebay and move to a better card. Likewise for the memory and processor. Would make the upgrade less painful - albeit the lower end 64Bit Aths are now very good value and the 7600GT is a very nicely priced graphics card.

Tals
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« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2006, 12:14:46 AM »

Dude:
What ever you get be sure it has a PCI express slot.
I have a ATI radeon 700x card that totally ended my trend of constantly buying a PC.
AMD 64 Athlon3200+ 1.50 GB DDR. with the above mentioned card.

Here is the problem I had. Some games req. a AGP card while others PCI they probably still do. Xpress runs um all. I don't even look at spec any more. nod Every thing runs like water on my machine, e-machine that is. :slywink:

So don't think you got to go expensive my box ran me $400. with monitor & programs 2 years ago. Bestbuy instant rebate deals. I won my xpress card in a ATI competition (best time on a rally car track game, for the day.) Price for card then $250 I u can get the 1300x for that price now.

Good luck.
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« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2006, 05:22:20 AM »

Their are no games that have a requirement of PCI/AGP or PCI Express. Their are some fairly high spec cards for the AGP. The main reason to go for PCI-E is it is the current standard so most cards are produced for it.

I understood - but  could be wrong that AGP is still a fast enough standard to handle the current crop of cards.

Tals
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2006, 08:42:39 AM »

Quote from: Tals on September 12, 2006, 05:22:20 AM

Their are no games that have a requirement of PCI/AGP or PCI Express. Their are some fairly high spec cards for the AGP. The main reason to go for PCI-E is it is the current standard so most cards are produced for it.

I understood - but  could be wrong that AGP is still a fast enough standard to handle the current crop of cards.

Tals

Correct - there are still many cards in AGP land that will more than serve your needs.  It isn't a wide variety of them per se, but still, they are out there.  That said, you are sinking money into something that will antique on you before too long.  At least with SLI you could go with a lower-end 'starter' card and buy a second one to SLI when you start noticing 'the chug'.
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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2006, 12:51:41 PM »

Quote from: Tals on September 12, 2006, 05:22:20 AM

Their are no games that have a requirement of PCI/AGP or PCI Express. Their are some fairly high spec cards for the AGP. The main reason to go for PCI-E is it is the current standard so most cards are produced for it.

I understood - but  could be wrong that AGP is still a fast enough standard to handle the current crop of cards.

Tals

AGP 4x is tapped out, while 8x is more than enough for the current crop of cards as you indicate.  I couldn't believe how bad COH was being bottlenecked on the AGP4x machine we had laying around here.  But the two AGP8x boxes we have run like banshees with 7800GS-OC AGP cards in them.  Slowly working the machines over to PCI-E, but no hurry as of yet though because I hasten to also make the upgrade to slower DDR2 ram as well.  My machine though, has PCI-E with a 7800GT-OC simply because I found a CPU/MB combo deal I couldn't pass up moreso than any great desire to go to PCI-E.
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2006, 03:25:44 AM »

Quote from: Tals on September 12, 2006, 05:22:20 AM

Their are no games that have a requirement of PCI/AGP or PCI Express. Their are some fairly high spec cards for the AGP. The main reason to go for PCI-E is it is the current standard so most cards are produced for it.

I understood - but  could be wrong that AGP is still a fast enough standard to handle the current crop of cards.

Tals

I am not quite sure about BF2, but when I bought BF:Vietnam It did not support PCI cards. straight up AGP. There were a few games after that that followed with the same requirements.
This is how I ended up with my new rig.
For some reason my old one did not have a AGP slot (Referb).
So I went out looking for a comp with the  AGP slot and PCI if needed and by some Faith ended up with an express slot and won the xpress card 2 days after.
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« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2006, 05:45:16 AM »

Quote from: juniordan on September 17, 2006, 03:25:44 AM

Quote from: Tals on September 12, 2006, 05:22:20 AM

Their are no games that have a requirement of PCI/AGP or PCI Express. Their are some fairly high spec cards for the AGP. The main reason to go for PCI-E is it is the current standard so most cards are produced for it.

I understood - but  could be wrong that AGP is still a fast enough standard to handle the current crop of cards.

Tals

I am not quite sure about BF2, but when I bought BF:Vietnam It did not support PCI cards. straight up AGP. There were a few games after that that followed with the same requirements.
This is how I ended up with my new rig.
For some reason my old one did not have a AGP slot (Referb).
So I went out looking for a comp with the  AGP slot and PCI if needed and by some Faith ended up with an express slot and won the xpress card 2 days after.

Not to nitpick, but Battlefield: Vietnam didn't "not support PCI Cards.  straight up AGP".  It required a level of graphics card that was beyond what was available for PCI slots, specifically: 3D accelerated GeForce3 64 MB or equivalent DirectX9 compatible videocard.  Perhaps if there had been a PCI card that met those specifications it could run the game, but graphics card companies did not make them because of the limited bandwidth and the proliferation of AGP slots, similar to how there is a limited selection of higher-end AGP cards being made right now.  Even the original GeForce 256 was AGP (and even back to the Riva TNT's in 1998). 
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« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2006, 06:21:27 AM »

Looking at my post i'm not even sure why I included PCI - so I wouldn't go overboard analysing it smile

Tals
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