Seeking upgrade advice

Yeah another Oblivion inspired upgrade post. I didn’t want to piggy back on Chris’ post so with that in mind here’s where I’m at:

Current rig:

P4 3.0 (Northwood) o/c 3.6 (aircooling with Thermaltake Big Typhoon)
Abit IC7-G
2 Gigs Corsair PC 3200 XMS memory
BFG 6800GT (AGP 8x)
2 WD Raptors (RAID 0)

I’ve got about $700 to spend and I’m not sure where to do it. I was thinking of buying 7800GS which will work with my current mobo but I was reading buyer reviews at Newegg and one guy commented it wasn’t much faster than his 6800GT.

So given that AGP is dead, do you think I should upgrade to a PCI Express capable motherboard (which will support my current CPU) and buy a new PCI Express video card, or should I plan on a new motherboard, CPU, graphics card upgrade altogether? I’m just concerned the latter upgrade route will run over well over $1000.

I’m open to either Intel or AMD upgrade routes if I can continue to use my current memory with the new motherboard, CPU, etc.

Thanks.

You’re basically where I am, except my CPU is a bit better. There’s no particularly compelling reason to upgrade from your config. Basically, wait 6 months and get a crusoe or AM2 with a 8900gt. That’s my plan, anyway.

What’s your CPU?

I have to say Oblivion runs like complete shit on my machine. I’ve seen other posts by people with similiar specs saying they get great FPS but I don’t know what their trick is. Yeah I’ve done the usual scan for spyware/viruses, turned off services that aren’t necessary, but Oblivion lays the smackdown on my rig.

I wasn’t expecting to run it at 1600x1200 with all the bells and whistles, but even with most stuff turned down at 1024x768 it looks and runs like shit. The grass is a big FPS killer but turning that off feels like playing Gothic 1 and 1024x768 on a 22" CRT sucks and there ain’t no way I’m going down to 800x600.

I was going to build the following, but decided to hold off for AM2/Conroe.

Motherboard - ASUS A8N-SLI Premium - 162
GPU - SAPPHIRE X1900XT OEM - 439
CPU - AMD Opteron 165 - 325
RAM - CORSAIR XMS 2GB PC3200 - 180
PSU - SeaSonic S12-430 - 77

Total - 1183

You could keep your ram and pickup a less expensive video card. Perhaps the 7900GT. I picked the Opteron for hopefully better overclocking potential. With aircooling it should hit 2.5ghz.

Motherboard - ASUS A8N-SLI - 109
GPU - XFX GeForce 7900 GT - 315
CPU - AMD Opteron 165 - 325
PSU - SeaSonic S12-430 - 77

Total - 826

You may have a hard time finding a PCI-E motherboard that will accept your CPU if it’s Socket 478 (which I think all Northwoods are, right?)

I think you’re right although I think I remember seeing one from Abit. I’m gonna go snoop around their site.

The 7900gt roxors btw. I got mine today and its teh shits.

Apparently Albatron made some socket 478 boards with PCI express functionality but I guess those boards are hard to find these days.

I wonder if the dead fan on my Northbridge chip on the mobo is having anything to do with my slowdowns?

8900gt? are the specs already out on the 8000-series nvidia cards?

I wonder if the dead fan on my Northbridge chip on the mobo is having anything to do with my slowdowns?

All signs point to No.

Agreed

Months away from that, perhaps 4Q?

typo, then. stusser got my hopes up. :)

As others have said, I don’t think there are any PCIe MBs which support your CPU. So a new MB would require a new CPU; and something significantly faster than what you’ve got would cost a pretty penny. Likewise, the 6800 GT is still pretty fast; getting something faster would set you back at least $300, I think. I think you’re better off saving your money until you save up enough for a full-fledged system upgrade.

Is Morrowind the only thing which runs slowly, or are other games too sluggish for your tastes? Do your benchmarks seem unusually low, relative to your system specs?

This may sound odd, but have you tried throttling your CPU back down to 3GHz? I’ve encountered some instances where overclocking causes weird problems, including slowdowns, as counter-intuitive as that seems…

Yeah I think you’re right, I’ll just hold off until later. In fact, prior to buying Oblivion I was quite content with my machine and I wasn’t planning on upgrading until next year once Vista and Flightsim X was out but I was taken aback by how taxing Oblivion is on my system.

Oh well, screw it, it’s just a game and I can play it OK if I turn off the grass and scale a few things back. I just wasn’t expecting to run it at 1024x768 on a 22" CRT :O

without grass
with grass slider halfway

I wonder how the Dell quad-SLI SuperDuperGamingFlamer machine ($9900) handles Oblivion.

I was drooling for a few seconds, until I realized that in 3 years, I will have the equivalent of that machine for about $1500 in upgrades.

Well I’ll be damned. I just reverted my CPU back to default settings and the game runs much better!

Overclocking is evil. It worked well back in the days of the Celeron 300 o/c to 550, but these days the CPUs are just much closer to the edge of their performance envelope.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see performance increases from UNDERclocking before too long…

You’re welcome. :-)

Seriously thanks for that suggestion. Definately wouldn’t have considered underclocking or reverting back to default speed would make a difference.

What do you guys think of this Newegg combo deal?

I’m not up to speed on my AMD chips but is that a decent one? Hmm looks like it’s single core so it may not be a wise long term upgrade?