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Help an old man out with upgrades pleaseFollow

#1 Jul 15 2010 at 5:09 AM Rating: Good
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I've been trying to learn what i need to get for my son's computer for his birthday, please help an old man out?

This is his system:

Gigabyte GA-M55 SLI-4
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+@2000 MHz
2g DDR2 Ram
Nvidia GeForce 7600 GS

I would like to upgrade the graphic card and Ram for him since I have pre-ordered the game for him, I was wondering are there any graphic cards out there that'll be good for around $200? and also will it be able to run Final Fantasy in medium setting? since the processor is not really good, but I really dont have money to replace the processor at the moment.

I would appreciate any help and suggestions, and please excuse my english.

Thanks a lot,
Joseph
#2 Jul 15 2010 at 5:21 AM Rating: Good
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Have a read through the computer building guide.

http://ffxiv.zam.com/forum.html?game=268&mid=127800602941853800&page=1

There are sections on both RAM and Graphics Cards including links to best performance for price reports.

Hope this helps.
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#3 Jul 15 2010 at 6:10 AM Rating: Good
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Thanks a lot Papanurf, I was reading through it and am considering the Radeon HD 5850, is that a good choice? though its $300 so its about 100 over budget, but if its really worth it i'll get that one.

another question i have is will my processor slow down the graphic card? I have heard there needs to be a balance between the graphics card and the processor, is there a list so i know which graphic card will work the best with the Athlon that my son has?
#4 Jul 15 2010 at 6:35 AM Rating: Decent
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While I can't really answer your second question, I can definitely vouch for the Radeon 5850. I've heard alot of good things about it in reviews, have seen nothing but good ratings, and have been recieving many suggestions for that by quite a few people. If he's going to be running Final Fantasy XIV, it's probably a good idea to grab that.

I'm planning on using it in my custom-built gaming rig, pretty soon. I'm no expert though, so I really can't say too much about the processor. I know that his seems a little outdated. I myself was going to put GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 into mine. It's gonna tack on 100 more bucks, but maybe someone else here knows if it's worth it.

Don't know if any of this helps, but I figured I'd try. :]

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 6:36am by Austyn
#5 Jul 15 2010 at 7:04 AM Rating: Decent
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Joseph1209 wrote:
I've been trying to learn what i need to get for my son's computer for his birthday, please help an old man out?

This is his system:

Gigabyte GA-M55 SLI-4
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+@2000 MHz
2g DDR2 Ram
Nvidia GeForce 7600 GS

I would like to upgrade the graphic card and Ram for him since I have pre-ordered the game for him, I was wondering are there any graphic cards out there that'll be good for around $200? and also will it be able to run Final Fantasy in medium setting? since the processor is not really good, but I really dont have money to replace the processor at the moment.

I would appreciate any help and suggestions, and please excuse my english.

Thanks a lot,
Joseph


I'm sorry to say this, but if you don't upgrade that CPU as well you won't be able to play the game. Well, you might be able to run it, but at horrible performance. :(
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#6 Jul 15 2010 at 7:27 AM Rating: Decent
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ah ok, Maybe i should get the 5770 instead? and upgrade the processor? thing is I was reading the build your own computer guide and he said its complicated to upgrade a processor. is there a guide to upgrading it? and which processor should i get so it'll be balanced with the 5770.

thanks again guys
#7 Jul 15 2010 at 7:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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I did a bit of research on that motherboard and unfortunately, it puts you in a tight spot.

The CPU in your son's machine appears to be the bare minimum required to run FFXIV. If I had to guess, I would say that regardless of what video card you put into the machine, it would not run well if only because of the processor.

That said, you'd definitely have to upgrade both the CPU and video card to get the game up and running at an enjoyable speed. Unfortunately, I just don't think that a $200 budget is going to be able to do this. The best processors able to go into that board come in at around 3.0 GHz, and they're only dual cores, which appear to be scoring on the lower end in the official benchmark. You may very well have to consider spending around $300.

I just want to say before I suggest anything, I think that your best long term course of action would be to save this money and build a machine later on with more recent technologies such as quad/hexa core processors. However, if your only concern is running FFXIV at low - medium settings on that machine by any means necessary, read on!

It's a tough call, but in my opinion, the best you could do with $300 and your son's current computer would be:

Upgrade the CPU to a processor close to or above 3.0 GHz.

Upgrade the video card to either the GTX 460, GTX 465, HD 5770, or HD5830.

The costs here vary, so you may want to do some research on price/performance ratio. I really want to stress here that this would be throwing up a prayer.

You might be able to pull off a benchmark score of 2500-3000 in low resolution with this setup if you're lucky. That's supposedly standard performance by SquareEnix's calculations. I would definitely wait on other opinions before you decide anything though! Also, be sure to check if your power supply can handle these upgrades.

For reference, I've seen a machine using a 3.2 GHz Athlon 64 X2, 4GB of DDR2 RAM, and an 8800 GTS score about 2500 on low resolution and 2000 on high resolution. I'm pretty sure each of the video cards I've listed up there are better than the 8800 GTS, so you may actually do a little better than that if the extra 2GB of RAM isn't a deciding factor.

I'm a little sleepy now, so I'll check back after I've gotten some sleep to see if you still need help then :)

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 9:51am by Rhysen
#8 Jul 15 2010 at 7:58 AM Rating: Decent
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Joseph1209 wrote:
ah ok, Maybe i should get the 5770 instead? and upgrade the processor? thing is I was reading the build your own computer guide and he said its complicated to upgrade a processor. is there a guide to upgrading it? and which processor should i get so it'll be balanced with the 5770.

thanks again guys


I don't think you're going to be too happy to read this.

Since the game is one of the most system-taxing games being made today, you're not going to be able to upgrade that computer to anything worth playing the game with a budget of 200 bucks. :(

You're going to need to upgrade the CPU, GPU, and at least another 1Gb of ram is highly recommended.

For CPU, I wouldn't recommend anything that's inferior to AMD Phenom II x4 955 or Intel i5 750.

For GPU, don't go lower than 5750...5770 highly recommended.

You -could- run the game with slightly inferior parts to the ones I recommended, but you will be seeing a significant dip in performance...which could lead to your son being too frustrated to play the game. And if that turns out to be the case, you would have burnt hundreds of dollars for nothing.

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#9 Jul 15 2010 at 8:14 AM Rating: Good
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Unfortunately, that machine is at its end in terms of upgradability. While you could manage to fit a better graphics card in there, it wouldn't help with playing FFXIV without a CPU upgrade. Looking at your motherboard, it doesn't look like you'd be able to fit a better CPU in there either without a new motherboard to boot. Long story short, you'd need to build a new system from scratch, which is definitely going to stretch past $200.

The rest of these posters are on the mark with their hardware recommendations, but one thing you can try is to build a system that has high upgradability. Try to pick a motherboard that will let you put better components in it later, so that way you can plan your upgrades incrementally and stick with one component at a time, like you're trying to do now.
#10 Jul 15 2010 at 8:17 AM Rating: Decent
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Thanks for all of you guys' help!

I'm willing to spend a bit more, I did not realize his computer is that outdated.

I would like to try to build a computer myself, but I'm really not good with computer stuffs and I'm afraid I'd mess it up..so thats why im thinking of getting a basic computer from ibuypower or dell.com and maybe change the graphic card and add some ram? but what kind of motherboard and processor should i look for in a computer? and is that a good idea?

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 10:20am by Joseph1209
#11 Jul 15 2010 at 9:03 AM Rating: Decent
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If you don't have anyone who can help you build it, you're likely going to be paying significant more by buying pre-built systems.

I just went to ibuypower there and fiddled around for a quick couple of minutes in the "build-your-own-PC" section...and found a system that includes a Phenom II x4 955 and HD 5770 to be priced at $880. Another 10-second quick calculation had me pricing that system at less than 700 bucks if you build it yourself. That's quite a big difference there. =/
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#12 Jul 15 2010 at 9:29 AM Rating: Decent
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Threx wrote:
If you don't have anyone who can help you build it, you're likely going to be paying significant more by buying pre-built systems.

I just went to ibuypower there and fiddled around for a quick couple of minutes in the "build-your-own-PC" section...and found a system that includes a Phenom II x4 955 and HD 5770 to be priced at $880. Another 10-second quick calculation had me pricing that system at less than 700 bucks if you build it yourself. That's quite a big difference there. =/


I wouldn't ever waste money on say an Alienware rig, however most of the pre-built PCs aren't so bad. Ballisticgaming prices are set to only 5% of what you would pay if you bought the parts off Newegg plus offers a 3 year warranty and free over-clocking CPU/GPU. I have yet to see anyone who builds PC's for a living come even close to that value. I'd rather spend 100 bucks more and have my system over-clocked by someone who does it all the time and offers a warranty should anything go wrong. I read the horror stories on Newegg every stime I visit the site. If something breaks, good luck on having it replaced by the manufactured warranty in a reasonable time frame.
#13 Jul 15 2010 at 9:42 AM Rating: Decent
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Just to had, you also might need to buy a new 'power supply. if your upgrading GPU/CPU as the one your currently using (im guessing quite low wattage) probably isnt up to the job of powering the newer components
#14 Jul 15 2010 at 9:54 AM Rating: Decent
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By reading your posts Joseph it sounds you are at least a bit tech savvy. Why do you go check out this thread and see if you feel more comfortable building your own. It will be much much cheaper and you could always say "I built it with my own two hands" :)

Thread:
No Excuses NOT To Build Your Own Rig

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 8:55am by Veagan
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#15 Jul 15 2010 at 10:08 AM Rating: Decent
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For what it's worth......this cpu I think will fit you motherboard. Plus combos with the hd5770

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.442696

Edit: Your motherboard is socket AM2 and this cpu is AM3. But I would look for these type of deals.

Good luck to you.

Edited, Jul 15th 2010 12:13pm by Bainrow
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#16 Jul 15 2010 at 10:27 AM Rating: Decent
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If I'm not mistaken, his motherboard doesn't have a PCI-e slot though, so he won't be able to use the 5770.
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#17 Jul 15 2010 at 11:02 AM Rating: Good
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I'm going to have to suggest going the whole nine yards and getting the following:

Processor - Quad Core
RAM - DDR3 RAM
Video Card - GeForxe 4XX or Radeon 5770 or better
Power Supply - At least 600-650W
Motherboard - one compatible with the above parts

All of this should be doable for $600-800
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#18 Jul 15 2010 at 1:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Wow you guys are great! lots of help,

I think I will have to just buy a new computer since theres too much to upgrade, Ballistic gaming seems really good but the cheapest machine is $1000, I'm sure its worth it but I tried to customize is on the site and it boosts up the price by a lot. are there any other reputable websites i can take a look?
#19 Jul 15 2010 at 4:50 PM Rating: Decent
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you could always try buying a Barebones Kit and go from there. Just trying to give you cheaper options :)
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#20 Jul 15 2010 at 5:09 PM Rating: Default
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I know nothing about AMD but I can tell you that I have a Radeon HD 4850 512MB and a E8500 duo core (3.15ghz) processor and I score a 3012 on the benchmark with low resolution. My point? well the video card costs like $90 and the processor costs $180 which is a total of $270. So if you find the AMD version of my processor you can score decent benchmark for around $270. you will probably still need to spend another $50-$75 on better ram I would suggest ddr3 ram (2 sticks of 2gb each for a total of 4gb). but the video card and processor are your main concerns, the ram upgrade will top it off, but may not be needed.
#21 Jul 15 2010 at 5:16 PM Rating: Decent
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BTW if your gonna build a whole new system, it's not actually too pricey (You could build my entire system for like $600 - $700) if you build it yourself, which will score you 3000 on benchmark. I would tell you my exact system, but you shouldnt buy the stuff I have, my point is the price you can get 3000 benchmark for and thats building the entire computer including a dvd drive, floppy drive, hard drive, etc. I build my computer 2 years ago and its old technology, if your gonna spend the money to build a new system you can do it for like $800 with newer technology but at the low end (but ability to upgrade in future)
#22 Jul 15 2010 at 5:39 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:

For CPU, I wouldn't recommend anything that's inferior to AMD Phenom II x4 955 or Intel i5 750.


What about the Athlon II X4? It's $60 cheaper and quad core. With a GTX260 OC ($185) and 4 gigs of ram my buddy is scoring like a 3500 or so. Which is medium settings if you're on a budget.

New egg has a mobo+cpu combo for that processor for less than $200. Not better than the Phenom II x4 but imo better than the Phenom II x2 since the game actually uses the 4 cores.
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#23 Jul 15 2010 at 7:01 PM Rating: Decent
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I agree with most everyone else. Your current machine is outdated and probably wouldn't upgrade very well. I tried a few different pc-build websites and this looks like it would work fairly well and is relatively cheap ($767 before shipping ect), at least by my standards. I think your son would be very pleased with how this machine would play his new copy of FFXIV ^^

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/AMD_Quad_Core_Configurator/

CyberPower CX-9959 Lan Party Case w/ See-Thur Window (lowest price case)
AMD Athlon™II X4 630 Quad-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology (cheapest availabe quad cpu)
AMD ATHLON64 CERTIFIED CPU FAN & HEATSINK (stock cooling should be fine with no overclocking)
Motherboard: MSI 770-G45 AM3 770 Chipset CrossFireX Support DDR3 Socket AM3 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, USB2.0, SATA-II, RAID, 2 Gen2 PCIe, 1 PCIe X1, & 3 PCI
4GB (2GBx2) DDR3/1333MHz Dual Channel Memory ( I wouldn't reccomend less then 4gb of ram)
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 16X PCIe Video Card (A 5770 is the best bang for your buck GPU, by ATI, on the market)
600 Watts - XtremeGear Power Supply - SLI/CrossFireX Ready (upgrade from the insufficient 450 watt)
500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD
24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive
HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition) [+0] More versions ...
64-bit Edition


I'm not sure what your budget is, so I tried to pick the components as low priced as possible while keeping the idea of low to medium settings and the game running smoothly.

Good luck, I hope everything works out for you and your son ^^
#24 Jul 15 2010 at 11:16 PM Rating: Decent
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Wow...I really appreciate everyones help, I will definitely look into everythig you guys have taught me, I still have a few questions if you guys dont mind.

What kind of motherboard should i look for in buying a new computer? so that it wont be outdated that fast and will be compatible with say i7 or something thats really expensive at the moment?

What kind of power supply should i get that'll support SLI since I'm sure i'll eventually put another graphics card in there for him.

also which DDR3 ram should i get? i dont really know what the number represents like 1666

and last question is ..is liquid cooling good?

Sorry about all these questions...really excited to get this for him
#25 Jul 15 2010 at 11:20 PM Rating: Decent
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Thank you Jhariya, thats around the amount I could spend on and it looks really good. is the system good enough to play and can upgrade in the future?
#26 Jul 16 2010 at 8:20 AM Rating: Decent
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GuardianFaith wrote:
Quote:

For CPU, I wouldn't recommend anything that's inferior to AMD Phenom II x4 955 or Intel i5 750.


What about the Athlon II X4? It's $60 cheaper and quad core. With a GTX260 OC ($185) and 4 gigs of ram my buddy is scoring like a 3500 or so. Which is medium settings if you're on a budget.

New egg has a mobo+cpu combo for that processor for less than $200. Not better than the Phenom II x4 but imo better than the Phenom II x2 since the game actually uses the 4 cores.



Athlon II x4 is fine, but it doesn't mean I recommend it. ;)

It will run the game decently (as you said, your friend uses it and scores 3500). But I really recommend getting a system that can achieve 4000+ on the benchmark if you can afford it. You'll be thankful for it when you're in congested areas in the game (Lower Jeuno auction house, anyone?).

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#27 Jul 16 2010 at 8:41 AM Rating: Decent
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Joseph1209 wrote:
What kind of motherboard should i look for in buying a new computer? so that it wont be outdated that fast and will be compatible with say i7 or something thats really expensive at the moment?

What kind of power supply should i get that'll support SLI since I'm sure i'll eventually put another graphics card in there for him.

also which DDR3 ram should i get? i dont really know what the number represents like 1666

and last question is ..is liquid cooling good?

Sorry about all these questions...really excited to get this for him



If you want a motherboard that is compatible with i7, you won't be able to use that board for AMD CPUs (motherboards that support Intel do not support AMD, and vice versa). If you really are thinking about upgradability in the long run, I'd go with AMD instead of Intel (I'm upgrading my PC in about a month and I myself am going with AMD).

The reason is i7 is the last generation of processors that Intel is producing that uses the same socket type. If you're going to upgrade your CPU into one of Intel's latest CPUs a couple of years from now, you would have to buy a new motherboard.

AMD is still going to produce new CPUs that use the same socket type as the one they are using now, so a couple of years from now you can grab one of their newer CPUs and use the same motherboard.

As for what type of motherboard that will support SLI/Crossfire, any motherboard that has at least two PCI-e slots. However, if you really are planning on doing SLI/Crossfire in the future, you need to be a bit more picky with your motherboard. You should find a motherboard that has x16 on BOTH PCI-e slots. Many cheaper motherboards out there that have two PCI-e slots...well, usually the second slot is either x8 or x4, which will make your second GPU underperform. So find a motherboard that has both its PCI-e slots running at x16 at the SAME TIME.

And if you're going with SLI/Crossfire, the PSU really depends on what type of GPUs you'll be using. 800W should be enough for two 5770s. If you're going to do some overclocking (increasing the speed of your CPU/GPU), then get 850W+. Do not use an 850W PSU for SLI/Crossfiring two monster cards like two GTX 480s though, those devour WAY more power than a puny 850W PSU can handle. (2x 5770 and 800W+ is fine...but if you're running two GPUs that are better than that, you'll need a bigger PSU)

I recommend getting DDR3 RAM that is either 1333 or 1600 (that number is pretty much its speed). Just make sure your motherboard also supports that speed.

And lastly, only go with liquid cooling (I recommend the H50...that's what I'll be getting) if you're planning on overclocking your CPU (increasing its speed). If you don't plan on doing it (or if you don't know how to), don't bother with liquid cooling.
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#28 Jul 16 2010 at 2:19 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Joseph1209

Thank you Jhariya, thats around the amount I could spend on and it looks really good. is the system good enough to play and can upgrade in the future?



I think it will be a good system for the game and could last for a while. The AM3 socket motherboard should be compatible with AMD's new 6-core CPU's (if not, have the bios reflashed to a newer version should you decide to upgrade).

If I remember correctly, this board will not support crossfire. I *think* that if you went with that setup but upgraded the processor to a Phenom II X4 955 BE processor you would be very happy with the results. I literally just built one the other day using these specs:

CoolerMaster HAF 922 Case
ECS Black Series A790GXM-AD3 Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition CPU 3.2ghz
4GB Gskill DDR3 1333mgz Ram
A-data 32GB SSD
Seagate 7200rpm 1TB HDD
Asus Blue Ray drive
Asus CD/DVD Burner
Gigabyte HD 5830 GPU
OCZ Fatal1ty 550 watt PSU
23" Acer Wide-screen LCD monitor
Wireless mouse and keyboard

It cost him $1200 in parts, but he was VERY happy with the performance compared to his old machine (an OEM, possibly Dell). After I benchtested his machine to ensure everything was fuctioning as it should he asked me to install and run the FF benchmark. With his machine, all stock settings, we scored roughly 4400 on low and 3500 on high.

I just purchased a MSI Hawk HD 5770 video card for myself and my setup is similar to the customer I referenced above, with the exception of a complete system OC on mine. I scored a touch over 4600 on low.

As far as liquid cooling goes, I can't really comment because I have never experimented with it. But from what I have read, you can really lower the temp. of your components as opposed to fans. My pc has a total of 9 fans installed. I idle at 29* C and peak at 56* C under 100% load. If I had liquid, I would guess my temp's would be roughly 5* cooler, but thats a guess :)

Edit: Spelling

Edited, Jul 16th 2010 4:22pm by jhariya
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