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  1. #1
    Drunken Red Mage
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    PC Upgrade; trying to keep around $500ish

    I've been having horrid luck with technology as of late between my router dying and my HDD failing on my gaming PC so I figure I'll do an upgrade on the POS since it's pretty outdated:
    3.0ghz P4, 2gb PC2700 DDR RAM, Nvidia 6600GT, MSI P4N SLI mobo: yowza!

    I've been poking around the dozens of other PC upgrade threads and have a decent idea of what I want to do but I'm looking for suggestions on what I've picked out. I want to be able to run XI comfortably at max resolution and probably dual box without any hurt. I'm used to playing 1280x1024(with slightly underscaled graphics) right now and I'd like to oversample a bit so the game looks better(Waste of processing power I know). XI is really the only game I play on it but I want to have other options available to me but I doubt I'll play anything else. I guess ultimately as long as I can dual box with good settings and browse the web I'll be happy. :D

    Mobo:
    Torn between N82E16813128359 and N82E16813128345. They seem very similar and I'm not sure if I'm justified in spending the extra $20 for the GA-EP45-UD3R.

    CPU:
    N82E16819115036 - Seems to be the CPU everyone and their mom is choosing. I'm sure it'll beat the hell out of my current P4.

    RAM:
    N82E16820145177 - Pretty much decided on these unless I can get faster or better RAM for about the same price. I'm keeping XP so no point in anything more than 2gb as far as I can tell.

    Case:
    N82E16811119115 - I just want good airflow; I really don't give a damn about crazy lights and shit as long as my PC runs well and stays cool. I just got a Freezer7 Pro last week so I'll be using that on the CPU.

    HDD:
    N82E16822148231 - I don't need a ton of room on my system drive; I just want it to last longer than a year and a half like my last PC's drive. I'll probably phase out my two 120gb Seagates for a 1TB down the road to make my data storing easier but for now I'm keeping my old ones.

    That's pretty much it except that I'm toying around with upgrading my sound card from my old Audigy ZS2 Platinum but I really don't know WTF I should get. Currently rocking a 5.1 setup with some old Logitech speakers that I really don't feel like upgrading. The only reason I think I want a better sound card is because I want to get a BluRay/HDDVD player but that probably means I'd have to upgrade my 6600GT which brings me to my next point: should I get a new video card(I think I'll have to since the 6600GT doesn't support HDCP which I need for HD/BR playback)? I'm sitting at just over $400 right now so I think I can stomach the idea of dropping another $150-$200 on a better card if it'll make XI run faster. Again, the goal is to run XI as awesome as possible and still be able to do other shit too.

    Thanks in advance for suggestions and help since I still feel like a hardware dumbass. I guess that's what I get for only upgrading my PC every 2-3 years. I feel like I'm way out of the loop as far as what's current and good. :/

  2. #2
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    Both monitor and video card have to support HDCP for it to work correctly, i bought a ps3 and my monitor didnt have hdcp support so all i got was a blank screen via HDMI, same with blu ray movies, a new hdcp complaint monitor fixed the issue, assuming blu ray drives in a pc use it also, you'd need to make sure they both support it.

    Look at a HT Omega Striker 7.1 sound card if you want to upgrade, its like $90 has alot of optical input/output options, i cant be happier with mine, it was a pretty big difference from the old X-Fi card i had, on the plus side this card has "True" DTS and dolby digital support if you wanted to upgrade later on down the road to digital speakers or hook your pc up to a digital receiver.

  3. #3
    Drunken Red Mage
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    Yeah, I ran into the HDCP problems with my current setup since my video card wasn't HDCP compliant but my monitors are. I also realized that I have $600 to spend so looks like I can snag that sound card and still have cash for a video card, I'm just not sure which one to get lol

    Now that I think about it; I can probably hook up that sound card to the receiver in my living room too. Hell, might as well see if I can get a video card with HDMI or component output :D

  4. #4
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    Might look into a HD4850, hear its a good card, i found one on newegg for $140.00 after a rebate, i run a HD3870 btw, never had a problem in ffxi with it, although i hear the 8800 series still has issues.

    The card has a little adapter that hooks up to the dvi port that'll let you run HDMI with it, works fine, thats how my monitor is connected.
    Newegg.com - ASUS EAH4850 TOP/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

    If you run optical connection btw, get a good quality optical cable, the sound card comes with one but its not very high quality if you know what i mean.
    Good Luck on your upgrade.

  5. #5
    My Little Ixion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auspice View Post
    I've been having horrid luck with technology as of late between my router dying and my HDD failing on my gaming PC so I figure I'll do an upgrade on the POS since it's pretty outdated:
    3.0ghz P4, 2gb PC2700 DDR RAM, Nvidia 6600GT, MSI P4N SLI mobo: yowza!
    Oh yeah.. an upgrade will do ya pretty good. Let's dig in!

    Mobo:
    Torn between N82E16813128359 and N82E16813128345. They seem very similar and I'm not sure if I'm justified in spending the extra $20 for the GA-EP45-UD3R.
    The only diff I see between the two is the first one is a lot more expandable - it has 2 more USB 2.0 ports, 2 more SATA-300 ports, SATA-RAID capability, and extra gigabit ethernet port, and a firewire port that the second board doesn't have at all. The PCI config is slightly different as well. If you expect to make use of any of this, spring for the more expansive board.
    CPU:
    N82E16819115036 - Seems to be the CPU everyone and their mom is choosing. I'm sure it'll beat the hell out of my current P4.
    Either this or the 3.0gHz E8400 (N82E16819115037) would work fine, and you can very easily overclock the E8400 on the stock cooler to 3.16gHz and it'll save you 20 bucks..
    RAM:
    N82E16820145177 - Pretty much decided on these unless I can get faster or better RAM for about the same price. I'm keeping XP so no point in anything more than 2gb as far as I can tell.
    Faster and better, and less expensive?! N82E16820145043

    Re: Memory w/ XP - You can go up to 4 gigs on XP 32-bit it's just a matter of the stuff in your system knocking down how much of that memory is available for programs.

    HDD:
    N82E16822148231 - I don't need a ton of room on my system drive; I just want it to last longer than a year and a half like my last PC's drive. I'll probably phase out my two 120gb Seagates for a 1TB down the road to make my data storing easier but for now I'm keeping my old ones.
    In the interest of keeping costs down I'll just go with you here, but for five bucks more you can practically double-up to a 160GB. I'm just sayin'!

    Sound system I won't get into, except to say that if you can reuse your sound card in the place of the pitifil Realtek HD Audio crap that most mobo manufacturers use these days then DO IT.

    Video card.. XI overall performance depends more on the CPU, but frame rates & quality graphics still benefit from having a rockin' GPU. I had a GeForce 8600GT and that was pretty good (though a 9800 or GTX260 would definitely beat it) and I just installed a Radeon 4870 on Friday and the thing is SMOKIN. I turned on full shadows, weather effects and Windower's DrawDistance at 5.0 and I still get 25-29fps in Whitegate most of the time.

  6. #6
    Drunken Red Mage
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    Will I be okay running this setup with my old ENERMAX Liberty 400w PSU?

    I'm a bit over budget(sitting at $650ish) but I don't mind. If there's any upgrades I can make to any of my stuff I can deal with coming in around $700 for the whole setup.

    I swapped up for that crazy Corsair RAM; I had looked at it originally but decided it was way over the top(fans on my RAM? HOLY SHIT!).

    Thanks for the help guys, getting close to ordering. :D

  7. #7
    My Little Ixion
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    Actually if you want to do some serious overclocking, memory fans is a good idea.

    And hmm.. old PSU. I dunno if the mobo connector is the same. I don't think it'll have a SATA power connector either but there are adapters for that. 400w also might be a little low, depending what you plan to get in the future, and for a GPU, and if you plan to overclock..

  8. #8
    Drunken Red Mage
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    Ended up going with N82E16817139001 a 520w PSU just in case. Also bought a new copy of XP Pro since I can't find my CD and don't feel like fucking around with torrents and picked up a 1.5TB HDD to replace my old 2x Seagate 120gbs ATA drives that I've been using since the dawn of time. Curse you newegg and your 12 months no interest on $1k orders! >_<

    Thanks for the help guys, hopefully I'll get this baby before the holidays so I can spend my day off building it.

  9. #9
    Drunken Red Mage
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    Sorry for the double post but I've got a few questions to ask before I get everything built(should be here tomorrow! :D). I want to make sure it doesn't get bogged down and cluttered with useless shit since my last PC had a hopelessly fucked up registry from years of installing/uninstalling shit. Not even CCleaner could get rid of all the useless garbage although I suppose a fresh XP install might have helped.

    On a semi-unrelated note a friend of mine said that making the system drive not C made it harder for spyware to install itself on your machine; sounds like a load of BS to me but I figured I'd ask. He also told me to set up an administrator account for any installation and to make my login restricted is a good idea. Seems like more of a pain than it's worth but if it'll help keep things running smoothly I guess I'm willing to do it.

    tl;dr I guess I'm just asking how to keep my computer running fast and not getting bogged down with useless shit since it's going to need to last me another 3+ years.

  10. #10
    Pandemonium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auspice View Post
    Sorry for the double post but I've got a few questions to ask before I get everything built(should be here tomorrow! :D). I want to make sure it doesn't get bogged down and cluttered with useless shit since my last PC had a hopelessly fucked up registry from years of installing/uninstalling shit. Not even CCleaner could get rid of all the useless garbage although I suppose a fresh XP install might have helped.

    On a semi-unrelated note a friend of mine said that making the system drive not C made it harder for spyware to install itself on your machine; sounds like a load of BS to me but I figured I'd ask. He also told me to set up an administrator account for any installation and to make my login restricted is a good idea. Seems like more of a pain than it's worth but if it'll help keep things running smoothly I guess I'm willing to do it.
    I'm sorry, but I'm confused by the last paragraph. Make an administrator account for any installation? Do you mean your friend is telling you to make a new Windows account every single time you install a program?

    Also, you're not really going to save yourself from anything by putting Windows on a drive aside from C:. The %windir% syntax will list where your Windows install is located regardless. If you want to stay safe, having spyware programs like Spybot, Malwarebytes, and anti-virus software like Avast! or Kapersky is best.

    Here are some other tips:

    1. Create multiple partitions on the HDD. Your Windows partition should be future-proofed with a size of 25GB or more (depending upon whether you choose to install programs to it or another partition). Personally, I use one partition for Windows, another for all of my programs, and yet another for data.

    2. Set your Virtual Memory to 1.5 times the amount of RAM you have. There are actually different multiples of RAM you should use, and you can get much more accurate than this, but 1.5 is generally fine for people who aren't going to get into intricate specifics. If you decide to do that, there are guides on the web.

    3. Leave your Virtual Memory store on the same partition as Windows. Many sites tell you not to do this and say it increases performance, but it does not.

    4. If you want to use the Administrator account as your primary account, rename it ASAP. The name "Administrator" is obviously going to attract any script kiddies as too many people never, ever change it, and it holds the key to doing whatever they want on someone's PC.

    5. Ideally, you'll rename the Administrator account, give it a complicated password, and then create another account with administrator permissions for your use. This should also have an inconspicuous name and a difficult-to-crack password (with lower and upper case letters, numbers, special characters, et cetera).

    6. You can also create a new, dummy account named Administrator that doesn't have access to anything -- this is what I always do. Although it's highly doubtful anyone is ever going to be interested in hacking into your personal computer, it will distract and potentially deter anyone who's not really good at it.

    HOW TO&#58; Rename the Administrator and Guest Account in Windows Server 2003

    Change virtual memory settings: Management Services

  11. #11
    Drunken Red Mage
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    Got everything built and installed but I think I did something wrong. This is the first time I've messed around with partitioning and the only thing showing is the 30gb I set aside for XP to install on. I'm thinking I needed to make a partition for the rest of the HDD right? lol

    Also, my 1.5TB drive doesn't show in My Computer but it does show on my device list; do I need to format it somehow before it'll work with XP(again, never had to format a non system drive before O_O;.

    When I went to make my dummy admin account it said the name Administrator was taken but Administrator didn't show up on my user list; is there something special I need to do?

    I think that just about takes care of my questions, I feel like such a dumbass for not knowing how to do such simple things after building PCs for almost a decade. >_<

  12. #12
    Pandemonium
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    You have to rename the Administrator account first, and it will be listed in the MMC if you follow the directions posted above. Although it says they're for Server 2003, they're identical to what you'd perform in XP. Did you already do this?

    You will have to make a partition for the rest of the HDD, yes. You can make the partition prior to installing Windows and format it later, but since you've already installed Windows, there's another way. First, open your Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, then follow the directions listed on this page:

    Create a partition or logical drive: Storage Services; Local File Systems

  13. #13
    Drunken Red Mage
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    Alright, got everything partitioned correctly, thanks!

    I think I changed the user accounts correctly; I did it under the "Computer Management" window. Not quite the same way the link you gave me above but I remembered seeing an option there when I was formatting my drives. Think that'll fix things?

  14. #14
    Pandemonium
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    Yes, that's fine. You can accomplish the same things via Computer Management that you would through the MMC (as the Computer Management window itself is actually run through the MMC).

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