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Wednesday 1 October 2003

What is best? [am]

I'm suffering from Halo Halo Syndrome. This is like Lurker Halo Syndrome in some respects as it involves much swearing but this time it's swearing at your hardware instead of your clanmates and general members of the public. Especially on the South coast. But while LHS generally provokes much hilarity (unless you happen to live locally in the aforesaid costal region), HHS does not since what I am talking about dear readers (and Lurker will only complain about getting lost by now as he always does about my blogs so let me get to the point), what I am talking about is the fact that my hardware is not really up to playing Bungie and Gearbox's new spanko game when it comes out on the 10th.
Now ok Guiness will play it at lower framerate - say oooh 30fps at 800x600 but that's not what PC games are all about is it? No matron. We want pixel shaders and we want particle effects and we want them splooging all over the place like Slim in a kimono.
Dear readers, we're talking upgrade time.
Yes its undeniable, Guiness needs to get semi-retired or more likely have the mobo, cpu, memory and gfx card ripped out and replaced by something that looks like it's come straight outta Roswell. What was once the proud beauty with the devil in her eyes is now a insomnial trailer queen hustling for drinks in a cheap bar. So the question is this - what does anyone recommend? What - as Ali G once said before you saw him one too many times and took the recoiless semi-automatic opt-out option on your tv - what is best?
For gfx card I think we're set - it's ATI all the way girls as the Half-Life 2 debacle has shown. Going mid range the next gen which in performance terms is going to alledgedly do the equivalent of opening Nvidia's garden gate gently, tiptoeing quietly down the path, pause to stroke the family puppy and then blow the living bejebus out of their crib with about two and a half tons of semtex.
For CPU I'm thinking perhaps it's too soon to go AMD64 although the lack of heat and therefore noise is attractive so definitely maybe as the missing links from Manchester once crooned. Or are we talking P4 2.4c per Spiny's mail the other day which is supposed to offer the ability to clock to 3ghz? And heat your house for you at the same time. See there in lies the conundrum
For Memory - I'm frankly lost on all the types at the moment. Will someone help the terminally challenged part of my brain that refuses to register on this subject. Even I know this will be conditional on chip set.
For Mobo - haven't got a scooby or a scrappy.
So what's the finking here professors? Exercise your bonce and let's whip out those recommendations....


  1. Check the ml, there's an option that dramatically improves halo performance. Also turn fsaa off if you have it on, that really helps and you can't really tell the diff.

  2. I also reckon Halo is pretty craply coded. I wouldn't worry that loads of other games are going to snail as much as it does. Like I said, I've got a 2GHz Barton and a Radeon 9800 Pro and it still snails. I've not tried Slims pixelshader 1.0/1.1 command line switch tip though.

  3. Ahh - my first post, and you wondered why I Lurk...i mean hang around in your channel..I've been personally asked to blog by the man of poor memory cos apparently my computer looks like its make out of crisp packets? I assume he means that its all shiny and tasty looking rather than that it smells of pickled onion Monster Munch.My prediction for Houmous' comment on this blog is 'Find the most expensive big-ass uber-mobo, gfx card and processor and buy it, pay someone else to put it together, and then sit in your Star-Wars-Command-Centre swivel chair looking smug.' (Or words to that effect :) Which, to be honest, is the best thing to do..My Asus A7v8x mobo/AMD2100+/512mb pc3200/GF4Ti4400 puter is also unfortunatley becoming rapidly woeful although it runs Halo without much problem. Thus I can only advise in general terms about what I would buy, had I not been having a new kitchen fitted next week.Too early for AMD64, current fav want is Intel mobo (EPoX have a good rep but I always tend to use Asus as they are slightly cheaper and I've found them reliable) The Asus board I would go for is Asus P4C800 i875P Canterwood 800FSB. P4 CPU (Currently I would go for the 4c 2.8ghz or 2.6 - half the price of the 3.2). I've been AMD for as long as I have built my own PC's but looking at some of the SPAMmers P4 rigs I've got to say that if I was buying now, I would go Intel. Want to overclock? - you are a brave one to be sure...I've steered clear of it cos you have to have nerves of steel to muck about with stuff whose total cost exceeds one's total monthly income (I speak for myself and not those who work for large and famously named City companies here clearly...) Memory is also a problem as you are right - it depends on the mobo you choose. Just buy the fastest Corsair stuff your mobo supports without the bells (activity LEDs anyone?) but heat spreadersThere are plenty of people here who have a wider knowledge of hardware than me, but I use what i know. Many SPAMmers have items which are the same (once we've found a good one) cos if there any problems, there's always someone with the same card/mem/mobo whatever to offer advice - always help if sometimes you get it wrong when building. I'm sure Houmous remembers the cover-the-WHOLE-of-the-CPU-in-heatsink-compound trick.As regards shiny, tasty silver cases Lian Li are my favs (simple plain chic), although Thermaltake Xaser 3 (gangster-hard looking) are the choice of 2 people in my clan, but look out for the Coolermaster range, which are eminently strokable.(Sorry for the lack of link skills in this post as noone has told me how to do them yet)

  4. It occurred that I haven't actually replied to this with regards to anupgrade and my recommendations therein. It is too early for Athlon 64.The motherboards cost a bomb and the price of the chips is insane.There's also not much mobo choice just yet. As for what you buy, thatcomes down to how price sensitive you are I suppose. Performance wise,for gaming and for media encoding, which are both favorite past timesof us I would have thought, Intel clearly has the lead. Also, the factis that Intel has always provided rock-solid stable solutions and AMDthird-party vendors are only now getting their act together.
    On the Intel chipset front, you don't buy an i875 Canterwood as ComedyDave says, you buy an i865 Springdale from Asus or Abit, who enablethe PAT feature in the BIOS so you get the same for less money. TheAsus P4P800S is less than £80 and so is the Abit IS7-E. As foroverclocking, it's dead simple now. You've no reason why not to crankup the FSB a bit, run your memory a bit faster and the CPU. Intel CPUsoverclock well. Buy a 2.4 and run it at 2.8 or a 2.6 at 3.0, etc.There's now a shit load of high performance quiet coolers on themarket so that wont be hard to find.
    Graphics card wise, I'd recommend holding off for the new Radeon 9600XT.If you are feeling (very) cashed up, obviously the 9800XT is a winner too.Memory wise, I only ever use Crucial. It's cheap, you just order itoff their web site with free postage. It also overclocks well.
    That'll do everyone until early next year when it's time to startgetting tempted by Athlon 64...

  5. You just bung in the url and it'll link it all together, like so:

  6. Having read the reviews on the 9800XT I'm disappointed. I thought thiswas another step but actually it's just a minor speed bump. 5-10%improvement??? I think I shall use the release of the XT to pick me upa cheaper 9600 straight. It's not worth the extra money.

  7. Well in fairness, the ATI roadmap has been known for a long time. These are not major new chip revisions but yes, the 9600XT is the more interesting product. The 9800XT just replaces the 256MB 9800Pro which was no faster than the 128MB 9800Pro for 90% of usage and negligably faster in those it is. If you wanted a new top end card, you'd buy a 9800XT because it's the best on the market. It's not something anyone with a good card now is going to upgrade to.
    It also wont drive down the price of the 9600. It'll probably result in a lower 9800Pro price. The 9600Pro has dropped to fuck all already, take a look at overclockers for a nice 128mb 96000 Pro for less than £120 nicker. The 9600XT is worth keeping an eye on though. The performance you'd notice and is welcome in a mid-range card though... for the money a 9600Pro is going for, you may as well buy one today and just EBay the bastard later if you like what you see elsewhere.