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Old 05-03-2007, 11:33 PM   #1
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Not sure if this the right place for this, but here goes.  I'm ready to get a new computer.  My current rig is about a 3+ year old gateway media center (I bought it right before they combined with e-machines and closed all the gateway country stores, if anyone remembers when that was). I think its about 1.8Ghz, but the ram is maxed out at 2G and i think the video card is an invidia with like 128M of memory, but it might be a 64M model.  Anyway, its time to replace it and I want advice. I pretty much just play EQ2 on it. On the lowest settings (esp in a raid), so hopefully you guys will have an idea of what i need. First question is, whats the best gaming computer out there? I read a review that said the gateways were the best, alienware was #2, and Dell was #3. Do yall think thats accurate? I've always wanted one of those top end alienware area 51 jobbies. But, after nearly choking to death on the $7k pricetag, I started wondering if that was too much computer. I mean seriously, is top of the line, liquid cooled, with dual video cards really that important for this game? The game is a couple years old, can it, or will it ever, take advantage of all that horse power? I know there is new technology on the horizon thats about to make computers exponentially faster again (second half of this year intel is supposed to release a 3 Ghz chip that wont require liquid cooling, moore's law will be in effect again, can i get a woot woot?), so prices will be coming down eventually. In a year, my $7k system might only be worth $2k. I've considered that I probably want to buy enough machine for my next game. But honestly, I don't think my next game has been developed yet. I'm not interested in vanguard, and I havent heard of any other games that tickle my fancy.  Besides, you know that as soon as the faster chips are released, the new games will need them!  So it might be futile to try to get top of the line right now.  So, the question is, is there a sweet spot in how much computer we need for EQ2? Is there a point of diminishing returns (kinda like when you get a stat to about 700 ish) where the game play experience isn't heightened enough for it to be necessary to keep spending a lot of extra money?  I've priced up a bunch of computers.  From $7k for alienware, there's a dell for $4k that looks nice and the lower end gaming systems from gateway are about $2k.  Now, when i say lower end, I'm still talking about 2.4 Ghz, 4M of ram, and at least 500M of memory on the video card.  -h
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:53 PM   #2
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This probably actually belongs in the Technical Help and Questions forum, since it's about hardware and not software.  SMILEY
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:55 PM   #3
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Well, maybe somebody can move it.  This place has moderators, right?
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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I have an old P4 1.6 ghz with 1gig of ram and a geforce 6800 128mb in it.

I can run 3 windows of EQ2 simultaneously on it with extreme performance settings.

Personally, I don't think the brand is as important as the equipment inside it.

I'd suggest core 2-duo, not "dual core" which is older technology.

If you don't mind refurbs or "open box new" systems, you could get a core 2 duo with a 256 mb graphics card (I think it is a x1300) and 2 gigs of ram for $500-700 from dell outlet.  Check out the difference in FSB (front side bus) ratings between the various levels, it can make a difference in performance.

There are also a lot of websites that offer affiliate coupons on these types of systems as well.

Do keep in mind that brands such as Dell typically are a bear to upgrade due to the compact case sizes, which is one drawback.

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Old 05-04-2007, 12:47 PM   #5
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Dual core isn't older technology. Core 2 duo and Athlon X2 and such are all Dual core processors just for different brands. They will become old technology when the new quad core processors are finally released with new architecture. Also dont be swayed by intels current 'quad core' systems which are just 2 dual cores on one processor package and not a true quad core processor, they are good but the new proper release will be better.
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Old 05-04-2007, 08:40 PM   #6
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JamesRay wrote: I'd suggest core 2-duo, not "dual core" which is older technology. Actually... Core 2 - Duo is Intel's way of trying to be slick with product names. They are the same thing. Dual Core is what AMD calls it.
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Old 05-05-2007, 09:52 AM   #7
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-=Hoss=- wrote:
Not sure if this the right place for this, but here goes.  I'm ready to get a new computer.  My current rig is about a 3+ year old gateway media center (I bought it right before they combined with e-machines and closed all the gateway country stores, if anyone remembers when that was). I think its about 1.8Ghz, but the ram is maxed out at 2G and i think the video card is an invidia with like 128M of memory, but it might be a 64M model.  Anyway, its time to replace it and I want advice. I pretty much just play EQ2 on it. On the lowest settings (esp in a raid), so hopefully you guys will have an idea of what i need. First question is, whats the best gaming computer out there? I read a review that said the gateways were the best, alienware was #2, and Dell was #3. Do yall think thats accurate? I've always wanted one of those top end alienware area 51 jobbies. But, after nearly choking to death on the $7k pricetag, I started wondering if that was too much computer. I mean seriously, is top of the line, liquid cooled, with dual video cards really that important for this game? The game is a couple years old, can it, or will it ever, take advantage of all that horse power? I know there is new technology on the horizon thats about to make computers exponentially faster again (second half of this year intel is supposed to release a 3 Ghz chip that wont require liquid cooling, moore's law will be in effect again, can i get a woot woot?), so prices will be coming down eventually. In a year, my $7k system might only be worth $2k. I've considered that I probably want to buy enough machine for my next game. But honestly, I don't think my next game has been developed yet. I'm not interested in vanguard, and I havent heard of any other games that tickle my fancy.  Besides, you know that as soon as the faster chips are released, the new games will need them!  So it might be futile to try to get top of the line right now.  So, the question is, is there a sweet spot in how much computer we need for EQ2? Is there a point of diminishing returns (kinda like when you get a stat to about 700 ish) where the game play experience isn't heightened enough for it to be necessary to keep spending a lot of extra money?  I've priced up a bunch of computers.  From $7k for alienware, there's a dell for $4k that looks nice and the lower end gaming systems from gateway are about $2k.  Now, when i say lower end, I'm still talking about 2.4 Ghz, 4M of ram, and at least 500M of memory on the video card.  -h
Well, as most enthusiasts would definitely agree, going with a build-to-suit is preferable to buying a boxed brand (esp. if you're going to a retail store.  Crap, Crap, and Crap, WITH A a markup...) but I digress That alienware for 7k....  if all you play is eq2 atm, I can say that's definitely NOT at your sweet spot (you are NOT going to feel like you got 7g's worth of performance good sir, just not gonna happen).  You won't feel good about that purchase.  Further: Alienware is now owned by Dell and are no longer the quality machines they used to be.  Likely, the 'Dell" branded one you see for 4k is VERY near to the same thing, just without the 'nike' branding that Alienware brings, if ya get my meaning.  You're payin' an extra 3k for that 'swoosh' heh. So to quit beatin' around the bush, here's what we know, and most could tell you so far (this is Generally-Speaking, so your mileage may vary): Nvidia: The way it's meant to be played.  As far as EQ is concerned: horse-crap.  It's either a driver issue, or a game issue, but so many ppl are having issues with the mothership of Nvidia right now...  8800-series cards seem to be the worst affected, not getting anywhere NEAR the performance they should be, and in some cases, SUFFERING on insane systems even at 'Performance' instead of "Quality" settings.  These cards should be able to RIP EQ2 a new one, but they just aren't ATM... The reason for this is partly EQ, which is CPU-limited right now: the engine isn't really designed to take advantage of the most acceleration that the next-gen cards can provide: the caveat especially with the 8800 cards is that the card itself also partly uses CPU cycles, further weakening EQ2's performance. Here's kinda the "real-world' problem with what some of the guys are telling you about the dual-core Rigs: EQ2 is NOT a multi-threaded/dual-core enabled application.  And, being pretty much CPU-bottlenecked with the beefier cards, that becomes important: A dual-core rated at 4Ghz has 2-cores running at 2Ghz each:  So, the max feasible speed for processing EQ2 is equivalent to a 2Ghz processor.  The advantage of a dual-core system in this case is the 2nd core could be helping run background applications and windows system routines, so you WILL get better performance from a dual-core, but NOT because of EQ2's ability to take advantage (a confusing, fine line, I know... heh) Analyzing your system, I would say that instead of replacing in it's entirety, you could probably benefit most from a good video card upgrade.  As the top-of-the-line nvidia's are STILL reported as having problems, I'm very hesitant to say to run out and grab one...  in-general, Nvidia cards right now are having some issues in EQ, rendering issues and what-not.  Also feasibly a CPU upgrade, but I'd hafta know more about your system to advice on that. That's not to say that ATI isn't having their share of issues, but these are more system-specific, instead of symptomatic of a "bad-card". I would say probably to go with an ATI card, I myself am thinking of getting the x1950, which is a beast of a card.  Check 'em out at newegg.  I have been a long-time fanboi of nvidia for various reasons, but I am tired of seeing shoddy driver support, both from them and from EQ (mainly peeved at EQ, but I'm addicted sooooo....) Before you order: I don't know the specifics about your system, so make sure you have pci-express slot available (afaik the newer video cards are rarely distro'd as AGP cards, so they're getting more difficult to find high-end AGP.  your machine, having been built 3+ years ago, COULD actually have AGP, OR PCI-express, it just depends on what mobo was slapped into it.)  I can help you with some of these determinations, if you post a specific question I'll see what I can find for you. In the end, EQ2 right now is CPU bottlenecked, and CPU's haven't really gotten "FASTER", they have just gotten more 'efficient', with multi-core, etc.  Since EQ isn't designed to take advantage of that (not to it's fullest), it doesn't make sense to advise you to upgrade your whole machine, when 'All you do' is play EQ on it, and I can't say for certain if that situation will improve.  Furthermore, to a certain extent you WILL see performance increase with a vid card upgrade, but due to CPU bottlenecking, you won't see your value-per-dollar for the high-end cards right now (Again, this is based on your machine being primarily for EQ2: situation is different if you really DO multi-task).  So with that in mind, your first concern, as highlighted above, should be vid-card upgrade, but not necessary the tip-top right now.  Although I'm sure you'll be happy either w/ the x1950 or nvidia 7950gtx.  They should perform equivalently, there are still reported issues with BOTH cards atm tho. Anyway good luck, I'll be lurkin' if you have any Q's
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Old 05-15-2007, 02:28 PM   #8
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Thanks, I didn't even see these replies till just now.  I can check when I get back home, but I thought those media centers had build in graphics cards.  Thats one big reason I was looking to build a new one from scratch.  -h
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Old 05-15-2007, 03:03 PM   #9
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On-board video cards are great for solitaire, that's about it.  Building a machine is much more rewarding.  And easier on the wallet.  You can build for $2,500 what Alienware charges $4,700 for.  And you won't have to deal with them shafting you when something busts (not that I know anybody who's ever been left out in the cold by Alienware).  NewEgg has everything you need, and their RMA policy is second to none (although Tiger Direct is pretty solid, too).

You don't need to go liquid cooled, but if you like near-zero fan noise, then I guess that's a viable option.  SLI or Crossfire, NVidia or ATI dual video cards, and choice of processor type will be the motherboard-determining factor for you.  Well, along with budget.  Accept the fact that when you build it, some things will be a pain to get set right and you'll be ahead of the game. 

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Old 05-15-2007, 09:53 PM   #10
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This is pretty cool, since I decided I needed an upgrade and started studying on it, I've gone through 4 cycles.  First, I wanted an alienware, liquid cooled and all that jazz for a little over $7k.  Then I realized those weren't worth it, and was going to get about $3k middle of the line Dell.  Then I started asking around and figured out what EQ2 actually needs to play, and I decided to just build my own, I figured I could keep it around $1k.  Now, I've realized that all I really need are 2 components (video card and processor) for my old machine and maybe a power supply, and all told that'll probably be a little over $300.  Thats pretty sweet, now I just need to figure out how far my current machine can be upgraded.  All that pretty much came from this forum, so thanks a lot.  And thanks for introducing me to newegg and tiger direct too.  Pretty good tools for figuring out whats compatible with what.  -t
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:36 PM   #11
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unfortunately, you may need a different motherboard for a newer processor... if you have an old intel socket 478 processor in your current system, you can NOT get a core 2 duo processor. they use a completely different socket. also, the ram from your old system may not work with the new motherboard you might have to get. DDR ram will not work in DDR2 ram slots. be aware.

currently, i recommend you purchase motherboard, processor, ram and video card to avoid all the headaches of getting one item, and finding out it just wont work with your system.

start with a motherboard for either AMD or intel and go from there.

SLI/crossfire is just a luxury, and really wont help your performance a whole lot for EQ2. for intel, go with a socket 775 motherboard with a PCI-Express x16 slot for the newer video card technologies available (for future upgrades). also, for the intel based motherboards, make sure it supports the core 2 duo, not all of them do (older socket 775 motherboards dont). for AMD, chose an AM2 slot motherboard, also with a PCI-Express x16 slot.

once you have the motherboard narrowed down, your choices for components become MUCH easier to make. i will not suggest any processors or video cards, but you WILL want at least 2 GB of DDR2 ram, make sure it will be compatible with the motherboard. read reviews and such on your different choices to find out which types/brands of ram work the most stabley with your choice of motherboards.

added bonus to this is that if you can play EQ2 now on your current system, and were thinking about possibly starting a second account, or already had one and wanted to duo, you could run EQ2 on each comp andhave a bit easier time duoing.

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Old 05-17-2007, 12:14 AM   #12
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Thanks for the tips.  I'll keep all that in mind if I go back to the plan of building a new one.  Right now, I'm going to see how far my current mobo can be upgraded.  If it can handle a 2 GHz or better chip, and a decent ATI video card, I think I'm just going to do that.  And esp thanks for the the tip on wanting the PCI express X16 slot.  Gotta admit, I was getting kind of lost as to which one was best there.  -h
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