Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My computer.

My awesome christmas present Laptop is used 85% of the time by Wulfa because it lets her play on our bed while Orclette sleeps.

So I currently play WoW using the following:

1022mB RAM
Pentium 4 3ghz 2CPU
Directx 9
SB Audigy 2 Audio D80<------Sound
Intel($) 82865G Graphics Controller 96 meg<----- Video
A monitor that I belive is 11 inches by 10 inches.

My brother assures me that improving my RAM is the best thing I could do with my limited funds.

Eventually I want to get a new monitor, a graphics card, and more RAM. My question is what do you think would be the best thing to improve first?


Trollin' said...

It depends on your motherboard...

DDR2 RAM is very very cheap right now, and if you use that then it's definitely your most cost effective increase.

However, with 2 gigs of RAM, your onboard video is going to be a huge bottleneck for gaming.

Stale said...

768 mb RAM is the max you need for WOW... therefore if you play no other games, I wouldn't even bother!

Unless you have vista.. cause that wasted 512 itself....

Christopher said...

Is that a gig of physical memory or total memory, including virtual? There's a huge difference.

Quick tips to improve WoW playability and keep max frame rate/details:
:: Have more than 512MB RAM, 1GB is preferable.
:: Any sort of graphics card that doesn't have the word "Intel" on it. 256MB of on-board memory (not shared) on a discrete graphics card is about all most people need, and extremely cheap to come by these days. Go for 512MB on-board video RAM if you want to jack up all the eye candy.
:: Defrag your hard drive.

It's never been cheaper to buy computer components. May I ask what your budget is? I think your dollar will carry you a lot farther than you would initially expect.

TJ said...

I agree with Christopher - at least on the part of your money going farther than you might think. My computer is old, old, old, and I was going to upgrade it piece by piece to hold me over until I could afford to buy something new, but Doomilias has sought out all the parts (all I provided was a credit card number and sent it all to his house) and is putting together a new machine for me that, not including shipping, cost below $600. That also doesn't include a new monitor as mine is good, but still - if you're considering upgrading those 3 things over time, I say save that money and get a whole new machine. It costs much less than I expected it to.

Dammerung said...

@Chris My budget as we shall call it is about $100.

@TJ if I save I'll have to wait until next may as in about one month all of my money goes away to another project we're saving for.

@stale WoW runs fine...some of the time. But when I started adding vent I"m noticing a lag on my computer when I alt-tab and open up mozilla etc. This is what I'm trying to get rid of.

@Chris ooo good idea the dear piece of junk has not been defragged in ages I completely forgot to.

@TJ I think I shall hold off on the monitor until I just buy a new one... but RAM/Video card would be able to migrate to the new one when I buy it so I'm still looking at those.

Dammerung said...

@TJ Duh that sounded dumb...the monitor would be able to migrate as well but would cost more than I'm willing to spend on a single upgrade at this juncture.

Andy C. said...

I'd say you probably have enough ram for WoW, and that your priority should be a video card. Your video card decision will be made by 2 things: Your budget and your motherboard. If your motherboard has an agp or pci-e slot on it, you're good to go, if it only has pci slots on it, you're better off saving for a new machine. There are some decent video cards out there for teh cheap, I usually hit up Tom's Hardware for their monthly gaming card reviews. They split them up between AGP and PCI-E and different price ranges.

Chorius said...

Your best bang-for-buck at this point will be a new video card, on-board graphics suck :( , expect to spend about $150 for something decent that will last you a couple years, I recently got an ATI Radeon HD 3850 and have been very happy with it. I would recommend upping your system RAM to 2GB when you get the chance, you'll definitely notice a difference, both in WoW and in general usage.

Chorius said...

Although, just about any video card in the $75-$100 range should be a big improvement and keep you running for a year or more...

Christopher said...

While I agree that the best bang-for-buck upgrade is the GPU, I have some reservations, because the graphics card hardware standards have been in flux for the past ten years. Let me explain.

Depending on the age of your computer, your graphics card will be one of three different -- and completely incompatible -- standards. We're currently on PCI-Express 2.0 (which thankfully enough is fully compatible with PCI-Express 1.0 hardware as well). Before PCI-Express took over the world in 2004, there was AGP. Before AGP, there was just vanilla PCI. This transition took place in the late 90s.

If you have a veritable dinosaur in computing terms, which would be any machine built more than eight or so years ago, it's likely that your motherboard is PCI or AGP (AGP would have been "cutting edge" for this machine). For both of those standards, you are extremely limited in your options, though less so with AGP than PCI. Until recently, I had an AGP gaming rig (the card died, regretfully, which forced my hand into upgrading) that performed beautifully.

If I'm not mistaken, that Intel chipset is AGP. Don't take my word for it, though; check before you buy.

Here's the skinny:
The really bad news is that if you are stuck on PCI or AGP and wanted to take the leap to PCI-Express, you're looking at a massive hardware overhaul -- motherboard, RAM, CPU, GPU, and probably even power supply. On your budget this is impossible and I do not recommend it.

The somewhat bad news is that if you're stuck on AGP, prices for cards of equivalent performance to PCI-Express counterparts tend to be more expensive, since AGP is technically a "dead" standard.

The great news is that in your price range, there are no less than several dozen cards that perform very well with World of Warcraft. Browse around NewEgg.com and see what you can get. Read the user reviews and make an educated decision. For starters, here are the top selling graphics cards between $75 and $100 on NewEgg, which is at the top end of your margin, but it gives you a good idea of what you can get for your money. Also note that three of them are PCI-Express, while one is an AGP.

It's a lot to take in, and I apologize for my lack of brevity. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email and I will assist any way I can.