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Budget system:CPU vs video card

By grbeckmeyer ·
Not actually building one right now, but just suppose building a budget system with a low end Athlon XP and low end video ($60-$75). Where would money be better spent performance-wise:a CPU upgrade, say from a XP1800 to XP2000, or a video card upgrade.
I know it's a somewhat subjective question, so I'll spread points to 2 or 3 best thought out answers.

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by CG IT In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

Performance is always a subjective issue. I would like clarification on what you view performance as in what application usage, but I'll give you my personal opinion.
1. you probably won't see any significant performance gains going from a XP 1800 to an XP2000. you probably will see some performance gains if you go from PC2100 DDR to PC2700 DDR and if you've got 512MB adding an additional 512MB will give you some performance gains.

Graphics cards are very very subjective. Depends on whatyou plan on using your computer for. I know some who use 4MB PCI graphics cards that do 800X600 res on their servers [no need for an expensive card there when all your doing is checking the event viewer and using the command line]. I know some who play online games and swear by the $400.00 ATI Radeon 9700 card. [another $200.00 and they could get a NVidia Quadro card that people who create CG characters with Maya 4.5 for movies like LOTR use].
Then there is NVidia and the new FX cards. Newegg.com has a Gainward Geforce FX 5200 128MB DDR memory graphics card for $99.00. Not the high end FX card like the 5800 Ultra that costs $500.00, but it can utilize the Vertex shader and Pixel shaders ver 2.0 and support Open GL 1.4. If you've got a Geforce 4 Ti4600, that FX 5200 card performs at or a little less. The FX 5800 Ultra performs about what a ATI Radeon9700 [at least what everyone who uses Mad Onion 3DMark 2003 graphics benchmarking says]. Grahpics cards also have a reliability factor tofactor in on overall performance. If your computer constantly has graphics card driver related issues, where's the performance gain if you get a blazing card. ATI has poor marks for their drivers and if you check forums about their cards everyone gripes about that issue. NVidia doesn't so their cards work without a lot of trouble.

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by grbeckmeyer In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

Thank you all! Not a gamer myself, but the question was really more for building for friends/neighbors. If someone wanted to spend an extra $50-$100 overall for more power, I guess the answer is really "It depends..."

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by paw_blue In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

without trying to get technical this is a simple question. Are you a agamer? If you are than I would suggest going for the video card upgrade. an XP1700 will play a game as effectively as a xp2000 if the video card is the same. I am currently runnina XP1700 with a ti4200 128mb version and I have found that I can play almost all games at full detail on the 1024X768 settings. if you are going to be using the computer for office/basic gaming (minimal 3d games [solitair]) then i would go for the cpu cpu's are coming down in price and so are video cards so there is no need for comparison of the market right now. good luck with your decision and I hope it all goes well for you

One last thing how much ram do you have? and what operating system are you using? you may find that increasing your ram would gave you a much greater advantage then the cpu in the latter case windows XP and windows 2000 are ram hogs so the more ram the better it will run/operate

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by grbeckmeyer In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

Thank you all! Not a gamer myself, but the question was really more for building for friends/neighbors. If someone wanted to spend an extra $50-$100 overall for more power, I guess the answer is really "It depends..."

Collapse -

Budget system:CPU vs video card

by paw_blue In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

without trying to get technical this is a simple question. Are you a agamer? If you are than I would suggest going for the video card upgrade. an XP1700 will play a game as effectively as a xp2000 if the video card is the same. I am currently runnina XP1700 with a ti4200 128mb version and I have found that I can play almost all games at full detail on the 1024X768 settings. if you are going to be using the computer for office/basic gaming (minimal 3d games [solitair]) then i would go for the cpu cpu's are coming down in price and so are video cards so there is no need for comparison of the market right now. good luck with your decision and I hope it all goes well for you

One last thing how much ram do you have? and what operating system are you using? you may find that increasing your ram would gave you a much greater advantage then the cpu in the latter case windows XP and windows 2000 are ram hogs so the more ram the better it will run/operate

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by grbeckmeyer In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

Poster rated this answer

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by opatzg In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

When I was under these same questions I went with the video upgrade because I can always bring that video card to my next system. I went with an $85 ati 9000 pro 128 which has more horsepower than my pc can drive it and it has not dissapointed me in the least. It's performance factors at least match if not beat the nvidia ti 4200's and performs better with video. For good prices check out pricewatch.com, for good vendors I have not been dissapointed with newegg.com ( alot of items are free shipping) nor googlegear.com. Without going to the high end graphics of the ATI 9700+ or the nvidia ti4600+ where you really need the horsepower/ motherboard FSB speeds to take advantage of them and big $$$,kind of blows the budget pc idea. The motherboard combo/video/processor/high end memory to actually make it a super fast system means budget is not an issue. Both the nvidia ti 4200 and geforce3 ti 200/500 are pretty comparable with the ATI 9000 performance wise I'ld go with the best price.
Next I'ld look at what the processor diferences are. Another thing to note, how much disk space and how much memory are you looking at? I'ld consider 512 meg a minimum for memory if speed is what your looking for, this is probable more important than the increase in processor speed, nect disk space is a cheap upgrade from 20gig to 80 gig, go with at least the 80. No matter how much space you have you will find a way to fill it. Best Buy has a cd burner for $19 this week after $50 in rebates, not a bad addition to the pc either(52X24X52 cendyne?).Keep in mind processors are replacable just as easy as video, hard disks tend to be there til they fail and generally you can get 20gig more disk space for $20 and its' money well spent. Justmy take on it!Have fun!

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by grbeckmeyer In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

Thank you all! Not a gamer myself, but the question was really more for building for friends/neighbors. If someone wanted to spend an extra $50-$100 overall for more power, I guess the answer is really "It depends..."

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Budget system:CPU vs video card

by grbeckmeyer In reply to Budget system:CPU vs vide ...

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