Hardware, hardware, hardware!!!
For those of you that frequent my site, you have heard about the recent upgrades to my machine. I upgraded my video card from a Radeon 9500 Pro to a Geforce 6800, and 512 MB of RAM to 2 GB of RAM. $350 later, I am not sure how much I have gained. I find myself still changing a lot of settings to medium, which makes me violent.
In the past, when I have upgraded a machine, I see a “generational leap” in performance. Meaning, games that would barely run on the lowest settings suddenly run on the highest settings fluidly. I made a couple of choices this round I am not likely to repeat:
Instead of upgrading to a completely new system (mobo, RAM, CPU, GPU) I upgraded select components. Choosing to keep even one old piece of hardware in this mix gives you a definite ceiling of upgradability. I am still stuck with Socket A, 333 Mhz FSB, and AGP. In retrospect, I should have changed CPUs, increasing the FSB, and moved to PCI Express. The latter is what held me back however. It seems to be a rough transitional period as SLI and Crossfire iron out the wrinkles. I am disappointed the most though, by how little $170 gets you in the video card market right now. The $140 – $170 range has always been the best price / performance mark to allow my system to run for the next several years. I am not sure I got more than a 30% performance increase this time around. Current games are already more than my system can handle.
So I will pass onto you all what I have learned this time around. Upgrade the mobo, RAM, CPU, and GPU all at once, and definitely invest in a 256MB video card – it finally seems to be more than just a superfluous spec.