View Full Version : Building from the scraps
01-21-04, 03:15 PM
Ok, so I have the following parts:
p4 2.0a processor w/heatsink and a motherboard with onboard sound and LAN.
Mobo supports DDR226 ram.
Wondering how I could get this to EQ functionality for the cheapest cost?
I tend to shop at www.canadacomputers.com if you can use that as a price reference.
So you're in need of a case, power supply, memory, and graphics card?
Does the motherboard have an AGP port and is it a single channel motherboard (845 series, SiS 645/648 series, etc)?
How much (in cdn) do you want to spend, and how much can you afford to spend (including tax)?
Will this be a stopgap measure, or do you want to build on what you purchase to eventually make a quality midrange system?
01-21-04, 03:48 PM
I have a spare 15 gig HD laying around, and an extra CD-rom / floppy, so I'm good there
Case w/psu I'd like to spent as little as possible on, since I don't are about style
Mobo has AGP slot, intel 845 AGPset.
It'd like to minimize spending as much as possible. Technically I can afford to spent a lot, but I'd like to pretend that I can't since I'm a cheapskate.
I don't really intend to build on this system at all. The Mobo is a 400 mhz FSB so the processor that's in it is about as good as it can possibley have.
Part of future upgrades would be the motherboard if you were building on your purchase; the progression I'd see would be to get a case,PC3200 memory, and graphics card now, replace the motherboard with an 865PE/875P motherboard and add a second stick of PC3200 memory in the future, then buy a 3Ghz or so Northwood or Prescott Socket 478 in 2005 (possibly along with a faster graphics card).
But for a one-off, I'd suggest a generic case with an ATX12V power supply (at least 300w) for $50cdn or so, a 512mb stick of generic PC2700 for $92 (it doesn't look like they sell PC2100 any more at CanadaComputers.com), and a Sapphire 128mb Radeon 9600 for $154 (just make sure it's not an "SE" version). Total, under $300 excluding tax.
01-21-04, 04:17 PM
I have that exact graphics card in my main machine.
Couldn't I slack the cost by going for one of those shotty Geforce 4 MX deals?
100 bucks less isn't much to a working man, but that's a month of food for a student.
Btw Ruccus, do you find cheaper parts available in Vancouver? I could wait and bring the mobo / processor out with me when I come to Victoria for the summer. Got any spare parts?
I've got three places I go to when I'm looking for parts:
Usually one of those will have decent prices for what I'm looking for, and they're all within a 20 minute drive.
I suggested the 9600 so it would also be able to play EQ2 when it's released (the GeForce4MX, GeForce2, and Radeon 7500 or lower cards won't play EQ2 because they lack pixel shaders). I would've suggested the 128mb Radeon 9100, but I didn't see one listed. The 9200 (non-SE) should be adequate, but it's a touch slower than I'd like to recommend to anyone, and the jump in cost from the 9200 to the 9600 is worth the extra cash, considering the performance increase and extra features (Dx9, multi-sampling FSAA).
If you can find a GeForce3, Radeon 9100, 8500LE, or 9000 Pro in the $100 range then go for it, but they're hard to find. Both ATi and nVidia have gone the 64-bit memory interface route for their ultra low end budget cards, and it really hurts gaming performance, so they're reluctant to sell the previous generation low end cards because they're better than the current ones (but they're also more expensive to make so they have a lower profit margin).
Edit: I went back to CanadaComputers.com to doublecheck the pricing of some of their budget cards and I noticed that the price I had in my head for the 9200 was the $122 from the retail ATi version; I noticed that they were selling a Sapphire version for $96, which seemed reasonable. So I looked over some 128mb Radeon 9200 performance figures (namely this review), and the performance of the 9200 seems decent for its price, and a $58 price jump to a 9600 is much more than the $32 price jump I had in my head. So the 128mb Radeon 9200 should be a decent budget card that will play EQ, and still be able to play EQ2 in an emergency (make sure it's not an "SE" version, but judging by the price I think it's the normal 128 bit memory interface version). Edited by: Ruccus at: 1/21/04 5:34 pm
01-21-04, 10:07 PM
This is the machine I ran EQ on, including PoP expansion(although I quit shortly after release)
Athlon 800(yes 800, which I still have and have no problems with(Halo,MoH,CoD), although I don't play games like Unreal or Counter Strike)
Radeon 8500, 64 ram
I had to turn some setting down in Luclin and on raids, but otherwise it ran fine.
What I'm trying to say is, you'd be amazed at what you can run EQ on, unless you want all settings on high.
01-21-04, 10:18 PM
Bah, I still (although I only log in anymore to check that my EQ buddies still exist) run EQ on my Linux box using WineX with an AMD Duron 700, 512 MBs Ram, GeForce 3 Ti200 64 MB video card and ATA 100 hard drive.
EQ don't require much. And yes I have all options set high. No lag yet or framerate drop. (with exception of 40+ person raid, then my framerates drop badly)
01-22-04, 12:06 AM
My wife and I both have 850MHz systems with 64MB GF3 Ti200's and 512MB SDRAM. She has a P3, and I have an Athlon overclocked to 933 (133x7). The new models caused me lots of lag, but as soon as I switched back to the old ones, I have absolutely no slowdown other than in the middle of Bazaar.
www.shentech.com/vige64ddr2xa.html is a GF3 for $52 (Pricewatch said $59 after shipping). As Ruccus said, they've skimped enough on the newer budget cards that the older regular cards are still better.
It really comes down to how well you want it to play vs. how much you want to spend. You can get something really cheap that will do an ok job with EQ, or you can spend a bit more and get something that could handle newer stuff too. If you're trying to keep it really cheap, I'd say that GF3 should work well compared to the price. -------------------------
01-22-04, 10:34 AM
So would I be making a brutal mistake getting something like a G4 MX series card? I don't really want to order anything online and none of my local stores sell anything like the GF3.
67 Canadian for the G4MX isn't out of my range.
And I could just get a stick of, say, 256 ddr 266 ram and the system would be good to go for cheap.
01-22-04, 12:01 PM
If I remember correctly, the MX version of the GF4 is basically a GF2 running a little faster. The GF3 actually has features the GF4MX doesn't. -------------------------
01-22-04, 12:27 PM
But if I can't get a G3 outside of ordering it from a website I don't know and wouldn't be able to return a defective product to, would the G4 be a stupid purchase?
I mean, if the choice is between it and, say, a riva tnt 32 meg AGP card? I have one of those, but I don't expect it would be able to run EQ in the POP environment, which is the only environment I'm going to be working in.
A GeForce4MX and 256mb of system memory will run EQ, but you're really skimping on the price of parts to the point that it's not going to allow you to play the game with even EQ's graphics effects near full, and it's going to hurt the versatility of the computer. If you're fine with old world textures and spartan spell effects, as well as longer loading times then the GeForce4MX and 256mb of system memory will work, but I would never suggest to a person to go out and buy a GF4MX.
The GeForce4 MX core is a tweaked GeForce2 core; it's a Dx7 card which lacks both pixel shading and environmental bump-mapping. While it will play EQ, I really can't recommend it because you're essentially paying $67 just so you can play EQ. It'd be a terrible card for any new game which stresses graphics and uses pixel shaders or environmental bump-mapping.
Here's a thought which although you may not like, would probably be the most cost-effective situation for the long term. Buy a Radeon 9600 Pro ($219cdn) for your main computer and move the 9600 non-pro over to the computer you're making. The 9600 Pro should increase the longevity of your main computer, plus you'll still have the 9600 as backup. In the 9600 Pro you really are getting a good value for your money, and you'll be able to keep it for a long time and still have it play games with reasonable settings.
You're trying to spend a decent amount of money to make a computer that will only play EQ, and not even close to its ideal settings; if you can add versatility to the box (maybe a large hard drive and an AIW Radeon 9000 Pro, so you can both play EQ and run a TV line to the computer to use it as a video recorder when you're not playing EQ), while you will end up spending more, you'll get a more versatile system.
Or you can not do anything; just because you have a processor and motherboard doesn't mean you have to use them. I've got an MSI 645 Ultra (early socket 478) motherboard and a stick of PC2700 sitting on a shelf because I want value out of all my purchases; I intend to upgrade my existing processor when the P4 2.8C drops to the amount I want to spend for it, then move my current processor over to the spare motherboard. I could have bought a processor and a budget graphics card just so I'd have a second computer, but it wasn't worth the cost and I really didn't need it (so they sit on a shelf, waiting for more spare parts to slowly be added until a 'new old computer' is formed).
01-22-04, 06:05 PM
Damn your logic and sensible economics Ruccus!
I think I'll wait until I can buy decent upgrades for my existing system and let the other parts graduate over. If I had a lot of cash I could afford to buy crap, but then if I had a lot of cash I could buy a farm filled with computers and a palace