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3 posts

Wannabe Geek

Topic # 11240 10-Jan-2007 22:55
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Im not a serious gamer and mainly use my computer for photoshop and the internet. Over the years my ancient computer has received various components, including a decent amount of ram and a good graphics card, and now all thats left of the original rig is the case, the mother board and the cpu.
The CPU is only 1.4ghz, which meets the minimum specs for the game i want to play but it still lags.
I looked into a bundle deal of a motherboard and a 2.53ghz CPU but the guy at the shop said its not worth upgrading to that as "mine will run XP fine" and told me if i was to upgrade to go for the more expensive deal with the dual core 2.8ghz CPU but i dont want to spend that much as, like i said before, i dont really use my computer for gaming very often.

So to recap:
1) Is the CPU making my game lag?
2) Will the 2.53ghz CPU improve the speed of the game?
3) Is it really all that necessary to spend an extra $100 in the 2.8ghz processor?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for any advice you can give.     

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Hawkes Bay
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  Reply # 57537 10-Jan-2007 23:06
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dual core cpus are great. what game are you playing, and whats the rest of your setup?

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 57539 10-Jan-2007 23:09
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tonyhughes: dual core cpus are great. what game are you playing, and whats the rest of your setup?

1024mb Ram
1.8ghz cpu (my mistake, not 1.4)
radeon 9250 graphics card - 128.0 mb

umm anything else?

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  Reply # 57542 10-Jan-2007 23:14
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Hello Ahhcollipark,

And welcome to Geekzone Smile.

Your old 1.8GHz CPU is probably a Celeron or perhaps one of the very first Pentium4s that came out.  While it will run XP in a reasonable fashion for the internet, it will be pretty slow at running filters in Photoshop I would imagine.

One of my sons does a lot of Photoshop work, and we recently upgraded his PC from a 1.7GHz Celeron to a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

It made a HUGE difference and he is most impressed.  Needless to say, he is also a gamer, so it made equally large improvements in frame rates there as well (we also upgraded the video card).

As you mentioned, the "Guy at the shop" quoted you for a Dual Core CPU, but there are pretend dual cores (Pentium D etc) and the REAL dual cores such as Core 2 Duo (the latest generation).  The fact that you have said 2.8GHz leads me to believe that the salesman has quoted you for the older Pentium D, or perhaps an AMD Athlon.

If you decide to go for a dual core, make sure it's a Core 2 Duo.  They are only $100 - $200 more than the older Pentium D.  And YES, it will definitely make a big improvement to your game (compared to your existing 1.8GHz CPU) but you will also need to upgrade your video card as the new motherboards have PCI Express slots instead of AGP.  You can get quite a reasonable PCI Express card (not the latest but quite OK) for around $200.

Also, keep in mind that Core 2 Duo CPUs run between 1.5GHz and about 2.5GHz which sounds slower than the older generation, but in fact is much faster as the performance is close to double what the older CPUs produced for the same clock speed.  Core 2 Duo is a much more advanced design based on the Intel Pentium M (mobile) architecture.  It also uses much less power than Pentium 4 / Pentium D.

I hope that helps.


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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 57579 11-Jan-2007 13:24
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What game is it and what resolution are you trying to run it at?

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 57685 12-Jan-2007 00:50
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Fraktul: What game is it and what resolution are you trying to run it at?

scarface, 800x600, lowest draw distance, special fx off 

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  Reply # 57714 12-Jan-2007 13:06
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ahhcollipark: scarface, 800x600, lowest draw distance, special fx off 

At this very low resolution, pretty much any video card would do the job, you don't need anything fancy at all.  So the CPU will be the determining factor on what Frame Rate you get.

As for overall game performance, this could also be influenced by your internet connection and the type of plan you are on.  Try and select an ISP who allows Interleaving to be turned off, that will help.  Also, don't use one of the "Unlimited" plans as that will have a lot of lag compared to the capped plans.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 57735 12-Jan-2007 17:22
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Operating System: Windows® XP with SP2

Processor: Pentium® 4 2.8 GHz or AMD® equivalent

DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card and speakers or headphones

Video Card: DirectX 9.0c-compatible video card (ATI Radeon x800 or NVIDIA GeForce FX 6800) or higher

Disk Space: 5 GB of uncompressed hard drive space

CD Speed: 16x DVD-ROM



You need a new CPU and graphics card to play this the way it was ment to be played. To play it in a semi decent fashion however you can probably get away with only upgrading one part however..

Given your video card is very low spec by todays standards I would suggest upgrading this is likely to have the greater effect since the game seems reasonably graphically complex. This depends on what type of CPU you have however, if it is the Willamette core then definately upgrade the CPU first as they are very craptacular on the FPU front. If it is a Northwood core then I would suggest sticking with it and reading up on overclocking to ensure you know what you are doing before attempting a mild speed bump to say 2ghz which in conjunction with a say 9800 series ATI card should offer a pretty decent speed upgrade at a very reasonably price for a second hand card.

If you are going to overclock anything please make sure fully understand what you are doing, use small increments and test at each stage. You can find some good guides out there with a quick search.

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  Reply # 57737 12-Jan-2007 17:57
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...If it is a Northwood core then I would suggest sticking with it and reading up on overclocking

The slowest Northwood core P4 ever made was 2.0GHz so it isn't possible that Ahhcollipark has one of those (his existing CPU is 1.8GHz).

CPU upgrade is a MUST, no doubt about it, especially in light of those recommended specs Fraktul has posted.

Graphics Card upgrade would be NICE, but try first and see if it's OK without it.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 57779 13-Jan-2007 15:55
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No they made Northwoods down to 1.6GHz, I still have a 1.8GHz Northwood myself sitting in a box of bits in the garage somewhere...

Anyhow you can find out what cpu it is relatively easily by using cpuz or similar.

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