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FortKnox's Journal: The New System 28

Journal by FortKnox
My bro was nice enough to find me a good deal on a new system:
A Dell PowerEdge 400SC (Intel P-4 Processor at 2.4GHz (w/HyperThreading), 512KB Cache, 800MHz FSB).

I had to go through Dell's Small Business to get it under $400 (comes with 40GB HD and some memory that I'll be sending back for cash). The deal has expired (sorry, I bought it the last day of the sale). But it will be shipping on the 6th (tomorrow). Kingston has a good deal on 800MHz Ram (DDR PC3200, I believe) which I will be getting 1GB of...

Now the final thing I need to worry about is the video card... I want something under $150 if possible, but I also want to play Deus Ex2 (I have a GeForce4 MX card, which doesn't look like it'll be strong enough). Any ideas on what to get? I've been out of the 'gamer' loop too long and am unsure of the card that'll give me the most bang for the buck.
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The New System

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  • I think you should be able to find a GeForce FX5600 in that price range. Fry's has had them on sale several times recently for just under $100.
  • by BWJones (18351)
    Any ideas on what to get? I've been out of the 'gamer' loop too long and am unsure of the card that'll give me the most bang for the buck.

    Well, I am not a gamer per se, but I am on a couple companies lists of games to send for alpha/beta testing. I have two systems that I have been pretty happy with. One runs a Nvidia GeForce Ti and the new dual G5 runs an ATI 9800. Both cards deliver pretty impressive frame rates for both gaming and scientific visualization.

    • I am on a couple companies lists of games to send for alpha/beta testing

      Hey, anyway you can hook me up and get me on that list??
      • Hey, anyway you can hook me up and get me on that list??

        Sure, these things are typically paid positions or by invitation only but you would need a Mac. :-) Lemme know when you pick one up and we will get you right on those lists.

      • Umm, as a software developer who games, most public betas should go gaga over you now that you have a decent machine.

        List your current side project on the application, and you should be in like Flynn.
    • Speaking of dual systems ...

      Mine is a DUal AMD MP 1800+ that has only been crippled by the need for a DX9 card. Everything else is still extra beefy even for such an "old" system.

      I know the G5 is latest/greatest of the Mac side, but I am wondering how your dual compares to single CPU system for games...

      jason
      • I know the G5 is latest/greatest of the Mac side, but I am wondering how your dual compares to single CPU system for games...

        It really depends upon whether or not the game takes advantage of multiple CPU's. A dual CPU system with an OS that properly takes advantage of said system will give one some degree of advantage, but the difference in most situations will not be that noticeable unless the application "knows" the system has multiple CPU's and can take advantage of it. Applications that take advanta
        • My friend and I built our dualies with the intent of running his render farm for 3dsmax (which it kicked butt doing). But I never got into 3dsmax and instead use it as a normal workstation / game machine.

          I don't hold out any hope for games to support SMP. However, if I can assign a preference for the game to stick to a CPU, then the OS tasks can reside on the remaining CPU. This is mainly where I was wondering if a dual system can extend the game play life of a system as opposed to a single CPU system.
  • I think those have some really low end on board video.

    You might have to look for a PCI card, good luck.
    • I just looked at the board, it shows an AGP slot, then says AGP not supported.

      Go check out the installation and troubleshooting manual. I'd provide linkage, but it keeps coming up under my premier support logon.
      • AGP is on the board (up to 8X), but Dell won't support it if you call in. I will be putting in an AGP card (have heard lots of success stories on putting in 'heavy hitting' video cards, so I'm pretty confident things will go well).
        • Upgrade should not be a problem.

          A few things to look out for (since I have done this more times than I can count) that might help...

          *Most new(er) AGP cards need a free power header to power their heat sink fans & memory bus clocks. Don't forget to plug this in. And for that matter don't forget to plug in the CPU fan when installing a new heat sink... (learned the hard way).

          *Your board supports AGP 8X. That's good, because some cards now are AGP 8x only and may not work on AGP 4x/Pro slots.

          *Deus E
          • does the full game have different requirements than the demo? the demo runs fine on my DX 8.1 GF 4400 TI. as far as i understand, it will run as long as the card is software compatible with DX9 even if it doesn't support all of the special DX9 functions. but if i'm wrong, it certainly isn't the first time.
            • I don't have an answer for demo vs full version. I can only expect the full version to have newer textures and / or bigger maps.

              I remember the origional DX had friggin huge maps. I played it on the same system with an ATA100 hard drive and then later with my RAID 0 system and the RAID loaded in 1/2 the time (or faster).

              jason
  • nVidia just doesn't make anything with the punch of ATI's current line of graphics cards. for a long time i loved nVidia because they made the best, most versatile, most powerful vid cards. it's just not the case anymore.

    the latest in mainstream cards (radeon 9600XT) can be had for just a little more than $150. here [newegg.com] and here [gameve.com] are some examples in the $150 - $200 range. the bonus of the XT is that it comes with a coupon/certificate redeemable for the full version of half life 2 upon its release. if you
  • The GF4MX will NOT work. The MX is the kicker, as it removes some important fiddly bits (that ARE found in my GF3, interestingly enough:)

    I'll leave the specific recommendations to others.

    BTW, look for the 'nocd' crack for the game. Even with the patch, the cd copy protection still causes problems on level loading.
    • The NV17 (GeForce4 MX) is stripped down. In order to produce the card cheaply, nVidia removed DirectX 8 programmability, making it very similar functionally to the GeForce2.
  • Ships on the 12th or so they say.
    Let me know what you think about it.
    I went with the P4 and had the RAM doubled instead of the rebate because i'm not sure what i'm going to do with it yet.

    Here are the specs for mine:
    Intel(R) P(R)4 Processor at 2.26GHz, 512KB Cache, 533MHz FSB
    Floppy Drive3.5 in, 1.44MB, Floppy Drive
    MouseLogitec System Mouse, Gray
    Hardware Support Services1Yr,Parts + Onsite Labor (Next Business Day)
    Operating SystemNo Operating System, Microsoft
    Memory256MB DDR, ECC, 400Hz, 2X128MB at a 128 pri
  • Just so you know, I'm about 95% certian that the system does not have an AGP slot. More info here [dell.com].
    • if you google "dell 400sc agp" [google.com] there are several links of people talking about this machine and using its agp slot. someone above mentioned that they don't officially support it, so that might be why they left it out of the tech specs.
    • You shoulda listened to the other 5%.

      My brother got his a couple weeks ago with a fully functionaly up to 8X APG slot in it.
    • I stand corrected. I just looked at some other papers and found the AGP slot, laughing at me, on the motherboard. I will retreat back to my cube in shame.
  • It DOES have and AGP port, but I don't have a card to test it.
    Video card was NOT intergrated. So i don't have to worry about that.
    I seem to have one more memory slot than was promised. thats good.
    Promise SATA RAID Controller onboard.

    Worth the $450 to me.

    • Mine was en route to go to the house today, but no one will be home till like 5pm, which sucks, cause I'm outta town from friday after work, till saturday night.

      Plus I haven't gotten the new monitor, video card, or memory yet, so I better hop to it ;-)
      • well I got it to work under XP. use the 2003 drivers that are on the disk that came with it. otherwise theres no sound. theres also the chipset drivers.
        Tried to get it to work with Knoppix and it all works except for the sound.
        I couldn't find the how to get whatever sound driver it detected to actually work. It detected it but i don't get any sound.
        I'm downloading the Mandrake iso's to see if it works better.

        Later.
        • Mandrake detected and configured the sound card with no problem.
          But if i'm going to use it as a workstation I'll need to go back to go back to a debian based setup.
          Looking forward to hearing how your's turns out.

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