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angelyne
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #25 on: 2006 February 03, 17:49:17 »
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Apparently the way the game determines the max no of visitor is really buggy.  I've seen a lot of people who say they have manually increased it and it caused them no problems whatsover.  So best thing is to just try it and you'll see pretty quickly if it lags you or not.
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #26 on: 2006 February 03, 17:53:30 »
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Quote
Or Verona, this is a little nickpicky and out of topic, but when you want to reply to a comment someone made and you want that reply to be quoted, just click on the quote button above the post.  It will start a reply with the text all nicely quoted and formated.  You can also edit the text that is between the quote and the /quote to take out the irrelevant bits.  If you are replying to several posts, like you did above, you can highlight the relevant text and click on the little symbol that looks like a talk bubble,  it format the text into a quote. Makes everything easier to read Smiley  Oh and there are a lot of formatting options there to play with , bold, italics, underlinecolor and lots more


Hopefully I have these instructions right. I wondered how to  use a portion of someone's comments and didn't know how. Thanks so much Angelyne for those instructions. I'm printing out this entire thread and will review it several times. Probably a gazillion times.

At giftgiving time, family wants to know what I want. Gift certificates from EB Games. I own every Sims game and prima guide. Plus, every other game that caught my interest. I'm an easy grandma to buy gifts for. My college bound grandson thinks it's a "hoot" that I'm so hung up on the Sims. He calls me Game-ma.

Back on track, I have read where new more powerful cards sometimes make the fans overheat and things like that. That's why I wanted to ask your advice on what goes together.  It does sound like I'm in pretty good shape, but I am definitely going to buy a new computer for playing the Sims.

Appreciate so much you guys helping an old lady like me cross the street like this. It's wonderful. I did crochet, knit and garden for a while after retirement and it's boring as hell. 



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MissDoh
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #27 on: 2006 February 03, 17:56:22 »
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Apparently the way the game determines the max no of visitor is really buggy.  I've seen a lot of people who say they have manually increased it and it caused them no problems whatsover.  So best thing is to just try it and you'll see pretty quickly if it lags you or not.

Yeah, when I 1st tried it I started with 4, then tried 6 and finally 8.  So just try it step by step to see how the game will react.   Test it by going to community lots.  And it is important to write the intprop maxnum cheat in neighbordhood view.
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MissDoh
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #28 on: 2006 February 03, 18:00:20 »
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Quote
Back on track, I have read where new more powerful cards sometimes make the fans overheat and things like that. That's why I wanted to ask your advice on what goes together.  It does sound like I'm in pretty good shape, but I am definitely going to buy a new computer for playing the Sims.

Appreciate so much you guys helping an old lady like me cross the street like this. It's wonderful. I did crochet, knit and garden for a while after retirement and it's boring as hell.
 


Personally I needed to change my power supply in order to be able to use a better videocards.  If you go on online stores, make sure to read the specs of the videocard, it should mention what type of power supply you need.
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Ashleigh
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #29 on: 2006 February 03, 18:04:25 »
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A few months ago TwoJeffs posted a link to a site that would scan your system and tell you what you have, but I am going to need to find the site again so that I know the speed of my current RAM. 

Crucial.com? I'm not sure if it's the same one, but it sure saved my ass when I started upgrading.

Speaking of upgrades, when I first started playing I had a 1.5GHz processor, 368MB of RAM and a 16MB integraded graphics card. It ran - but just barely. To scroll around a lot took me around five minutes. Last month I upgraded to 768MB of RAM and a Radeon 9250 128MB video card and it was like a whole other world. The first thing I did was get happy with lot rotation and found that it flew so fast I got dizzy. To realize that carpets and counters had textures seriously rocked my world. I still have my same 1.5GHz processor, and I find that I have absolutely no need to upgrade it now. Had I been able to find a 256MB card, my game might've been perfect. Total cost was somewhere around $115, as I bought my RAM on eBay.
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gjam
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #30 on: 2006 February 03, 18:11:22 »
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I'm confused about this.  There's a hardware review for Sims 2 at http://hardware.gamespot.com/Story-ST--2558-x-x-x&body_pagenum=1 that says (if I'm understanding it correctly) once you have 512MB, a faster processor makes more difference than more RAM.  On the other hand, their chart only lists perfomance for Pentium, and unless someone can give me a pretty convincing argument otherwise, I prefer Athlon.

I'm suspicious of that review, since they didn't actually play the game to test it, just moved around the house while it was running.  Maybe it's just me, but if I'm hunting through the entire house then I've probably got the game paused anyway because I've lost something/someone.  Playing a five-person family for six hours without saving and then the birth of twins, now that would be a test.  Or seeing what reduced the loading time, or how many people you could get onto an object-heavy lot before it started to really lag.  Framerate is not the be-all and end-all of gaming, for heaven's sake. Roll Eyes

Ah, that's a good point.  They probably didn't have any downloads, either.

Myself, I've only really played on my desktop which has a 3.0GHz P4 processor and handles Nightlife quite easily.  The computer next to mine also plays Uni for someone else without any apparent problems, and it's a 3 year-old Athlon.  Upgrading her graphics card made it prettier, but it always played fine as far as I could see and I never heard her swear about loading or lag.  What made a difference for me was when I blew part of my tax refund on upgrading the RAM from 512MB to 1GB.  Loading time halved or more, lag on lots with a lot of objects and/or people almost disappeared.  And I've never had a problem with restricted party guests or people on community lots.  (ATI Radeon 9600, 256MB graphics if you wondered.)

So, yeah, I think you can safely ignore the review since more than 512MB RAM makes a big difference to actual gameplay.

Personally I think that you can have too much memory. Not that it would hurt performance, but it's just a waste of money, because it goes unused. 

...

Bottom line: 1 GB should be plenty for the sims. A modern video card is a must.  A hard drive slower than 7200 RPM will affect your performances, especially loading time. And last but not least a fast CPU.  If you need all of the above, give your computer to your little brother and buy something shiny and new. 

I'm definitely going with at least 1GB.  My question is whether to up it to 2GB, or spend a little more on a faster processor.  This will be a completely new system--I have to buy a processor anyway, so I'm comparing the cost of RAM to the added cost to move up a notch or two on the processor, and questioning which will help more.

I would suggest staying away from Celeron processors in future, though.  The shop where I bought my computer has stopped selling them completely, apparently they make the owner want to hurt people.  The hand gestures he made were very convincing.

No, no.  The Celeron is my current elderly machine that is destined for the junkheap.  For the new system, I'm looking at Athlons (which I prefer in general), but wondering whether I should also look at P4s.
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yetyak
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #31 on: 2006 February 03, 18:13:57 »
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Does anyone know if there is a chart somewhere that will compare CPUs and video cards?  I mean compare Intel to AMD and NVidia to AtI? I want to upgrade and change to AMD and ATI, but also don't want to end up with less than what I've got now.
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kaarinah
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #32 on: 2006 February 03, 18:21:53 »
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Actually, the CPU seems to make some difference. I had a AMD Athlon 64 3.0 GHz and upgraded to 3.5, after which almost all the default settings got a little higher. The max number of visitors also went up from 2 to 6 I think. I don't remember for sure since I use the cheat to up them.

There also is less lagging when I stubbornly continue playing large lots with loads of objects and many sims...

As for memory, I later upgraded from 1GB to 2 and didn't notice much difference. Up to 1GB the difference is really big though.
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angelyne
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #33 on: 2006 February 03, 18:24:52 »
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Personally I needed to change my power supply in order to be able to use a better videocards.  If you go on online stores, make sure to read the specs of the videocard, it should mention what type of power supply you need.

It's funny because I bought a brand new video card for Christmas and then discovered it required a power supply of 350W.  So now I was faced with buying and installating that.  And I thought, well, while I'm at it, I might as well buy a new quiet case. Then thought some more and realize that I would be better off with a brand new computer.  So I returned my AGP video card, exchanged it for a PCI-E card and well....not exactly voila cause it's sitting there on my desk.  But I'll get around to buying a new computer soon...soon ...soon as I stop playing the sims and start researching the damn thing damnit.  My boyfriend is mad at me because he gave me the money for the card and I still haven't installed it

Quote
I'm definitely going with at least 1GB.  My question is whether to up it to 2GB, or spend a little more on a faster processor.  This will be a completely new system--I have to buy a processor anyway, so I'm comparing the cost of RAM to the added cost to move up a notch or two on the processor, and questioning which will help more.

I'd go for the bigger CPU.  Memory can always be added later if needed, but a CPU needs to be replaced and it's pretty expensive.  Beside memory follows the law of diminishing returns.  You need enough memory to avoid excessive swapping to the disk, but after that it doesn't increase performance much.
« Last Edit: 2006 February 03, 18:31:22 by angelyne » Logged
Stitches
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #34 on: 2006 February 03, 18:36:05 »
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Does anyone know if there is a chart somewhere that will compare CPUs and video cards?  I mean compare Intel to AMD and NVidia to AtI? I want to upgrade and change to AMD and ATI, but also don't want to end up with less than what I've got now.

Certain websites, ie www.tomshardware.com/, do offer reviews and comparisons but they are often difficult for people unfamiliar with computer hardware terminology to understand. At best, it's frustrating. At worst, your head might explode.

The simple comparison?

PC magazines usually rate AMD as faster than Intel but more expensive. In practicallity, these tests are done with overclocked chips. Most casual users don't, and shouldn't, overclock so the advantage lies more with consumer bias. I like AMD.

nVidia and ATI is really a bias call. I was raised to believe that ATI users were losers with cards that constantly overheated and failed. I don't know any ATI fans so this has never actually been tested, but being American, I go by instinct rather than logic or statistics. Meanwhile, the Simi Valley, California chapter of nVidia Legions is holding a session to mock ATI Crossfire this weekend and I will be in attendance.

Apologies for offending any ATI users. I know you can't help it.
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nectere
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #35 on: 2006 February 03, 18:57:25 »
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All I can add is what I am getting ready to build this box over the spring to summer:
ASPIRE ATXA2XPW-BK/420 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case ATX 420W dual fan power supply
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard (184 Pin)
CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model VS1GBKIT400
POWERCOLOR R43A-ND3 Radeon X800 256MB DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB 10,000 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM
SONY White 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2M Cache IDE DVD Burner
SONY Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1615/B2s - OEM
Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24bit 8 (7.1) Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
3COM US ROBOTIC PCI V.92 WINMODEM
Build-in USB 2.0 Ports
1.44 MB FLOPPY DRIVE
FujiPlus FP568 15" TFT LCD Monitor (2TONE - BLK/SIL)
INTERNAL 6in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer
OPTI-UPS ES1000C 1000VA/700W UNINTERRUPT POWER SUPPLY

I have all that stuff priced out and in a nifty little document with all the places where I will get it from, most of it comes from Newegg though.

On the graphics card note, I just bought an agp xfx 6600 256mb 256bit and it made a huge difference, it would be even better if I had the proper power supply. I went from a nvidia geforce mx400 to the above, it was like night and day.
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yetyak
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #36 on: 2006 February 03, 19:07:38 »
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I've been doing a lot of reading and research on this subject, and found that AMD is being consistently rated higher than Intel cpus.  I've got a 3.0 ghz P4 now, and have no idea which AMD will be about equal.  And is the "dual core" or "64" similar to Intel's "hyperthreading"?  I ended up disabling the hyperthreading, since it slowed everything down substantially.  Must have missed something there...
Off to check out tomshardware, thanks, Stitches!

Wow, nectere, that looks like a great system you'll have!!  I want to end up with something similar, incorporating a lot of the parts I already have.    I went from a geforce MX400 also, but only up to a 5200 with 256, and that was also pretty amazing.  I got a different one, I can't remember if it was a 6200 or 6600, but it was incompatible with the motherboard and now everything is kind of wonky even with it removed.  That serves me right for not doing the proper amount of research!
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Stitches
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #37 on: 2006 February 03, 19:16:41 »
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I've been doing a lot of reading and research on this subject, and found that AMD is being consistently rated higher than Intel cpus.  I've got a 3.0 ghz P4 now, and have no idea which AMD will be about equal.  And is the "dual core" or "64" similar to Intel's "hyperthreading"?  I ended up disabling the hyperthreading, since it slowed everything down substantially.  Must have missed something there...
Off to check out tomshardware, thanks, Stitches!

Wow, nectere, that looks like a great system you'll have!!  I want to end up with something similar, incorporating a lot of the parts I already have.    I went from a geforce MX400 also, but only up to a 5200 with 256, and that was also pretty amazing.  I got a different one, I can't remember if it was a 6200 or 6600, but it was incompatible with the motherboard and now everything is kind of wonky even with it removed.  That serves me right for not doing the proper amount of research!

Instead of using 3.0 ghz, AMD refers to it as "3000"
3.2 ghz = 3200. Snazzy, huh?
You'd have to really stress your computer out to notice a speed difference between AMD and Intel. I like AMD's customer service and longevity. As processors age and overheat, they lose much of their capability. Most research shows that AMD chips last longer.

X2 refers to being dual core. This means that you actually have TWO processors. Unfortunately, most programs currently don't take advantage of that. 64 refers to it being a 64 bit chip, rather than the standard 32. They are not the same as hyperthreading or hypertransport, which have to do with how information is transported.

If you wanted to do some good research on comparing gaming Intel and AMD pcs, I'd practice configuring them at a site like www.alienware.com and reading the "more info" tabs. Th
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yetyak
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #38 on: 2006 February 03, 19:26:05 »
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Once again, thanks Stitches.  I should have realized that 3.0 and 3000 were the same, guess I wasn't thinking that simplistically.
My pc now has considerable heating issues.  I've got a hard drive cooler on it, as well as a fan blowing thru the case.  Sometimes it just stops, and everything is frozen.  I think it might be from the CPU, since the harddrive no longer gets that hot.  Since one of the AMD strong points is less heat, I want to try that.  I'm sure that part of my problem is the small form factor case, it might be great for a casual user, but I spend waaaay too much time on this thing...
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MokeyHokey
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #39 on: 2006 February 03, 19:27:40 »
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Well I am not sure that upgrading from 1 GB to 2 GB you would notice that much of a difference. Can't be sure though.

I didn't see a noticeable difference, and I went from 4 256MB sticks of generic RAM Alienware put in my case to 2 1GB sticks of Corsair XMS. *shrug*

Quote
I've got a 3.0 ghz P4 now, and have no idea which AMD will be about equal.  And is the "dual core" or "64" similar to Intel's "hyperthreading"?

I'm curious about the dual-core thing too; my husband and I have been hashing about ripping apart our "old" Alienware and building an Athlon with SLI capability. Think it is worthwhile for us to upgrade sooner, or should we wait for the technology to improve a little more?  Right now we're running a P4 3.0 Ghz with 2 GB of the XMS, an nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra, and an ancient SB Audigy. We've thrown about 4 turbo fans in there too, since we've been battling the overheating monster for about 6 months now. It's really pissing me off--the damn thing is LOUD now.


Edit: Oh, look, my question about equivalency was answered before I posted.  Cheesy
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Stitches
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #40 on: 2006 February 03, 19:37:46 »
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Sli won't help you much for TS2, except to improve the 3d rendering because TS2 wasn't written with Sli in mind. Works fabulously for Doom III, however. It's most stable when you buy the two cards TOGETHER, from the same batch, though it's supposed to work between any cards of the same make. There are theories why this was done, most of them having to do with nVidia trying to get extra money by forcing people to buy more cards.

Crossfire for ATI has not yet been extensively tested.

Keep in mind that you need a special motherboard both Dual Core and SLi if you decide to go that way. I have an ABIT AN8 Sli Fatal1ty. It handles both.

www.newegg.com
www.zipzoomfly.com

Both sites are great for purchasing hardware, btw.

(It hurts me whenever someone mentions gutting an Alienware. I love mine to death, though it is just a poor inferior laptop.)
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gjam
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #41 on: 2006 February 03, 20:04:09 »
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I'm definitely going with at least 1GB.  My question is whether to up it to 2GB, or spend a little more on a faster processor.  This will be a completely new system--I have to buy a processor anyway, so I'm comparing the cost of RAM to the added cost to move up a notch or two on the processor, and questioning which will help more.

I'd go for the bigger CPU.  Memory can always be added later if needed, but a CPU needs to be replaced and it's pretty expensive.  Beside memory follows the law of diminishing returns.  You need enough memory to avoid excessive swapping to the disk, but after that it doesn't increase performance much.


Good point.   Adding RAM later will be easier and cheaper.

I just did some digging at Newegg.  Kingston Value DDR400 memory -- 1GB(2x512MB) for $79.99 and 2GB(2x1GB) for $163.50.  That's a difference of $83.51.  So then I looked for how much processor upgrade that would buy me.

I found the Athlon 64 3500+ for $201, which is about the price point I had in mind.  But they have the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ for $300.  A difference of $99.  Close enough (Will it add cost anywhere else? I'm already looking at an Abit KN8 motherboard.).  I found a review of the X2 3800+ at http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q3/athlon64-x2-3800/index.x?pg=1.  Of course, they didn't test it with Sims 2 (that would be too much to hope for), but they did use a wide variety of software.  They said things like "The X2 3800+ rips through this POV-Ray scene faster than a Pentium Extreme Edition 840, and it trounces any single-core would-be competition. When tasks are easily parallelizable like rendering, dual-core processors reign supreme."  Does that apply to Sims 2?  If so, the X2 3800+ sounds like a really good choice for me.
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Stitches
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #42 on: 2006 February 03, 20:15:17 »
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It is a very good choice as long as you have an X2 compatible motherboard. By virtue of being a 3.8 ghz chip, it's already very fast on it's own. From discussions with fellow PC builders, they believe that even if a game isn't written to take advantage of the dual core feature, it should be able to handle your background tasks which would free up game power.

As mentioned above, the problem with updating your CPU is that usually you have to just start building a computer from scratch. You can't just pop the case open and stick a new chip in. Also, it's one of the easiest things to install incorrectly. In which case, it becomes far MORE expensive than simply upgrading ram.

Please, never buy Kingston RAM. It's like the Audi of the RAM world. It frequently explodes. Crucial or Corsair.

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Ellatrue
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #43 on: 2006 February 03, 20:22:44 »
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one of my friends tried to explain the dual core thing to me, and it seems really impressive- apparently it has something to do with having two different paths for the data to take, instead of just one...like each core is handling fewer packets of information, and the belt is shorter... or something. I can see a little picture of the concept in my head, sorry if I completely failed to explain it very well.
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Myth
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #44 on: 2006 February 03, 20:23:14 »
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My boyfriend just purchased his gaming computer for Battlefield 2, which is an extrememly graphic intensive game.

For $800 (including shipping) he purchased from HP a computer with:

A1350N with a AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core 4200 2.2 GHZ CPU
1 GB RAM (capable of 2 GB)
250 Harddrive
integrated card

He added on once he got the pc in:

430 watt power supply unit - $70
NVIDIA 7800GTX 256 MB PCI-E - $350

So for $1220 his game now runs max settings at 80 frames per sec, which is low for a game like the Sims but better than the average Battlefield user who only gets 40-50 fps because of the intense graphics of the game.

The HP was on sale 2-3 weeks ago on their site.  And he went from a bitch fest everytime he played his game to joyful and excited clapping.  Wink

You can always break a pc down even more and build things cheaper, but if you do not want the hassle of doing so then I would recommend something like what he did.
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Aldebaran
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #45 on: 2006 February 03, 20:47:04 »
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A GeForce 6600GT AGP is all you need! An 128MB model costs about $140-$150, a 256MB model is about $50 extra. I'd go for 256MB!
Sorry for butting in, but I really don't recomment the 256mb version in a GeForce 6600GT, because the memory on it version is slower than on the 128mb version. A 128mb card is enough for the Sims2, it relies more on the CPU than any other game I know Undecided
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #46 on: 2006 February 03, 21:03:49 »
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A few months ago TwoJeffs posted a link to a site that would scan your system and tell you what you have, but I am going to need to find the site again so that I know the speed of my current RAM. 

Crucial.com? I'm not sure if it's the same one, but it sure saved my ass when I started upgrading.

Thanks Ashleigh, that was it.  I remembered Crucial, but wasn't sure if there was more to the name or not.
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gjam
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #47 on: 2006 February 03, 21:16:33 »
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It is a very good choice as long as you have an X2 compatible motherboard. By virtue of being a 3.8 ghz chip, it's already very fast on it's own. From discussions with fellow PC builders, they believe that even if a game isn't written to take advantage of the dual core feature, it should be able to handle your background tasks which would free up game power.

Thanks, that's good to know.

Please, never buy Kingston RAM. It's like the Audi of the RAM world. It frequently explodes. Crucial or Corsair.

Hmm, OK, I hadn't really looked at that yet, just going by what someone suggested elsewhere.

A GeForce 6600GT AGP is all you need! An 128MB model costs about $140-$150, a 256MB model is about $50 extra. I'd go for 256MB!
Sorry for butting in, but I really don't recomment the 256mb version in a GeForce 6600GT, because the memory on it version is slower than on the 128mb version. A 128mb card is enough for the Sims2, it relies more on the CPU than any other game I know Undecided

I've been thinking about the 6600GT, too.  This is the first I've heard about the 256MB being slower. 

You think 128MB is enough for Sims 2?  Most people I've seen say 256MB is worth it, but don't go any higher that that.
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laylei
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #48 on: 2006 February 03, 21:52:27 »
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I have these specs:

Processor: AMD Athlon Processor, MMX, 3DNow, ~1.1GHz
Video: GeForce 6600 GT 128MB
Memory: 768MB

My game runs pretty great. It can bog down at times (especially on my Legacy lot), but this can be attributed to the 20 zillion downloads I have). Thanks to my new video card, I can put all my settings at highest and see cutscenes.

I could have gotten a better graphics card, but I'm a poor college student and had to pay for it all by myself, so this was all I could afford.
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agcons
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Re: Need lesson in CPU
« Reply #49 on: 2006 February 03, 22:33:01 »
THANKS THIS IS GREAT

This is a very interesting and helpful thread. 

I have a four-year-old system with a P4 1.7 processor.  It shipped with 256 MB RAM and a 32 MB nVidia GeForce -- I'm not sure which one now.  The original game ran poorly; so much so that I stopped playing.

Last spring I replaced the video card with a GeForce 5500 256MB, and increased my RAM to 1 GB (which also meant a new 400 watt power source).  This made a huge difference, and I started playing again.  However, my CPU remains the last bottleneck, as I cannot invite more than 2 sims (using the cheat has no effect), and on large lots with lots o' stuff or lots with more than six sims the game can chug along.  The next step for me is a new motherboard, with the fastest processor I can afford.

All this for a game :: laughs insanely and fails to put money into savings once again ::  Every other program I've got on this bucket of bolts runs at lightning speed.
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