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PC hardware upgrade advice for kids games

Discussion in 'Overclocking' started by sarahandchris, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. Hi
    Ive got 2 PC's at home i need to upgrade to allow my kids to LAN play 1942:
    Battlefield (a game they both love and all their friends play)

    The games minimum requirements are:
    pentium3 500mhz. (My kids PC is an intel pentium3 450 mhz and Pentium 2 and
    the game wont run)

    Therefore i wish to upgrade 2 computers to be able to cope with the latest
    games (but dont want to shell out for top end stuff)


    Could someone please help me as I want to do it quite cheaply. I will
    probably buy from somewhere like ebuyer or special-reserve.co.uk where
    delivery is fast and prices are meant to be reasonable?

    I need to know what processor + motherboard to buy for both PC's that would
    make them pentium4/equivelent as there are so many to choose from.
    Will i need new cases? and will their existing memory slot onto the new
    pentium 4 (or equivelent) motherboard or will that have to be upgraded too?

    What graphics card should i buy that can cope with these games? (something
    good that will do the job but not THE very latest expensive ones)
    I think the one in there pc is a voodoo 3 and voodoo 2 but not sure if those
    would handle the game or not.

    Please can someone recommend a processor + motherboard, and fairly good
    graphics card and tell me if i'll need a new case and memory.
    I just think that doing it this way instead of buying 2 complete new
    systems, will save alot of expense. I just dont have a clue at what to buy
    as their are so many different types of everything to choose from. I could
    go into PC world for advice, but ive heard they are useless and expensive,
    so I thought I'd ask around on the groups.

    Many thanks
    Chris
     
    sarahandchris, Nov 12, 2003
    #1
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  2. sarahandchris

    jaster Guest

    Help should be found in alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt-pc if you add more
    detail about the 2 pcs, like the power supply, type of the cases (AT/ATX
    1.0), motherboards, soundcards, hd sizes, etc.

    Your question in this forum when you supply details should be "how to
    overclock my p3-450 on this motherboard and my p2-xxx on that motherboard
    to 550mhz".

    The p3-450 should be able to run that game maybe a bit slower but add as
    much ram as possible. To avoid obsolence and greatly improve game play, I
    recommend motherboard/cpu combos like Elitegroup KS75A/XP2000 or
    K7LVTA/XP2200. These have onboard sound, usb and lan then add a GeForce
    440MX or equivalent ATI. A better graphics card will improve play but it
    depends whether the game is graphics intensive or cpu intensive.

    You search ebay and google for motherboard/cpu combos that come with
    onboard sound, lan, usb and video. These won't be bleeding edge but more
    than good enough for gaming and most PC users.

    I am still using an Intel CA810E/p3-933 with a 10usd pci lan card but
    onboard sound and video. It started life with a Celeton 633 which would
    run your game, but it runs every P3-cpu from Cel550 to p3-1.0g
     
    jaster, Nov 13, 2003
    #2
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  3. sarahandchris

    Maverick Guest

    Hi there,

    I am sorry to say, but BF1942 is a rather demanding game. As a rule, minimum
    specs printed on a box are just that -the minimum (ie barely) playable
    specs. In some cases the game will run but haltingly and with graphics
    options down so low that it looks worse than older games that it supposedly
    supercedes (eg Counterstrike et al).

    BF is both system (processor+bus speed+ram) and graphics bottlenecked.

    I would recommend looking at Duron 1.4/ 1.6GHz processors (these can
    overclock quite well to the 2GHz+ range) or cheapest Athlon XP you can buy,
    and nforce2 motherboards with onboard MCP-T sound (this ensures that sound
    is processed in hardware and not reliant on so many CPU cycles as with other
    onboard AC97 sound solutions (MCP, C-Media, ALC650 etc). AMD systems are
    much better bang for buck than the P4 equivalent.
    You will require newer DDR RAM (min 256, preferably 512MB), say PC2700.

    You can then put in a low end new AGP card such as a Radeon 9000 Pro 64MB/
    Radeon 9200 Pro (same card effectively), or Geforce 4 MX 440 64MB. Ensure
    you get a card with 128bit DDR RAM and not 64bit. This makes a big
    difference in performance. The amount of RAM isnt such a huge issue for
    these slower cards. I would personally go with the Radeon cards.

    Most nforce2 motherboards have onboard LAN, USB, etc etc. Some even have
    onboard firewire -which can be used for a very fast network between
    computers.

    For these systems you will need an ATX case (or microATX if the motherboard
    you select is mATX), which in all likelihood, your existing P3/P2 systems
    are built around. You will however need to ensure your power supply is at
    least 300W for these newer systems, as the demands on the PSU are higher.

    For playing games newer hard drives arent a necessity -apart from
    maintaining the large install sizes of newer games on the computers. This is
    easily something you can upgrade further down the line. When shopping for a
    new motherboard check for one that has support for the newer Serial ATA
    format -to make this easier in the future.

    The rest you can pillage from your existing systems (ie CDROM, floppy,
    monitor, kb, mouse).

    You may decide its easier to hock off the old PCs and begin from
    scratch -but I imagine thats not your intention.

    Good luck.

    Mav
     
    Maverick, Nov 16, 2003
    #3
  4. sarahandchris

    ~misfit~ Guest

    I have put several systems together recently using the Soltek SL-75FRN2-L
    nForce2 motherboard and am extremely pleased with the results. It is
    inexpensive and solid. (Although I am unsure of the type of on-board sound
    it uses. It doesn't seem to hamper the board in the instances where I have
    used it at all)

    A review can be found here:

    http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NDY4LDY=

    That links to the last page of the review, with the conclusions etc.

    I think it would be well worth your time to also consider the Soltek
    SL-75MRN-L motherboard. It has GeForce4 MX graphics built-in to the
    motherboard, which I think should be adequate for playing BF 1942 (although
    I haven't tried it myself), as well as an AGP slot that you can use if you
    decide to upgrade the graphics at a later date. The difference in price from
    my supplier is only in the region of 15%, a lot less tha buying a seperate
    GeForce4 MX card. However, as the on-board graphics use system memory rather
    than on-card memory as a seperate graphics card does they don't perform
    quite as well as a seperate card. That being said I still think it may be
    worth your while considering the option, especially if you are going to buy
    512MB of RAM per machine. (Which I recommend regardless of motherboard
    choice)
    (For almost all applications except video encoding. Not really relevant here
    but just thought I'd throw it in))
    It wouldn't hurt to get PC3200 if the price difference is small in case you
    decide to further upgrade these systems sometime down the track. It may save
    you having to buy new RAM all over again. I just bought some RAM and the
    difference between PC2700 and PC3200 (which is capable of running at higher
    speeds) was in the 5% region. Worth the little extra in my opinion to be
    future-proof. It seems you are, like me, not in a position to just say "What
    the hell" and buy the best of everything, you will probably be buying what
    is refered to "Generic" RAM, as in not expensive name-brand stuff. Buying
    slightly faster-capable RAM than you actually currently require (if the
    price difference *is* marginal) will help to ensure you have less chance of
    running into any RAM-related problems.
    All excellent advice. The only thing I'd add is that the power supplies will
    almost certainly have to be replaced, or modified by using an adapter (if
    they are of sufficient capacity and quality) as (most) modern motherboards
    require an additional 12v power input from the PSU. This takes the form of a
    4-pin square connector with the wires carrying 2 X 12v+ and 2 X 12v-. There
    are adapters available that will convert an existing spare Molex (HDD,
    CD-ROM power connector) plug into the required plug. This, however, isn't an
    ideal situation, even if your existing PSU's are otherwise up to the task if
    you use relatively high-end CPUs. This plug supplies power to the regulatory
    circuit for the CPU and can draw a high current with powerful CPUs. That's
    why there are two positive and two negative 12v wires. With the molex plug
    there is only one wire for each and the adapter just splits that into two.
    Using the CPUs that Maverick recommends you may be able to get away with
    this safely as they aren't as current-hungry as higher-end CPUs and probably
    wouldn't overload the single 12v wires to the molex plug.

    Another point to consider is that (some) older type cases don't have very
    good thermal characteristics. Modern internals produce more heat than the
    systems you are currently running and while the addition of a case fan can
    often solve this some older cases don't have provision for the easy addition
    of
    case fans and can be difficult to modify. I was very upset (for sentimental
    reasons) when I had to replace my favourite, solid, well-made desktop case
    that had been with me through several re-builds with a cheap tower case.

    I hope that helps,
     
    ~misfit~, Nov 16, 2003
    #4
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