I started researching to upgrade my computer last March and then I got distracted by outside summertime fun. It’s actually pretty old for today’s standards (AMD Athlon 64 3200+) but I cannot justify spending the money to build a completely new system right now. I figured I would just throw a bit more life into it with a new video card, more RAM and probably a clean install of XP 32bit or Vista. I will definitely be staying away from XP 64bit as barely any hardware (Zune, Digital Camera, etc) I own works with it!
- Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100225L Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 – $74.99 after $15 election day coupon and $15 MIR
- RAM: CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – $19.99 after MIR
- Total Price: $104.99 + $59.99 = $164.99 – $15 coupon – $15 MIR – $40 MIR = $94.99
The long term plan is to buy a laptop and then convert the desktop into a media center and file server for the living room. However, I still need to buy a HDTV for this to really be worth my time. Deciding what video card to purchase was a very challenging decision as many brands and options currently exist. At first I was only looking at fan-less video cards, then it was the newer line of the ATI HD cards. In the end I read these articles Can Your Old Athlon 64 Still Game? and Best Cards for the Money – Oct ’08 from Tom’s Hardware Guide and decided on the ATI HD 3870 card. This was mainly due to the 55nm process, less power consumption, supposed ability to play Blu-ray without being CPU intensive and finally it was a good price on Newegg. The HD 4850 was also researched as an option, but would be overkill for my processor and my gaming needs. (My favorite game is Sim City 4, although I plan on trying out some more advanced first person shooters when I get the new video card) I’ll run some benchmarks after I get up and running.