Many questions, some video, upgrade....

Brackus

Member
Aug 26, 2002
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Hey, this I hope will be a topic that gets around 30 replies hopefully, but here it goes:

My current cpu (how do you get anand to list "your rig"???):

athlon 1.2 ghz,
512 mb ram pc 133
30+40 gig hd's
geforce 4 ti 4200 128 mb VIVO from leadtek
52x cd-rom
24x10x40 cd rw
17" monitor...

I guess thats about it!

Anyway, I run some good games: unreal 2003, anything from EA, wolfenstein, whatever... hopefully the best games for a time to come,

My 3dmark score: 7777 which I am understanding, is quite low...

Anyway, I am quite poor, but I like performance, I need to know, should I be overclocking my stuff, because obviously my card is massively bound to my cpu speed as I think the 4200 gains from the cpu up until around 1700 ghz, so, is it worth it to overclock my cpu??? Should I wait for a while to do it until I really need the gains, and if I should, how do I do it?

Also, if that works, should I overclock my video card, it cost me quite a bit, so if it dies, that would be devastating...


Question #2, obviously my ram and motherboard (ak73 pro) are hurting my computers performance, so, how long should I wait until I get a motherboard that can take faster ram, do I wait until after I get a new processor???

I just want to make my computer faster, but with little cost, any creative Ideas on how to do that would be great, and why was the ati 8500 and 8500le so slow like 3 months ago, but now they are rivalrying the ti4200's??? what happened to make that so?

Anyway, its not like the 4200 got slower, so I shouldnt really care, but it still bothers me!

Dustin
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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;) Well an Athlon 1.2ghz is still a very fine CPU although it certainly won't be getting the most out of the 4200. In fact you will gain little over a fast GF3 or Rad8500 until you increase your CPU speed, 1.4ghz+ is all that's needed for the 4200 to begin to pull away significantly from the other cards, the faster the CPU the more perf the 4200 yields.

:) So o/c'ing your CPU is a wise idea, you should find you reach about 1.4ghz and that's a very nice speed giving perf equivilent to an AthlonXP1600+. If you are running 133/266FSB you may find the RAM or mobo become the limiting factors in the o/c, if you are running 100/200 there will be more o/c'ing headroom, you may need to adjust your RAM so it runs in sync with the FSB (as you'd be running 133mhz RAM and 100/200FSB). As with any o/c'ing take small steps and test thoroughly for any signs of instability, when you find your limit back off a couple of notches and then test to see what the true perf gain is.

:eek: Your PC133 won't hit your perf as bad as you may think, as a rough guide the actual over-all perf hit is about 10%, so I would rec sticking an AthlonXP in there rather than going to the expense of changing mobo and RAM to cater for DDR. Of course in the long term you want to get DDR and a new mobo, but I'd rec you sort out the CPU first myself.

:D Leadtek are a very well respected manu and that 4200-128MB is certainly worth o/c'ing a little, even if you had a 1ghz Duron! The stock speed is usually 250/444 and you should find 275/525 easily obtainable with 300/550 being done by many 4200-128MB cards (that's above 4400 stock speeds). In any case you want to be forcing 2xAniso and 2xAA (or QxAA depending upon game and preference) as the more CPU limited you are the less of a hit it tends to take, so it helps to effectively use up the untapped gfx card power.

;) 7777 is a very nice score, sure people are getting more but even your Athlon 1.2 with 4200 will run pretty much any current game at 1024x768x32 2xAA and 2xAniso and still give a very decent FPS. DDR should boost this score to around 8500, but do bear in mind that the money would be better spent on an AthlonXP CPU and the gains would be far more substantial.

:) The 8500 were slower than the GF3 cards upon release but as the drivers matured the card has gone from strength to strength, it's still a great card considering the price inside Canada & US and is only really let down by AA perf. Still it doesn't truly rival the 4200 although it isn't far off, esp in some games/benchmarks, the great strength of the GF4TI cards is their ability to gain from even the fastest CPUs.
 

Brackus

Member
Aug 26, 2002
45
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Hey,

Thanks man, I was waiting for the time you would respond to one of my posts as I realize you are quite respected in this forum...

Anyway, okay, so sd ram isnt so bad, thats good to hear, how should I go around o/c'ing my cpu??? I hear you can just get software for the vid card, so thats easy....

What exactly is AA and Aniso, people talk about it alot, and it seems to hit video cards in speed, so it must make things look better, but where do you get to turn that on???

A question about Leadtek, no one really mentions them in the forum, why is that, all I hear about is a-open, gainward, and albatross(i think thats it). Leadtek had a solid bundle and a pretty cheat vivo option, and to me is quite a solid card, but yet, no one ever recommends it or even acknowledges that it exists!!!

Unreal was running fine with the new drivers, until I played it like the 22nd time, and now it freezes my comp completely around 3-10 minutes into a match, bullshit,anyway, is that because the drivers???

I have two hardrives like I mentioned, but only the 30 gig is working, I know this is the vid card forum, but am I missing something, every time I boot up with the 40 gig hooked up, my comp gets into win xp for about 15 seconds, then restarts... every damn time... grrrr... sometimes I hate computers

Dustin
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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:D How you can o/c your CPU depends a lot on both your mobo and CPU. The CPU should be happy to about 1.4ghz providing you aren't limited by heat (HSF as well as case air flow and ventialtion). As for the mobo you may need the latest BIOS but you should find it allows multiplier adjustment and FSB increases. Do you know if your CPU is a 100mhz FSB (200DDR) or 133mhz FSB (266DDR)? In any case the easiest way of o/c'ing is to raise this a few mhz at a time testing for stability at each setting, as with all o/c'ing once you find the limit it's best to back off a few notches. Another method you can use is to join the L1 bridges on your CPU verticaly with a sharp pencil (and pref a magnifying glass) to go from this .:::: to this .IIII . If you mess it up you just rub it out and start again until it works, when it works this allows the mobvo to control the multiplier. The CPU speed is derived by FSB x multiplier and in the case of your Athlon 1.2ghz it will either be 100mhzx12=1.2ghz or 133mhzx9=1.2ghz. So you could raise the FSB to give 116x12=1.4ghz or 155x9=1.4ghz (not that 1.4ghz is guaranteed just using it as an example). Otherwise you could unlock the multiplier (pencil trick) which would then allow you to change your 100x12 to 133x9 to both give 1.2ghz or of course use either 100x14 or 133x10.5 to get 1.4ghz (for example). You can combine these techniques to get from 100x12=1.2ghz to 140x10=1.4ghz. How high the FSB can get you depends on the mobo chipset, the RAM you use, the PCI and AGP cards (to a degree) as well as the obvious limit of the CPU.

;) If that all sounds too indepth then just try to see if your mobo BIOS allows the FSB to be raised. If it does you simply raise it a little at a time to find the limit.

:) Video card o/c'ing is VERY easy and you can either use the official (ish) nVidia Coolbits or else another 3rd party tweak tool (RivaTuner, NVtweak, Powerstrip, NVmax etc). This simply gives you access to the clocks which will almost certainly be 250/444 at default. Again use small increases to find the limit (testing thoroughly) and then back off a few notches. You should find about 300/550 achieveable and that's faster than a GF4TI4400!

:) AA and Aniso (I'll explain more later) are there to enhance the gaming experirnce. These can be forced on by the official nVidia drivers (enable NVtweak IIRC) which allows modification from the system tray. You can then force various AA settings regardless of whether the game wants to (or can) sue them itself. The 3rd party tools are rec for this as they allow for a lot more play esp with Aniso. As a general rule on a GF4TI card you want to always force 2xAA (or QxAA) and ideally a little Aniso (esp if using QxAA). MOst games should be very playable at 1024x768x32 with 2xAA and 2xAniso.

;) Leadtek are a VERY well respected and reliable manu and if prices were even it would probably be my first choice for a gfx card. You probably hear so much of the other manus because they were included in a gfx card round-up or are simply the cheapest options. In any case manu matters very little for GF4TI cards, the only diffs tend to be in price, features (TVout/VIVO, dual CRT/CRT+DVI etc), bundle (sw, DVI-to-CRT converter, VIVO leads etc), largely cosmetic things (packaging, colour, HSF/HS design etc) and the most crucial but most difficult to find out THE RAM THEY USE!

:eek: I'm unsure about Unreal, perhaps someone else can be more specific here but do rem that all nVidia Det v40 are still BETA and as such will be slighlty problematic from time to time or game to game. If you force things like AA or Aniso you may need to disable that for Unreal, or else try different options from the gfx menu. If this is the only game which causes probs I wouldn't worry too much, if not it may be risidual drivers from previous gfx cards/drivers etc.

:) If your 40GB HD is causing instability it could be anything from a hw defect, master slave settings, loose leads to something as simple as a few corrupt files, I'd rec getting into DOS (F8 while botting or use a boot disk) and see if you can access the 40GB, if not you may need to reformat/Fdisk it ... is your BIOS detcting it ok?
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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;) There are a lot of buzz words surrounding Anisotropic Filtering but hopefully this will help to clear it all up a bit.

:) At a very basic level it enhances in game details and textures and helps to overcome the blurring effect of AA, although AA is not required for its implimentation it is rec to notice much diff for most games.

:D To get a bit deeper I need to get a little more technical. Texture mapping involves wrapping a texture's 2D sample around a 3D object to give the look of a brick wall, fur, wood etc, hence a texture map is used to apply textures to objects. Texture filtering dictates how texels (the elements of a texture) are used to produce the final pixels which make up the image. Through these processes textures are scaled up or down depending on distance and size. Often a series of pre-scaled textures are used to minimise distortion and maximise both speed and quality. Mipmap refers to the sequence of these scaled textures. 2 main types of texture filtering are BiLinear and TriLinear which are best for objects that are at right angles to the viewpoint. Aniso takes things a bit further by coping much better with the multitude of actual angles that a game may use. These 3 texture filtering methods obviously all come at a perf cost. BiL takes 4 texture reads per pixel, TriL 8 (effectively uses 2 lots of BiL) which mostly helps the detail of objects further away. Aniso copes with many more variables and can map more accurately to angled textures, the bottom line is increased quality of textures esp on mid and long range objects

;) Very simply Aliasing is the result of trying to show curved or diagonal lines on a display made up of squares, what you end up with a step effect (also called jaggies) rather than a smooth line/curve. AntiAliasing (AA) removes this effect by basicly smoothing the surrounding pixels. ATI Radeons and GF2 use SuperSampling (rendering more pixels than used in final output) which takes a larger perf hit and is quite old and inefficient. GF3, GF4TI and Rad9700 use MultiSampling which involves more guess work; much faster but slightly blurrier results. The slight blurriness can be overcome by the use of Anisotropic Filtering which sharpens the textures and results in an image easily as good as Supersampling but is still faster and more efficient. Certainly for the GF3/4TI cards aniso is only officially for OpenGL, but there are many 3rd party utils which can force this on in both DirX and OpenGL. There are many types of AA, generaly here they are:

2xAA (GF3 and GF4TI take only a tiny hit with this enabled)
4xAA (noticably better results than 2xAA mode but only Rad9700 can currently do this without slowing down significantly)
6xAA (Rad9700 mode which is even better looking than 4xAA, albeit marginally)
QxAA (GF4TI only take the same hit as for 2xAA, you get a more 4xAA look but with a lot more blurriness, GF3 can do it too but slightly slower)
4xS AA (GF4TI take a large hit but this is 6xAA type quality, nice just to see what it's like but not really feasible yet)
FxAA (Fragment AA found on the Matrox Parhelia which is technically brilliant but does have its short-falls, effectively gives parts of the image 16xAA)
 

Brackus

Member
Aug 26, 2002
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I know that when my comp starts up it says something like: 133x9 for the processor speed, and my hard drive comes with a little write up on oc'ing and has 4 pins or something that I can manipulate it says for different positions to over clock it more.

Dont worry about getting technical, im not the most up to date guy but I was interested in computer science, and I took one year for it at university til I decided phys. ed is better for me.... But anyway, I read a few articles with my time, and know something, so technical is cool!!!

My hard drive is stupid, and maxtor isnt the best at giving tech support, I think I'll just admit it when im done and bring it to some store...

yeah, and the damn unreal game is still doing it, I even reinstalled it, and my cpu is obviously solid enough to run it... but ah well....

Thanks for all the help though dude, I think I will definately squeeze more mhz outta my processor, and give the vid card more room to breathe...

Dustin
 

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