Upgrade Questions


Feb 23, 2000
My current setup:

ECS K7S5A Motherboard
512 MB Crucial PC2100 SDRAM (2 x 256)
Athlon XP 1600+ (Retail HSF)
PNY GeForce3
IBM 40 GB 7200 RPM
Enlight 300 Watt PSU
Enlight Mid Tower
Card Reader
2 80mm case fans (1 front & 1 back)

I am now only a casual gamer, but this rig is starting to show its age, and I wanted to get some opinions on an economical upgrade.
FarCry, Half-Life 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., etc. are coming and I want enough of a boost to play these with at least a little eye candy turned on.

For a CPU, I was planning on putting in an Athlon XP 2400+. The motherboard will take a 266 MHz XP 2600+, but these are rare and expensive, so I figure the 2400+ is a no brainer. The 2400+ is about $ 70.00 right now and I could probably wait until it is closer to $50.00.
Processor Questions:
1. Will I see much of a difference going from an XP 1600+ to an XP 2400+?
2. Has anyone tried to enable the extra cache on a Thorton core, and would it be worth trying?
Note: over-clocking is pretty much a no go with this motherboard; I can only get an extra 10% or so fsb with CPUCool.

Again, I plan on waiting until the next generation cards are out for a price drop but am leaning toward a Radeon 9600 because of price, but would consider a 9800 if there would be a huge performance difference.
Video Card Questions:
1. Would it be worthwhile to go for the Radeon 9800 or will the XP 2400+ be the bottle neck anyway?
2. 128 MB or 256 MB?

Some general questions:
1. Will my power supply be OK with both a new video card and CPU?
2. Would a SoundBalster 5.1 make a big difference from onboard sound?
3. Will either/both a CPU/Video Card upgrade significantly enhance my gaming experience?

Any thoughts would be appreciated, and please think cheap.</SPAN>