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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I will be gathering cash this summer for some more upgrades to my new computer. I expect I'll be raking in between $300 to $400 CDN. I'd like to make sure I get everything right and get the best for my VERY limited dollar. Here is my current system in more detail than the one in my signature.

Intel Pentium IV 1800Mhz - 400mhz FSB - 256k L2 - Willamette core

ASUS P4S533-X - 533mhz fsb, up to 3.06ghz w/HT, up to 2GB of PC2700 DDR, AGP 4X, 5 (or 6, cant remember) PCI...

256MB DDR333 PC2700 RAM (one slot) (this NEEDS upgrading most likely)

Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM HD w/2MB cache

ATI Radeon 7000 64MB DDR AGP4X (this NEEDS upgading)

IBM 2235 C50 15" CRT (REALLY NEEDS UPGRADE)


Ok guys. $400 CDN MAXIMUM. I can't shop online either, it has to be able to be picked up in the Hamilton or Toronto area. Please go over my list carefully and give me suggestions on the best value vs performance. I think that the biggest needs are RAM and monitor for now. Video card and CPU come in secondly, then motherboard with that... however I'm definite that would come way over $400. Thank you to whoever can help me out, I'm not too good with this sort of thing.
 

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Well....monitors are expensive...I mean, you can get a cheap 17" CRT for about $100 American, which is like $150 CDN, right? So there's half your budget, and it's not even really worth it....that leaves you $150 for a new video card and memory....you can probably get 256MB PC2700 RAM for ...$60 CDN, and then with the remaining $90, you could maybe get a Radeon 8500...but...I don't know, it probably wouldn't be worth upgrading the RAM, video, and monitor, I would go with just one or two of them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I really am not going for too much on the monitor. A flat 17" is more than good enough for me, I've never really been interested in anything bigger anyway, I just want to run 1024x768x32 with a good refresh rate. I'd like to get 512MB of RAM and a Radeon 9600 Pro but I am sure the Radeon would be almost $300 by itself, would it not? I've been trying to find a geforce 4 Ti series video card but its very hard to find them in most major retailers these days... ATI is really dominating the video card market along with nvidia's FX line. So, should I just splurge on a really good 17" flat screen and get 512MB more RAM and thats it? I've confirmed that I can get 512MB of DDR333 for $110 and I can get the flat 17" for under $150.
 

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Yea, I would do that then, and get the video card later, after the next wave comes out, these cards will be cheaper by the time you're going to buy them, so just get the RAM and the monitor for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yah I've seen the 9600SE for as low as $120 CDN actually but I heard that it really isn't that great of a card. I'm trying to buy a card that I won't have to upgrade for at least another year. I was looking at a local store and they've got the 9600 Pro for $249.99 so I may go with that and RAM. The monitor isn't as much of preference as the video and ram anymore, anyway.
 

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You need to set priority when dealing with so little money, may I suggest putting off the video card until next upgrade? The reasons are simple you won't see any significant performance gains from a any video card that coasts less then $250, and for $379 you can get a substancial performance hike now and get a much better video card later when you have more cash. I included a 19” monitor in this price, however not for performance, but for eye comfort 15” monitor is to small!

Monitor

Processor

Memory
 

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I'd go with a 17 inch monitor and the ram as mentioned, those will give you the most bang for your buck

Another option for a vid card is the NVIDIA FX5600, not a bad card for the money. minor upgrade for less then 200 bucks.

Monitor should be the priority. I have a 17 and pending I get a job for the summer would like to get bigger. I'm finding using programs like Visual stuido crowds up my screen. So bigger would be better = )

What good is awesome graphics if your monitor can't keep up anyway?
 

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What exactly do you use your computer for? Video games? What type of games? new ones? If you are into games there isn't any point in an upgrade with a bottleneck like that 7000 and because the new boards are coming out soon it'd probably be wise to wait like everyone says. Name a game that you like 30fps+ performance on your upgraded system, I think that would help put things in perspective.
 

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What is your ultimate goal and use with this system? You mention a new CPU, this would almost certainly require a new motherboard as you'd likely want a 800MHz FSB CPU, hence a need for PC3200 RAM, not PC2700. You don't want to be buying something for a liitle while and then throwing it out when you decide to continue the upgrade. A 9600XT should sell under $200 CAN by mid summer; it is right now with enough shopping around. You could also start with a motherboard and reuse all the other parts, then replace the parts in any order you wish to your goal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the help guys. So, I should wait on the video card, right? Can do, I'll just grab 512MB and a 17".

basketballF7: I use my computer pretty much as a gaming rig. I play mostly middle intense games (Microsoft Train Sim, Counter-Strike 1.6, Max Payne 2, GTA Vice City, etc.) and the only problem I have with the Radeon isn't really performance, its just that it looks so damned bad. With another 512MB and a 17" however, I guess it will last until winter when I get some more money.

Thanks for the help, you guys rock!
 

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You might do some searching of these vendors in Ontario:

http://www.computers-canada.com/dir/vendors.html?province=ON

With your cpu, more system memory is a definite(another 256MB PC2700). With XP 512MB is a must. A video card such as this would help:

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=11363&vpn=1024-8C20-0D-SA

Is your cpu 256MB L2 cache? 128 or 512?

A Geforce TI4200 video card would be more than enough for your gaming needs if you can find one reasonable. Another 256MB memory for sure.
 
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