Where to upgrade?
I'm running into a problem where I had to run at 640x480 to get decent speed out of some recent games. Specifically Deus Ex 2, Max Payne 2, and Halo. Even Splinter Cell is kind of a dog. I expected 640x480 would be the res I would have to run Doom 3 in but nothing this soon. Most other games I can run at 1280x1024 with full details and they run great. Like UT2k3, GTA: Vice City, Railroad tycoon II, Dungeon Siege, Tron 2, Enter the Matrix and many others. The computer bench marks well in everything except 3d mark 2003. I'm looking at upgrading or replacing this system.
Dell Dimension 4400
Processor: Pentium 4 2.0a GHz
Memory: 1024MB DDR Ram
Video Cards:NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 128MB DDR
Hard Drives: Two 80GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive
Optical Drive: 16X DVD ROM Drive and a 4x DVD rw Drive
Sound Card: Turtle Beach Santa Cruz
My first guess is the lack of DX9 on the videocard. I could upgrade the video card, but then the 2.0a ghz chip might not be enough to push it. Plus my motherboard is set at 4x apg max. If I upgrade the cpu, I can only go with the 400 mhz bus 2.6 ghz cpu. Which means I can't go with a faster bus speed like 533 or 800 and clearly not anything with HT. Since its a Dell, replacing the motherboard means I'll have to replace the case and powersupply. Any cpu upgrade will involve costly memory upgrades.
I rather just get by with a video card upgrade but looking at the benchmarks on anand and Toms, it appears the only card worth owning is a $500 9800 TX. Ick
Looking at system replacing, AMD seems to be a better deal (excluding +3000 Bartons and 64 bit chips) but is Hyper threating going to be needed soon?
Any other suggestions?
I know it's not much help to you, but FWIW, I have a similar system (3ghz proc. is the only significant difference) and Halo ran like crap until I turned off the ansiotropic filtering. I still have to run it at 800x600 for a totally smooth framerate, but Halo is a lousy port. It's also not a DX9-compliant program. Neither is DX:IW. Both were essentially finished before DX9 became the rage.
Check your video card settings. If you don't care whether AA is on or not, kill that first. (Although Halo doesn't support AA, so no effect there). Also, I don't know what kind of TSRs run with that Dell system, but kill those as well.
My system is the hyperthreading sort, but as far as I know, it doesn't make a significant difference in performance unless the program is written with hyperthreading in mind. Your 2 ghz processor should provide plenty of horsepower.
If you really want an upgrade, the video card is the best place to start on your system. I still have an old ti4400, so I'm not qualified to talk about upgrades. From what I understand, ATI's 9700 is an excellent card if you're not into spending the wads of cash for a 9800.
Rob I think there is something wrong with your system. Max Payne 2 is extremely well optimized and I've read of people playing it on a P3 733 with good framerates. Your system should kick its ass. If you are in 640x480 w/ no bells and whistles on in MP2 then you have a serious problem with your computer.
I know what you mean, Rob. I've been running a 400FSB 2.4Ghz p4, 1GB RAM, with a 9700pro since March, and I was pleased with its performance until I played Halo on it.
So, the solution is obvious.
Don't play HALO.
I'm playing KOTOR now with 6x anti-aliasing, and it's way faster than HALO with NO anti-aliasing.
p.s. - Max Payne 2 ran smoothly too.
I ran Max Payne 2 smooth as silk at 1024x768 with all the options on with my XP1800+/1GBRAM/GeForce4 4600.
Halo ran "okay" at 1024x768 but chugged in the hanger areas on the Covenenat ship (but was okay 99% of the time)
I'm surprised MP2 ran poorly too. I have a XP2500+, 4400, 512MB and it ran fine with the details on high at 1280x1024 for me. Didn't have ansio and AA cranked up. The only game I've had noticable problems with is Halo(obvioulsy). I think about getting a new card, but I know its more of a want for a new toy since stuff still runs fine with what I have.