I built this computer from parts in May '02. Which of newest games with the best graphics can I play with this PC at a reasonable framerate, say 30 fps? If you don’t think 30 fps is a reasonable low-end framerate, tell me why, and which games you think I could enjoy playing at your low-end framerate. This will obviously include FPS games, but there are other genres out there that make heavy use of graphic detail that I’d like to hear about too. Thanks for the input.
Athlon XP 1800+
Asus A7V333, 512 MB PC2700 RAM
7200 rpm, UltraATA/133 HDD
You’ll be able to play any of the newest games out there. The major difference will be the quality of the graphics. With a 64MB graphics card, Halo, for instance won’t be nearly as sharp and detailed as it can be, but easily playable on lower resolution settings. There’s no game you won’t be able to play at medium detail. Even Half-Life 2 (due to be released sometime this decade) claims that it will be playable on much older systems, and this will be the most graphics intense game released to date. Call of Duty will play just fine on your system, and that’s a benchmark game for most testers. You just can’t have all of the features set to their highest level. I played Soldier of Fortune 2, on an online team, on a system very similar to yours, and the gameplay was just fine.
That’s pretty close to my specs, except I just got a 9600XT ATI card, and wow, what a difference in graphics! But yeah, Halo, Unreal Tournament 2004, Call of Duty all work great, even on my old 64mb graphics card.
You are well within range of all that’s currently out there. Check sites like ebgames.com. It includes system requirements for current games which can give you a better idea of whether your system can handle the games you want to play.
Make sure you have the latest drivers for your video card and install or reinstall the latest DirectX after you install new drivers.
The weakest link in that list is the GeForce 3. If you want a solid gaming machine, you should get a new graphics card. I’ll second the Radeon 9600XT ($150 at newegg.com).
The GF3 doesn’t support the new features of DirectX 9, so a lot of newer games will be missing some shader effects. For example, the Predator-esque invisibility effect in Halo becomes simple translucency when it’s running on an older card, and the walls aren’t as shiny.
Your system can handle any game out there right now (though Farcry & the like will push it) you just have to turn down the eye candy. As others have said, your video card is the weak link; the minimum CPU for most new games right now is 900mzh-1ghz or so; your AthlonXP 1800 is fast enough for now.
Your Geforce3 is the minimum card that will work with BF: Vietnam or Farcry. I would reccomend getting a Radeon 9800 Pro ($210 on newegg.com), a Radeon 9600 XT($150) or a Radeon 9600 Pro($110). Personally, I would go with the Pro over the XT; it is identical, just clocked slower, and the performance is similar. This would be the easiest upgrade to increase performance.
Other upgrade options would be adding another 512 megs of RAM; this should run you about $80, and would generally smooth gameplay a bit. Upgrading your CPU might be another option; and AthlonXP 2500 cost about $80, though you would have to check to see if it would work in your motherboard. Though if you do upgrade, I would go Video cards, then RAM, then CPU, for the best performance gain.
Looks like general concensus is that ATI’s 9600XT is a good value. Since I can at least play the games out there, I’ll probably not be upgrading the video card just yet. PCI-X is just around the corner. I’ll probably build myself an all-new system in 6 months or so.
I really wanted to find out if I could play the new shooters. I haven’t gotten down on an FPS game since RTCW. But FPS isn’t all I’m interested in. Are there any new non-FPS games that I could take advantage of with my system?
You might want to to try Command & Conquer Generals, for a good RTS game. And CIVIII is another good game to have.
Also, minor nitpick time - I think you are confusing PCI-X, which is basically a 64bit bus version of regular PCI, that is commonly used on server motherboards for things like gigabit ethernet, with PCI-Express, a competely different standard that is set to replace PCI & AGP on consumer level motherboards. It is a minor pet-peeve of mine when people mix up those two different standards.
Thanks for the tip. I’ve got Civ3 already (and 2, and the orig.).
Yeah, it’s a minor pet peeve of mine when the computer industry makes lots of similar acronyms/abbreviations. Good luck with that pet-peeve, there are going to be a lot of confused people in the coming year.