Another Upgrade Suggestion Thread

Okay, so I've been very lax when it comes to keeping up with the computer component world. Since I bought Warhammer, however, it has become apparent that I really need to upgrade in order to run it properly. Right now I'm running it a 1280X800 with almost all the visual effects off (myself only) and it runs passably only when I'm not with a large group. When in a scenario or warband or even surrounded by a lot of mobs it drops to unplayable levels.

I'm almost positive the video card is holding me back right now. I have a computer that I bought off my brother almost two years ago. It has an Asus A8N-SLI mb, an Athlon64 3800+, 2 gigs of PC3200 ram, and a 7600gt videocard with 256mb of ram.

Given this, what I would ideally like to be able to do is run the game in native resolution for my monitor (2005fpw, 1680x1050). I'm hoping that a video card upgrade will suffice as I'd really rather not do the whole motherboard/cpu upgrade. So here's my questions:

1. What are the best video cards to consider for less than $200? Is the HD4850 best or will the 8800gt work well enough?

2. Does PCI-E 2.0 matter? I don't think my current motherboard supports it but from what I understand it's fully backwards and forwards-compatible. Is that the case?

3. If the video card doesn't appear to be cutting it, any suggestions on motherboard/CPU combinations for upgrading (less expensive is better)?

Thanks in advance.

The HD4850 is the best card under $200. With a mail-in rebate you can get one for about $150(and two of them probably will provide the best performance for a $300 setup, although this particular mobo only supports SLI). The PCI-e 16x should provide enough bandwidth.

If it doesn't provide enough performance, you can go with a Core 2 Duo and a P45 mother board. Should cost you around $300 for both.

The 4850 is much stronger than the 8800GT, but you may want the RivaTuner utility to turn the fan speed up a little. By default, it's very quiet and very hot; by setting the fan a little higher, it's much cooler and only barely noisier.

Malor wrote:

The 4850 is much stronger than the 8800GT, but you may want the RivaTuner utility to turn the fan speed up a little. By default, it's very quiet and very hot; by setting the fan a little higher, it's much cooler and only barely noisier.

Yup, good advice there. A new card will give your system some legs for the near future, and you can upgrade the rest of your system a little later when it becomes necessary. Your system will probably bottleneck the card to an extent, but you will still see a fairly major improvement.