to me i am mainly looking at AMD, because the comparable chips to the one I mentioned are a significant jump in price.
I have to buy different ram if I buy an AMD AM3 motherboard chipset? I thought ddr2/3 would work in any once the speed is supported.
right now I've got an ATI HD 4870 512 DDR5.
what would be a good upgrade to that? Still runs stuff pretty smooth to me. If anything I think my core 2 duo is the bottle neck.
No, DDR 3 and DDR 2 use different slots, and it is unlikely the Core 2 is the bottle neck since still not many games will actually use multi threading by default. just getting the E8400 (3.0 Ghz) would see as bigger boost as any quad or hexa core processors.
the biggest bottle neck is your hard drive as it goes. A good SSD (200 mbps read at least) would do more for performance than most gear given what you have.
Hard drive speed will have very little effect on FPS. Loading times will simply be longer, as will loading certain textures, such as when a character hails you.
Agreed, but faster loading and texture access is still good for over all performance.
Given he has a decently fast GFX card, processor and probably on Win XP (apologies for the assumption) the bags of ram etc won't do a great deal since XP can't use it.
nor will it use a quad core, only the clock speed will really make any difference since the 2 extra cores will idle
more clock speed, more internal bandwidth, these will make a faster machine.
while they advertise the SATA drives at 3 gbs, it's not really anything like that fast. more like 100 if you have a really good drive running at like 10k rpm. the SSD's can actually read the data fast enough to use the bandwidth that is there with out being horrendously noisy.
As for SSD recommendations, i would say the Crucial Real SSD C300, the 128 gb version.
Small, but very fast. as a 1TB drive for storage can be got for $70, it's not that much of a problem to get a secondary to store music etc on.
the reason i recommend upgrades like this over the whole new CPU, memory etc is that that will end up requiring a whole new set up, in which case, don't bother pretending that it is a parts upgrade, it is a new build. is best to keep the old one in tact to help with any trouble shooting you may need to do, getting up to date drivers etc.
so, think about it, if you would like some future proofing, then yes, go get a whole new set up that can just have a cpu or more ram added. but don't kid your self that you can go half way with new parts.
I admit, I have a 256 SSD, and it is incredible. When you turn the computer on you don't need to wait for any programs to load. I have not seen a single texture load slowly in STO, since I upgraded my computer in late Feb.
since quad cores arent taken advantage of in terms of fps and graphics processing power.
should I build cheap? i.e. quad core setup (since i wouldnt buy anything less)
or build core i5? or an AMD equivalent?
I would recommend that you spend as much as you can afford to.
As for AMD or Intel, if you can afford to buy and Intel chip then do..they are quite reliable and you cant go wrong with one. Though both AMD and Intel make very good processors. I would personally buy a mid range processor, mid range HDD and 4GB of the fastest memory the processor could handle. (Getting faster RAM is probably a better investment than buying more RAM.) I would not skimp out on the graphics card though, and would go for an ATI 5XXX. (5830 looks good)