Athlon XP - A performance boost on a budget (part 2)
is the 2nd part in our look at what kind of performance increase
can be gained in 3D games with the minimum of expenditure. Before
we begin with the game benchmarks let's have a look at how much
it would cost to upgrade to this configuration, something we didn't
do the first time around.
If you're running a PC that is more than 2 years old the chances
are that it is probably struggling to keep up with today's 3D games.
So what can you do? Well the expensive option is to head off to
the nearest PC superstore and waste a lot of money on a new PC.
Why do I say waste a lot of money? Well the chances are that your
existing monitor, keyboard, mouse, 3½" floppy drive,
hard drive etc. are all still up to the task. The price of buying
a PC for gaming is probably going to cost your around £1,000
and for that you'll probably end up with a below par graphics card
so you'll want to pay out for a better one if you want to enjoy
your games in the best possible way. The alternate option is to
replace the underperforming components from your existing PC. This
is a cheaper option and you have the advantage of installing only
the component that you want.
Of course we could list the finest components that money could buy
but for this article we'll keep it sensible (and affordable) and
create a PC that should last you for at least 18 months of PC gaming.
The components and an approximation of their latest prices are as
Athlon XP 2000+ - £65.00
Gainward GeForce4 Ti4200 (64MB) - £130.00
2x256MB RAM Crucial PC2700 - £103.00
Abit KX7-333 £70.00
Total Price = £368
you can see that's a considerable difference from the £1,000
it would cost you in a PC superstore. If you did want to spend more
money you could replace those components with better ones. AMD now
have the Athlon XP 2700+ CPU (£280) and you could couple that
with a Nvidia nForce 2 motherboard (£100) for even greater
performance. The Athlon XP 2600+ and 2700+ run on a 333FSB for even
greater performance. The components we have are those listed above
so for the purpose of this article we'll look at the performance
you could expect for that £368.
If you occasionally scour the Internet you'll notice that the latest
Intel processors are 3GHz and at first glance they look like the
better choice, however this is not the case. That 3GHz CPU is going
to set you back almost £560 alone. You might naturally think
that if Intel has a processor at 3GHz and AMD has a processor that
is performance rated (I'll explain that in a moment) at 2.7GHz then
it would be silly to choose AMD. This assumption would be wrong
too. A CPU is not solely about raw clock speed. The architecture
and efficiency of the CPU must also be taken into account. The AMD
Athlon XP processors are performance rated. That is to say the number
is not indicative of the CPU's speed but rather it's performance
and AMD where rather conservative with this rating. An AMD Athlon
XP2000+ is approximately a 1.67GHz processor, yet it out performs
an Intel Pentium IV 2GHz processor in almost every circumstance.
The Athlon XP2000+ is around £65.00 whereas a Pentium IV 2GHz
processor is around £145.00. That's a heck of a difference.
Even if you're considering building a top end PC you'll be pleased
to know that the Athlon XP2700+ is more than a match for the 3GHz
Pentium IV and again it's about half the price. There really is
only one choice. The combination of an AMD Athlon XP2700+ and an
Nvidia nForce 2 motherboard is causing quite a stir with it's sensational
performance so if you want the latest and greatest PC then that
is definitely the way to go and should my numbers come up on the
lottery then that will be the Deaf Gamer's review system :)
so you've currently got a PC that's not performing well in games
and you're sold on upgrading to the above specification for around
£370. What kind of performance can you expect? Well as we
are a games website I thought it would be a good idea to throw a
few games at the AMD Athlon XP2000+ system and see how it performs.
Click on the link below to see the results.