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Old 08-24-2008, 07:13 AM   #1
stoffe
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Computer recommendation?

It looks like my computer monitor is getting close to breaking down, so I'll need to get a new one. The one I currently have is a roughly 6 years old Viewsonic P95f CRT monitor, which I've been happy with so far. It seems like most monitors on sale nowadays are LCD flat screens though, so I presumably have to get one of those.

I am however unsure how to compare the image quality of CRT and LCD screens based on their specs. I don't want the new monitor to feel like it's a downgrade in image quality from what I currently have.

When I bought a new computer a couple of years ago I got an LCD monitor along with it (a Viewsonic VA902), though the image quality on that one was so poor by comparison it ended up being relegated to use with my old computer instead of the new one. That screen was much too bright and unevenly lit, it couldn't show black (dark marine blue was the best it could muster), the colors felt washed out, and when you played movies or games in full screen it looked like there was a grey mesh, like a mosquito net, overlaid on the image. The colors and brightness also shifted radically if you move the head when looking at it.

I'd rather not have a repeat incident of that, so if anyone have any recommendations for a good 19" (1280x1024 native res) LCD monitor with image quality comparable to my P95f I'd appreciate it.

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Old 08-24-2008, 07:48 AM   #2
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Are you dead set against an LCD? They have greatly improved within the last few years. Also, the lcd you listed... is it a VGA connector? If so, it could explain the craptacular blacks you are getting. DVI provides better contrast and pixel ratio.

My Dell UltraSharp 2407's have an absolutely gorgeous picture with true black, however it's beyond the 19" 1280x1024 stats you're looking for (and discontinued ). They do offer 19" in the UltraSharp line though.. plus you get the benefits of widescreen and Hi-Def. Product Link

However, if you'd much prefer a CRT, I'll keep an eye out. I always had great results with Samsung back in the CRT days.


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Old 08-24-2008, 08:36 AM   #3
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DO you want screen real estate? Doing work or looking at a web page, you can just have heaps of things up and not be cramped for space. Would be great for modding/animating, and those into video editing etc.

30" Samsung 305T.
There is a dell equivalent. With the newer ones being HDCP and display port ready. Of course HDCP is irrelevant at 2560x1600p But if you want to slum it and drop to 1080p/720p to plug a ps3 in for example, you also need a analogue conversion device like teh HDFury. Converting a beautiful digital signal to analogue for the sake of a ps3 is a war crime IMO

Im currently playing Mass Effect on it, tis a thing of beauty. apologies the pic is a bit dark as my study is darkly lit...
Show spoiler


or if that is a bit excessive
D333 got one of these recently >> Its my next choice after the above You might want to PM her for a review
samsung T240

Why do I recommend samsung? Same panels and sony lcds. 3 year warranty for most models straight off the bat.

There are some great CRTs as far as picture quality, BUT finding a high rez one is hard, expecially dual link DVI for HD output, and space-wsie they are massive! yucko.

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Last edited by Astrotoy7; 08-24-2008 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:25 AM   #4
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well, i just picked up an Acer P243W 24" LCD monitor a couple months ago, and i still can't get over how excellent this monitor is. everything looks amazing including the games i play on it (Mass Effect, Crysis, etc). a big plus is the HDMI port in addition to a DVI and VGA port. it allows me to use my Xbox 360 in addition to my computer with this monitor, and games at digital 1080p is pure awesomeness.

to compare it to other widescreen LCD monitors, the only thing it lacks is more connectivity options and USB ports (which some monitors feature). it can also only do 60Hz at 1080p and at its max res of 1920x1200, but that's not really that big of an issue. the only thing better is a bigger monitor, and given that mine was around $500, a bigger monitor is going to be one heck of a sore spot on your wallet.


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Old 08-25-2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have a look at those and see if they're available anywhere near here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChAiNz.2da View Post
Are you dead set against an LCD? They have greatly improved within the last few years.

My Dell UltraSharp 2407's have an absolutely gorgeous picture with true black, however it's beyond the 19" 1280x1024 stats you're looking for (and discontinued )
I'm not opposed to getting an LCD if the image quality is good enough that it doesn't feel like I'm downgrading from what I currently have. My last brief foray into LCD monitors didn't end well, but it's possible I just got a poor model, and that LCDs have improved since then.

My current screen is a 19" monitor which I run in 1280x1024 resolution, and my games work well with that, so I was thinking of getting something similar for familiarity's sake. Don't know how much performance in games and full-screen video is affected by higher resolutions. If it isn't very noticeable I might get a bigger monitor. I won't be able to get a new computer for another half year or so, so the screen will have to work with what I have now.

I'm not very knowledgeable about computer hardware, so it feels like a gamble when buying new gear.

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Old 08-25-2008, 11:42 AM   #6
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1280x1024 reaches critical mass at 19". Maintaining that rez on a larger screen makes it look fuzzy like a low grade plasma tv

Before you splurge on a hi-rez monitor, best mention what your vid card is. No point having a HD monitor if your card doesn't really like games above 1280x1024

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Old 08-26-2008, 07:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrotoy7 View Post
Before you splurge on a hi-rez monitor, best mention what your vid card is. No point having a HD monitor if your card doesn't really like games above 1280x1024
I got an ATI Radeon X1900 XT card currently (AMD Athlon 64 3500+ processor running at 2.2 GHz in the computer).

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Old 08-26-2008, 11:00 AM   #8
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Ah, the x1900XT. Awesome in their day, and still pretty darn good now.. You can definitely squeeze a bit more than 1280x1024 out of that for most titles. (exc. crysis of course )

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Old 09-14-2008, 08:29 AM   #9
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From the recommendations in this thread I've been looking around a bit at different Samsung monitors. Judging by what I can make of the specs it seems like Samsung T220 might be an OK choice. It's a big bigger than what I currently have, but hopefully not so big that my aging computer won't be able to manage.

Do anyone here have any experiences with this particular model, or can tell from the specs if this could be an acceptable upgrade for someone used to a good CRT monitor?

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Old 09-14-2008, 10:19 AM   #10
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I'm not familiar with the particular model, however I've never been disappointed with Samsung. My 2 old CRT's are still in pristine shape and serve me well.

The 1000:1 ration is nice as well, especially on a 22" model. My 24" (Dell 2407 WFP) has the same specs and is exceptionally sharp when dealing with the white to black ratio. Though they do go quite higher nowadays, the 1000:1 is not shabby by any means and works quite well in both personal and professional working environments.


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Old 09-16-2008, 07:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChAiNz.2da View Post
I'm not familiar with the particular model, however I've never been disappointed with Samsung. My 2 old CRT's are still in pristine shape and serve me well.

The 1000:1 ration is nice as well, especially on a 22" model. My 24" (Dell 2407 WFP) has the same specs and is exceptionally sharp when dealing with the white to black ratio. Though they do go quite higher nowadays, the 1000:1 is not shabby by any means and works quite well in both personal and professional working environments.
Looking around some more I found there's apparently even more complicating matters; different LCD panel types. I found this page which seems to offer a decent description of the different types.

From the description there and elsewhere it seems that many of the problems I experienced with my first shot at LCD monitors a year ago, (backlight bleeding, poor color representation that shifts radically when moving your head, a gray dither/mesh washing out the image making it look like you have a mosquito net in front of the screen when playing full-screen games and videos) are associated with "TN" type panels. So I should probably not get a monitor of that type to avoid being disappointed again.

Problem is just that I don't know how to check what type of panel a particular monitor has?

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Old 09-16-2008, 08:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe View Post
From the description there and elsewhere it seems that many of the problems I experienced with my first shot at LCD monitors a year ago, (backlight bleeding, poor color representation that shifts radically when moving your head, a gray dither/mesh washing out the image making it look like you have a mosquito net in front of the screen when playing full-screen games and videos) are associated with "TN" type panels. So I should probably not get a monitor of that type to avoid being disappointed again.

Problem is just that I don't know how to check what type of panel a particular monitor has?
Yeah, the descriptions are very hard to find (specifics). The 'TFT Active Matrix' or 'TFT LCD' descriptions are pretty much useless since most LCD panels are grouped as this.

I have found 2 entries supporting that the monitor you had in mind is a 'TN' subtype though (click the specifications tab):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16824001273
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...olor_T220.html

Whenever you go looking, be sure to check the "specifications" tab. Even if you're not going to buy from them.. some sites provide a bit better information. Hope that helps.


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Old 09-16-2008, 07:05 PM   #13
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How could I forget my favourite site regarding monitors?

T220 review
^ Wow it gets 5 stars, not many screens manage that on that site
Plus it looks friggin' awesome!

37 22" screens tested and reviewed



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Old 09-17-2008, 12:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe View Post
From the recommendations in this thread I've been looking around a bit at different Samsung monitors. Judging by what I can make of the specs it seems like Samsung T220 might be an OK choice. It's a big bigger than what I currently have, but hopefully not so big that my aging computer won't be able to manage.

Do anyone here have any experiences with this particular model, or can tell from the specs if this could be an acceptable upgrade for someone used to a good CRT monitor?
I bought the T240 (the t220's bigger brother) about a month ago and I like it (I like it a lot more than my previous Samsung 226BW). It's a TN panel but they are much better than what they were a few years ago. Color representation is good (however I adjusted the factory settings which never really satisfy me) and it does not "shift when moving your head" (the image stays clear and bright).

FYI I also had a P95f in the past which was, until a month ago, still sitting at a workstation at my parents house (it has now been replaced by my Samsung monitor...that's where my (not so ) used pc parts find a second life ) and I had the occasion to have the three monitors turned on one beside each other while I was building and upgrading some PCs over there...I wouldn't go back using the P95f, especially not for gaming.

Whether or not the x1900xt will enough to handle the 1650x1200 native resolution, that depends on the games you play and what you consider to be acceptable quality/performance. I used an x1950xtx - only slightly faster than the x1900xt - with my 22" 226BW until the end of last year and it ran most games, including Oblivion, at high/very high settings rather smoothly. Of course, with some of the more recent games it might struggle at that resolution but you always have the option to lower the settings.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333 View Post
I bought the T240 (the t220's bigger brother) about a month ago and I like it (I like it a lot more than my previous Samsung 226BW). It's a TN panel but they are much better than what they were a few years ago. Color representation is good (however I adjusted the factory settings which never really satisfy me) and it does not "shift when moving your head" (the image stays clear and bright).
Thanks for the input, I'll most likely get a T220 then if those annoying "features" aren't as noticeable on LCD screens any more.

Quote:
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Whether or not the x1900xt will enough to handle the 1650x1200 native resolution, that depends on the games you play and what you consider to be acceptable quality/performance.
It feels like the rest of my computer is on the way of being reduced to a smoking ruin as well, new problems have popped up and old ones have become more serious over the past week. So I guess it's high time to get a new computer as well, even though my current one only is 2 years old.

Since I'm not very up-to-date on computer hardware, and given the state of my current computer (keyword: smoking ruin) which was of the "build yourself" variety (you pick components and they assemble it for you), I think I'll play it safe and get a prefabricated computer this time. I'm so sick of the constant problems I've experienced over the last year with this one.

I was thinking of getting one of these, HP Pavilion M9363. Do anyone more hardware savvy know if that looks like a decent upgrade from an AMD 64 3500+ (2.2 GHz) with a Radeon X1900 XT graphics card (which I have now)?

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Old 09-19-2008, 11:05 AM   #16
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I'm not familiar with the ATI video cards, but the nVidia 9600 GS probably isn't the best choice. The 9600, 8600, etc is the "budget" card in the series while the 9800, 8800, etc is the higher end card, and the GS cards are usually cut down versions of the card's GT version. If there are customization options or another computer with similar hardware, I would try for the 8800 GT or even the 9800 GT depending on budget and how many high end games you play.

But maybe the 9600 GS is still an upgrade over your current card, if someone knows ATI cards that wants to comment that would probably help.

Other than the video card, the computer looks like a very slick machine.


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Old 09-19-2008, 07:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe View Post
I was thinking of getting one of these, HP Pavilion M9363. Do anyone more hardware savvy know if that looks like a decent upgrade from an AMD 64 3500+ (2.2 GHz) with a Radeon X1900 XT graphics card (which I have now)?
The processor is more than adequate, though the Q6600 is ageing on a bit now, it was an instant legend at launch and is still a powerhouse to this day, putting most of AMD's even more recent outings to shame.

Graphics wise = NO

To feed a 22" monitor with decent games and future proof it a bit, that card just won't do, the X1900XT was the flagship card of its generation...this 9600GS isn't quite up there, though it's no slouch either, I'd recommend the nVidia GTX 260, or at the very least a 9800GTX (yes the pre- and suffixes are quite confusing lolz), as for AMD, the HD4850 or 4870 are both awesome, depends on how much you want to spend really



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Old 09-19-2008, 08:03 PM   #18
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It will definitely be an upgrade (mainly the CPU) but I am not sure to what extent. I am not sure if the 9600GS can give you a significant improvement over your current system. Unfortunately, I haven't found much about it (most reviews and benchmarks use the 9600GT, which is faster than the GS version.) Note that if you nevertheless go with the PC you linked to above, and later decide to replace the video card, you would also need to change the 300W PSU.

I'd also rather go for a more powerful CPU, like the e8400 ( dual core with good overclocking potential - mine runs stable @ 4GHz ) instead of the good but now aging Q6600 or, if it fits your budget, one of the more recent quad cores.

Normally you can get a better quality/price ratio if you build your own PC. A prefabricated PC doesn't mean it's better and it's often more complicated to upgrade (the mobo, ram, psu are often very "basic" in those PCs) . Btw, what kind of problems are you experiencing with the current PC?
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth333 View Post
It will definitely be an upgrade (mainly the CPU) but I am not sure to what extent. I am not sure if the 9600GS can give you a significant improvement over your current. Unfortunately, I haven't found much about it (most reviews and benchmarks use the 9600GT, which is faster than the GS version.) Note that if you nevertheless go with the PC you linked to above, and later decide to replace the video card, you would also need to change the 300W PSU.

I'd also rather go for a more powerful CPU, like the e8400 ( dual core with good overclocking potential - mine runs stable @ 4GHz ) instead of the good but now aging Q6600 or, if it fits your budget, one of the more recent quad cores.

Normally you can get a better quality/price ratio if you build your own PC. A prefabricated PC doesn't mean it's better and it's often more complicated to upgrade (the mobo, ram, psu are often very "basic" in those PCs) . Btw, what kind of problems are you experiencing with the current PC?
Couldn't agree more with this statement, the E8400 is the CPU I'd go for atm, uber OC'er and a low TDP of 65W (I believe).

I'd also opt for a self-build, but since a recent PC death I'd get it built for me, but I'd still want to choose my own components, my prospect is a budget PC and would look a lot like this:

Case: Coolermaster Elite 330
PSU: 500W or above, by a good brand (Corsair, Coolermaster, Enermax, etc.)
CPU: Core 2 Duo 8400 3.0Ghz 1333FSB 6MB L2
Motherboard: Asus P5K SE/EPU Intel P35 chipset (or any Intel P-series based chipsets, though Asus tend to have the mobo's that overclock the best)
RAM: At least 2Gb DDR2 800Mhz, though 4Gb wouldn't hurt, but make sure you get a 64-bit version of Windows with that.
GPU: Depends heavily on your budget, but my choice would be the Radeon HD3800 (cheaper) or HD4800 (better) series, with my budget it would probably be a HD3850 or 3870.
If I had to choose nVidia, my budget would allow me for the 9600GT that D333 mentioned. Best value/performance GPUs around for both teams atm.
HDD: 320Gb Samsung or any other major brand one (prices are all very similar in this category).
OS: With 2Gb of memory, I'd stick with XP SP3, with 4Gb or more memory, Vista Premium 64-bit is the best value.

Hope this helps, if you're like me and scared of building it yourself in case of ****ing things up and wasting a lot of money in the process, find a good retailer, probably online, that offers good warranty and has good reviews, if you need extra piece of mind, most retailers will offer you extended warranties, though for a bit more moolah

The site I would use: Clicky offers a 3-year limited warranty, with the option of 3 years collect & return, which is the best type of warranty for any piece of technology. It also has good reviews of build quality and customer service, which is always, nice...I know it's UK-based, but I'm sure your area will have some equivalent sites, just look around online or pick up a PC magazine, it'll probably have ads for such sites inside it.



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Old 10-30-2008, 12:37 PM   #20
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Been hesitating with this due to my normal buyer's angst, but it looks like my computer decided to force my hand and finally collapsed in a smoking pile of unusable rubble, refusing to even try to start up.

After the recommendations in this thread I've decided to try the "build your own" route this time (partly because the assembled one I bought last time hasn't exactly turned out to be working all that well, partly because I need a new computer within the next few days and can't wait a few weeks which seem to be standard with the assembled computers. That does leave me with somewhat limited options, having to get components that are in stock in the various computer shops in this town).

I'm not a hardware guru, so I hope I'm not going to regret that decision. How does this shopping list look to those of you who have any knowledge of computer hardware? Would these parts work OK together?

Case: Cooler Master Elite 330
Motherboard: Asus P5N-EM HDMI nForce 630i
Power Supply: Corsair VX CMPSU-550CXEU 550W
CPU: Intel Core Duo E8400 3.0 GHz
RAM: Corsair XMS2 DHX TWIN2X2048 - 6400 DHX 2 GB
Harddrive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500 GB 7200 rpm
CD/DVD: Pioneer BDC-202 BK Bluray / DVD
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512 MB DDR3
Sound: Creative Soundblaster Audigy SE
Keyboard: Logitech G11
Mouse: (Probably keep my existing one since lefthanded people don't seem to exist any more according to mouse manufacturers. )
Monitor: Samsung T220 (22" Wide)
Extra: ESD armband

I'm extremely unsure about the motherboard since I have no idea what is different between the different models, and what good brands are. Not that I'm very sure about the rest either. Help please?

Also, would the CPU cooler that comes with the Intel processor be sufficient, or would I need to get a separate one? Would any extra case fans be needed to prevent overheating with above mentioned hardware? Anything else I'll need to assemble it into a working computer that I've overlooked?

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Old 10-30-2008, 05:24 PM   #21
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If you don`t intend to overclock, then the stock cooler is fine. It is a bit noisy though. (it's not one of the newer models but the Zalman CNPS9700 is a reliable and good cooler if you want an after market cooler...if you buy it, do it at the same time as the rest as it requires the removal of the mobo for installation).

I believe that mobo is micro ATX. You might want to get an ATX mobo. (also fyi, for future upgrades the next generation of Intel CPUs will not work in LGA 775 motherboards but there isn`t much you can do about that right now.) Personally, if it is within your budget, I would go for a little more with something like the P45 chipset, which is still a budget board.

If you worry about heat, I`d look into buying the Radeon 4850 model that comes with a better cooler. Several brands (including Sapphire) have released two models: one with the stock cooler which makes the card run pretty hot according to reviews and one with a better cooler. Go for the latter! (generally it also tends to be more quiet).
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:56 PM   #22
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Quote:
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If you don`t intend to overclock, then the stock cooler is fine. It is a bit noisy though. (it's not one of the newer models but the Zalman CNPS9700 is a reliable and good cooler if you want an after market cooler...if you buy it, do it at the same time as the rest as it requires the removal of the mobo for installation).
Not intending to overclock, but I'd rather not have to keep a constant eye on the thermometer readouts when playing games, and I would rather have a more quiet computer this time so I won't have to bury it under a mound of pillows to be able to be in the same room due to the deafening noise (like my current one). Should probably get a better cooler then.

Quote:
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I believe that mobo is micro ATX. You might want to get an ATX mobo. Personally, if it is within your budget, I would go for a little more with something like the P45 chipset, which is still a budget board.
Hmm, I'll have to try to find that, then. Got any idea what brand of motherboard is good? I've heard Asus should be decent, but if I can't find one of theirs are there any other decent options?

Quote:
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If you worry about heat, I`d look into buying the Radeon 4850 model that comes with a better cooler. Several brands (including Sapphire) have released two models: one with the stock cooler which makes the card run pretty hot according to reviews and one with a better cooler. Go for the latter! (generally it also tends to be more quiet).
Hmm, how do you tell what type of cooler the cards have? Wish they'd give them different model names when they change things like that.

Thanks for your response, it's much appreciated. I'm mostly in the dark when it comes to PC hardware, and it'd be a very expensive failure if I mess this up.

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Old 10-30-2008, 06:02 PM   #23
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Could you give us the options you have for the components you have questions about?




have a suggestion for the lf poll? pm me
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:26 PM   #24
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If you aren't interested in SLI, which, given your choice of GPU, you obviously aren't, then there is no reason to mess with the truly craptastic Nvidia chipsets. The Asus P5Q Pro motherboard is highly recommended over at the Anandtech forums and even has Crossfire support. It's very cheap here in the states, but I honestly have no idea what it would cost across the pond. It's a total buyer's market for hardware over here right now, though.

If you can get the VisionTek brand of that 4850 in Europe, you should, as VisionTek is the only ATI board partner that offers a lifetime warranty, and Sapphire is notorious for raping the unfortunates who end up having to RMA their cards.

As far as HDDs go, have you heard of the WD6400AAKS or it's slightly younger and faster sibling, the WD6401AALS? These are the fastest 7200RPM drives available right now. They're as fast as the original Raptors, and they're pretty cheap.

Give the motherboard's onboard audio a test drive before investing in a Soundblaster: you might be pleasantly surprised as onboard audio has come a long way in the past couple of years. If you have to get a dedicated sound card, then I would suggest an X-Fi, as the Audigy is outdated.

Unless you're running XP I'd suggest 2x2GB RAM because Vista is a hog. As cheap as DDR2 is right now (that is, unless it's expensive in Europe), you may as well get 2x2GB even if you're running XP.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by stoffe View Post
Case: Cooler Master Elite 330
Motherboard: Asus P5N-EM HDMI nForce 630i
Power Supply: Corsair VX CMPSU-550CXEU 550W
CPU: Intel Core Duo E8400 3.0 GHz
RAM: Corsair XMS2 DHX TWIN2X2048 - 6400 DHX 2 GB
Harddrive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500 GB 7200 rpm
CD/DVD: Pioneer BDC-202 BK Bluray / DVD
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512 MB DDR3
Sound: Creative Soundblaster Audigy SE
Keyboard: Logitech G11
Mouse: (Probably keep my existing one since lefthanded people don't seem to exist any more according to mouse manufacturers. )
Monitor: Samsung T220 (22" Wide)
Extra: ESD armband
That would quite honestly be my components of choice, from the case to the CPU, etc...

I wouldn't bother with 2 things though: Sound cards (like Q said, onboard s usually more than adequate), and a Blu-Ray drive (download your HD movies instead, legally of course )

Asus make very good motherboards, very good BIOS and usually very overclockable and reliable.



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Old 10-30-2008, 07:49 PM   #26
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The Asus P5Q Pro motherboard is highly recommended over at the Anandtech forums and even has Crossfire support.
Could find an Asus P5Q-E iP45 for sale here, hopefully that's the same thing, or close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qliveur View Post
If you can get the VisionTek brand of that 4850 in Europe, you should, as VisionTek is the only ATI board partner that offers a lifetime warranty, and Sapphire is notorious for raping the unfortunates who end up having to RMA their cards.
Couldn't find anything from that brand on sale here. The Sapphire HD4850 seemed to be the only HD4850 card they had in stock at the moment around here. Got no idea if it's the overheating version or the usable one though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qliveur View Post
As far as HDDs go, have you heard of the WD6400AAKS or it's slightly younger and faster sibling, the WD6401AALS? These are the fastest 7200RPM drives available right now. They're as fast as the original Raptors, and they're pretty cheap.
Thanks, I'll get one of those instead then

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qliveur View Post
Give the motherboard's onboard audio a test drive before investing in a Soundblaster: you might be pleasantly surprised as onboard audio has come a long way in the past couple of years.
OK, I'm just using headphones with the computer anyway so I don't need anything all that fancy. The on-board audio should suffice then.

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Originally Posted by Qliveur View Post
Unless you're running XP I'd suggest 2x2GB RAM because Vista is a hog. As cheap as DDR2 is right now (that is, unless it's expensive in Europe), you may as well get 2x2GB even if you're running XP.
I was planning to continue running Windows XP Home which I currently have installed on the computer. Hopefully I can copy over the HD partitions from my current wrecked computer and do some OS repairs to make it work. (Worked when I got my current computer to transfer the partitions from the old one at least.) So much work to have to reinstall everything. Since I have never even come close to running out of memory so far I think 2 GB should be enough.


How does this look for a revised shopping list?

Case: Cooler Master Elite 330
Motherboard: Asus P5Q-E iP45
Power Supply: Corsair VX CMPSU-550CXEU 550W
CPU: Intel Core Duo E8400 3.0 GHz
RAM: Corsair XMS2 DHX TWIN2X2048 - 6400C5DHX 2 GB
Harddrive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640 GB 7200 rpm
CD/DVD: Pioneer DVR-116DBK DVD+-RW
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512 MB DDR3
Keyboard: Logitech G11
Monitor: Samsung T220 (22" Wide)
CPU cooler: Zalman CNPS9700LED
Extra: ESD armband

Do anyone know of a good, quiet 120mm chassi fan that fits in the CME case? Also, anyone know if Logitech has a good mouse model that can be used when you're left-handed without it doubling as a torture device? I was recommended that Logitech G5 is a good mouse, but unfortunately it turned out to be (non)ergonomical. :/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Nine View Post
Could you give us the options you have for the components you have questions about?
Don't really have a list. Just looking around at what the different stores around here have in stock based on recommendations that are mentioned in this thread.

(Mostly at http://www.datorbutiken.com/ though it's in Swedish )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Negative Sun View Post
I wouldn't bother with 2 things though: a Blu-Ray drive
Maybe a needless expense since I don't have any Bluray discs currently anyway, and it will probably be years before they ship games and such in that format alone. I'll swap that for a normal DVD-recorder then.


Thanks for the advise everyone, much appreciated.

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Old 10-30-2008, 09:23 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by stoffe View Post
Could find an Asus P5Q-E iP45 for sale here, hopefully that's the same thing, or close.
Looks good

Quote:
Couldn't find anything from that brand on sale here. The Sapphire HD4850 seemed to be the only HD4850 card they had in stock at the moment around here. Got no idea if it's the overheating version or the usable one though.
This is the stock cooler version: https://www.datorbutiken.com/se/defa...SAPHD4850LSING

This is the other version: http://www.datorbutiken.com/se/defau...uct=SAPHD4850L (go figure ...it's less expensive)

other options with non stock coolers:
http://www.datorbutiken.com/se/defau...t=PCRHD4850PPH
https://www.datorbutiken.com/se/defa...GIGPCXHD4850ZL

Quote:
Also, anyone know if Logitech has a good mouse model that can be used when you're left-handed without it doubling as a torture device? I was recommended that Logitech G5 is a good mouse, but unfortunately it turned out to be (non)ergonomical. :/
The Logitech g3 was ambidextrous. Razer makes nice ambidextrous gaming mice too .

I'll stop typing now as I managed to screw up my keyboard and it's a real pain... several keys don't work anymore
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:32 PM   #28
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Could find an Asus P5Q-E iP45 for sale here, hopefully that's the same thing, or close.
That's a slightly higher-end model than the one I linked to, so you should be fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
The Sapphire HD4850 seemed to be the only HD4850 card they had in stock at the moment around here. Got no idea if it's the overheating version or the usable one though.
That is now completely fixable by changing the fan profiles with RivaTuner, and, if you're unlucky enough to get one of the older models, a BIOS flash.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
I was planning to continue running Windows XP Home which I currently have installed on the computer. Hopefully I can copy over the HD partitions from my current wrecked computer and do some OS repairs to make it work. (Worked when I got my current computer to transfer the partitions from the old one at least.) So much work to have to reinstall everything. Since I have never even come close to running out of memory so far I think 2 GB should be enough.
You're right: it should. I would go ahead and reinstall everything. It's a pain, yes, but everything runs better that way. Then again, you know a lot more about software than I do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
How does this look for a revised shopping list?
Looks good, except...
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
Extra: ESD armband
WTH is this?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
Do anyone know of a good, quiet 120mm chassi fan that fits in the CME case?
Zalman makes good fans from what I've heard. I use Yate-Loon fans. They're fine, but I have them more because I got them very, very cheaply than for build quality. In fact, I got so many of them that if/when any of the ones in my case give out I have several replacements standing by.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
Also, anyone know if Logitech has a good mouse model that can be used when you're left-handed without it doubling as a torture device? I was recommended that Logitech G5 is a good mouse, but unfortunately it turned out to be (non)ergonomical. :/
I'm also a lefty, but I use my right hand with the mouse. I have a plain Logitech optical mouse, an M-BT96a, and it's perfectly symmetrical, so a lefty could use it, but it's so old that I seriously doubt that it's even produced any more.

On a side note: with that motherboard and heatsink you could overclock that E8400 to 3.6GHz just by raising the FSB to 400. Your memory would still be running at stock speed and I doubt that you'd have to mess with any voltages at all, except for maybe the northbridge (FSB voltage). Core2 Duo is incredibly easy and safe to overclock. I just see it as getting your money's worth. With that setup there would really be no reason not to do it.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:18 AM   #29
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Now theres a milestone, 2 ladies in one thread in the techforum(3 counting Niner)

OT:
Looks like you're in good hands stoffe, no need for me to chip in with my tirades about smallforms, 1600p and green computing

mtfbwya


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Old 10-31-2008, 05:52 PM   #30
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Bought the components (almost, had to get an Asus Radeon card instead) and managed to assemble them into something that (sort of) seems to work, but now it looks like it's time for the real trouble to start.

It's sloooooow, much much much slower than my old computer. Don't know if it's just some BIOS setting that's wrong, drivers that are missing, some kind of conflict or what, but it's really pathetically slow.

On top of that windows keep trying to reinstall the network and sound drivers every time I start up the computer, the (USB) mouse suddenly only works in Safe mode (worked before, don't know why it stopped, or how to get it working again).

And on top of that that cursed Windows Activation bull**** in XP Home complained about changed hardware requiring re-Activation. Fair enough, i activate it again and it says the key is OK and stops bugging me. Later I restart (since you apparently cant install drivers without restarting the computer 3 times), then the Activation pops up again(!) about hardware changes and I try to activate it again. Only this time it refuses to accept it, saying the key has been used the max number of allowed times. It's crap like that which makes customers seriously contemplate the merits of software piracy.

This is why I hate getting new computers. Thing never ever just work like intended right away. You have to waste hours or days wrestling with it just to make it remotely usable. I've wasted the whole day on this and I still don't have a computer that's usable as much more than an expensive paper weight. I'm so fed up with this right now I lack the words to properly express it.

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Old 10-31-2008, 06:24 PM   #31
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Did you install XP from scratch? Because you should, considering that you have completely new hardware. Just clean off your harddrive and start completely from scratch. It may be a pain, but it will simply work better that way, trust me.

And you will probably have to give M$ a call for a new activation key for XP.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:15 PM   #32
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Did you install XP from scratch? Because you should, considering that you have completely new hardware. Just clean off your harddrive and start completely from scratch. It may be a pain, but it will simply work better that way, trust me.
Agreed. Check the temperatures (CPU especially) & the new components too.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:52 PM   #33
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Agreed. Check the temperatures (CPU especially) & the new components too.
Don't know what temperatures are considered normal for this hardware. CPU temp is 33°C, case temp is 38°C, GPU temp is 44°C currently when just having iTunes, Skype and Firefox running.

On a more positive note I finally managed to solve some of the problems I had. The mouse problems and extreme slowness vanished after uninstalling some old junk and installing Service Pack 2, a whole bunch of patches from Windows Update (had to buy a new XP license key to get rid of the MS Activation junk too) and updating some drivers. Still doesn't feel much faster than my old computer, but at least it's not so slow any more. Haven't tried it with any games yet, maybe will notice more difference there.

Speaking of which, is the Catalyst Control Center required for games to work optimally on newer Radeon cards? I've used ATI Tray Tools earlier instead since CCC was so bloated and required .NET to run. Had to dump the Omega drivers and switch to the official ATI ones instead since Omega is lagging so far behind on updates nowadays.

(Ended up getting an ASUS EAH4850 1 GB HDMI card instead since the Sapphire Radeon wasn't available but that one was. Seems to come with a custom ASUS cooler on it as well.)

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Old 11-01-2008, 02:46 PM   #34
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Your temps look fine.

I'm glad that you ended up with an Asus 4850. Asus would be my second choice after VisionTek among the ATI board partners. My third would be Gigabyte.

Glad to hear that you've got your problems sorted out. You probably won't see a huge difference in performance until you fire up one of your games. Then it should be like night and day, especially on that new monitor. Have fun!


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:18 AM   #35
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Just some final reflections on this whole thing, now that I've had a couple of months to play around with it and get used to it.

The LCD monitor seems to be a mixed blessing. The image feels a bit crispier and the widescreen format is very nice in applications with a lot of palettes and extra windows, but the viewing angle is atrocious. It's enough that I lean back in my chair for the image on screen to appear 50% darker, and if I move my head sideways ever so slightly the image gets a yellow-ish tint. Don't know if I've just picked a bad model (which would be fully in line with my usual luck), or if LCDs in general still have a way to go before reaching CRT-level viewing quality.

For general use everything seems to work nicely. Feels a bit more responsive than the old computer, and it's nice to be able to put the computer in sleep mode again when not using it for a while.

Games seem to be a mixed bag as well. Some games that didn't work so well on my old computer seems to be running a lot better on the new one, like Mass Effect and Neverwinter Nights 2, though I still need to use medium graphics settings in NWN2 to get playable frame rates. At least other games can be run with all settings turned up with good performance, and I managed to play Mass Effect for 4 hours straight with no lockups, hickups or crashes.

Other games that I never had any problems with on my old computer seems a lot less reliable on this new one, like Bioshock and Guild Wars. The former crashes after like 5 minutes or play, while the latter sometimes freezes during area transitions forcing me to reboot the computer. I also get some weird noise flickering over the screen image when playing some games. Tried playing Tomb Raider:Underworld, but that seemed to make the graphics card flip out, giving me a screenfull of green lines followed by a crash after just playing for a few minutes. I managed to just barely get through the first tutorial area, but crashed on the boat before I even had time to jump into the water.

In summary it seems to be the same old story repeating over and over. While some things get better when upgrading to a new computer there are always tons of problems and things can never ever just work as intended. A bit tiring, but I guess it's a natural law or something.

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Old 01-06-2009, 10:19 AM   #36
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I bet you can run DOS on it with the best of them though.


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Old 01-06-2009, 12:15 PM   #37
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pshaw, the stoffe is a *nix girl



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Old 01-06-2009, 05:01 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe View Post
The LCD monitor seems to be a mixed blessing. The image feels a bit crispier and the widescreen format is very nice in applications with a lot of palettes and extra windows, but the viewing angle is atrocious. It's enough that I lean back in my chair for the image on screen to appear 50% darker, and if I move my head sideways ever so slightly the image gets a yellow-ish tint. Don't know if I've just picked a bad model (which would be fully in line with my usual luck), or if LCDs in general still have a way to go before reaching CRT-level viewing quality.
I'm afraid that this is due to the inherent flaws in the type of panel that you chose. Your Samsung T220 has a 6-bit TN panel. While this type is the cheapest and has the fastest response time, it also has a reduced color gamut and the horrible viewing angles that you mentioned. I should have mentioned this before you bought it, but I made the mistake of assuming that you already knew about this stuff. My bad.

The other main panel types are VA (which includes PVA and MVA) and IPS. Both types are 8-bit and capable of displaying true color without dithering. They also have a much wider viewing angle. They are, of course, more expensive (IPS is a lot more expensive) and have drawbacks of their own, but they are generally much better than TN as far as image quality is concerned. One of their main drawbacks is that they are generally only available in panel sizes of 24" or larger. Here is an general explanation of the different panel types.

One thing that you can do is get the most out of your monitor by properly calibrating it. Forget about the factory presets. Chances are that they are way, way too bright, and that the colors are oversaturated to compensate for all of that brightness. While this is good for in-store display purposes it is not good for general use because staring at a monitor that is too bright for hours on end can be very harmful to your eyes. It should only be just bright enough to be easily viewable in a well-lit room and no more.

Start out by setting your video driver's color control to the default settings, and darken the room that you're in. Then visit this site and run through the tests. AFAIK, this site is the ultimate LCD monitor calibration tool. You're probably going to have to lower both brightness and contrast a lot. Use the adjustments on your monitor first to get the settings to as close to perfect as possible before you even touch your driver control panel's adjustments. That way you'll end up with the best contrast.

Be warned: this is going to take a lot of time, fiddling, cussing and eyestrain to get it right, and you will never get it perfect because of that TN panel's limitations. While testing, try to sit in the same position that you will be in while viewing the monitor for the majority of the time that you'll be using it because that terrible viewing angle is going to drastically effect these tests. What I do is scroll the pages so that 2.2 in the gamma test, the darkest set of squares in the black level test and the lightest set of squares in the white saturation test are in the middle of the screen while I'm making adjustments. In a nutshell, you're just going to have to find the best compromise that you can while still passing both the black level and white saturation tests. By passing, I mean being able to see the darkest square in the black level test and the lightest square pattern in the white saturation test without having to stare at them. If my cheap-a$$ed Acer AL2216W can do it, I'm pretty sure that your Samsung T220 can.

In order to achieve the best contrast, you're probably going to end up with dingy, grayish whites. It's just a limitation of the technology. You'll get used to it, and you won't even notice it after a couple of days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoffe
Games seem to be a mixed bag as well. Some games that didn't work so well on my old computer seems to be running a lot better on the new one, like Mass Effect and Neverwinter Nights 2, though I still need to use medium graphics settings in NWN2 to get playable frame rates. At least other games can be run with all settings turned up with good performance, and I managed to play Mass Effect for 4 hours straight with no lockups, hickups or crashes.

Other games that I never had any problems with on my old computer seems a lot less reliable on this new one, like Bioshock and Guild Wars. The former crashes after like 5 minutes or play, while the latter sometimes freezes during area transitions forcing me to reboot the computer. I also get some weird noise flickering over the screen image when playing some games. Tried playing Tomb Raider:Underworld, but that seemed to make the graphics card flip out, giving me a screenfull of green lines followed by a crash after just playing for a few minutes. I managed to just barely get through the first tutorial area, but crashed on the boat before I even had time to jump into the water.

In summary it seems to be the same old story repeating over and over. While some things get better when upgrading to a new computer there are always tons of problems and things can never ever just work as intended. A bit tiring, but I guess it's a natural law or something.
There have been a lot of reports going around the interwebs about the problems that the newer drivers from both ATI and Nvidia are having with older games, but you should not be experiencing any problems with the newer ones like Bioshock.

I do have a very possible solution, but I doubt that you'll want to hear it. I've tried to be polite about this before and you ignored me, so I guess that I'm going to have to be blunt this time around:

Do you seriously expect everything to be hunky-dorey and for everything to run flawlessly on an XP install that's, what, how many years old now, and has been transferred to how many very different systems, each with very different hardware, now? C'mon, stoffe! Surely you know better than that!

So please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST REFORMAT AND GIVE THAT POOR MACHINE A FRESH INSTALL OF XP!


At the very, very least it would eliminate a corrupted OS install as a possible cause of the issues that you're experiencing.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:44 PM   #39
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Sorry for the monitor issue. I have the t224 and I love it. The TN panels have improved greatly since a few years and I do not find that the viewing angles are an issue, contrary to my previous Samsung 226BW.

Quote:
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Other games that I never had any problems with on my old computer seems a lot less reliable on this new one, like Bioshock and Guild Wars. The former crashes after like 5 minutes or play, while the latter sometimes freezes during area transitions forcing me to reboot the computer. I also get some weird noise flickering over the screen image when playing some games. Tried playing Tomb Raider:Underworld, but that seemed to make the graphics card flip out, giving me a screenfull of green lines followed by a crash after just playing for a few minutes. I managed to just barely get through the first tutorial area, but crashed on the boat before I even had time to jump into the water.
Is everything up to date? I am using the latest drivers with my radeon 4870 and have tried Bioshock recently and have had no real problems (I install the strict minimum on my PC and there's very few things running in the background).

Install the latest directx version as well if you don't have it. Update audio drivers too.

As indicated by Qliveur , maybe a new OS installation could help? If you want a lighter solution, you can try a clean boot when you intend to use your PC for gaming to ensure that only the necessary applications running in the background. I also recommend checking the official forums for the games that are giving you some trouble: sometimes, DRM protection tends to be capricious and there can be other known issues specific to a game (such as codec issues, peripherals, etc.)
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:31 AM   #40
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stoffe:

You may or may not be interested in anything I have to say after my last post in this thread (I do hope that you weren't offended by my bluntness ), but I have a possible solution to your monitor problem. As I indicated previously, the (very) annoying faults with your T220 that you have noted are inherent limitations of TN panel technology and there is no way around them ATM. The only solution would be the purchase of a better grade of panel, and that's the subject of this post.

The Dell UltraSharp 2209WA has very recently (within the past couple of days) become available. What's so special about this 22-incher? Well, unlike every other 22" model it's an IPS panel, which is the highest grade of LCD on the market. This means that it sports a full 8-bit color gamut (compared to the TN's 6-bit with dithering) and has the widest (178°, in both the vertical and horizontal axes) viewing angle of any LCD panel type. It's contrast ratio is far, far superior to that of TN panels and it usually doesn't have the response time and input lag problems associated with the VA types (making it suitable for gaming). Because it's being offered at a very reasonable $300, it's poised to make any and all >$200 22" TN panels (like your T220) obsolete. I would have recommended this model hands-down had it been available when you were building your system.

So you'll need to ask yourself if it's worth taking a loss by selling your T220 and buying the 2209WA. To me it would be, because that T220 is among the best 22" TN panels available and would fetch a good price on a site like Fleabay, thereby minimizing the loss that you'll incur, and the benefits of an IPS panel are indisputable because their image quality and viewing angle approach those of a CRT's. Depending on what you paid for your T220, the loss shouldn't be much more than $100, and anyone who knows anything about LCD panels will tell you that upgrading from a TN to an IPS is well worth ~$100. The difference will be night and day.

It's definitely worth considering, IMO.


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Last edited by Q; 01-30-2009 at 01:48 AM.
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