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System upgrade advice.

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Hello, My wife was able to wrangle a few extra bucks out of the I.R.S. this year and I going to do an upgrade of my system.I'll have between $500-$600 to spend. Since we don't know yet what it will take to run FS9 smoothly,I'm looking at this as an upgrade for FS2k2. Would I be better off being a little comservative on the mobo and processor and going for the best video card I can afford or go the other way and get a middle of the road video card and more CPU power.Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. My current system specs are listed below.AMD Thunderbird 1.2 Ghz.Abit KT7A-Raid512MB PC133O/S Windows XPNVidia GeForce 2 32MBCreative SB Live ValueMike W

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Personally I wouldnt take a conservative aproach to motherboards, they arent very expensive but a cheap one will limit what upgrades you may want to try in the future. Having FunGrey_Wolf

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A nice balance might be:Asus P4PE-L motherboard512 Meg PC2700 RAMP4-2.4Nvidia GF4-4200-128MegShould fit within your budget and flies FS2002 perfectly..You can upgrade the CPU later, when the Intel prices for 3+ Gigprocessors drop.

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Bert, Thanks for the reply.How does the NVidia GeForce 4 compare to the ATI 9500 or 9700 Pro?Mike W

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I, too, like this combination Mike. But, unless you have a fairly new one, you may also want/need to look at the power supply. If you go with a P4 (which is what I'd do) you'll definitely need a new one as there is a 12V connector required that older supplies don't have. And if your existing supply is 300 watts or less I'd recommend going to a 400+ unit with any other upgrade. A good Antec or Enermax is going to run $60-80 but it'll be money well spent.Trip

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Trip, I bought my case last year and while the power supply has a sticker which says P4 compliant,it is only a 300W P/S. Do you have any particular online dealer that you like to do business with who is reliable and has reasonable prices?Mike W

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Mike - I just reread my last post and see where I may have confused things a bit. I meant to say if the supply is less than 300w I'd opt for a new unit at 400+ . There is no reason to change the supply you have now. And the "P4 Compliant" means that the required 12V connector is there. Yes, I do have a "favorite" online dealer. I always use www.newegg.com - good pricing, fast and often free shipping, and really good support if a problem arises. Trip

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Dear Ole Mg,Of what worth is this stupid graph of what some folks voted for as their "favorite video card" ? :-lol ! Oh! I could just hug my hardware! Zap! :)Why not post some real numbers with Significance to the real world with regard to FS2k2 performance, that would be a little more helpful don't you agree?

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>Bert, > Thanks for the reply.How does the NVidia GeForce 4 >compare to the ATI 9500 or 9700 Pro? >>Mike W Hi Mike,There isn't much of a diff at all untill you start asking for AA and AF from the video cards.on a decent P4-3Ghz system you can expect the following performance increase with a 9700P equiped setup over a GF4TI in FS2k2:No AA and tri-level filtering +3-5%2xAA and 4xAF +5-8%4xAA and 4xAF +15-18%4xAA and 8xAF up to 20%+Hope that helps you.

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Mike, ATI owners love their cards.. (my son has a 9500)..It depends on your budget.. if you can find a 9500 at a reasonable price, go for it.. the GF4-4200 is somewhat of a better price-performer..You will not be unhappy with either.. as others have pointed out, the ATI card will allow 4xAA with little or no fps penalty, whereas the GF4 is better run at 2xAA..I've got a 300W power supply and have no heat or power issues (and that is with stock cooling and only the power supply fan).

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What can be more relevant than a user survey? It's user surveys that I rely on the most. And BTW; you'll typically see a performance increase of 200+ percent switching between a Ti4600 and an ATI9700 Pro with 4xAA & 8xAF. I say "typically" because I haven't seen any hard numbers with FS2002. Just your typcial benchmark games like quakeIII and comanche4. Here's a comparison with the GFFX 5800 which we know to be faster than a Ti4600:Here's two comparisons:http://www.x-plane.org/users/mgdbottled/graphics1.jpg 9800Prohttp://www.hardocp.com/image.html?image=MT...TFfMTFfbC5qcGc= GFFX Ultra http://www.hardocp.com/image.html?image=MT...TFfMTJfbC5qcGc=

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Thanks to everyone for your help.I'm puting together my list and as soon as Uncle Sam forks over the dough I'll be placing the order.Thanks again.Mike W

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Let us know how it goes once you've gotten it up and running.Trip

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