Well, the hardware portion of my upgrade is complete. The final system configuration is:
AMD Athlon 64 4000+ (San Diego)
1 MB PC 3200 RAM (from my old system)
NEC 3520A DVD Writer
Leadtek Winfast PX6800 GT
Western Digital 320MB SATA Drive
Maxtor 200 GB EIDE Drive (from my old machine)
Antec Truepower 2.0 550W power supply
Thermaltake Armor Black Tower
It took literally one hour for me to put this together. There were 15 minutes of panic because after I assembled everything, turned on the machine and it wouldn’t “post” (no video, no sound) and wouldn’t turn off when I pushed the off button. At first I thought it was my memory, but it’s good to have backup access to google while performing an upgrade. A quick search and I discovered there are actually two power connections to this motherboard and I missed the 12V four pin connector. Thanks goodness I’m not the only one who doesn’t read the setup instructions!
Loading the software is extremely painful – in fact a day later and I am still loading software. We’re not even talking about games, since I haven’t started the torture that is installing World of Warcraft. Loading Windows XP took a while, the updates took a while, the video driver and audio software took a while, etc. I’ve got a brand new copy of Battlefield 2 to load, but I’ve spent most of the day updating Nero 6 Ultra Edition through it’s incredibly slow FTP server.
The big decision during the upgrade was to return to NVidia’s warm embrace. My patience with ATI drivers and their updating process came to an end with the Catalyst Control Center piece of junk. The problem with moving to NVidia dealt with price points. When I started my upgrade, the 6800GT was in the upper $300, $400 range. The 6800 Ultra was in the upper $400/$500 area and the 7800GTX were all mid to upper $500. The 7800 GTX looked like the best bargain when it dropped to $499 (these are all retail prices) and the 6800 Ultra wasn’t moving. Then the 6800 GT started to drop, and the final tally was the Leadtek 6800 GT at $299, $200 cheaper than the 7800 GTX.
I’m a fan of FPS, but not enough to drop an extra $200 on it.
So another two years until the next upgrade. I may get another MB RAM at some point, but that will be long after all of this software is installed.