Saturday, October 14, 2006

spending priorities when building a performance or gaming pc

I talked with a colleague who spent quite a bit of time with the Ageia people at the Digital Life show. Ageia produces a physcis card that can be plugged into a PC. It's most often used to make computer games (sports, first person shooters, action) very lifelike. The card can dramatically accelerate the movement and placement of objects on a screen. Everything from snow flaxes falling quickly and seamlessly to the rag doll physics of a body falling down a stairwell. Flames from fires, water and semireflective materials look and appear extremely lifelike. At $200 - $400 for a card, it mainly appeals to high end gaming types.

The Ageia people know alot about gaming PC performance. Especially when their card outperforms most other system components. Plain and simple, if the rest of your computer is not up to snuff, there cards are bottlenecked by the rest of your system.

My friend learned a few things:

  1. A gaming PC should have at least an nvidea 7600 3d video card or an ati x1600 video card for general 3d graphics - I wonder if this card will be the minimum for MS's new operating system, Vista, which will display everything - not just games in 3D.
  2. The most important system component is a solid CPU
  3. The second most important system component is not necessarily the highest end video card, but a very fast hard drive. Possibly SATA2 10,000 RPM. With that in place you can buy 2nd tier video cards and still have great performance.
  4. The third most important is a very good 3d video card with lots of memory
  5. This assumes you have at least 1 GB of system memory. I've heard that Vista will do even better if you have 1.5 GB of RAM

The bottomline - think fast hard drive. If effects every single activity your PC does.

Then again, if you don't have Ageia compatible games or don't get a physics card, maybe the graphics card should be a higher end card.

Any thoughts?

Have a great weekend,


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