7/19/2006

Someone Asked Me What Computer They Should Buy

To sum up and paraphrase the question:

I want a top of the line computer with a graphics card that won't be outdated soon. What should I get for under $1,500? Additionally, what is the difference between the GF7900GX2 and the GF7950GX2


Here's my answer. Feel free to post a comment to correct any technical errors I might have made:

Just a disclaimer about putting together a system for gaming right now. There are no DirectX 10 cards available today, and by the end of 2007 you can expect all new computer games to be programmed for DirectX 10. That dosen't mean that certain companies won't spend the time to port their games down to Direct X 9 (hell, Valve made Half Life 2 support even as low as Direct X 7, although it looks like hell)

The GeForce 7900 GX2 is to bundled with new systems only, while the GeForce 7950 GX2 is available as a retail card. Companies individually selling the GeForce 7900 GX2 may be violating their OEM licensing by doing so. I don't know if there's a difference between the two in regards to hardware. If there is, I imagine it is minimal.

Btw, you should look into getting an Intel Core Duo 2. They are the top of the line CPU's right now, getting better performance than AMD's best CPU's (The Athlon 64 X2 using socket AM2) and they cost less. Normally I recommend AMD all the way, but Intel's finally getting their stuff together.

The Core Duo 2 launches on July 27. The Pentium D series is alright, but all Athlon 64 X2's will kick it's ass for games.

The order of performance as far as I understand it is:
Core Duo 2 > AMD Athlon 64 X2 (AM2 Socket) > AMD Athlon FX-62 > AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Socket 939) > Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition (Socket 775) > Pentium D Series

That's a pretty rough sketch, but rest assured that if you're looking for gaming performance and a CPU that will not be outdated yesterday, you should grab either a Core Duo 2 or an Athlon 64 X2 on the AM2 socket. If you're willing to wait until late fall, earlier winter, AMD is releasing a setup that takes two Athlon 64 X2's, for a total of 4 CPU cores. This is expected to give the new Core Duo 2 a run for it's money.

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