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Best computer parts to get most from Civ4.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Gumbolt, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Joke fail :( :D

    For reviews, tomshardware.com is a good site, or at least it was years ago. For GPU comparisons, http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ is a good choice. Usually you don't get much extra 'oomph' for paying for the best cards. The level below tends to give the best performance for a decent price.
     
  2. Seraiel

    Seraiel If you want anything from I please ask in German

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  3. clanky4

    clanky4 Emperor

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    Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window
     
  4. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Glad to hear it :)

    I trusted an old radio/cassette player, but it was never the same afterwards. I don't know why... :lol:
     
  5. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I was never great with cliches.

    Has anyone any thoughts on the latest motherboards for 1151 Skylake chips? Not sure which new features are important.
     
  6. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    The NVidia video card used to be good, but now most computers have an Nvidia card so its hard to tell which new video cards would do best since most video cards nowadays already play civ 4 smoothly.
     
  7. Seraiel

    Seraiel If you want anything from I please ask in German

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    I just got the tip for http://www.newegg.com/ from a very hardcore PC-user, he wrote that he got a refurbished PC which's components are worth 3k$ for only 400$. The Windows 7 copy that comes along with it is 150$, making the PC actually cost 250$. Maybe this helps you Gumbol.
     
  8. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Interesting Idea Seraiel. Unfortunately I am in the UK. Not sure if their uk site has refurbished machines.

    At this rate I would be looking at second half of October before I buy anything.
     
  9. Testhero

    Testhero Warlord

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    Looks like you are concentrating your cash in the right areas.

    I like to build out starting from the motherboard.
    You want to select a motherboard that has a good number of Ram slots and as you are currently seeing in your dell mobo with its 2gig per slot limit #1, slots that can handle high capacity ram chips one that will allow DDR3 or DDR4 chips would be a nice bonus so you have a long upgrade path.
    Same goes for the CPU slot, one that can take the chip that meets your budget now and can take today's fastest chips in once they drop in price in a couple of years.
    The enthusiast Mobo's are usually the ones that fill this criteria they will cost up to twice what a regular mobo can be had for but the ability to upgrade later they are worth it and they are made with better components that fail less and usually have a good warranty. Almost all of the popular mobo's under discussion on the overclocker's forums should do.

    Seraiel is 100% right on this I just wish I could squeeze the overhead on my current laptop enough to run the RamDisk.
    Back just after we pulled the valves out of our PC's the biggest improvements in running programs was in getting them small enough to LoadHIGH into Ram so they would run insanely faster than the then current storage memory tech.
    It is a technique that faded as storage became cheep and relatively fast and windows OS's Usurped memory management from the user while coding got wastefull. But it should never have been abandoned

    Another site to try is Hardwareversand.de
    I have bought a mobo chip RAM upgrade from them twice now and they put it together and tested it for me for €20 then shipped it to me (assembled) in Ireland in a big box.
    All I had to do was disconnect the cables and unbolt the old mobo from my box, bolt it in reconnect and I was up again in 40 minutes including re-verifying my win 7 license online.
    There is a tool there called configurator on the site pick a mobo then it will only let you select compatible components to add to it.
    Add CPU Chip-> RAM-> PSU-> and the stuff you already have and You know it will work together.
    It is handy to use even if you want to buy the components elsewhere.

    For civ4
    Just good Ram slot selection, maximum addressable RAM and CPU chip selection


    Just Untill your upgrade happens you can also get some improvement using
    • ReadyBoost under win7 you can use a 8gig (win7pro 16gig) USB memory stick windows formats it and uses it to host the page file using the slightly faster nand memory on the stick to cache common storage memory calls.
    • It shows its biggest improvement in systems without a SSD drive like you already have But some SSD's and especially Hybrid drives have surprisingly long seek times.
    • The stick will degrade over years just like a SSD.
    • Otherwise make sure windows has your page file on your SSD
    • Do that general maintenence stuff defrag, #1 update the mobo drivers
    • Turn off all those unnecessary background tasks especially Windows Media Player network service (manual startup or disabled under preferences in system.msn)
     
  10. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Thanks for that post.

    Driver wise i use an application call Driver booster 2. Friend showed me it a few weeks ago. It systematically updated all your drivers. Albeit on the freeware i had to do them 1 by 1. (Also be careful not to select the option of spyware when downloading/installing.) Great little program.

    I do not defrag my SSD. Purely on the basis that unlike normal hard drives the SSD drive do not like you constantly copying/ moving data on them. (Preserving the disk.) Suprisingly this machine is not too slow. Albeit I don't have a modern machine to compare it to.

    Ramdisk I will try once I get the new machine.

    MB - I think most of the new ones have 4 slots now. There are no budget Skylake compatible boards out yet. All current designs are aimed at Gamers. I will do some more research here. Hoping a few weeks will mean the bios have all been updated by manufacturers.

    Intel is struggling to get the i5 6600k or i7 6700k into serious production. A number of the big sites are all currently out of stock. At present Skylake has no real budget CPU to upgrade later. I suspect I would stick with the chip I originally decided on. I want a decent CPU when I upgrade. Maybe in 3-4 years I can get a cheap Kaby lake i7? Then sell my chip on ebay.

    Using Skylake I will stick with DDR4 ram. Likely 2x8gb initially. I don't own any DDR3 ram. The main choice here is speed. 2400 speed should be okay.

    I have chanced an order on a PSU today which I think was priced up wrong. See if the order gets sent out. If it does I have shaved £65 off my PSU budget for a £100 product. (Waiting for the order to be cancelled.)

    Lots to think about here but not rushing.
     
  11. Testhero

    Testhero Warlord

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    processesWant to throw in a link to Driver booster II

    Yeah I was suggesting the defrag for your storage drive rather than the SSD and it sounds like you are up to date on your general tidy up and maintenance. Still have a close look at your running processes with your current 4gig memory closing even small unneeded processes will add up eg. you won't be using lightscribe or print spooler while Civing

    You could install civ4 to the SSD if it is not already or shadow it there. most SSd's are fast some just have slower real constant seek and fetch times than could be expected. If you have updated the drivers and they show a good throughput that is the best that you can do there.

    2x*gig RAM to start should let you RAMdisk even the biggest Civ4 Mods with plenty left over. you will have to throw Radeon a few sheckles for the pro version if you want to allocate > 8gigs

    I just mentioned the readyboost to tide you over untill your well considered upgrade comes together and for anyone else reading who might not know that wrinkle.

    Good luck with the PSU ;-)
    Remember if you later want to throw some serious GPU array's in your machine you can run two identical PSU's to get around the huge wattage needed.

    Good that you have the time to make a well researched decision waiting on those first mobo updates is pure luxury
     
  12. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    Thought I might as well revive this thread since I am about to build myself a new computer. Well, at least motherboard, casing and probably CPU are going to be replaced, the rest will be upgraded sometime down the line, but depending on how much I spend I might be able to at least get another 4GB RAM.

    I think I found a pretty good casing, but I am really unsure about the motherboard. A local store has a sale of sorts on MSi motherboards, however they would be incompatible with my AMD processor I believe, so I would have to buy a new CPU as well. On one hand I want any processor I buy now to still hold up in three years so I won't be bottlenecked by it once I get around to upgrading the GPU, on the other hand together with the motherboard and casing any decent CPU will exceed my budget of around 500€ quite a bit.

    Basically I have two options:

    One, buy a motherboard with the fitting socket (AM3+ I believe) for my current AMD CPU and upgrade the CPU in another year or two. However I am unsure if maybe then the socket isn't outdated and I won't find a fitting CPU that's actually a noticeable upgrade for it.

    Two, buy a motherboard with another socket and a new CPU right away. This would make my rig stand the test of time, but of course be quite the upfront investment and I am not sure if I can afford it.

    So basically it boils down to the age old question of AMD versus Intel, and if AM3+ will still be a useful socket in a few years from now. Honestly I am kind of suspicious, it has been introduced in 2009 and still seems to be the most modern incarnation of AMD sockets? What's up with that?

    At any rate, I assume that regarding Civ4 I should watch out for GHz per core since it can only use one, so e.g. a 4X3.6 GHz Processor would do more good than a 8X3.2 Processor, correct?
     
  13. ikotomi

    ikotomi Prince

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    If you want to upgrade your CPU in the future, you will pretty much have to buy a new motherboard anyways, with AMD releasing Zen this year on AM4. The best value of the current AMD processors right now is probably the 860K, which is on the FM2+ socket. It tends to be more expensive to upgrade later on, because the better processors that fit your current socket go out of production quickly when newer entries come on the market, so the general advice is to buy the best processor you can afford now.

    Any of the intel i3 or i5's out now should easily last you 3-5 years, especially if you're willing to overclock. The Athlon mentioned above is also good for a quite a while.

    As for what's better for Civ 4, single threaded performance is the most important, but you can't really tell just from the clock speed. There's another metric called IPC (instructions per cycle) which multiplied by the clock speed gives you the total instructions per second that the processor will output. As of now, but may be different with Zen, the Intel processors are ahead by a very large margin.

    I would note though that from personal experience, improving processors doesn't really turn into better turn times. Maybe in very late game situations, but at least in my case, Civ 4 has felt more or less the same before and after a 33% overclock on the same processor. My guess is that there are enough inefficiencies in Python that any modern processor you have now will more or less perform the same for Civ.
     
  14. Civ4_boi

    Civ4_boi Chieftain

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    Running Civ 4 from an SSD makes a good difference.

    Not using a low-end CPU is important. Mid-range CPUs are fine(decent sized cache and utilisation of fast RAM, DDR2 seems to be good enough for Civ 4).

    At least 3GB of RAM.
     
  15. Seraiel

    Seraiel If you want anything from I please ask in German

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    I confirm, that if you buy yourself a current Intel I5 or I7, that it probably won't bottleneck your GPU during the upcomming 5y, those processors are so superior currently, that the other components just cannot match them. Generally, you'll always need to buy a new mainboard if you think about a new CPU though, because sockets rarely stay the same for more than 2 years. You can imo. save on the mainboard though and with the i5's and i7's being so enormously strong, the smallest one will be more than enough. Clockspeed also doesn't relate towards speed, it's nothing more than a sales pitch, it's actually extremely completely stupid, because higher clockspeeds are much more difficult to manufacture and history of computers has shown, that there were processors with as little as 1/4th of the clockspeed of another processor but still more powerful.

    If it's really only CIV about which you care, then get yourself 8GB of RAM and run it from the RAM only (called RAMDisk, wrote an long post about that just recently, look in this forum for the thread "ways to enhance civ in 2016" or similar) . RAM is very cheap currently, and you don't even need to upgrade your anything for that, because RAMs are so fast, that you'll not notice the difference between RAM from 3y and nowadays RAM. If you want to spend more money, get yourself the cheapest i5 possible. I don't know how powerful the system you described actually is, but the notebook I had 7y ago was capable to run CIV even on huge maps without problem, and the increase I felt when upgrading to my current Alienware was seriously very small in CIV. Other games, I wouldn't even have been able to run on the one from before 7y, but CIV imo. doesn't profit from the processor, my i7 QM 3630 only uses 10% of its capacity when running CIV. The graphics card made a small to medium difference, but what really supercharged CIV was the SSD, and running it completely from the RAM is just hillarious, because RAM is about 70-90 times faster than a HD. Read that thread that I referred to Gumbolt :) .
     
  16. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Have a fairly new computer as well, and can confirm that having an excellent CPU has sadly little influence on Civ 4. There must simply be some serious faults / inefficiencies in the coding of the game itself, in its resource and allocation, because a game this old shouldn't have such problems on modern hardware. I still need to restart the game every now and then due to lags, and I'm playing the game on minimum settings, without fancy mods like BAT.

    SSD helps a great deal, as does memory. Both are arguably more important than a CPU - but that said, it makes sense to buy a good CPU when you are first buying, because the design keeps changing. I would recommend to get a proper cooler/fan though, and not rely on the defaults from Intel (or probably AMD; I've not had AMD for quite a few years so not sure what they are up to these days). The computer will be more quiet and keep the CPU cooler. It costs a little of course, so if you're on a tight budget it's easy to save money there, but in my opinion it's well worth it if you value a quiet computer.
     
  17. Tristan_C

    Tristan_C Emperor

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    The CPU is more important than the RAM. My personal qualifications for saying this are that I have a fast processor and two (2) GB of ram, and have never, at any time, had any difficulty running a huge map. RAM is either there, or it isn't.

    One odd thing is I've never seen the game running particularly well on laptops. I've seen a lot of specimens, but then, I'm not an authority on laptops. I can't figure out how they run the specs they brag about without catching fire, for instance.
     
  18. Seraiel

    Seraiel If you want anything from I please ask in German

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    @ Tristan_C: Sry, but if you don't have 8GB of RAM and run CIV from the RAM only, you don't know the difference :) . CPU is more important than RAM, yes, but running a game from the RAM only is a possibility that's more powerful than you can imagine, and it's only possiible, because CIV is so old and therefore small. Any nowadays CPU has more than enough power to run CIV though, faster storage is one of the ares where the biggest advantages are made though, just see how popular SSDs have become. RAM is more than 10 times as fast as an SSD, you really cannot imagine the difference that running CIV from a RAM Disk makes.
     
  19. Civ4_boi

    Civ4_boi Chieftain

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    I'm definitely going to upgrade from 4GB to 8GB and try the RAMdisk.

    I did a brief search for RAMdisk and found one for $19.99. Will do further searching to find a better deal.

    Not really performance related, but having a nice monitor that can display Civ4 in 1680x1080 or 1920x1200 is well worth doing. I play on a 27 inch monitor, or on my 37 inch TV. The TV is a bit too big. If you sit at the right distance it's difficult to read some text, and sitting too close the screen is too big. The 27" monitor is perfect for me and makes the game very pleasant. I have all the settings on maximum, I disable things like combat zoom because it's boring and slows the game down but otherwise most graphics settings are activated. I use an HD 4850, as Civ4 is the only game I play. It cost me about £25 second-hand.

    Edit: I just searched the Radeon RAMdisk, and the basic version is free, it requires 8GB RAM. OK, I'm going to upgrade ASAP now.

    Edit 2: Here is the thread http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=560653

    Other useful thread: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=414845
     
  20. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    Honestly I am perfectly happy playing at the lowest resolution, 1028Xsomething. Why? Because on all other resolutions the various screens (tech, civilopedia, religion/victory advisor etc.) all don't take up the entire screen, and everything is so tiny and hard to read. Like, what gives?
     

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