Then read this —> Build your own PC
We’ll divide the guide into 3 broad sections, upgrading an older computer, building a computer from scratch, and making the most of off the shelf PCs.
Disclaimer: I am certainly not and don’t claim to be the end all authority on PC hardware, and hope that many people will help contribute to make this guide useful to the community. With that being said, I make no guarantee that if you follow the advice here your house won’t burn down.
| Windows XP 32-bit SP3 Operating System | Windows Vista 32-bit/ 64-bit SP2 | Windows 7 32-bit / 64-bit CPU | Intel Core 2 Duo (2.0 GHz) | AMD Athlon X2 (2.0 GHz) RAM | Windows XP: 1.5GB or Higher | Windows Vista / 7: 2GB or Higher HDD/SSD | Installation: 15 GB or more | Download: Space on the hard drive where My Documents should be 6GB or more. Graphics Card | NVIDIA GeForce 9600 Series or Higher with VRAM 512MB or Higher | ATI Radeon HD 2900 Series or Higher with VRAM 512MB or Higher Sound Card | DirectSound compatible sound card (DirectX 9.0c or higher) ISP Connection | Broadband Internet Connection or Higher Screen Resolution | 1280 x 720 or Higher, 32-bit or Higher DirectX | DirectX 9.0c Others | Mouse, Keyboard, Gamepad (not required)
We’ll start with the situation many people probably find themselves in.
So you’ve run the benchmark and your score was abysmal, or worse it didn’t run at all, wipe away the tears there is still hope. In order to pin point the problem and figure out where you can best spend your money we’ll first investigate the primary suspects. Always remember though, a good computer is much like a good party, you need a balance of all components, so don’t expect to pop a $300 video card into a 4 year old computer and bust out a 5000 on the benchmark.
FFXIV being a modern graphics intensive game is very taxing on video cards, and unfortunately for most, if you have a stock retail PC you probably don’t have a very good video card. There is hope however, video cards are very easy to replace even for people who have never opened their computer.
What is a video card you ask.
A video card is pretty much a separate processor in your computer with it’s own memory, that performs graphical computations, such as anti-aliasing, shaders, post processing effects and various other nifty game things. The on-board memory, or video RAM, is used to store textures, so the more you have the better it will be at quickly displaying more and more higher resolutions textures. However, the video RAM isn’t everything, you also need to look at the processing power of it. Since these numbers can be confusing it’s best to just look at the model numbers on the video cards and use a nice hierarchy chart, like this one. Video cards these days typically use what is called a PCI-E connector to attach to your computer. Most desktops will have one of these, unfortunately laptops do not, and it is typically very difficult to upgrade laptops.
Figuring out what video card you have.
2 pretty easy ways to figure out what video card you have.
Use the windows device manager to find out.
Opening the device manager on Windows Xp
Opening the device manager on Windows Vista/7
Once you have opened the device manager expand the “Display Adapter” node. You will see your video card model listed here, you can also double click on it to check the driver version.
You could also download a hardware profiling program. These can be useful as they typically will display more information about your components than the Windows’ device manager.
I would recommend CPU-Z, as it is free, small, and pretty detailed.
Installing a video card
(Will find a good source)
Before you even think about buying a video card you need to make sure of a few things first. In the last few years video cards have been getting ridiculously long and often people have a hard time fitting them into their case. Another issue to look out for is whether or not your power supply can support it. There are 2 things that could go wrong with a power supply, some cards require their own cable attached to the power supply, and many don’t have that one. Also you could have a lower wattage power supply that won’t be able to power it when it starts really drawing power.
(I’ll edit some more info here)
The memory requirements for the game a pretty low so most people will be able to skip this section.
Honestly I could write a book on memory, but for most people CAS/RAS, voltage, timings and optimizing memory channels are overkill. So I’m going to focus on the 2 things that really really matter, capacity and frequency. Windows will really only tell you the total amount of memory you have, so to get the most out of this section, you should really consider downloading CPU-Z, as it is what I will be using to demonstrate.
3 terms you will need to know to work with memory.
DIMM Slots – The slots memory fits into on your mother board.
Frequency – How “fast” your memory is.
Capacity – Pretty self explanatory.
Figuring out how much memory have.
Opening up the system profile in Windows will tell you the current total amount of memory in your system. This however doesn’t tell you two of the more important bits of information, how many DIMM slots you are currently using, and how many are available on the motherboard. To find this out you have 2 options, pop open the side of your case and count, or fire up CPU-Z and let it tell you. Go to the SPD tab, and it will tell you how many slots you have (in the drop down box), how large each stick of memory in your computer is, and the frequency of each stick.
Adding additional Memory
So now you know, how much total memory you have, if you have any additional slots, and what speed your current memory is. Now comes the hard part, you will need to figure out how to add more memory. You hopefully fall into one of the two groups below.
Group 1: I have additional memory slots open
Unfortunately, this is the more complicated of the two situations. You will have to try and locate memory that is either the same frequency or higher (a computer will lower the frequency of all memory to the slowest, so you should try and maintain the same frequency, so you don’t waste money), the same type of memory (DDR/DDR2/DDR3), and one that will give you enough capacity. You also will probably need to try and find your motherboards owners manual and consult, the order in which memory needs to be placed into the computer.
(I will add more here later)
Group 2: My box is full of memory, and I still don’t have enough
Don’t fret, modern day memory is really cheap and you will really only need to buy 2 sticks. First, back in CPU-Z check what “type” of memory you have, it should either be DDR, DDR2, or DDR3. DDR is rather old and hard to find now a days, DDR2 is abundant and cheap, and DDR3 is newer and slightly more expensive.
The easiest and probably most cost effective thing to do at this point, is to order 2 sticks of 2GB memory of the same type. I would highly recommend ordering them online as brick and mortar stores tend to really mark memory up. So for example over on Newegg, you would want to click the type of memory you have on the left…
100-Pin DIMM100007611 168-Pin SDRAM100007611 184-Pin DDR SDRAM100007611 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM100007611 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM100007611
Then also select 4GB 2x2GB on the left to narrow it down to kits of 2 sticks. From there just pick something in your price range that has decent reviews.
Ha, and you thought memory was complicated.
Upgrading a CPU is complicated, involves checking many things, and then things can still not go swimmingly. So we are just going to focus on making sure your CPU meets the minimum requirements. If it doesn’t, or you think it is the bottleneck your computer is facing you should probably start thinking about doing a total upgrade, but I will still post a basic guide to upgrading a CPU.
Figuring out what CPU you have
Yet again 2 options, our old friend the system profile, or CPU-Z. First you need to make sure you have a dual core processor that is over 2Ghz. Easiest way to do this is to open up the system profile and look on the processor line.
Picking out a new CPU
The main thing you need to look out for when selecting a new CPU is the socket type. You can either figure out what socket your motherboard has, or find out what socket type your current processor has. Once you know that, you just need to select a more powerful processor with the same socket type.
(more to come later)
The goal of this section is to come up with a few from scratch PC builds, that will decently run the game.
(I’ve thrown in some rough dollar amounts as a starting point, when you think about the price of an OS, the low end might be a little difficult, but we’ll see what people can come up with)
$550 PC build
CPU AMD Athlon II X3 435 $75 CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper TX3 $20 Motherboard Asus M4A77TD $85 RAM Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR3-1333 (PC3 10600) Model CTKIT12864BA1339 $58 Graphics PowerColor AX5770 1GBD5-H Radeon HD 5770 1GB $150 Hard Drive Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3.0 Gb/s $55 Sound Integrated $0 Network Integrated $0 Case Cooler Master Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black $40 Power Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus RS-500-PCAR-A3 500W $40 Optical Samsung Black 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-S223C $22 Total $545
$1000 PC build
Motherboard MSI 790X-G45 AM3 Chipset: AMD 790X $100 Processor Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8 GHz 3Cores, 6MB L3 Cache (OEM) $90 CPU Cooler Cooler Master HyperTX 3 $20 Memory Crucial 4GB (2x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3-1333Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit $112 Graphics 2 x Radeon HD 5830 (CrossFireX) 1GB GDDR5-4000 Per Card $480 Hard Drives WD Caviar Blue 320GB 320GB, 7,200 RPM, 8MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s $48 Optical Lite-On iHas124 24x DVD+R, 8x DVD+RW, 48x CD ROM $23 Case Antec Three Hundred $60 Power Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650WATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus Certified $90 Total Current Cost $1,023
Impossible to Gauge
$2000 PC build
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Chipset: Intel X58 Express $210 Processor Intel Core i7-930 2.80 GHzFour Cores, 8MB L3 Cache $289 Memory Crucial 6GB DDR3-1333 Triple-Channel Kit3 x 2GB (6GB Total), CAS 9-9-9-28 $168 Graphics 2 x Gigabyte GV-N470D5-13I-B in SLI 2 x 1.28GB GDDR5-3482 2 x GeForce GTX 470 GPU at 607 MHz $700 Hard Drive Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA 3 Gb/s $80 Optical Lite-On Blu-ray Disc Combo Model iHES208-08 8X BD-ROM, 12X DVD-ROM DL, 16X DVD±R $108 Case Antec Three Hundred Illusion $70 Power SilverStone DA750 750W Modular ATX12V 2.2, EPS12V 2.91, 80-Plus Silver $110 CPU Cooler Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B $62 CPU Fan Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12LM-P $11 Total Current Cost $1,808
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