I have been playing L4D2 for a while now on my 20" iMac(2008) and sometimes on my dad's Core2Duo (2008). The iMac performs better interms of graphic but my room is at the edge of Wifi connectivity to the access point, I get high ping spikes quite often. On my dad's machine, the graphics has to be turned down way low to achieve playability. Still sometimes when the horde comes it still lags a fair bit.
This was when I decided to upgrade the graphics card. I figured that was the chokepoint. So asking my friends for recommendations (as I'm totally outdated with whats new and whats for computer parts). I was linked a used unit, which was being sold by someone in Kuching. After some nego we came to agree on a fair price and COD'ed this afternoon.
It may not be the latest and the greatest but it still can very comfortably allow me to play L4D2 at near maximum detail. That was really something, used to play the game in lowest possible setting.
Comparing with my old Radeon x1650. There was a serious increase in size of the board and the cooling system. The fan on the 4850 is pretty high pitched. I guess its been used a fair bit. But its still acceptable, I just had to close the casing. Normally I would leave it open so I can have easy access if I needed it.
My old casing. I could not find the front of it. Anyways, one of my concern of the 4850 is the power drain. If memory serves, it drains nearly 50w of power when its on load. And it might just fry my el cheapo power supply. The system did for no reason freeze a bit once in a while when I played 2 hours of L4D2 just now. But it did not crash or anything of the sort.
One thing tho, the card is hot. Litterally. When touching the casing just at the area where the 4850 was installed, it was more than warm. But the top of the casing was cool, so I guess it was ok. Since there are holes everywhere to vent out the hot air.
This was the old score according to Windows7 score.
This screenshot was after the new hardware was tested. Note that the Graphics and Gaming graphics subscore increased about 3 points each! Making the whole system half decent. Wait, what's the maximum can the components score?
Anyways I think it was worth the performance increase. I may have to swap in a larger capacity power supply, but will deal with that when I reach that point. Not bad for a under RM 200 deal. So starts my uber cheap upgrades, next maybe more RAM. Hopefully can score some cheap used RAM! Muahaha!
[Gears: Nikon D300, 50 f/1.4]