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Asus A7N8X system recommendation wanted

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April 14, 2003 4:15:20 PM

Hello,

I'm getting ready to build a system, and was hoping for a second opinion before I spend ~$700 on components. I would normally consider myself fairly knowledgeable, but this is the first time I've built a system from scratch.

I was thinking of getting from http://www.newegg.com:

Asus A7N8X Deluxe $140
AMD ATHLON XP 2600 $196
2x CORSAIR 256MB PC-2700LLPT $146
ALBATRON GeForce 4 TI4800SE $176

I already have 2 Western digital 80GB 8MB cache(WD800JB) drives, and was planning on using a highpoint rocket raid100 in raid0 to get a highspeed 160 GB volume.

The prices seemed pretty comparative with other vendors, but I'm not sure that I'm allocating my $ in the right place. Any idea where the bottleneck on this system would be? Would I be better going down to a xp 2400, and spending more on a graphics card? I thought it unlikely that going from 2x256mb of memory to 2x512mb would be very noticable, but I might be wrong there too,

-PaulJ
April 14, 2003 6:28:32 PM

That setup looks awesome, but i would recommend searching on newegg for the corsair twin bank memory. They send you two perfectly matched pairs of memory sticks so it runs in dual bank better. They have corsair for a reasonable price. What power supply are you going to be using also?
April 14, 2003 7:06:24 PM

I was planning on getting the memory from newegg. Is this the twin bank memory you mentioned?

CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series, Low Latency (Twin Pack) 512MB(2 x 256MB) 2x(32MX64) PC-2700LLPT With Platinum - Silver Heat Spreader. $146.00

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=2...

For the power supply, I was planning on getting the one that came in the case:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?description=1...

Enermax, CS-3181L-BBS. BLACK, "Rainbow Light''. Aluminum Silver and Plastic Front Panel with Acrylic Cover. 10-Bay, Enermax Logo side Window, Sound Sensitive Neon Light. 2 x USB, 1 x MIC, 1 x headphone ports at front. POWERUP 350W P-4 power supply, Mid ATX Tower Case ATX. 4 X 5.25" Bays, 2 X 3.5" Bays, 4 X 3.5" Hidden. Dimensions: 486 x 200 x 427mm
for $78

What do you think?
-pj
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April 14, 2003 7:16:46 PM

That memory will be awesome ;)  It's two sticks are matched to ensure it works with the dual bank motherboards, such as the a7n8x. Since it's the same price, i HIGHLY AND STRONGLY urge that you get this memory. Im not so sure about the power supply. Maybe look into an antec case with a power supply built in? It might work fine, but then again might not.

ps- as for newegg, they rock. you should have no problems whatsoever with newegg, the best place on the web to buy anything.
April 14, 2003 7:19:36 PM

Hey pjordan,
I have the A7n8x Deluxe Rev 1.04 I agree with fiask0 get dual channel as two matching sticks of ram. corsair is the best but I'd strongly recomend pc3200 if you intend to upgrade in the future this board overclocks nicly via FSB. Many people have problems with this board using samsung or cheaper generic ram.

This board Rev 1.02 1.04 1.06 should allow 193 FSB with good memory installed. If you can get it ask newegg for Rev 2.00 its brand new and is designed from the get go to support the new 200 FSB barton. I heard newegg carries it but you should request to make sure. As for your harddrives the A7n8x Deluxe only supports raid using serial drives not raid using standard drives so you might need an ad in a controller card for those harddrives you wish to use.

I use the 80 gig maxtor 133, AIW 9700 pro with 2 x 512 ozc pc 3500 @ 7,3,3,2 timings @ 192 FSB in sync using xp 1700 unlocked multiplier of 10 giving me 1920 mhz I'll upgrade to cpu later when a decent 200 FSB Barton is released. I put my money into a decent vid card because I'll be keeping that card for a very long time to come. Your system sounds great but try and get the A7n8x Deluxe Rev 2.00 This should give you better upgradability down the road. Sorry re-read your post you have a controller card so disregard the harddrive comment.
April 14, 2003 8:04:52 PM

Getting the faster memory sounds good. How about something like this for $175 from newegg.com

CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series, Low Latency (Twin Pack) 512MB(2 x 256MB) 2x(32MX64) PC-3200LL With Heat Spreaders.
Specifications:
Speed 400 MHz
Organization 2 x 32M x 64
CAS Latency 2-2-2-6-T1
Memory type DDR
Part number: TWINX512-3200LL

how much better would a gigabyte of memory be? For another $130 ($305 total) I can get

CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series, Low Latency (Twin Pack) 1GB(2 x 512MB) 2x(64MX64) PC-3200LLPT With Platinum - Silver Heat Spreaders.
Specifications:
Speed 400 MHz
Organization 2 x 64M x 64
CAS Latency 2-2-2-6-T1
Memory type DDR
Part number: TWINX1024-3200LLPT

Thanks,
-PaulJ
April 14, 2003 8:20:18 PM

I got a similar setup at present but found my A7N8X pretty buggy with twin 512meg PC3200 sticks - it just won't run them over 133mhz, even just one of the four I've tried. However, as soon as I put PC2700 256meg sticks in I was able to hit 214 FSB/Mem before memory corruption set in and now have backed off to 209 FSB/Mem for the last week without a single crash.

I chose the XP2400+ which was a lot cheaper and has been runing in this rig at 2200Mhz with just 1.750v. I've not tapped the full potential of this chip yet as 2250 @ 1.725 reached 60 degrees after a couple of hours under load which was far enough for my cooling which I like quiet.

I'd go for the XP2400+ if I was you and with the money saved buy a good PSU for peace of mind.

Regarding the RAM, the best is gonna cost you a premium for the little extra juice it offers which you'll only really notice in benchmarks. I'd spend a lot less on 3 256meg sticks and use the money saved to buy either a watercooling kit or upgrade to a radeon 97000pro.

Of course if money's not the bottleneck......

One day I'll look back at my current rig the way I do my old ZX Spectrum.......Would have been interesting to say the least if Sir Clive had Bill G's business skills<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by soulprovider on 04/14/03 07:16 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 14, 2003 8:36:26 PM

Yes I'd go for the gig of pc 3200 but it's all a matter of you budget. Its easy to recommend spending more money, But do request Rev 2.00 of the mother board it should cost the same will over clock better and is much more future prof. You choice of memory is good there will be little to no benifit today using a gig over 512 a year from now who knows. get the pc3200 and run your memory in sync as high as possible (Rev 2.00 and good pc3200 memory)with a decent fan and pwer supply you should get an easy over clock of 200 fsb probably much higher and you will be set for the new barton down the road.

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad. " Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information (currently on administrative leave).
April 14, 2003 10:11:08 PM

I would say your bottleneck is going to be your memory. spend more for at least PC3200 memory (I prefer Corsair XMS) and spend less on your CPU. With good HSF and a good CPU you can easily be running at Barton 3000+ speeds or higher.

I currently have two AMD systems built on the following:

ASUS A7N8X DLX B:1.02A R:1.06
2500+ Barton @2.145Ghz (11*195)
ABIT NF7-S R:2.0
2100+ @2.306Ghz (11.5*200)

COMMON:
1GB Corsair CMX512-3200C2LLPT 4-2-2-2
Vantec AeroFlow HSF
ATI Atlantis Radeon 9500Pro 365c/335m
WD1200BB SE 7200RPM 120GB
Antec PlusView 1000AMG Case
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=584395
April 14, 2003 10:27:25 PM

Nnyan, which of those systems is faster?

ASUS A7N8X DLX B:1.02A R:1.06
2500+ Barton @2.145Ghz (11*195)
or the
ABIT NF7-S R:2.0
2100+ @2.306Ghz (11.5*200)

I had planned on using pc3200 2x256meg and a Athlon xp 2600, but do you think I should switch to a 2500 barton and 2*512meg?
April 15, 2003 2:13:17 AM

In all the Benchmarks that I've done (Sandra, 3DMark 03, etc..) the 2100+ is faster then the Barton. This is mostly due to the 200Mhz FSB and the higher overall clock. This overcomes the Bartons 512K cache size (which only benefits some applications anyway).

Consider that I paid well under $100 for the CPU and its a no brainer. Just make sure to get an AIHUB version. For some reason alot of Bartons are not able to do 200FSB and do not OC as well as the other XPs. Some are better then others so its a random hit or miss.

Also be aware that the Asus A7N8X (up to version 1.6 not sure of the 2.0) does not allow you to change your chipset voltage and its defaulted to a fairly low amount. This will limit your OC (active cooling on the northbridge helps a bit). The 2100+ was a cinch to OC to 200Mhz FSB on the Abit Version 2.0 but refused to go higher then 195 on the Asus.

A 2100+, ATI 9500Pro with a modded BIOS so you can OC it, is IMHO the best bang for the buck.

Also if you can live with just 512MB of RAM and want max OCing then just use ONE stick of RAM. Dual sticks WILL impact your OCing.
April 15, 2003 3:30:36 AM

I'm new, but doesn't going with one memory stick limit your ability to dual channel? Would the enhanced OC'ing ability make it better to have a single 512 than a dual chanel 2x256 setup? I was under the impression that double channel DDR was a big bonus.
April 15, 2003 6:48:40 PM

I agree that using a single DIMM allows for a higher FSB as opposed to two. But the diffference in FSB lost is going to be as different for everyone as the highest FSB is or how much a processor will OC -

Sure, running dual channel memory is a good performance increase but so is upping the FSB.

I'd say the Jurys gonna be out some time on this one so you'll have to find a store that will return or swap your memory sticks and spend some time time testing the different combinations

One day I'll look back at my current rig the way I do my old ZX Spectrum.......Would have been interesting to say the least if Sir Clive had Bill G's business skills
April 15, 2003 10:34:38 PM

I've read these posts with great interest since I'm going to build myself. I recognize your expertise and wonder if you would be willing to give me some advice by phone - I really would appreciate the "hand holding", since my computer hardware skills are minimal. My email address is starsa9@yahoo.com - Jake Barnes.

But Officer, I wasn't speeding - I was qualifying ...
April 21, 2003 4:20:12 AM

Well I would have to say that after running about half a dozen different benchmarks the 2100+ is faster. But the caveat to that is that I think I have a bum 2500+. I should be getting my replacement sometime this week and I'll re-run the tests.

Overall though even if the Barton turns out to be a bit faster I couldn't be happier with the 2100+. Most will OC to 2100-2400. The two I have did 2300 and 2200. I am also getting a hand picked 1700+ and have great hopes for that! = )
April 21, 2003 4:23:18 AM

So far in my tests running Dual Channel does give you a nice boost in memory speed. But you get also get increased performance from the FSB.

You'll just have to test your rig and see what you get. For me a 200+ FSB outweighs the benefits of running dual channel but for others it might not. I got lucky that I can run dual channel and get a 200FSB on at least one of my rigs.
!