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Time for an upgrade...

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  • Motherboards
Last response: in Motherboards
April 15, 2003 12:25:01 PM

Hi everyone,

Looking for some advice.. time for my to upgrade and I haven't been keeping up with new technology etc.

What's the most popular board/CPU right now? I am looking for something that can hold around 2gig of Ram. I have liked
Abit and Asus jumperless boards in the past.. anyone have
any reccomendations?

More about : time upgrade

April 15, 2003 12:30:03 PM

For AMD or Intel? For AMD, easily the most popular types of boards are based on the nforce2 chipset. Abit and Asus each make some. Any remotely decent board you can find these days ought to handle 2 gigs of RAM.

Have you checked any reviews here on Tom's, or even on other sites like anandtech or TTZ? If not, try em out. There's some decent reviews of MBs on em, with feature comparisons, etc.
War Eagle<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Auburn9698 on 04/15/03 07:32 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 15, 2003 1:01:08 PM

Thanks for the response, I will definitly check those sites out. In the meantime I went and built a system that looks pretty good, I'll list it below and any feedback would be apprciated.

Motherboard - Asus A7N8X Deluxe
CPU - AMD Athlon 2600 333FSB
Memory - 3x 512mb Corsair XMS Memory PC3200LL with Black Heat spreader (1.5gb total) A7N8X only supports 3 ram slots?!?! (Would like to go up another 512mb)
HD - 2x 80GB Maxtor ATA133 drives
CD-ROM - 52X Sony
CD-RW - Asus 48X24X52
Sound - Asus A7N8X Deluxe (Onboard sounds is good enough correct?)
Video - Not sure yet... recomendations please..
Case & PSW - Not sure yet... recomendations please..

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jeffro on 04/15/03 09:01 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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April 15, 2003 1:26:06 PM

Onboard sound is pretty good. If you're putting together a rig this sweet, many folks on this site will recommend the Radeon 9700 Pro video card. It's at the top of the heap right now.

Three RAM slots is typical, although you can find 4 or 2 if you look.

I'd get a minimum 350watt quality power supply with that. Maybe 400 would be wiser. Antec, Enermax, something like that.

Chieftec/Antec, Thermaltake, Lian-li...all are good cases. Case depends a lot on your taste. Like, whether or not you want a window on it so you can put all those lights inside, like lots of folks are doing today. Not my taste, but more power to ya if you like it.

War Eagle<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Auburn9698 on 04/15/03 08:30 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 15, 2003 1:38:29 PM

The mobo is good, the on board 5.1 Dolby Digital would do you good if you are not an audiophile. If you connect it to a digital speaker the sound is even better.
Gee, 1.5GB of RAM and you said not enough? What do you want from this huge amount of RAM? Get 3 1GB sticks of RAM then you'll have 3GB, enough? But if you occupied all 3 memory banks you'll lose the dual-channel ddr performance and your nForce2 in single-channel ddr will suck big time.
The Sony 52x CD-ROM is a big time sucker, get a Lite-On 16x DVD-ROM is better. The same goes for CD-RW, Lite-On 52x24x CDRW is the best.
For video, I would recommend ATi Radeon 9700 Pro. Unless you have some cash to burn then you can get Radeon 9800 Pro.
Antec, Enermax, Thermaltake have some good case, you can get them pretty cheap on newegg if you're in US.


You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
April 15, 2003 2:07:39 PM

Heh, that's what I thought...1.5GB is not enough RAM?

*Nod* Newegg's the deal.

War Eagle<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Auburn9698 on 04/15/03 09:07 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 15, 2003 3:01:21 PM

Thanks for all the info, as for the ram, I am looking to run VMware Workstation 4, as as some of you may/may not know it sucks the heck out of ram.

One question, from the sounds of it I should occupy the 3 ram slot? Adding a third disables the dual-channel ddr?
April 15, 2003 3:52:58 PM

Well, according to the user manual, page 14:

"Note: To enhance system performance, utilize dual-channel feature when installing additional DIMMs. You may install the DIMMs in the following sequence: Sockets 1 and 3 or sockets 2 and 3 or sockets 1, 2 and 3."

But that's just what the manufacturer says.

War Eagle
April 15, 2003 4:07:47 PM

yeah VMware is a bit of a pig...but a very sweet application when you really think about it.
April 15, 2003 6:14:13 PM

Using the same type and size of memory stick in all 3 sockets will still give you dual channel functionality but you might not be able to reach as high FSB/MEM speeds - In a NForce2 roundup review I read, some boards had this problem once a third stick was added although the A7N8X was ok.

Regarding the size of your DIMMS, there are two memory limitations with the A7N8X and probably other boards:-

1.5 GB limitation for 333/400mhz operation
3.0 GB Limitation for 266mhz operation

Therefore you're maxed out on the memory size at your current speeds - any more and you'll have to reduce your memory bandwidth which many would agree you'd be nuts to do.

btw, The KT333 @ KT400 boards have similar limitations although it's on a per socket basis - the more sockets you use, the slower you have to set the bandwidth (from 400 down to 266 on a KT400!)

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 16, 2003 2:10:40 AM

Asus has confirmed that this is an error. The only way to utilise Twinbank is install the RAM onto the two blue slot (That's why they give you two blue slot and one black slot). I'm not very sure about if you use all three slot but I've read a review somewhere else states that using all 3 slot will end up in single-channel performance.

You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
April 16, 2003 4:12:56 PM

I have one in the blue slot and one in the black in my asus A7N8X. How can i tell that it is working on dual channel?