Best upgrade questions?

I have a Soyo SY-K7V Dragon Plus with VIA's KT266a chipset. Current config: XP1500+, 512MB RAM (2 x 256MB, CL 2.5), GF2 GTS, Win XP. I use it for surfing the net and some gaming. I'm going to upgrade to make it a more viable option for Everquest II and I have a few questions for the experts here:
1. What's the best CPU to go with this board? From what i've been reading, the XP 2600+ (T-bred A) is the best that this board can take. Am I right? Please reply with as many specifics as possible (model#, core, etc)

2. What's the best/most capable memory to use with this board? PC2100/2700?, manufacturer?, any particular setup(2 sticks of 512MB, 1 of 1GB, 2 of 256MB and 1 of 512MB)?

3. What's the best video card to go with this setup to make EQ2 viable? I'm looking for a really good price/ performance ratio and I'm really leaning towards the GF 6600GT.

All questions, comments and rude remarks are appreciated.
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More about best upgrade questions
  1. You can probably stick a Mobile Barton XP on that board. They have unlocked multipliers and overclock really well. With any luck you'd be able to get considerably more performance than a 2600+. You may need a BIOS update, but people have got XP-M chips working on KT133 Systems IIRC.

    The fastest RAM your board can support is PC2100 (DDR266). The number of sticks doesn't really matter as there's no dual channel support on that board anyhoo.

    That said though, I think you'll be better off replacing the mobo and CPU. I think your Chipset will end up being a considerable bottleneck if you have a 2Ghz+ XP and a 6600GT card.

    Since you already want to replace CPU, RAM and Gfx card, why not just replace the Mobo too, and get an A64 System? Will give much better performance.

    "Sex without love is an empty experience...
    But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
  2. To upgrade everything mentioned, a look at the PSU may also be warranted. The 6800GT alone requires an extra 4 pin molex power connector in addition to the power from the AGP slot. The 6800 Ultra requires 2 extra power leads as well as the fact that it's recommended to use a seperate power channel for each. PSU's are important in newer systems and may require at least a 450-500w <b>quality PSU</b> to upgrade to those specs.

    ..... not to metion case cooling. :wink:

    <font color=green>AMD 64 3700+
    ASUS K8N-E Deluxe
    CORSAIR XMS (1gb) PC-3200
    Gigabyte GF 6800gt 256mb
    Audigy 2 ZS
    2_36.7gb Raptors/Raid 0
    Tt 480 watt PSU</font color=green>
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by lazerous on 01/11/05 11:16 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. The reason I was looking to upgrade was to save some money. I can upgrade the CPU/video card for around $290 if I stick with the RAM I already have:
    Upgrade: XP2600+ for $80 and the 6600GT for $210.
    A64 3000+ for $170
    1GB DDR400 for $170 ($95 for 512MB)
    6600GT for $210
    Good PSU for $75-100
    ASUS A8V Deluxe for $133
    Anything else?
    For a grand total of $758. That's a big difference! If I can get enough performance from upgrading this system, then my wallet prefers not to take the beating!

    The new doesn't even look at upgrading the hard drive. Would I need to go with SATA with the new system to avoid the HDD becoming the bottleneck? I'm currently using Maxtor 40GB, 7200RPM, 2MB cache - no RAID, but I have multiple HDD and could setup a level 0 with a mobo or card that has the capability. It would be my first time doing a RAID, but I'm sure I could stumble my way thru the process...

    About the XP Mobile w/Barton. I didn't think the Barton core would work with the KT266A chipset because of bus speed. Can you only do this using the XP Mobile w/Barton? What would it take to make it work?

    Bottlenecks: I know that my Achilles heel right now is my video card. Old card/gpu with 32MB RAM. Just replacing this will significantly increase my performance on games. I wanted to upgrade the CPU because I thought the CPU would then become the bottleneck and it was <$100 to do it. How much, if any, do you think the system would choke 6600GT?

    "He who will not risk, cannot win."
    - John Paul Jones
  4. You'd certainly get an increase....

    Tom's has done some HUGE processor comparisons:<A HREF="" target="_new">here</A>

    They don't seem to have any KT266 Benchies in there, but they <i>do</i> have a rig which is a KT333, with a 2600+ / 133Mhz Bus Axp (which is the one your Motherboard is allegedly limited to), running with DDR266 (PC2100). With a 6800GT in that config, it gets 80FPS, but the A643000+ (winchester) gets 130FPS. That's just the UT2K4 results. I would expect the disparity to remain very similar with a 6600.

    You're right that it's a big difference, price-wise. It's just the A64 System will be Great for a while, and upgradeable when it starts to lag a little, whereas just upgrading your CPU and buying some DDR266 means you then have to bin <i>everything</i> when you next wish to upgrade.

    You'll probably feel that it's been worthwhile though, when you fire up any half-modern game. :wink:

    Oh, and XP-M chips are designed with a lower FSB in mind, as Laptops usually run slower FSB/Memory to conserve battery power. They also are hand-picked because they will run stably at low voltages for the same reason. and <i>also</i> have unlocked multipliers so it's easier for the laptops to throttle their speeds up and down....

    All that combines to make XP-M chips excellent overclockers, and the unlocked multi means you should be able to get a nice high clockspeed even if you are limited to 133.

    "Sex without love is an empty experience...
    But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
  5. LOL - I thought I would be able to upgrade my current system prior to scrapping it. I guess when you wait three years to upgrade that happens...

    You've read my mind as far as the decision process between upgrading options, i.e. to be or not to be A64. I've been looking at the processor charts - there is a huge performance disparity between the options. I like what I see as far as performance of the A64, but the cost at one time is prohibitive for me right now.

    An option would be to buy a component/month. This would allow me to do the complete upgrade (good) over a reasonable amount of time (good) but would require patience (bad!). If I did this, then I think I would go with the A64 (Winchester), DDR400 RAM, mobo 939 pin with SLI/SATA2 capability (nForce4 chipset seems to be the best - agree?), good 450W PSU and 6600 GT (PCI-e). If you were going to purchase a system using the component/month strat, then what would be your purchase order? To me the biggest factors seem to be avoiding missing tech advances and paying too much due to rapidly dropping component prices. Along those lines, I would need to buy the components with the most stable prices/tech first. How does this sound?
    1. PSU
    2. Memory
    3. CPU
    4. mobo
    5. video card

    Any thoughts or recommendations?
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