help with mid to hi-end mobo/cpu combo

i'm puting together a new system
as yet i only have preferences, not ideas :-(

i'll be running w2k-pro mainly and puddling around with linux flavas from time to time.

i'll be concentrating on graphics and video design (photoshop/premier) and as for games i've ever only played 3: descent (1-3), forsaken and freespace 2 :-)

i've got me a couple of 30G ibm 75gxp drives so i wanna run udma100, of course. is this a good opportunity for raid-0 or is it a waste of time?

for ram i'm looking at between 512-1GB.

for video i want to run a geforce2, so agpx4 would be good.

oh and it's all gonna rattle around in a lian-li pc60 tin box :-) yum.

so, my question is what kind of mobo/cpu combo would suite a mid to hi-end config?

i am _really_ confused by all the info out there: too much to take in.

a few points:
1. not keen on p4 too much politics
2. good previous experience with asustek (bx), and i heard that abit are good.
3. don't mind going dual if it get's me the speed (duh!)
4. i'm prepared to pay for 1GB ram just to satisfy w2k :-s
5. intel cpu preferred, minimum 800mhz i reckon.
6. i heard that i815 is good for piii ?
7. no idea about ram options. needs to be reliable, no kidding.

i'd be grateful for any recommendation or critcisms on my ideas, as i just dunno where to start.


ps. sharky's and tom's are great but blow my mind...
13 answers Last reply
More about help mobo combo
  1. Well I am no fan of intel, so I can't help you there, but I just upgraded my system and it is pretty damn fast. I got the 1.2gig TBird C with the Abit KT7A RAID. 2 IBM 30gigs RAIDed is awesome. 384meg PC133 RAM, Asus V7700 GF2 Deluxe, Yamaha 2100e 16x CDRW, pioneer 105s 16x DVD. I love it. I also grabbed the NEC FE950+ monitor. It is super fast. I really can't think of much out there that will beat it. For the $$$ its a great setup.

    "Water-Cooled CPU Runner"
  2. I ran some tests of my own involving Photoshop. The Athlon beat the dual PIII and the Mac G4, but the real difference came with RAM. The more, the better. 256 to 512 pretty much doubled performance on each machine. I haven't tested Premier on the Dual machine yet, but ram didn't seem to matter a lot on the other machines when converting an .avi to an .mpg, so I'm wondering if the extra processor will make a difference there (the Athlon had a real edge on this test, so I'm presuming that Premier is processor intensive). The frequenters of this community contend that a dual-processor machine is the king of multi-tasking, so if you need a work horse, it's something to consider.

    Sweating like a rancid chunk of pork
  3. For high-end graphics design it looks like you are headed in the right direction. A few points to think about:

    For high-end applications transferring lots of data, there is no real substitute for using ECC RAM.

    In your case, where you want to use 1GB+ of RAM, you may run into DIMM slot limitations. A major consideration in selecting a new motherboard may be to remember to insist on getting a system that DEFINATELY supports ECC and Registered (to support that many chips) DIMMs with 4-DIMM sockets minimum.

    As for multiple CPU's, sure Windows 2000 will support it, but presently not a lot of applications exploit it. While they will run fine, they won't necessarily use the true advantages of SMP. The downside is that your games may not run under W2K or with SMP, but this doesn't seem to be a big issue with you anyway. I just thought I should mention it.

    As for RAID 0, many of the good boards now support RAID 0 right out of the box. The KT7A-RAID and Asus A7V133 are two good examples as far as ATHLON motherboards go. On the Intel front, you could use even an Asus CUSL2 (with the Intel I815E chipset) and configure a software RAID solution in W2k.

    As RAID 0 without parity offers no protection, I would HIGHLY advise against it, but rather suggest that you consider purchasing a third 75GXP drive for a RAID 5 setup under W2k. While it will tug more on your CPU utilization than RAID 1, your data will be much safer and read access will be faster than RAID 1. Of course the other tidbit is that you can't have your boot partition in a RAID 0 configuration under W2k, so a RAID 5 solution may be the best scenario for you anyway. This would be fully configurable under W2k.

    For more information about RAID configurations, I highly recommend a good article posted by by Matt Anderson and Ken Fisher. It can be found at:

    Additionally, you should read these articles about disk configuration and RAID under Windows 2000.

    Finally, Microsoft did a neat web cast a while back and I found the link for not only that, but the support materials (PowerPoint slides, etc.) to go with it at:

    I hope this helps!
    Steve Benoit

    Stable Technologies
    'The way IT should be!'
  4. you could do well with a Intel DE815EPEA2 or Asus CUSL2-C, along with a promise ide raid card. as for graphics, you could straight away go for a geforce3 with 64 mb since your applications are largely graphics intensive. i would have suggested the Asus CUSL2-LS for SCSI but you already have a couple of 75gxps, so you might go for raid. stable is right, raid 0 wont help much for performance except it wil just mirror all your data. raid 1 or 5 (if the raid card supports) would be better.
    lately Abit and MSI are offering ATA/100 as well as onboard RAID option with MSI 815EP Pro R Abit ST6-RAID both based on 815EP chipset.


    <font color=blue>die-hard fans don't have heat-sinks!</font color=blue>
  5. you could even go for MSI 694D Pro-AR dual s370 board with ATA/100 RAID but i am doubtful with the VIA chipsets in general

    <font color=blue>die-hard fans don't have heat-sinks!</font color=blue>
  6. Girish was wrong here. RAID 0 is striping and greatly improves file transfer. RAID 1 is Mirroring and copies an image to another drive.

    "Water-Cooled CPU Runner"
  7. Well, my wife and I each have a PC running W2K, no Linux (yet!). Her's has a 1GHz T-bird on an A7V133 (KT133A), whereas mine has a 1GB P3 on a CUSL2 (i815). Both have 512MB of PC133 (CAS2), IBM 75GXP HDDs and often run Photoshop (PS). Besides the CPU-mobo, another BIG difference is that she has a GeForce2 MX video card while I have a Matrox G450 (both cards have dual heads, but we do not use that feature). We each have a (great) Samsung Syncmaster 900NF monitor.

    Both PCs are very fast and run PS about the same. They are (now) also very stable, although it took several driver updates and tweaking to get the A7V133 system to match the CUSL2 (which ran like a champ right out of the gate)! As I hinted at earlier, the big difference between the 2 systems running PS is the clearly superior image-quality from the G450 compared to the GF2MX. On the other hand, just the opposite is true for 3D/games (but we run that stuff much less frequently than PS). If you really need good 3D/game performance, a Radeon delivers the best compromise.

    As for your 2 HDDs, I really can't say how much performance improvement you would realize from a RAID 0 setup (probably some), but other than RAID, I can say that PS will make very good use of a 2nd drive.

    BTW, we have both found 512MB ample for Win2K, PS and everything else we run, but if you think you may need more (?), the i815 chipset is not for you (it has a 512MB limitation).

    Hope this helps!
  8. sorry abt that slipped out of me, level 0 is not fault tolerent but fast, level 1 is fault tolerent that mirrors the entire disk but offers no performance advantage over single disk, while level 0+1 is combination of both requiring all raid channels to be used for 4 disks.
    most onboard RAID controllers support levels 0, 1, 0+1 but not the more sophisticated ones like 3~10 et al. so you get some rudimentary IDE RAID with onboard controllers.


    <font color=blue>die-hard fans don't have heat-sinks!</font color=blue>
  9. If you value stability and compatibility over the T-bird's performance advantage, then here's another vote for a P3EB-CUSL2 (or CUSL2-C) combo. While I do not argue that a T-bird delivers more 'bang for the buck', a well thought-out 1Gig P3EB system is no slouch (and it will run a lot cooler than a T-bird)!

    Oh yeah, I couldn't agree more with pvsurfer's praise for the Matrox G450. The very best 2D around (and that's 'the neighborhood I live in'). If that's also where you'll be spending most of your time, don't get a GeForce!
  10. Well, I really didn't say the G450 was 'the very best 2D around', as I certainly haven't checked out all graphic cards (although it wouldn't surprise me). I can only say that based on side-by-side comparisons between my wife's system and mine, the image-quality delivered by the G450 is clearly superior to that from the GF2MX (even my wife agrees with me on that one)!
  11. Sounds like you're already decided on what to get, just want some support/warm fuzzy/confirmation.

    You're not playing games (that might change with your new system, but wait until it does =), and you want a Geforce 2 card. Anything above a 800mhz Intel 3, 1gig of memory, a couple of IBM drives. There's motherboards that support raid 0+1 onboard, or you can get an addon card.

    One extra thing to think about: if you're gonna be setting in front of the monitor for upwards of 2 hours at a time, you'll want a refresh rate of 85hz (minimum) at whatever resolution you're running at. You can see the flicker at less than 75hz, but an extra ten is just a good measure. Over 100hz, you'll not be able to tell any difference in eye strain/headaches/fatigue.

    I'd recommend some beer to go along with that system.......
  12. Monitors can make the difference too.....
  13. He did ask for help... saying he will be "concentrating on graphics and video design (photoshop/premier)". Well for that primary use I would also say that a GF2 is not a good choice (very poor 2D)!

    BTW, pvsurfer said he and his wife both have a SyncMaster 900NF which I also happen to own. IMHO, it's one of the very best 19" monitors out there. I look at a LOT of monitors every day, and the 900NF is hard too beat!
Ask a new question

Read More