After a bit of advice from this forum (thank you!) I plan to upgrade my motherboard ... present board has P III 450mhz ... won't go higher than 850 mhz ... (really, I plan to buy a bare bones system somewhere and combine with some of present components)
I am looking to change to AMD -- sounds like the way to go for a lot less cash (always a perk!)
I use my system primarily for graphics work (photo re-touching with Photoshop, design with Illustrator) and page layout (pagemaker).
In case it matters, I like win 98SE and don't plan to change any time soon (if it ain't broke ...)
any reccommendations on motherboards? cpu speed?
I am looking at boards that use ddr ram (vs. the sdram I currently use). Would that make a significant difference in terms of speed? I know the system wouldn't "move faster" -- but the memory would process faster, ... would it be noticeable (worth the switch up) for graphics work??
For graphics work, you may want to spend a little more and go with pentium 4. The 1.7 ghtz socket 478 goes for a little over $200, and Azza has the first via P4x266 p4 motherboard with ddram support for about $110. The only board out for rdram and socket 478 is the Abit TH7-II, which goes for about $190. Rdram has come way down in price. It is still faster than DDram. If you go with the 1.4 t-bird, I recommend you wait 3-4 weeks for the first via KT-266A boards.
For work with powerful multimedia applications, I'd have to recommend a new Intel system over an AMD.
You and I use a computer for similar purposes, and I had this in mind when I got my system, as Photoshop is my favorite program. I do a great deal of scanning, photo editing, working with different kind of video and sound files, etc. I needed a large amount of storage ... and the speed to go with it.
With the SSE optimizations in Photoshop for the Pentium 4, and the combination of Windows 2000 Pro ... I have exactly what I wanted. What's more, the system is stable, and I have had no difficulties whatsoever with the configuration, and/or compatibility issues.
Due to the limited support for the socket on my mainboard, I realize that my upgrade path is limited. However, I'm accustomed to replacing the majority of the components in a system every couple of years or so, simply because of the technological advances that occur in the interim ... so this was not my primary concern. I think a system needs a major overhaul about every three years, anyway ... by that time there's a new operating system on the market, and much more powerful, faster components available to run it.
This configuration is <i>completely</i> stable. And very fast. It requires nothing more than normal maintenance. All I had to do was install the components, prepare the drives, install the operating system(s) with the drivers for the hardware, and add my favorite programs (with their respective updates.) Then I just sat back and enjoyed the computer.
What more could you ask for than that?
In comparison, my experience with an AMD\VIA system was indescribably bad ... so bad, I don't even want to talk about it again. Let's just say that I didn't get a whole lot of sleep the entire time I owned it. And I still scrutinize my current setup with a suspicion bordering on paranoia, because it is difficult for me to believe that I can turn on the computer, use it for my projects, and not have something go wrong.
I'm not saying that this will happen to you. Perhaps the chance of it is remote. But you should be aware that it not only <i>can</i> happen ... there <i>is</i> that possibility, and believe me, if it does, there's nothing about it that is even remotely in the realm of having a good time.
During your research, you might consider taking a look around at the different P4 systems, and compare the amount of problems you find against the users who own a recently assembled AMD system. Just for the heck of it. You may also notice that there are not many people using the Giga-Byte mainboard that I prefer ... but you'll also be hard-pressed to find someone with the 'board who has any problems, either. Which might explain the lack of posts of this nature. Just a theory, you understand. ;-)
If you really want an upgrade path, I'd just hang on to your current setup, and wait for the 845 chipset that supports DDR RAM, and see how that works out. I can't imagine recommending that someone wait and use the VIA KT-266A chipset; not with the licensing problem between them and Intel. And VIA's past track record is not the greatest when it comes to memory management and compatibility with third-party components. You won't have to spend a lot of time searching the 'Net to find many examples of this type, despite the Intel naysayers and AMD trolls who think it's the best thing since sliced apples ... and who blame the bulk of the problems on user error.
My system specs are in my signature, if you wish to check it out.
This is my opinion. Comments are welcome, opposing viewpoints are accepted. Flaming is for nitwits with too much time on their hands. I think everyone should have the opportunity to hear both sides, and make an educated, informed decision. Once the money is spent, it's generally too late for the crying.
I run the same apps using an AMD 1.2 C on a MSI KT266 PRO with 384 PC266. Running windows 98SE and it has been up and running since april without a crash i have never had one blue screen of death... VIA is a great chipset and where it isn't fast it's stable.. It all depends on the board you buy and how the chipset is implemented.. MSI is known for the stability, and that is why my store only uses MSI.. I even have a customer who uses it to design apps for Microsoft here in Ontario with NT4 and never crashed either.