Really need system advice bad

I'll keep it as quick as possible. Looking to buy a box for home network, and with prices as low as they are, thought the time was good. Brother called from computer shop, said he had the basics for me, under $300. Here's what he bought:

AOpenMX36LE+VS Micro ATX(used, didn't know it was micro)$69.00
P3 733mhz Socket 370 OEM Used $115.00
256 PC133 Brand unknown CL=? (unknown) Used $32.00
CS-ATX Delux Mid-Tower 250W (Crap box) Used $50.00
Extra case fan (Which they didn't even put in the bag...)SOL
heatsink/fan for CPU
Total $294.72

OK, so I get home and look at the stuff, and after just a few minutes research on the web, realize what I have is a pile of junk. I could have a Box CPU, name brand Memory, a decent 'box', that even comes with a fan!, etc...

Here's my question: I'm taking this crap back, but what I'd love to hear would be recommendations as to the best way to get a bang for the buck. Unfortunately, I've been out of the loop for a year or two, and am at a loss as to how best proceed.

*Looking at prices, I can grab a 1.4 P4 for $120, BOX.
*I can grab memory from Crucial, CL=2 for the same price.
*I can probably survive with the box, unless someone wants to throw a reason as to why I should or shouldn't keep it, and if so, what's better for the price.

*I guess my main question is would be which socket to go for on the P4, 478 or 423, and how is this going to affect my Motherboard price. (I want to stay away from RDRAM if possible, just a pain in the ass, and I don't need it, again, unless you want to change my mind.)

Here goes, give yourself a $400 budget, if you please, and looking to buy just the above items, what would you do? (Ps. I have CD-RW, DVD, HD, Moniter)

Lastly, I'm not looking for a box I'm going to try and upgrade, so I don't need DDr RAM, etc... just trying to get the best I can for my money. Oh, and if you recommend a MB, *please* recommend one without some audio/video integrated crap. Forgot to mention that the above crap ass MB not only has horrid audio on board, but also DOES NOT have an AGP slot. DOH!

Hey, thanks very much. Going a bit bananas here ;)
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  1. If your looking for the best bang for your buck, your looking in the wrong place. The PIV w/RDRAM is about as bad as you can get in cost/efficiency. Getting an Athlon and 512 DDR RAM will cost you 1/3 to 1/2 as much, with equal or better preformance. You mention that you do not want DDR RAM, as it costs more. In actuality though, it costs about the same, or sometimes even less that SD RAM! Just go with it, same price for better preformance.

    Abit KG-7 RAID : 136.00
    Athlon 1.4GHz (266FSB) : $105.00
    512mb PC2100 DDR RAM : $59.00
    Antec KS188 Full ATX Case w/350watt PSU : $129.00
    Floppy : $12.00

    Total: $441.00

    Only 41 bucks over your target, and you just got a top of the line system.

    :tongue: Have you ever tried cooking an egg on your HSF? Tasty. :tongue:
  2. Get your memory form Crucial. If you decide on a PIII solution, they carry Cas2 memory which is much faster than the standard Cas3 stuff. Their prices are good and shipping is free!
    The PIII 700 overclocks easily to 933. The 733 is dificult to overclock.
    I recommend a BX chipset motherboard that supports 133FSB, such as Abit's entire BX line. The BX133-RAID is KING amongst BX motherboards

    For about the same price as the about components you could also get an Athlon 1.4GHz, PC2100 DDR (still from Crucial), and an ECS K7S5A motherboard

    Back to you Tom...
  3. Thanks very much for the reply Boondock_Saint

    I've been looking into AMD a bit as well, but just wasn't as familiar with the chips, chipsets, MB's, Memory, etc... as the Pentium line. I've read into the Athlon XP a bit today, (very impressive performance) and used to keep a good eye on the AMD line. Always was a pretty good performer. If I remember correctly, I think what kept me away from them was when the Athlon came out, which I wanted to go with very badly, MB's were about as easy to find as a 30 yr-old nubile virgin ;)

    If you get a chance, can you give me some info on what exactly the memory #'s mean? i.e PC1600 -vs- 2100?

    Anything about the motherboards I should -really- know before I grab one? Any scary features, support problems, etc?

    Any extra info would be truly generous of you.

    Thanks again.
  4. Well, SDRAM memory sticks are named after their speed (in MHz) as PC66, PC100, PC125, PC133, PC150, PC166 etc.

    Since DDR-SDRAM and RDRAM implement some unconventional (read as deviating from traditional) methods to improve the bandwidth, refering to them by speed is not convenient and is a bit misleading.

    For example, a DDR RAM uses both clock edges to transfer data, while it was only a single edge used traditionally. This effectively doubles the data transfer rate giving faster memory access, but would you term a DDR memory operating at 100 MHz working at Double Data Rate, twice as that of PC100 to be a PC200? Its still 100 MHz physically, but 200 MHz <i>effective</i>.

    So their memory speeds are defined not by the frequency they operate at but the amount of data they transfer per second.

    A 100 MHz DDR module transfers <font color=red>8</font color=red> (its a 64 bit - 8 byte bus) x <font color=red>100</font color=red> (physical MHz of the clock) x <font color=red>2</font color=red> (its double data rate) = 1600 Mbytes/sec and hence termed as PC1600 memory.

    Similarly, a 133 MHz DDR would transfer 2128 MB/sec, approx 2100 so its called a PC2100 memory.

    Similarly, a RDRAM module has a 8 bit bus, but operates at 800 MHz internally (The P4 still has only 100 MHz physical FSB)so it transfers 800 Mb/sec hence called PC800. BTW P4 uses it in channels, quad pumped mode so effectively the <i>set of RDRAM memory modules</i> together transfers a whopping 3200 MB/sec to and from the processor!

    There could even be a confusion regarding which is DDR and which is RDRAM since RDRAM would eventually reach 1600 and 3200 MB/sec as its bus width increases to 16 and then 32 and still more when it operates at 133 MHz the numbers will be confusing.


    <font color=red>No system is fool-proof. Fools are Ingenious!</font color=red>
  5. Thanks very much for the post Girish

    Really helped explain the details for me as to memory ratings.

    One thing I guess tht still confuses me is that there seem to be a lot of contradictory opinions as to which memory is better, DDR or RD. As you said in your last paragraph, it seems the bandwidth is the key, as applied to the physical memory transfer rates... er, not that I fully understand it, although I can grasp the basic concept. :)

    I guess I'll keep trying to catch up to the tech curve that I've dropped out of.

    Thanks again!
  6. Well I think I've narrowed my choices down for the most part, but have a few uestions left before I go ahead and order.

    Specifically, having to do with the Athlon chips, the T-Bird 1.4 -vs- the XP 1.33 1500+. Two questions here: 1) will the XP outperform the T-Bird? I know it should, but I'm wondering if it needs certain motherboard support to achieve faster speeds? (It's only 5 bucks more for the XP)Which brings me to 2) Will current MB's, like the ECS K7S5A SiS73 support the XP. I know it's supposed to support "future Athlon Technologies", but if anyone knows for sure, it would be good to know.

    Another major concern I have before buying this system is about the heat issues with AMD chips. Do I need anything special aside from a CPU fan in order to prevent over-heating? Looking at the 'Antec Jet Cool for Athlon/Duron CPU's up to 1.5GHz' currently, $19.99. Is this enough? I really don't want to spend a bunch of money on cooling issues, as I don't plan on turning the juice up extra heavy on anything in this box at the moment...?

    Here's what I've got so far, I'd love to hear what you folks think about the items, and if you would do it differently:

    Prices gotten from GoogleGear and Crucial. (If anyone knows of a better place to shop, more realiable, cheaper, etc..., man I'd love to hear about it. Pricewatch is always 'iffy' to actually order from)

    CPU: Either the T-Bird 1.4 or XP 1.33 1500+, depending on some more feedback I get. T-bird $115, Xp $120.

    MB: ECS K7S5A SiS735 Athlon/Duron Skt A SDR/DDR ATX Motherboard w/Audio, LAN Retail $69.00

    Memory: 2 of DDR PC2100 • CL=2.5 • Unbuffered • Non-parity • 2.5V • 32Meg x 64 @ $33.29 a piece.

    Case: Antec Performance Series SX630 Mini Tower Case with 300W ATX 12V Smart Power Retail $71.00

    Fan: Antec Jet Cool for Athlon/Duron CPU's up to 1.5GHz $19.99

    Possible HD: Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 60 (5T030H3) 30GB ATA/100 8.7ms 7200RPM Hard Drive $97.00

    Ouch, just looked at shipping, $55+. That sux. Actually, it's freakin nuts. Anyone know of a better place to grab these items?

    Cost w/o HD is now about $400 including shipping, $500 with.

    Any help, suggestions, comments... man, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks very much!
  7. Well, the SDRAM, DDR (which is also a type of SDRAM - Synchronous Dynamic RAM) and RDRAM are all different technologies. sometimes people tend to call SDRAM as Single Data Rate as opposed to Double Data Rate, which technically is true but its not the official term.

    Its clear from transfer rates RDRAM (since it operates in channels) is fastest, DDR next and SDRAM the last. Unfortunately, their costs also increase in that order so it is not always possible to get the fastest memory at a given price.

    One important thing to remember is that once you select a platform, you dont really have any option for others unless you change the board. Due to functional similarity between SDR and DDR you can get boards that support both, but mutually exclusively. You cannot mix memory types.

    RDRAM is the costliest one, because intel has a pact with Rambus corp for using only it for P4 and paying royalty for <i>every</i> RDRAM chip! but now the RDRAM costs are plummeting so it has now already become a viable option. But a RDRAM chipset for AMD processors does not yet exist.

    The intel platform has platforms that support all kinds of memory and you can have board that support one of it, but with the advent of RDRAM and especially DDR-RAM, SDRAM is fast loosing its grip due to its lower bandwidth.

    So, SDRAM is not quite a choice as of today, you got to go for DDR for AMD platform, and either DDR or RDRAM for intel platform. DDR and RDRAM, despite a vast difference in bandwidth, actually compete quite closely as shown by the VIA P4X266 chipset for P4 that was pitted against i850 RDRAM chipset by both Tom and Anand.

    These days, yes bandwidth is the key! Although the processor does not really take advantage of all the bandwidth offered by the memory, its nice to have some headroom, that helps in memory intensive apps.


    <font color=red>No system is fool-proof. Fools are Ingenious!</font color=red>
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