I've been running an Abit BH6 with a Cel 300 oc'ed to 450 for about 2 1/2 years. Well it has been giving me problems now and burning up my harddrives left and right. So I'm going to build a new system. I just have a few questions concerning the hardware I should get...
First, the Asus A7V was my first thought for a motherboard, I've heard good things about it but a recent article here says the AOpen AK73Pro is just as good if not better. What are your thoughts?
Second, I thought a Duron 700 was the clear choice. But with the recent new processors coming out I wasn't sure if I should still go with that. Any thoughts on this? Also, I've never unlocked a processor, and I read the article on here about it and I didn't quite understand it. All I have to do is get a Silver Conductive pin and connect the little "dots" on the L1 bridge of the processor? Maybe I should read that article again...
Third, is it important not to use Generic memory? I usually just use generic SDRAM but I heard that that can cause overclocking problems. Any thoughts?
And Finally, for a Video card I was thinking of a GeForce 32MB GX? Anyone have any brand ideas for me to look at? Asus, Leadtek??
The A7V is a great mortherboard, however, if you want it to support 133mhz FSB then I would get the A7V with the KT133A chipset. That is the only one (Asus board) that will support 133mhz FSB right now. It does not support DDR memory though. The chipset's right now are not refined enough to make efficient use of DDR memory. If you are going to buy a board right now and can't wait then this is the board of choice. Also DDR memory is a little expensive right now.......Not to mention motherboards that support DDR memory.
As far as a processor I read an article from Tom's sight that says the old Duron and Thunderbird processors (maybe just the Thunderbird)will run at 133mhz FSB with no problem. I'm not for certain though. If you are wanting to overclock I would go with the Duron. You get more bang for the buck with the Duron. Because of the voltage needs of the Thunderbird it is not as overclocking friendly. It will overclock but not to the extent of the Duron (which costs much less). When overclocking, you are correct about the L1 bridges (the dots). You need to connect them with a conductive pen or lead from a number 2 pencil. I would read a detailed process on how to do this if you have never done it before. It can be very easy to end up with a $80.00 paper weight.
The memory type IS important. Duron's and Thunderbirds are picky. I would go with Kingston, or Corsair.....it won't matter as long as it is good quality (not generic). Get PC133 (CAS2 would be the best but CAS3 will work fine).
The Video card is pretty much going to depend on how much money you want to spend. The Geforce2 MX is a good performer for the money. I have a Hercules Prophet II MX. This is the best MX card available. You must get the retail version for this to be true though. The memory speed is slower on the OEM version of this card. The OEM has a slower clock speed and the memory is 6ns (giving you 166mhz memory speed). The Retail has 5ns memory (giving you 183mhz memory speed). The processor (on the retail) is 175, I'm not sure about the OEM......but the memory speed is more important than the processor on the card. I know the retail version will overclock to around 200 (processor and memory), without any extra cooling. With cooling I have seen it get to an astounding 225mhz. This would be an extreme case though. I would expect around 200 out of it though. The retail version is around $150.00 Hope this helps.
I disagree with your statement that chipsets are currently not refined enough to make efficent use of DDR. I'm showing a 20 percent increase in performance in some applications. I squeeze 5-10 more frames out of games at high resolutions and high detail. I have both the GA-7DX and the IWill KA266 (non RAID) and they perform great. Both are running an overclocked 800mhz T-bird (133mhz bus). Tom's benchmarks frankly suck regarding DDR. I've read benchmarks on many other sites posting much better results than Tom's. Not only that- he only ran like 4 different benches. Almost all major chip companies have DDR chipsets on the market- VIA's is on the way. But, hey- that's just coming from someone who actually has a DDR system.
If your burning up hard drives, you must have something wrong with your power supply or they are not mounted properly (vibration free and at least 1/2" of space above the drive, 1/4 inch below or with large cooling holes in the bracket).
That's just it. You are showing a 20 percent increase in some apllications. However, if you run the tests again I would bet that in others it performs worse than sdram in some cases. I'm not denying that DDR is a good move, but there is definitely room for improvement. If you look at the scores for the new KT133A chipset (133mhz bus is the only difference from the original A7V), they will show that it is only slightly slower than the KT133. This however only reflects the memory performance. As far as the new board's performance it really benefits form the 133mhz (266 double pumped)FSB. As far as getting a DDR motherboard....they are not easy to find just yet. The only one that is readily available is the Iwill board......and in most cases it is on back order. As far as VIA supporting DDR, well, that's just not the case and they are taking there sweet time getting on the band wagon. They also have not officially released the plan or any specs for a DDR board.