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Upgrade Dilemma

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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2004 2:19:55 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The processor
was a 550Mhz Slot A. Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in favour of the
Socket A soon after. This meant that I would have to buy another
motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and now have to
think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am moving abroad
around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system before I go.
(The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.) The obvious
choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939 processors are too
expensive, and I am concerned that I would fall in the same trap with the
socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative would be to go for a
cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's dropped to a more
reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for the XP on a 939
board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but would not like to
completely rule out the possibility of playing more demanding games some
time in the future.

Any thoughts or suggestions please!



Colin

More about : upgrade dilemma

Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2004 2:19:56 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

©olin wrote:

> Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The
> processor was a 550Mhz Slot A. Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in
> favour of the Socket A soon after. This meant that I would have to buy
> another motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and
> now have to think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am
> moving abroad around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system
> before I go. (The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.)
> The obvious choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939
> processors are too expensive, and I am concerned that I would fall in the
> same trap with the socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative
> would be to go for a cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's
> dropped to a more reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for
> the XP on a 939 board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but
> would not like to completely rule out the possibility of playing more
> demanding games some time in the future.
>
> Any thoughts or suggestions please!

Okay, here's my take: First of all, you need to be concerned over the PCI-e
slot. Both nVidia and ATi have announced that there will not be any future
generations of graphics cards designed for the AGP slot. That could change.
However, as it sits, when new graphics cards are developed, unless you have
a PCI-e 16 slot, you're SOL. Now the PCI-e 1 slots, that's a different
story. I'm not sure that anything is currently even available for them. If
so, it's very limited. Besides, what do you really add to your computer
these days? With onboard sound, LAN, and wireless and the fact that
software decoding has made hardware DVD decoders obsolete, you'd be hard
pressed to think of anything to add to your system unless you're building a
home recording studio or something. So, you're safe with PCI slots, for
now. Only the socket 939 boards offer a PCI-e configuration, and it's only
in the latest chipsets like the nForce 4 and the KT880 Pro chipsets, so
they're likely the more expensive boards on the market.

The Socket 754 has a single advantage, though. Some Athlon 64 CPU's for this
socket feature the coveted 1 MB level 2 cache. This is essentially what
separates the FX processors from the lesser Athlon 64 in the socket 939
setup. However, many socket 754 Athlon 64's came with 1 MB cache.

http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/...

There are now more affordable Athlon 64 processors for the Socket 939. You
can get a retail 3000+ for around $150. That's just slightly more than the
cost of a 2800+ XP in retail form, which goes for around $140. That's a
no-brainer. However, motherboard cost is another issue. You can get an Asus
A8V Deluxe for $120, but it has AGP and not PCI-e. I can't find any nForce
4 or KT880 Pro boards on the retail market, which give PCI-e slots.
However, when they do hit, expect to pay a premium. A good Athlon XP board
will set you back only about $70. However, the performance of the Athlon 64
more than justifies the additional cost.

So, that leaves the Athlon XP. It's cheap, boards are cheap, and it's plenty
fast enough, still. In fact, I built such a system 3 months ago, which I'm
writing from now. However, prices have dropped on Athlon 64 boards and
CPU's in recent months, and are now very reasonable. You could get a Athlon
64 3000+ for less then $150 (retail), and get a good motherboard for about
$120. That, coupled with the expected 20% speed increase for the Athlon 64
with Windows XP-64's release (March?), makes the Athlon XP much less
desireable than it once was. The lifespan of the socket 754 is limited and
those boards aren't that much cheaper (about $20 less) than socket 939
boards. So, I'd suggest avoiding the socket 754 variety.

So, in closing, I suggest that if you want PCI-e, you need to spend the
money and get a socket 939 board that as the nForce 4 or the KT880 Pro
chipset. They won't be cheap, and they're not readily availble yet, unless
you're working for a website that reviews them. The Socket 754 board is
really on its way out, and though boards are still slightly cheaper than
the 939 counterpart, and certain 754 CPU's have double the L2 cache, the
socket 939 seems to be the way to go. Your biggest decision is whether or
not you are willing to upgrade to a PCI-e graphics card while you upgrade.
Bear in mind, though, that at some point, you're going to have to upgrade
both a motherboard and graphics card. It's either biting the bitter pill
now, or taking your medicine later. It's your choice.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2004 2:19:56 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

"©olin" <colin@TakeAway.colbing.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<co73gn$vrr$1@newsg3.svr.pol.co.uk>...
> Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The processor
> was a 550Mhz Slot A. Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in favour of the
> Socket A soon after. This meant that I would have to buy another
> motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and now have to
> think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am moving abroad
> around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system before I go.
> (The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.) The obvious
> choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939 processors are too
> expensive, and I am concerned that I would fall in the same trap with the
> socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative would be to go for a
> cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's dropped to a more
> reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for the XP on a 939
> board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but would not like to
> completely rule out the possibility of playing more demanding games some
> time in the future.
>
> Any thoughts or suggestions please!
>
>
Lots of other people are facing the same dilemma. This is a
transitional period for CPUs, as opposed to just incremental progress
in clock speed, and I doubt if the people at AMD themselves can
predict how things will stand a year from now. Same thing with memory
- DDR, DDR2,3....

Starting out with a low-end processor with the intention of upgrading
later has seldom worked out for most people as other components become
partly obsolete by the time the faster processors have dropped in
price to their budget level.

Personally, what I did recently was to buy an Athlon XP 2600+ with a
Biostar M7NCG motherboard with the intention of replacing the whole
set with an S939 A64 some time next year, or with whatever seems most
suitable when the time comes. But then I'm in the fortunate position
of being able to sell off my own computer every few weeks or so (often
at a profit), but I realise that not everyone has that option.

Sorry for rambling on a bit. Now if you've been working with a 550MHz
machine all this time , even an Athlon XP 2600+ will feel like a speed
demon to you. And the Biostar mobo has onboard graphics that's quite
decent for casual gaming. It also has an 8x AGP slot in case you want
to add better graphics later on.

OTOH, since you have an eye on the A64, let's use some arithmetic : If
you spend $x on an Athlon XP + mobo now, and buy a non-cutting edge
S939 set for $y next year, you will have spent a total of $(x+y). Will
that total be any less than what you will invest to buy an S939 system
at today's prices ?
Related resources
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2004 8:22:49 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

"Ruel Smith" <NoWay@NoWhere.com> wrote in message
news:nxHpd.4472$2e.3036@fe37.usenetserver.com...
> ©olin wrote:
>
> > Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> > motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> > intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The
> > processor was a 550Mhz Slot A. Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in
> > favour of the Socket A soon after. This meant that I would have to buy
> > another motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and
> > now have to think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am
> > moving abroad around next Easter time, and would like to improve my
system
> > before I go. (The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.)
> > The obvious choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939
> > processors are too expensive, and I am concerned that I would fall in
the
> > same trap with the socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative
> > would be to go for a cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's
> > dropped to a more reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought
for
> > the XP on a 939 board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games,
but
> > would not like to completely rule out the possibility of playing more
> > demanding games some time in the future.
> >
> > Any thoughts or suggestions please!
>
> Okay, here's my take: First of all, you need to be concerned over the
PCI-e
> slot. Both nVidia and ATi have announced that there will not be any future
> generations of graphics cards designed for the AGP slot. That could
change.
> However, as it sits, when new graphics cards are developed, unless you
have
> a PCI-e 16 slot, you're SOL. Now the PCI-e 1 slots, that's a different
> story. I'm not sure that anything is currently even available for them. If
> so, it's very limited. Besides, what do you really add to your computer
> these days? With onboard sound, LAN, and wireless and the fact that
> software decoding has made hardware DVD decoders obsolete, you'd be hard
> pressed to think of anything to add to your system unless you're building
a
> home recording studio or something. So, you're safe with PCI slots, for
> now. Only the socket 939 boards offer a PCI-e configuration, and it's only
> in the latest chipsets like the nForce 4 and the KT880 Pro chipsets, so
> they're likely the more expensive boards on the market.
>
> The Socket 754 has a single advantage, though. Some Athlon 64 CPU's for
this
> socket feature the coveted 1 MB level 2 cache. This is essentially what
> separates the FX processors from the lesser Athlon 64 in the socket 939
> setup. However, many socket 754 Athlon 64's came with 1 MB cache.
>
>
http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/...
>
> There are now more affordable Athlon 64 processors for the Socket 939. You
> can get a retail 3000+ for around $150. That's just slightly more than the
> cost of a 2800+ XP in retail form, which goes for around $140. That's a
> no-brainer. However, motherboard cost is another issue. You can get an
Asus
> A8V Deluxe for $120, but it has AGP and not PCI-e. I can't find any nForce
> 4 or KT880 Pro boards on the retail market, which give PCI-e slots.
> However, when they do hit, expect to pay a premium. A good Athlon XP board
> will set you back only about $70. However, the performance of the Athlon
64
> more than justifies the additional cost.
>
> So, that leaves the Athlon XP. It's cheap, boards are cheap, and it's
plenty
> fast enough, still. In fact, I built such a system 3 months ago, which I'm
> writing from now. However, prices have dropped on Athlon 64 boards and
> CPU's in recent months, and are now very reasonable. You could get a
Athlon
> 64 3000+ for less then $150 (retail), and get a good motherboard for about
> $120. That, coupled with the expected 20% speed increase for the Athlon 64
> with Windows XP-64's release (March?), makes the Athlon XP much less
> desireable than it once was. The lifespan of the socket 754 is limited and
> those boards aren't that much cheaper (about $20 less) than socket 939
> boards. So, I'd suggest avoiding the socket 754 variety.
>
> So, in closing, I suggest that if you want PCI-e, you need to spend the
> money and get a socket 939 board that as the nForce 4 or the KT880 Pro
> chipset. They won't be cheap, and they're not readily availble yet, unless
> you're working for a website that reviews them. The Socket 754 board is
> really on its way out, and though boards are still slightly cheaper than
> the 939 counterpart, and certain 754 CPU's have double the L2 cache, the
> socket 939 seems to be the way to go. Your biggest decision is whether or
> not you are willing to upgrade to a PCI-e graphics card while you upgrade.
> Bear in mind, though, that at some point, you're going to have to upgrade
> both a motherboard and graphics card. It's either biting the bitter pill
> now, or taking your medicine later. It's your choice.

Thanks for all the information - very useful.
Decisions, decisions! My brain hurts :o ))

Colin
>
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2004 11:21:20 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 11:19:55 +0000, ©olin wrote:
> Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped...

IMO and experience PC (packaging?) technology changes too quickly to cost
effectively be able to upgrade anything. Early 386 and 486 machines were
often sold with expansion capabilities at significantly additional cost,
but by the time one might want to upgrade, totally incompatible Pentium
(CPUs) machines arrived on the scene. Often better to buy something new.

ISTR an engineering rule of thumb for computer capacity planning is that
you don't want to upgrade (swap something out for something new) unless
you get something like 3x improvement in some feature (speed? performance?
bandwidth? etc.). Why spend another 20% of your system price for only 10%
improvement? You can waste a lot of money chasing the "bleeding edge".
That might mean you cannot play the most recent games, since it seems that
graphics boards change the fastest? Everyone chooses their own criteria.

I would suggest buying the best deal on an integrated system (everything
designed to work the best with everything else, with no mis-matches) to
meet your needs (performance vs. price), and try to make it last as long
as practical. Then buy another system, and either reapply your old one to
some other application (web server? file server? print server? mail? news?
etc.), or try to sell it (unlikely to get much).

You got 3 years out of it? That's pretty good. The best I have been able
to do is get about 5 years, but I had to pay a premium (for the latest
generation+) and had to suffer with some sluggish performance at the end
of that lifetime. These days I change my main workstation faster.

FWIW, I still run older machines, for testing/learning. Linux works well
on them, and you can learn a lot about networking and parallelism, etc.

--
Juhan Leemet
Logicognosis, Inc.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 27, 2004 4:50:25 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

> I would suggest buying the best deal on an integrated system (everything
> designed to work the best with everything else, with no mis-matches) to
> meet your needs (performance vs. price), and try to make it last as long
> as practical. Then buy another system, and either reapply your old one to
> some other application (web server? file server? print server? mail? news?
> etc.), or try to sell it (unlikely to get much).

This is pretty good advice, but I'd say that you visit your local
computer guru shop, and get the guys who know what's going on to
put together a box of parts for you that they are sure, from their
own experience, will work well together. Have them pick up to
date, but not bleeding edge components. If you don't want to buy
there, you can always order the same components over the Internet.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 27, 2004 11:18:58 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

> OTOH, since you have an eye on the A64, let's use some arithmetic : If
> you spend $x on an Athlon XP + mobo now, and buy a non-cutting edge
> S939 set for $y next year, you will have spent a total of $(x+y). Will
> that total be any less than what you will invest to buy an S939 system
> at today's prices ?

An interesting thought, but I wonder what the difference in
price/performance will be in the S939 between now and next year! If I buy a
S939 now, I will be one year behind and one year nearer to the following
upgrade compared to upgrading now.
The other thought is - 'does it really matter'?
Just can't win at this game :o )

Colin
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 27, 2004 11:49:21 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

"Al Smith" <invalid@address.com> wrote in message
news:B3Rpd.185962$Np3.7557407@ursa-nb00s0.nbnet.nb.ca...
> > I would suggest buying the best deal on an integrated system (everything
> > designed to work the best with everything else, with no mis-matches) to
> > meet your needs (performance vs. price), and try to make it last as long
> > as practical. Then buy another system, and either reapply your old one
to
> > some other application (web server? file server? print server? mail?
news?
> > etc.), or try to sell it (unlikely to get much).
>
> This is pretty good advice, but I'd say that you visit your local
> computer guru shop, and get the guys who know what's going on to
> put together a box of parts for you that they are sure, from their
> own experience, will work well together. Have them pick up to
> date, but not bleeding edge components. If you don't want to buy
> there, you can always order the same components over the Internet.

I agree that buying complete systems every time is a good way forward.
However, I have already upgraded the Graphics Card, Sound Card, DVD-RW and
added extra hard drives, so I really only need CPU, Motherboard and Memory.
I have had some thought about buying a shuttle type system for central
processing and hanging my Firewire peripherals on it. I could then keep my
present tower system as a server.
Thoughts......... a shuttle system could go as hand luggage when I move
abroad and be ready to plug in as soon as I arrive. Perhaps an AthlonXP with
lots of cooling as I am going to a tropical country.
Thanks to everyone for the advice.

Colin
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 27, 2004 12:14:55 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 11:19:55 -0000, "©olin"
<colin@TakeAway.colbing.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

>Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
>motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
>intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The processor
>was a 550Mhz Slot A.

I'll have to disagree here, 3 years ago a slot A Athlon
motherboard-based system was already old, of COURSE you
couldn't get much more use out of it. Slot A was also
relatively short-lived... For example the Socket 370 was the
contemporary alternative and supported 300MHz though 1.4GHz,
several years and ~ 4X higher speed, though an early board
would've needed an adapter or two. Same goes for socket A
though, if you'd bought a socket A board you could've
upgraded from an ~ 800MHz CPU through 2.4GHz with a bit of
compromise.

>Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in favour of the
>Socket A soon after.

I can understand if the chronology followed after your
purchase, but that would've been over 3 years ago.

>This meant that I would have to buy another
>motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and now have to
>think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am moving abroad
>around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system before I go.
>(The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.) The obvious
>choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939 processors are too
>expensive, and I am concerned that I would fall in the same trap with the
>socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative would be to go for a
>cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's dropped to a more
>reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for the XP on a 939
>board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but would not like to
>completely rule out the possibility of playing more demanding games some
>time in the future.
>
>Any thoughts or suggestions please!

You have the same choices as always before, either:

1) Spend more for the newer technology to get another year
or two out of it, more of an upgrade-window-of-opportunity.

2) Spend less and replace the motherboard next time, too,
unless you upgrade the CPU within shorter timeframe than 2-3
years.

Your vague reference of "graphics/video work" might make a
P4 based platform a better performer than an Athlon XP, but
the Athlon XP should be sufficient for strategy games.
There is no point in talking "value/upgrade" and
"possibility of paying more demanding games in the future".

If you want to play more demanding games NOW, buy a beefy
system NOW. If you want to play demanding games in the
future, you'll have to replace the beefy system you bought
now with a newer/better system in the future, TOO. There is
no magic play to just plan ahead and have continually high
performance with an ever-increasing performance need, except
to keep buying upgrades on a regular basis, not once every
4-5 years. I wish this were not the case but it is...
computers are still in their infancy and speed increases are
just a regular part of their evolution.

Buy want you need today and let tomorrow take care of
itself. If you definitely forsee playing semi-modern 3D
games in the near-term then buy a good, more expensive video
card now too. Otherwise put off any kinds of future-proof
purchases as it'll almost always be more expensive than just
waiting till you actually need the part/performance/etc.

Regardless of what I've already mentioned, there is a good
value in an Athlon 64 /939, and a modern nForce4
motherboard. If you're in a hurry then a 3000 is a good
price-point for your proposed use or a 3200-3500 should be
dropping as usual, once faster models displace them. It
would be better to go with the PCI-Express platform due to
end-of-development for AGP video cards, if/when you wanted
to upgrade to a better video card, if it's not right away
it'd almost need be PCI-Express to be worth upgrading to.
As for CPU upgrade, we'd all love it if they could manage to
reuse same socket forever but it's inevitable that'll change
too. The problem there is that buying the fastest CPU for
any given socket is usually disproportionately higher priced
even after the next-gen of CPUs come out, so instead of
waiting for the fastest possible CPU to drop in price you
might just buy a newer CPU in < 24 months and sell the
(then) old one.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 27, 2004 2:15:28 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

©olin wrote:

>> OTOH, since you have an eye on the A64, let's use some arithmetic : If
>> you spend $x on an Athlon XP + mobo now, and buy a non-cutting edge
>> S939 set for $y next year, you will have spent a total of $(x+y). Will
>> that total be any less than what you will invest to buy an S939 system
>> at today's prices ?
>
> An interesting thought, but I wonder what the difference in
> price/performance will be in the S939 between now and next year! If I buy
> a S939 now, I will be one year behind and one year nearer to the following
> upgrade compared to upgrading now.
> The other thought is - 'does it really matter'?
> Just can't win at this game :o )

No, you can't win. Just when you spend for a socket 939 board with PCI-e and
dual channel DDR, they'll outdate it by releasing DDR2 boards and DDR2 will
actually be cheap enough and actually give performance enhancements over
ordinary DDR and they'll obsolete PCI altogether, rendering the 3 that came
on your board useless (remember boards with both ISO and PCI slots?). On
top of that, there will be another socket change because they went to dual
core processors. You really just can't win...
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 28, 2004 4:55:31 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

Ruel Smith <NoWay@NoWhere.com> wrote in message news:<AK1qd.35$Ll5.34@fe37.usenetserver.com>...
> ©olin wrote:
>
> >> OTOH, since you have an eye on the A64, let's use some arithmetic : If
> >> you spend $x on an Athlon XP + mobo now, and buy a non-cutting edge
> >> S939 set for $y next year, you will have spent a total of $(x+y). Will
> >> that total be any less than what you will invest to buy an S939 system
> >> at today's prices ?
> >
> > An interesting thought, but I wonder what the difference in
> > price/performance will be in the S939 between now and next year! If I buy
> > a S939 now, I will be one year behind and one year nearer to the following
> > upgrade compared to upgrading now.
> > The other thought is - 'does it really matter'?
> > Just can't win at this game :o )
>
> No, you can't win. Just when you spend for a socket 939 board with PCI-e and
> dual channel DDR, they'll outdate it by releasing DDR2 boards and DDR2 will
> actually be cheap enough and actually give performance enhancements over
> ordinary DDR and they'll obsolete PCI altogether, rendering the 3 that came
> on your board useless (remember boards with both ISO and PCI slots?). On
> top of that, there will be another socket change because they went to dual
> core processors. You really just can't win...

The logic behind my reasoning is that the OP has no intention of
paying for the latest bleeding edge stuff at any time. Suppose he buys
an XP 2600+ system now, and, say, an S939 3500+ later at a
'reasonable' price, by which time AMD will have gone beyond 4000+ or
even released dual-core, then his total expenditure wouldn't be any
less than what he would pay for an S939 3200+ now. He would just be
delaying his taste of A64 power, and wouldn't be any closer to
bleeding edge technology. At least he will get a whiff of that with a
3200+ now, and it's not likely to be too badly outdated a year from
now.

If, like me, he expects to be able to sell an XP machine for a good
price next year, that's an entirely different situation. No, you just
can't win, the trick is to try to minimize your loss.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 28, 2004 12:14:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

"kony" <spam@spam.com> wrote in message
news:a3ggq0h7fpc4mh6vu0a4bvg2rk8ie62qtp@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 11:19:55 -0000, "©olin"
> <colin@TakeAway.colbing.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> >motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> >intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The
processor
> >was a 550Mhz Slot A.
>
> I'll have to disagree here, 3 years ago a slot A Athlon
> motherboard-based system was already old, of COURSE you
> couldn't get much more use out of it. Slot A was also
> relatively short-lived...

Sorry, on checking, I find that I built the system in Mid 2000, making it
over 4 years old. Doesn't time fly! I guess that all the subsequent mods I
have made confused me.

> >This meant that I would have to buy another
> >motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and now have
to
> >think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am moving abroad
> >around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system before I go.
> >(The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.) The obvious
> >choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939 processors are too
> >expensive, and I am concerned that I would fall in the same trap with the
> >socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative would be to go for
a
> >cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's dropped to a more
> >reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for the XP on a 939
> >board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but would not like
to
> >completely rule out the possibility of playing more demanding games some
> >time in the future.
> >
> >Any thoughts or suggestions please!
>
>
> Your vague reference of "graphics/video work" might make a
> P4 based platform a better performer than an Athlon XP, but
> the Athlon XP should be sufficient for strategy games.

I am not looking for cutting edge performance, and I have always found AMD
processors to be bettervalue.

> There is no point in talking "value/upgrade" and
> "possibility of paying more demanding games in the future".

Value comes with not buying the latest 'Hot off the Press' items. I did say
'more demanding', a relative term.

> Buy want you need today and let tomorrow take care of
> itself. If you definitely forsee playing semi-modern 3D
> games in the near-term then buy a good, more expensive video
> card now too. Otherwise put off any kinds of future-proof
> purchases as it'll almost always be more expensive than just
> waiting till you actually need the part/performance/etc.

I don't really NEED an upgrade at this moment, just that a 550Mhz CPU is a
little slow and a moderate upgrade would be nice. The question is, if I am
going to upgrade, how far do I go?
>
> Regardless of what I've already mentioned, there is a good
> value in an Athlon 64 /939, and a modern nForce4
> motherboard. If you're in a hurry then a 3000 is a good
> price-point for your proposed use or a 3200-3500 should be
> dropping as usual, once faster models displace them. It
> would be better to go with the PCI-Express platform due to
> end-of-development for AGP video cards, if/when you wanted
> to upgrade to a better video card, if it's not right away
> it'd almost need be PCI-Express to be worth upgrading to.
> As for CPU upgrade, we'd all love it if they could manage to
> reuse same socket forever but it's inevitable that'll change
> too. The problem there is that buying the fastest CPU for
> any given socket is usually disproportionately higher priced
> even after the next-gen of CPUs come out, so instead of
> waiting for the fastest possible CPU to drop in price you
> might just buy a newer CPU in < 24 months and sell the
> (then) old one.

I have a reasonable AGP graphics card at the moment, and am not in the
market for an upgrade yet, so I will rule out PCI-Express. I am now inclined
to wait a few months and then review the situation with the Athlon 64/939.

Food for thought, thanks

Colin
November 28, 2004 2:24:49 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

"©olin" wrote:

> Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The processor
> was a 550Mhz Slot A. Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in favour of the
> Socket A soon after. This meant that I would have to buy another
> motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and now have to
> think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am moving abroad
> around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system before I go.
> (The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.) The obvious
> choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939 processors are too
> expensive,

Not in the US. A 90nm socket 939 Athlon 64 3000+ is only $140. A 90nm
socket 939 Athlon 64 3500+ is only $255.

> and I am concerned that I would fall in the same trap with the
> socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative would be to go for a
> cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's dropped to a more
> reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for the XP on a 939
> board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but would not like to
> completely rule out the possibility of playing more demanding games some
> time in the future.
>
> Any thoughts or suggestions please!

Go for a 90 nm socket 939 Athlon 64. Shop carefully!

>
>
> Colin
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 29, 2004 6:34:16 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

My recent upgrade story.

My XP 2000+ was getting on a bit, so I looked around for the best
price/performance ratio I could get for a limited budget, and I think I've
got it. Shuttle AN35/N motherboard ($53 at Newegg.com), with great
overclocking capabilities, matched with an Athlon XP-Mobile 2500+. There
are many nice things about this chip. It's cheap (around $85), it has an
unlocked multiplier, being mobile (enabling speedstep, or whatever the power
control is called). It fits a standard motherboard (doesn't have to be used
in a laptop). It's intended to run at 266Mhz bus, and just over 2Ghz or so
at a 390Mhz bus. Overclocking, I'm easily reaching 2.3Ghz, and could
probably push it further. In summary, for under $150, I upgraded my aging
1.6Ghz compy to a 2.3 Ghz, which I expect to hold onto for at least a year,
prolly more.

And as it was, the "old" one was easily running Doom3 at decent frame rates
(30-35), at medium detail, with a mid-range Radeon 9600 Pro.

The point is, it's a super cheap setup for a very decent speed.

Matty


"JK" <JK9821@netscape.net> wrote in message
news:41A9FBD1.94A66F38@netscape.net...
>
>
> "©olin" wrote:
>
> > Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> > motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> > intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The
processor
> > was a 550Mhz Slot A. Unfortunately the Slot A was dropped in favour of
the
> > Socket A soon after. This meant that I would have to buy another
> > motherboard. I have since upgraded all the peripheral items and now have
to
> > think about a new motherboard, processor and memory. I am moving abroad
> > around next Easter time, and would like to improve my system before I
go.
> > (The extra speed would be useful for graphics/video work.) The obvious
> > choice would be the Athlon 64. However, the Socket 939 processors are
too
> > expensive,
>
> Not in the US. A 90nm socket 939 Athlon 64 3000+ is only $140. A 90nm
> socket 939 Athlon 64 3500+ is only $255.
>
> > and I am concerned that I would fall in the same trap with the
> > socket 745's as I did with the Slot A. An alternative would be to go for
a
> > cheaper Athlon XP to tide me over until the 939's dropped to a more
> > reasonable price. Could I then use the memory bought for the XP on a 939
> > board? I only occasionally play slower strategy games, but would not
like to
> > completely rule out the possibility of playing more demanding games some
> > time in the future.
> >
> > Any thoughts or suggestions please!
>
> Go for a 90 nm socket 939 Athlon 64. Shop carefully!
>
> >
> >
> > Colin
>
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
November 30, 2004 9:37:20 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

©olin:

> Around three years ago I built a good Athlon system using the best
> motherboard with the cheapest/slowest processor available, with the
> intension of upgrading to higher speeds as the prices dropped. The
> processor was a 550Mhz Slot A.

Three years ago I bought a 2.53Ghz Dell for less than a $1,000. The
machine is adequate for what I do... surf the internet, some A/V
conversion, some gaming. Decide on your budget and buy or build the best
system you can afford. Dell has some excellent deals this time of year if
you want the best bang for the buck (avoid the 3000). If you believe you
want to upgrade then it's going to cost a lot more because you need to buy
the newer technology.
http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/system-guide-200411...
--
Mac Cool
!