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Opinions about upgrade paths, please

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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
June 25, 2005 2:50:19 PM

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

I've always been an incremental up-grader, but since my last upgrade there
has been such an explosion of new hardware that I need advise on what to
upgrade. Here is a brief list of what is in my system:

Iwill A500 mid tower case
Shuttle AK32-A systemboard (KT266A)
AMD XP 1700+ Thoroughbred - slightly overclocked at 1608 MHz (12x134)
2X512 MB PC2700 DDR
Western Digital WD1600 - 160 GB 7200 RPM ATA100
Maxtor 6L080J4 - 80 GB 7200 RPM ATA133 (running at ATA100)
Plextor PX-712A - 12X DVD+-RW
Generic 16X DVD-ROM
ATI All-In-Wonder Pro 8 MB video with TV in/out
Creative Sound Blaster Live Value

The major deficiencies as I see them are:

1) Video is *way* out of date.

2) Processor is too slow for video processing.

3) Motherboard lacks USB 2.0 and Firewire

The last item is why I am looking at an upgrade. I have tried to use the ATI
for video recording, and it barely works on Windows 98 (2% dropped frames),
is useless on Windows XP (50% dropped frames), and I haven't been able to
get it to work on Linux.

I've decided to get a Canopus ADVC-50, which uses Firewire 400. For just
a few dollars more than the $40 that a Firewire card costs, I could buy
one of the following (pricing from Newegg.com):

EPoX EP-8RDA+PRO $68
ABIT NF7-S V2 $78
EPoX EP-8RDA6+PRO $86
ABIT AN7 $87

They would give me Firewire 400 (1394a), USB 2.0, and the ability to run my
memory at 333, rather than 266.

This brings me to my next decision: Do I also buy a new processor?
If I was to do so, I'd pick one of these:

Athlon XP 2600+ Barton 1.9 GHz $79
Athlon XP 2800+ Barton 2.083 GHz $100
Athlon XP 3000+ Barton 2.167 GHz $111

But then, this leads me to another decision: Do I stay with 32 bit, or do I
go to 64 bit?

I can get an Athlon 64 3000+ 1.8 GHz for $146 and there are a large number
of motherboards in the $100 range.

So, where to go?

1) New motherboard $80
2) New motherboard and Athlon XP $180
3) New motherboard and Athlon 64 $240

What I didn't do is look at new video cards versus using an on-motherboard
video solution. Even the latter would be faster than what I currently have.

--
Jerry Natowitz
j dot natowitz at rcn dot com
Linux Eye for the Microsoft Guy

More about : opinions upgrade paths

June 25, 2005 2:50:20 PM

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

On Sat, 25 Jun 2005 10:50:19 -0400, Jerry Natowitz
<j-dot-natowitz-at-rcn-dot-com> wrote:

>But then, this leads me to another decision: Do I stay with 32 bit, or do I
>go to 64 bit?
>
>I can get an Athlon 64 3000+ 1.8 GHz for $146 and there are a large number
>of motherboards in the $100 range.
>
>So, where to go?

I decided on the Athlon 64 3000+ (socket 939) for a recent build and
am happy I did so. It's a speedy, stable CPU even though most of the
apps I'm running are 32-bit. It performs better than my other machine,
a year old Intel 2.8 GHz P4 P4P800 mobo because of its integrated,
improved memory management.

Another advantage of the 64-bit chips is future compatibility. I'm
running Windows XP Pro x64 now that it's released and rumor has it
that Longhorn will be biased towards 64-bit when it is released next
year.

Note that if you decide to run xp Pro x64 right now, driver
availabilty is still spotty, so it may be best to stick with 32-bit XP
for a while, but still get the improvements of the Athlon 64 CPU.

>1) New motherboard $80
>2) New motherboard and Athlon XP $180
>3) New motherboard and Athlon 64 $240

And, it's only $60 bucks more for a CPU/mobo combo that shouldn't be
obsolete by next year.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
June 25, 2005 2:50:20 PM

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

"Jerry Natowitz" <j-dot-natowitz-at-rcn-dot-com> wrote...
>
> So, where to go?
>
> 1) New motherboard $80
> 2) New motherboard and Athlon XP $180
> 3) New motherboard and Athlon 64 $240
>
> What I didn't do is look at new video cards versus using an on-motherboard
> video solution. Even the latter would be faster than what I currently have.

Go wherever you can afford.

A newer A64 Socket 939 MoBo (90 nm, 1.3/1.35V compatible) will give you an
upgrade option to the dual-core CPUs when the price comes down. Less than that,
and you'll be stuck with another MoBo for your next significant upgrade.

Rather than an on-board GFX solution, go with a low-end AGP-8X or PCI-E card for
$50 or so until you can afford the GFX card you want.
Related resources
June 25, 2005 2:50:21 PM

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

On Sat, 25 Jun 2005 10:28:14 -0700, Jed <slothrop@example.com.invalid>
wrote:

>On Sat, 25 Jun 2005 10:50:19 -0400, Jerry Natowitz
><j-dot-natowitz-at-rcn-dot-com> wrote:
>
>>But then, this leads me to another decision: Do I stay with 32 bit, or do I
>>go to 64 bit?
>>
>>I can get an Athlon 64 3000+ 1.8 GHz for $146 and there are a large number
>>of motherboards in the $100 range.
>>
>>So, where to go?
>
>I decided on the Athlon 64 3000+ (socket 939) for a recent build and
>am happy I did so.

I forgot to mention that the 3000+ is the Venice core, which, if you
can find it in stock, is better than the Winchester or Newcastle core
Athlon 64s but costs about the same. Google on "venioce core" for more
info.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
June 25, 2005 10:50:59 PM

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

Jed <slothrop@example.com.invalid> wrote:
> <j-dot-natowitz-at-rcn-dot-com> wrote:

>>1) New motherboard $80 2) New motherboard and Athlon XP $180
>>3) New motherboard and Athlon 64 $240
>
> And, it's only $60 bucks more for a CPU/mobo combo that
> shouldn't be obsolete by next year.

I think a new mainboard becomes obsolete fast as a mainboard type
that has been around for awhile, and mainboards remain usable no
longer than CPUs.

Athlon XPs are overpriced apparently due to short supply. An
equivalent Sempron is cheaper and the suited mainboard, Socket
754, will allow upgrade to an Athlon 64, unless the mainboard
becomes obsolete.
!