I'm not a complete hardware novice, but frankly, motherboard configurations have always confused me.
I can get discounted Viglen PC's from where I work, and I'm thinking about getting myself an upgrade. They offer quite a good range of configurations, but I'm left scratching my head over what to pick as a motherboard. I've got the following options:
* Intel D915GLVG
* Intel D915GHA
* Intel D945GTP
* Intel D925XECV2
* A viglen model supporting two Xeon processors
Now I'm a home user and I do quite a bit of multimedia work on the PC (Flash, image and video editing) and I like to play games now and again. So that's what I need to be able to power. I'm planning to sit 3GHz 2MB Cache Pentium 4 processor at the heart of the machine
The first question is, with the four Intel motherboards (which are listed in increasing order of price) what is my money actually buying? Better performance? More upgradability? Other things? Let me know
Second question is, the D945GTP is listed in the Viglen catalogue as having a "stable hard disk image" - what the hell does this mean?
Third question is, given my requirements is there any point in my going for a dual processor setup with the Xeons? Apparently you can choose to have a single or dual configuration for the machine before it's delivered - what's the advantage of each config?
Fourth question is, given my requierments should I just ignore the saving I can get through work and buy another PC with an AMD processor instead? I'm given to understand the current AMD chipsets offer a fairly considerable performance boost over Intel ones - is this correct?
I always recommend AMD where it can help. An AMD will give you more performance in most of your tasks at a given price, but depending on how much you save with your discount, Intel can still be good. A 3ghz P4 is a decent machine (not top end - 3.6ghz+ for that, but not a slouch).
The 915 chipset boards (don't know what the GLVG/GHA/GTP/etc. mean) will get you there fine, but will have no upgrade potential (i.e., can't upgrade CPU to dual core later) The 945 would be my choice because I can put in a Pentium D later if needed.
915/925 chipsets were the first chipsets with PCI-e for the 2MB cache P4's (Prescott), 945/955 was released for the extra power & cooling needs of the dual cores. The 925XE is the top end of the 925 line - made to handle the P4 EE. The 915/945 are the 'low end' (i.e., less featured) models, 925/955 are the premium (high end) models.