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Please Help: CPU + MB combo advice needed with budget

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December 29, 2005 10:45:40 PM

Hello Everyone,

I need advise regarding a new CPU and motherboard. While I often spend much more money to upgrade my computer, I currently don't have a new video game that particularly interests me and thus don't feel like I have a reason to spend too much. I'm currently playing WoW, which is rather CPU intensive. I know for a fact that my current CPU (AMD Alton XP 2500+) is the bottleneck for WoW; on top of that, I use skype when I play WoW, which tends to use up a bit of CPU power, as well. Ergo, I don't want to upgrade my video card; I just want to upgrade my motherboard/cpu. This is a little troublesome since my video card uses AGP, not PCIX.

Therefore, do any of you have advise regarding a CPU and MB I should get that will cost about 300 bucks (a little more is okay if it's justified) that will get me the most bang for my buck? Also, on a side note, I strongly prefer a NVIDIA MB since I have a NVIDIA graphics card. If the MB supports an AGP card, that would be ideal, but if it does not, feel free to still recommend it anyhow.

Any and all advice is much appreciated! :D 
December 30, 2005 12:01:47 AM

Sure. I can recommend this:
Get an MSI motherboard with Radeon Xpress 200 chipset and support for Athlon 939 processor. MSI RS482M-ILD @ Tigerdirect.com for $89
(Can support X2 processor)holds 4Gb ram.
There are several Nvidia boards but $ is more, just check the website.
Athlon 3200+ Processor will run about $165 at Tigerdirect.

While you're at it check out their PCI Express videocards cuz they got lots too choose from and the prices are good.
You'll want to make sure your Powersupply has the juice and 24 pin power connector (plus 4 pin for the Athlon). Definitely get 400 watts or more to run it if you plan on getting a good graphics card.
The Radeon X800 series cards are good.
I recommend the 800GTO2 because it's cheap and can be modded likehell.
That's my recommendation, but you can definitely find AGP flavors there so check em out.
December 30, 2005 12:17:07 AM

I appreciate the advice, however, I strongly prefer Nvidia video cards over the Radeon cards. Also, I don't particularly mind the small price hick for a nvidia MB. Also, I decided that I'm going to spend a little more than 300 bucks to buy both the MB and CPU; I'm thinking of spending somewhere around 300 for the CPU and 100 for the MB. As long as it does not total over 500 bucks together, it's something I'll consider.

Edit: One odd-question, if you guys don't mind: are there any modern MBs that support an AGP card and the newer CPUs?
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December 30, 2005 1:21:10 AM

yes, there are some decent mobos for 939 and AGP. Dont expect much of a futuer upgrade path though. Tehere are no more AGP cards coming.

What kinda ram you got? If you have DDR 2700, aka 333 then its done, if ya got DDR 400, aka 3200 or higher you can overclock your 2500 up to 3200 speeds by simply chaning the FSB to 200 instead of 166 that its at now. You will likely need to bump the voltage a tad, say .1V or so but it'll help you alot.

If not, get the 939 and a 3200. You dont want to spend more (maybe a Opteron 144 for 939 cause it OCs like MAD) cause there is a new system coming on the M2 socket that is PCIe only and uses DDR2. The 144 will OC to 2.8ghz, give or take making it the same thing as the $1100 FX 57 for only about $150ish :D  You'll want a decent OC board such as a DFI based board but it'll be a nice last hurrah for your card. If you need to replace the RAM too id wait, its gonna be alot to spend for somethign with only a few months more life...

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December 30, 2005 1:33:48 AM

Quote:
yes, there are some decent mobos for 939 and AGP. Dont expect much of a futuer upgrade path though. Tehere are no more AGP cards coming.


I'm okay with that, though. I don't need that powerful a computer for a game like WoW, and I don't think I'll get another upgrade until anywhere from six months to a year from now. It all depends on when Blizzard releases their new RTS and how well my computer plays it. For now, I just want WoW to run better while I'm enjoying it.

Quote:
What kinda ram you got? If you have DDR 2700, aka 333 then its done, if ya got DDR 400, aka 3200 or higher you can overclock your 2500 up to 3200 speeds by simply chaning the FSB to 200 instead of 166 that its at now. You will likely need to bump the voltage a tad, say .1V or so but it'll help you alot.


Yes, I already did that. However, it's not enough for WoW when I have a voice program running in the background.

Quote:
If not, get the 939 and a 3200. You dont want to spend more (maybe a Opteron 144 for 939 cause it OCs like MAD) cause there is a new system coming on the M2 socket that is PCIe only and uses DDR2. The 144 will OC to 2.8ghz, give or take making it the same thing as the $1100 FX 57 for only about $150ish :D  You'll want a decent OC board such as a DFI based board but it'll be a nice last hurrah for your card. If you need to replace the RAM too id wait, its gonna be alot to spend for somethign with only a few months more life...


I was thinking of possibly buying the AMD 3800 x2dual core. Since Skype uses quite a bit of CPU, I think I'll get better results with that and also future games might better intergrate dual core, which might delay my need for a second upgrade.

The AMD 3200 seems a bit too small of an upgrade; if I don't go with dual core, I'd like to go with the AMD 3800 instead. What motherboard would you recommend that uses the Nvidia chipset, 939 socket, and has AGP support?

Thanks a lot for your answers thus far; I really appreciate it. :) 
December 30, 2005 2:26:15 AM

The only agp nvidia boards I would bother with are the Epox 9NDA3+ and the Gigabyte GA-KNSC-939.
Really, the best board for 939 agp is the Abit AV8 3rd eye, but it uses a via chipset.
December 30, 2005 2:32:51 AM

Quote:
The only agp nvidia boards I would bother with are the Epox 9NDA3+ and the Gigabyte GA-KNSC-939.
Really, the best board for 939 agp is the Abit AV8 3rd eye, but it uses a via chipset.


Do you think that the advantages of the Abit AV8 outweight the advantages of getting a Nvidia chipset when you have a Nvidia video card? Also, if I were to stick with the Nvidia chipset, would you recommend the Epox or Gigabyte MB?

One more question -- seeing as you seem so knowledge -- if one uses skype(voice chat system that uses quite a bit of cpu) while playing WoW, would it be better to go with with AMD 3800 x2dual core or the standard AMD 3800?

Thank you to all those that participate thus far! I really appreciate this community's advice. :) 
December 30, 2005 2:45:45 AM

I trust Abit more than gigabyte or Epox. If you want to try OCing, the abit board has a chip and utility called u-guru that works in windows, and makes it too easy.
Abit boards are designed to handle the stress of OCing, so they are tested better, and are made with higher quality parts.
Second choice would be Epox. They have come a long way in the last few years.
Skype doesn't use that much cpu, but there are people here crying about the "creamy goodness" of dual core. No matter how you look at it, multicore is the future. I would still go with a 3700, or a single core s939 opteron.
December 30, 2005 3:19:57 AM

Quote:
I trust Abit more than gigabyte or Epox. If you want to try OCing, the abit board has a chip and utility called u-guru that works in windows, and makes it too easy.
Abit boards are designed to handle the stress of OCing, so they are tested better, and are made with higher quality parts.
Second choice would be Epox. They have come a long way in the last few years.
Skype doesn't use that much cpu, but there are people here crying about the "creamy goodness" of dual core. No matter how you look at it, multicore is the future. I would still go with a 3700, or a single core s939 opteron.


Thanks for the advice. I'm pretty confident that I'll go with single core for now. I'm still a little baffled in regards to if I'll go with the Epox or Abit; it's hard to know if Abit's quality outweights the advantages Nvidia provides if you have both their chipset and graphic card.

Would you, or anyone on this board, for that matter, recommend that I go for the AMD 3700 or the opteron 148 socket 939?

As always, I greatly appreciate all input. :) 
December 30, 2005 3:26:16 AM

There really is no advantage putting an nvidia card with any chipset unless you want SLI.
I OC a little, so the opteron and the 3700 would be my choice.
If you plan on only using stock, the 3800 is fine.
December 30, 2005 3:29:01 AM

Quote:
There really is no advantage putting an nvidia card with any chipset unless you want SLI.
I OC a little, so the opteron and the 3700 would be my choice.
If you plan on only using stock, the 3800 is fine.


What do you mean by "only using stock?" What is "stock?"
December 30, 2005 4:23:11 AM

Stock means no overclock, sorry for the confusion.
December 30, 2005 4:25:41 AM

Quote:
Stock means no overclock, sorry for the confusion.


Right now, I'm intending to upgrade to the opteron 148 socket 939 cpu with the abit MB and overclock that once I get it. I still want to do a little more research, but I'm pretty sure that's what I'll do. Thanks for the advice.
December 30, 2005 5:46:50 AM

Dont forget, there is an ASRock motherboard that might be nice. Its AGP AND PCIe on the same platform. :D  The opteron is nice. Id get a slower one, say 146 and OC it though. Save cash and get a strong performer.

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December 30, 2005 5:56:28 AM

Quote:
Id get a slower one, say 146 and OC it though. Save cash and get a strong performer.

That's the funny thing. Newegg sells the 148 for less money than the 146. Go figure.
December 30, 2005 7:54:49 AM

Quote:
Dont forget, there is an ASRock motherboard that might be nice. Its AGP AND PCIe on the same platform. :D  The opteron is nice. Id get a slower one, say 146 and OC it though. Save cash and get a strong performer.

Hide


Thanks for the tips; however, I did some research on the ASRock motherboard, and apparently it's not a good mb for overclocking. It's a shame a quality board does not exist with both AGP and PCIx.

In regards to 146 and 148, the price difference is only a few dollars and apparently, the 148 costs less on newegg, according to endyen.

Thanks for the suggestions thus far, everyone. One more question: I won't need anything special for the opteron 148, correct? I know the past Opterons needed some special RAM and some other stuff, but their 148 version does not, correct?
December 30, 2005 6:14:42 PM

Isnt the difference cause 146 is retail and 148 OEM? THey are both 939 socket right?

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December 30, 2005 6:23:42 PM

Quote:
Isnt the difference cause 146 is retail and 148 OEM? THey are both 939 socket right?

Hide


I learned the hard way never to buy OEM. When I go to the store, if they only have 148 in OEM, I'll get 146.
December 30, 2005 11:51:05 PM

Quote:

Really, the best board for 939 agp is the Abit AV8 3rd eye, but it uses a via chipset.


It seems like they don't sell that MB anymore; I've search around for it to no avail. :( 
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