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I've got to catch up

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January 22, 2006 7:33:32 PM

Hey all!

I've been using my good old AMD Thunderbird 1200 for a few years now, and it's beginning to, uh... stink! :)  I can build my own system (which is what I did for my current one), but I'm not really up-to-date with the new hardware.

Basically, I'd just like to buy a new CPU, motherboard and RAM, and graphics card if necessary. I believe my ATX case can handle the new motherboards...right? And my power supply's P4 ready, but I'm not sure if it is 300W or 350W. Also, my current graphics card is an AGP ATI Radeon 9200, and I'm fully satisfied with it, but I'm wondering if it'd be woth going to PCI Express. I believe motherboards with PCI Express don't have AGP slots, right?

I'm looking for an Intel processor preferably. I believe Socket 775 is newer than Socket 478? This item:

Intel P4 630 [3.00Ghz] *Retail* S775 -FSB800- 2Mb

seems like a good performance / price ratio to me. But then, which memory and motherboard should I choose to go with it? Prices on thoses pages are in $CAN. I would like 1GB of RAM, but can accept 512mb, and I only need a basic motherboard, i.e. I won't be overclocking or using any RAID feature, and I already have separate network and sound cards.

Every comment is more than welcome. Thank you all, and have a nice day!

More about : catch

January 23, 2006 3:00:31 PM

If you want to "catch up", go with AMD. I used to be exclusively Intel, but discovered how much better AMD's price/performance ratio is compared to Intel.

Even if you stick with Intel, you will have to upgrade your PSU. It's too weak to run most modern components. Go for a 550W, it will last you a long time.

I can't recommend any Intel systems, but this is my AMD recommendation:

X2 4400+ (~500)
2 GB OCZ Plat. (~200)
Asus AN32 (~240)
Seagate SATAII HDs (~140)
eVga 7800 GT (Mod. 517) (~320)
Enermax PSU (~140)
Case (~100)

Its about a $1600 system that will take out ANY Intel system. Add a second 7800 GT for real door blowing performance. In SLI, this should score between 7000 and 7500 on the 3DMark06 test and about 12,000 to 12,500 on the 05.
January 23, 2006 3:37:32 PM

I have to say I would recommend AMD also. But if cost is a factor try getting
one of the 939 pin agp boards. most sell in the $50-60 US range, and you could still use your 9200. Also, your power supply would probably be acceptable, but I would say that something in the 400-450 watt range is the minimum these days.
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January 23, 2006 4:23:37 PM

Yes, that would limit cost. However, I believe all the 939 AGP boards use the nForce3 drivers which, in my opinion, never really took off. Furthermore, AGP limits your graphic card options in the future. I think the highest performing AGP is the X850 which is outdated when compared to the 7800 series.
January 23, 2006 5:24:37 PM

Couple of things struck me about that configuration.

1) Why get a SATA drive when the MB support SATAII? If the price difference between the drives is not more than $20, it's probally worth it to go with SATAII (Note: while SATAII has a theoritical performace level that is twice that of the SATA drives, real world performance has only shown it to be about 25% faster).

2) If you don't want to overclock the video card yourself, go with the eVga 7800 GT model 517. It's 19 bucks more than the 516 and is stock overclocked at 470/1100.

3) Consider Abit for MBs. I have the KN8 SLI and it has been very good to me. Rock solid and a really good overclocker.
January 23, 2006 6:06:43 PM

Quote:
Couple of things struck me about that configuration.

1) Why get a SATA drive when the MB support SATAII? If the price difference between the drives is not more than $20, it's probally worth it to go with SATAII (Note: while SATAII has a theoritical performace level that is twice that of the SATA drives, real world performance has only shown it to be about 25% faster).


For the most part, SATAII is still a waste of money. current drives can't max out SATA-I yet. Even the New generation Raptors don't use SATA-II becuase its not considered mature yet.

Quote:
3) Consider Abit for MBs. I have the KN8 SLI and it has been very good to me. Rock solid and a really good overclocker.


I agree, I like their boards.

There is nothing wrong with nForce3 by the way, the biggest difference is that nForce4 came out to support PCI-e. I use a 3 for my Radeon 9800 Pro AIW, and it works great.[/quote]
January 23, 2006 8:22:40 PM

Quote:
For the most part, SATAII is still a waste of money. current drives can't max out SATA-I yet. Even the New generation Raptors don't use SATA-II becuase its not considered mature yet.


Yes, neither SATA I nor SATA II achieve even close to their "rated" transfer speeds. However, the tests have shown that SATA II is still faster than SATA I, albeit not by that much. Ergo, my statement that if the cost is nominal, get the SATA II.
January 24, 2006 1:36:04 AM

Quote:
For the most part, SATAII is still a waste of money. current drives can't max out SATA-I yet. Even the New generation Raptors don't use SATA-II becuase its not considered mature yet.


Yes, neither SATA I nor SATA II achieve even close to their "rated" transfer speeds. However, the tests have shown that SATA II is still faster than SATA I, albeit not by that much. Ergo, my statement that if the cost is nominal, get the SATA II.

They are faster because thay have improved electronics and mechanics due to advancement in technology compared to their predecessors... and not because of SATAII.

But... higher number are better, marketters said, so get everything that got a higher number. SATAII, DDR2, X2...
January 24, 2006 3:10:40 AM

Quote:
But... higher number are better, marketters said, so get everything that got a higher number. SATAII, DDR2, X2...


Yeah, that's why Star Wars Episode I, II & III were so much better than Episodes IV, V & VI...

Oh, wait a minute... :lol: 
January 24, 2006 4:54:20 AM

If you are not interested in upgrading your video card, I recommend the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2. You can find a review here. Really not a bad deal for $71US at newegg after shipping.
January 24, 2006 5:38:45 AM

Its on sale for $65 at the moment. I want one but the wife won't let me buy that and a new card :cry: 
January 25, 2006 3:28:10 PM

Thanks a lot everyone! :D  Your comments are appreciated. Here's what I got so far:

AMD Athlon64 3000+ *RB* [S939]
Maxtor 200Gb [7200RPM] S-ATA 16Mb
Kingston 1024Mb DDR2 [400] KVR400D2N3/1G
Power Supply ATX 500W [P4]
ASRock 939Dual-SATA2

1) Will everything here fit in my old ATX case?
2) Does it really matter if that's a generic power supply? And I assume [P4] means that it can also be used with P4 boards?
3) Can I still keep my old CPU fan & heatsink?
4) Is the memory OK, or should I invest a bit more for something better? Does it even fit with the CPU & board I've chosen?

Thanks again everyone :D 
January 25, 2006 4:05:54 PM

Quote:
AMD Athlon64 3000+ *RB* [S939]
Maxtor 200Gb [7200RPM] S-ATA 16Mb
Kingston 1024Mb DDR2 [400] KVR400D2N3/1G
Power Supply ATX 500W [P4]
ASRock 939Dual-SATA2

1) Will everything here fit in my old ATX case?
2) Does it really matter if that's a generic power supply? And I assume [P4] means that it can also be used with P4 boards?
3) Can I still keep my old CPU fan & heatsink?
4) Is the memory OK, or should I invest a bit more for something better? Does it even fit with the CPU & board I've chosen? ]



Let me help you bro..
1)Yes your old case will do fine.....I do recommend a case with good airflow however....newer cases with 120mm fans are a great and quiet alternative. Cases have come a long way since the tbird days ;-)

2)Get a NAME BRAND psu....there are some nice/cheap dual +12V rail power supplies....you want to make sure you get one that allows for a 24pin plug....old mobos use a 20 pin while the new mobos require a 24pin....you can buy an adapter but you are better off getting the right equipment the first time.....This is a good/cheap option

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817182020

3) No buy a retail box CPU and it will come with a NEW fan and heatsink...it will cost like 5 bucks more and you get the warranty over regular OEM processors....your old one will NOT work....For the money id go with this processor....

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819103539

4) DDR2 memory will NOT work in that mobo...you need regular ddr memory.....go with any pc3200....I recommend the corsair value ram

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145440

5)That mobo is pretty good if you are stuck on keeping your existing video and if you dont game much then it will serve you ok but if you ever game or decide to you will want a new pcix card....there are better boards out there though if you decide to upgrade your video. If you decide to ditch the agp, the chaintech vnf4 ultra is a very cheap option, epox 9npa+ ultra board is also a great solution.

6) For a entry level graphics solution that wont set you back much you could get a 6600GT in the 120 buck range and you could still play all games that are out now at good resolution/frame rate
!