I'm upgrading my system. I'm not really a gamer but would like the option to play some of the newer games if I wanted(I hear Oblivion is great). The app that taxes my system the most right now is Microsoft's Visual Studio and that's because I've only got 512MB of RAM. The only things I keeping from my old system are the 2 hard drives. They're not that old(the system drive is only 4 months old) and plenty big for my purposes. After reading some of the discussions in the forum. I've come up with:
The problem I'm having is with deciding on a motherboard. I need something compatible with my CPU and memory. I don't know what SLI is, but from what I've read, if I don't have a high-end vid-card it's point-less. I also don't need fancy RAID support. If anyone can make a cost-conscience suggestion for something that would get the most performance out of my CPU and vid-card w/o the extras I don't need, that would be really appreciated.
BioStar K8T890-A9 is the most inexpensive motherboard I would go with. Since you are not going for a SLI setup this mobo should be fine. Since it uses the VIA chipset, it doesn't get as hot a nVidia's chipsets so it doesn't need a fan. Very basic, but very good.
EPoX EP-9HEAI I never had experience with EPoX but a lot of people seem to like this inexpensive motherboard ($10 instant rebate right now). It too is based on a VIA chipset so a fan is not necessary to cool it.
Asus A8N5X At $80 this is the most expensive of the three, but it is also a good board from a premium namebrand. It has a fan because it uses a nVidia chipset. It also has a few more features than the other two mobos that are more budget oriented.
I changed my memory from what I had in the original setup to something w/ Cas Latency of 2 rather than 2.5, but what is the difference between the one I chose and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682.... The only difference I see is the model number TWINX1024-3200C2PT vs. TWINX1024-3200C2.
I'm debating the extra memory(2GB vs 1GB). With all the other stuff I'm up to $700.00 when I count shipping, which is more than I was planning to spend, but I'd only get the extra memory if I get the impression that my current investment would be wasted w/o it. Meaning, given the components that I already have, would I be seriously curtailing the performance that I could be getting from them, if I didn't get the extra memory. I know it's probably somewhat of a subjective thing. But these are the judgment calls that I currently don't have the gaming experience to make.
The ultra version of the nForce4 is of little advantage unless you are going to use the active armour firewall to protect a large LAN. In the ultra configuration the firewall has its own engine, but this engine is not needed on a single home computer or a modest home LAN.
The plain nForce4 firewall splits protection between the native XP firewall and itself, and does a good job.
As far as SATA II (3 gb/s) is concerned it is merely a gimmick for now at least. No HDD manufacturer in the world even approaches that transfer rate. My SATA 1.5 gb/s provide a sustained read of 60 mb/s, using the nForce4 test feature.
So my opinion is save the $13 and spend it on something actually usefull.