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I've decided to try and make my head explode.

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May 2, 2006 7:28:16 PM

I'm looking to upgrade the pc I have now, unfortunately my current system is one of those "pre-built bought at Circuit City" routines. So I am stuck with a hopelessly outdated motherboard, along the lines of Micro-ATX, AGP8x(no PCI-e), and AMD Socket A. I'm happy with my hard drive, optical drives, and power supply.

So what I am looking to do is add those components into a new case with a new motherboard and a new processor. What I don't want is to be stuck in this situation again, i.e. completely unable to upgrade when new stuff comes around(e.g. PCI-e.)

The reason for the exploding head is simple, or rather not so simple, as soon as I start looking at the wave of the future I get lost in a sea of Conroe, AMD2, and DDR2RAM. The real rub is I can't really justify spending more than $600 and I've already decided to get a 7900 GT.

I know this is kind of a general question, and now that I think about it I guess it is more of a motherboard question, what do I do with the mobo and cpu in order to prevent painting myself into a corner so to speak. I'd like to get a motherboard and processor combo that lets me continually upgrade as cpus get cheaper.

I've been looking at those Celeron D processors because the Ghz is high while the price is low, but are they on a dying socket tech? But those intel boards bum me out cause if I wanna have 4x184 pin slots they only have 1 PCI-E slot, and I don't wanna be left in the cold if SLi or Crossfire become the new industry norm. In that case I also definitely don't wanna screw myself by not having enough RAM slots in case some new tech comes along from that direction. Of course that is not to say that AMD processors are ruled out. *sigh*

So to clarify, I'd like opinions/answers in regards to a mobo/cpu combo that will cost roughly $225 yet will also leave me open to upgrades in the future. I am much obliged to anyone who helps me out here.

And if I totally trounced message board etiquette by posting such a terribly long message then I am awfully sorry.
May 2, 2006 7:49:28 PM

My advise is to change your expectation of avoiding future hardware replacement. The world of technology moves very fast, and the direction that technology moves in can defy our ability to predict the future.

Beyond which, the cost of just replacing a motherboard on each upgrade is not really very high.

The real question is what do you want for now. If you need a new computer now, buy the best you can while remaining comfortable with the money you will spend. This probably means something like a socket 939, pcie slot, nice vid card...or perhaps an Intel approach but something nice.

As far as the future....heck....who knows. Its out of our control. Know what I mean? Just expect that for future upgrades, you'll probably swap out the motherboard.

Bob
May 2, 2006 8:04:43 PM

Quote:
My advise is to change your expectation of avoiding future hardware replacement. The world of technology moves very fast, and the direction that technology moves in can defy our ability to predict the future.


I agree 100%.

In my humble opinion, the biggest driver for hardware upgrades is games (and the unfrequent release of a new operating system). The newest games require the newest hardware to run optimally...or sometimes even run at all. Name another changing need other than games. The desktop applications I use are the same from day to day and my hardware is just fine running any app I throw at it.

Years and years ago I built an Abit BP6, dual celeron system. At the time it was ass-kicking. I figured that with my investment I could upgrade for quite awhile before having to do a complete rebuild. To my utter shock and horror, within a short period Intel had switched to a different architecture which left me without a real upgrade path. I had dual 400's and I could have moved up to 500's...wow, big deal.

If you're into the gaming trends, it's a fact of life that you'll be investing alot of money into constantly upgrading your machine.
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May 2, 2006 8:06:41 PM

First off welcome to the fourms.

Personaly if I where in your shoes, I'd try to hold off upgradeing as long as you can, that way you give prices the greatest chance to drop, and for you to save up some extra cash fo better parts.

If must upgrade now I concure with bob.
May 2, 2006 8:28:53 PM

You're dreaming mate.

You'll never upgrade a CPU; that would be a bug waste of money. Sort of like putting wheels on a tomatoe. Sure you can do it - but why the hell would you?

The only economic upgrade to any system is to fill it with as much RAM as it can possibly take - all other "core system" parts are "use once and discard".

If you think you're going to start with a 3.x GHz CPU and next year put in a 4.x GHz thing then believe me, that is just not going to happen.

Unless you're a fool, that is.
May 2, 2006 9:18:13 PM

Several folks recommend waiting until......(fill in some future product release).

I don't get it. Since there will always be a new product announced, if you chose to take that approach you will always be waiting.

It would be impossible to ever defend buying something with that viewpoint.

I say buy something whenever you feel its time for new hardware, and buy as much as you can afford.

Bob
May 2, 2006 9:31:04 PM

Ya, ok...that's a fair point. I guess the issue is whether a person is suffering significantly now, and whether the difference in technology represented by the slot change is interesting enough to be a viable choice for a purchase....

Sad truth is, however, that new slots/sockets are pretty frequent. Just look back when the AMD 64 processor was new. Not really that long ago, yet it represents two socket generations. Now if you are a person that builds a new box every 6 months or so, that's one thing, but some folks wait a year to 2 years between builds, and you can usually imagine the socket will change in that period of time.

Bob
May 2, 2006 10:18:50 PM

Quote:
I'm looking to upgrade the pc I have now, unfortunately my current system is one of those "pre-built bought at Circuit City" routines. So I am stuck with a hopelessly outdated motherboard, along the lines of Micro-ATX, AGP8x(no PCI-e), and AMD Socket A. I'm happy with my hard drive, optical drives, and power supply.

So what I am looking to do is add those components into a new case with a new motherboard and a new processor. What I don't want is to be stuck in this situation again, i.e. completely unable to upgrade when new stuff comes around(e.g. PCI-e.)

The reason for the exploding head is simple, or rather not so simple, as soon as I start looking at the wave of the future I get lost in a sea of Conroe, AMD2, and DDR2RAM. The real rub is I can't really justify spending more than $600 and I've already decided to get a 7900 GT.

I know this is kind of a general question, and now that I think about it I guess it is more of a motherboard question, what do I do with the mobo and cpu in order to prevent painting myself into a corner so to speak. I'd like to get a motherboard and processor combo that lets me continually upgrade as cpus get cheaper.

I've been looking at those Celeron D processors because the Ghz is high while the price is low, but are they on a dying socket tech? But those intel boards bum me out cause if I wanna have 4x184 pin slots they only have 1 PCI-E slot, and I don't wanna be left in the cold if SLi or Crossfire become the new industry norm. In that case I also definitely don't wanna screw myself by not having enough RAM slots in case some new tech comes along from that direction. Of course that is not to say that AMD processors are ruled out. *sigh*

So to clarify, I'd like opinions/answers in regards to a mobo/cpu combo that will cost roughly $225 yet will also leave me open to upgrades in the future. I am much obliged to anyone who helps me out here.

And if I totally trounced message board etiquette by posting such a terribly long message then I am awfully sorry.


Before you answer any of these questions, a few others come to mind:

1) What CPU do you use now?
2) How will you be using this rig?
3) What games are you playing?

Thoughts:
Just because you have a mATX mobo and an AGP expansion slot does not mean you are out of gas yet. There are some pretty respectable video cards that will drop directly into your AGP mobo. Perhaps you could just pop a 7800GS and some RAM into your current rig and keep it going for another year or so before upgrading to a Conroe or AM2 system. It seems that most of the latest games are more GPU than CPU limited. Perhaps that vid-card and RAM upgrade would go a very long way.
May 2, 2006 10:21:24 PM

What's good about computer is that.. even if a new cpu is released, it doesnt mean that the old one will stop working and force you to upgrade again.

That being said, if you want a computer now, just get one.

But don't cripple that 7900 with a celeron.. Best right now would be socket 939 3000+ or 3200+ and and a nice PCI-e motherboard. get something simple. The Gigabyte K8nf-9 is a nice, fast and cheap motherboard that will run good with the video card. It may not have the extra feature of the more expensives chipset, like the nf4 ultra or SLI, but ist is just as fast. Don't be impressed by SATAII ... you don't gain anything noticeable from it right now.. And Actives Armour.. everybody disable it because it cause corruption. And the 4X HT link.. well, even 3X is still fast enough.

I had this motherboard in one system I sold to a friend and I can tell you it is a very nice basic motherboard. And not so expensive.

Get some Value RAM, 2x512 megs for 1 gigs and you'll be set.
a b V Motherboard
May 2, 2006 10:31:28 PM

Quote:

So what I am looking to do is add those components into a new case with a new motherboard and a new processor. What I don't want is to be stuck in this situation again, i.e. completely unable to upgrade when new stuff comes around(e.g. PCI-e.)

The reason for the exploding head is simple, or rather not so simple, as soon as I start looking at the wave of the future I get lost in a sea of Conroe, AMD2, and DDR2RAM. The real rub is I can't really justify spending more than $600 and I've already decided to get a 7900 GT.



The fact of the matter is that we are near the dawn of a new era in PC technology. It's basically out with the old and in with the new. Both Intel and AMD are doing this.

Let's start with AMD. They will be selling socket AM2 Athlon 64 this month. Socket 939 will die at the end of this year, but Socket 754 will continue to live a little while longer, that it's basically going to be on lifesupport until AMD decides to kill it off as well. Why kill S939, not S754? S754 Athlons are cheaper to make, also S939 can still compete with Socket AM2 because dual core CPUs will exist for both sockets.

AMD will no longer release any more S939 Athlon 64 models. AM2 Athlon 64s will come out initially with the same models as socket 939; i.e. X2 3800+, 4400+, 4800+. But they will also release faster CPUs soon enough. All future releases of S754 CPUs will be Semprons only, no more Athlons for S754. It's been that way for a while. The Sempron 64 3800+ may be the last model released before S754 goes the way of the dodo bird.

For the average user there will be no big difference between AM2 and S939 except for the fact that it uses DDR2 RAM. Both AM2 CPU and motherboards will be slightly more expensive than their S939 counterparts. AM2 will merely lay the ground works for AMD's next generation CPU, the K8L which is due out in spring.

I think that AMD will jack up the price of all S939 CPUs once production has ended to encourage people to migrate over to socket AM2. When the production line stopped for the venerable Athlon XP, AMD decided to increase the price sometime afterwards to encourage people to migrate over to the S754 Athlon 64.

Okay, it's Intel's turn. They will be releasing the Conroe CPU soon. June / July?? It is a major redesign. Based on preliminary benchmarks it seems to be able to crush the Athlon 64. That's nice, but I and plenty of other people want real benchmarks and reviews from the various hardware sites. It should also run a lot cooler as well. All this and no significant change in socket type, it is a LGA775 socket CPU which Intel has introduced not that long ago.

But there is one slight problem, while there are LGA motherboads available for sale Conroe need the i965 or i975XBX chipset to run. There are i975X mobos out right now, but there's no guarantee they will work with Conroe. I can't say for sure, but LGA775 maybe around until Intel releases a 35nm or 32 nm CPU.

These are the reason why some people are telling you to wait. Sure you can go with S939 right now, but it is very possible AMD will raise the price of those CPU in the not too distant future.[/b]
a b V Motherboard
May 2, 2006 10:37:39 PM

Quote:
I'm happy with my hard drive, optical drives, and power supply.



Before plugging in your power supply to anything new, you need to find out how powerful it is. A non overclocked 7900GTX can suck up to around 80w of power when it is set at 100% load. Power ATI GPUs are even worse.

Intel desktop CPU are notoriously more power hungry than Athlon 64, but Conroe should change that.
May 2, 2006 11:36:22 PM

Wow, thanks a bunch for all the responses. I really appreciate the rationale from the cooler heads and the spec and release dates also.

I've still not yet decided what I am going to do, but I think I might be jumping the gun on buying a new pc or even upgrading already. I've been playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and I sometimes get frustrated with all the choppy action.

Right now I have:
AMD Athlon XP 3200+
1g RAM
6600 GT
and I actually have a Far too powerful PSU I think it's 500w, heh.

That should last me until this "Dawn of new technology" passes, or at least until we have a clearer picture of the situation.

So I've decided to wait, save up money this summer and see what the future holds. Thanks very much for saving me all that money, and your general helpfulness.
May 2, 2006 11:54:06 PM

It might be worth your while to wait for the new offerings in CPUs, but in my view it would be best to upgrade now if you absolutely feel like you need a new computer. s939 may be dying, but it certainly doesn't mean it will be completely obsolete when AM2 is released. I know for a fact my s939 system will last for a very long time, as I see no need to have the latest, and more expensive, CPUs. I'm a gamer by nature so the only upgrades I will be doing is in the video card and memory department.

In my opinion the new CPUs, especially AM2, are overrated. Nothing I care about is demanding a vastly more powerful CPU. Add to that the fact that the price will be initially higher, and the first batch will probably still have a few bugs.

This is just complete guessing on my part:
I think AM2 and Conroe will not be the s939 killer until they go through a metaphorical puberty stage to get more efficient and faster, along with fixing bugs. This won't happen until about this time next year, and not many people in your situation would want to wait that long. Also, Vista will have been just released, and that too will probably take a few months for it to grow into a fully-working OS, just adding more and more time for people to wait.

It's all up to you, but it all comes down to how badly you want new hardware. Don't get stuck in the waiting cycle is all the advice I can give you.
May 4, 2006 1:15:17 PM

Quote:

and I actually have a Far too powerful PSU I think it's 500w, heh.


Not if its an Q-Tec PSU.
May 4, 2006 1:58:26 PM

Quote:

Years and years ago I built an Abit BP6, dual celeron system. At the time it was ass-kicking.


My BP6 was/is my favourite all time rig. Still running here on FreeBSD. Fantastic innovation from ABIT. :D  Nice to hear that I'm not the only bp6 fan here
May 5, 2006 2:24:22 AM

Get an Abit mobo, nice and cheap, combined with a Celeron, if you still want one. I'm not quite sure what the price of that is, most like $250. But yeah, just go with that, slap on a GB of RAM, your video card, at least 250GB of HD space, and there ya go.
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