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Is this a sensible computer upgrade to make now?

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May 10, 2006 6:27:17 PM

I was planning on ordering and building an AMD 3800+ X2 machine within the next few days. I currently have a AMD 2500+ Barton with an AGP GeForce 5200, 512Mb memory and an IDE hard disk. I want to upgrade so my computer will: be quieter; be more responsive at office/web/programming tasks; won't thrash when multi-tasking; be able to play the latest games on decent settings.

However, I've just started reading about Intel's Conroe and lots of people seem to be advising that now is bad time to be upgrading because of Conroe's expected good performance and low pricing.

I really want to upgrade now because I've not done it for 3 years but I don't want to have to throw away all my parts later if Conroe really is the Next Big Thing. I'm worried that if I wait for Conroe's release, I won't be upgrading until next year because I'll wait for prices to drop, mature motherboards to come out, have to find out which boards work with Linux (important for me) etc.

So, I'm thinking that if I build my computer with a dual core Pentium at the moment with DDR2 memory, I should be able to reuse most of it if I upgrade later (I'd have DDR if I went for the AMD build). Here is the rough spec I am looking at:

£ 92.81 Intel Pentium D 805 Socket775 , Smithfield Core, 2x2.66 GHz , 2MB Cache, Retail
£ 61.09 ASUS P5ND2-SLi NF4 SLI, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 667, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX

£ 113.30 2GB (2X1GB) Corsair Value Select, DDR2 PC4200 (533), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12

£ 134.94 Gigabyte GeForce 7600GT 256MB DDR3 PCIE Dual DVI S/Pipe 2
£ 86.89 Antec P180 Advanced Super Midi Tower Case - No PSU (Silver) (CA-039-AN)
£ 25.81 Pioneer DVR-111DBK Black 16x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer DVD Writer (Reduced Length) OEM
£ 41.00 430w Seasonic S12-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0
£ 45.70 160 Gb Samsung HD160JJ SpinPoint P80, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, NCQ, 8.9 ms

Total: £600

The memory I've chosen is similar to what has been used in the preview Conroe benchmarks, so I assume I would be able to reuse this when Conroe comes out. Is that correct?

This means that if I upgrade now, I'm going to gain a faster hard drive, decent video card, quiet case, good power supply, lots of memory and a decent CPU performance increase to what I've already got. Should I then decide to upgrade to Conroe later in the year, I shouldn't have to replace any parts except for the CPU and motherboard, so I would only be out of pocket by £150.

Does this sound like a sensible plan considering all the hype about Conroe at the moment? I really want to upgrade my machine, but the current CPU climate is making me hesitant.

More about : computer upgrade make

May 10, 2006 6:36:56 PM

Nevermind.
a c 474 à CPUs
May 10, 2006 6:49:40 PM

If you do not see yourself upgrading the CPU for a few years then go ahead with your planned X2 3800+ build. The X2 4200+ shouldn't be that much more.

Conroe will only work with the i965 and i975XBX chipsets. Your proposed motherboard for your Intel build is from nVidia and it will not be compatible with Conroe, unless nVidia has officially stated otherwise. Many people are hoping the i975X, which is currently available, will support Conroe, but that is doubtful.

Conroe or X2 3800+, either one will blow your current PC out of the water.

I too am intrigued by Conroe and have put off my upgrade until it comes out. But I'll probably be an early adoptor going with a version 1.0 mobo.
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May 10, 2006 7:01:07 PM

You HAVE TO get the Intel D975XBX motherboard rev. 304 otherwise you wont be able to install a Conroe CPU.
May 10, 2006 7:22:52 PM

I'm quite happy to throw away the CPU _and_ motherboard away, as they only cost £150, to upgrade to Conroe (i.e. I was not intending to get a Conroe compatible board now).

My idea is to upgrade now to an Intel board so I'll be getting DDR2 memory (I'll have to wait for AM2 for an AMD chip for this and it'll be more expensive) which will work fine in a future Conroe PC, saving me money on the memory. My question is, does this plan seem sensible and will it work?
a b à CPUs
May 10, 2006 7:26:27 PM

You dont want that Samsung Hard Drive. Samsung Hard Drives Suck!!
May 10, 2006 7:37:40 PM

This is what I see as my options right now:

* Wait for Conroe. Pros: Faster CPU for a good price. Cons: There might be delays when they launch, it might take a while to find Linux compatible boards, they might be more expensive than is being claimed (e.g. motherboard could be expensive).

* Get a non-AM2 AMD board + chip now. Pro: I get to upgrade now! Cons: Will have to buy DDR memory, which will not be compatible or will be very slow for a future Conroe system.

* Get an AM2 AMD board + chip now. Pro: I get to upgrade now! Will have DDR2 memory for future upgrades Cons: Likely to be quite expensive.

* Get an Intel board + chip now. Pro: I get to upgrade now! Will have DDR2 memory for future upgrades. Cheap. Cons: None I can see.

Will the DDR2 memory work with Conroe? Does my above analysis seem sound? If you were me, would you upgrade now? I don't really mind chucking the Intel board and chip to upgrade to Conroe in say 8 months time as they don't cost a lot.
May 10, 2006 7:39:02 PM

What's wrong with Samsung Spinpoints? Silentpcreview say they are the quietest drives you can get at the moment. I haven't read anywhere about them being unreliable, so I don't see what is wrong with them.
May 10, 2006 7:46:04 PM

I dont know why people think that AM2 is going to be so much more expensive. The only thing that will really be an increase in price in RAM. This wont be much.
a c 474 à CPUs
May 10, 2006 8:21:26 PM

Quote:
What's wrong with Samsung Spinpoints? Silentpcreview say they are the quietest drives you can get at the moment. I haven't read anywhere about them being unreliable, so I don't see what is wrong with them.


I believe he is referring to performance. In general, Samsung HDDS are about 1dBA - 2dBA quieter than their nearest competitor (Seagate, off the top of my head). While Seagates are only ever so slightly noiser than Samsungs, their HHDs performs better.
May 11, 2006 7:49:39 AM

I think the Pentium route would be fine. In your list of reasons to upgrade,

you say office/web/programming with decent multitasking, and play recent

games. The fact that you didn't list gaming first, as most people in the forums

do, leads me to believe that games aren't your top priority. If this is indeed

the case, then a pentium will be great for your needs- either the 805D, or

a 930D, and should be cheaper than an X2 3800+, and both overclock like

animals.
May 11, 2006 5:17:15 PM

Quote:
You dont want that Samsung Hard Drive. Samsung Hard Drives Suck!!

No offence dude, but I would say that Maxtor sucks ! In my point of view, that Samsung is just fine, but WD is the best solution ;) 
May 11, 2006 6:12:14 PM

Maxtor rules. WD is okay. Seagate sucks.


Anyway, why not go for the ASRock board if you're planning an AM2 upgrade, or as others say get a proper revision 975 board and get Conroe later. With the 805 you can uberclock it, apparently....so you can get a serious asskick machine much before Conroe.
a c 135 à CPUs
May 11, 2006 6:31:59 PM

Upgrade now, but don't plan on ditching the parts later; build another PC. That way, you'll have a backup, plus another machine for collaboration and/or gaming with a visitor, hosting a web site, or whatever. Though the total price will be higher, you'll have a more capable PC now, and a fallback if high prices, shortages, or other issues delay your upgrade plans later.
If it were me, I'd also save money by using a much cheaper case, just making sure it takes front and rear 120mm fans. I've bought two recently for $25-$29 each (no PSU, like yours), and have been entirely happy with them. One has a side window with 80mm fan, one doesn't.

As to hard drives, I don't think I've ever had a problem with WD. For workstation use, but NOT SCSI in servers, I've also been happy with Maxtor. I've not worked with Seagates lately; I remember them running a little hot, but that was years ago.
May 11, 2006 6:36:49 PM

Quote:
This is what I see as my options right now:

* Wait for Conroe. Pros: Faster CPU for a good price. Cons: There might be delays when they launch, it might take a while to find Linux compatible boards, they might be more expensive than is being claimed (e.g. motherboard could be expensive).

* Get a non-AM2 AMD board + chip now. Pro: I get to upgrade now! Cons: Will have to buy DDR memory, which will not be compatible or will be very slow for a future Conroe system.

* Get an AM2 AMD board + chip now. Pro: I get to upgrade now! Will have DDR2 memory for future upgrades Cons: Likely to be quite expensive.

* Get an Intel board + chip now. Pro: I get to upgrade now! Will have DDR2 memory for future upgrades. Cheap. Cons: None I can see.

Will the DDR2 memory work with Conroe? Does my above analysis seem sound? If you were me, would you upgrade now? I don't really mind chucking the Intel board and chip to upgrade to Conroe in say 8 months time as they don't cost a lot.


Conroe is just a rumor until you can go purchase one and its performance benefits are proven. Same with AM2.

For now, either the Intel 805D or the X2 3800 will be a serious upgrade from your current system though the latter (X2) would be a far more serious upgrade.

If you're definitely going the Conroe route then perhaps the 805D would be your best bet. Conroe will not be cheap if it is as good as has been suggested. But if you are going to use your syetem for a few years, the X2 is probably your best bet. Only you can decide.

I agree with others about your HDD while disagreeing at the same time. I prefer Seagate and Western Digital over all other brands and prefer Seagate due to their 5 year warranty. WD only offers 3 years. That's just my opinion and fortunately we do have all of these brands to choose from. Competition in a free market is a truly marvelous thing!
May 11, 2006 6:39:17 PM

Edit: Sorry, duplicate post.
May 11, 2006 7:07:29 PM

£ 92.81 Intel Pentium D 805 Socket775 , Smithfield Core, 2x2.66 GHz , 2MB Cache, Retail
£ 61.09 ASUS P5ND2-SLi NF4 SLI, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 667, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX

£ 113.30 2GB (2X1GB) Corsair Value Select, DDR2 PC4200 (533), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12

£ 134.94 Gigabyte GeForce 7600GT 256MB DDR3 PCIE Dual DVI S/Pipe 2
£ 86.89 Antec P180 Advanced Super Midi Tower Case - No PSU (Silver) (CA-039-AN)
£ 25.81 Pioneer DVR-111DBK Black 16x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer DVD Writer (Reduced Length) OEM
£ 41.00 430w Seasonic S12-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0
£ 45.70 160 Gb Samsung HD160JJ SpinPoint P80, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, NCQ, 8.9 ms

Total: £600


Does this sound like a sensible plan considering all the hype about Conroe at the moment? I really want to upgrade my machine, but the current CPU climate is making me hesitant.[/quote]


It almost looks like you've taken your system component for component for the THG D805 overclocking review. Im not an over clocker, but according to THG you can get 4.1Ghz with water cooling out of the smithfield cored D805, and at the level, it beats everything on the market right now, for $130 US

If you havent read the article, its here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/05/10/dual_41_ghz_core...


So, if you planning to overclock this setup, I would say go for it, but remember, when conroe and AM2 do come out, they will drive the prices on your proposed setup down
May 11, 2006 7:55:42 PM

Quote:
It almost looks like you've taken your system component for component for the THG D805 overclocking review. Im not an over clocker, but according to THG you can get 4.1Ghz with water cooling out of the smithfield cored D805, and at the level, it beats everything on the market right now, for $130 US

If you haven't read the article, its here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/05/10/dual_41_ghz_core...


So, if you planning to overclock this setup, I would say go for it, but remember, when conroe and AM2 do come out, they will drive the prices on your proposed setup down


Well I read it. Not being an overclocker either, I'd go with the X2 based exclusively on its stock performance. For a work machine (Word, email, Web, etc.) you just can't beat the 805D's price and it'd perform quite nicely.

Games are another story entirely. Reviews on the stock 805D will bear this out and most of the newer games simply won't be playable. I'm inclined to think that with Intel's current architecture, you probably need at least a 3.2GHz proc to play. If you're not at all a gamer but are price conscious, the 805D is a no-brainer.

Again, this is entirely from a non-overclock point of view. If you're willing to overclock, please disregard everything you just read here.

Finally, if Conroe turns out to be half of what they say it is, it will drive prices down on the current "D" series processors. I don't think this will be the case with AM2. Quite the contrary since AM2 won't offer any real performance enhancement until AMD is able to ramp up clock speeds with the 65nm process. But that won't happen for at least a while anyway and by then, the supply of socket 939 processors should be drying up nicely making them cost either the same or perhaps even more. This is my guess and I'm frequently wrong.
May 11, 2006 9:14:50 PM

get the 805 and overclock the hell out of it if you intend on getting a conroe, when conroe is released they will be competitivly priced and not that expensive, intel have already released price plans for them. To be honest i know you want to build a new system now, but building a second rate system is gonna take some of the fun out of it so i would recommend waiting until the 17th when AM2 is released and buy one of them if you really want NOW. that at least will leave to with a lot of direct CPU upgrades for a later date
May 11, 2006 11:40:17 PM

Thanks for all the responses and advice everyone!

I want to get the P180 case for good ventilation and to help dampen the sound of the machine. The Seasonic PSU and hard disk are also suppose to be quiet too. I'm nervous about getting a Intel chip at the moment due to how loud the stock fan is suppose to be. I could always replace the fan, but are there decent quiet fans for around £30? That's why I wanted to go the AMD route, because they run cooler.

I've never overclocked before, so I'm not sure what's involved. The Tom's Hardware article involved water cooling, so I'm not sure I'm that interested in any serious overclocking, especially if it means a noisy fan.

davidflet9: You're right, I'm itching to build a new machine that'll blow my current one away. :-) I'm frustrated that I've picked what looks like a bad time to do this though, with two new architectures coming out from Intel and AMD.

I'm 50% wanting to buy now and 50% willing to wait a couple of months. It'll be painful to buy now and find my machine would have been twice as powerful if I just waited though. I know new tech comes out all the time, but Conroe does look very promising and I keep reading hardcore overclockers/upgraders saying they're waiting.
May 12, 2006 12:39:05 AM

Will DDR2 667Mhz memory work in a non-AM2 AMD motherboard which supports DDR 400Mhz memory or is it incompatible? Somebody told me once that if you use memory that is too fast for your motherboard, it will just use it at the highest speed it can handle. I don't know if that it true or not or if DDR2 is completely different to DDR.

I'm thinking that I would prefer the AMD X2 3800+ for its quieter operation and cooler running temperature but I'd rather get the DDR2 memory for future upgrades (even if it runs at the lower speed because the price difference isn't much). I'm not sure about trying the AM2 motherboards as I need to know which ones work well in Linux.

I'm still indecisive about Conroe. I'm thinking that if I do upgrade to it in 6 months, is the speed increase going to be majorly significant compared to what usually happens each 6 months anyway? I would think that if I paid for the best CPU I could afford now for £200, it would be 30% slower than the one I would get if I had waited 6 months, and 30% slower again if I waited another 6 months etc. Based on the current Conroe benchmarks, what speed increase would I get from my £200 on a Conroe if I wait 6 months from now (AMD X2 3800+ is £200).
May 12, 2006 2:12:53 AM

Quote:
Will DDR2 667Mhz memory work in a non-AM2 AMD motherboard which supports DDR 400Mhz memory or is it incompatible? Somebody told me once that if you use memory that is too fast for your motherboard, it will just use it at the highest speed it can handle. I don't know if that it true or not or if DDR2 is completely different to DDR.

I'm thinking that I would prefer the AMD X2 3800+ for its quieter operation and cooler running temperature but I'd rather get the DDR2 memory for future upgrades (even if it runs at the lower speed because the price difference isn't much). I'm not sure about trying the AM2 motherboards as I need to know which ones work well in Linux.

I'm still indecisive about Conroe. I'm thinking that if I do upgrade to it in 6 months, is the speed increase going to be majorly significant compared to what usually happens each 6 months anyway? I would think that if I paid for the best CPU I could afford now for £200, it would be 30% slower than the one I would get if I had waited 6 months, and 30% slower again if I waited another 6 months etc. Based on the current Conroe benchmarks, what speed increase would I get from my £200 on a Conroe if I wait 6 months from now (AMD X2 3800+ is £200).


DDR2 and DDR, though somewhat similar (they're both memory types) are not compatible.

Processors are so fast now that more often than not, it's the video card holding you back. Whatever comes down the pike will actually be overkill depending on your applications. Point is, there will always be something newer and better. Never before has so much computing power been available, to everyone at any cost. Now is not a bad time to buy. But only you can decide on what you want and when you're ready. You pays your dollar and you takes your chances.
May 12, 2006 3:06:33 AM

What kind of DDR2 will Conroe need? I'm in exactly the same situation described here, but I really want to upgrade now, I'm still using a Pentium III 800 MHz.
May 12, 2006 10:37:18 AM

Conroe is not just an average 6 months get 30% faster thing, conroe is the first time since the dawn of netburst with P4 that intel has totally revamped its architecture, as conroe is released sometime in July its not really that far away in the grand scheme of things so probs have to wait until mid august before they are truly available here in UK, if you buy now, later on you will be looking at people with conroes saying aww wish i had waited! but at the end of the day its your call of course

As for bugme's question, most conroes will run on a 1066MHz FSB so you will need at least DDR2-533 but probs recommend DDR-667 just incase you ever feel the urge to overclock!
The extreme edition will require DDR-667 as it has a 1333MHz FSB
May 12, 2006 11:29:41 AM

Like I said though, I could spend £150 on a dual core Intel now with some DDR2 memory, and when Conroe comes along and I upgrade again in 6 months time, I'm only losing £150 if I throw away the non-Conroe chip and motherboard. That doesn't seem too bad. If I go the pre-AM2 AMD route though, I'll lose about £350 as the dual chips are more expensive and I'll have to get DDR memory.

How loud are Intel stock fans by the way? I keep hearing they are stupidly loud, which is why I'm not sure about getting one. I'll be putting it in a Antec P180 case, so I'm not sure if that'll dampen it enough. I suppose that if I spend £30/£40 on a custom heat-sink + fan for it, I could reuse it on a Conroe as they're suppose to run cooler.

More comments are well come; I keep flip-flopping between AMD/Intel/waiting. :-)
May 12, 2006 1:04:50 PM

you would be seriously daft to buy s939 AMD now as the new socket is released in 5 days time! as for the 805 thing now that actually sounds like a reasonable thing to do but its not 6 months till conroe its only 2, a 3rd party heatsink and fan is probably a good idea as they a much quieter and do a better job of cooling especially if your gonna overclock the 805 since conroe will be LGA775 then you new heatsink should (not saying anything for definate) fit on your new mobo and CPU

it would also be entertaining to clock the hell out of a 805!
May 12, 2006 1:45:11 PM

By waiting 6 months to upgrade to Conroe I mean waiting for:
* Conroe to be released and reviews to come out.
* it to be available in stores.
* CPU and motherboard prices to settle (I wouldn't want to pay a premium to get it first).
* releases of more mature motherboards and seeing if any of the early adopters have problems.
* reviews to find out which boards have good Linux support (will probably have to be nforce4 boards). I'd like a passively cooled board too, limiting my options more.

I don't think it's likely I'll be able to buy a Conroe in 2 months with the above requirements so getting an Intel dual core now seems like a good stop gap.
May 12, 2006 3:14:52 PM

I have an X2 3800 + in my machine right now (with 1 gb dual channel DDR and a 6600GT PCI-e video card) and I love it. I built it in January and I don't question my decision at all ... it was money well spent at the time.

Now, though, I don't know ... AM2 around the corner, using DDR2, and the new Intel, also DDR2 ... like other posters said, DDR2 is not backward compatible and won't work in an DDR motherboard.

I think your suggestion of Intel 805D is a good one. Look at it this way: the cpu is very cheap (around $130) and the compatible motherboard is cheap (around $90, right). And you can reuse you Linux with no problems (reusing OEM Windows XP might be problematic if change motherboard, but there's ways around that :lol:  )

Get the 805D and inexpensive motherboard now. Put your money in the best ram, video card and hard drive you can afford. And go ahead and buy a 500-watt power supply if you can afford it.
If the 805D turns out to give less performance than you'd hoped, you'll be set up (with good, fast memory and big-enough power supply) that you can overclock it up to 3.6 territory (4.1 ghz like in that article is not a guarantee for every chip).

Six to eight months from now, you can take another look and see the reality (around January or February): Is Conroe as good and inexpensive as promised? Is AM2 better than expected? Did AMD ramp up to 65nm production faster than some predicted? What are those new 65nm AMD AM2 chips doing compared to Conroe?

Then you can choose either Conroe or AM2. Buy new board, new cpu, reuse all your other stuff.

Also, don't believe the hype about buying a Conroe system in July. Other articles have indicated (including here on Tom's) that the first Conroe systems from OEMs (Dell, etc.) probably won't be WIDELY available until late August or early September (just in time for the back-to-school shopping rush, new computers for college kids).

See, Intel is going to treat its big customers right, first -- especially Dell, which has suffered somewhat due to Intel falling behind in the performance race. Sure, Intel has lots of fabs and is ramping up production of its new Conroe (Core 2 Duo), but Dell is going to get the lion's share first, followed by Sony, HP, Apple, and all the rest of the big boys. They're going to grab up every single chip from Intel as fast as Intel can get them into shipping trays.

The fanboys expecting to go online and buy a new Core 2 Duo (Conroe) chip in July are deluding themselves, IMHO. Maybe August, but it could be September (!) before home builders can depend on getting their hands on some.

Anyway, that's my analysis from reading (with a critical and discerning eye) all the stuff that's been floating around for a few weeks now.
May 12, 2006 4:47:37 PM

Quote:

See, Intel is going to treat its big customers right, first -- especially Dell, which has suffered somewhat due to Intel falling behind in the performance race. Sure, Intel has lots of fabs and is ramping up production of its new Conroe (Core 2 Duo), but Dell is going to get the lion's share first, followed by Sony, HP, Apple, and all the rest of the big boys. They're going to grab up every single chip from Intel as fast as Intel can get them into shipping trays.

The fanboys expecting to go online and buy a new Core 2 Duo (Conroe) chip in July are deluding themselves, IMHO. Maybe August, but it could be September (!) before home builders can depend on getting their hands on some.


Quote:


Excellent point
!