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I've never been so confused

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June 7, 2006 5:43:54 PM

My AGP video card exploded last week, so I have to change my computer in the next few weeks. I had an overclocked Barton 2500+/A7N8X 2.0 Deluxe/9700 Pro, and I was supposed to change it in november anyway. It's the 3rd system I'll have to build for myself, and I built about a dozen for my family/friends. And for the first time in my life I don't know what to build...

AMD:
I'd prefer a ATI card, possibly a X1900XT (the XTX is way too expensive for the small increase in performance) and I'd like to be able to upgrade to crossfire eventually, but to go this way I either choose an 939 board since there's no AM2 board with crossfire support. Or I could choose a good NF5 board, but I'll have to pick-up an Nvidia GPU. I have nothing against Nvidia, but I prefer the way ATI is going with their emphasis on image quality and not on ultra high resolution. I just bought a Samsung 204B anyway, so I'll stay with a 1600x1200 screen for at least 5-6 years. Either way, I'll probably end up paying too much money for my CPU, since the X2 are pretty expensive right now. The pricing Intel announced on their Conroe is pretty sweet, with the 2.4Ghz version going for 316$ in 1000, so ~400 at retail when they'll be available.

Intel:
So I could go with a cheap Intel Pentium D like an overclocked 805 and upgrade in a year or 2 to a Conroe. But there's no chipset actually that support both these processors, and the next 965 will not support either Crossfire or SLI. The 975 chipset would have been perfect, but the current versions will not support the Conroe.

I'd like to wait, but it's not really an option since my home computer is dead. I really don't like any of my options.

Any idea?

More about : confused

June 7, 2006 6:48:19 PM

Why would have you to pick an Nvidia GPU with an NF5 board? NF5 boards will run ATI video cards just fine, just like a ATI board will run an nVidia GPU.

Conroe will be out in like month to month and a half, but if you need something now, go AM2.

I would get Athlon 64 3000+, good NF5 board, ATI 1900XT (Crossfire and SLI are a complete waste of money unless you can provide the second video card in 90 days), and 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM. In december when 65nm CPUs are released upgrade to a dual core 65nm AMD CPU then.
June 7, 2006 7:16:15 PM

I like the idea of going with a cheap AMD CPU for now. Thanks.

The main reason I was looking for a crossfire board was for the possiblity to use the 1900XT for physics in 1-2 years when I'll upgrade the GPU. Is there a possibility crossfire won't be needed, since the 2nd card won't be for graphics anyway?
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June 7, 2006 7:59:03 PM

The AMD 3500+ is a good, cheap, CPU. On NewEgg it can be had for $189, on AM2.

I haven't heard much about that Physics thing from ATI, I'd wait until some official news, as it's only Computex... OK, maybe it is official, but there might be a catch or something.

~Ibrahim~
June 8, 2006 12:03:03 AM

Quote:
I like the idea of going with a cheap AMD CPU for now. Thanks.

The main reason I was looking for a crossfire board was for the possiblity to use the 1900XT for physics in 1-2 years when I'll upgrade the GPU. Is there a possibility crossfire won't be needed, since the 2nd card won't be for graphics anyway?


You can buy physics cards now. A company called Aegis makes them. So you, you do not need an X-fire or SLI board to see this. Just need a slot for it.
June 8, 2006 12:40:57 AM

To be honest, I seriously doubt the viability of the new Crossfire Physics setup they have been talking about. It seems a bit too complicated to me, and even if it isn't, the physics rendering will be so complex by the time that the crossfire physics becomes standard/mainstream, anything you buy today will be completly obsolete and relatively useless.

I agreee with shadowduck: Definitely go for the AM2 now if you must buy now, and don't worry about the Crossfire. Also get good ram if you intend on keeping it for a while. Then upgrade again when the technologies have matured a bit more and you can see with more definition where they are going with everything.
June 8, 2006 1:16:28 AM

There are many that support Conroe. The most popular is the Intel board, surprisingly.
June 8, 2006 1:35:11 AM

I really like the idea of getting a cheap single core Athlon64 and upgrading in 6-12 months to a 65nm dual or quad core.

What do you think of this setup:

- ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe (I probably don't need 590 version, but I really like the quality and overclocking possibilities of ASUS deluxe boards)
- AMD Athlon64 3200+ AM2 (as a temporary solution)
- Mushkin XP PC2-6400 2x1024MB DDR2-800 CL 4-4-3-10
- ATI Radeon 1900XT
- Western Digital Raptor 74 GB 10k RPM(the new one with 16 MB cache) as my system/software/games drive.
- Western Digital Caviar SE 16 250 GB 7200RPM as my data drive (I already have it)
- Thermaltake Toughpower 700W (I really like the slow and - hopefully - quiet 140mm single fan)
- Antec Sonata II (I already have it)
- Zalman Reserator 1 Plus (not so much for the water cooling part but for the no-noise part. I know it's not the best cooling kit around, but it appears to be at least as good as any air-based solution while being also totally silent...)

Please feel free to comment! :D 



:arrow: As for the physics card, I strongly believe that both Nvidia and ATI solutions will be superior to the Ageia offering.

~300 million transistors, 512Mb GDDR3 memory, PCIE 16x
vs.
~125 million transitors, 128Mb GDDR3 and normal PCI.

Sure the Ageia card is designed only for physics calcultation, but the X1900 is still a powerhouse of 128 bits floating point computing, so I guess using an old card as a physics engine makes sense. But only the future will tell.
June 8, 2006 1:39:58 AM

Quote:
There are many that support Conroe. The most popular is the Intel board, surprisingly.


Well at least in my part of the world (far far away Canada), none of them is available. I looked for Gigabyte, Intel and ASUS high-end cards, and they're all on back-order, except for the Intel that I can order online, but I have no way to know the revision number and be sure it'll be compatible with Conroes.
June 8, 2006 1:40:18 AM

I don't have an opinion on the motherboard as I have not been shopping for AM2 yet, but I have the 939 version of the proc and its good for me. Also the rest of the setup sounds fine. But with the Zalman, you WILL have to do watercooling, not too problematic, just know what you are getting into.
June 8, 2006 1:47:23 AM

Quote:
But with the Zalman, you WILL have to do watercooling, not too problematic, just know what you are getting into.


I know, I just wanted to make sure some hardcore overclocker wouldn't tell me how crappy it is and how a lot of more powerful, custom-built, nuclear powered solution with 2750 fans would be preferable. :roll:

But I must admit that I'll be a little nervous when tearing my 400$ video card and my 200$ motherboard appart. :? And I really hope the raptor won't be too loud since the rest of my computer will be so quiet...
June 8, 2006 1:53:15 AM

Make sure you test the entire watercooling setup for at least 24 hours for leaks before putting power to the rest of your system. You wouldn't want to drown $600 worth of equipment, would you?
June 8, 2006 4:44:15 AM

Nice setup! Enjoy.. But there is no need to even go 3200+. Go 3000+ which will overclock a little better. :) 
June 8, 2006 1:23:55 PM

Well there's been a enormous price drop in single core AM2 overnight (all price canadian, and all processors Athlons, not Semprons):

3000+ 109.99$
3200+ 119.99$
3500+ 139.99$ <-- Now that's a bargain
3800+ 175.99$ <-- Unbelievable

I wonder if the dual cores will have the same drop in the next few days!
June 8, 2006 2:11:15 PM

Quote:
Well there's been a enormous price drop in single core AM2 overnight (all price canadian, and all processors Athlons, not Semprons):

3000+ 109.99$
3200+ 119.99$
3500+ 139.99$ <-- Now that's a bargain
3800+ 175.99$ <-- Unbelievable

I wonder if the dual cores will have the same drop in the next few days!

Where did you find those prices? I'm in Canada, so I've been looking for good deals....
June 8, 2006 2:25:17 PM

You Canadians, with your cheap parts! Life isn't fair! (lol, jk)

But that 3500+ only costs $124 American dollars! Holy shite, what site did you get this from? Do they ship to the US?

~Ibrahim~
June 8, 2006 5:36:02 PM

Quote:
And I really hope the raptor won't be too loud since the rest of my computer will be so quiet...


If your worried about the raptor being too loud, or even the loudest component in your system why not try one of the puppies from silentmaxx http://www.silentmaxx.de/index.php?id=9&L=1&ftu=7f2e751... they also great for keeping ur precious raptor cool running at such high rpm's..
June 8, 2006 5:42:38 PM

Quote:
If your worried about the raptor being too loud, or even the loudest component in your system why not try one of the puppies from silentmaxx http://www.silentmaxx.de/index.php?id=9&L=1&ftu=7f2e751... they also great for keeping ur precious raptor cool running at such high rpm's..


Wow thanks for the link. Any idea where I can find these in North-America?

I guess I'll wait and see. I can always add one later if my raptor is too loud. My Sonata II case already come with rubber padding for the HDs, so I hope it'll help...
June 8, 2006 6:46:18 PM

Raptors are quite loud, no getting away from it, but the speed is worth it IMO.

If you use rubber washers around the mounting screws it helps a lot with the seek noise.
June 8, 2006 9:30:10 PM

Quote:
Raptors are quite loud, no getting away from it, but the speed is worth it IMO.

If you use rubber washers around the mounting screws it helps a lot with the seek noise.


I used a pair of rubber bands stretched around the whole hard drive long ways. It seems to work pretty well, have had it that way for a couple months now.
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