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Planning to build a new development workstation

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July 22, 2006 12:55:00 AM

Hi.

I'm planning to build a new PC in the near future. I've been considering using the machine build described here (core details: Athlon 64 X2 3800+, Asus A8V, 2x Kingston 512MB ECC DDR400, Seagate 250GB SATA), but the page is a little old (in PC-technology time) so I thought I'd look for some feedback first.

My target price range is $500--1000, and I'm more interested in stability and price-performance ratio than utmost performance. The system will primarily be used for development (editing, compiling, regression testing, etc.). Because I can hold off on this purchase for a bit, I figure can wait until after AMD's planned price cuts.

Does anyone suggest other parts? I've read the 939 is a dead-end upgrade-wise, but then I'm not much of one to bother upgrading machines so maybe that's not a big issue for me. Also, Core 2 looks pretty slick, but I get the impression they'll be more pricey than the X2 after AMD's price cuts (although I'm willing to be convinced otherwise).

Any feedback greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

More about : planning build development workstation

July 22, 2006 3:22:05 AM

Thanks for the quick reply.

SupremeLaw: See the review in Computer Power User ("CPU") magazine for August, page 59, of the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe. This might be just the ticket for your needs.

Any relevant reasons I should spend $215 on that motherboard instead of e.g. $95 on the Asus M2V?

You can start by overclocking an 805, [...]

I'd rather not overclock (unless Intel and AMD have started covering that under their warranties).

FYI: the future is DDR2 memory, not DDR.

Maybe, but I thought benchmarks indicate little benefit for DDR2 memory today, the higher latency outweighing the additional bandwidth except at the highest frequencies.

Thanks again.
July 22, 2006 3:27:19 AM

Quote:
Thanks for the quick reply.

SupremeLaw: See the review in Computer Power User ("CPU") magazine for August, page 59, of the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe. This might be just the ticket for your needs.

Any relevant reasons I should spend $215 on that motherboard instead of e.g. $95 on the Asus M2V?

You can start by overclocking an 805, [...]

I'd rather not overclock (unless Intel and AMD have started covering that under their warranties).

FYI: the future is DDR2 memory, not DDR.

Maybe, but I thought benchmarks indicate little benefit for DDR2 memory today, the higher latency outweighing the additional bandwidth except at the highest frequencies.

Thanks again.


1) Never ever buy a motherboard based on a VIA chipset. They suck. Instead get the Asus M2N-E (around the same price, but with vastly superior nVidia chipset).
Asus M2N-E

2) With AM2 you dont have a choice, you have to use DDR2. Go AM2 for drop in 65nm CPUs in December, and quad core in 2007. Get Corsair XMS CAS4, DDR2-800 RAM.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145034
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July 22, 2006 4:16:38 AM

shadowduck: Instead get the Asus M2N-E (around the same price, but with vastly superior nVidia chipset). Asus M2N-E.

Thanks, that seems like a more reasonable suggestion.
July 22, 2006 2:17:58 PM

Quote:
My academic training biased me towards
long-term planning, for better or for worse.

I save $100 buying a MB with only one Gb LAN port,
or I spend that $100 buying a MB with 2 Gb LAN ports
(all other things being equal).

I would rather have an unused LAN port
out into the indefinite future,
than to need a second LAN port but
not have it when I need it.

So, when I can afford it, I prefer
"just in case" over "just in time".

It's just my bias, but it works in important
ways, e.g. when we upgraded to an HSDPA
broadband modem, we used a free PCI slot
for a PCI-to-PCMCIA adapter. Without that
empty PCI slot, I would have needed to
change to a better motherboard.

As it was, we popped the adapter into the PCI
slot, re-booted, and Windows XP detected
it automatically. Then, the modem worked
the first time in this adapter, because our
workstation now functioned like a laptop
with integrated PCMCIA slot.

Also, the value of labor usually increases
with time, and an extra $100 investment
now will very likely save more than that
amount in the foreseeable future.

At $150 per hour today, that difference is
only 40 minutes of time, whereas upgrading
a motherboard takes a lot more time
than that, particularly when shopping,
shipping and travel are all factored in.

Note that I didn't even mention the time
required to re-load Windows and all other
software which we routinely need and use
on a daily basis.

Last but not least, the machines we build
need to work in a Gigabit LAN group,
and that requirement by itself calls
for a number of specific requirements
which don't ususally come together
on low-end boards.

I hope that answers one of your questions;
if not, chalk it up to different management
styles.


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
http://www.supremelaw.org/


You know, considering the need for a 2nd NIC is very small anyway, it is still not worth $100 more for a motherboard just to have one. NIC cards cost like $10 to add in later, if there is ever a need for more than one NIC.

There is no reason to spend extra money on a "workstation" board unless there is a feature needed that cannot be found on any other motherboard or added otherwise.
!