Hi, and thanks for any help or advice you might have for me. I'm thinking about upgrading my older computer for something a little newer and faster. Don't laugh (too hard), but as you can see by my screen name, I'm still kicking it with a 1.1 ghz P3 with 512 of RAM. It's fine for web surfing (updating fantasy football rosters), basic e-mail, listening to music, all the basics. Lately I've been doing a little bit more gaming (Call of Duty, AoE 2 and 3, Medal of Honor) and while they do play with the FX5200, they obviously don't play well. I also and trying to back up about 100 DVDs, and catalogue a few hundred CDs onto my iPod. I don't need the fastest thing out there, but something faster than what I have would be great.
Pretty much I can get a SATA 3.0 hard drive for about 100 (either barracuda 320 or WD caviar 250) or keep my current IDE 120GB WD caviar; video card for 140 (eVGA 7600 GT); memory for 104 (Corsair DDR2 XMS 5400 or 6400 512x2 kit); and a good mother board from ASUS for anywhere from 100 to 150 - so under $500 before the processor. I'm going to use the DVD burner, DVD drive, case, and power supply off my current rig (350W antec with 17A on 12v rail - not ideal, but won't be overclocking either).
I'm trying to keep my CPU between $100 and $175. What's the best bang for the buck for me now that everything has dropped? I've kinda narrowed it down to the P4 511, PD 805, PD 915, P4 630, A64 3500+, and the A64x2 3800+. A monkey wrench in this is the bottom of the ladder conroe which I think is going to be around $180 or so. Will it be that much better than any of these listed?
On a self imposed budget, which way would you go for the best possible overall machine right now?
I suggest visiting pricewatch to maximise your savings. Once the conroe comes out you can see all the prices for amd and intel and pick whichever one you want.. I would get a 2 core processor because it sounds like you do multitask and it will speed that up quite a bit.
We decided to raise the stakes a bit and decided to compare the E6300 running at its default clockspeed of 1.86 GHz with an AMD 3800+ X2 overclocked to 2.5 GHz. We felt it would be interesting to see how it would fair against the opposition which had a clock speed advantage of almost 700 MHz.
However to be fair, we also ran the benchmarks on the E6300 at 2.5 GHz to give a clock to clock comparison.
The Athlon X2 3800+ is definitely the best choice for you and your budget, considering it is only $155. Yes, the Conroe E6300 is only SUPPOSED to cost around $180, but consider the limited availability and high demand that will be surrounding it at first. Also, the cheapest motherboard available for Conroe is a whopping $170, where as a nice AMD board is only around $70. Just because Conroe is here, people think it is the only option worth buying.
I think you had better plan on budgeting some $$ for a power supply. Your old 350 watt Antec probably isn't enough to support the configuration you're planning not to mention the new power supply standards that have been instituted since the P3's were first introduced...
the PSU is actually fairly new. I know it's only 350W, but that's all I needed for my P3 rig (can I even use the word "rig" when talking about a P3 system?). I purchased it I think 2 years ago when my other PSU died. It's a quality Antec unit, but only has 17A on the 12V rail. I was thinking that since the 3800+ x2 and the 6300 aren't power hogs, and I'll be running a 7 series nVidia card, with only 1 HD, and 2 sticks of memory, I should be ok with only 350W, right? I don't plan on overclocking. If it were a no name 350W supply, I would agree with you.
By the way, thanks for the 3800 vs. 6300 comparison, but I understand what the one guy said about the cheapest MB for a conroe right now is a good $80 more than a good AM@ board right now, at least, so I've got to put that in the equasion as well.
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone, keep them coming...
My Antec 420 PSU wasn't adequate for my upgrade to an ABIT AV8 mobo, an AMD 3500 and 6600gt video card. It needed 20 amps on the 12v rail to boot consistantly and I understand that's not an uncommon situation. The standards issue is also something to keep in mind. A new motherboard may require a 24 pin connection and the Antec 350 may not support it. The issue, I think, is to research the power supply requirements carefully, because a under powered PC can cause a lot of strange problems.
"On a self imposed budget, which way would you go for the best possible overall machine right now?"
The lower-end Conroes are not likely to be available for a few more weeks (at minimum). Their pricing at release is speculative at best. If you can wait awhile this may be worth your time.
However, AMD seems determined to match $/performance with its products. I see $169 as a super deal for an X2 3800+. For "right now" this is what I would do. Also, you will need a new PSU but that does not have to cost a fortune...
FSP AX400-PN 400watt 12v:18+16a PSU 20+4pin $42+9 7/06 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817104953
This one will work nicely and is well built.