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Older Person --Needs advice

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August 29, 2006 10:44:32 PM

Hello,

I have been lurking on the boards and quite impressed with the knowlege here...I have been out of touch with all the upgrades for the last 2 or 3 years.

I would like to upgrade my computer but am having a hard time after reading the boards. I like the amd 64 X 3800 dual core at 1st, but then I read that for games....the single core will do just as good, which would save me money. Begins the confusion......Then I read that AMD processors are the way to go. I spent 8 hours on newegg adding up differ scenarios and I am getting frustrated.

This will mainly be for a gaming computer...not competing with anyone to have the best gaming computer but something that will get me by ...where i can use PCI Express....I currently have a geforce fx5200 256 ram AGP....I enjoy playing games like EQ, where i tend to get alot of lag when there are hundreds of players in the same area....So im thinking...I have to upgrade my motherboard to take advantage of the graphic cards


I decided on this case after reading some posts on this board and reading the reviews
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Same for the PSU

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

I am trying to stay in a budget of about $350 , which I know is hard to do, I will be gutting out my pent 4 3.0 ghz HP ......Which brings me 2 another question....can I remove the hard drive from my HP and make it work on another motherbaord ....I have learned that i will not be able to use the ram...If i go with a AMD board ...I kinda wanted to use the ram ( pc 3200 ddr sdram ) to save money but If the unamious vote is AMD...I can live with changing ram

I am not really worried about the video card yet.....as it will take me a week to put the thing together anyways....I have a 128 pci card that i can temporarily use since I am trying to get away from the agp card

Thank for all your help with this project.....Reccomendations would highly be appreciated with links to newegg with the product in reference....I get confused as there seems to be 4 or 5 tthings that look alike to me.

Well, go ahead and throw in a video card link if you like, cause I was looking at the 7600's and there was like 3 of them and i dont know the differ or what would be best

Jeff

More about : older person advice

August 30, 2006 12:46:29 AM

Quote:
Hello,

I am trying to stay in a budget of about $350 , which I know is hard to do, I will be gutting out my pent 4 3.0 ghz HP ......Which brings me 2 another question....can I remove the hard drive from my HP and make it work on another motherbaord ....I have learned that i will not be able to use the ram...If i go with a AMD board ...I kinda wanted to use the ram ( pc 3200 ddr sdram ) to save money but If the unamious vote is AMD...I can live with changing ram



Since you are changing around a lot of hardware, you will need to install a fresh copy of Windows XP so that the correct drivers can be installed for the motherboard and CPU. If you do not have the installation CD then you will need to add that to the cost of your new PC.

Below is a list of parts for a build that is under the $350 budget. That includes rebates, and a 7600GT, but not shipping.

CPU:
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (2.2GHz) - $91

Although the Intel Core 2 Duo CPU (dual core CPU) is the way to go, such a system is beyond your budget. This Athlon 64 3500+ is socket 939 and you will be able to use your DDR 400 (PC 3200) RAM with it. This CPU should last you for a while.

Motherboard
ECS RX480-A (1.0) Socket 939 ATI XPRESS 200P - $57 - $10 Mail-In Rebate = $47

This is a budget motherboard that has some good reviews. Don't expect a lot of bells and whistles for the price.

RAM
Reuse your DDR 400 (PC 3200) RAM. - $0

Case & Power Supply
Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black w/ 450w PSU - $110 - $15 Mail-In rebate = $95

Antec is one of those few companies that makes good cases and good power supplies. A solid case and good power supply. There is a $20 instant rebate but it expired today.

Video Card
BFG Tech BFGR76256GTOCE Geforce 7600GT - $144.50 - $30 Mail-In rebate = $114.50


Total Cost - Before Rebates = $402.48

Total Cost - After Rebates = $347.48

Total Cost - After Shipping = $374.66

------------------

Additional notes:

The Socket AM2 Athlon 64 is AMD's newest version of the Athlon 64 CPU. Other than the being physically incompatible with a socket 939 motherboard, it adds DDR2 RAM support. However, performance remains the same between an Socket AM2 and Socket 939 of the same model (i.e. AM2 A64 3500+ vs. 939 A64 3500+). You would only see a very small increase in performance if you were to buy very fast, but very expensive DDR2 800 RAM.
August 30, 2006 1:34:47 AM

Hiya,

Thanks for the reply it is really appreciated......


For some reason , I am really attracted to this case...do you think the other one you suggested is a better case ? Everything I hear about Cooler Master is good for the most part.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

This power supply had a exellent rating in the 94% percentile out of 68 reveiws...again let me know if you think I should stick to your combo that you suggested !

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...


Going to go with the 3800 ...what the heck in the line you suggested !

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

If I had the extra money...would you go for the AMD Processors & Boards, is this going to keep me from upgrades in the future ? Are these cases compatable with AMD's ....Im just wondering what all i would have to upgrade in the future....besides the board and processor !


Here is the board you selected , You mentioned that it doesnt come with the bells and whistles....will I have to upgrade this board anytime soon ?

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Once again, thanks for all your time, anymore responses would be greatly appreciated

P.s No installation Cd....HP has windows xp partioned in the hard drive...so they dont give you a installation cd....another reason, why I want to build my own. So , I cant use my old hard drive...dirty ratz

PSS Here is the specs of my system right now....will i notice a big improvement with the above specs

SPECIFICATIONS

3GHz Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading Technology
512 MB RAM (PC3200 DDR SDRAM Single Stick)
NVIDIA GeForce FX5200 (APG 8X, 128MB DD Memory, TV out & DVI support)
200GB Hard drive (7200RPM Ultra DMA)
Combo Drive - HP DVD Writer 300c (DVD+RW/CD-RW) and Asus CD-S480/AH (CD-ROM 48X Speed)
Floppy disk drive
9 in 1 Media reader (Compact Flash I/II, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital (SD), Micro Drive, xD Picture Card
Integrated AC '97 Sound card (6-channel configurable audio)
Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
High-speed 56bps V.92 data/fax
PORTS

7 USB (3 front, 4 back)
2 Firewire (IEEE 1394) port (1 front, 1 back)
PS/2 Keyboard
PS/2 Mouse
Serial port
Parallel port
VGA (monitor port)
Audio IN, OUT, and MICROPHONE

Thanks

Jeff
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August 30, 2006 3:18:31 AM

Quote:
Hiya,

Thanks for the reply it is really appreciated......


For some reason , I am really attracted to this case...do you think the other one you suggested is a better case ? Everything I hear about Cooler Master is good for the most part.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

This power supply had a exellent rating in the 94% percentile out of 68 reveiws...again let me know if you think I should stick to your combo that you suggested !

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...



Nothing wrong with the case and power supply you selected, I was just browsing for better deals. But I didn't realize that the $20 instant rebate expired today until after I reviewed everything I typed.

In fact I have the Centurion 532 case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Quote:

Going to go with the 3800 ...what the heck in the line you suggested !

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

If I had the extra money...would you go for the AMD Processors & Boards, is this going to keep me from upgrades in the future ? Are these cases compatable with AMD's ....Im just wondering what all i would have to upgrade in the future....besides the board and processor !


Here is the board you selected , You mentioned that it doesnt come with the bells and whistles....will I have to upgrade this board anytime soon ?

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...



By "bell and whitles" I mean limited overclocking potential, no firewire, no more than 4 USB ports, and no support for Crossfire or SLI. Crossfire is dual video card support for ATI cards, and SLI is dual video card support for nVidia. Just in case you didn't know.

If you want to spend a little more then you should buy the:

Asus A8N-E ATX Motherboard - $86 + $6 shipping

Not much more than the ECS, but I wanted to stay within the $350 budget. The Asus A8N-E is pretty good at overclocking so that you can force the PC to run fast so that you get "free performance".

-------------------------------------------
SKIP THIS SECTION IF YOU KNOW WHAT OVERCLOCKING IS

Just in case you don't know, overclocking is done by forcing the CPU and RAM to run at higher frequencies than standard. It is generally advised to get fast RAM for better overclocks. Your RAM is only DDR 400, so the motherboard will recognize the RAM at 200MHz. The 3500+ has a clock multiplier of 11, so 200MHz X 11 = 2.2GHz. If you can push your RAM to say 220MHz, then the CPU will be operating at 2.42GHz (220MHz X 11).

Generally, when overclocking you may need to increase the voltage to the CPU and RAM to maintain stability. Overclocking is not guaranteed and is different for each person even when the same parts are used.

There is an overclocking section is this forum if you want to find out more info.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

As for the CPU, the Athlon 64 3800+ is pretty good. The only other single core CPU that is faster and doesn't cost too much is the:

Athlon 4000+ - $135

The only difference is an extra 512KB of L2 cache which generally give a small performance boost.

I'm sure you know or heard that the dual core CPU is all the rage now. I'm building a rig around the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 CPU that simply crushes AMD's Athlon X2 lineup. Most games right now do not take advantage of dual core CPUs yet. But that is slowly starting to change. That's not to say the single core 3800+ will become obsolete though. It is a very fast CPU and should be capable of running games for at least another 3 years. Most games are limited by the power of the video card.

Assuming you wanted to splurge $187 for the Socket 939 Athlon X2 4200+ which has two cores running at 2.2GHz each, you will only see a minor performance increase (5% maybe?) in gaming performance for games that are not multi-threaded (dual CPU enabled). Maybe you won't see any improvement at all. But multi-threaded games are coming out and that will take advantage of the dual core CPUs.

This is a review of the Athlon X2 CPUs when they were first released. Look at the Athlon 64 3800+ and the X2 4200+ which are both clocked at 2.2GHz. Not much performance difference is there?

However, games that can take advantage of multiple CPU cores can see a performance difference. Back in December of 2005, Intel released a patch for Quake 4 that provides multi-threaded support for the game. It works for both AMD and Intel CPUs. Click this link for some performance benchmarks. Look that the X2 3800+ and the X2 4800+. The blue bar represents SMP off (Symmetric multiprocessing), the yellow bar represents SMP on (for multi-threaded cpu support). Notice the increase in performance. Oblivion is a current game that also supports dual core CPUs, but if I remember correctly, there is not much of an increase in performance between a single core and dual core CPU clocked at the same speed. I think it was only a 10% increase.

Quote:

P.s No installation Cd....HP has windows xp partioned in the hard drive...so they dont give you a installation cd....another reason, why I want to build my own. So , I cant use my old hard drive...dirty ratz


Well the hidden partition should contain the necessary drivers so just backup any and all important data, then simply reinstall. However, the Windows XP version is customized for HP PCs so it might install drivers that your PC will not need. Therefore, there may be some necessary manual clean up that you need to do using "Add/Remove Programs" in the Control Panel.

Quote:

PSS Here is the specs of my system right now....will i notice a big improvement with the above specs

SPECIFICATIONS

3GHz Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading Technology
512 MB RAM (PC3200 DDR SDRAM Single Stick)
NVIDIA GeForce FX5200 (APG 8X, 128MB DD Memory, TV out & DVI support)
200GB Hard drive (7200RPM Ultra DMA)


You will notice a decent amount of improvement. Click this link so see how the Athlon 64 3400+ compares to the P4 3.4GHz.

Okay, looking at your above specs, I recommend adding another stick of DDR 400 512MB RAM. The socket 939 Athlon 64 CPUs are dual channel processors. Basically that means they will perform better when there is a pair RAM sticks. By having just one stick of RAM, you will effectively cut the bandwidth of the data transfer in half, meaning data will transfer slower. It won't matter if it is a lot of data or a little data, the transfer speed will be slower if there is only one stick of RAM.
August 30, 2006 3:34:41 AM

Wow...thanks for all the informative information, I feel like I have a better understanding now....I wasnt expecing the computer to be much faster with just the processor change but having a board enabled pciE card was my main goal to notice a performance boost in gaming over my old MB wich had the agp .

When I 1st bought this computer i added another 512 ram , so i already have that covered.....

One last question...Im going to go ahead and by a new Windows xp edition , I dont want to take a chance and mess this computer up, but could you reccomend a inexpensive hard drive for this venture....wanted to keep it under $60 I just need a temp one, i can always get a new one or add to it

Thanks alot for all your help, I appreciate your time and the informative articles, very interesting

Jeff
August 30, 2006 4:10:32 AM

Quote:

One last question...Im going to go ahead and by a new Windows xp edition , I dont want to take a chance and mess this computer up, but could you reccomend a inexpensive hard drive for this venture....wanted to keep it under $60 I just need a temp one, i can always get a new one or add to it


HITACHI Deskstar T7K250 160GB SATA Hard Drive - $54 + $5.64 shipping.

Hell, I'm still using my IBM Desktar 75GXP 60GB hard drive from 1999. IBM sold their hard drive division to Hitachi a few years ago.


I forgot to mention one important piece of information before. AMD is killing off production of the socket 939 Athlon 64 by the end of this year. They have already stopped production of all Athlon 64 with 1MB of L2 Cache. Therefore the fastest single core Athlon 64 CPU you can buy is the 4000+. The fastest dual core Athlon 64 X2 CPU you can buy is the X2 4800+. I expect AMD will increase the prices of all S939 Athlons next year to "motivate" people into buying the socket AM2 Athlons.

Shortly after the socket 754 Athlon 64 was introduced, AMD jacked up the prices of the Athlon XP to "convince" people to switch over to socket 754. I expect a similar situation with the S939 Athlons. Therefore, while the S939 X2 4200+ is now $187, a year from now it may cost $207 or more.

If you have no plans on doing a major upgrade within the next 2 - 3 years, then there's nothing really to worry about. After that amount of time you'll probably want an entirely new setup anyway.
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