Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Want to help upgrade an ambivalent dinosaur?

Last response: in Systems
Share
October 23, 2006 11:56:45 PM

I know everyone and their pet iguana already have a "help me build my next system" post. But ... what the heck ... here I go.

My current system is an ACorp (are they still in business?) 6A815EPD motherboard with dual Pentium III 800MHz CPUs and 512MB (the max) of PC133 SDRAM. Yes. I really am a dinosaur. (I'm also clearly not a gamer. :wink:) 

What am I thinking of getting? Just the bare basics to upgrade.
[*:ccb17710d2]new processor
[*:ccb17710d2]new motherboard
[*:ccb17710d2]new RAM
[*:ccb17710d2]probably a new video card (Not something I want, but clearly my AGP card is not going to work in a PCI Express motherboard).
When I consider upgrading I've only been considering motherboards which support DDR2 RAM and the new dual CPU processors (Conroe & Athlon X2). I guess my thinking here is to try to leave open the option to go to a quad core in, say, 5 years from now.

FWIW, I also know in my bones that I definitely do not want a PC that can function as a backup space heater. Aside from having two CPU's the other thing I really love about my current system is that the CPU temps max out around mid-30 degrees C. The less power a processor ... or CPU chipset for that matter ... consumes, the better it looks to me.

I also don't want to spend much beyond $300. (Not sure if this is possible, but it's my current budget number).

At first I was thinking, try to go for the new Core 2 Duo on the cheap. But more recently I'm thinking I might be more likely to hit my price point by going in the AM2 Athlon X2 direction.

Bottom line: At this point I'm still an ambivalent dinosaur looking for any advice that might help me move towards the 21'st century.

-john

P.S. Everyone always asks what other hardware you've got. I'm not sure if it's worth listing, but what the heck:
[*:ccb17710d2]RaidMax RX-630A power supply
[*:ccb17710d2]2 PATA DVD/RW. Plextor 760A and NEC 3550A.
[*:ccb17710d2]6 PATA drives: two 120GB, one 160GB, three 250GB.
[*:ccb17710d2]1 SATA drive: a 400GB Seagate.
[*:ccb17710d2]Creative Audigy 2 PCI card.
[*:ccb17710d2]Promise SATA 300 TX2 PCI card.
[*:ccb17710d2]a generic NEC USB 2 PCI card.
[*:ccb17710d2]an ethernet PCI card (remember those?? :wink:) 
October 24, 2006 12:46:33 AM

Quote:
That's not an upgrade it's a full system build.

Look into getting a C2D. There are top of the line right now.


(First off this dual P 800 is a good system that will take advantage of multithreading written into the newest software. It's nothing to be sneezed at.)

Actually what's being discussed IS an upgrade to the processing core (CPU, MB, and Memory), notice the other hardware he already has:
RaidMax RX-630A power supply
2 PATA DVD/RW. Plextor 760A and NEC 3550A.
6 PATA drives: two 120GB, one 160GB, three 250GB.
1 SATA drive: a 400GB Seagate.
Creative Audigy 2 PCI card.
Promise SATA 300 TX2 PCI card.
a generic NEC USB 2 PCI card.
an ethernet PCI card

An upgraded motherboard will have on-board ethernet, USB2 and Raid, so the PCI card, USB card, and the funky Promise Raid card can go (I've had the latter in a P3-1000, so I kow whereof I speak.) The power supply MAY have to be replaced. And maybe the case.

However $300 won't cut it, since the cheap D805 is to be avoided in this case because of heat and power concerns, the minimum AMD or Core2Duo is still $200 or so, plus the MB, plus memory....
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 24, 2006 1:21:15 AM

Meeting the budget guideline with a clear upgrade path through C2D and C2Q with this motherboard.
GIGABYTE GA-965G-DS3 w/onboard X3000 IGP video $149.99
Intel Celeron D 331 Prescott 2.66GHz 256KB L2 Cache $55.99
Patriot Signature 1GB DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) $99.99 1 stick in single channel mode.
Total upgrade price is $300.97

The major shortfall is PATA/IDE with the single channel (2 devices) on the 965 chipsets.
SYBA SD-ATA133 PCI IDE Ultra Controller Card $13.99 to support up to 4 more IDE hard drives.
Related resources
October 24, 2006 2:51:54 AM

Quote:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
On board Nvidia graphics with available pci express slot and is full atx

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...
1gb ddr2 800 ram


Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to take a closer look at the GIGABYTE GA-M55plus-S3G. If it's a stable board, then it might be a good way to go to postpone getting a new video card. Also, given my PATA legacy, I very much like the fact that it has 2 IDE connectors, not just 1.

But it also looks like I'll have to consider either biting the bullet and moving my budget up to ~$400 or waiting until later in 2007 to buy :roll:. Drat and double drat and hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Either way it certainly looks like I'm not going to be getting any new stuff this month. May have to wait until after Thanksgiving and see where relative prices are then.

-john
October 24, 2006 3:08:06 AM

Quote:
(First off this dual P 800 is a good system that will take advantage of multithreading written into the newest software. It's nothing to be sneezed at.)


Thanks for the kindly words about my antique. :) 

Quote:
An upgraded motherboard will have on-board ethernet, USB2 and Raid, so the PCI card, USB card, and the funky Promise Raid card can go (I've had the latter in a P3-1000, so I know whereof I speak.)


My Promise TX2 is not a RAID card. Just 2 SATA and 1 IDE connectors. And since I have so many PATA drives, I may continue to use it just for the 2 IDE devices it supports.

I'll be happy to loose the ethernet and USB 2.0 cards though.

-john
October 26, 2006 1:58:02 AM

Sooooooo I've moved my price point up to $400, but I am still not sure what to do. I've been trying to read up ... mostly on Core 2 Duo since that's where the buzz is right now. Thought I'd throw out some quotes from the reading I've done just to see if anyone disagrees with them.

Quote:
... E6400 at $220 performs comparable to an Athlon 64 FX-62 at ~$739, with a lower power consumption than an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ ...

Strictly speaking, the above is not an exact quote. I used the current FX-62 socket AM2 price quoted today on newegg.com instead of the price from a few months ago. When the Intel versus AMD question is framed this way, it certainly makes it hard to decide to go with the AMD solution at this time.

Quote:
Intel's new Core 2 Duo processors aren't very affected by the speed of the RAM. AMD's newest chips for socket AM2 are very RAM dependent.

This also moves me another notch towards a C2D purchase. If I decide to save a few bucks by getting slower RAM, it will supposedly hurt less with a C2D than with an Athlon system. And then there's this unexpected nonsense with AMD AM2/DDR2 processors of the "Odd Multiplier Issue" ... give me a break! As if trying to decrypt DDR2 settings wasn't a big enough pain to begin with. :roll:

So at this point I'm thinking of going with C2D, probably an E6300 like everybody else. But I still have no firm ideas what motherboard or RAM to get.

Since I really don't want to spend another $50 (min?) to get a PCI Express video card that I don't particularly want at this point, I've been looking hard at a motherboard most probably wouldn't touch.
ASRock 775Dual-VSTA Socket T (LGA 775) VIA PT880 PRO ATX

This card runs ~$61 and won't blow anyone socks off. But it has an AGP slot that will allow me to postpone buying a new video card a while longer. Another thing I like about this MB is that it has 2 IDE connectors. The more IDE the better in my case.

There is one thing that really confuses me in the specs though. The specs say FSB: 1066/800MHz but also the DDR2 Standard is DDR2 667? How can that work?

-john
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2006 2:11:13 AM

Quote:
There is one thing that really confuses me in the specs though. The specs say FSB: 1066/800MHz but also the DDR2 Standard is DDR2 667? How can that work?
The FSB on a C2D system runs @ 266Mhz (OK if you want to be picky 266.5Mhz. Its rated 1066 since the FSB is "quad pumped" as in 266.5 x 4. DDR2 RAM also uses a multiplier (2) to get its effective rating. So DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) actually runs at half its rating - or 266Mhz. Thats a 1:1 RAM/FSB ratio.
So what happens when you have 667DDR2 or 800DDR2 in a 266Mhz FSB?
667DDR2 (333MHz) RAM would need a 5:4 ratio (266*5/4=333)
800DDR2 (400MHz) RAM would need a 3:2 ratio (266*3/2=400)
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2006 2:35:12 AM

Which AGP card you are using now?
October 26, 2006 2:55:08 AM

Don't throw out your old system once you move up...it would make a killer FreeBSD box!!
October 26, 2006 4:01:51 AM

I think you have it, if you have at least a 4x AGP card. 70 for mobo, 220 for a E6400 and $100 for 2x512mb DDR2-533. Shipping will put you just over 400. Probably the best deal anyone could get now.
October 26, 2006 4:39:56 AM

Quote:
Which AGP card you are using now?

An eVGA NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 (AGP, of course) It currently runs at 4x, amazingly enough, in my old Intel 815 chipset motherboard.

-john
October 26, 2006 5:02:01 AM



Thanks for the suggestion, purdueguy. I'm sure it's a good system, but it's not a dual processor system and I'm afraid that's one of my two core requirements: two processors and not a power hog.

There's also the fact that if an E6400 is roughly equivalent in performance to an Athlon FX-62, then the AMD CPUs still seem a bit pricey. (Just saying that's how it looks to me in my admittedly naive opinion at this moment).

-john
October 26, 2006 6:02:37 PM

This link from Fry's sounds like a pretty good deal but it expires today (Oct. 26th).

You get a Core 2 Duo E6300 and an ECS mobo for $169.98. Plus, the mobo has an AGP slot allowing you to keep your existing video card.
October 26, 2006 7:55:05 PM

Nice deal. IF YOU LIVE IN FISHERS INDIANA.

I called. They won't ship it. You have to buy it at the store.

SOB. :evil: 

Anyone live in Fishers?
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 27, 2006 2:01:26 AM

Quote:

An eVGA NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 (AGP, of course) It currently runs at 4x, amazingly enough, in my old Intel 815 chipset motherboard.
I hate to see you link your system upgrade path to what is now a $30 video card (FX5200 replacement price). That ASRock 775Dual-VSTA is OK - but a major compromise in many respects. Its an acceptable upgrade path if you can't afford anything else.

MSI P965 Neo-F $93
Patriot Signature 1GB DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) $100
NY GeForce 6600 256MB PCI Express x16 Video Card $50
Pentium D 915 Presler 2.8GHz $123
$366
With the E6300 C2D @ $182 - $425

If you're really set against getting a new video card now consider the onboard video system of the Intel BOXDG965WHMKR G965 Express onboard video $125 With E6300 and 1GB RAM = $407.

Your Promise TX2 would give you 4 IDE devices - still a shortfall.
October 27, 2006 4:58:16 AM

Quote:
I hate to see you link your system upgrade path to what is now a $30 video card (FX5200 replacement price).

I hear you. Going the ASRockish route is something I'm still mulling on and am by no means committed to yet. But when I mull, it's about more than just saving a $30 video card.

Quite honestly, I currently don't use the full capabilities of the FX5200, so I have no need/desire to buy another vid card. Add to that the fact that the video tech baseline is about to change again as a result of Vista and DirectX 10 and I see myself buying a piece of pointless planned obsolence. It just doesn't feel like a prudent use of the money.

Admittedly the ~$60 for an ASRockish AGP capable MB is also a case of planned obsolence in that I am sure I'm going to replace it in a year or two. Why am I not as bothered by that as I am by a video card?

I can't give you a reason. Possibly I feel better about the MB because at least I know I will be using almost every feature on the MB. It feels like a good match to my current needs. OTOH, the MSI P965 Neo-F doesn't seem as good a match. I view it as paying $30 more to lose the use of two IDE devices and a PCI slot.

Finally there is the question of DDR2 RAM. We have to pay a premium today to get fast DDR2 memory. Fortunately, the C2D performs quite well with middlin' speed memory so we buy that today with an eye towards upgrading to faster stuff later.

Does it makes sense to get DDR2-533 and spend a little more to get a board that supports DDR2-800 today and upgrade the RAM later? Or should I save some money and get the extra memory and an even better board at that later date?

Quote:
Your Promise TX2 would give you 4 IDE devices - still a shortfall.

Yes. But most of my hard drive storage is used for archiving video files. I have enough firewire capable external storage enclosures that I can make do. Or maybe I should try rigging the old Pentium 3 system as network storage.

Thanks again for posting your thoughts and please don't take my words above as a criticism. I'm just trying to lay out my thoughts so I'll have a better idea of what it is I want.

My main reason for posting here was to hear other people's opinions so that I could consider other points of view. The hope is that whatever I eventually decide to do I can take comfort in having looked at more than one option.

-john, the ambivalent dino
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 27, 2006 6:23:27 AM

Quote:
Quite honestly, I currently don't use the full capabilities of the FX5200, so I have no need/desire to buy another vid card. Add to that the fact that the video tech baseline is about to change again as a result of Vista and DirectX 10 and I see myself buying a piece of pointless planned obsolence.
Would you be surprised to learn that your FX5200 AGP video card is "Windows Vista Ready" ?

And I think its high time you took the "ambivalent" out of your sig. It doesnt seem to me that you're ambivalent at all!

I can follow your logic - but I see the $60 spent on an interim Asrock MB as adding to the total cost of your eventual C2D/C2Q system. I'd just as soon see you get quality parts along the way that add value to final solution.

atriot Signature 1GB DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)$89.99 after $10 rebate
October 27, 2006 6:49:13 AM

I see nobody has asked you what you need to do with the new rig. Since you dont game, I would guess general productivity and video editing? Are you planning on overclocking at all? Does it need to be silent, or simply tolerable? Dual processors would certainly be a good choice for video/audio encoding and editing.

With component prices artifically high right now from OEM's stocking up for retail season, this is a really bad time to upgrade - inventory should be back to normal after the 1st of the year, and prices should drop again on DDR2 memory.

Searching newegg, I currently find this as the cheapest MB supporting C2D with onboard video, USB, LAN & Firewire:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
Intel BLKDG965RYCK on the Intel G965 chipset - $108
1 PCI-E x16; 3 PCI-E x1; 3 PCI; 4 SATA 3G; 1 IDE
C2D 6300 ~ $200; 1Gig DDR2 ~ $110

Intel historically makes very stable boards & their IGP chipsets perform well, but not for 3D games. No crippling tradeoffs, not an intermediate solution. Upgrade path to PCI-E video - I would go for an all in wonder card. If you can afford more, put the C2D 6600 in this board, as you would see benefits from the additional cache & speed. Dont expect this MB to OC much, if at all.
October 27, 2006 5:05:48 PM

Quote:
I see nobody has asked you what you need to do with the new rig.

The most CPU intensive tasks I'm likely to pursue are video/audio encoding and editing. That and WINRARing your basic 8GB ISO image to archive it to 2 DVD+/-R discs. Moving from dual P3s to C2D I'm assuming I'd get at min an order of magnitude speed boost. (Yes? No?)

Actually, I'd just like to be in a position to try some basic stuff with video editing. With my current P3 system it's not really pragmatic to do much of anything with video other than play it. :cry:  Something as straightforward as SoundSoap runs at ~2x real time. I'm finding that 20 minutes to cleanup a 40 minute wave file gets more tedious with each day that passes.

Quote:
Are you planning on overclocking at all? Does it need to be silent, or simply tolerable?

Not particularly planning on overclocking. Certainly wouldn't expect to do it if I went with ASRocky. Silence is always good, but I expect a C2D E6300 with the stock Intel cooler would be quiet enough for me to begin with.

Quote:
With component prices artifically high right now from OEM's stocking up for retail season, this is a really bad time to upgrade - inventory should be back to normal after the 1st of the year, and prices should drop again on DDR2 memory.

Yes, that is yet another thing I'm ambivalent about. Should I sit on my thumbs for another month or two? More to the point, do I have the patience to wait? :? I probably do, but I am also getting very antsy.

Quote:
If you can afford more, put the C2D 6600 in this board, as you would see benefits from the additional cache & speed.

Afraid an E6600 is beyond me at this point. I don't see my grasp reaching further than an E6400 and at this point I'm not convinced it's really worth an extra $40 to me.

Thanks for the pointer to the Intel BLKDG965RYCK. Something I'm not clear about is whether the current crop of integrated video MBs would provide video capability that is equal to or better than my current FX5200. Anyone out there know? :?:

-john, a dinosaur who insists he's ambivalent until he's ordered the parts :!: :) 
October 27, 2006 7:07:47 PM

While this dinosaur continues to assert that he's not likely to overclock, the following quip from an October 10'th Tom's Hardware article is still food for thought.

Quote:
Buying a $40 cooler to push the Core 2 Duo E6300 far beyond E6400 performance sounds good at first, until one considers that the E6400 can be moderately overclocked for no additional expense using the cooler it came with. Any cooling upgrade meant to increase overclock ability only becomes a "justified expense" when it takes the lower model processor beyond what the "next model up" can accomplish using its included cooler. In other words, if the E6400 can clock to 3 GHz using the stock cooler, adding a $40 cooler to the E6300 must allow it to clock beyond 3 GHz in order to maintain value.

A link to the full text: Cheap Thrills: Core 2 Duo E6400 Overclocked to 3.33 GHz

-john, the ambivalent dinosaur
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 27, 2006 8:21:53 PM

Quote:
Something I'm not clear about is whether the current crop of integrated video MBs would provide video capability that is equal to or better than my current FX5200. Anyone out there know?
It was tough finding a benchmark that showed equivalent benchmarks with the FX5200 and the GMA X3000.
Benchmark: 3DMark 2003
FX 5200: 1431 INNO3D GEFORCE FX 5200
FX 5200 Ultra: 1747 FX 5600 Ultra & FX 5200 Ultra: Performance
GMA X3000: 1886 Intel G965/GMA X3000 Benchmarks

Benchmark 3DMark 2005:
GMA X3000: 931
ATI Radeon X300 SE: 1051
GeForce 6200 Turbo Cache: 1090
FX 5200: 867

Both FX5200 and X3000 will run Vista and Vista Aero Glass interface.
October 27, 2006 10:52:54 PM

I can attest that an FX5200 will run Aero Glass on Vista Premium RC2.
This system scores a 2.2 in the Windows Experience rating:
Socket A 2600+ (Barton); GA-7n400L; 1G DDR; 2x Maxtor 160G PATA; Albatron 128M FX5200

Good to hear the GMA/X3000 provides more oomph than the 5200 :)  It should hold you until you need more, and since the i965G boards actually sport 1 PCI-E x16 slot, they seem the right tool for the job.
October 28, 2006 3:38:51 AM

get : e6300. cheap ddr2 553 ram. possibly 2 gigs if you can. get a gigabyte s3 mobo. not to sure what to do with all those hard drives..... the s3 has a bunch of sata but only one ide slot which would be used for ur disk drives.

do u use all that space? if so then throw out that s3. but i have one and it has been good to me
!