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Advice: mobo+CPU/barebone with AGP & Vista-stable chipset

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  • Motherboards
  • Chipsets
  • Windows Vista
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October 15, 2007 4:51:34 PM

I have a fairly new NVidia GeForce 7600 AGP graphics card that I have swapped out of my big-screen media computer (ouch -- I found it does not support HDCP).

I want to use this to build a lower-end-priced PC for my son. It must support AGP (yes, I know its older) and its mobo chipset must be known to be reasonably stable with Vista (e.g., not just an October 2006 beta driver like with nforce3 chipset).

I know this is almost a contradictory task: AGP is old and being phased out, while only recent mobo chipsets are supported well in Vista.

Any recommendations or other considerations are helpful. I am not trying to make it hugely future-proof for as many years as possible, but all things being close to equal probably a dual core processor is best (a lower-end one). So, given any candidate mobos that are known good with Vista and also support AGP, any advice on which CPU would also be great.

I have looked long and hard, and you have to dig deep into the specs of each mobo to find out if it supports AGP; no mobo selector I found let you specify this. And then finding one that is known to have reasonable Vista drivers is even harder. So any candidates that you know of offhand that I can dig into more will be very, very helpful.

Also, any sage advice on how to know that your PSU is of reasonably quality is welcome.

I am hoping to spend $100-250 for the mobo, case, and CPU if possible. That is not a hard limit.

Yes, it really does have to run Vista. Among other things, so I am not always pulling my hair out, it is helpful for him to have a limited account (no way do I give him admin access) yet install some of his programs.

Thanks much in advance for any help here.

More about : advice mobo cpu barebone agp vista stable chipset

October 15, 2007 6:05:22 PM

ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 LGA 775 $59.99 AGP\PCIe\DDR\DDR2
Supports Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo / Pentium XE / Pentium D / Pentium Dual Core / Pentium 4 / Celeron / Celeron D, supporting Quad Core Kentsfield processors
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Vista compatible.
Drivers here: http://www.asrock.com/mb/download.asp?Model=4CoreDual-S...

CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... E2160 $83.99 You could go for a more powerful Core 2 Dou if needed. The board will, generally, not overclock past 297 at best. So a high multiplier is recommended.

Motherboard is compatable with all newer Intel procs up to 1066FSB
October 16, 2007 3:45:03 AM

This is great, MrMr!!!!!!!! I had no idea that something like this existed, supporting both AGP 8x and PCIe-16 plus a range of newer and older memories. Not only does my son get a great machine, but it can be incrementally upgraded after all in a few years as needed. And the mobo is only about $60!! I think it is hugely smart for asrock to offer these upgradable/legacy mobos, and I will certainly look to them first in the future.

That has given me a related idea that I would love feedback on.

I have a HPTC (and mid-range gamer) with a big LCD. I ran Vista on it, but it kept intermittently crashing, which I (and a repair shop too) traced to nforce3 chipset not being supported (other than a flaky beta) for Vista. So I went back to XP (yes, I know the pros and cons etc....).

However, I looked, and asrock has a mobo (939Dual-VSTA) that seems to have reasonably up to date Vista drivers (at least a number updated well since Vista came out). It is also "Windows® Vista™ Premium Logo Hardware Ready", which I think says more about multimedia/graphics support than current Vista drivers, though it would seem odd if it did not support it. It also allows one to later on upgrade to an AM2 CPU by getting a 939 daughtercard, which sounds very cool.

So it seems very likely that it will run OK with Vista, right? I looked and it has all the slots I need, so is there any real reason not to plunk down $60 or so for it? (I guess maybe my RAM may not work, it seems to be finicky from what I read on a 5-page discussion thread (Thread1 below) from Sept-Dec 2006 (when it was new). I get a bit scared because the newest driver is January 2007, and its called a beta for Vista32. But then a MS forum thread from December 2006 (thread2 below) seems to indicate a patch let people run it. And a February 9 2007 Vista compatibility list gives it an OK (thread3 below).

So how risky is this?

Thanks again mucho for any pointers here. I'm afraid I can't figure out how to do URLS here (the link icon does not seem to allow text to be entered), so they are a bit klunky below.

Mobo: http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=939Dual-VSTA&s=939
Thread1: http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=427048
Thread2: http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PageIndex=1&SiteID=17&PageID=1&PostID=594905
Thread3: http://www.goitexpert.com/entry.cfm?entry=Windows-Vista-Hardware-Compatibility-List

Related resources
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2007 4:52:15 AM

Okay I wouldn't recommend the AMD s939 mobo for an upgrade. You can't find them much and s939 unfortunately isn't being made any more :(  . I'm not sure the "riser" card comes with the mobo (if you find one). Last time I looked, someone was asking $40 for the riser card, so that wouldn't be a good budget move there ($60 for mobo + $40 for riser card = $100).
I would seriously consider a AM2 mobo w/AGP if you want to stay with AMD. Here are some options of AM2 mobo's with AGP.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

I see 2 or 3 options you need to consider.

1) Go with the mobo MrMr stated. Install e2160 or even e2140 if $ is really tight and you'll be able to still use your DDR or DDR2 if you have them. This would probably be the cheapest and best solution for longer term upgrades.
Total build here would be about $140 or so depending on options that you select. This option would keep your current 7600gs in use.

2) Get an AMD AM2 mobo w/agp (~$50), DDR2 800mHz ($65 for 2x1 gig sticks which is better for Vista performance all around) & AM2 x2 CPU ($65). This is not really the best option, since you won't be able to upgrade to a PCI-e GPU later, when you'll need it.
This option total cost would be ~$180 or so depending on options.

3) Get an AMD AM2 mobo w/PCI-e slot. This option would be almost a complete rebuild. You'd need mobo (~$60 w/onboard video, if you want it, and would be Vista compatable), CPU (~$65 for x2), GPU 7600gs PCI-e (~$75 after MIR) and DDR2 800mHz (~$65 for 2x1 gig setup that Vista likes, don't get 1gig for Vista it'll make things slow). You could possibly move over your HD and DVD/CD drive(s) to the newer build. In this situation I would sell your 7600gs AGP on ebay or wherever and use that $ towards this build. This build isn't the cheapest one, but probably the best.
Total build here would be about $265 or so - your sale of your AGP card which might be about $50 or so. This could possibly bring down your cost to about $215 or so.

You can decide which way works best for you, but I personally would go for the partial rebuild myself. I like the crossover mobo from Asrock, but it has limitation to it that I don't like, but that is just my opinion and might not restrict what your doing here.
October 16, 2007 5:19:44 AM

Thanks, lunyone! BUt I will go with the mobo MrMr stated, but -- just to be clear -- for my son's bedroom PC. I will get an Intel CPU for it, since that is what it takes.

Now for the MediaPC, it has an AMD 64 X2, so the mobo MrMr showed won't work cause its assumes an Intel CPU. Unless I am really missing something.

Now, if an AM2 mobo had some kind of daughterboard that let you plug in a 939 CPU, then that woudl be great, I could go for that if it handled my legacy devices. But, if not, probably I will give up on this idea for now.

Thanks again, much, for everyone who has contributed to this.
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2007 5:27:08 AM

Okay so the Asrock will be for the son's computer, no problem there. He can use the DDR and AGP GPU for that. Done deal there. For your system, you have a x2 s939 CPU, right? If that's the case, I'm not sure how bad the Vista drivers are for boards of that socket type. What is your current build with the x2 CPU?

Forgot to mention a good quality PSU that you can get for your son's computer. Check out the links and let me know which way your going. The first link is to show you what a QUALITY PSU can do for you.

8800gtx on 380w PSU!
http://www.overclockers.com/articles1452/

PSU - $49 shipped - $39 w/Goggle checkout Can power 8800gtx and an OC’d e6600! See link above for proof!
Antec Earthwatt 380W P/Satx 12V v.2.2 80MM P/S2 Fan 80-Plus Certified - EA380
http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-earthwatt-380w-p-satx-12v...

Here is what I would buy for your son's computer. It's based off of the PSU listed above and just has more power available, so you'll have more upgrade options later.
PSU - $60 shipped - $30 MIR = $30!! Hard to beat at this price w/30A on 12V rails combined!!
Antec earthwatts EA430 ATX12V v2.0 430W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, FCC, TUV, CE, CB, C-tick, CCC – Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

October 16, 2007 5:52:13 AM

Kudos again, lunyanyone.

I live in a small college town with another one 8 miles away. So I can't get a wide range of mobos in town (maybe a dozen) but this one store does have a good selections of cases with PSUs.

The graphics card I am reusing from the big screen TV to my son's is a GeForce 7600 GS, not sure how much that will draw but 300-350 should be fine I think. I am also getting an APC battery backup with shutdown that will cover 550 VA.

I can get an 8-bay Antec 1650 case with a 350W PSU for $75, so that is prety good. I have been imrpessed with the Antec Sonata I made a few years ago. The idea here was to get a reasonable case+PSU+fans locally, so I could afford to have the rest of the order (mobo, CPU, RAM, etc) shipped 2nd day. IF the 1650 is not advisable, at least not with its default PSU, I could dig more into the options you suggest, and just wait for a 3-day shipping for the case and PSU stuff.

Thoughts?
a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2007 6:02:06 AM

I've built a system on that exact case/psu combo. Got it from Newegg a year ago or so, but isn't on sale there any more. That case/PSU should work fine for what you want to do. I've ordered alot of stuff from Newegg/Zipzoomfly/eWiz/Buy.com and haven't had any issues. Newegg seems to have the best customer support, so take that which every way you like. I don't mind waiting for 3 days for a good deal, which I usually get the package right on time. The savings for me can be 20% or more, depending on what I get. I shop around before I buy, so I know that I have the best price and from a dependable company. I live near a big NW city and have alot of stores that I could go to, but in the end they can't beat the deals that I get online. I'm not afraid of doing returns, which has only happened once with Buy.com. The GPU I ordered from them was partially working (not their fault) and they happily took the part back within 2 weeks :) 
!