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P-IV Motherboard dead... upgrade options?

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January 2, 2009 12:25:05 AM

About 5 years ago I built a Pentium 4 system for Digital Audio recording. Over the years I made a few upgrades and for audio recording purposes it worked great.
The latest config was:

P-IV MSI 865 Neo Motherboard
P-IV 3.0 GHz Intel
2GB- PC2700 RAM
1-Sony DVD/DVR
1- Seagate Drive 120GB (Primary)
1- Seagate Drive 250GB (Recording)
1 Maxtor Drive 320GB (Storing Samples)
1 NVIDA 7800 Video Card
1 Audiophile 24/96 Recording card
1-Wireless G Network Adapter
1-450 watt Antec Power Supply
Windows XP Pro


Recently I built a house and had my PC offline for many months. I've been slaving away at rebuilding a home studio... replaced my dual CRT monitors with a 24" LCD, new wireless keyboards and mouse. I was excited to get this system up and running during my time off on New Year's holiday. When I plugged in my system... dead, no pulse.

Fearing the power supply I jimmied over to Best Buy (a 30 minute drive) and picked up a cheap 500 watt BFG. Slapped it in... grounded to the MOBO.... no power. So now I'm left to guess it's the MOBO.

I'm in a bind... in a new house, after xmas, job is shaky. I have a tight budget. So I'm looking to just replace the MOBO and make some upgrades as cheaply as possible. I imagine I'll get a new case, pwr supply combo at either Tiger Direct or through New Egg. My question is the platform. Should I try AMD Dual core or invest in Core 2 Duo w/ Intel. Obviously performance is an issue (or desire) however anything I buy or upgrade too will be light years ahead of my old Pent 4. However this will not be a gaming PC nor will I be surfing the web regularly. This will strictly be for audio recording only.

My budget is $400... and I can salvage the following things... 3 drives, NVIDA card, M-Audio recording card, wireless G card, keyboard, mouse and monitor.

All three drives have more than 60% space avail. Next Fall I'm looking at buying a performance tuned DAW... but they start at $1500. Right now I just need to get over the hump with this one.

Any suggestions?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2009 1:31:52 AM

I'm going to assume those hard drives and the DVD are IDE. If true, that's bad news because most recent motherboards only support two IDE drives. They also work with DDR2 or DDR3, not with PC2700.

So, basically, you need MB/CPU/RAM. You can reuse the DVD and the largest IDE drive. If that's not enough space, add a new SATA HDD.

Q6600 $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

RAM, 4GB DDR2-800, $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209&Tpk=G.SKill%20PI%20Black%20DDR2-800%204GB

GA-EP45-DS3L, $81
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128345

WD 640GB, $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218&Tpk=WD6400AAKS

Total $396

a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2009 1:38:42 AM

BTW, I suggested Q6600 and not E8500 because some audio processing programs work well with quads. That is, if you use smart software, you'd be more productive on a quad (Q6600) than on a higher-clocked dual-core that costs about the same (E8500). Even if your favorite software doesn't use 4 cores now, it might get a patch for it this year or next year. I'm assuming you will keep this new CPU for a few years just like you did with the P4.

One more thing: if you go with my suggestions, don't be alarmed if you only see 3.25 or 3.5 GB of RAM. It's normal with XP 32-bit. It is 32-bit, right?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2009 1:44:38 AM

Here's another idea:

$243 buys you a Phenom 9850 Black Edition and a motherboard with two slots for video cards. You get the same speed as with the Q6600/GA-EP45-DS3L, you pay a little less, and you have the option to add a second video card later if you want to use 3 or 4 monitors. There's a $23 8400GS at newegg for example.

AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HD985ZXAGHBOX - Retail
BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX3 A2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/AddToCart.aspx?Submit=ADD&ItemList=Combo.150589
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