I'm looking to (possibly) build a new "living room" PC; pretty much for watching videos, iTunes, Hulu.
I've stubbornly extended the life of an ANCIENT Athlon XP 1500+ running XP on a Gigabyte GA-7N400L. 1GB SDRAM. For the most part I'm happy with it, but it does get choppy with HD video and is kind of unbearable with Hulu/youtube.
I recently installed what I believe is close to the best AGP video card still available, a HIS Radeon HD 4650. Trouble is, although the video quality (VLC) has greatly improved, flash video in both Hulu and YouTube has actually suffered and gotten choppier, more so in Firefox than in IE. Also, colors bleed in a pixelated pattern from time to time, though not so much to be a huge bother.
I try to extend the life of my systems as much as possible for environmental reasons but it has the effect of severely dating me each time I come to a new build point. Ultimately the question hinges on whether I should put another $70 into it to max out the mobo's memory capacity to 3GB (Knowing that that would be the absolute last improvement that can be made since there are no Socket A CPU's to be found), or save that $70, get my $90 back for the Radeon HD 4650, and put the $160 towards:
What would you guys say as to the performance of the integrated graphics (Radeon HD 3300 or 4200) running on a Athlon II X2 245 vs the (presumably) superior Radeon HD 4650 Video card running on an AGP slot on an Athlon XP 1500+?
I've read that the Radeon 3300 is superior for gaming than the 4200, but this system will never be used for gaming, just playback. Any thoughts?
I'd like to keep the price way down, so I'd like to go with one of the above options. The DDR2 533 I have is at work, my boss wouldn't let me sell it, he'd just be cool with me using some for my new build. The current htpc has pretty much no salvageable parts but the still returnable HIS Radeon HD 4650 AGP.
To be honest, my current Athlon xp 1500+ is only barely short of the performance I want/need, I'd like to go with either:
1) Sticking more memory in it (Can max out @ 3GB for $70)
2) Above new build with integrated Radeon HD 4200 ($160 after returning video card)
3) Above new build with integrated Radeon HD 3300 ($167 after returning video card)
Prices of new build calculated using the following case, HD, and optical:
Liking the Sempron 140, though I liked the ASRock motherboards for their DDR2 533 compatibility, I'd love to get the suggested combo but for the fact that it only goes down to 667! I'm finding that a lot, but like I said, a free 6-8GB of RAM is something worth choosing a motherboard around when cost is a factor!
The Gigabyte board can use DDR2-533 memory. I downloaded the manual and it's in there. Also, poster tony1569 on this AVSForum thread post #506 says he's running DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) on that particular board.
I downloaded the manual and it mentions DDR2 533 support in a BIOS setting example for AM2 CPUs but doesn't mention it in AM3s. Is that what the X2.66 setting indicates under "Memory Clock" in the manual? That would make sense if the max setting is X5.33 for DDR2 1066 and the lowest one is X2.0 for DDR2 400, right? Am I reading this right (As in, multipliers from a base of 200MHz)?