Hello, newbie here I'm looking to upgrade my current P3 700mhz machine. This will be my first upgrade, but I did read a number of articles on this lovely website to try to get some good background info, but I still have some unanswered questions. On with the psuedo-newbie questions:
I'm considering buying a ASUS nforce2 SSP MCP mobo #A7N8X and a processor around a 2200+ AMD. The questions that I can think of right now are would this require a new powersupply (you probably can't answer this without more info, but can you tell me what specs to consider in finding out if I need to plop down money for that)
Second, I don't quite grasp the idea of Asynchronus memory. I understand that the memory mhz should match the fsb mhz or it's wasteful. What I don't know is which specification is the memory mhz. If i get DDR400 (PC 3200) should the fsb match the 400 mhz (double rate) or the 200 mhz (single rate)?
I was probably going to go with crucial memory, but I most likely won't be overclocking, so if kingston is just as good when not overclocking, for the price I'll go with that, any suggestions?
How good is the onboard sound on the ASUS nforce2 mobo with the MCP, not the MCP-T? I will most likely be using it at least as a temporary sound solution, so what are you're experiences with that? I've got 4.1 speakers (no center)
Thanks in advance, I'm sure I'll have more questions in the future.
First of all, before you make an expensive mistake... try reading the other threads here. You will discover that a very disproportionate number of them are occupied with problems with the A7N8X motherboard... some, who've had good luck with them, are saying all the problems and complaints are the owner's own fault but --think about it-- a well designed motherboard should be tollerant of setup errors. There are very real problems with this board. You probably should reconsider your purchase.
Memory is managed by the North Bridge chip in most modern motherboards. One of the limiting factors on computer speed has been that memory speed has fallen behind CPU speed, so the north bridge is given the task of sorting out the relative speeds... Memory has been operating asyncronously with the CPU for a long time. It now operates synchronously with the North Bridge chip.
The current big deal is "Dual Channel Double Data Rate" ram... a method of using two memory strips in parallell to give an apparent increase in memory speed. While it does have advantages over simple memory plans, it is not twice as fast, nor is it going to make your memory run any faster than your CPU can process it... put DCDDR on a slow processor and you've still got a slow system. Via has been using memory interleve techniques to deal with slower memory since the KM133 chipset (a couple of years) it helps, but it's not the panacea everyone seems to expect.
As far as what memory you choose... look to the motherboard manufacturer's website for a list of acceptable memory. As some people have learned, these DCDDR motherboards can be downright finicky and bootup failures are common problems unless you use <i>exactly</i> what the manufacturer recommends.
For your power supply question... Depending on how much stuff you put in your computer (boards, chips, drives, etc.) you will likely end up needing 350 to 450 watts. For an average system --mb, cpu, couple of pci cards, agp card, couple of CD/dvd drives, hard disk-- I usually suggest you go with a good quality 400watt supply. This will provide enough power to keep the system stable, with enough overhead to allow a bit of expansion (extra hard disk, etc) without costing you an arm and a leg.
Finally... about the onboard sound... I am exactly the last person to ask about that. I totally despize AC97 sound... even the super duper 6 channel stuff... I find that it transfers a lot of the computer's internal noise to the speakers (soft buzzing and whirring sounds) and for music, it seldom sounds as good as even a cheapy Sound Blaster card. But, then, I've been a soundblaster fan since the pci16 cards came out...
Have you considered upgrading your CPU to a 1400? If your board supports 133MHz bus (even through overclocking), the PIII 1400 would be great, the Celeron 1400 would be passable, and the Celeron 1100 overclocked to 1466 would be a great value.
<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
You will discover that a very disproportionate number of them are occupied with problems with the A7N8X motherboard...some, who've had good luck with them, are saying all the problems and complaints are the owner's own fault but --think about it-- a well designed motherboard should be tollerant of setup errors. There are very real problems with this board. You probably should reconsider your purchase.
What types of setup errors should a well designed motherboard be tolerant of? Insufficient power supplies and other mismatched parts? The memory that Joe Blow found in the alley and decided to try out? Overclocking combined with poor cooling? People who try to put crap on backwards? People who ask "Duh...do I need to have fans in my case?"
If the board is SOOO bad, why did it gather 30% of the vote for best motherboard in THG Reader's Choice awards? Almost 4 times as many as the closest one. I didn't see a # for this year, but last year THG reported 55,618 valid votes for the 2001 awards.
The proportion of posts regarding problems with the A7N8X can largely be explained by the fact that there is a much larger proportion of this board being purchased. If the same # of people were buying, say, the MSI board, I bet you'd see close to the same # of problems with it. If nobody should be buying this board, which board(s) SHOULD they be buying?
People have been having problems with Epox, Gigabyte, MSI, Abit, all sorts of motherboards. One of the main reasons people post here is because they HAVE problems and need help. So, this board and others doesn't do a great job of reflecting all the success stories. However, I sure do see a lot of "A7N8X" in people's signatures and motherboard recommendations. Now...why is that?
As you say,
As some people have learned, these DCDDR motherboards can be downright finicky and bootup failures are common problems unless you use exactly what the manufacturer recommends.
I agree with that and the rest. But, trying to make a statistical statement based on a skewed sample is flawed.
I'm with Auburn on this one. I built a system based on this mobo for my friend and yeah I had a problem but it was a dumb one. It was a shim problem. So goodbye shim and hello stability. Most problems that people are having are silly "answer right in front of your face" problems. Teq just don't point out negative aspects, point out all the good things people are saying about this board in the forums too.
<font color=blue>I'm an AllTurd Beast!</font color=blue>
I'd perfer PCI sound card also, in the future I plan on getting an audigy 2 platinum, so the on-board sound is only a temporary solution for a couple months. I'll have about $300 to do this, what would everyone recommend and why? I'll read up on everyone's suggestions and decide for myself. Also, I'm not oppossed to a pentium or an AMD, who feel free to recommend either of them.