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CPU Choice

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April 12, 2003 4:00:12 PM

This is going to be a virtual buffet of questions, so any help would be appreciated, but try to only answer if you’re leaning more towards actual data and not opinions. I’ve got a system in mind, and I want to get your input on possible changes, general comments, or overclocking tips:

Gigabyte Sock.A KT400 (USB2, FW, ATA133 RAID, Sound)
AMD 2600+
2x Corsair (value select) CAS2.5 DDR 400MHz 512mb
Asus GeForce4 TI4800SE, 128mb DDR
2x Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 120gig ATA133 (quiet)

I’ll explain my choices:
- This particular Gigabyte board because I was hoping to try out a Raid133 of two fast drives to attempt to increase drive speed / performance. AMD board, but supports DDR400MHz RAM, even though the FSB is 333MHz. I’m hoping to be able to overclock a tiny bit to utilize the higher RAM speed.. or is that not necessary? Also, I was kind of up in the air about using Dual DDR, I read that Dual 400MHz may not necessarily be faster than single channel 333MHz. Or maybe that’s wrong, but I wouldn’t mind some information on what you guys think is best.. Not only on a performance basis, but a performance to cost basis.
- The AMD CPU. I, again, was still unsure which way I wanted to go, Intel or AMD. I’m currently running AMD, and have grown attached.. but I really want to go with what is best on the market right now, but still in that cost effective range. I found that the P4 2.6GHz (533) are at that sweet spot of cost to performance.. once you go any higher, the prices sky-rocket. Same with AMD’s 2600+, as soon as you hit 2800 or 3000, the cost is to much. So, what I’m asking here, is after you read all of this, let me know if you think I should head the Intel way instead (with the choice of boards, etc.)
- Corsair. I’m going to try a higher quality brand this time. I usually go with generic, but I want this to run as smoothly as possible. Considering their value select stuff is only a few bucks more than some other brand names. I went this way.. I’m sure it can also avoid some other timing issues on any board/cpu combos that I’m not familiar with.
- GeForce4 4800. Again, the sweet-spot principle.. it’s just a really good price right now, and I don’t really want to go with any ATI boards. I’ve always hated their drivers / interface.
- Dual Maxtor drives, to try out the RAID. If you think this is not going to increase performance (that’s worth the extra cost of the board, and the one extra Maxtor drive) then let me know.

So remember, this is just the hardware I pulled out of my ass as a guess to hit the most powerful system being at the most cost efficient level. I realize there is still plenty of room for tweaking, and that is exactly the kind of info I was hoping for. Gimme suggestions, what’s your idea system right now? The total price of the above is hovering at about $850 (excluding tax).

- J

More about : cpu choice

April 12, 2003 5:22:35 PM

Which KT400 are you going for? The GA-7VAXP ULTRA? If so, for $2 cheaper you can get the Abit NF7-S which has SATA (which, at least from what I've seen, doesn't offer any faster performance, but put's less stress on the cpu to get that performance), and DualDDR which can give it the edge, especially in Multimedia applications if I remember correctly.

The TI4800SE, however, would not be a good choice. That is basically a ti4400, just with AGP8x. For $10 more, you can get a Radeon 9500 Pro. I have a 9700 Pro in my system, and it works beautifully. The drivers are on par with nVidia's now as far as I'm concerned (I also own a GeForce 3 ti500, which still works well, but is getting slow, especially on my 700mhz Athlon). This computer is actually a lot more stable than my old one, in fact (this one is a 2600+, but with the 266mhz fsb).
I couldn't find the DiamondMax Plus9 hard drives on newegg, so for my pricing I replaced with some Western Digital Special Edition Drives. You can still go with the Maxtor ones if you want, but ATA133 doesn't really help much if I remember right (and if you go the SATA route, it won't really matter much).

Abit NF7S -$125
Athlon 2600+ -$196
Sapphire ATI Radeon 9500 Pro -$177
2x Western Digital "Special Edition" 8mb 120gb drives -$270
Total-$768

This comes in under your price estimate, and should even be a little faster. The only problem is if there is RAID support on that nForce 2 board. You might need to spend an extra $20 or so to get one with RAID support. Hope I helped some.

Edit: With the extra money I somehow saved, you could even go to a Radeon 9700 (FIC) for $52 more. That gets it to $810, still below your price estimate. Keep in mind you could stil switch to the KT400 if you are so inclined, and add another $2.

Another Edit: Sorry, forgot about ram. Mine did come in more expensive. You can choose what you want.

One last edit: You can get the 2600+ for around $160 if you search pricewatch, then use resellerratings to see if they're reputable. I don't see any listing for the "value select" DDR400 memory either on pricewatch. Where do you find it (and for what price)?
<font color=red>The all new GeForce FX-</font color=red>
<font color=blue>The only factory-overclocked vacuum cleaner, complete with upholstery attachment!!!</font color=blue><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by mac404 on 04/12/03 01:43 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 12, 2003 8:11:32 PM

I personally would not go KT400. Nf2 is much faster and you'll be happier. As far as RAM, you can get the corsair XMS and overclock it to run in sync with your OC CPU FSB. I also would NOT go GForce cause well, it sucks. And just cause a HDD has the rating of "ATA 133" doesn't mean it's faster than those WD special edition with just "ATA 100".


also, WD has a 3 yr warrenty and maxtor a 1 yr. And HDD's do fail FYI.
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by fo_sho on 04/12/03 04:12 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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