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AMD/Intel CPU forcast help (need help decidng)

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May 14, 2003 1:49:30 PM

Hi I'm in the process of putting together my new computer.

I'm in New Zealand so prices are in NZ$ (NZ$1 = US$0.56), don't worry too much about prices, these are the lowest I can find.

This is the base system I was looking at getting.

AMD Athlon XP 2600 2.06GHz Socket A 333MHz FSB $307
Abit NF7-S Ver2.0 $260
2* 256MB HyperX 434MHz PC3500 DDR DIMM CL2 $288 [got this already]
Radeon 9700 Pro $410 [got this already]
Maxtor 7,200RPM 120 GB Serial ATA-150, 8MB Cache $305
ThermalTake XASER III, Aluminum, w/ side window, P4 420W PSU $410

After reading that article on THG about the XP3200, and the news that AMD seemingly is not going to release any new Athlon CPUs that would work on the NF7-S. I was wondering if I'd be better off going for a P4 based system by using the following components instead:

Abit IC7 (800fsb) mobo $318
Intel Pentium 4 Northwood 2.4GHz, 800MHz FSB, 512K cache $389

This is going to cost me $140 (US$80) to do. Is it worth it?

My main concern is future proofing. I'd like to upgrade the CPU further down the line. And was wondering which platform would have the fastest CPU which is compatible with the system (i.e. a year or so later).

Do P4s run cooler than Athlons? I realize they are putting out greater Wattage, but they have the "heat spread" thing, so which would be easier to cool? Overclocking? Anything I'm missing?

Cheers thanks for the help and suggestions. Hopefully I can go buy the rest of my components tomorrow (12 hours from now).
May 14, 2003 8:05:31 PM

* The last i've heard, some of the future Prescott processors will be Socket 478. That should allow you to move on to one of the prescotts in the future with a canterwood motherboard (like Abit IC7). 3200+ appears to be the last of the Socket A processors until they move onto a new socket with Athlon 64. So, it looks like an Intel canterwood setup would provide more future upgradability. Since that is important to you, I would go that route. More directly, the Intel Canterwood platform would provide the best CPU upgrade down the road.

* The early Palomino core Athlon XPs were running hot but the newer thoroughbreds and bartons are doing fine. I've heard very little about P4s running hot. I know for sure that Pentium4 2.4C can obtain very high overclocks even with stock cooling.

* The non "-G" version of IC7 has no LAN. So, if you need that feature, you'll need to get a PCI LAN card.
May 16, 2003 2:37:32 PM

It seems likely that AMD will not release any more Athlon XP CPU's after the 3200+. So such a setup may not be future-proof.

The P4 system you mentioned, with the P4 2.4C should perform on par with the XP2600+, despite what the rating says. So the P4 would definitely be a comparable choice, regards to performance.

If it's worth it or not is a matter of taste. The P4 is a product of better quality than the Athlon XP (The P4 comes with a heatspreader that protects the CPU core from cracking when you install a heatsink. The P4 also comes with built-in thermal protection, you need the right motherboard to protect an Athlon XP.
So I'd say it's worth the "switch" to P4. Intel offers the best deal for desktop CPU's right now, if you ask me.

P4's runs a little bit cooler than the Athlon XP's do, especially considering that because of the heatspreader, the P4 is easier to cool. And it has more headroom for overclocking, it seems.


My system: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ CPU / TwinMOS 1Gb DDR400 / Soltek 75FRN-RL /
Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro / Antec True Power 550W / Maxtor 80Gb ATA-133 / Hercules GTXP SC /
Samsung DVD / Lite-On CDRW
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May 16, 2003 4:15:32 PM

Make sure your power supply is a brand-name good one. Antec, enermax, and a few other high quality ones are what are recommended. http://www.pcpowerandcooling.com also makes really really nice ones and are maybe the best.
May 16, 2003 5:54:52 PM

Indeed, a P4 800Mhz FSB configuration is currently the most future-proof thing around. So I´d recommend the 2.4C anytime.
!