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Need advice on new computer...

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March 21, 2004 3:36:04 PM

My computer is over 3 years old and i need advice on what to get next, i will use it strictly for gaming. Money is not a problem but im not gonna buy the newest top of the line cpu as they are overpriced and not much more performance. I was thinking of getting an athlon 64 3200 or should i wait until the newer A64 mobo/cpus come out? I was thinking of buying a rig from cyberpower.com, pretty cheap and good parts.

My current specs:
P3 1.0 ghz
512 Ram
Geforce 4 4400Ti 128mb
SB Live
70 GB maxtor 7200rpm
(Its a dell, never buy from them again, too expensive and crappy parts)

More about : advice computer

March 21, 2004 3:48:52 PM

If you expect to keep the rig another three year pretty much "upgrade free", there is not much point in waiting for S939, PCI express, or DDR2. Go ahead and buy. Otherwise, it might be worth waiting for nForce3 250 and/or PCI express. VIA is also coming with a double standard AGP and PCI express solution pretty soon; that might prove worthwhile, being able to plugin a AGP card now, and being able to upgrade to PCI-X later. I do not expect a huge performance boost from PCI-X, but its quite possible a few years from here, you'll have a hard time finding a high end AGP card, so having PCI-X and AGP seems like a good thing to have.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
March 21, 2004 4:34:30 PM

I tend to have a bit of the opposite feeling. The motherboard is a way more important consideration for a long life system than CPU speed. If someone keeps a system for years and doesn't plan on upgrading to a new mobo/system anytime soon. I think waiting for for Socket 939 makes alot of sense. Then over the years upgrades can be better made to extend the life of your system. You won't be as limited in the upgrades you can make, and won't be at risk of reaching a practical upgrade deadend, well before someone who waited a couple months. The A64 and FX chips will both work on those socket 939 motherboards. Meaning you can start with the best value A64 and in a year or two pop on a much faster chip when prices come down, or whenever you need more performance. Buying socket 754 mobo now means forget an FX chip ever, and expect your current platform to become either the value line, or dissappear altogether. Sure A64 3700+ isn't a bad sounding ceiling, but waiting a few months for Socket 939, and you almost remove the currently anticipated ceiling altogether. Sure, it won't last forever, never does. But waiting for Socket 939 may greatly increase the time you can keep that system. Right now he is stuck as what can you do to further upgrade a PIII 1.0GHZ? And even if he had a 733mhz, how much greater would an upgrade be now. But imagine if somehow a P4 3.2GHZ and DDR could be added. Yes, it's a stretch, just mentioning it to make you think. Socket 939 + cheapest A64 in June, and FX55 or A64 4000+ someday when needed. Plus as you mentioned a top PCI express video card. Nice future. Only ? is what will the cheapest Socket 939 chip cost?

If you plan On a total new system in a year or two, then the currrent A64 mobos are more attractive. But for a gamer who says money doesn't matter, yet keeps a system for years, Socket 939 looks great.



ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 512MB Corsair TwinX PC3200LL, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
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March 21, 2004 6:52:46 PM

> Right now he is stuck as what can you do to further
>upgrade a PIII 1.0GHZ?

He could probably have gotten a tualatin if he had wanted to, yet he didnt. Also, imagine he would have waited back in 1990-something to get a newer P3 board that supported up to 30% faster chips.. Would it have mattered ? Hardly, he'd probably still ditched the computer and gotten a new one.

If you don't have a habbit of doing small incremental upgrades once or twice a year, there is hardly a reason to wait for S939 or S775. In 3 years time either boards are likely outdated anyway. Lastly.. a decent motherboard only costs $120 or so. Waiting several months to be able to upgrade to a $700 cpu much later without having to buy a new MB as well, really doesnt make any sense, because it would be wiser to buy a newer/faster MB by that time anyway.

My "wait before you buy" theory is simple: if your current setup doesnt cut it anymore, don't wait, buy (unless you are talking about a few weeks MAXIMUM before something better/cheaper/more future proof arrives). Since it will probably be a few months before S939 boards + Nforce3 250 + PCI-E hit the shelves, I wouldnt bother waiting for them if I still had a 1 GHz P3 today. By the time those boards and videocards become available, there will be rumours of the next bing thing (90nm hammers, pricecuts, DDR2, nForce 350+soundstorm, ext DX10 gen GPU's, whatever,..). What are you gonna do then ? Wait again ?

Look at it this way: does it really matter today if a 2 or 3 year old KT266A/333A setup supports AGP 8x instead of AGP 4x, 333 Mhz FSB instead of just 266 Mhz ? SATA instead of just ATA ? With nForce2 boards costing like $60, and K8 boards just over $100, I'd say who cares ? Ditch the old crap regardless.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
March 21, 2004 7:29:28 PM

Your CPU selection is fine. But you may save some money and get almost identical performance if you buy A64 3000+ instead of 3200+

If you wait for ~3 weeks/1 month, then you may buy nForce3 250 based mobos, which are supposed to be the best A64 mobo.

------------
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March 21, 2004 11:41:55 PM

That's pretty much how i look at it.. all the goodies that are on my nf7-s still aren't even supported really. SATA transfer speeds would be great if there was a hard drive fast enough. 8x AGP would be great if there was a card/software that utilized it and seriously 1gb of DDR1 is definately going to be safe up for most of DDR2, since most likely DDR2 will be a flop for awhile.

Even when the new mobo's come equipped with the new goodies, by that time some of the standards in our boards now hopefully will be utilized. Doubtfull, but PCI-x cards probably will only look different and the performance wont really be worth the new system for at least a year.

<A HREF="http://arc.aquamark3.com/arc/arc_view.php?run=182011422..." target="_new">http://arc.aquamark3.com/arc/arc_view.php?run=182011422...;/A>
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March 22, 2004 12:15:15 AM

If you are buying an entire system, there may be another consideration. New high-end video cards will be out soon. Nvidia is talking 16 pixel pipelines, and you know that Ati is in no hurry to relinquish thier current lead.
If you are suffering from bad framerates right now, by all means grab a socket 754 and the A-64 3000+ and a Radeon 9800+pro. There is no way you will feel bad about that. If you can wait for the new video cards, you will be even happier. Sort of like banging your head against a wall, it feels so good when you stop.
March 22, 2004 1:03:25 AM

Well, my guess is the reader is not a computer tinkerer like most of us here, so he wants something he can buy, sit in the corner and play on till it’s obsolete and then go out and buy an entire new system. If that’s the case then the flexibility of upgrading is less important. You will still have a much better upgrade path with a custom system then a dell no matter what route you go.

Here is one last thing to consider. I always buy the best (or near best). And the reason is I don’t have to upgrade as often. Even though it cost more, in the time mid ranged buyers buy 4 systems I only need to buy 3. It’s kind of a wash in the end, and for at least a few months you have the best PC each time you buy.

Just something to think about.
March 22, 2004 2:07:47 AM

You are right im dont really tinker with my computer much, the only upgrades i have done is a new graphics card and ram. Of course Dell computers are not known to have upgradable stuff, thats why they send me Dell crap every month in the mail heh. I like my computer to last awhile without having to worry about upgrades, cause there is always something better coming out, its an endless cycle. Hence buying a screeming puter and not upgrading the CPU for at least 3 years like the one i have now. If the mobo that i would buy now can support a newer processor down the road maybe ill do that instead of getting a whole new box. Cant do that now with a p3 1.0 ghz. would have to get new mobo, new ram etc. im willing to give building a try as long as im not pulling my hair out in frustration when things dont work. Only thing ive done is install ram, change out graphic card, install hard drive, nothing difficult. Thanks for all the advice BTW
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