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CPU in a lower-cost custom system ?

Last response: in CPUs
April 14, 2004 7:31:09 PM

Greetings -
I'm going to have a lower-cost computer put together by one of the online resellers (I'm not remotely technically minded or motivated enough to assemble one on my own), and am deciding on a CPU.

I'll use the computer primarily for home audio editing/CD burning (have lots of bootleg tapes, vinyl LP's, etc), digital photo slideshows, and might want to put some home videos on DVD in the future. I have a decent home sound system to plug it into. Planning on getting a DVD burner, the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum sound card and a low-cost acceptable video card (probably a geforce 5200). Cost is a factor, and I'd like a system that won't be obsolete in 2-3 years (as my current HP Celeron nachine is.) Oh, and I don't play computer games at all (this revelation shocked a young salesman at a CompUSA!)

For about the same cost (around $900-$1000) I can get an identical setup with:
- Pentium 4 2.8, 512k cache, 800fsb, dual channel memory
- AMD Athlon Barton 2800+, 512k L2 cache with dual channel memory
- AMD 64 2800 (dual channel memory not a possibility)

Some of the online guides & reviews suggest the Pentium 4 would be better for audio/video, while many computer enthusiasts seem to love the AMDs, especially the AMD 64. A local computer shop recommended dual channel memory and Serial ATA HD, regardless of which CPU...

There are a lot of opinions out there, so lots more would be welcome...Thanks!
April 14, 2004 11:20:01 PM

If you do not play games, for your needs, get a Mac...

<font color=red><b>NF7-S/Mobile Barton 2600+
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9500np modded to 9700np</b></font color=red><font color=green><b>
NF7-S/Unlocked Barton 2500+
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April 14, 2004 11:39:38 PM

Go to section 3.3.2 and 3.3.3 of Spitfire's cpu buying guide. It's "stickied" to the top of this forum section. Just pick the one (likely a P4 with HT)in your price range.

You might wonder over to and look for posts by a guy name Duvie. I seem to recall several posts by him in the last six months or less where he's done a bunch of benchies on vid encoding and such between cpu's etc. Here's an example <A HREF="" target="_new">;/A>

Personally, I just don't know about ripping cd's and dvd's, I'm just a gamer who likes AMD.

Good Luck with ur new pc

Barton 2500+
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Win98SE<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Coyote on 04/14/04 07:44 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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April 15, 2004 2:08:25 AM

Just make sure he "stickies" in the cost of a dual CPU O/S like XP Pro. You will not get hyperthreading without it. No XP Home, Win98SE, etc.

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
April 15, 2004 2:38:20 AM

go with 2800+, no questions about it, yes Intel's offerings are good with that type of multimedia but the advantage against the a64 wont be taht much and if he decides to do anyother kind of task besides that the 64 will fly.
April 15, 2004 6:33:42 AM

Just make sure he "stickies" in the cost of a dual CPU O/S like XP Pro. You will not get hyperthreading without it. No XP Home, Win98SE, etc.

HyperThreading works with Windows XP Home, Pro and Windows Server 2003. It doesn't work with Win9x/ME and takes bige performance hit in sigle CPU apps if you use it with Win2000 familiy OS

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<A HREF="" target="_new">My Rig</A> & <A HREF="" target="_new">3DMark score</A>
April 15, 2004 10:22:54 AM

The P4 would probably be faster, though I don't think any of those cpu's will really hold you back much if at all. AFAIK, audio processing really isnt all that cpu intensive, if you look carefully at the benchmarks, you'll see THG needed some 240 (!) min long WAV's to keep a somewhat reasonable benchmark time (still only between 1 and 2 minutes processing time). I think you really want a fast/good DVD burner and a fast/big harddisk in the first place.

IMHO it would be a toss up between the A64 and the P4; the P4 giving you best performance now, the A64 likely being more futureproof (as well as offering cool&quiet and NX). I would rule out the Athon XP 2800+. The fact that the A64 doesnt give you "dual channel" is a total non issue, its memory performance is *excellent* with its ondie memory controller, and it definately blows the AXP out of the water.

BTW, audio processing might gain considerably from a 64 bit port, but its anyone's guess when your apps will be ported to it.

So, in short: want the fastest now ? Get the P4. Want to have the best hopes of being able to keep your rig for several years ? Consider the A64. I'm afraid you can't have both.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
April 15, 2004 3:13:03 PM

One of you guys is wrong! This is from an article at the "Modfathers":

Intel's Secret Weapon

Intel does have an ace up its sleeve however. One thing you may or may not be aware of on your single CPU Pentium 4 Northwood (often referred to as Pentium 4C) system at home is a little feature referred to as Hyperthreading. Hyperthreading is a modern marvel of CPU efficiency. It basically allows the CPU to run in a virtual dual mode, thus allowing Windows XP Professional (will not work under Home version), or another SMP enabled OS to recognize your computer as running an effective dual configuration.

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
April 15, 2004 9:45:16 PM

Yet at INTEL's site you get this:

Microsoft* Windows* Operating System Desktop Based PCs
The following desktop operating systems include optimizations for HT Technology and are currently eligible to carry the new Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor with HT Technology logo:
Microsoft* Windows* XP Professional Edition
Microsoft* Windows* XP Home Edition

The following desktop operating systems are not recommended for use with Hyper-Threading Technology. If you are using one of the following desktop operating systems, it is advised that you should disable Hyper-Threading Technology in the system BIOS Setup program:

Microsoft Windows 2000 (all versions)
Microsoft Windows NT* 4.0
Microsoft Windows Me
Microsoft Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 98 SE

Geez, what IS the best O/S to use with the P4? Is the average guy missing something if he loads XP Home instead of XP Pro?

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
April 15, 2004 10:41:55 PM

Is that ever going to present a drawback for anyone? I was going to order XP Pro and give Home to junior. Any point in that?

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Now, let's eat!
April 16, 2004 7:09:16 PM

Yep, Windows XP Home does support hyperthreading. As for differences between XP Home and Pro, Microsoft has a simple comparison at :

While the 64-bit is definitely the way of the future, it does look like it will be a couple of years before there is extensive software support for the technology.

Who knows - maybe I'll have more cash to spend by then...

In the mean time I have found what seems to be a better sound card pays to do research! I'll do "a bit" more (bad pun intended) before I decide between the 64 and the 32...

Thanks for the info & input everyone.
April 19, 2004 12:22:03 AM

Anything above an AMD 2500+ 333MhZ 512K cache cpu or a Pentium 2.4C cpu will do just fine for what you are expecting.

If you are talking about great price/performance ratio look no further than an AMD 2500+ 333MhZ 512K cache cpu or the Pentium 2.4C as mentioned above hehe!

Frintin Rocks!
April 19, 2004 12:25:07 AM

wtf are you recomending a mac for? you think thats cost effective? there is absolutely no reason to recomend a mac to any user. cs game server -
now featuring (optional) cheating death!
April 19, 2004 2:05:07 AM

I'm proud of you for that post. :smile:

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