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buy now? or wait...

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April 26, 2004 9:15:41 AM

After years of my PC not even being fast enough even to run latter versions of Word, I have decided to build a new one...mainly motivated by reviews of Far Cry and memories of lost days and weeks playing half life until 5:30 on a Tuesday morning...

I have provisionally decided to go for an AMD 64 3400+...probably with Radeon 9800. Not sure of the board yet

BUT my questions are this:
1) should I wait another month or so and get a decent FX chip?
2) Radeon 9800 a good card? (obviousley I won't get SE - its cr*p)
3) Is the 3400+ likely to be the fastest chip I will ever get in the socket (ie are my future upgrade options limited due to the mobo)

Thanks for your help guys - I've been out of it too long! Fingers shaking on the ebuyer buy button!

ANY comments appreciated

More about : buy wait

April 26, 2004 9:51:30 AM

>1) should I wait another month or so and get a decent FX
>chip?

Might be worth it if you're buying highest end. People that know me, will know I'm not usually the one recommending anyone to wait, but the FX 6800 and X800 really seem worth waiting for, unlike 3% faster cpu's, or chipsets with even more features precious few people want.

> Radeon 9800 a good card? (obviousley I won't get SE - its
>cr*p)

yes its a good card, its the best you can get nowadays. However, if you're spending >$400 on it, better wait a while for the new ones to hit shelves, and either pickup one of them, or one of the discounted 9800's or FX 5900's. If you're getting a cheaper version, might as well jump on it now.

>3) Is the 3400+ likely to be the fastest chip I will ever
>get in the socket

Well, there will most likely be a 3700+ for it as well, but that is hardly an upgrade path worth the name. Having an upgrade path is nice, but I wouldnt base my purchasing decission/moment on it, because by the time you're in need of upgrading a 3400+ (which could be quite a while), you'll probably want a new motherboard anyway to take advantage of whatever new features released by then (PCI-E, DDR2, built in wireless, SATA2, BTX, whatever..). There is also no guarantee even a future S939 or S775 will be all that upgradeable. The upgrade path might well turn out to be limited to ~15% faster cpu's, after which you might need a faster FSB or HTT bus, a new PSU or whatever -hardly worthwhile upgrades either, and definately not worthwhile waiting for.

If your finger is itching, I'd say go ahead and order, but just don't buy the most expensive videocard, because you'll be sorried in a month or so. Settle for something reasonable not more expensive than a 9800 Pro /128 MB (~$200 on pricewatch) that will work well enough for a while, but be prepared to upgrade it sooner rather than later. You'll end up getting a far better deal than by buying a 9800 XT today, but you'll pay more than when you'd wait a month or two. I guess the question is: how much is it worth (saving) not being able to play Far Cry & Co for another while ? You can obviously save a grand by not ordering a new pc at all :) 

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
April 26, 2004 12:19:17 PM

P4man - thank you wholeheartedly.

Some very useful advice there - especially regarding upgrade path not influencing a purchase decision - you're right and its nice to hear it said - makes it all much easier!!

Re: your answer to point 1) - "I'm not usually the one recommending anyone to wait, but the FX 6800 and X800 really seem worth waiting for"..

Are you talking here about the new Gforce garphics card? - ALso - what is X800?

Sorry to be a numpty - not really "down wid" this stuff these days. Thanks.
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April 26, 2004 12:25:31 PM

i don't want to contradict anyone, but my advice is: wait for S939 and PCI-E. About SATA2 i have no idea. Don't even know what's new in it(links apreciated). With S9393 and PCI-E you will be able to upgrade later, but with S775, it's only up to 3700+, if I'm correct. I'm not going to say wait for SATA2 for 3 reasons:
1) Don't know much about it
2) Current SATA HDD's perform very well(10.000rpm ones)
3) I believe it only comes out next year.
April 26, 2004 9:43:41 PM

>I don't want to contradict anyone, but my advice is: wait
>for S939 and PCI-E.

I'd would like to make a bet with you:
By the time PCI-E and s939 are available (around june or so ?), if someone asks your purchasing advice, you will tell him to wait, because there are not enough PCI-E boards available (eg only VIA, no nForces yet) and/or there are issues with them and/or PCI-E gfx cards are still much too expensive and not really faster. All of those are likely.

Then, by the time PCI-E becomes viable, prices reasonable, enough choice, lets say around september or so, someone asking your advice; you will say wait for 90nm hammers due in a month or so, and buy one of these, or benefit from the discounts on the slower 130nm parts.

October/november, 90nm chips hit the shelves: someone asks your purchasing advise. You'll say wait to see what Tejas brings, wait for DDR2-667, wait for christmass price reductions, wait, wait, wait. Wanna bet ?

I'm fairly certain you gave the same advice a few weeks/months ago: wait for nForce3 250.. am I right ? Now just for laughs and giggles, imagine it was the same person asking each time.. he has been waiting for a year by then.

Neither socket 939 nor PCI-E will give much if any tangible performance increases nor price reductions, so IMHO, its not worth waiting for. Sure, upgradeability *might* be better, but there is no guarantee. Moreover, he is not likely even if possible to upgrade his cpu 2 or 3 years from here, without wanting a new motherboard anyway, and until then AGP cards will be readily available, and barely slower. Remember AGP 2x, 4x, 8x ? there is no point in waiting several months for something that MIGHT save you $80 bucks (cost of a decent K8 motherboard) in 2 years. Heck, even waiting the same time would almost *automatically* reduce the price by that much, if not more due to price cuts on the 3400+, motherboards, etc. In this case, who knows, it might even turn out more expensive as memory is getting more expensive by the week.

Like I said, Geforce 6800 and Radeon X800 might well be worth waiting a few weeks for, because they WILL offer a very tangible performance increase (up to 100% for gaming), and WILL result in a substantial price drop of current highend cards. nForce3 250, S939 (or 775), PCI-E, DDR2, SATA2, etc, will offer nothing like that, hence, really arent worth the wait if your current setup is in dire need or replacement (like in this case).

now is a GREAT time to buy, except for a really high end videocard.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
April 26, 2004 9:51:01 PM

>Are you talking here about the new Gforce garphics card? -
>ALso - what is X800?

yes, the FX6800 is the new nVidia card. Plenty of previews on the web, the thing is *wickedly* fast but won't be available for several weeks. When it becomes available, i expect current high end nvidia cards to be discounted susbstantially.

The X800 is the next generation of Radeons, due in a couple of weeks as well, maybe a tad later than the 6800. No previews yet, but I expect it to be competitive with the 6800. So what is highest end now (like the 9800XT) will be "mainstream" in about a month.. therefore, I advice against buying a $400+ 9800 XT. A $200 9800 Pro will not be discounted nearly as much, and even though it will be considerably slower than a X800/6800, even a few months from here, for $200 it will still be pretty good value (IMHO). If not, at least you only "wasted" $200, not $400+ :) 

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
April 26, 2004 11:52:20 PM

I believe the x800 should be previewed this week, but will hit the shelves before the 6800.
The x800 is to compete with the fx6800nu, while the x800xt, due in June, is ment to compete against the fx6800u. Looks to me like a 9800pro wins in price/performance. I hear the 6800u will hit the shelves at close to $500. 70% of the perf, for 40% of the cost.
April 27, 2004 12:28:38 AM

Just buy now man. There really isn't too much since in waiting, except for graphic cards. And I think those come out pretty soon, but I'm sure they won't be cheap. But I say buy now, and the only thing I would wait for is the 6800 or X800.

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April 27, 2004 5:20:09 AM

If you're up for a short wait, the 6800 and x800 will be on the shelves within a few weeks. That will also give boardmakers a little more time to sort out their nForce3 250 chipset product selection.

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April 27, 2004 3:12:57 PM

We really need to know what you want to do with this PC at the most extreme conditions.

For an average user this would be fine...

Radeon 9800 Pro
Athlon XP 2500+
Corsair PC3200 Latency 2.5 512MB x 1 or 2

IMHO, that will run smoken fast for anything you need, and be very cheap.

However if you want the biggest and baddest, then yes you should wait a little longer. I personally want to upgrade as well from my XP1600+, but i'm going to wait for the AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 1MB L2 Cache, to drop below $200.

<i> If your computer is your best friend, maybe you should rethink your life.</i> :wink: <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jflongo on 04/27/04 10:21 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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