I have read the CPU buyer's guide at the top of this forum. I have also looked at some other posts. I am in the market for a motherboard and CPU upgrade from my Athlon XP 1800+. I am leaning toward more AMD products as the Intel goes over my meager budget in most cases.
I am torn between going for the Barton chips or AMD 64. Specifically I was thinking of a Barton 3200+ or A64 3000+. Will there be much of a performance difference between these two classes of processors? I use the PC for gaming primarily. I am concerned over the XP chips only because of the line in the buyer's guide about performance not giving much bang for the buck.
By meager budget, I mean around $300-$350 for MoBO, CPU, and memory. I would like to stay closer to $300 if possible, but I fear it may be a pipe dream. I know technology advances incredibly quickly, but I want to make a purchase that will give good performance for about a year of so. My current config was just fine for about 2 years until Doom 3 and Far Cry.
The 3200+ XP chip, in my opinion, is still a little overpriced, especially since AMD is switching chips. 64 bit chips have a slight edge for gaming.
If you stick with an XP chip can you re-use your motherboard and RAM, or do you have to replace this as well?
Between, 3200+ XP and the 3000+ A64, the performance difference will be very minimal. The A64, assuming you are going s754, will at least be upgradeable to a 3700+, the XP system won't be upgradeable without a new motherboard. However, by the time you want to upgrade the 64-bit chip there will be enough new hardware out to make you want to buy a new motherboard anyways, so you will probably be buying a new motherboard no matter which way you go.
In my opinion, if you can re-use your motherboard, a 2800+ or 2500 (mobile)+ XP, would be the best choice. If you have to buy a new motherboard you should go with the A64.
Also keep in mind that, newer games are becoming more and more dependent on the GPU and not the CPU. So while you need to upgrade your CPU, your video card will be an even bigger factor in game performance.
As a side note my system is a 2800+ XP chip, and I run Doom3 and FarCry without any problems, on higher settings than most are playing with. (My 2800+ also runs 2.6 ghz, without problems)
If you're on a tight budget and want the best bang for bucks, look into getting a Mobile Barton along with an Abit NF7-S V2.0, some PC3200 and a good Heat Sink such as the Thermaltake Silent Boost.
The vast majority of them will do 2.2GHz out of the tray, that is the equivalent of an Athlon XP 3200+ for half the price. Why stop at 2.2GHz when overclocking a Mobile Barton beyond 2.4GHz can be done by boosting the core voltage a little ?
Mine is Folding@Home and Prime95 stable, I have it crunching numbers 24 hours a day and it never get any hotter than 58C, look around the web, you'll see thousands of those CPUs being overclocked to even more impressive clockspeed.
Mobile Barton 2500+ @ 2.5GHz (217MHz x 11.5)
Abit NF7-S V2.0
2x 512MB of Samsung TCC4
Sapphire Radeon 9700 128MB @ 360/310
2x Maxtor 40GB 7200RPM RAID-0
They are cheaper for a reason, the performance gains will be much less than an A64 chip. For only $20-$40 over the price of a 3100 Sempron you can get a 2800-3000 A64 chip that will be a big difference in performance.
When there is such a large performance gap, I couldn't justify saving $20-40.
Reviewing the posts, it will be hard for you to stay on budget and go with a A64 chip. Obvisuly you could do a really good XP setup and still stay within your budget (Especially if you want to stay to $300).
Here are my current specs as requested by Sid:
Athlon XP 1800+, 512 MB RAM (PC 2100), Geforce FX 5700 Ultra, SB Live 5.1, FIC AN11 Motherboard.
I will definately not go with the Sempron. While I don't know all the specifics, it just seems like AMD's version of the Celeron. Also, I realize I may need to go a little over my desired $300 budget if I'm going to get an A64. But I think with some creative purchases from Newegg I could get the Mobo, CPU and memory for around $300-$400 US.
Both A64 chips will also overclock, and still obvisuly outperform that Sempron chip, and only cost slightly more. The Sempron would be a lot easier to justify if it was a fair amount cheaper than the A64 chips, but right now, I feel the minor savings aren't worth the loss in performance.
Thanks, 5oh. That is right in the budget range. It seems I had looked at that Mobo before. There were some other contenders as well since it seems you can find a decent one for around $80. Now keep an eye out for my subsequent posts asking about BIOS settings once I get this all in place.
There are several motherboards right in that range, and actually a few that are just a couple of dollars cheaper. However, I am biased when it comes to GigaByte. I have owned a total of 9 GigaByte boards at this point (Bought one Abit, and returned it for a Gigabyte), all the boards are still running, and have served me well in the past. Mainly just a personal preference, but I will continue buying only GigaByte in the future as well.
That one I linked to is a good board.
And after 9 boards, I should be able to help with any of GigaBytes settings. If you do get a GigaByte board, and wonder where the "advanced" options are, like memory timings and such (they don't appear under advanced settings), hit Ctrl-F1 while in BIOS. It opens up new options under the menus. Never have figured out why GigaByte hides these options.