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Buying new system - Athlon 3500 or Intel 550?

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December 1, 2004 9:57:33 AM

Guys i'm new here so be gentle.
My current system died a sad death through excessive overclocking/lack of cooling/stupid user

Now i have money to buy a new system (don't want to build cos i'm lazy and like getting shiny new things on my doorstep)

My problem is this, i am torn between 2 systems both the same price. I'll give you a brief overview of each. I want a system that will give me happy gaming for a couple of years and won't go out of date too soon!

The first is an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ on a standard 939 board, no PCI express is available yet and i am sick of waiting. I has 1GB Ram, a 6800 GT graphics card, 250GB HDD, 19" viewsonic vx tft and all the usual drives.

The second system is an intel 550 with basically all the same features except it has an x800 xt video card and its PCI express. It also has a different tft though this is not an issue.

Basically, having seen benchmarks i reckon the AMD is faster but i'm worried about come january, its gonna be out of date an i'll be stuck with an old motherboard and graphics card!

Sorry for the long post guys but any help would be great!

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by astonbilla on 12/01/04 06:58 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 1, 2004 10:27:49 AM

So its not that big a deal that the AMD system will lack PCI express?

Just worried about future spending, BUT my money is burning a hole in my pocket. I want to spend it now, haven't had a pc for 2 months or so now!
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December 1, 2004 11:27:24 AM

I don't think it's that big a deal right now. PCI Express is still brand new, so it will take a while for regular PCI to get phased out. If you really want AMD and PCIe, there should be nForce4 PCIe systems out real soon, since the reviews are already out. Falcon Northwest is already selling PC's with the new Asus nForce4 PCIe motherboard, for example. But even if you go with PCI I don't think it will cause a problem.

<i>Money talks. Mine always likes to say "goodbye." :smile: </i>
December 2, 2004 12:50:23 AM

Since you mentioned ocing, I will suggest that you go with the Amd, but with the 3000 chip instead. Bothe the 3000, and the 3500 top out at around 2.6 ghz, so why waste the money.
a b à CPUs
December 2, 2004 2:26:08 AM

PCI cards are already at an adequate level of technology, you probably won't see anything new in PCI-Express x1 that you just "have to have" for many years. As for the graphics cards, that's a bit more problematic, but there should still be good card availability for 2 years.

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December 2, 2004 7:46:25 AM

thanks for the reply guys!

my main concern was being stuck next year when upgrading. I will need maybe a new motherboard and graphics card as opposed to simply a new graphics card.

Have any companies indicated they will continue to craete agp cards?

Is the Intel definately a no no then even though it has the pci express board and x800 card?
a b à CPUs
December 2, 2004 4:57:53 PM

nVidia's graphics chip is AGP, with a PCI-Express signal converter ("bridge" chip) making PCIe cards possible. ATI releases their PCIe chip to AGP slot "bridge" in a couple months.

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December 6, 2004 1:15:15 PM

So i'm safe with AGP for a while at least?

as long as i get at least a year of good gaming from the machine i will be happy.
a b à CPUs
December 6, 2004 1:25:07 PM

Yes, there are simply too many new AGP motherboards on the market now for this market to be ignored.

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December 6, 2004 2:05:08 PM

Wouldn't a 3400 or 3500+ be a better bet to reach 2.6GHz since it passed higher clock standards than the 3000+
Plus it would be closer to that stock...

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December 6, 2004 10:25:05 PM

I think the 3400 is only available in 130 nanos, so it will only get to about 2.5, the 3500 may get to 2.65, but is the extra 50 mhz worth the extra $.
December 7, 2004 7:34:20 PM

Yah, if you are going Socket 939, which you would be dumb not to, then the 3000, 3200 are only offered in the Winchester(90nm) core, however the 3400 is only offered in the Newcastle core(130nm) and the 3500 and up's are offerend in both. Anandtech did a review and both their 3500 and 3000 topped off at 2.6GHz with stock cooling and only miner voltage increase!!! That's verry impressive, AMD's $150 processor outperforming Intel's 3.4GHzEE chip that costs $1,000. Of course it is OC'ed, but the 3500 will beat the 3.4EE in almost every game and it is onlt 270. So for gameing AMD is considerably ahead of Intel, plus they have 64 bit(which is useless right now, but at least it will run Longhorn well). I currently have a P4(just ordered a A8V and A64 3000 as this year's upgrade), my buddy just build one with a 3500 and his system runs HL2 noticeably faster. I get about 120 FPS in CS benchie, he gets 130 at 1 resolution higher. Although most games like D3 and FarCry are not nearly as CPU dependtent, it never hurts.

P4 2.6c@3 / 1GB OCZ DDR533 / Abit IC7-Max3 /
BFG Geforce 6800 GT @ 410/1100 /
Baracuda 7200.7 120 GB SATA / Lian-Li PC-65 Case
/ SyncMaster 700nf Monitor / 3DMark03-12100
December 8, 2004 2:14:07 PM

Thanks for the replies guys

I ordered the AMD system, now all i have to do is avoid the manufacturers website for a while so i don't cry when the sales begin in a few weeks!

I just couldn't wait!
December 9, 2004 10:35:08 AM

no matter what kind of technology you buy...you'll be stuck in one year anyway ...

-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
December 9, 2004 12:25:19 PM

I am close to buying my processor, but Captain_insano you just threw in a curve ball I wasn't ready for. So, if I understand your last post, which I don't think I did, a 939 90nm 3000+ 1.8ghz processor is better than:

1. 90nm 3200+ 2.0ghz
2. 130nm 3400+ 2.2ghz
3. 130nm and 90nm 3500+ 2.2ghz

if you overclock?
December 9, 2004 1:52:55 PM

Heh, I think what he's saying is, for the money, yes.

Pretty much all the A64's can hit 2.4ghz. The 90nm ones find it a little easier to hit that 2.4 mark, and may go beyond with better cooling. The 90nm is a fraction (2-5% per benchmarks) faster at the same clock as the 130nm ones.

So:
Get the 90nm, it's faster clock for clock.
Get the 90nm, it oc's at least as well as the 130nm ones do.
Get the cheapest 90nm as both the 1.8 and 2.0 clocked ones OC to about the same level.

The only reason I'd go for the 2.0ghz clock is for the 10x multiplier - don't have to over-rev the fsb as much to hit that max OC. But that may not be much of an issue.

:) 

Mike.
December 9, 2004 3:06:40 PM

Quote:
Yes, there are simply too many new AGP motherboards on the market now for this market to be ignored.

Very true. I wonder why ATI and nVidia are trying their best to kill AGP as soon as possible, when it really doesn't depend on their wish.


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