Sorry folks, I'm new here, and I'm sure you're probably all tired of these kinds of posts, but I'm not only looking for some feedback on my selections, but also some help with questions I've got as well. Please bear with me if you could. Thanks!
I've already got:
three old HDs (a 60GB, and two 20GBs)
Sapphire Radeon 9600 Pro 256MB AGP
Not the best hardware in the world by any stretch, but I'll be upgrading the Hard Drives a little later on, with a possible video card upgrade to a better AGP card in the future (I'm trying to avoid PCIe right now). I'm planning on using my system mainly for gaming, with a secondary focus on decent memory performance, and once I get some new Hard Drives, I'll be looking for fast transfer times on those due to large amounts of data swapping to and from the HDs. So mainly, I'm only looking for a good, solid, stable cornerstone for a new system focusing on a CPU, mobo, and RAM at the moment.
That being said, here's what I'm thinking I'm going to go with:
All this works out to a little under $500 bucks which is great considering the other options out there. But, future upgradeability is not my main concern really, as I'm primarily focused on the best performance I can squeeze out of the CPU, mobo and RAM as of right now. I'm not looking to do any overclocking, as I haven't done it in the past, and I'm not familiar with it, but if it's easy to do, and it's an option without increasing price or sacrificing stability, then I'd be willing to give it a shot.
So, would I be better off going with a socket 939 system, and possibly 2GB RAM? Should I forget about the 3400+ 2.4GHz Newcastle, and go with a Winchester or Clawhammer instead, and if so, will there be a worthwhile benefit for doing so? Do the single-channel memory 754 systems suffer much of a hit performance-wise as compared to the dual-channel 939 systems? I'm not sure I even understand the difference between the memory channels on the socket 754 vs 939, so clarification there would be a huge help. How do the different chipsets stack up? Also, how might the dual-channel memory on the P4 systems compare with the AMD 754 or 939 systems? Finally, I cant imagine there would be, but, just to be sure (read: stupid question alert!), are there any problems with using an ATI card on an nForce chipset?
Overall, I'm pretty lost when it comes to how these systems compare, between single/dual channel memory, which systems need DDR2 and which ones don't, etc.
Any advice or guidance on any of this stuff, or even links to some reviews or articles here at Tom's or elsewhere would be a huge help. I've tried reading Tom's and AnandTech's site, but I haven't really been able to find cross-platform comparisons, pretty much just 754 vs 754, 939 vs 939, and at best, the initial 939 offerings compared to some of the 754 systems, without much update on whats currently on the market for 939 and how they compare to the 754s.
Stick with 1 gig of dram. Socket 939 will be around longer, but in order to stay within your budget, you'll have to go for a lower rated cpu such as the 3000, and overclock it. For value, I like the epox nforce3 board, even though the performance isn't quite as good as the msi. DDr2 won't be used by amd for awhile, so you don't need to worry about it.
Personal opinion, the 3400+ is not worth the $ difference compared to the 3200+. I have the deluxe board, but if I were to buy today, I would get the non-deluxe version, or the Abit NF8. Bothe are considerably cheaper, though they lack the multiply raids, only having the nforce raid setup.
With the odmc, it is best to use the ram slots closest to the chip.