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Should I Build this System? Please Help

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January 5, 2005 3:11:45 AM

UPDATE: Well, I've done a complete reversal and decided to return the Intel parts despite the great price. My reasons are many, but topping the are list are 1) AMD and 2) So many things seem unsure right now, such as PCIe, SLI, SATAII debut, DDR2 and 3) the stock Intel 915P is not good and shelving it to buy much better board puts a big dent in the price savings...making me want to just drop it entirely in favor of AMD. I'm just going to let things settle for a bit.

I very much appreciate everyones input and hope you won't mind if/when I come knocking again in the not-too-distant future.

P.S. These boards are a godsend, btw. I will defintely be reading up in the meantime.



Hi all,

I'm really having a hard time deciding whether or not to build a new gaming system right now (which I've never done before).

I currently have a half-way decent system but my fiance, God bless her heart, bought for me an Intel 550 3.4 CPU and a 915P MOBO for Xmas (her bro works for Intel so she got in on a special offer, very good price).

I was very excited but when I started to do some research I found that the conventional wisdom on these parts is that they are, well, not very exciting.

The 915P offers SATA, PCI Express and DDR2 but I've read that they do not really provide much performance increase compared to existing tech (esp. when compared to AMD 3500+).

My current system is:

Intel 2.8
MSI Mediocre MOBO
1024 PC2700 DDR
Radeon 9700 Pro

What I would build is:

Intel 550 3.4
Intel 915P MOBO
1024 DDR2 400 (or 533)
PCI Express 6800GT

Sooo..after this long winded post (sorry!), my basic questions are:

1) Should I expect to see an order of difference in performance compared to my current system? Like 50+ more FPS in Half-Life 2?

2) Is this a good time to buy? Always a tough question question, I know, but with the 9xx, even more so. My concerns are that the 3 improvements mention above (SATA, DDR2 and PCIe) are all lacluster right now but should improve this year. So should I just sit on the processor and wait? Or return the products, wait, and buy AMD this summer? The price she got is really very good, tho.

Oy the confusion...my head hurts now.

Again, sorry to run on and on. Any insights would be very much appreciated! Thank you.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Ramble235 on 01/07/05 01:10 AM.</EM></FONT></P>

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January 5, 2005 4:16:26 AM

DDR2 has more latency than DDR and no performance advantages otherwise, Intel put it on the market NOW because they want it to be common when they release faster bus speed processors in the future. DDR2 667 is better than DDR400, but there aren't any processors that support it yet. So DDR will clock higher, but at similar clocks it gives lower performance than DDR.

It's still much better than DDR333 which you're using now. And the processor will have advantages if you can keep it cool. Take a look at Tom's review of the Zalman CNPS7700 cooler as an example of how to keep the Presshot processors cool without blowing your hearing.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
January 5, 2005 4:21:49 AM

You'll likely feel the performance difference. Not to mention the graphic card is way better than yours now.

If the attractive price and great performance increase are the only matters, I say go for it. I personally won't buy it though. Kinda doubt the future of the 775 socket since the current best Prescott, 3.8 GHz, has reach P4 design limit. Anyway, it's up to you.
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January 5, 2005 4:25:23 AM

I don't know how much DDR2 latency impact the overall performance. I only considered the processor and the graphic card. Crashman is more experience than I am. You should hear him well.
January 5, 2005 4:31:17 AM

Thanks for the tip about cooling, that was another thing I was concerned about.

Yeah, what you said about the current rev of DDR2 is what I've heard elsewhere. Pretty much the same goes for PCIe and SATA, as well.

I guess my real questions is whether or not I'll reap big improvements compared to what I have now and are big things just over the horizon (such as faster DDR2, SATA 600 or something that makes PCIe worthwhile)

Regarding PCIe, is it that the current crop of games just dont take advantage of it, or is it just not that much better than AGP8? Have not yet really found and answer to that question.
January 5, 2005 4:41:46 AM

From what I've read the latency basically keeps it at roughly the same speed, tho a bit slower, than quality DDR400. Which would be fine, but not if faster DDR2 (or is it a chipset/CPU limitation? Which would require other new hardware...) is just around the corner?

Man its hard to get a handle on this stuff.
January 5, 2005 4:55:16 AM

Send me a PM if you would like to know more about this CPU. I built a system about a week ago, and its got the same exact CPU and also is running on a 915 board. I have had somevery good results so far. I am using liquid to cool it and my temps are very low. Even OC'D 3.4@4.0 it doesnt get above 39C.
January 5, 2005 5:16:35 AM

Thanks, man. But How do i send a PM lol?
January 5, 2005 5:30:06 AM

First off, you can never look a gift horse in the mouth, when you intend to marry the giver. Divorce is just too easy. You are stuck with this puppy, so make the best of it.
No, it is not the games, PCI- exp 16X has the same band width as AGP 8X. We are just barely using the capacity of 4X. PCI-exp is full duplex though so it's good for VIVO.
As far as the new chip goes, you are looking at a bump of about 35%, not massive, but solid. That new mobo has top of the line onboard sound (I think) so that's a nice bonus.
Your big gain is on the graphics card. Sure, I would love to have your 9700, but the 6800gt is 2 generations newer.
You will be able to find fault with the system if you choose to, but if you decide to enjoy it, you really will.
January 5, 2005 5:39:59 AM

Endyen, nah, she would understand...thats why im marrying her :) 

But youre right, its a decent bump and a good excuse to upgrade to a very nice vid card.

My concern is that if I buy now, she wont let me do so again for a good long while lol....so is it a good time/product or no?
January 5, 2005 5:43:16 AM

For gaming, the next big thing is dual cores. If you guessed that means nothing major for a couple of years, your thinking is the same as mine. That system will be a keeper, may even last a couple of graphics card upgrades.
January 5, 2005 5:57:02 AM

Thanks man. I think youre right. I think I'll do it.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. Its not easy understanding and interpeting the ins and outs of comp hardware and so its certainly nice to able to come to a place like this and get actual answers and informed opinions. Thanks again.
January 5, 2005 6:13:55 AM

At the top left of the page, under the options menu you will see Send Private Message. I dont mind discussing it here in the public forum. Just ask me some specific questions or concerns that you may have, and if I have encountered them I will be happy to let you know.
January 6, 2005 5:01:01 PM

yes...i actually think you should, the reason being is in the future...this will be the future...The dual core cpu's will be coming in on the LGA 775 boards (for intel anyways)...right now however the LGA 775 isnt much better, and for the cost, its probaly better to go with 486...im however gonna go against the flow, im going with LGA 775.

Sam
January 6, 2005 6:05:12 PM

I'm a bit confused...when dual core becomes available, won't that necessitate buying new CPU and MOBO anyway? What's the benefit of buying 775 now?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ramble235 on 01/06/05 03:32 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
January 6, 2005 11:10:45 PM

Quote:
What's the benefit of buying 775 now?

It is winter, and will substitute as a very good space heater...

<pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
January 6, 2005 11:19:56 PM

Intel is saying that dual cores will initially use socketT (s775), so you might be able to just get a new chip.
Since the initial chips will run slower, and gaming will only use 1 core, this has zero to do with you.
January 7, 2005 3:23:15 AM

Plus, even if it not *necessary* to buy a new mobo, wouldn't you want to anyway?

I posted an update to my original post at the top, btw...in case anyone didnt see and cares. Thx
January 7, 2005 5:19:43 AM

Had I bought a s755 instead of an A64, I would care less about wether the board supports dual core chips. My heaviest cpu usage is in games, and that will nit benefit at all from dual cores.
!