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Ultra Cheap upgrade advice

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April 24, 2005 9:54:17 PM

I'm looking to spend about $175. I already have a good system as my main, but I want to do a little upgrade to the old system I upgraded from.... because I like playing LAN games with my friends, but this old comp needs just a bit more horsepower... Currently, it is:

Abit KT7A-Raid w/Athlon 1.2c Thunderbird
512mb AT100 RAM
GeForce 4 TI4200 w/64mb RAM
Seagate 160gb EIDE 7200rpm HD
Standard ATX case
Antec TruePower 330W PSU


So, what would be the best I could do for $175 (or cheaper even). I checked some other threads and heard different recommendations about Sempron VS XP vs 64bit, Nforce 2/3/4... but I figured I'd just ask for recommendations here that suit my specific needs/budget. This isn't going to be my 'new' system... I just want to give this thing a good power boost for cheap so it will play some games a bit better. But I also want to spend very wisely, and may *consider* upping the budget *slightly* if I could do much better for a little more...

So what should I do for $175? I looked at pricewatch mobo/cpu combos, and also RAM, and saw this:

$135 COMBO: Sempron 3000+ w/Abit NF7-S2

Abit NF7-S2 NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 400FSB DDR 400 Audio Video LAN with cpu - Sempron 3000+ With Heatsink and Fan Assembly combo Kit (Sempron Replaces Discontinued Athlon XP)

$45 Corsair (System Memory) VS512MB400 512MB PC3200 VALUE SELECT


So in this case, I'd leave everything else (case, video, HD, etc. and just swap the cpu/mobo/ram out).

Now normally I am very picky w/mobos and only go Abit or Asus, would also do MSI or Gigabyte... but for this, what do you think of AS Rock America, Syntax, or PcChips motherboards? Crap, or is one of those decent, or??


Also, I WILL NOT BE OVERCLOCKING.... well ok, I've never OC'ed before and am a little nervous about it. I don't want to buy a ton of cooling stuff and everything... but if it is pretty easy to OC, *maybe* I'd consider a AMD 2400/2500/2600 and OC... if the $$ savings was great enough. What do u think?


Ok, so advice please. What do you think of this stuff up here, Nforce 2/3/4; Sempron/XP/64; motherboards, etc... What's the best possible use of my $$ to give this system a good boost?


P4c 3.2Ghz @ 800MHz Northwood / ABIT AI7 / 1GB Corsair XMS-Pro CL2 Pc3200 / 160GB Seagate SATA 7200rpm 8mb cache / BFG-Tech Nvidia GeForce 6800GT 256mb / Antec Sonata case w/Antec TruePower 380W PSU<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Dannyaa on 04/24/05 06:13 PM.</EM></FONT></P>

More about : ultra cheap upgrade advice

April 24, 2005 10:03:09 PM

UPDATE: sorry, didn't want to edit the original as this kind of a 'seperate idea'...

What do you think of 'upping' the budget slightly to get either an MSI or Gigabyte motherboard for $180 that has an AMD Athlon64 3000+ CPU? I'd couple it with 512mb of that Corsair Pc3200 Value RAM for a total of about $225.

If I did this, should I get the Nforce3 platform, of the VIA K8T800 chipset, and why?

Also, please answer the questions in the original post too! :) 


Thanks all, I appreciate your time and help so much!


Oh and these were the websites I found that on (from pricewatch):

http://www.compu-terra.com/store/product358.html [Gigabyte]

http://www.ikonpc.com/smoreinfo.asp?iid=2174 [MSI] - (with the CPU upgrade for $25 at the bottom)<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Dannyaa on 04/24/05 06:04 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 24, 2005 10:54:41 PM

I would say go with the A64
Nforce3 board is best in my opinion but some people like the VIA boards.

Once you do that then your video card is the slowdown. If you can get it for 225 shipped i would go for it. THen again its not my money, and its not me playing on it at the LAN party.

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April 24, 2005 11:48:13 PM

Ok, here is what I am looking at now:

http://www.unitedmicro.com/mbw.cgi?108225335

* please check the website...
CPU is the Athlon64 754 socket, 3000+

Mobo is the MSI K8N Neo3-F mobo, which has 3 PCI, 1 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16, and then an "AGR" - compatible with AGP VGA cards that support that.

MSI has a list of supported cards on their website:

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=K8N...

...but mine is not on there... but that doesn't look like an exhaustive list... where could I see if my video is supported or what are the chances of mine working (see first post for card. I can't remember if it was a VisionTek or Leadtek, but I'll check...).


ALSO - it has options for the HSF and thermalpaste, and I don't know what I should choose... anyone know off the top of their head?

I did some research on the HSFs and found this if it helps:

http://www.thermaltake.com/coolers/venus/si/a1770.htm - The Venus 7+ A1770 the AMD recommend (so it says on list) plastic/metal one for $19
OR
http://www.thermaltake.com/coolers/rackmount/a1827.htm - The A1827 all copper spiffy looking one, for $25

I want to make sure I have good cooling of course… which of these two should I go with? I don’t mind spending $6 extra, if it is a better solution, but it says Operton. Should I get that one (A1827) anyway since it seems to be better, or the Venus 7+ one?

Oh and here is the list of all the different options, from thermaltake's website:

http://www.thermaltake.com/coolers/venus/simenu.htm


Thanks!


P4c 3.2Ghz @ 800MHz Northwood / ABIT AI7 / 1GB Corsair XMS-Pro CL2 Pc3200 / 160GB Seagate SATA 7200rpm 8mb cache / BFG-Tech Nvidia GeForce 6800GT 256mb / Antec Sonata case w/Antec TruePower 380W PSU
April 25, 2005 12:03:24 AM

a couple things....
1) if you get the box version of the CPU you dont need a HSF.
2) get a board that supports AGP so you can use your old card....even if your old card is going to be a huge slowdown with an A64. Look at some cheap low cost AGP board and the A64 retail kit. Not the combos.

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April 25, 2005 12:20:44 AM

See, you fudged on the budget, now you've had it.
You want to build a system for someone else to game on?
Sure, I'll take one.
What I would do in your situation is put the good gaphics card on an A64 board, and use that as my main gaming system. I probably wouldn't go top of the line on the chip, maybe a 3200. It should give you a few more frames, and leave you with an good system for encoding, that your friends can play games on.
Later on, grab a dual core chip, and be prepared to be amazed, well not in gaming.
April 25, 2005 2:44:38 AM

Quote:
So, what would be the best I could do for $175 (or cheaper even).


Go downtown, grab the best looking hooker, buy a bottle of whiskey and rent a cheap room. Want cheaper? Go to Thailand! You don't have enough money to upgrade anything but video card.

Abit IS7 - 3.0C @ 3.6ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
April 25, 2005 3:12:42 AM

i would upgrade the video card, that always seems to have the most bang for the buck maybe to geforce 6600. You could always upgrade the rest later.
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2005 3:38:23 AM

For $175 he could get an AGP 6600GT. For $141.60 he could ge this <A HREF="http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E168..." target="_new">eVGA 6600GT PCIe</A>

Edit: For $151.20, he could get this refurbished <A HREF="http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E168..." target="_new">XFX AGP 6600GT</A>

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<font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by rugger on 04/25/05 11:36 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 25, 2005 4:04:20 AM

Well then, it really is a pity he doesn't have a PCI-exp mobo.
April 25, 2005 8:13:28 AM

mmmmk... can someone check that united-micro website in my post and let me know about the HSF? I am not getting the retail box because it is significantly cheaper to get the OEM and then buy a HSF.

Yes, I did fudge on the budget, and I'm building a system for friends to game on, but hey I get enjoyment out of gaming with them also, so its all good... but I made up partly for the increaded budget by finding some people to buy my GeForce 4 and the 'guts' (1.2+mobo+RAM). So I'm looking at pulling the guts out of the computer and getting this:

MSI K8N Neo3-F mobo (PCI-E + 'AGR' slot)
Athlon64 3000+ socket 754
2x512mb Corsair ValueSelect Pc3200
Refurbed eVGA GeForce 6600GT 128mb (thanks for the link)
TOTAL: $475
*minus $175 I make on selling original components*

TOTAL: $300


(Helpful) Suggestions? Tips? Better deal than what I've listed? Things to watch out for?

And of course thoughts on the mobo/HSF and all that good stuff.

Thanks guys.


- Dan


P4c 3.2Ghz @ 800MHz Northwood / ABIT AI7 / 1GB Corsair XMS-Pro CL2 Pc3200 / 160GB Seagate SATA 7200rpm 8mb cache / BFG-Tech Nvidia GeForce 6800GT 256mb / Antec Sonata case w/Antec TruePower 380W PSU
April 25, 2005 8:29:55 AM

FWIW, I have an XP3000+ with the same vid card, and it will play all current games I tried okay(-ish). If you can live with 1024x768 or 1152x864 and medium details (no FSAA, bilinear only ,..) , it will even run them just fine.

So a real cheap solution could be to just get a faster socket A chip and save some more bucks for a big upgrade later on.

Also know your videocard has a huge overclocking potential. Those 64 MB Ti's can overclock to Ti4600 levels with ease !

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2005 3:35:06 PM

If you get a new CPU then get the retail version and use the stock HSF.

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<font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red>
April 25, 2005 5:57:56 PM

OEM = $120 + $25 for (better?) HSF
Retail = $145

But yes, I forgot retail comes with warranty and less 'trouble' in finding the HSF so unless someone suggests different I will buy the components seperate instead.


If I'm not mistaken, the A64 series has a much better 32-bit core than the XP series, which would mean that a A64 3000+ should perform 10%-20% faster than the XP? Or am I mistaken?

If I decide to go the Socket A/overclock route, which also sounds appealing, what should I do to setup for cooling? I've never OC'ed, but I read some articles about it the other day. Also, what is the best Socket A chip for OC'ing... the 1800+ or...? Of course, I would need to check to see if I have the right revision of my KT7A board to even support a higher frequency chip.


P4c 3.2Ghz @ 800MHz Northwood / ABIT AI7 / 1GB Corsair XMS-Pro CL2 Pc3200 / 160GB Seagate SATA 7200rpm 8mb cache / BFG-Tech Nvidia GeForce 6800GT 256mb / Antec Sonata case w/Antec TruePower 380W PSU
a b à CPUs
April 25, 2005 7:24:47 PM

I'm not familiar with HSFs in the $25 range. If I wetn with something other than the stock HSF it would be for quiet, powerful cooling the XP-90, XP-120 or the Zalman 7700 and all of those cost around $45 and up when you buy a good Panaflo ($10-15) to set on top.

AMD has made some really good improvements on their HSF designs. The AMD stock HSF is sufficient for some OCing - it can take a s754 3000+ up to 2.3 - 2.4Ghz or so. It's just not as good as a high-end HSF like one of those I listed above.

The XP-mobiles are the best OCing Skt A chips - as long as you have a good board and RAM. I wouldn't go down that route unless you could save a significant amount of money by minimizing parts that you upgrade. If you have to get new mobo, RAM and CPU to go the Skt A OC route then you'll get better performance easier with the A64. You'll also get a 64bit CPU and that will make a difference when the OS and apps start rolling out that support 64bit.

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<font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red>
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