Evaluate my new system PLZ!! Needs lots of help...

PLZ read/answer thoroughly. Sorry for the many posts regarding my new system. Hopefully this will be the last as it seems things are solidifying.

This all started as a $150 upgrade... now its a new system, but I'm getting by for $500 by selling off old parts from my old comp, salvaging stuff some of the stuff from the system I sold, and I've found some great deals.

My rationale: see my sig for current main-system specs, which is a northwood socket 478 cpu w/AGP slot and no 64bit. This system is has no part in the upgrade. However my though is, it has minimal future expandibility it seems. I wanted to update my secondary computer already, but it keeps turning into a bigger/better update. Now I am upgrading it (on an AMD platform), with the thought that in the Fall of 2006 I can keep the new case/mobo/ram I'm about to buy, and just swap in a new CPU & GPU, and put some big SATA2 HD's and nice optical drives in, etc.

So basically right now, this will be a secondary computer, but I am setting it up to, in 1.5 years, to turn into my MAIN rig... this meaning "base" items (like mobo/ram/case/psu) must be high quality to last me; but the CPU/GPU will be swapped out later. Not sure on how the RAM will hold up and play a part in the CPU upgrade, I need some advice on that (questions later)

Anyway here is what I have so far:

1GB (2x512) Kingston HyperX DDR Pc3200 RAM
XFX GeForce 6600GT PCI-E
160GB EIDE Seagate 7200rpm HD
Pioneer 4x DVD-RW burner
I have all peripherals already...


Antec Performance One P160 ATX Mid-Tower

Antec TruePower 550W PSU - $105
(is this the new ATX 2.0 standard??)

Athlon64 s939 3000+ Retail CPU, Winchester core

1.) What do you think of the Antec case? It will set me back $110 + $100 for the PSU. I want to get a good case/PSU, but still budget is an option. Am I spending too much here? Any better alternatives? I'm looking for a non-side window, sleek high quality silver case.

2.) PSU - Is that Antec a v2.0 ATX PSU? Would you recommend that one, or is there a better one to go with? What do you think of Antec VS Fortron 500W ATX 2.0? Any others? I want ATX2.0 and high quality. I think that Antec is 2.0 but can someone confirm?

3.) Winchester core, or what is this I hear of the new venice core or something? Whats the difference, does it matter, which should I get and why?

4.) 3000+, or 3200+ for $40 more? Is the $40 worth it? Right now this well be a secondary rig and I am planning to swap in a dual core, high end CPU in 1.5 years. But still, if I gain a lot of performance for $40 I'll do it. Thoughts?

5.) Motherboard... help help help. I just can't decide. Here is what is important to me:
-- Socket 939 + PCI-E, of course
-- 4 SATA 2 connections (SATA2!!)
-- Firewire support
-- Standard stuff like integrated LAN and sound.
-- I can go with or without SLI, unless SLI is about same price on a great board.
-- 2 EIDE (ATA/133) connections
-- I have no plans on overclocking. But just in case I do someday the board should be decent for it... but thats definetly a secondary concern.
-- I want top quality components. I know ASUS/ABIT make top quality, now I am hearing of DFI & epox. Too many choices, I know ppl have helped, help me make up my mind though! :)

6.) Is the RAM I got "superb" - "great" - "good" - "standard" - "sub-standard", and how will this effect my future upgrade plans as I mentioned (1.5yr upgrade, dual core, etc.) --- here is the link with timings and everything:


Everywhere else on the next this same model number seems to be going for $180. Check pricewatch you will see. Anyway how is it?

*** How does my "plan" sound for the longevity, 1.5 year upgrade on this?? ***

-- Will the DDR ram still work with the new dual cores and higher speeds, or will I need DDR2? Will Pc3200 still be ok? Is not having DDR2 going to kill my plans? How will my Kingston RAM hold u p?
-- Will the motherboard hold up to s939 chips 1.5 years down the road?
-- Any reason why my plans won't work? Anything I'm missing? Future Dual Cores/Faster clockspeeds processors will be built on s939 and work with the mobo I buy right?
-- Again, this future life of the system is important in my mobo choice.

Sorry... I know this a long read, a ton of questions... but if I could get some thorough answers and help on this it would be greatly appreciated. Please help me out :) And please don't skip any of the questions (from case/PSU stuff, to processor, RAM, mobo, 1.5yr upgrade plan) - all that stuff.

Thank you SO much.


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
7 answers Last reply
More about evaluate system lots help
  1. Whoa, that's alot of questions...I can't cover all of it, but here's some main points (hopefully):
    1. If your gonna spend 100+ on a case, take a look at Thermaltake
    2. I've never used Antec PSU's but I've heard some horror stories. At least make sure it's 500W and not el cheapo brand, you should be okay from there since anything name brand 500W and above will have plenty of cables (My Enermax 600W has too many in fact) Fortron is solid, so is Thermaltake, and Enermax.
    3. Most hardcore overclockers prefer the winchester over the clawhammer, and the venice over the winchester. If your not overclocking you wont see much difference...the newer cores are said to run a little cooler, hence, facilitating OCing.
    4. If you can spend the extra 40 bucks, then why not?
    5. An SLI motherboard isn't that much more than the single VGA versions. Asus and MSI are good choices. The DFI board is a tier 2 model, but don't let that fool you...They use top quality stuff, it's just that as a tier 2 company, they didn't get some info that the tier 1 companies got from Nvidia which resulted in a crazy jumper system. I've read that the setup can be touchier on the DFI boards as well, but it's definately the hardcore overclockers choice.
    6. I've been running the same memory you have for about a year and it's been fine. I hope someone can answer the question about dual core compatibility as I am wondering the same thing.

    The 939 board will support dual cores and should be around for a long while. If you are buying an AMD solution, the 939 is the obvious choice, what other choice is there? (754/Socket A are both dead) I'm hoping for at least 3 VGA cycles from my current Mobo (crosses fingers). I would like to know if the existing SLI mobo's will be able to run the next-gen Video Cards in SLI mode?

    Athlon64 3200+ Winchester/MSI Neo4 Platinum SLI/MSI 6800 Ultra/1 GB Kingston HyperX/74GB WD Raptor/600Watt Enermax Noisetaker PSU
  2. LonelyPauly, thank you for your detailed and thorough reply. I appreciate it.

    1.) I am not necessarily looking at spending that much on a case. That is a ton. But I want a high-quality PSU and a high-quality case that is silver/cool looking, with no side window. Is there a good, cheaper solution for this? If not, I will check out Thermaltakes cases of around the same price and see what I like more.
    2.) Antec horror stories? Like what? I thought Antec was a top PSU maker…
    3.) So where does the Newcastle fit into all this? And what is the clawhammer again? Sorry, just a brief explanation of that. Don’t want to read a ton of articles.
    4.) I can spend, but don’t necessarily want to. I will if the performance jump is justified, as in, it definitely being worth the extra $40.
    5.) Right now its between Epox Ultra & Asus A8N-E for the motherboard. I haven’t checked out Soltek & MSI yet, but will. Any advice/suggestions to point me in the right direction and make this decision easier anyone?
    6.) Yes, me too. So guys, will we need DDR2, faster RAM, or will this work?

    ** and please don’t disregard the first post everyone who has yet to read/respond. Please read it and address the questions there as these 2 posts don’t cover everything yet. Lots of (thorough) opinions and advice would be amazing and so appreciated. Thank you so much. **

    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
  3. Next year the X2s will go to a new socket, and use DDR2.
    Just get one of the Abit AN8 boards. It will take a 4800 X2, maybe even a 5000. That should keep you going for a while.
  4. Endyen, thanks for the info. However I am still a bit confused about all of this and am really in need of some more thorough answers so that I can fully understand all this...

    So I'm assuming X2s are the dual core Athlons?
    The dual cores go to a new socket next year? Will they still have X2 chips for s939 though? Will DDR1 still work? How limited will it be compared to having DDR2? And why?

    Wow, so they will have 4800/5000 speeds soon? Why the Abit, will the other boards like the Epox/Asus not support processors that are 4800 X2? How do you tell that from the specs? From what I saw the Abit AN8 didn't look too impressive, but maybe I missed something...

    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
  5. not up to scratch for OC'ing, or not up for a later Dual Core upgrade? I'm not buying the system to overclock. I'll get the Venice core and do the best I can with the kingston RAM and stock HSF and all that to give it a little boost, so long as its 100% stable, safe, and hassle free.

    Anyway, wusy you're a smart guy... do u have the time to do a more detailed answer to my post, answering each #ed question? of course anyone who does have the time... that would be great!!


    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
  6. see my post right before this one :)

    Also, my main questions really are:

    no DDR2 gonna be a problem likely/unlikely when swapping in a dual core s939 chip?

    I think I'm gonna go with the Epox Ep-9NPA+ Ultra as it has everything I want for the right price. (also will this board be good for future s939 dual core use)?

    * but please feel free to answer questions in post right before this, and the original. all help appreciated.

    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
  7. DC/Epox: The dual core CPUs that will soon hit the streets will work with the Epox board with a BIOS flash. The Epox board will be a good board for a DC CPU.

    DDR2: AMD will eventually make the shift to DDR2 (or XDR or DDR3). How using DDR vs one of the other options will impact performance has yet to be determined. There are no systems/samples to do that type of testing - at least none that I know of. If/when AMD switches to another memory standard, then not using the most recent/modern standard will result in the system not running as fast as it is capable. What the performance difference will be is an unknown factor.

    Future upgradeability of a system: There are too many variables and the computer ndustry moves too fast to be able to accurately predict all of the implications of trying to upgrade in 1.5 years. If that uncertainty is unnaceptable, then don't do the upgrade. <i>Nothing</i> in life is 100% certain. Be concerned about getting the best performance for your money now and then <b><i>enjoy your system</b></i>.

    CPU: I don't think the 3200+ will be worth the extra $40 for your usage. Either the Venice or the Winchester cores should be good for you too - the performance is nearly identical, but the Venice has some extra features and OCs better.

    PSU: From the link you provided about the PSU:
    ATX 12V, <b>2.03 compliant</b> for AMD and Intel based systems including P4

    :/ You tell me if it's 2.0 compatible.

    RAM: Good RAM - sufficient for your current needs with little/no OCing.

    <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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