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What would be the best CPU to buy/make in late May

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Anonymous
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February 26, 2001 2:19:32 PM

I plan on buying/building a new computer after I get out of school (before summer vacation). I am looking for a top-of-the-line gameing system. I will have aprox. $3,000 give or take $200. I am currently on a P1 233mhz, 32 megs ram, 5400rpm hard drive, no 3d card. I am looking for a system that will run 3d online games with no problem what-so-ever. (Tribes, Tribes 2, Halo, UO3d, Halflife:Counterstrike, etc) As of right now, with the tech. that I know of, I would want to build one of the following systems... (Late May or Early June)
P4 - 1.5/1.6ghz - 256-384 ???Rams - The new ndivia 3 3d card - 60+gig 7200/10000rpm hard drive/Utra ATA 100 - Good sound card/Surround Sound Speakers - 19' monitor or...
Athalon - 1.2/1.3ghz - everything else the same...
If AMD comes out with a new system, then there would be no question, but assuming that they don't, and the the P4 gets its act together, then what would be the better system & why? I think I am looking to build my own system, but am not sure yet. Thanks for your help and time.

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Anonymous
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February 26, 2001 2:49:57 PM

Russ, the comments you got to your previous posting were on target, especially Silver's. For gaming, your Video card is going to be more important than your processor. The GeForce 3 is coming out soon, and is getting lot's of ooh's and Ahh's in the press. But it is going to be REALLY pricey. I saw one site that said the suggested retail will be between $650 and $750. OUCH! Hopefully it will be less. But the card is supposed to be able to run full FSAA with no performance hit. With your budget, you should still be able to throw this card in with no problem.

As for the processor issue, Silver is right. It really depends on your priorities. Both Intel and AMD make a good product. AMD offers some price to performance advantages, better overclocking capability (if the processor is unlocked) if you would like to try, and better performance in some applications. If you go with the AMD, be sure to get a DDR board and invest the extra $ for good DDR memory. The AMD solution can also be "touchier" in some ways. The VIA chipset gets a lot of flack (probably legit, though my ABIT KT7-RAID has given me no problems whatsoever)and you have to be careful when installing the heatsink if you build your own system. A good heatsink/fan combination and Motherboard with Heat monitoring are essential with the T-bird. As many in this forum have pointed out, the lack of thermal protection onboard the processor is an issue with the T-birds and can lead to a lot of heartache if the processor goes.

P-4 appears to offer some advantages in gaming (at least with Quake) and in some memory-bandwidth intensive applications. It also MAY offer some advantages in the future as more optimized applications become available. But, when it comes to running existing applications that are available off the shelf today, particularly non-gaming apps, its performance appears to be disappointing. If I had the budget that you do, I would lean toward the T-bird and invest the extra $ you save in some killer components to round out the system.

I am running a T-bird 750 OC'd to 1GHz (can hit 1.1/1.2 but with some instability), ABIT KT7-RAID MB, 224 MB PC 100 SDRAM, Win 98SE, a Pioneer slotload DVD, IBM 7200 UDMA 66 HD, 32 MB GeForce II Ultra, Soundblaster Live Platinum, Haupaugh TV Tuner card, and an external DSL Modem hooked up via an internal NIC card. Even with all of this stuff, the system is stable and by some miracle all of the components seem to get along with each other. Good luck!
February 26, 2001 3:37:45 PM

There is a LOT of new and exciting stuff coming out in the next few months in both the CPU and Graphics fields. I would hold off even considering any options and possibly biasing yourself. In May ask again.

/Athlon-1.2GHz@1333MHz(133MHz*10)/Asus_A7V133/
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Anonymous
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February 26, 2001 5:05:21 PM

i agree with soujourn. it's tought to predict what will be the best option in a couple of months, with a lot of new products on the way. put off making the decision until then.
February 26, 2001 6:20:15 PM

If all you want to do is games, then may I suggest an Amd system?
February 26, 2001 7:30:43 PM

Really????!!!!!!

If only Fugger wasn't such a stubborn fool.

- I don't write Tom's Hardware Guide, I just preach it"
a b à CPUs
February 26, 2001 9:16:54 PM

Get the Iwill KA266 motherboard, or the MSI K7 Master series. Get some PC2100 DDR 256MB, Crucial Cas2.5 is known to run Cas2 just fine. Get the AMD C series 1200 or 1333 (1.3GHz) if it is released by then.

If the GeForce 3 is not readily available you can always get the 2 Ultra. Make sure you check the manufacturers websites for the one with the fastest memory.

I don't know what you need 60GB for, but if you really want that much I would suggest that you set up 2 30GB hard drives in Raid Striping. I suggest the Maxtor Diamondmax 7200 RPM drives because they are fast and cheap.

Get the Phillips Acoustic Edge, the best card since the Vortex2 was discontinued. If you think the Vortex2 will work on your system, it is really a top notch sound card, arguably better than the SB Live.

Use the GlobalWin FOP32 fan unless you like noise, then get the FOP38. For extreem overclocking there's the Swiftech coolers.
For cases I like all the midtowers available from www.spower.com.

You might do well to get an inexpensive SCSI card to support a SCSI CDRW (better for multitasking, frees up your IDE channels) and SCSI scanner (much faster than USB and much cheaper than FireWire). Because neither of these exceed 10MB/s, you can use a relatively cheap SCSI card.

I would get a Toshiba DVD-ROM maybe a 12x, because they are priced well, high quality, and inexpensive compared to 16x drives (the 16x would give no better gaming performance anyway).

While your at it you might as well get a good TV tuner card because they offer video inputs and editing options (hey, make you own video clips). An added feature is that you can actually watch TechTV while reading THG.

You won't be needing a floppy drive, get a Zip 250 drive for file transfers.

Use Win98SE as ME is still slower and has not yet been revised.


Suicide is painless...........
February 26, 2001 10:09:34 PM

I'm in the same boat as you, looking to upgrade around the end of summer though. If I were you I would sit tight and ask again in May. Way too much is changing a lot depends on the P4's performace with any new optimized software, DDR based boards, as well as the future price drops. For that kind of money you're going to be set though.

"I think I brained my damage"
Anonymous
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February 26, 2001 10:43:10 PM

frick, 3 grand? have fun dude, that will be one helluva system.... may i suggest getting two, large 7200 RPM hard d rives and setting them up in striping on a RAID motherboard? A little pricey, but I did it for the extra gain in performance...

TBIRD 850@????1.1ghz hopefully
256MB Cas2 RAM
ATI RAdeon 32MB
2-45GB IBM 7200 Hard drives, Striped in RAID
etc etc

cost me around 900.. but I was just building it for fun :o ) I have a PIII 450 which more than suits my needs, especially with a vid card upgrade

Old addage: "Users never prosper" :o ) Long live the tweakers