Athlon TBird? PIII? Neither?

Hi all,

I'm in need of serious advice! I would like to build a new system, but I'm torn between using either the Athlon Tbird or the Intel PIII (both at 1GHz).

I've already decided on the other components: Antec SX-840 case, Crucial PC133 256MB DIMMs (I know it's cheap now, but I don't want DDR), Plextor 16x40x40 CD-RW, Creative 12x Encore DVD w/ Dxr3 Decoder, SB Live! Value, US Robotics 56k modem, 3Com NIC, and either the Guillemot 3D Prophet II GTS Pro or the ATI Radeon 64MB DDR.

For the Athlon, I would probably go with the IWill KK266-R motherboard, and for the Intel I'll use the Asus CUSL2-C. From what I've read, these are the two best mobo's for each system, right?

I like the Athlon setup more because it's faster and more scalable, plus the IWill mobo will allow me to use two WD 400BB hd's in a RAID0 config. However, I am *really* concerned about all the compatibility problems I've read about regarding the VIA chipset.

With the Intel, I get a slower system, no RAID and a chip that's almost at the end of its life cycle, but I'm pretty much guaranteed stability and compatibility.

I have never built a system before, so I'm a newbie and the difficulties that people seem to come across with Athlon/VIA setups really concerns me (4in1 driver probs, IRQ probs, GeForce2 probs, BIOS probs, etc, etc).

I know there are a lot of Athlon fans here, but honestly, what do people recommend? I'm currently running a 566MHz Celeron, so either of these systems will be a huge improvement for me. I will not be overclocking this new system either, and I'm not a huge gamer.

Have most of those Athlon/VIA problems been resolved? What do I need to look out for? Is the speed difference between the two systems substantial?

Or should I wait for something better to come out? (Which means I could be waiting forever!) I'm not in desperate need of a new system though.

Any advice would be tremendously appreciated! :)

5 answers Last reply
More about athlon tbird piii neither
  1. The Creative 12x Encore DVD drive w/ DXR3 Decoder is pretty worthless since the new powerful video cards you're considering can handle DVD decoding on their own. In fact the decoder card could end up limiting your computer's performance since the output of your video card gets routed through the decoder before going to the monitor. That card was designed for systems where software decoding wasn't an option (pre 400MHz machines) and hardware based solutions didn't exist (cheap or old video cards). So, I recommend just getting a plain DVD drive. The video card will come with DVD viewing software.
  2. I would go for the P3 right now. Soon a big price drop will happen. I would go for i815ep and p3 866 for now. Wait for the p3 1.26 (most likely max speed will be) and upgrade there. I'm only saying this for stablity.

    Check out my RIG <A HREF="" target="_new">Rcf84's celeron machine</A>
  3. ATI's DVD capabilities are some of the best around, no need at all for a decoder card. Unless your trying to get true 5.1 sound and use the system as a output to your TV, dont bother with the decoder card.

    <i>If you take a truth and follow it blindly, it will become a Falsehood and you a Fanatic.</i>
  4. If you decide to go with the T-Bird, I can suggest the Asus A7M266 with the AMD 760 Nortbidge (and sucky VIA southbridge) for performance over any VIA northbridge motherboard.
    As for the PIII, the CUSL2 is your best choice, as you know. You may actually be able to save some money over either motherboard by putting a faster processor in what you have now! SO what do you have now?

    Suicide is painless...........
  5. I say wait. Definately go for Pentium stuff, however, id wait for a Pentium IV, the fastest chip alive.
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