I've got a question that I've been dealing with for a while. I will soon be building a system and have several questions concerning my future purchases. I'm willing to spend about $850. First off, I won't be dealing much with image editing but will do some things with audio (i.e: Wav editing). The gaming that I will do deals mostly with emulation and some Quake 3 and SOF once in a while. In terms of a video, that's settled, GeForce2 PRO (Prophet). 256 RAM SDRAM 133 (DDR isn't much of an increase). NOW here's where the question lies, AMD or Intel? For either choice I will use an Abit. If I go for intel, of course the price is an issue. AMD seems to be a great workhorse and I'm glad that there's more variety. I heard that you have to purchase an "AMD certfied power supply" (can someone elaborate on this, I've asked around and get no answers). The other crucial question is are there any compatibility issues as to using an AMD Tbird? I'm aware that they need a bit more cooling but I won't be overclocking so I'm just going to use their boxed fan. This site has helped out a great deal, now please can you, the community help me out with my next purchase? Thanks again, sorry for typing so much..I just NEED to have some answers, thanks again
well, its better to go with AMD, and get a ALi chipset based board. if would offer you flexibility for using either SDRAM or DDR. if you get a Asus A7A266, it had a hardware audio chip (unlike others that have AC97 codecs), that would help you with better audio operations, anyway you could put in an external SBLive Value etc.
as for power supply, you can use any 300W power supply, and get the cooling gear right. if you do not intend to overclock, the factory fan is sufficient.
as far as compatibility is concerned, Tbird is 100% compatible with all apps, except one I saw was a 3D modelling software -solidworks for which AMD has a patch. you can get the details on the AMD website Athlon homepage.
<font color=blue>die-hard fans don't have heat-sinks!</font color=blue>
$850 on the whole system? I don't know if you can do that if you are counting every component. (Prices from http://www.pricewatch.com unless otherwise stated.)
ATX 2.03 case with 300Watt PS: $37
GeForce2 Pro: $168
20.0GB 7200RPM ATA/100 HD: $79
Sound Blaster Live! Value: $38
56X CD-ROM drive: $27
17 inch .27mm monitor: $112
Speakers: from a couple bucks to a few hundred, depending on you
3.5" floppy drive: $7
101-key PS/2 Keyboard: $4
Standard 2 or 3 button mouse: $1
-- Total of standard accessories: $475 --
--Intel P4 system--
Retail P4 1.7GHz, includes heatsink, fan, 3 year Intel warranty: $360
(2*128) 256MB PC800 RDRAM: $156
i850 chipset motherboard: $150
-- Total of Intel P4 system: $666 --
--AMD Athlon system--
Athlon 1.33GHz: $185
High quality heatsink/fan with thermal paste: about $35
256MB of PC133 CAS2 non-parity SDRAM: $83.69 (www.crucial.com)
Asus A7A266 Athlon motherboard (ALi chipset): $140
-- Total of AMD Athlon system: $443.69 --
-- Whole Intel bundle --
You get the fastest processor, but pay a premium for it. The Quake3 game you mentioned will definately run much faster on this system. Designed to take most advantage of newly released software, thus will last quite a while without requiring a CPU upgrade.
Total for standard plus Intel configuration: $1141
--- Whole AMD bundle ---
You get a cheaper system which performs well on most existing software. It gets beat out by the 1.7GHz P4 in most benchmarks, but also wins a few. Suffers from low memory bandwidth compared to the P4 system, but much of today's and yesterday's software do not yet make use of the newly available bandwidth. (Your Quake3 game definately does however.) Suffers from poor compatibility if you use a Via chipset motherboard such as the Abit you mentioned (the motherboard listed above avoids these problems.)
Total for standard plus AMD configuration: $918.69
As you can see there are many choices to be made. I hope I've helped outline the major issues at play. There will no doubt be some people who disagree with what I've said. Feel free to add your insight, but let's please keep it civil.
= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my employer. =
May 21, 2001 8:58:24 AM
"It gets beat out by the 1.7GHz P4 in most benchmarks, but also wins a few "
WOW!!! Talk about a spin. LOL. I have read many online reviews and most show the athlon 1.33 beating the p4 1.7 ghz in most benchmarks.
Maybe what you meant to say was that,
<b>"the 1.33ghz athlon beats out the p4 1.7ghz on most benchmarks but the p4 also wins a few (i.e quake @ 640 x 480 res.)?"</b>
If not, well, maybe you should re-read the reviews more slowly this time.
Just thought I would point that out. We wouldn't want to improperly inform a newbie - now would we?
May 21, 2001 8:59:30 AM
--call it what you wish, with this machine I can make mercury flow in 3 directions at once--
I suggest the AMD processor because if nothing
else, you at least can keep the Socket A platform
for awhile. The current P4 packaging will be
incompatible with Northwood, or so I'm told.
Of course you might have meant a P3, in which case
get yourself an i815 mobo.
I suggest changing the motherboard to an A7V133
with the sound option. You'll get the promise
RAID controller onboard also.
This is the same motherboard that I have and I
have not encountered any problems. Even the
southbridge bug hasn't seem to affected me..
I just copied a 600MB file between two drives
on the ATA100 controllers. With an A7V133 you
can also get the brazilian tech bios's that
fix some issues that Asus does not.
(i.e. temperature sensing fix, USB fix)
Oh! BTW I do recommend getting a brand name PSU
vs. a generic one. The reason is the that a brand
name one (I have an Enermax) will provide a more
stable current under load, and that the voltages
won't spike or drop at random (my old PSU did that).
Intel Components, AMD Components... all made in Taiwan!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by kurokaze on 05/21/01 08:25 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
You have a few options open to you and I'd suggest you consider them well before you dive in a spend a ton of your cash.
You do not seem to have an unlimited budget so I would advise investing good money in the things that will last and significantly impact your PC pleasure. The case and monitor spring to mind.
You will no doubt have seen endless posts in favour of AMD or Intel system in this forum. I'll give you a tip - they all work, they all play games and they all crunch spreadsheets. Some do it slightly better than others. I'll give you a disclaimer so you can weight my advice against my bias. I have an older PIII system running on an Asus CUV4X board, it has 512Mb PC133 memory, GeForce GTS2 32MB vid card and IBM 45Gb HDD. The processor is a 700E running at 148FSB for 1036Mhz. My main system is an AMD system, Asus A7V133 with 768Mb PC133, 320GB 4xMaxtor HDD RAID IDE array, GeForce Ultra 64Mb TV/DVI, 1.33Ghz cpu running at 11x142 for 1.56Ghz. Now you know, and hopefully can weight my advice appropriately.
Consider the current state of the PC market for system builders.
Intel has two lines available to you as a higher end user right now (discounting the Celeron). The PIII is largely at the end of it's life but for that is a good bargain in the right configuration. The disadvantage is that anything you buy (of CPU, memory and mobo) will be trash the next time you need to upgrade (well, maybe memory will be salvageble, but unlikely). If you are not a games monster, and want a sensible mid-range system it will do the job. For a PIII system I'd go with Crashman's eternal advice to all PIII potentials, get the Asus CusL2 mobo, with a 700E pocessor and run it at 133FSB, which it will do easily, and stick 256Mb PC133 memory in it. CPU and memory will run you about $180, with the board about another $100 or so.
Intel's current flagship, the P4 is a fast cpu. It is waiting for even more software to become optimised for the new SSE2 instruction sets, and when the optimisations happen, they make a major difference. The downside? Well, this cpu also has little future ahead of it - it ill soon morph into the P4 Northwood - meaning that all current P4s will be motherboard incompatible with newer P4s. There may, or may not be a clever adaptor in the future, but don't hold your breath. So the arguements above apply, except the performance will last you much longer becasue of the better initial performance. The memory RD-RAM will be transportable to your next P4 PC, and possibly others in the future - who knows - I don't. I do not mean to skip the P4, but from what you are saying right now it does not _appear_ to fit in your world, but we'll come back to it later.
Now we get onto AMD. There is a lot of issues spoken regarding AMD cpus. I'll admit freely that this is the first and only AMD system I have built, and that by reading, researching and planning my system I had no problems whatsoever with any incompatabilities of either AMD nor Via hardware. Some people do however and I can only attribute this to blind luck, poor user engineering or a combination of the two. There are, in most cases, alternatives to VIA hardware, and there are some pretty crappy Intel solutions around too if you look for them. AMD therefore has a few tradeoffs. Generally in terms of bang for buck, AMD processors and solutions will win against other CPUs. This is mostly noticable right now if you run benchmarking software or are a really high end video/3d/number cruncing type of user. With this in mind, yes I do think you need to plan you installation a little better, have all the drivers and updates you'll need and research your components. I'd recommend this though to an Intel user too.
The AMD will probably give you a faster machine than an Intel solution for the same $$ but you should also consider upgrade path. Remember I told you that the PIII is at the end of it's path, and that the P4 will fork in a few months onto a new socket/motherboard format? The AMD is currently stated by AMD to retain the same motherboard and socket configuration for at least the next generation of CPUs. What does this mean? It means right now you could spend $70 now on a Duron 900 and later upgrade to a 1.8 or 2ghz "Athlon 4 - Palomino" cpu without changing your memory or motherboard. This could save you $$ down the road.
Okay - time runs on and I've written far too much already - what is my advice and conclusion?
My 1st advice is to wait (if you can) until the Northwood P4 is delivered and see what state the market is in. The current P4s will likely take a substantial drop in price when the Northwoods hit the streets and you may be able to buy a currently unnatainble 1.7Ghz P4 for a good price. By that time the market will be more settled, P4 and SSE2 will have been around longer and RAM prices will have dropped another few percentage points. You can still opt to go the AMD route if the Northwood does not drop the current P4 prices. Intel dropping the P4 prices will also force AMD prices down, as will the new AMD desktop Athlon 4 chips, so you cannot really lose there.
If you have to buy now, I would recommend the AMD solution to you. Do you homework, research the components you'll use and invest in the ones that will last you 'many pcs'. A good monitor and case will still be good in 5 years, but your cpu and harddisk will be hopelessly out-dated by then. Get a mid-speed AMD cpu, Duron or Athlon, where the value is highest and the performance is still very good. The AMD route will give you better mid-term investment protection, unless you can afford to get on the P4 Northwood bandwagon, which hopefully will see socket stability from Intel once again.
-* This Space For Rent *-
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May 21, 2001 3:10:30 PM
"$850 on the whole system? I don't know if you can do that if you are counting every component. "
Where does it say the guy needs the fastest available system on the planet ? Jezus, the guys wants to play with WAV files... and SOF, which ran perfectly on my old Celeron.
Besides, ff I take your prices, all he needs to do is plug in a 1 Ghz Athlon to make the $850 mark. That is a very good price for a very fast machine.
"The Quake3 game you mentioned will definately run much faster on this system. "
Raystonn, are you a gamer ? Do you play 640x480 ? In 1024x768 or above you will not see *any* difference between a P4 or an atlon. None. Unless you run timedemo, you're not even likely to "see" the difference between a P4, a fast P3, a Tbird or Duron 850+ if equiped with the same videocard (GF2 Pro). Gamers dont need 1+ Ghz cpu's. They need fast video (a big monitor, and decent audio+speakers).
---- Owner of the only Dell computer with a AMD chip