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Should I upgrade now, or should I wait???

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May 23, 2001 3:21:56 AM

I know that whenever I do decided to upgrade my computer, it will become expensive paperweight in just a few months. But I need your guys opinion on if I should wait or upgrade now, and which brand CPU I should choose. I've been a die hard intel fan for years, until I read up on some reviews on this site and found that the athlon 1333 matches if not exceeds the performance of the P4 1.7ghz. For the price, the athlon is more worth while. The reason why I'm hesitant to buy an Athlon (Thunderbird) is that it's been around for a long time, I want a CPU that's relatively new like the P4. So what I really want to know is, should I upgrade now or should I wait until AMD releases their new Athlon's? And when should that be? Are there any important dates I should be aware of? Another question is, if I do decide to go AMD, do you guys think the Athlon 4, would perform better than the Northwood P4??.

I'm forgot to mention the most important aspect, I plan on using this computer for just basic computing such as browsing the internet, some video games (Counter-Strike, Diablo 2, Halo, etc...), and maybe even some work with Photoshop. In other words, I don't plan on using this computer as a full on server, maybe just a personal server though.


I'm working on it.....

More about : upgrade wait

Anonymous
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May 23, 2001 3:26:11 AM

well.. remember prices are falling on AMD's chips now

the new ones next month will be more money but higher performance so i mean

do you want a nice pc for a good price..
or do u want a kickass pc for a little more money

id wait if i were u
unless u want a good deal

get a Tbird 1.33

--call it what you wish, with this machine I can make mercury flow in 3 directions at once--
May 23, 2001 3:39:00 AM

My recommendation is to wait for Northwood. It will vastly outperform anything around at the time of its release. I wish I could release benchmark figures, but alas, I cannot do so at this time. All I can say is that it will be well worth the wait.

-Raystonn

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my employer. =
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Anonymous
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May 23, 2001 3:49:49 AM

says who you raystorm?

right now AMD is ruling..
Cheaper Better=AMD

Most people arent stupid to follow a comapny that makes major changes every few months to there chips and memory that people are screwed over.

Intel if you are crossing the street, ill run you over in my Jetta!

--call it what you wish, with this machine I can make mercury flow in 3 directions at once--
May 23, 2001 3:54:06 AM

Please take the flames elsewhere. I don't have a can of fire retardant nearby.

-Raystonn

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my employer. =
May 23, 2001 4:05:17 AM

Goddamnit quit making ever post an intel amd war..we know you are amd's bitch tbird....and nobody really gives a flying fuuck what you think. Nobody cares what i think either, but that's not the point. So what did amd do that was so great that you think you need to promote their product in every thread on this forum..also why do you dislike intel so much???? Your answer to everything in "amd cheaper better"...i'll say cheaper, but i dunno about better, and I really could give a fukk less what chip is better. Quit being a jackass and try and be more helpful when people need help and not some cheap amd marketing whoore.

I'd wait for the northwood. tbird if you were crossing the street I'd run you over in my GTI.
May 23, 2001 5:28:48 AM

It all depends on how much money you are willing to spend, and what you are planning on using it for... An AMD Tbird at any speed is a great deal compared to the P4. However, the P4 is starting to show that is not as crappy as we had all thought. I suggest reading the articles here at Tom's Hardware to form your own oppinion..

I personaly go after the best performace for the money I can afford to spend. I'm currently using a Athlon 600 on a slot A mobo (unfortunate... early adopter), and don't plan on upgrading for another year.

If you are power hungry, I suggest waiting for the desktop Athlon 4 or the Northwood. Those two chips are going to kick some major ass.

- Sandain
May 23, 2001 5:35:09 AM

Well, I would suggest some things, but you need to establish a time frame. Remember, if you're always waiting for the "next thing," be it Northwood or Athlon 4 desktop, the Crush chipset or the Brookdale chipset, you'll never get anything.

So, what does this mean? Well, if you want a new system within the next month, I truly suggest a T-Bird, any speed. The P4 is too expensive right now, and the current P4 is not even the true one, and not indicative of it's true, possible performance. The Northwood will show differently, that is true, but it won't be out till at least the fall, if not later (depending if the rumors of lithography equipment not showing up on time is actually true and that much of an impact). The Athlon 4 desktop will be out around mid to late July, and start at speeds around 1.5GHz, and it offers around a 6-15% increase over the T-Bird. But, price is something that I am unsure of, although, given AMD's history, you can expect it to be priced lower that the P4.

So, the question is, do you want it now, or can you wait for around six to eight months for the new generations to come out and establish themselves in the real world (including the chipsets, always a big concern, especially with AMD). Now, since you say Photoshop is a use of yours, the P4 <i> may </i> offer some increased performance, if the benchmarks are to be believed. But, since I don't use Photoshop or know how a system affects the program, it is only speculation on my part based off of other peoples' observations. Also, video editing and encoding are help greating by the P4's increased memory bandwidth, as are other memory bandwidth intensive programs... and Quake3. I still haven't figured that out yet. Maybe someone can fill you in on that one.

The SSE2 instruction set has been shown to increase P4 performance, but as of right now, I think that many companies are hesitant to spend the time and effort until Intel has the Northwood out. In fact, it is my opinion that most developers out there were looking towards the Northwood as the introduction of the P4, not this current mostrosity. Therefore, they were saving their software development till that point, as opposed to the hurried release of the P4. This was Intel attempting to grab at the market share falling through their hands, and I don't think that Intel got the word out the devlopers that the P4 was coming.

It will be another 6 months before the SSE2 optimizations reach the software, which is a year lag time. I don't know how long SSE or MMX took, but I would think that by now, Intel would have learned to get it out to the developers so that the lag time was around six months, as opposed to a year or more.

But anyways, besides my rant against Intel, I like the promise of the Northwood. But if you can't wait four to six months, get a Athlon, with an ALi chipset. Stay away from the VIA chipsets right now, which also means that you have to stay away from the AMD761 'boards, since they are hybrids of the AMD761 northbridge and VIA686B southbridge. So, yeah. Those're my suggestions, and I won't be offended if you take it with a grain of salt. There are some good people here to give you advice, but there are also some lamers on here who will just sprout a company's marketing line. Just choose what fits your needs, and you'll be in heaven. I mean, both those top-of-the-line CPUs will kick the *#&! out of any other processor on the market.

-SammyBoy

Without Evil, there can be no Good. Therefore, without an Intel, there can be no AMD.
May 23, 2001 5:39:55 AM

depends how long u want to wait?
if its only a couple of months, now is a good enough time i think cauz not too much is happening.
but if ur planning on waiting up to 6-12 months then things will be even better as the afore flamed northwood pee4 and athie4 desktop variant battle it out for ever reduced prices.

gotta love competition

"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you have created"~Darth Vader, Star wars
May 23, 2001 5:45:54 AM

a question Mr sammy boy...
sortof non related,
u say the via southbridge sucks fungus laden donkey poo, and i belive you, seen all the posts... but which current boards (DDR and SDR) DONT use it?
(im planning gettin a Athie-1200C with sdr)
ali magic?
asus a7v?
what esle?


"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you have created"~Darth Vader, Star wars
a b à CPUs
May 23, 2001 6:10:46 AM

Buy a 6 month old discontinued high-end system for around $500 at a discount distributor, then sell it for $450 in 6 months and decide what you want then.

Cast not thine pearls before the swine
Anonymous
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May 23, 2001 7:02:21 AM

Vastly superior to a Cyrix M3, perhaps. Funny how many people spewed the same nonsense about how vastly superior Willamette would be and, well, we all know how that turned out.
May 23, 2001 7:30:10 AM

What is your current system?

One thing the people in here are good at is squeezing every last piece of juice out of your existing system. It may give you some (inexpensive) breathing space until the P4(Northwood) or Athlon (Thoroughbred).

~ do you guys think the Athlon 4, would perform better than the Northwood P4? ~

Probably not. It is the 0.13u process that will provide the next real performance boost (and provide some upgrade longevity).

Please remember though that the current P4 is a lame duck as opposed to P4(Northwood) that will have difficulty being anything but a great chip,. I wouldn't be suprised if they called it a P5 (or maybe the Intel-XP) to remove the stigma of the current P4.

~ I plan on using this computer for just basic computing such as browsing the internet, some video games (Counter-Strike, Diablo 2, Halo, etc...), and maybe even some work with Photoshop. ~

Seeing that you don't class yourself as a real 'Power' user you may want to minimise your spend on the CPU side of things. Save some money and get a bigger screen, better graphics/sound cards, faster internet connection, etc.

<font color=blue> The Revolution starts here... as soon as I finish my coffee </font color=blue> :eek: 
May 23, 2001 7:43:28 AM

Wow, I didn't expect this much info. Very much appreciated. Keep it coming!!!

Well, after reading some of the posts here, here are my feelings as of now. Currently I have a simple pIII 450 which I built I think in '99 or '98, it's that old :) . I'm happy with it right now, it's reliable, pretty "fast" and it works for me. What I mean is that I don't mind waiting til the end of the year (for the Northwood if i go that route).

I see your point Sammyboy about how I should establish a time frame. But I would prefer something that is new, so it won't be as outdated/top-model as the TBirds will be once the Athlon 4 is released (I seem kind of picky :) ). Also reading some of the posts on these boards, I don't have the much of a selection of chipsets that are reliable. Almost all of you guys advise against the AMD 760/VIA686B mobo's. Reading back at what I just wrote, it seems as if I just want pure power and top-of-the-line performance that will make me smile for another 2 to 3 years (even though I probably will not take advantage of most of that added power). Money isn't that big of an issue, I'm planning on just upgrading the mobo, cpu, and memory.

Anyways, thanks again for the advice and I am always open for more. :) .

I'm working on it.....
May 23, 2001 7:53:08 AM

Currently setup:
-Intel PIII 450
-128MB Crucial PC100 SDRAM CAS 2
-Matrox Millenium II (yes, very very old)
-Diamond Monster 3D II (Voodoo2)
-IBM 14.4GB 7200RPM HD
-IBM 8.5GB 7200RPM HD
-21" Viewsonic montitor
-Other useless outdated junk....

Actually, I'm happy with the way this system is setup. It hardly if ever crashes (only when my voodoo2 overheats).

I'm working on it.....
May 23, 2001 3:02:55 PM

For a temporary holdover you could upgrade your video card to a GeForce2 MX or a Radeon. Plus you can add another 128MB of ram. This will run you about $125. It will also give you a noticable boost in your gaming performance.

Blah, Blah Blahh, Blahh, blahh blah blahh, blah blah.
Anonymous
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May 23, 2001 3:08:37 PM

I would suggest waiting. Either way, whether you go with Intel or AMD. If Intel, wait for Northwood. If AMD, wait for Athlon 4 (aka Palomino). Either is at least a couple of months away.

Leo
Anonymous
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May 23, 2001 5:56:06 PM

Well, AMD has already announced that their current format for the Athlon will support their new chips. However, the current pentium 4 format is dead. The new pentium 4 chip will use a new format, making the current pentium 4's obsolete. You will actually have more future upgrade options with the athlon than with the p4.
May 23, 2001 8:33:40 PM

We need to install a sprinkler system in this forum.

-Raystonn

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my employer. =
May 24, 2001 2:16:31 AM

Then I suggest, if money is not a problem, and you want a new CPU soon, you should get an AMD 1.33 (266MHz FSB) or a 1.7GHz P4. Both benchmark around the same in unoptimized programs, and the P4 pulls ahead a few percentage points with the SSE2 optimizations. Currently, the SSE2 optimizations aren't out yet, and I wouldn't expect them out until around the same time that the Northwood comes out. As to not wanting something that is outdated (i.e. the T-Bird), that really isn't a problem, since both the T-Bird and Athlon 4 will be the same exact core, just with a few more bells and whistles, and the possibility of a few more precentage points in the benchmarks over the current T-Bird. The same can be said for the P4, as soon it will be replaced by the Northwood (the real P4). At least with the AMD system, the T-Bird CPU can be swapped out for a Athlon 4 CPU, if that is what you choose to do. The P4 can't be swapped out for the Northwood, since it will use a different socket design and die process.

Any computer you get today, be it P4 or Athlon, will make you smile for at least 24 months, maybe more. So, the only question is, do you want it now, or in a few months? Now, get a Athlon 1.33, or 1.4, if it's out when you get around to your purchase (mid-June). In a few months, you have to decide between a P4 or 1.5GHz+ Athlon 4. By Christmas, the Northwood will be out, and it will probably bury the Athlon 4 in almost everything, if even half of the hype is to be believed. But, since you have the 450MHz right now, it probably would be a good plan to get a new system now. Get the AMD, ALi chipset, Crucial 256MB DDR, a 19" monitor, and a GeForce3. That will be the best gaming rig possible right now, and not to shabby at everything else. Also, it will be a little bit cheaper than a comperable 1.7GHz P4 rig (not much if you settle for generic RDRAM).

What I would do, if concerned about the top-of-the-lineness of your system. Get an AMD system, with all the trimmings, but only get a cheap 850MHz Duron (~$53). That way, all your expensive items will be purchaced, and you can get a Athlon 4 when they come out, and only be out $50, about the same you'd save over a 1.7GHz P4. Or even if you decide to go with a Northwood system later on, all you'll be out is the price of a ALi Magik 'board and a cheap, but fast CPU. The choice is yours, and I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever you do. Best of luck!

-SammyBoy

Without Evil, there can be no Good. Therefore, without an Intel, there can be no AMD.
May 24, 2001 4:11:23 AM

Maybe just try to dont loose cash like buy old pc 133.Buy a new ATI or GeFORCE.So when you will buy your new cpu and motherboard you will have already you graphic card.
Anonymous
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May 24, 2001 5:50:55 AM

sammy boy, why would he want the ali chipset if it has been benchmarked slower then the kt133a?? I havent seen updated benchmarks but why would you reccomend that chipset?
May 24, 2001 6:39:41 AM

What I would suggest is this: If you have some extra money kicking around now, use it to buy yourself a really nice monitor, maybe a 19" trinitron, or a 21". You could also get a faster internet connection if you're still on dial up as well if you like. Save up your money for another few months as your P3 450 will run counterstrike just as well in a few months as it does today. Just wait and see what is coming with northwood/DDR and Athlon 4/Nvidia Crush. That way, if they turn out to huge improvements over Tbird/willy, you're not behind right off the bat. Also, if the new stuff turns out to be not that great at all, it'll at least drive the prices of the current tbirds down even farther to the point where they will be dirt cheap.

If you're feeling as though your system is getting kind of slow now, spend $30 on a cooler and overclock your processor. You'll get over 500 without too much trouble, and if you got a good stepping, with a little luck, you could hit 600...

Another computer wanted. Donations accepted. :^)
May 25, 2001 4:35:18 AM

Mainly, because both the KT133A and the AMD761 'boards have the VIA686B southbridge, which is some cases, can cause poor audio quality, or worse, data corruption when using ATA-100. Now, if you don't mind a little data corruption or the other minor problems that exist in the chipset (or rather, the 'board makers implementation), go for it. But, I personally would want a 'board that has no stability problems or suspect "issues."

Also, I suggested the ALi Magik chipset because I've heard people comment on how BIOS updates are starting to mature, and the chipset is speeding up. Plus, since he wanted top-of-the-line, there was no other way, unless he takes his chance with the KT266 (slowest of the DDR solutions, last time I checked) or the AMD761 (the fastest, but also plauged with the southbridge problems, as no 'board maker made a pure AMD760 'board. They opted to go with the AMD761/VIA686B hybrid instead.) That leaves the ALi chipset, for now at least.

The SiS735 shows promise, and may even beat out the AMD761, plus, since it's a single chip, there is no way that 'board makers can throw on a VIA686B (they seem to love doing that, from what I can see. VIA seems to have the makers in its pockets.) Also, sometime before the end of the year, the Crush will appear, being, possibily, the most complete chipset for AMD, but NVIDIA has never made a chipset before that I know of.

So, for the present TOTL, get an AMD 1.4GHz with an ALi Magik board and DDR. In a couple of months, probably an Athlon 4 1.5GHz+ in a SiS735 board, and in four to six months, I hate to say it, but probably a Northwood with (shudder) RDRAM. I'm almost positive that the Northwood will blow the Athlon 4 out of the water, but there are still some issues and rumors floating around about the Northwood (like the lithography equipment arriving on time, or the possible poor performance of SDRAM and DDR coupled with the Northwood).

So, that is how I justify the ALi Magik chipset. It isn't as fast as the AMD761, but truthfully, you won't notice a few FPS in a game, and you won't have the various VIA "issues" rearing up and biting you in the butt. Same goes for KT266, which is slowest, and also of the southbridge problem.

-SammyBoy

Without Evil, there can be no Good. Therefore, without an Intel, there can be no AMD.
Anonymous
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May 25, 2001 8:24:47 AM

Sammy what about the Epox 8k7a? members of anandtech.com forums seem to rave about the board on how stable and great it is, i havent seen many problems at all except for a guy that couldnt get his gf2 to post with the board, but his ati will. I have also seen many more people having succes with gf2's though. This board along with the gigabyte 7adx seem great and stable and have not heard much of data loss. In fact the new anandtech.com servers use the gigabyte board, so there must be limited data loss on that board. Those are the two im looking at for myself, and they seem like great buys. They are also fast. I can get around the sound card issue by using a hercules (im nearly positive...) which i was gonna use anyways, so why not choose either of those 2 boards. they are fast too!
Anonymous
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May 25, 2001 2:30:17 PM

"I plan on using this computer for just basic computing such as browsing the internet, some video games (Counter-Strike, Diablo 2, Halo, etc...), and maybe even some work with Photoshop. "

Hmm.. why on earth would you be upgrading, unless you have something like pentium 166 MMX.. Seriously, doesnt sound like you need the fastest performing platform available to suit your needs. Any 800-1000 Mhz pc should be just fine. To suit your gaming needs, you need a decent videocard. A high-end P4 or Palomino isnt going to change a thing about that.

Now, to suit your current performance needs, the cpu is not an issue. (hell, even a 700 Mhz Duron would do, wouldnt it ?). You might want to think about upgradebility though. A P3 would be fine, but doesnt have an upgrade path. A P4 is overkill if you ask me (if you ask Raystonn, he'll tell you his idea of upgrading is buying the most expensive thing on the market, and keep it for as long as possible, hoping SSE2 will make some sort of difference by the time your rig is completely obsolete).

If money matters to you, I'd really go for a dirt cheap Duron 900 or 1ghz Tbird. Spend all the rest of your money on a good motherboard, a superb monitor, sound system, and a GF2/3 for your gaming. that'll make much more of a difference then a few hundred Mhz extra or SSE2;

--- update
oops.. just noticed I only read the first page of this thread when I replied.. So you have a P3 450.. I'd stick to it, and buy a new videocard / monitor / present for your wife / until you really feel you are underpowered. Then, have a look whats on the market, and decide then. It has no sense debating about northwood or atlhon4 or whatever now.

---- Owner of the only Dell computer with a AMD chip<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by bbaeyens on 05/25/01 10:44 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
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May 25, 2001 4:11:22 PM

I completely agree with SammyBoy.

I like yourself have been wanting to upgrade for awhile now but confused about to what and when.

Personally, I've decided to wait until the SiS735 motherboards to come out.

I have an ooold AMD system now and if I wanted to stay with AMD and I wanted to upgrade it NOW... My best option would be to get a nice AMD mobo and get a cheap duron until Athlon 4's come out.

PS: Something that I learned not too long ago. If you want to go for INTEL make sure your PowerSupply and case supports it since it's different than AMD. Luckily I have a Antec SX840 which can go both ways no problem.

"you're killing yourself to stay alive"
May 25, 2001 4:50:41 PM

I see what you're saying too, I'm quite happy with the performance and reliability of my comp right now. It runs every application/game I use with ease. Money isn't that much of a deal right now. When I assembled my p3 450, it was the top of the line. One reason why I'm upgrading is because my friends are upgrading too and I don't want to be left behind. In fact I want to be one step ahead of them =). I never been a fan of the "Second class" models such as the duron and the celery. In other words, want the top-of-the-line even though I won't need it. It's a little habbit of mine to upgrade every 2 years.

I have decided that my timeframe for this upgrade, it will be no later than the 3rd quarter of '01 and looking at the roadmap, the desktop athlon 4's will be out and maybe even the Nvidia Crush 12 Chipset hopefull with an integrated Geforce 2 MX.

I'm working on it.....
Anonymous
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May 25, 2001 6:34:49 PM

I had a similar dilemma at the beginning of this year. Whether to wait for the T-Bird prices to come down or just go with the value priced Duron. I ended up getting a Duron 700. I play Quake III Arena and Red Alert 2 with great performance. Anything above a Pentium 3 or AMD Duron is going to be fine; for games, focus on the Graphics card - for the internet stuff, focus on getting a broadband connection like Cable or DSL.

Unless you are a die hard gamer or web enthusiast, a newer AMD Duron or Lower end T-Bird will suffice and won't cost too much. Save the money and splurge on the Graphics card and internet connection.
!