CPU + MB recommendations?

Greetings, oh wise ones (and to all you wise-guys too!)

On a limited budget, I'm looking for the best CPU and MB upgrade. I'm looking to spend about $400 Cdn in total (so, umm...around $225 US before taxes). So what's a good CPU/MB combo? I was looking at an Athlon XP 1700 but not sure of which motherboard (DDR is preferred, of course). I'm willing to trade a bit of performance for stability/price. The MB doesn't need any built-in sound/video/networking. I've heard great things about the 266A chipset, but the MB's seem really pricey.

Would I get a significant improvement by bumping my spending limit to around $500 Cdn total (so about $275 US before taxes)?

I'd appreciate any good advice. Thanks!
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More about recommendations
  1. xp1700 is a good call you can get it along with a epox 8kha+ for $250 u.s. at http://www.newlinepc.com/pricewatch.htm just mention pricewatch in the comment line

    ...so i got that goin' for me
  2. The ECS K7S5a or K7S6a (new model) are both reasonably priced and should work fine for you, if you don't overclock. They have sis chipsets, to avoid some of the via issues. I haven't seen any problems with via, but I keep my systems simple and use onboard sound. I use the shuttle ak31 version 3.1, and it works fine.
  3. if you dont have the vid and sound card, the msi nforce is a good little rig. i have built 2 systems with it. no problems so far. both with duron 900's

    i went to the tomshardware forums and all i got was this lousy signature.
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