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Performance of SDRAM vs DDR RAM for Athlon XP

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July 12, 2002 2:40:33 PM

I am currently looking at buying a new motherboard and CPU. Due to financial constraints, I don't have a lot of cash to spend (about £150) and as such would like to reuse as many of my original components as possible - including my 2 x 128 Meg SDRAM (PC133).

How does the performance of the Athlon XP (probably a 1600+, 1.4 GHz) with SDRAM compare to DDR RAM setup?

I currently have an AMD K6-2 366 MHz (clocked at 400 MHz). I assume an Athlon XP 1600+ even with SDRAM will be a noticable improvement?

Campbell...
July 12, 2002 2:47:36 PM

Oops - meant to add, would a Duron 1.0 Ghz with 128 Meg DDR RAM be a better option than an Athlon XP 1600+ with 256 Meg SDRAM (slightly more expensive for the Duron but better upgrade path)?

Campbell...
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July 12, 2002 4:23:31 PM

That's a tough call. I can completely respect being on a budget. Yes, there is an improvement with the move to DDR. However that isn't my primary concern. My main concern is actually the simple fact that any motherboard chipset for an Athlon that actually supports PC133 RAM is likely to be old. And my were there a large number of crappy motherboards in <i>those</i> days. I would imagine that trying to dig up one of those old beasts would definately hold an element of risk that the motherboard may or may not be a complete piece of crap, or may or may not play nicely with any other hardware that you have.

If you went with DDR it would be much easier to make sure that you are getting a quality motherboard that won't give you a lot of headaches. (Like something from VIA at or past the KT266a, or something from AMD like their 760s.)

Of course though, that would mean having to actually purchase PC2100 DDR SDRAM instead of using your old PC133 SDRAM.

If you aren't as worried about that though, or if price is that much of a limiting factor, I would bring up mention of motherboards like ones using the SIS 735 chipset, as you can find some of them that will actually allow you to plug in either SDRAM DIMMs or DDR SDRAM DIMMs. (Though I believe not both simultaniously.) This might allow you to use your SDRAM, yet still allow you to upgrade to DDR SDRAM one day in the future.

However, SIS <i>was</i> one of those motherboard chipset manufacturers which had a less-than-stellar record in the past. So the SIS 735 chipset may not be a good thing to suggest. I'm not sure, as I have no direct experience with it. You would probably have to ask around to get people's opinions on it.

In the end though, I'd really just suggest going pure DDR with a modern chipset. If it means waiting until you can save more money, or using a Duron plugin until you can afford a better CPU, then so be it. At least that way you can be sure to avoid some of the truely crappy products that existed in the past. Besides, a even a 1GHz Duron should be a noticable improvement from a K6-2 @ 400MHz.

In any event, good luck and go with what feels right to you. These are only suggestions, not answers. ;) 

<A HREF="http://www.nuklearpower.com/comic/171.htm" target="_new">The corpse you find may be your own.</A> - Black Mage
July 12, 2002 5:16:59 PM

I agree with slvr_phoenix. I have upgraded my system with a 1 GHz Duron w/ 128 MB DDR RAM and MSI K7N-420 Pro (nForce 420-D chipset) mobo from a K6-2 450 MHz w/ 224 MB SDRAM two months ago. My overall performance increase is very noticeable.

It is wise to have a good platform. I would advice you to upgrade with a Duron (1 GHz or more) w/ PC2100 DDR RAM and a mobo w/ VIA KT333 or Nvidia nForce chipset. PC2100 DDR RAM is cheaper than PC2700 DDR RAM and should be enough for an Athlon XP (If you switch to it from Duron later). Get a mobo of a good brand. My choice is MSI. Their KT333 chipset based mobos are stable, cheap and gives good performance compared to their price. Their nForce mobo is as good as other brands and also cheaper and stable.I agree with slvr_phoenix. I have upgraded my system with a 1 GHz Duron w/ 128 MB DDR RAM and MSI K7N-420 Pro (nForce 420-D chipset) mobo from a K6-2 450 MHz w/ 224 MB SDRAM two months ago. My overall performance increase is very noticeable.

It is wise to have a good platform. I would advice you to upgrade with a Duron (1 GHz or more) w/ PC2100 DDR RAM and a mobo w/ VIA KT333 or Nvidia nForce chipset. PC2100 DDR RAM is cheaper than PC2700 DDR RAM and should be enough for an Athlon XP (If you switch to it from Duron later). Get a mobo of a good brand. My choice is MSI. Their KT333 chipset based mobos are stable, cheap and gives good performance compared to their price. Their nForce mobo is as good as other brands and also cheaper and stable.
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