Looking at top end Intel rig

So, I'm looking to offer a bleeding edge machine that I can build for people (on top of more subdued, <$1000 machines). Looking around, it's obvious that the highest performing machines are P4 2.8GHz paired with a i850E and 1066MHz Rambus. But when I look at the prices, I want to shudder. $460 for the processor, retail, from Newegg (probably places where it is cheaper, but Newegg earned my trust long ago), and near $375 for two 256MB sticks of PC1066. Now, I realize that PC1066 is a less than standard memory right now, but the fact that it ranges from $175 at Newegg for Samsung PC1066 to $199 for Mushkin Rambus (well, they make great DDR... does that extend to Rambus RAM?) just makes me sick. I can get 512MB DDR400 for $219, so the question is, would the small (~3-5% drop) performance difference be worth using a SiS648 or i845PE? Also, do either of those chipsets support the 3.06 P4 w/HT when it comes out, or the i850 for that matter?

Where I'll be building these machines, anyone who gets a system will get WinXP Pro, since it is required for campus network access (Home doesn't have NetWare, the bastards). Plus, college students can get WinXP Pro (upgrade version) for $89.95 at www.edu.com, so its actually cheaper than WinXP Home.


Some day, THG-willing, I shall obtain the coveted "Old Hand" title.
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  1. Get the i845PE, it has HT support and has been seen competing the SiS648, who previously was able to nearly outperform the i850E+PC1066, so do yourself a favor, grab DDR400 and match it with the i845PE.
    Or, I heard next month the Granite Bay Dual DDR chipset comes out, so you might wanna check that out.

    The worst of enemies shall be prone to later be the best of friends. -Eden
  2. under HT RDRAM performe much more even again E7500.But yes it costly and 32 bit Rimm is not a reliable option

    Now what to do??
  3. Thats kind of what I was leaning towards. My plan here is to create some spec sheets for low, mid, and high systems... and while I nailed down the low and mid range systems without a problem (AMD-based, my area of greatest knowledge), I only know Intel products by benches and boards. I do know that the 2.8GHz with PC1066 will blow anything out of the water, and that the SiS648 and i845PE are solid DDR contenders to that crown.

    Now, my other question is this. I am <i>trying</i> to build systems that are upgradeable for at least 18 months. So, with AMD I picked a KT400 board that offers certified support for DDR400, as well as the new 333MHz FSB. This should last into Q4'03 with little problem, as we all know that the Athlon will still exist, just in a more "value" form. As long as BIOS updates continue to exist, a 3600+ Barton should slide into the board just as easily. Sadly, this is always hard to gauge. But when I look around and realize that most people are still running sub-1GHz machines comfortably (if they don't game heavily, if at all), this will be quite a boost. So, a "low" range system (~600 w/o monitor)with:

    -Antec Plus660AMG Case
    -AMD Athlon 1800+ Retail Processor
    -Mushkin or Crucial Brand 256MB PC2700 DDR RAM
    -Gigabyte GA-7VAXP Motherboard
    -MSI CDRW Dragon Writer 40X12X48
    -Maxtor or Western Digital 40GB 7200RPM Hard Drive
    -ATI-Powered Radeon 8500LE (128MB)

    This should have no problem with most anything anyone but a power freak or hardcore gamer would throw at it. The mid range is much the same, but with the 2200+, 512MB RAM, and a Ti4400. Better than my own machine. :frown:

    But with Intel, I'm not sure how to gauge their future lines. There is Prescott, which, unless Intel breaks with current form of the P4, will have a new socket. Speculation, but the P4 Willy needed a new socket (made sense), but then so did the P4 Northwood. Then the P4 NWB needed new chipsets to get the 533MHz FSB (not always, since most P4 boards could overclock to 133MHz FSB without getting the AGP/PCI out of spec). The only factor I have going for me is that a bleeding edge machine now would be more than adequate in 2 years, if the current hardware-to-software evolution keeps more or less the same. I mean, can anyone see systems from now being over-burdened by non-gaming apps in 2 years? Will Office 11 and 12 really be that revolutionary, and will MP3 and Divx encoders become that overwhelming to computers that can currently take a 170MB wav file and encode it to MP3 in 2 minutes? True, most people who would even consider this system would be gamers and avid encoders, but only the former would be affected, and I think the next two generation of video cards will be able to be handled by a 2.8GHz P4. I mean... well... I don't want to speculate here. That's too risky.

    So yeah, that's the plan. A low and mid range system built around the Athlon/Gigabyte7VAXP combo, and an Intel 2.8GHz built around an undertermined chipset. Personally, I don't think I'll have to worry too much about the high-end system, since I'm a college student dealing with other college students. It's not like we have any money here.


    Some day, THG-willing, I shall obtain the coveted "Old Hand" title.
  4. Wow, first you want the top end intel rig and you settle for a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

    Duplicate my machine and you will know the true power of the P4, stability, and as your title indicates "top end Intel rig"

    I post some of the highest scores in the world (non LN2/Phase change), beating out RDR based machines at the same speed.

    You are limited to what your mind can perceive.
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