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PLS recommend : PC Upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 18, 2004 2:24:57 PM

I'd like to upgrade my computer, here is the structure, running Windows-XP-Pro.
System motherboard
Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
Model: GA-7VT600 (-L)
Processor(s): AMD Athlon(tm) processor @ 1.41GHz
L2 On-board Cache: 256kB ECC synchronous write-back
Installed Memory: 512MB
Bank0/1 - A0: DIMM 256MB @ 266MHz
Bank2/3 - A1: DIMM 256MB @ 266MHz
Bank4/5 - A2: Empty
Bus(es): ISA AGP PCI USB SMBus/i2c
Front Side Bus Speed (FSB): 2x 134MHz (268MHz data rate)
CPU Temperature: 32.00C / 89.60F
CPU Fan Speed: 10547rpm
CPU Core Voltage: 1.81V
AGP Bus
Version: 3.05
Current Data Transfer Rate: 4x
Side Band Enabled: No
Side Band Support: Yes
Fast-Writes Enabled: Yes
Display card
Manufacturer: Asustek
Model: V7700 Deluxe
Adapter: NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS/GeForce2 Pro
Drives and Storage Devices
Floppy disk drive: Removable Drive
ST340824A: Disk Drive
TOSHIBA DVD-ROM SD-M1502: CD-ROM/DVD
YAMAHA CRW2100E: CD-ROM/DVD
Peripherals
Serial/Parallel Port(s): 2 COM / 1 LPT
USB Controller/Hub: VIA Rev 5 or later USB Universal Host
Windows System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Workstation Version: 5.01.2600 Service Pack 1
motherboard Upgradeability
Socket/Slot: Socket A
Upgrade Interface: ZIF Socket
Supported Speed(s): 2.80GHz (or more)
Supported Voltage(s): 1.8V
Monitor: MAG 786FD
================
Questions:
1. up to which AMD processor speed can I upgrade on this MB?
2. Doed it involve the FSB speed ?
3. Can I upgrade the memory ? to what speed ?
4. Most IMPORTANT: What graphic card to upgrade - specially for games ?
THNX a lot

More about : pls recommend upgrade

a b U Graphics card
December 18, 2004 5:15:57 PM

It's a KT600 mobo, so I think you are good to go with any Athlon XP inclucing the 400 bus XP3200+. I would check into what multipliers and voltages are available(in bios or jumpers) and seriously consider a mobile Athlon XP2500+. The mobiles are unlocked and will let you decide/play with the multipliers and FSB to get the best performance. Also, since you have PC2100 now, you will have better options finding a nice fast cpu speed that will work with your ram. The best is to run a 400 bus with PC3200 memory, but even boosting the multiplier and running a 266/333 bus as well as your memory insync at 266 (266 bus) or async at 266 (333 bus), will boost your performance also. Your not in bad shape with that mobo.

If you want to buy new ram, buy PC3200. But with a mobile XP, you could keep your current ram and still reach high clock speeds. You'll give up some performance, but it's definately do-able and a big improvement.

Video card, all depends on how much you have to spend and where you live. In the USA, a $40 used GF4Ti4200 would be about the cheapest I'd upgrade to, A new radeon 9550 128-bit would be a good budget Overclocker for around $65. Better yet, New Radeon 9600 Pro's are just over $100, 9800 Pro's a little under $200 but getting hard to find at a good price, GF6800's can be found for $200-$250, and a 6800GT for around $350. Just avoid the NVidia FX line as they rarely if ever offer good performance for the price.


All in all, look into your mobo more for available multipliers. Even google search overclocking features for that mobo. I'd buy a Mobile Athlon XP 2500+, a Radeon 9600 pro or higher, and 1GB of PC3200 down the road (after testing/using the mobile XP with your ram & mobo), if you want to maximize performance and run a 400 fsb and DDR 400. It depends on your budget. What can you spend? $100, $200, $300, $400?


<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
December 19, 2004 3:09:45 AM

You can put whatever 266fsb socket A chip on that mobo but you could put a barton, excluding mobile barton, in there too if you get at least pc2700 ram.

<i><font color=red>Only an overclocker can make a computer into a convectional oven.</i></font color=red>
Related resources
December 21, 2004 8:40:49 AM

Thanx for your quick & good response.
1. What is the difference between BARTON and MOBILE AMD ? I found here more BARTON type.
2. As I've mentioned, I use 2X256 Mbytes 266MHz. Can I add to these your suggestion for 1Gbyte of PC3200 , or I must replace the older ?
3. My budget is approx. 400$-450$.
4. I found here AMD athlon barton XP 3000 for 170$
Sapphire Radeon 9600XT for 235$
Yuan Radeon 9800SE 128MB + TV+DVI for 232$
Octek Radeon 9550 128MB + TV+DVI for 92$
DELL NVidia Quadro FX 500 128MB for 211$
Geil Aluminum DDR 256MB PC3200 400Mhz CL2.5 for 77$
Nanya DDR 256MB PC3200 400Mhz for 62$
Hynix DDR 256MB PC3200 400Mhz for 62$
Any suggestion ?
December 21, 2004 1:04:49 PM

Of course he could use a mobile barton, I exceptioned that in my post. His RAM is the limiting factor with PC 2100. Id recomend to anyone with socket a platforms to get the mobile barton anyways. Mine is doing 2.8ghz at 225x12.5 ON AIR, well mostly cause its winter now and temps have dropped 30F here.

<i><font color=red>Only an overclocker can make a computer into a convectional oven.</i></font color=red>
a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2004 1:12:10 PM

Mobile XP's are also Bartons. They happen to be basically cream of the crop bartons that can handle running at the low voltages in a laptop, thus reducing heat. But they are the same socket, and barton core, and this makes them good overclockers in desktop systems that support them. Most mobile's (probably all of the 2500 & 2600's) easily run XP3200+ speeds (2.2GHz) on 1.65v(stock voltage for desktop bartons), on motherboards that support 200(400) fsb. But they cost far under the XP3200+. Look at Newegg which is a very popular online site in the USA. A <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductdesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">Barton XP3200+ is $184</A>, while the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproductdesc.asp?descripti..." target="_new">mobile Barton XP2500+ is $87</A>. Both will run 2.2GHz (11*200 @ 1.65v), so the mobile is the far better bargain, costing less than a desktop XP2400+ now with the XP price hikes.


Also, Mobile bartons are multiplier unlocked, like the desktop bartons used to be. This comes in handy giving more options for maximizing your OC speeds on each system. If a desktop Barton XP2500+ won't run 11*200=2.2GHz, then you have to lower the fsb. If a mobile barton XP2500+ won't do it, lower the multiplier and run 10 or 10.5 * 200. Or if 2.2GHz runs no sweat, a desktop barton would need to raise the fsb higher (more chance of failure) to go higher, the mobile, just bump up the multiplier, and you mobo/ram that maxes out at 200 fsb can now have a 2.3GHz, 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz, etc. cpu on it still.


<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2004 1:42:41 PM

Sorry, no time right now to answer all your questions or explain this more. Just ask before buying. If you are thinking about a mobile, ask about it over in CPU's to see if others ahve tried it on your motherboard. I think it will work, you just might be limited to 12.5 multipliers and might need PC3200 ram, which you would then also need to run an AXP 3000+ or 3200+ 400bus(200) cpu also. As far as I know if you can run an XP3200+, you can run a mobile barton at 2.2GHz also.


RAM: basically if you upgrade, you will want to remove your memory and buy PC3200 to replace it. To use your ram, you either have to run a 266 fsb which 12.5* 133 might be your top results, or see if you can run the ram Async on your motheboard. Meaning can you set the fsb(cpu)/dram ratio to 4/3 or 3/2 making the ram run slower than the fsb? Or does it give you the option to set the cpu host (fsb) to say 166, while leaving the DRAM set to 133? If not, you can only run the ram insync with the fsb, then yours is basically going to limit you to 266, PC2700 would let you run 333, and PC3200 let your run 400. Seeing as the via boards have no PCI/AGP lock to my knowledge, running odd fsb's (inbetween 266-333-400 or above 400) will only get you so far before stability issues arise.

Lastely, not sure if this applies where you live. But over here, Athlon XP's have shot up in price. The XP3000+ and 3200+ are so high, that is would pay to buy a cheap S754 mobo and an athlon 64 2800+ rather than buy an AXP3200+. It's cheaper to build an A64 3000+ S754 from scratch than an XP3200+. Only Athlon XP that still makes sense are say a very cheap XP2200+ for a value/non-gaming rig, or the mobile version's for good performance on a budget.

<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
December 22, 2004 2:12:11 AM

Aww gheez - at least recommend he spend $80-$90 on a ti4600. It's at least 50% faster than a ti4200 and has 128MB memory as well. It's the best used card to get.
a b U Graphics card
December 22, 2004 11:53:03 AM

I got long winded, what I meant was no time to look over all his hardware listed and to recommend a video card because I felt he still needed more info on the cpu and ram first to explain things a bit.

But personally, I don't think a used Ti4600 for $90 would be a good buy now. That's too much money for a used DX8.0 card. If $40-50 is his budget a used GF4Ti4x00 is the best you can do for sure, but $90?

<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Pauldh on 12/22/04 09:10 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 22, 2004 12:15:09 PM

I hear you Paul. Why buy a used $100 DirectX 8 card with no warranty, when you can get a brand new 9600 PRO for $110?

At the Ti4200's low price point it's justifiable, but the Ti4600 is just too expensive.



________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
a b U Graphics card
December 22, 2004 12:52:33 PM

Are we talking Canadian $, AUS $, or US $?

Prices seem too high on the video cards, but not bad on the XP3000+ to think it could be in the US. The thing is you really could benefit from more cpu speed and a new video card, but upgrading that memory after would also help take advantage more of what that barton can do.

I'd grab a video card first. Something like a Radeon 9800 pro 256-bit, or Radeon 9700 pro if you can find one. A GF6600GT AGP or 6800 would be even better, but cost more also. Then see how your games play with the new card as it will be a big improvement. Next would be to upgrade the cpu and ram. The video card and ram would be reusable if you upgrade to an A64 mobo/cpu. You may want to think about that possibility before spending too much on a barton now. An A64 2800+ is faster than an AXP3200+, and cost's alot less... Under $200 for the bundle. Basically costing $100 to go the A64 2800+ new mobo route than mobile XP2500+ on your mobo route as memory and video card would be the same. And likely cost close to the same as plopping a XP3000+ or 3200+ into your system.


In the US, you could buy a mobile barton 2500+ and heatsink, 1GB of PC3200, and possibly a Radeon 9800 pro for $450 USD. But that may be very different where you live.


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a b U Graphics card
December 22, 2004 1:03:36 PM

Hey Cleeve, what do you think about his CPU/ram situation? Video is more desperately needed for sure, but where is a gamer with a KT600, TBird 1.4GHz, 512MB PC2100 to go for more performance? Mobile Barton? using his ram at 266MHz? PC3200 for sure? Or leave as is until he can go A64/new mobo/PC3200? I thought he could run the ram slower at 266 for now and still bump the fsb up to 333 or 400 with a mobile XP2500+, but I'm not sure on that mobo if it has those settings or not. It may be safe to say budget for replacement ram right away if he goes that route, so he isn't stuck running that mobile barton at 12.5*266. :tongue:




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<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
December 22, 2004 3:18:48 PM

Depends how much money he has, I reckon.

If it was me, and I had to go the cheapest way out, first I'd get a decent videocard, then get a mobile Barton (2500+, the one with 512 cache) and keep the memory but up the multiplier.

With the multiplier higher he should be able to squeeze the most out of the CPU while keeping his memory.

Assuming he can change the multiplier and get the mobile Barton to work with that board, he'd be seeing 90% of the performance he'd get with DDR400...

Worst case scenario: even if he can't change the multiplier, his 2500+ would be running at the equivalent of a 2100+ or so with that cache... with a decent videocard, he could play all the new titles, just not at max details.
It'd definitely tie him over until he can hawk his current 266 DDR on ebay and buy some new 400mhz memory.

[EDIT]
Well, I looked into that board and.. unfortunately, no multiplier changing allowed.

You can run the memory asynchronously however, but you're limited to set choices: 133, 166, and 200.

This being the case, I'd still go with the same plan... get a good videocard, a 2500+, and overclock the FSB. Run the memory asynchronously until you can sell your old 266 and get some DDR400.


________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
a b U Graphics card
December 22, 2004 4:55:24 PM

I just saw that in a review of that motherboard...no multiplier settings. Not sure if there are any unofficial bios's that allow manually setting the multiplier.

For him, with this motherboard, I am changing my recommendation for the Mobile XP2500+. My fear here is that since that cpu's default is a 14 multiplier, and his mobo most likely maxes out at 12.5, then it just may default to a 6 multiplier, which is common for these mobiles to show up as 6*100=600MHz. The Big scary "IF" is that if he is stuck at a 6 multiplier, he is in trouble even at a 200/400 fsb setting. Unless he can find that people are able to somehow set multipliers and are using mobile bartons succesfully on that mobo, I'd say don't risk it.

<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3400555" target="_new"> My</A>
<A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k1=8268935" target="_new">Gamer</A>
December 22, 2004 5:52:06 PM

Never thought of that. I didn't know the multiplier in Mobiles might change, I assumed the board would go to default. But I haven't had too much experience with mobile Athlons tho...

Non-mobile Barton 2500+ is probably the best bet then... could still overclock the FSB later to 3200+ spec.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
a b U Graphics card
December 22, 2004 6:23:21 PM

Yeah, problem is the prices have jumped so. Once in the $70's, a XP2500+ is like $110+ now. That CPU of yours is like GOLD now Cleeve. :wink: Mybe you can sell it for more than what you paid for it.

Unfortunately, I have 2 new Socket A mobo's without a cpu and am deciding whether to just sell the mobos (possibly at a loss), or sink big bucks into an AXP. Prices shot up after I got them, and I didn't act fast to unload them or snatch cpu's for them. I'll buy a mobile barton for the NF2. The other board is a new Soyo KT333 Dragon Ultra Platinum. Should I buy a cheap XP2200+, max it out with an expensive XP2400+, or sell the mobo new on ebay? I sat on that mobo in stock for too long. :frown: I think I paid around $70 for it a while ago. I know I paid like $180 for one when it first came out, such a loaded bundle). Now, who knows what I'd get for it.


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December 22, 2004 7:06:30 PM

I know what you mean... AthlonXP's have gotten crazy expensive, a clear sign from AMD that they want to beat the brand into obsolescence. I bought my 2500+ at exactly the right time, a few months ago...

The funny part is, the Semprons (which in some cases are rebadged AthlonXPs) are more expensive than their AthlonXP counterparts that are still available... the SocketA Sempron 3100+ is *exactly* the same as an AthlonXP 2500+ - only it costs alot more.

Sadly, the days of the cheap & powerful AthlonXPs are gone... hopefully the A64-based Semprons will fall in price quickly to fill the gap. But right now they're still too expensive, especially since you have to buy a soon-to-be-obsolete platform (socket 754) to get one.

The thing that drew me to the SocketA cpus in the first place was the knowledge that I could upgrade from a budget Duron to a top-of-the-line Athlon.

Now, if you buy a Sempron, you're dedicated to that platform... and socket 939 is taking too long to come around.

But I'll tell you, if they make a socket 939 board that has both a PCI-e AND 8x AGP graphics slots, I'd pick the platform up in a second.

But for now, my 2500+ is holding up pretty well, I guess. :) 

Oh, and if you want my opinion, get the 2200+. Same TbredB core as the 2400+, overclocks respectably...



________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
December 23, 2004 2:49:43 PM

Gentlemen, thnx u all.
Reading your replies, especially among you I learn a lot.
I live in Israel, the $ are US$.
IAW your recommendation I've decided to replace the graphic card first, & see how to upgrade further later.
Question: following are some more examples from my previous email:
• ABIT R9600XT 256MB VIVO - 180$.
• ASUS A9600 XT/TVD Radeon 128MB - 218$
• Asus ATI Radeon 9600 SE 128MB - 115$
• GIGABTYE GV-R96X128D ATI Radeon 9600XT 128Mb TV-Out DVI -930
• RADEON 9600XT 128 MB - 191$

The ABIT card seems to be the cheapest, maybe the best cost/performance;
however, someone told me that their quality is bad.
What is your opinion ?
December 23, 2004 2:56:57 PM

Out of those, I'd go Abit.

They're a well-known brand and I haven't heard any bad stuff about them, specifically, although other people certainly might have different knowledge.
But it's a safe bet they're not as bad as the infamous powercolor...

And take that crappy 9600SE off the list, 9600SEs suck.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
December 23, 2004 5:51:58 PM

Please doublecheck: These data is written in ABIT-web:
http://www2.abit.com.tw/page/uk/graphiccard/graphiccard...

Regarding the clocks, following are some details:
• ATI® Radeon™ 9600XT 128-bit 3D Graphics Accelerator
• GPU Clock: 500MHz
• 256MB DDR Memory
• 400MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536@85Hz
• Industry's fastest 400MHz RAMDACs support QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates
• DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
thnx again
!