Hi everyone. I am building my own system and am hung up on picking a motherboard/CPU/RAM setup. I have an Antec ATX case with PSU and all other components with the exception of the motherboard, RAM, and CPU. Trying to stay away from integrated video as I want the future option of upgrading it via an AGP card. On board sound, NIC, and USB 2.0 would be good (also need to be able to plug in two front USB ports already on the case as well). I'm looking to stay around $200-$250 for all three components combined and am leaning towards an Intel CPU. Since I am now running a Gateway Pentium 200mhz with 64 MB RAM (primarily use MS Office, IE, and email - not a big gamer) an upgrade to a mid-level CPU would be a big leap forward for us. Any recomendations you can make would be a great help!
These guys are great: http://www.monarchcomputer.com and will do pretested motherboard combos for you. Ive purchased several machines from them and have had no problems.
As for your machine id say you might want to look at the AMD chipsets, as you will end up with a slightly more powerful machine for the price range your looking to stay in:
With an AMD chip For only $230 you get:
69.00 Asus A7S333 SiS745 Audio DDR
90.00 AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (Retail Box-w-Fan)
69.00 DDR 2100 - 256 MB Corsair
Going with Intel would mean getting a celeron or a p3:
78 -Intel Celeron P4-478 1.8 GHz 128K
99 MSI 845PE (has on-board audio)
69 256 MB DDR 2100 Corsair
*above prices from monarchs site your mileage my vary...
Both theses set ups should work fine with little difference in the speed between them (the AMD setup would be a bit faster).
Or you could go to Pricewatch.com and pick out the pieces, but for 250 dollars it looks like you could easily get about a 1.8 ghz CPU with 256mb 2100 DDR ram, and that would SMOKE that old 200mhz box you have now...
Ya, like "niemi01" said. for $250, it is possible only for a AMD because athlons don't vary too much, at a lower price you just get a lower clocked athlon. Intel on the other hand is hard to squeeze into $250(assuming you are not even considering a Celeron). P4s below 2.4GHz are 400MHz so if you want 533Mhz have to get atleast a P4 2.4B. So, you have to decide whether to go with the Intel or AMD path. With AMD you choose anything that fits your budget but if you decide to go Intel, spend a little extra and go with the P4 2.4B and an 845PE chipset.