Components Under Stress: Athlon 64 3500+ And P4 3.6 GHz, Continued
At just shy of $260, the Asus P5AD2-E Premium we chose for our Intel system won't be on the Christmas shopping lists of any Scrooges out there. The most important feature of the Asus P5AD2-E is its maximum FSB speed of 1066 MHz (DDR). The pain of the high price is somewhat reduced by the integrated 802.11g standard WLAN module and 7.1 sound chip. A far smaller investment is required for the AMD platform: the MSI K8N Neo 2 Platinum (MS-7025) costs $134 and is based on the now fully developed nForce3 chipset. However, its advanced age precludes the use of PCIe graphics cards; the new interface standard won't be supported until the nForce4 chipset arrives.
Won't empty your wallet: MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum. So what does the "Platinum" tag stand for?
Both systems feature Infineon memory modules: P4 systems use DDR2-533 while the AMD platform relies on conventional DDR400. Still on our list at this point were 160 GB SATA hard drives from Hitachi. Then came the matter of power. In spite of some bad experiences with Tagan power supplies in the past at the THG lab in Munich, the problems seem to have disappeared. So we decided to use two power supplies (with a combined maximum output of 480W). For the display we went with two Iiyama 15" TFT monitors (note: projectors!)