Christmas Upgrades

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Zedric, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    It's this time of year again, upgrade time!

    Well, tbh, I'll be replacing pretty much the whole computer except my Audigy 2 card and one hdd.

    So anyway, let's start off with the mobo and CPU. The requirements are SATA (with NCQ is possible), Gbit LAN, PCI Express, four DDR slots and whatever nifty features I may feel that I want, but can't think of right now. I have pretty much no interest in OC:ing the thing or anything like that.

    I was aiming for an Intel, around 3.0-3.2 GHz. But it seems a decent mobo requires DDR2 RAM which is still hellishly expensive! I'm not sure I want to spend that much on just memory. Does anyone know a decent mobo that takes DDR?

    So maybe I should get and AMD 64 instead? (*AMD fans cheering*) I doesn't have hyper threading, but it does have 64 bits and nx-support. There are also PCI Express mobos showing up til christmas. That'll work. ;)

    I'm guessing an nForce 4 mobo would fit the bill just nicely, just no SLI. Is there a decent nForce4 board out yet without SLI? My supplier lists two MSI boards (Neo3 and Neo4), but the MSI site doesn't seem to have any of them except under news and press releases.


    Graphics then, I'm pretty sure I'll be going for an ATI Radeon X600 or X700, seeing it's in my price range. Any suggestions on specific card?

    For the case I've pretty much settled on the Coolermaster Cavalier 3 with a (most likely) Fortum 350W or 400W 120mm fan PSU (comments?).

    Opticals will be a NEC 3500 DVD burner.


    Suggestions and comments are welcome! :)
    o<|:)> (<-- me in santa suit)
     
  2. Electronic Punk

    Electronic Punk Administrator Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    I am doing my pre-christmas upgrades tonight, keep saying that this is the last ever upgrade I will do to my PC and it is indeed getting damn hard to see anything that I could buy that would justify some kind of upgrade.

    Recieved two packages today one from quietpc.com where I got 2 fan cables that will reduce the voltage to my top exhaust fan and rear fan from 12v to 7v, may not sound much but it greatly decreases the fan speed to a level that still makes them worth having about, but the noise reduction is fantastic. Not done this upgrade yet, will do it tonight.

    Got some cool rubber/latex/silicon feet that will greatly reduce the noise and vibration and therefore more noise. Not done this upgrade yet, will do it when I get home, but hopefully shouldn't take me too long - doesn't sound like too much of a challenge!

    Third upgrade is the one I am most of the way thru. An Arctic Cooler 5 for my Geforce 6800 Ultra. Spent my lunchbreak today doing it. Took off the old fan, heatsync and cleaned the area. Applied lots of goop on the memory, a little on the gpu and stuck it on. I have missed out a few steps, but needless to say it took me most of an hour. I haven't actually got a back plate on it at the moment and I am still workking out how I am going to do this. The backplate of my gf6800 is doube size, one side has the 2 dvi connection holes and an svideo hole, the other is just plain. The configuration of the Arctic Cooler means that the air needs to come out there, bit of a pain really, so I am trying to figure out if there is a way that I will be able to do it - last resort cutting the original backplate in half or at least drilling holes in to it. Should be fun.

    Have turned it on carefully balancing the card. Initial temp seemed the same under idle conditionz, but I guess boot isn't really idle so it is n't really a fair test. I don't really care if the cooling is not much better as long as it is on par. The real reason as you can see by the items above is that I am really trying to quieten down my PC and have all kinds of crap to do it.

    It is so quiet now, all you can hear are the hard drive :)
    Will clear up after the upgrades and take a few snaps :)
     
  3. wind3D

    wind3D OSNN Addict

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    You're going to want more than a 350PSU, otherwise you might have stability issues. Not uncommon. I'd go with atleast 400 preferably 500. And yes, you're going to want to get an AMD64. Do the research and read the benchmarks :) An AMD 64 3000 blows a P4 3.0-3.2 right out of the water hands down...If you don't opt for the 64 now, then you are going to hurt later when you start seeing more and more 64bit apps come out. You will then need to buy a new mobo again. As far as the MSI boards go, I am not sure what they have done about the "Dynamic Overclocking" feature they incorporated into the Neo 2 and told no one about. Here's a link to the article: http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/20030522/index.html

    A suggestion that I want you to be aware of: If you go with an X800 Pro, you can easily (with drivers) overclock / unlock it to a X800 XT. That'd save you about $160.

    I hope I've assisted you in some way.
     
  4. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    Hopefully I'll get the parts I ordered on Christmas Day. Yes, Christmas Day. :p
    Should be getting the following:

    Gigabyte K8NXP-9 motherboard
    AMD Athlon64 3500+
    Leadtek PX6600 256mb PCI-e gfx card
    Corsair Twin1024-3200LX Pro RAM.

    That's the main components I'll be needing this year.
     
  5. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    This thread was about advice for my upgrade, not showing off yours. ;) But thanks for sharing. :)

    wind3d: I think 400W should be plenty enough. No offence, but PSU wattage advice are often set very high. The only time I've encountered problems with power was when we connected two P4 3.4 with high end Quadro FX cards and several hdds to one 500VA UPS. That was too much. The UPS however handled one of the 3.4s and a 3.2 (with slightly less hardware) just fine. So the line was somewhere around there. And this was on the outside of the PSU as well. But 350W might be a bit small for chance. ;)

    The Dynamic overclocking feature is there, but I have no idea how well it works. I'm also considering the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, even though it has SLI. Mostly because it doesn't cost more and still has just as many slots as the non SLI MSI.

    The X800 is sadly out of my price range, but thanks for the tip. :( So suggestions on X600/X700s? 256 MB memory at least, right? Any two/three letter suffix I should look at or avoid?
     
  6. wind3D

    wind3D OSNN Addict

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    I hate to contradict you Z, but you do a search on PSU's, and you'll find a lot of people not having enough wattage :) (350) But you didn't understand what I was saying: Don't use a 350. 400, fine, 350, no :)
    I'll respond later when I have more time.

    All I am doing is offering you advice. You don't have to take it. However, it is not uneducated advice, so it wouldn't hurt if you did :)
     
  7. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    Oh, sorry, I suppose we did agree after all. :D My bad. I'll go for 400 then. ;)

    And I do appreciate the advice.
     
  8. Electronic Punk

    Electronic Punk Administrator Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    Well my upgrades went fine.
    Now the loudest thing in my case is watercooling and replacing that would just be taking the piss.
     
  9. Elektro Slime

    Elektro Slime Harware Guru

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    dude go for the intel.........
    nforce 4 are just too expensive atm.

    as for a mobo you can get the gigabye ga-81915p duo it has all the features you want plus it supports dual channel DDR ram as well as DDR2. the price is around $106
    from abit i would suggest the AS8, arond $120 a good oc'er.

    since ur not gonna oc, itll be better to get the best processor you can afford, IMO go for the 3.2ghz....

    also get 400+ PSU from a known manufacturer, or if ur like me (ie a cheapo) get 2 generic 400 watts PSU and run them both. Just make sure you have 20+ ams on the 12v line.
     
  10. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    Sadly my retailer doesn't sell Gigabyte and the Abit mobo isn't PCI Express... Perhaps the AG8 or the Asus P5GD1 then. But no ncq support as I can see. Damn this is difficult!

    And btw, I guessing the AMD64 I want should be a s939? Any difference from the s754?
     
  11. Electronic Punk

    Electronic Punk Administrator Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    yeah, there won't be any upgrade possiblities for the 754 (what I think I have), so stick with the newer bits.
     
  12. wind3D

    wind3D OSNN Addict

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    Heya ElektroSlime,
    Just curious, if I was in Z's shoes, I would want to know why you were suggesting an Intel CPU over AMD at this current point in time.
    Can ya tell me why?
    Thanks.
     
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  13. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    Yes do tell. :)

    I've made two configurations now, one AMD64 and one Intel.

    AMD:
    MSI K8N Neo4 (not available yet)
    AMD 64 3200+ s939 (boxed)

    Intel:
    Abit AG8, or Asus P5GD1
    P4 3.2 GHz LGA775 (boxed)

    Common:
    CoolerMaster Cavalier 3 case (plus extra 80mm fan for intake)
    Kingston ValueR 1024MB Dual kit
    MSI GF 6600GT 128 MB (NX6600GT-TD128E) (which litteraly ate the X700 Pro in tests)
    NEC DVD-burner ND-3500A silver
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 160GB NCQ
    Silver floppy drive

    Both configurations end up on the same price tag (diffs about $6).

    Then there's the matter of the PSU (again)...
    Either a 20-pin NorthQ NQ-4001 400W, or a 24-pin Forton/Source Rev2 400W SATA edition.
    Preferrably the Forton of course, since it had the wanted 24-pin connector and sata connectors. It's just that it cost almost twice as much as the NorthQ. Is the NorthQ doable, or do I just bite the bullet and get the Forton?
     
  14. Steevo

    Steevo Spammer representing. Political User Folding Team

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    Got my bonus today. X800 here I come, or a laptop, or a 8.0Mp camera, or a..........
     
  15. Elektro Slime

    Elektro Slime Harware Guru

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    well since you mentioned getting an X600 or X700 which are mid-range cards i thought you were on the look out for a budget sytem.

    also i recomend getting an 3.2 ghz P4 over an amd 3200+, why?
    well althought you will see the amd beating the intel at most benchmarks at stock speeds, a little oc on the pentium will yeild significant improvements. also remember the P4 comes with 1mb of l2 cache. Aldo dont forget about HT which can really be of help when multitasking. Also the new P4 comes with the new instruction SSE3 which soon be used by many multimedia apps.
    If you do decide to go for an AMD make sure its nothing less then a socket 939 3400+ as anything below that can be rivaled by the pentium.

    as for the benchmarks, i dont think no one is really going to notice the difference between 75fps and 82fps while your busy blasting aliens into the next dimension.........

    if your still not sure which to get then here are the guidelines many people swear by:
    - if you wanna multitask a lot, do a lot of encodind/decoding the intel is for you.
    - if your into general use (eg MS OFFICE),gaming and programming get an AMD.
     
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  16. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    Strangely, the benchmarks I've seen show that the 3.2 P4 beats the 3200+ in most cases. In some even the 3400+. Curious...

    The base for decision may (sadly) be that the AMD boards won't come out until after I must place my order. But I'm still hoping for it as the AMD alternative feels a little bit better at the moment.

    A very good point, especially since I don't play much games (but when I do I want them to run smoothly of course).

    And the HT feature is nice. It might not give much raw benchmark points, but it does speed up GUI responsiveness and such.