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Thread: Build a new system or upgrade current rig?

  1. #1
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    Basic requirements for a high-end desktop mobo

    Well, about 2 years ago I put together a system featuring an ASUS motherboard. Obviously, things have changed in the past 2 years. I use my desktop for just about anything, but like a lot of people gaming is a serious issue for me. So it is time to build another machine.

    So I am looking for some pointers here. I figure a motherboard is the heart of the system, and this is where I should focus my first decision.

    So far, I know:

    *I do not want on-board video.
    *AGP is a must. I Suppose 8x is desired.
    *I Personally prefer a high end AMD processor. Cheaper than Intel.
    *On board sound. Do I want this or should I just opt for a sound card? If it helps, I plan on having a 3 speaker system (2 speakers, and a sub).
    *On board ethernet/network interface. What numbers should I look for here?
    *And finally, what's the deal with Front Side Bus? What is the benefit of this?

    Feel free to play devil's advocate (without turning this into amd vs. intel), or even recommending a particular mobo.

    My timeframe is within the next 3 months.

  2. #2
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    The Abit NF7-S is a good board, anything from v1.2 and up. The onboard sound rivals most highend desktop audio soundcards as its the Nforce Soundstorm audio, the onboard LAN has good performace as well and it basically supports all current Athlon processors (would get a V 2.0 board to be sure). AGP 8X is supported as well.
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  3. #3
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    Ditto to the use of a mobo with the nForce2 chip.
    The ABIT mentioned by Justintime typically has a high feedback where performance is an major criteria.

    The current processors increases performance compared to older version by utilizing a faster FSB.
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  4. #4
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    I personally would try a 865P chipset... It's a little cheaper than the 875P chipset and still has the 800Mhz FSB... Most Mobos in this category come with nice onboard sound, or you could even opt in for a cheap OEM Audigy 2($70)... They all come with 8x AGP... Also they have the new gigabitLAN, which isn't all that useful right now.

    Of course you will have to use a slower P4 for the same price, but with 800mhz FSB and hyperthreading enabled, i don't think its much of an issue...

    No AMD point of view, I am still an Intel follower... or slave...
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  5. #5
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    The sound on the 8RDA+ from Epox (an nForce 2 board) is at least as good as that of an Audigy. Be sure to get the + version though.
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  6. #6
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    Build a new system or upgrade current rig?

    I've posted in both the mobo and video card forums on this site already. I figure this is probably the most appropriate place to ask my question.

    My current system specs:

    *1400Mhx AMD Thunderbird
    *512 DDR RAM
    *Geforce 2 MX 128 Mb (4x AGP)
    *mobo is an Asus something or other (can't remember model #)

    This fall sweet, sweet Half Life 2 and possibly Doom 3 get released. I want to play these games as soon as they come out. So: Do I upgrade my RAM and video card with say, another 512 MB RAM and an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro?

    OR, do I just build another system alltogether?

    I'm worried that I will be limited by my 1400 Mhz processor...am I right in believing that will limit me?

    Any advice? Thanks in advance.

  7. #7
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    Your absolutly correct on the 9700pro limiting your current system.
    Here's what I'd do. Buy an

    Athlon XP 1700+ or 2100+ TB"B".
    Nforce 2 Motherboard with Duel DDR capablilities.
    512MB's of at least PC2700 Memory(make sure this is two 256mb sticks so you can take advantage of the Duel DDR.) 7200rpm Hard Drive at least.
    Radeon 9700pro 128MB.
    And might as well get a cool case some lights and stuff.

    Check out newegg.com for the prices on this stuff.

    For the MoBo I'd buy the Abit NF-7 revision 2.0 but Asus,MSI,Epox all have great Nforce 2 Motherboards.
    AMD AthlonXP 1700 T-Bred "B" @2.07GHz (180x11.5)
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  8. #8
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    Threads merged.
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by coyote81
    Your absolutly correct on the 9700pro limiting your current system.
    Here's what I'd do. Buy an

    Athlon XP 1700+ or 2100+ TB"B".
    Nforce 2 Motherboard with Duel DDR capablilities.
    512MB's of at least PC2700 Memory(make sure this is two 256mb sticks so you can take advantage of the Duel DDR.) 7200rpm Hard Drive at least.
    Radeon 9700pro 128MB.
    And might as well get a cool case some lights and stuff.

    Check out newegg.com for the prices on this stuff.

    For the MoBo I'd buy the Abit NF-7 revision 2.0 but Asus,MSI,Epox all have great Nforce 2 Motherboards.
    First, Shinma, thanks for merging threads.

    Coyote81, Thanks for your suggestions...I looked into newegg and found some prices for the things you mentioned. Seems like this could be affordable for me. I'm very interested in the mobo you suggested. I found a few different Abit NF-7 boards out there. I think the NF7-S may be the right board for me. Specs below:

    specs*********

    ABIT NF7-S ,nForce2 SPP chipset Support AMD Socket A with 200/266/333 FSB ,8X AGP,SATA 150 ATX motherboard Retail
    Specifications:
    Supported CPU:AMD-K7 Duron/Athlon/Athlon XP Socket A
    Chipset: NVIDIA nForce2 SPP chipset with MCP2-T
    FSB:200/266/333MHz
    RAM:3x 184Pin DDR Supports 3 DIMM DDR 200/266/333 (Max. 3GB)or
    2 DIMM DDR 400 (Max. 2GB)
    IDE:2 x Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 (up to 4 Devices)
    Slots:1 x AGP8X/4X, 5 x PCI slots
    Ports:1xFDD, 2xSATA,2xUSB2,2xPS2,2xCOM,1xLPT and Audio Ports
    Onboard Serial ATA: Supports transfer rates 150MB/s (1.5G bps)
    Onboard Audio:6-Channel AC 97 CODEC
    Onboard LAN: 10/100Mb Operation supports ACPI & Wake on LAN
    Onboard Firewire: IEEE 1394a at 100/200/400MB/s transfer rate Model#: NF7-S

    ***end specs ***********

    So my questions about these specs:

    1) Is it duel DDR capable? How would I deduce this from the provided specs? [edit] It has something to do with the 400 designation right?

    2) I know the board uses DDR Ram. Are all DDR sticks PC2700? I thought some DDR Ram can be PC2400...I may be wrong.

    3) Why did you say get 2 256MB sticks of DDR...so that the board will somehow use both memory sticks simultaneously? This is no problem...I just want to understand

    4) You and others have said "look for Abit NF-7 revision 2.0" I never see anything about revision 2.0 in any of the NF-7 boards I've seen, regardless of whether it was an Abit or Asus. Further, what does the revision 2 designation signify?

    5) Is Serial ATA is this the same as SATA? This is some new standard for hard disks?

    This board looks great for me. And I found it for about $124 at newegg.com. It has all the stuff I think i need, and none of the stuff I don't need (like onboard video).

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by paxus; June 5th, 2003 at 04:41 PM.

  10. #10
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    hey paxus, in answer to your questions.......

    1: All Nforce2 boards are dual ddr capable
    2: DDR ram is rated as (pc2100=266mhz), (pc2700=333mhz), and (pc3200=400mhz) You want to buy the fastest ddr that your board will support, in this case pc3200.
    3: All you need to do to run dual ddr is to put the two sticks in the appropriate slots and the feature will work (increased memory bandwith is what it comes down to)
    4: Revision two means that it is part of the second crop of boards that now feature a 400 mhz fsb, instead of just 333.
    5: Serial ata is the new standard coming into effect for harddrives, but you can still use your old ata drives, no problem. Serial ATA features smaller cables than standard ata. ( i mean to say that the board will support ata as well, not that ata and serial ata are interchangeable)
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  11. #11
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    also with the nf7-s there is a parallell to sata converter so you can use a normal ide hard drive with a serial ata cable

    not sure about performance increases however and this function appears to be a little tempramental (spelling???) with my board but mine is a very early revision the problem may have been worked out now
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  12. #12
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    That's the board you want!

    Now we have to figure out what processor you want to buy and also what graphics card you want to buy. These next two are very important as you can bottleneck your system. Since your probably planning on getting the Radeon 9700pro, I'd suggest if your not gonna do any overclocking then buy a decent processor.
    I'd suggest the Athlon 2600+ 333FSB for $105 from newegg.
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  13. #13
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    People are getting good overclocking results with the Barton 2500, and at only $102 if you have the extra money get one of those. The extra cache is a boost over the Tbred.

  14. #14
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    Just a general tip for paxus or others who may not be as familiar with hardware as most around here:

    You don't ever want the first revision of a motherboard, no matter who makes it. It's better to wait for the board to "mature". Buying a revision 1 board can get you something as minor as lack of support for certain near-future CPU/RAM setups to something major that cannot be resolved by a simple BIOS flash. Rarely does a manufacturer ever get it all right the first time when speaking of motherboards. I've often wondered why they even put rev. 1 boards out on the market. As for how to know which rev. you're ordering, sometimes you can get this info from the retailer, such as newegg, and at that same site you can sometimes find this info within the comments posted by others who purchased the same product.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by coyote81
    That's the board you want!

    Now we have to figure out what processor you want to buy and also what graphics card you want to buy. These next two are very important as you can bottleneck your system. Since your probably planning on getting the Radeon 9700pro, I'd suggest if your not gonna do any overclocking then buy a decent processor.
    I'd suggest the Athlon 2600+ 333FSB for $105 from newegg.
    Yes, I am planning on getting the Radeon 9700 Pro. Graphics are very important to me. I like to buy just below the leading technology. I consider the Radeon 9800 pro and the Nvidia 5900? to be top of the line, but their are prices too high.

    I don't know much about overclocking, and have often stayed away from trying it because heat was too much of an issue within my case before. This time around, I am trying to ensure that heat will not be a problem by getting the appropriate fans and case (still trying to figure out a good candidate for this.

    Having said that, I thought I saw somewhere that the Athlon XP 2100 could be overclocked well, but the XP 2600 had very little room for overclocking. I suppose this isn't much of an issue for me considering the prices of these processors are pretty cheap imo. I'll probably opt for the XP 2600 with the board's max FSB of 333 and just spend another $30 more than the 2100.

    Does it matter what type of case I get for this board? I see some cases that have a firewire and 2XUSB ports in front. Not really sure how this board connects with 1 firewire port...looked to me like there were 2 firewire connections coming out of the board.

    Originally posted by slingblade

    You don't ever want the first revision of a motherboard, no matter who makes it. It's better to wait for the board to "mature". Buying a revision 1 board can get you something as minor as lack of support for certain near-future CPU/RAM setups to something major that cannot be resolved by a simple BIOS flash. Rarely does a manufacturer ever get it all right the first time when speaking of motherboards. I've often wondered why they even put rev. 1 boards out on the market. As for how to know which rev. you're ordering, sometimes you can get this info from the retailer, such as newegg, and at that same site you can sometimes find this info within the comments posted by others who purchased the same product.
    Thank you for the tip. I was just going to go on blind faith that the board I saw on newegg was not a revision 1 board. I posted the exact specs from newegg for that Abit NF7-S board, and I couldn't tell if it was revision 1 or not. I also didn't see any comments for that board. Maybe I can email newegg about their product.

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