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Guest Coneman

Budget Upgrade

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Guest Coneman

I've currently got an AMD XP 1.4GHz, K7S5A board (266 FSB), ATI 9500 Pro 128mb, 512 DDR 2100. I'm thinking of getting an AMD XP 3000 or 3200 Barton and Asus A7N8X-X (400 FSB). This would land me in the $200 ballpark where I want to be. Would this be an okay setup? I know I'm not going for the bleeding edge here.Thanks,Todd

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Guest baksteen33

Hi Todd, yes, that's sounds like a very reasonable upgrade for the investment. According to the rule 'doubling the CPUs MHz = 40% more general performance', you should see a noticeable improvement. Guessing you might be @ 800x to 1024x now, I would recommend sticking to max 1024x resolutions. Btw, in your other thread about files marked by AVG; AFAIK, most if not all are core operating system files and therefore shouldn't be modified or removed. Hope this adds to thoughts, good luck and kind regards Jaap

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Guest Coneman

Thanks for the input Jaap. I think it might be pushing the limit on what that board can handle, but hope it will be okay.One more Q. I realize my Ram wouldn't utilize the full bus speed, but would it work?Cheers,Todd

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Guest baksteen33

Hi Todd, absolutley no prob, using 2100 modules only results in a few % less performance afaik. Nothing too dramatic. It's only a problem sometimes when using a mix of modules with different SPD presets (Therefore, I always recommend buying a pair, whether you need them right then or not). Btw, you could also go for the 3000+ Sempron with 512kb cache and 333MHz FSB. I recently saw such a combo in action and was positively surprised (with exactly the mainboard you're looking at). Hope this helps, good luck and kind regards Jaap Hope you sorted the 'virus' problems!

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Guest Coneman

Thanks again Jaap. It seems the more I get into this the more questions I have. :-( I'm wondering if maybe I should think about the AMD 64 cpu's. Some of them are about the same price as what I was considering. I have no clue what the difference is. Would I be able to keep my vcard and RAM?Thanks for the help,Todd

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Guest vas_yan

I had the same motherboard until a month ago. Don't bother with a socket A or 754 solution. I bought a 939 motherboard with AGP and an A64 3200+. You can keep everything else the same. The performance increase will be dramatic. You don't have to buy the 3200+ you can go for the cheaper 3000+. The combination will cost you little over 200. Plus the 3000+ is a great overclocker so, if that's your cup of tea, you can easily see speeds equivalent to a 3500+ or better. I am at 2250 Mhz right now, from the original 2000, which is 50Mhz over the 3500+ and I have been extremely conservative. As an experiment I once lowered my memory timings and changed a few other things in the BIOS and went to 2500Mhz just to see if the processor can take it. Guess what...It took it no problem. That's higher than a 3800+.Regards,

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Guest baksteen33

@ Vassilis, while I fully agree with most you're saying, I do not when you throw the socket A and 754 into one basket. IMHO, the 754 is a good alternative and specially for budget setups. @ Todd, indeed, if you can stretch your budget a little bit more, I'ld wholeheartedly recommend a 754 or 939 (w/ nForce3 for AGP). I've been using a 754 with a 3200 Clawhammer (1MB cache) for almost a year and it's great. During this period I've gone through 3 mainboards and the best one I had is Asus' K8N-E with nForce3 250Gb chipset. This one now sells for less than 100 Euros. IMHO, the mainboard chipset is very important and trying to save money on that end is something to think about twice. Otherwise it's the same details as previoulsy described, you should be able to continue to use your RAM and your display adapter will continue to limit possible resolutions. I guess a 3000 Newcastle or Winchester will outpower the mentioned Sempron by roughly 40% and maybe more. FYI, I went from a P4 3GHz to the a.m. AMD64 and saw a performmance increase of ca. 40%. Obviously, the 754 is less future-proof. Personally, I believe one of the biggest enhancements coming our way is S-ATA-2 and this interface is only present on certain nForce4 mainboards. Hence, a socket 939 with nForce4 would be ideal but you'ld have to get a new display adapter too. OTOH, the biggest advantage I see with nForce3s and AGP, is, that it's a well matured platform and one doesn't have to live with everything still being developed (bios, drivers, you name it). Finally, something to think about too is what kind of sound interface you'll be using. Hope this adds to thoughts, good luck and kind regards Jaap

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Guest vas_yan

Hi Jaap, I can bring forward a couple of reason for saying don't go with the 754. Performance wise there isn't much difference between them. However there are new processors coming our way from AMD and they are only for the 939 and 940 sockets. I am talking about the dual cores. So maybe in a years time or possibly more someone with a 939 will be able to buy a much more powerful cpu and not have to go change the motherboard too, which as you know means further costs plus having to reinstall everything...Also the 939 runs much cooler. Here in Greece I haven't seen my overclocked A64 do more than 30C in idle with the stock, low noise cooler which I believe is a miracle in itself...Now, if I hadn't bought that 6600GT in AGP flavour a couple of months before upgrading the m/b and cpu I would have definately gone the NForce4 way...This chipset should be in the dictionary next to the words "future proof"...Just like Intel cpus should be next to the phrase "don't even think about possible upgrades, your chipset will be superseeded in a couple of hours".My old K7S5A took me from a humble Duron 800 and a Savage video card to an AthlonXP 2400+ with a 6600GT.Kind regards,

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Guest Coneman

Thanks for the help guys. It's much appreciated :) I think I might stretch the budget a bit and go for the AMD 64 3000+ Newcastle and an ASUS K8N nForce3 board. I'm just not the type to be upgrading every year and I think this might last a while. And I really can't afford to replace my vcard right now too. So does that sound like a good matchup?I think I just need to make sure the board will work with the Crucial unbuffered, non-ECC ram. (Edit: just found out it does)Thanks again,Todd

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Guest vas_yan

@Todd: Welcome to the era of 64bit computing! Your setup seem fine. If you need any advice on overclocking the thing just let me know. Most people with 3000+ do at least 2200Mhz with minor fiddling. I know I won't need more than I have now for the current version of FS. The only place were my frames fell to the point of being unflyable was EHAM by NL2000. Hmmm, maybe Polderbahn is landable but not much else...Everything else just flows past my monitor.By the way...you have a very nice site! You must be one of the very few people stateside who think of the airbus cockpit as an object of art (tongue firmly in cheek)...Regards,

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Guest baksteen33

@ Todd, indeed, welcome to the club. I'm sure you'll love it. I also think you're making a very wise choice by adding a little bit more to the budget. The socket A would have been ok where you were coming from, but the raw power of AMD64s is awesome and such an upgrade will totally merit the word 'upgrade'. As time goes by, you might want to upgrade your RAM to PC3200 and perhaps 1GB? Are you going for the 754 or 939? AIM, you can get nForce3 boards for both platforms (what I didn't mention; at similar prices). I.e. Gigabyte and Epox also seem to be good choices. The only components I've 'lost' in the past were MSIs, so it's definitely personal if I recommend those other brands without mentioning MSI. @ Vassilis, AFAIK it's still uncertain, whether AMD's dual-cores will run on current nF4 boards. I realize it's been promised, but we're still about six months short from seeing them arrive. As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't consider any current platform future-proof really. Next year AMD will switch to DDR2 too and there we go again. I've also been contemplating to upgrade my 9800pro but have decided to wait and see what happens. Of course, if I win in the lottery, I might still go ahead and get a X800pro or 6800GT. Unfortunately, the odds of winning the lottery are apparently 6x smaller than to be struck by lightning! Hehe Regarding the temps, I'm hearing you! And I'm equally stunned that my Clawhammer hardly ever exceeds 35

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Guest Coneman

Well Gents, you both have been a tremendous help in this dilema. Thanks once again for taking the time to help a tech-challenged simmer! :) I'm learning though. And thanks for the welcome to 64bit! I'm sure this will be a better choice than the original. Can't wait to see how this is going to run.@VassilisThanks for your offer of overclocking help. I think I'll see how fast this thing is before I dive in. But if it's not too difficult and won't wear out the cpu quicker I might be game. And thanks for checking out the website, I'm glad you liked it. And you're right, I really can't say I'd put the Airbus cockpit in the art object category. That started as a 2D panel for FS. But it got sidelined as I grew more fond of VC's.@JaapIt's funny, Newegg screwed up on an order (great service though) so I got the 64 for about the same price as my first option. I guess it was meant to be. And I did go with the 754. Maybe that was a mistake, but like I said I don't plan another upgrade for quite a while, unless it's better RAM. It does sound like the ASUS has pretty good install instructions so I think I will give it a shot. I just plan to do lots of reading first ;-)Thanks again to both of you for steering this dumb Yank in the right direction :) This has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had at Avsim.Todd

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Guest baksteen33

Hi Todd, I believe you you made a great choice and the difference between the two AMD64 sockets should be marginal - so no mistake and specially taking the budget into consideration. It was a pleasure to add to thoughts and you're very welcome. And thanks for your kind words. The only real benefit of a 939 would have been lower costs to crossgrade to another 939 solution. Anyway, whenever you upgrade your RAM, just make sure you buy 2 sticks, even if you're only using a single channel mainboard. 2x512MB PC3200 should give you another 5-10% performance in FS (pls note: not because of the amount. The amount 'only' helps to avoid paging data onto the HD)**. On top of this, you should be able to see another 5-10% increase by adding a seperate soundcard (if you don't have one already). Case you run into questions, nforcersHQ.com or abitUSA's forums are great sources for answers. Allow me to mention the main difference between the AMD64 and other CPU solutions: The novelty with AMD64s, is their ability to directly control the RAM. With other CPUs this is done by the mainboard's chipset. The result is shorter latencies and the only 'drawback' is, that RAM has to be CPU- and no longer has to be mainboard compatible. Finally, when you assemble your new combo, perhaps consider removing the thermal pad on the CPU-cooler and replacing it with paste (and pls be careful, only apply a wee bit of it in case). This should lead to the CPU running ca. 5

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Guest vas_yan

Hey guys, this was indeed a great thread. I am compelled to add that a 939 is the only one of the two which can run its memory in dual channel mode (even though it took me a week to find which two of the four dimm slots are the right ones...). If it's worth it or not I honestly can't say. The tip about the thermal grease is very valid. I cleaned the base of the cooler and applied some Arctic Silver ceramique, which I strongly suggest. They say it's better than others plus its not conductive so that's one less risk to think of in view of my marginaly efficient technical skills. Anyway that 10% performance jump sounds like a good deal. Perhaps I should take the trouble and remove my audigy from my old system and put it in the new one.Also, Jaap, it used to be that only single sided DIMMS would work correctly in dual channel mode, but i thought that this was fixed some time ago. At least on my set-up double sided DIMMS work ok. Are you sure about the single sided modules problem, or was it the other way round?Edit: Todd's post reminded me of an old story...I ordered my first DDR back in 2001 form ebuyer.com. When it arrived I found two modules inside. An 128mb module which was the only one that I had ordered and a 512mb one, oblviously there by mistake. I think that I had the biggest amount of RAM in the campus (I was a postgraduate student at the time)...Kind regards,

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Guest baksteen33

Hi Vassilis, I'm sure you're aware there's a lot of misconception about RAM. That's why I just added a general guideline and didn't include further information. But since you're asking... Hehe To give you a practicle example, homebuilders with 2 single-sided (SS) 256MB PC3200 modules on dual-channel Intel i875/865 chipsets, will only be using half of their FSB's potential. The way out of this is to explicitly specify two double-sided (DS) 256MB modules. As you certainly know, single- and double-sided modules are -simply put- equals of the so called RAM-banks, a chipset (our nowadays even CPUs!) can address. Many modern chipsets would ideally like to address 4 banks in total, aka 2 DS-modules per 2 RAM-slots. Parallely, some boards/chipsets would ideally only use 2 banks per RAM-channel (i.e. the nForce2) for a total of 4 banks. Others will 'digest' more (i.e. i875/865s w/ max four banks per channel for a total of 8). If the banking isn't correct, the FSB speed can be cut in half. Single RAM channel chipsets like Intel's i845 or single RAM channel CPUs like AMD's 754-er will also flawlessly address upto 4 banks in total. However, as soon as this number is exceeded, the 2 last mentioned systems will either not boot (i845) or clock the RAM modules to lower ratings (754 CPUs). A further limit is the max RAM amount specified by the mainboard manufacturers. Another consideration are benchmarking programs and normal applications. Normal apps will function marginally less well if powered by a single RAM-channel system, where benchmarks will show almost dramatic differences compared to dual channel systems. Therefore and all in all, the easiest guideline is to stick with 2 DS RAM modules and leave it there. Most if not all 256MB PC2100/PC2700 modules are DS and it's only the SS PC3200 ones which homebuilders should worry about. Professionals like Dell will have equipped their 2x256MB PC3200 systems with DS-modules right from scratch. Amateurs like myself will maybe learn such details from practicle experience and some reading..? Hehe I'm aware this is complicated stuff, but I nevertheless hope I was able to answer your question. Regarding your soundcard, yes, if you have an Audigy in your other system, it's definitely worth a try. The difference should be the CPU-offload plus a few % for the Audigy and thus maybe anywhere from 1-2fps @ 20fps. Even though it depends a little bit too on the mainboard you use. In case, please report back your results? Cheers, good luck and kind regards Jaap PS, first Todd and now you with a supplier's error in your favour! Why does that never happen to me?!? Hehe

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