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Building New Computer for FS?

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Hi All,I know this is a very open post but would like some help from experts. I currently have an p-4 2.4 northwood@400 on an asus p4t-e motherboard with 1 gb of pc-800 rdram. I have an ge-force ti 4600.I want to build a system with the p-4 3.06 cpu with the 533 fsb and want to upgrade video card to an ati 9800 or possibly an nvidia card that is 8x agp. I need to know what type of ram to use and what motherboard to get that will get best performance for FS. Also whether to go with 512 or 1 gb of ram. I know about dual channel ram -granite bay but don't really understand it. Any help would be appreciated. Thank-You in advance.

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Stewart, Thats quite a machine you got lined up there!. But to answer your questions Lets take a look. Right now RDRAM is still the fastest platform to use w P4's. Dual Channel DDR hasn definitely closed the gap and in some instances can outperform RAMBUS but as a whole RB holds the performance edge. The Granite bay chipset you speak of is a dual Channel DDR Workstation board. Dual DDR, to keep it as simple as possible works like a parrallel connection. Both sticks of Ram can function at the same time theoretically doubling the effective bandwidth. In reality it works. A lot of people speak of the price difference between DDR and RB but in all honesty w the popularity of Dual DDR lately RB has become just as "Cheap" and alternative. Your choices for memory are a lot slimmer when it comes to RB. The only thing you want to make sure is that the RAMBUS (RB) you use utilizes 32ns Samsung chips. ATI or Nvidia?. Personally there is no point in asking that question right now. The ball was dropped, ATI snatched it up and Nvidia is still trying to get it back. The question of 9700 or 9800 is a little harder to answer.Yes the 9800 is faster but in my opinion unless you own a GeForce brand card the performance difference is not worth the extra $150 Dollars you are going to spend over a 9700 Pro. If you stick with the RB platform your motherboard choices are very limited. Personally I would go with the ASUS P4T533-C. Not becuase I own one but because it is VERY fast and VERY stable. If your partial to INTEL and want the ultimate in stability than go the D850EMV2 Route. A great board with Intel reliability. As far as CPU choice if your looking at the 3.06 for speed why not a 2.8 running on a 150 Mhz bus. Higher clock speed for around $300 less. This is around 3.1 Ghz stable w air cooling for a savings. Yes you don't get the hyperthreading feature but unless the application is written to utilize it there is no real performance increase. As far as the 4X vs 8X AGP. In testing it has been shown that 8X AGP can actually slow benchmarks down. Right now the demand on the AGP bus isn't being filled by todays games and apps. Yes doom III may come close but right now the AGP bus is still plenty wide enough for todays games, CPU's and Video Cards. Your setup will scream no doubt about it and money doesnt seem to be a concern so I would say go with this...Yours: 3.06 P4 1024 Megs PC1066 P4T533-C Radeon 9800 Pro If I was spending the cash.....My Choice: 2.8 P4 @ 150 FSB (3.1 Ghz) 1024 Megs PC1066 P4T533-C 9700 Pro The savings is around 450-600 dollars and you wouldnt be able to see a speed difference. A benchmark may show it but your eyes and brain woun't know the difference. But your wallet will. BobbyP.S. Hopefully some of the AMD guys will chime in. I have heard some really good things about the 2800+(If you can find one) and the new Barton XP3000+.

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"P.S. Hopefully some of the AMD guys will chime in. I have heard some really good things about the 2800+(If you can find one) and the new Barton XP3000+."Sure, why not? ;) I would concur with your suggestion on the AMD side, except that I would recommend getting a 2500+ Barton core and overclocking the poo out of it! Everyone who's gotten one of these CPUs and overclocked it has been able to get well beyond 3000+ speeds and 2.4GHz (or higher) with air cooling is a reality. Let me just say that 2.4GHz with an FSB of 166MHz or higher out of an AMD chip will *KILL* any competitive Intel chip in *ANY* benchmark (that isn't complete b.s. coughBapcocoughSysmarkcough). Of course, that's not to say that you can't o/c an Intel chip, quite the contrary, you can do the same thing with a lower speed grade P4 (say 2.4/2.53GHz). 2.8-3.2GHz should be relatively easy, provided you're willing to put up with the noise of a loud CPU fan and some voltage higher than stock. The same thing applies for most any o/c'd AMD system too. Let me give you my system for example. I purchased an Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB stick PC2700 DDR RAM, GF4 Ti 4200 128MB (it's no Radeon 9800 Pro but it's still pretty quick), MSI KT3 Ultra 2 mobo, Hercules Fortissimo III sound card, PCI NIC, 16x DVD, case & PSU, keyboard, mouse, floppy all for *UNDER* $1000 @ retail prices and I o/c'd my CPU from the stock 2.0GHz to 2.27GHz on a 151MHz FSB w/maximum RAM settings and let me just say that this thing screams! I haven't even changed out the stock CPU fan yet so this thing's actually pretty quiet too. My system could be pushed a lot farther too, if it weren't for my monitor. Yes, believe it or not my cheapo MAG monitor can't receive a video signal at anything higher than 151MHz FSB (I've used at least 4 different video cards on 3 different mobos with 2 different CPUs and 2 different sticks of PC2700 DDR RAM and was never able to get past 151MHz FSB, despite changing all components except for the monitor). The only thing I need to make FS perfectly happy with all sliders maxed & AA & AF (which I use now anyway) is a Radeon 9700 Pro or better. So, in other words, if I hadn't been so cheap and instead bought the Radeon which I wanted anyway there would be no need for me to upgrade this system for FS for quite some time. I think I'll be purchasing an LCD monitor some time in the near future and see if I can push this thing any further ;) Anyway, XP 3000+ performance for under $1000 total system cost (paying retail prices no less) without having to do any system modification whatsoever is pretty darn good in my book.hope this helps,Max Cowgill

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It took me forever to get this guy off the ground, but the results IMHO have been great. In a few words: fast in all areas, super stable, highly overclocking tolerant (which IMO is a decent marker of overall reliability). It took me some time to get the dang GB board in, but alas it's been together for about 2 weeks and I have zero problems with it. I have not tried to find out what the o'clocking ceiling is on this guy as I'm gently breaking it in. The is telling: 2.53 to 3.04GHz with vCore of +0.05v over default which is great. I think the ASUS P4G8X Deluxe is a super board, and the Crucial PC2700 seems to go well with it. Good luck finding this board though!I am using stock Intel HSF on this P4 2.53GHz. My case and ventilation strategy is superior to most, and so I attribute some of this early overclocking success to this as well.With this rig, I am running FS2002 with the following locked at 22 FPS at 1600 x 1200 x 32 w/ 16x AF, 2xAA. All sliders, lights, reflections, clouds, aircraft textures, etc maxed to 100% with the two exceptions of ground shadows and terrain distance detail (or whatever it is!) I have at 80%. I am running aircraft as complex as the Dassault Falcon 50 Full and PSS Dash 8 in twilight conditions, with 75m terrain, high detail trees, land class updates, real edge clouds, .cfg tweaks to max out crispness, ActiveSky, Flight Deck Companion, and FSFlightMax with total fluidity. I have noticed a rare drop to 18 fps, but 99% of the time time it stays at 22. What is cool is how responsive FSFlightMax is. Image quality is superb, and now the dang things actually fly and land well! My old rig was pretty steady for how much less a machine it was and I always thought there was something wrong with my landing technique: now I land these suckers smoothly all the time, which I attribute to just total smooth operation.You can see the Granite Bay board's memory perf is certainly highly comparable to PC1066 RDRAM.Noel

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I am also going to upgrade my computer in one month. Any comments on what I am planning to get would be appreciated.ATI RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB AGP DDR (Retail) $327.58 INTEL PENTIUM 4 2.4B GHZ W/512K CACHE $201.33ASUS P4PE/R/Gb L/F/SATA INTEL 845PE CHIPSET $147.34 WD 120GB WD1200JB EIDE W/8MB BUFFER $143.00 SKY HAWK PSR-4609 (JUPITER) ALUMINUM $68.50 ANTEC TRUE430 430W (PENTIUM 4 READY) $78.00CORSAIR CMX512-2700C2 512MB CAS2 DDR DIMM $155.52 SONY DUAL DVD+RW/+R DVD-RW/-R 4.7GB 24X/10X/32X-CDRW DRU500AX EIDE INTERNAL $349.00 COMBO ________ $1470.35 Shipping $55.00 Total $1525.35Thanks for any comments. I want to get this right.

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Charlie that looks great. The ASUS P4PE is a super board from what I read.Noel

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Noel, That Sisoft you posted was that your machine?. One question I have is that if it was why did you do a comparison of 512 Megs of PC1066 VS 1 gig of Dual channel DDR. Wouldnt an apples to apples comparison been better. This is in no way meant as a flame but that is the first time I have seen Dual DDR outpace PC1066. Also, was that Sisoft run at your sig of 3+ Gig?. That may help explain the numbers you speak of. I'm really curious. I was contemplating a switch to Dual DDR but nothing I have ever seen yet shows it outpacing Rambus enough to make it seem worthwhile.Thanks Bobby

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Bobby, I don't believe that was an option in Sandra. Their was only one entry for PC1066, and it doesn't mention how big the RDRAM modules were anyhow. I think the "512" you saw refers to the Level 2 cache in the P4-B chip anyway. I think memory bandwidth per se will not change a whole lot with 512 v 1GB anyway.Yes, the benchmarks were at 3.04GHz or 3.0 GHz I can't remember. This is exactly why the benchmarks of memory bandwidth are well ahead of the PC1066. But, as you may know, the GB systems, esp the ASUS and Gigabyte, are overclocking well and so therefore you can reasonably expect to get this kind of bandwidth secondary to a higher FSB. In general, low latencies with DDR v RDRAM and the stability of the GB chipset makes for an overclocking tolerant system with good memory bandwidth. When you say you are contemplating a "switch" to Dual DDR I have to assume you mean switching your plans to Dual DDR, since there couldn't be too much reason to switch from RDRAM as they are so comparable, even if the Dual DDR outpaces the RDRAM solution (even if only when the FSB can be ramped up).

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Before you go and spend a lot of money.. I hope you do not have too high expectations for the performance gain you are likely to get..You've got a very good FS system already and until 4+Gig processors come out, you are not going to see much if any improvement..

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Elrond and Noel, Thanks for clearing that up guys. I'm happy right now but from what you guys say and what I have been reading around the web I may have to look into the Dual DDR route. Bobby

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Sheesh man! Don't turn in that great system you have for Dual DDR! No point! Now if you were doing a serious upgrade then maybe, but sheesh your system is highly comparable! Noel

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Indeed, don't upgrade from RDRAM to DDR if that is the only reason for the upgrade. RDRAM is in no way a slow performer - its still very competitive right at the top.I only stated to bypass RDRAM for those purchasing a new system or those wanting the latest motherboard features (where RDRAM won't be available soon). Your system looks great as it is right now.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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You would not get much of a performance improvement upgrading to 3 ghz P4, at least not worth the $600. Hold on to that P4 of yours for now. For the video card, I don't know if you should upgrade it to an ATI 9800. I'm planning on buying the ATI 9800 when it comes out so that I can have much better performance with 4x FSAA and 8x AF. If you want to use FSAA and AF with good performance then it would probably be worth getting the ATI 9800 but if you don't want to use FSAA and AF then stick with your video card because it won't make much of a difference if you don't use FSAA and AF.

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