TechSpot

Please help me choose....

By merlin803
Dec 20, 2002
  1. I am thinking about upgrading my motherboard/processer. I currently have a FIC AD11 motherboard and 1200 MHZ Athlon Thunderbird with 384 MB of DDR 2100 RAM. What would be a good motherboard/CPU upgrade (I would like to stay with AMD and if possible get a board that can use my current RAM now but be able to upgrade RAM later).
     
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    I f I were upgrading I would definitely go with a NForce 2 chipset based board they are fast and by most accounts much more stable than Via chipsets the asus A7N8X look very nice.

    CPU's depends on how much money your willing ot spend. right now I personally wouldnt go beyond the AMD 2400 its almost 200.00 if cost is an issue I would go with the AMD 2100.
     
  3. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    If you were to buy an Intel system then it would support DDR just as well as AMD would.

    Before I go on to reccomend you a system, I need some information:

    Budget
    What you're going to be doing with it, primarily if you're a gamer

    AMD or Intel, if you have a preference, since Intel supports DDR
    Currency
    Do you have two sticks of memory or just one? (nForce2 dual-channeling)

    I can't really make any reccomendations without the above.
     
  4. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is mainly for gaming. I prefer AMD. I have 2 sticks of RAM. Budget is up to $500.
     
  5. conradguerrero

    conradguerrero TS Rookie Posts: 310

    Try motherboards.org
    the ASUS A7V333 mobo with the via KT333 chipset has the highest rating for amd supported mobo's. As low as $109.95 you can even use your existing athlon processor.

    :D
     
  6. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Well, I'd recommend the A7N8X, as from what I've read of specs and test/user experiences, it's very good...

    And it too supports your current CPU...

    Personally I've got the A7V8X, and are very happy... Only problem with it, is that it only got one IDE controller for the RAID... (I have to use SATA if I want to create a proper RAID :()

    Both cards have got nice onboard sound (with the A7N8x being the best of the two).

    .02$
     
  7. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    A 2000+/A7N8X is a good cheap upgrade right now ( not so cheap on the MB side though ).

    The good thing about nForce2 boards is that they allready support the upcoming 200FSB for the Barton core.
     
  8. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Is there any good websites that a newbie could go to for step by step computer building instructions? (just in case...).

    I really want a new case too..... so, this is turning into more of a "building a computer" than an upgrade. The bad thing is that I bought Windows XP for my current PC a few months ago and I guess that I would not be able to use it on a new built PC.
     
  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You have already found that webpage :D

    There's this thread..

    If you have any questions, just ask!

    It's about time somebody posted a nice step-by-step guide.
     
  10. conradguerrero

    conradguerrero TS Rookie Posts: 310

    Oh yeah, that mobo uses the newer via kt400 chipset and AGP 3.0 compliant! find it's review here.

    :D
     
  11. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    I have the A7V8x as well. I love it!

    The A7N8x would probably be your best choice. I'm probably the biggest fan of buying a kickass system board, as it is the primary building block for your entire computer. Even at the sacrifice of processor speed, i.e. I had the choice of going with an A7V333 w/ a 2200+ or an A7V8x w/ a 2100+...this was when their price difference was alot more...And I am not regretful of my decision.

    As you have 2 sticks of RAM, you can take advantage of the nForce 2's Dual Channel DDR system... you can learn more about that in a few of the threads here.

    As for VIA, I'd reccomend waiting for the KT400a before you get a VIA chipset.

    Since your budget it $500 ( :eek: ) I would reccomend this:

    Prices from www.pricewatch.com

    Athlon XP 2700+ (333 FSB) - $328
    A7N8x - $115
    Total - $443 w/ shipping...

    That's if you decide to keep your current RAM. Which would not do that combo justice...

    Athlon XP 2400+ - $160 You know what sucks? There's a price difference of $116 from the 2400+ to the 2600+ :eek:
    A7N8x Deluxe (Decked Out!) - $140
    2x 256MB Either Micron or Samsung DDR400 - $140

    That leaves you $60...w/ shipping :)

    I would highly reccomend this 2nd choice!

    Good deal eh? :cool:
     
  12. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    IMO PC2700 would be much better, not to mention cheaper.

    It's better to run the nForce 2 in Sync mode so if you decide to go with the 2400+, you won't need anything faster then PC2100 ( unless you wish to overclock ).

    You might as well get PC2700 now, in case you wish to upgrade to a 166FSB AthlonXP later on.

    By the time the 200FSB Athlons are out, PC3200 will prolly be dirt cheap.
     
  13. Greeno

    Greeno TS Rookie Posts: 281

    Is your copy of XP Retail ? I assume it must be, because you are allowed so many hardware changes b4 your machines deemed 'New' aren't you ? so moving it shouldn't be too much of a problem ? :p

    maybe someone can clarify that.
     
  14. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes Greeno, my Windows XP is retail but it only allows a certain amount of hardware changes and I have already done a few. Besides, a new motherboard, RAM and CPU would probably be considered by Microsoft to be a whole new PC and it looks like they only allow XP to be installed on one PC...maybe someone knows a little more about how this works?


    "It's better to run the nForce 2 in Sync mode so if you decide to go with the 2400+, you won't need anything faster then PC2100 ( unless you wish to overclock )."

    So, if I wanted to upgrade my RAM later on then I could just get the Athlon XP 2400 & A7N8x Deluxe (I don't plan on overclocking) then I could just use the RAM I have for now?
     
  15. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Merry Christmas everyone!
    To upgrade my current rig it looks like it is going to cost me about $500. I was thinking that it may be better to sell my PC and then just add an extra$500-$600 to that and buy a new one.

    Does this look like a pretty good deal?

    Cyberpower:
    AMD certified 350 watt case
    2100 XP Athlon
    Asus A7N8X motherboard
    512 MB PC2700 DDR
    Western Digital 80GB "special edition" ATA100 HD w/8 MB cache
    GeForce 4 TI4200 128MB 8X w/TV out & DVI
    40x12x48 CD-RW
    ViewSonic 19" .22MM monitor
    Windows XP

    $1165
     
  16. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Read my review of the WD Special Edition drives here. :D

    Try to get a faster processor if you can afford it. Like the 2400+. Otherwise, that system looks great! I think you'll love it.

    An interesting read on power supplies is here, if you're of the mind.
     
  17. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Geez, I am even driving myself crazy with all of the options and questions that I have....sorry guys...

    I am having second thoughts about selling my current PC and buying a new system (my wife thinks that I should just upgrade and then use my old parts to upgrade my daughter's PC...).

    If I just wanted to upgrade some pieces now (keeping in mind upgrade options for the future), would it pay to get the Asus A7N8X motherboard now, a Western Digital 80GB "special edition" ATA100 HD w/8 MB cache and a Raedon 9500 PRO?

    Could I even use my current CPU and ram with the Asus MB?
    I am trying to figure out the best upgrade options for between $300-$500 (keep in mind that around $100 of that will be for a new case).
     
  18. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    sounds like a pretty good upgrade and yes your current CPU and ram will work.
     
  19. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    I'd say that is the smarter move, as it'll make both you and your daughter happy...'

    I'd say that's a good combo for an upgrade...
    You'll be getting better eyecandy with the 9500pro and DX9 compliance, you'll get a bit faster access and more space with the hdd, and you'll get one of the best mobo's on the market... :)

    .02$
     
  20. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I think I have decided. Please let me know if I missed anything or if I am making any mistakes with these :

    CD/DVD Burners (RW Drives)
    ►Hot Item! Lite On 48x24x48 CDRW Model LTR-48246SBlack (Comes with Software, Manual and Audio cable.) more info>
    N82E16827106189 $66.99
    $66.99

    Floppy Drives
    SONY 1.44MB 3.5 INCH INTERNAL FDD DRIVE - OEM-BLACK
    $18.00

    Hard Drives
    ►Hot Item! WD WESTERN DIGITAL "SPECIAL EDITION" 80GB 7200RPM EIDE HARD DRIVE MODEL # WD800JB - OEM, DRIVE ONLY
    $109.00

    Memory (System Memory)
    CORSAIR MEMORY XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series 256MB 64MX64 PC-2700C2PT With Platinum - Silver Heat Spreader OEM
    Specifications:
    Speed 333 MHz
    Organization 32M x 64
    CAS Latency 2-3-3-6-T1
    Memory type DDR
    Part number: CMX256A-2700C2PT more info>
    N82E16820145410 $99.00
    $198.00


    Motherboards - AMD
    Asus Motherboard for AMD Athlon/XP/Duron Processors, Model# A7N8X Deluxe Retail
    $153.00

    Processors
    ►Hot Item! AMD Athlon XP 2000+/266 FSB Processor CPU - 2000+/ 1.67GHz -Retail Box
    BOX2000DMT3C. 3 Years Warranty. The AMD Athlon XP processor with QuantiSpeed architecture powers the next generation in computing platforms, delivering extra performance for cutting-edge applications and an extra-ordinary computing experience.world's highest overall performing PC processor.
    Specifications:
    CPU: 1.67 GHz
    Type: 2000 XP
    Cache: 256K
    BUS: 266MHz
    Socket A (PGA)
    Retail (Box with Heatsink and Fan) more info>
    N82E16819103327 $92.00
    $92.00

    Video Cards
    POWERCOLOR RADEON 9500 PRO 128MB DDR DVI/TV/CRT RETAIL
    Specifications:
    Chipset:Radeon 9500 Pro
    Memory:128MB DDR Ram
    Bus: AGP 8X
    Supports resolutions (32-bit color) up to 2048x1536
    8 parallel rendering pipelines process up to 2.6 billion pixels/second
    8.8 GB/sec bandwidth
    2.2 billion pixels per second.
    Ports:
    Retail Box (see pictures for details) more info>
    N82E16814131202 $189.00
    $189.00

    Grand Total » $ 829.99

    I will also pick up a case locally for around $100....
     
  21. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Sounds great :)

    You should see a nice speed increase in most situations :)
     
  22. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent case (black) w/power supply for around $70-$80 shipped?
     
  23. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    That seems a bit expensive for a floppy drive. Where are you ordering from?

    That memory may be overkill; it's targeted at overclockers and such...but it is fantastic memory. You could just probably get more with that amount of money.

    For a case, I'd reccomend an Antec model. They make great cases and also some of the best power supplies on the market.

    And I got my Athlon XP 2100+ for a little less than your 2000+...take a look on pricewatch.

    Other than that, great upgrade, and enjoy! :D
     
  24. merlin803

    merlin803 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I agree about the floppy price, I actually decided not to get it and also I did get better prices for everything at Googlegear. Also, I replaced the ATI 9500 with a 9700!
     
  25. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Non-Pro I presume. You can get one for like $232 if you look on pricewatch. Good choice :D
     
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