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Thread: New Upgrade...Opinions wanted pls...




  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Hi all. I'm planning on upgrading my system and would appreciate some advice. I'm buying a new mobo, processor and video card. I'm mainly an internet surfer, with the majority of other uses being MP3 (playing/ripping) and DVD/DivX (encoding and playing). I'm planning to buy a cheap setup to get me through the next year or so until PCI express and the new video cards and DDR2 are out and bug free (I undertstand that they will start coming out in the next few months).

    So here's my dilemma...what's the best combination of stuff for a reasonably cheap price (lol...I know that's a lot to ask)...here's my plan so far:

    1. PROCESSOR: Trying to decide between XP2500 or Celeron 2.5. Anyone have any thoughts?

    2. MOBO: Thinking of a single channel chipset like the VIA VT800 so that I don't have to buy 2 sticks of RAM. Will I sacrifice too much speed...should I spend the extra for a dual channel board + RAM? Any thoughts on which specific board would be best?

    3. VIDEO: Thinking of an ATI Radeon 9200SE 128MB since it is inexpensive. I'm not a big gamer so this should be ok for me...I think. The Radeon 9550 is about double the cost - is it worth the money? I don't know much about the nVidia line...any thoughts?


    Any help would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    1/ Forget the Celeron as the Athlon will run rings around it.

    2/ I suggest getting the ASUS A7N8X-X which is a single channel nForce2 mainboard (you'll loose about 4-5% in benchmarks over dual channel but 10-15% in actual multi-tasking).

    3/ If that card fits your budget then it will be fine for what you do though I'd personally go for the non-SE version.

  3. #3
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    1.)The Celeron and Athlon aren't even a comparison. Try comparing the Athlon and Pentium 4.

    2.)The KT880 is dual channel, but if you're not going to make use of the 2nd channel, you're better off buying the KT600. Both the nForce 2 and KT600 will work fine.

    3.)Agreed, the 9200 would be a better buy than the 9200SE, even if it is more.

  4. #4
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    I'd have to agree with them on pretty much everything. The Athlon XP over the Celeron is a no-brainer, and the 9200SE and 9200 cost the exact same thing at most web sites despite the fact that the 9200 is much better. Get a single-channel motherboard only if you have a single stick of RAM or multiple sticks of different kinds or sizes of RAM. But if you actually have two sticks of the same size and speed, definitely get a dual-channel mobo. Nforce 2 Ultra 400 chipset would probably be best in that case. If you only go with single, then the A7N8X-X, like wayout said, would be good.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the replies so far...

    So it looks like the XP2500 is definite. I looked up some video card prices locally so you guys can tell me what you think:

    ASUS Radeon™ 9200SE/T 128MB $72
    ASUS Radeon™ 9550 128MB w/ DVI/TV-Out $105
    ASUS Radeon™ 9600SE 128MB $112
    ATI RADEON™ 9200 128MB DDR $127
    PowerColor Radeon™ 9200SE 128MB DDR $65
    PowerColor Radeon™ 9200 256MB DDR $129
    PowerColor Radeon™ 9550 256MB w/ DVI/TV-Out 8x AGP DX9 $136
    Sapphire Radeon™ 9200 128MB DDR $93

    For the MOBO, it looks like the Nforce 2 might be best (either single or dual channel depending on how much I want to spend on RAM). I'm also looking for a no-frills MOBO (preferably no sound since I have a good sound card). I would like a built in NIC (maybe a Gigabit...not sure what this is but it sounds good), and lots of USB ports if possible. Does anyone know if the ASUS that was mentioned is "no-frills" or am I being too picky?

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    for the video card get the Sapphire Radeon? 9200 128MB DDR for $93

  7. #7
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    Here's a board with 6 usb ports for $50us
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...138-216&depa=0

  8. #8
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    Most good motherboards will have built-in sound and ethernet. The mentioned one does. Just don't use the sound if your card is better. Basically...
    Quote Originally Posted by PCH
    m I being too picky?
    Yes. On-board stuff won't hurt. Sound and network are basically standard. SATA is preferable to have onboard, if you want it. So are firewire, RAID, IDE.... Get my point? Everything but video should be onboard unless you need more of something (or are crazy about having an expensive sound card).

    Get the Sapphire 9200. It's jus as good as or better than all of the listed ones (except maybe the 256MB one, not that 256MB will make much difference) and doesn't cost much more than the SE.

    That board isn't bad, although I've heard bad stuff about Biostar. But the user reviews are happy enough with it that I wouldn't worry.

    However, are you in the US? I assume not by the prices of those cards. Over here a 9200 isn't any more than an SE. Both are in the $40-$50 in range.

  9. #9
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    The ASUS A7N8X-X is a basic mainboard though it does have onboard nic and basic sound but no firewire or SATA. The ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe is the full featured version.

  10. #10
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    if you are not going to be playing any 3D games, then any PCI graphics card that fits in your budget will be fine. Hell, a Rage 128 would be more than enough, and they are dirt cheap. If I were you, I'd go for the cheapest option. That way, if you decide you want to start gaming later on, you wouldn't have spent too much money are a card you will have to replace. As for a no-frills nforce2 mobo, biostar makes a good one (can't remember the model number), and in the biostar tradition it's pretty cost-effective. Normally I would never suggest biostar, but it would seem that even they can't screw up the nforce2 chipset (it's even a decent overclocker!).

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