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Thread: Building new PC




  1. #1
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    Default Building new PC

    Although I have built a PC in the past it was several years ago with a little help (or a lot depending on which one of us you ask) from a friend. I am currently considering building another PC as it seems I have become addicted to....I mean interested in PC gaming. I'm considering an AMD Athlon with an ASUS SLI equipped mother board. My question at this point has to do with the numbering conventions of the AMD Athlon processors (i.e. 3000+, 35000+, 4000+, etc). What do these numbers mean? Is it a comparison of AMD with comparable Intel procesors? If I make a decision for a processor based completely on clock speed (I know enough to know that this would be stupid), it would seem that Intel beats AMD hands down. I apologize for what may seem to be a very simple question to many of you, but I am new to the do-it-yourself PC building world. There will be more questions in the future I am sure and any insight that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Building new PC

    The model number system is, well, irrelevant. A higher number on the same kind of processor means it's more powerful. Don't try to compare it to Intel processors or to different kind of AMD processors (socket 754 Athlon 64s, Athlon XPs, etc.) Athlon 64s are more powerful than their Intel counterparts in almost everything, especially gaming, but I think you already know that an Athlon 64 is a better choice.
    To expand on not comparing the numbers to other CPUs:
    Athlon 64 3000 Newcastle (socket 754 2GHz 512KB L2 cache single-channel RAM)
    Athlon 64 3000 Clawhammer (socket 755 1.8GHz 1MB L2 cache single-channel RAM)
    Athlon 64 3000 Venice (socket 939 1.8GHz 512KB L2 acche dual-channel RAM SSE3)
    Athlon 64 3000 Winchester (socket 939 1.8GHz 512KB L2 cache dual-channel RAM
    Pentium 4 Northwood 3GHz (20KB L1 cache 512KB L2 cache No 3DNow!)
    Pentium 4 Prescott 3GHz (28KB L1 cache 1MB L2 cache SSE3 No 3DNow!)
    Athlon XP 3000 (socket 462/A 2.1GHz 512KB L2 Cache dual-channel RAM no SSE2)

    Those are in order of how well they perform in games, starting from the best. Excluding the Athlon XP, they're also about in order of overall system prices, starting from the cheapest.

    But unless your budget is prohibitive, I'd say even those model numbers are completely irrelevant. If you can, you should get a dual-core Athlon 64. They're slightly slower than their single-core counterparts in gaming, but that's assuming you don't have anything running in the background.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Building new PC

    AMD is the only real choice for a gaming rig (for any rig to be honest, but particularly gaming), but I would go with the Athlon64 processor myself. It is simply the best on the market right now.

    As for which one to get, remember that the speed rating is only the highest speed that particular processor is "guaranteed" to run stable. If you plan on overclocking your new system, you'll likely get a good deal more speed out of the processor you choose. As to the numbering convention, the numbers are not susposed to reflect a comparable Intel processor, but a comparable speed of the original Athlon design in terms of performance. So a 3000+ processor is rated to run as fast as an Athlon 3.0GHz if that line had continued on. Many folks make the assumption that it is a comparable Intel chip but this is a mistaken concept.

    With regards to the motherboard choice, are you going to be getting into a PCI-Express video system? If so then I would highly recommend the DFI series of motherboard instead of Asus. They are currently the performance kings as far as Athlon64 processors are concerned. Also make sure to get a Socket939 version of processor to give yourself a little longer lifetime on components.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Building new PC

    Thanks for the replies. They have helped me narrow things down a bit. I'll probably go with an Athlon 64 socket 939. In response to Darthtanion, yes I am definitely going with the PCI Express. It just seems more sensible since that seems to be the way technology is heading. I'm frugal, but I have to have a few bells and whistles :) In fact, I am very seriously considering going with a motherboad that can run dual GPUs. Ah, which brings another question to mind. Am I correct in saying that PCI Express x16 slots are for running GPUs and PCI Express x1 is for everything else but GPUs? Ah....the wheels are a turnin'.

    Thanks again
    OAF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Building new PC

    Yes, PCI-E 16x slots are for GPUs, and smaller slots are for other devices.

    Getting an SLI board will cost a bit more, and it wouldn't be economically wise to run it now.
    If you are definitely getting PCI-E, then you should be definitely getting a socket 939. Socket 754 isn't much of an option with PCI-E (there are just a few boards and none are the Ultra or SLI chipsets), and LGA775 isn't an option at all IMO.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Building new PC

    OK. Here we are again. The more research I do, the more questions I have. Imagine that! I have decided to go with either the AMD 64 3200+ or the AMD 3000+ series processor. I can't really see much difference between the two other than one has a clock speed of 2.2GHz and the other is 1.8GHz. I do have a question regarding DDR support on these chips. Unless I read it wrong, AMD's website stated that the AMD 64 series processors support up to 333MHz DDR RAM (PC 2700) and the AMD 64 FX series processors support faster RAM speeds. The SLI (I want to utilize PCI express) mother boards, in particular DFI and ASUS, state that they support DDR 400 (PC 3200). If this is the case then it would not make sense to use a chip on those boards which is only capable of PC 2700. Right? Of course, this is assuming I have the scoop on the whole RAM thing. Speaking of PCI express, would one GPU run at true x16? If so, why would you use 2 GPUs running at x8?

    Again, any insight would be extremely helpful.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Building new PC

    You're looking at something wrong if you think the clock speed is different by 400MHz. If you compare a socket 754 3200 to a socket 939 3000, that's correct. But a socket 939 3000 is 2.0GHz, not 2.2.

    All Athlon 64 processors will support PC3200. They'll support a lot higher, actually, but you'd have to overclock them. The only situation where they won't support PC3200 that I can think of is with older processors using fours sticks of RAM and with some laptops.

    Yes, they will both run at 8x. It makes absolutely no difference whether they run at 16x or 8x, yet.

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