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  1. #1
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    Question Torn Between A64 and XP-M

    Let me preface this by saying that I've gone back on the last few weeks of relevent discussion between the various pros and cons of going with one system vs. the other, and have reached an impasse in trying to decide what to do.

    I know that deception is an advocate of going A64 939 at this point, with the NForce4's emerging on the horizon, and the obvious advantages in gaming and future-proofness. I want to give a shout out to you for your input to this forum- it's greatly appreciated, as well as the rest of the regulars that offer tremendous knoweldge. I admit that I've got some very basic questions that I'd like to throw out around trying to minimize the pricing associated with such a system. I'm a canadian, and am cursed with the inaccessibility of newegg...even though I know that places like excaliber will ship here, and do carry specific steppings of XP-Ms.

    I don't want a 754 system at this point, but don't know if I can bridge the cost gap between the XP and the 939's. My rationale is that I might be better served, being that I'm not as hardcore a gamer as I'm sure most of you are, in going with a XP-M system that's still relevent and fast, but suited more towards the value end of the spectrum, and then just completely replacing the system three years from now.

    Basically, the idea I'm having is that it would seem more logical to spend $800 canadian on a bang-for-the-buck system every three years (yeah, sadly that's my computer budget) than trying to upgrade on rapidly-out-date platforms. This is my concern around the idea of going with an NForce3, knowing that PCI-e and DDR2, etc will make that almost moot. Is my logic incorrect here?

    As opposed to going with a $1500 system that would be smokin for a longer period of time, but with the rapid nature of the turnover in technology, would end up being a mediocre value over the long term.

    I would fall into that classic split, of someone who is dreaming of being able to swing a 3200 A64 with TCCD Ram and an MSI board, or something similar...vs. the trusty 2600-M with BH-5 on an NF7-S or something. It's a seriously tough call. I had almost convinced myself to go with the A64, but then when I try to make it fit my budget, it just doesn't work. I need everything, and once you factor in the Fortron 530, case, 6600, display, etc...it because implausible. I'm looking 300 US for a 3000 and MB, plus 200 for TCCD Ram, vs. 175 for a select stepping 2600 and MB.

    A couple of more specific questions. Can I use less expensive Ram with the XP-M option? Would a 9800pro be the best bet as a vid card in the value range system? What about picking up a used 21" IBM monitor with crap .25 dot pitch or something as a display solution?

    And finally....am I seriously missing out with the classified's section that you can only access with 100 posts? Because I would imagine there are a lot of people right now with pretty killer systems (by my standards) that would be starting to consider unloading them for Winchester based systems....

    Any help is much appreciated...

  2. #2
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    A64s are great, if you can afford them. A nicely overclocked AXP-M won't be a total slouch though.

    My suggestion;
    Get a decent Case, hard drive, RAM, optical drives, and powersupply. Thus you can carry these over to your next rig, leaving room to upgrade your CPU, MOBO (A64 next time) and videocard. For a monitor check out Futureshop or staples. You can usually get a good deal on a 17" or 19" CRT.

    Get a 2600XP-M a good mobo (DFI or NF7-S) and spend the rest of your budget on the best videocard your can afford.

  3. #3
    Member OC Detective's Avatar
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    Firstly welcome to the forums! OK as you appear to be on a budget and feel you cannot afford to build a decent 939 system, firstly are you 100% sure - I dont know the exchange rate for CDN$ but I await someone to put together a system for you at that price lol. Anyway if it really is outside your price range and for whatever reason unwilling to go own the 754 route then the XP-M will still provide usability for your needs if you dont game heavily.
    As you rightly point out you should then build a system that is in balance with your cpu - eg PC3500 value RAM, 9800Pro etc. Perhaps you could tell us exactly what you are going to be using the pc for - if it is mostly browsing and overclocking fun then sure go the XP-M route - you are already aware that the technology is becoming/already is outdated but if it doesnt bother you then go ahead!

  4. #4
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    I like that logic...is SATA exclusive to the A64's, from a practical standpoint? I guess I could try to put more investment into the secondary pieces, with the ideal that you stated of trying to set myself up for a reasonable cross over when I am ready to upgrade memory/cpu/MB. It's a little counterintuitive, in the sense that it goes against ones grain to want to emphasize those components over the core of your system...but it makes some sense.

    One of the tangent issues I'm experiencing is whether it's better to basically scrap ones system every three years or so, vs. the concept of continually upgrading. It's a mixed bag trying to do the continual route, with peripheral components becoming obsolete, or bottlenecks very quickly, and ending up with little practical value from generation to generation. That's my subjective take on the broad pattern, and I could be off-base. It's almost a question about the best value-pattern of upgrading/replacing, rather than the specific question about what's a better option between the A64 vs. XP-M systems...

    Then I look at the fact that, hey- if you're going to invest $200 in a computer/MB combo...why not do $300, because the point is that you're going to invest in a CPU/MB....so why not ante up for the full deal, if that's the relative best value? It's tough, because of you just use that rationale, you can be $500 over your price point easily...and yet when you're talking about one or two components, and the difference between them from a cost standpoint...it seems much more 'grey' as a decision.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses guys...

    OC Detective- I'd love to be able to do some gaming...and that's what has me hesitant about not taking advantage of the on-die memory controller that the A64 affords. I'm not so much against the notion of avoiding the 754's, it's just that to me, it strikes me as a type of half-solution...where if I'm going to jump in, I'd be better served to go full-boat, and just pony up for a 939. What's your thought on that? Also the dual channel would be nice...but alas.

    I would put my usage as mostly surfing/browsing, with a 30% chunk for gaming by percentages...on average. My overclocking skills are not exemplary, but I have some experience, and a lot of interest- as well as the knowledge that this is as good of a resource as I could hope for once I'm in business.

    I am trying to stay within 800 bucks as a budget...but what I have working against me is that I'm in need of basically everything...display included, and I'm weary that once I start factoring in the incidental costs that I'm going to be in trouble if I don't give myself any headroom, and decide on the 939. I'm definitely open to suggestions on any front, and am in no way rigid in trying to follow the logic if someone can make a reasonable case for a 64 bit system.

    I'm not psyched about having to work with the 9x multiplier on the 3000...especially considering my experience level is below the good folks here, and I wouldn't mind having a bit more room for error. I guess I could also entertain the idea of waiting for a while, and seeing whether the e-revisions offer me a more compelling reason to go in that direction....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by roy_jones
    I like that logic...is SATA exclusive to the A64's, from a practical standpoint? I guess I could try to put more investment into the secondary pieces, with the ideal that you stated of trying to set myself up for a reasonable cross over when I am ready to upgrade memory/cpu/MB. It's a little counterintuitive, in the sense that it goes against ones grain to want to emphasize those components over the core of your system...but it makes some sense.
    SATA will work with A-XPs or Intels.

    Its a long term planning. But my Athlon XP @ 2.2 Ghz with a ATI 9500np plays Doom3 and HL2 without any problems.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9mmCensor
    A64s are great, if you can afford them. A nicely overclocked AXP-M won't be a total slouch though.

    My suggestion;
    Get a decent Case, hard drive, RAM, optical drives, and powersupply. Thus you can carry these over to your next rig, leaving room to upgrade your CPU, MOBO (A64 next time) and videocard. For a monitor check out Futureshop or staples. You can usually get a good deal on a 17" or 19" CRT.

    Get a 2600XP-M a good mobo (DFI or NF7-S) and spend the rest of your budget on the best videocard your can afford.
    this is my dilemma also. i have a pretty fast pc (see sig) do you think its actually worth it for me to go A64 3200+ along with a MSI neo8 ? as it is i can run games like HL2 an average 100 fps, 4xAA 16xAF. the million dollar question. is it worth it ......
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  8. #8
    Member <<Spider>>'s Avatar
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    Burnt_Ram, I'm in the same boat as you. Hahaha.

    Like me, I think my system is good enough and would not be worth going to A64 unless you go NF4. NF4 has the SATA2, HT 2000 and PCI-Express. I don't care too much about the SLI option, so I'm going with the Ultra will give you all the new tech without the extra $100 for the SLI. The biggest difference being the 3 G/sec SATA (when they make those HDs) and the HT2000. I'm waiting for the DFI NF4 Ultra D mobo.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by <<Spider>>
    Burnt_Ram, I'm in the same boat as you. Hahaha.

    Like me, I think my system is good enough and would not be worth going to A64 unless you go NF4. NF4 has the SATA2, HT 2000 and PCI-Express. I don't care too much about the SLI option, so I'm going with the Ultra will give you all the new tech without the extra $100 for the SLI. The biggest difference being the 3 G/sec SATA (when they make those HDs) and the HT2000. I'm waiting for the DFI NF4 Ultra D mobo.
    i dont think i can go NF4 i need AGP, and i cant get a NF4 AGP 8x can i ?? dont think they're gunna make them .. so now, Via or NF3 ? (my head hurts)
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  10. #10
    Member gvblake22's Avatar
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    nForce4 will only be available with PCI-Express. Between VIA and NF3, I think either is a good choice. And if you have to stick with AGP, I don't think it would be quite worth your while to upgrade right now, might as well wait till you can afford a PCI-Express solution and by then the latest revisions of AMD's chips will be out and you'll be all set
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvblake22
    nForce4 will only be available with PCI-Express. Between VIA and NF3, I think either is a good choice. And if you have to stick with AGP, I don't think it would be quite worth your while to upgrade right now, might as well wait till you can afford a PCI-Express solution and by then the latest revisions of AMD's chips will be out and you'll be all set
    your basing this recommendation on my current machine ? cause i wonder myself. is it really worht it for 2-3 more fps !
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  12. #12
    Member gvblake22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnt_Ram
    your basing this recommendation on my current machine ? cause i wonder myself. is it really worht it for 2-3 more fps !
    Yeah I was looking at the rig in your sig. You'll probably get a little more than 2-3fps but yeah, you get the idea.
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  13. #13
    If you cannot afford it now...build a rig with parts (hdd's, optical drive(s), RAM, etc...) and when you can afford to move over to the new platform you are half way there (you will just need mobo and CPU and maybe a few other minor things).

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvblake22
    Yeah I was looking at the rig in your sig. You'll probably get a little more than 2-3fps but yeah, you get the idea.
    only game i'm lacking cpu power in i think is FarCry. i wonder how much of a gain i would get from a 64 bit 3200+ ! all other game's, HL2 for example. runs max detail 1024x768 with 4xAA 16xAF 80-200+ fps ....
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  15. #15
    I'm suprised anyone would go with a new XP system right now. An A64 2800+ doesn't cost much more ($30.) than an XP 2500+. An inexpensive motherboard like the Chaintech VNF3-250 will take the 2800+ to 2300-2500MHz with the stock heatsink. If you want to take an XP to 2500MHz + you'll need a good heatsink, and that brings the two systems into the same price range.

  16. #16
    Member gvblake22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pelikan
    I'm suprised anyone would go with a new XP system right now. An A64 2800+ doesn't cost much more ($30.) than an XP 2500+. An inexpensive motherboard like the Chaintech VNF3-250 will take the 2800+ to 2300-2500MHz with the stock heatsink. If you want to take an XP to 2500MHz + you'll need a good heatsink, and that brings the two systems into the same price range.
    Well, he already has a good overclocked XP system and is considering going to A64 and if it would be worth it.
    Basically, the smartest way to go A64 would be to go with a PCI-Express solution so it is future proof, and that would require him to ditch his very nice AGP video card.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvblake22
    Well, he already has a good overclocked XP system and is considering going to A64 and if it would be worth it.
    Basically, the smartest way to go A64 would be to go with a PCI-Express solution so it is future proof, and that would require him to ditch his very nice AGP video card.
    and i cant do that !~ i paid over 1000.00 cdn for the pair
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  18. #18
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    i still might go a64. which is better Via or Nforce3 ? seeing's tho i cant go Nforce4

    Edit: and Sorry, i didn't meen to hijack this thread !
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  19. #19

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    I think every 1 is thinking the same thing that has these mobiles , is it worth it to go 64 . im trying to make smart choises , i didnt go all out on the vid card only got a pro caz when i go 64 it wil be @ least a fx-55 and a x800 xt pe . i got some ocz pc4200 el eb 2 days ago , ( with plans to go in the a64)
    But IMO dont go a64 with ur nice xp-m till u are sure it is a ss chip
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Richard's Avatar
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    Once we get into the range of moderate-to-highly overclocked XP-Ms, Pentium 4s, and Athlon 64s; we're talking about fast CPUs. In everyday use none of the aforementioned processors are being "pushed." The majority of common tasks are not CPU limited. Things like, browsing the web, listening to music, watching videos, are hardly putting a stress on the CPU and RAM.

    Most people are not encoding media for a living. A few seconds here or there is not going to make or break them. And I keep seeing, "AMD 64 is for gamers. P4 or Athlon XP (fill in deragatory statement.)" The truth of the matter is far more emphasis should be placed on the video card. Who plays games at CPU limited resolutions with no anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering? That's a tremendous waste of funds. (Having a high-end system and not making use of features that make games more appealing.) The reality is that when a person is actually gaming and not benchmarking, he or she will notice little difference between an Athlon XP-M, P4, and an Athlon 64. Assuming the video card is the same.

    Buy what you can afford. If you can afford an AMD64, by all means, purchase one. If you can't, you won't be miserable with an Athlon XP-M. It's not that bad of a compromise. Honestly.

    A PC is the sum of its parts. Don't put too much emphasis on individual components - unless you have a very specific reason for doing so. Distributing your budget equitably amongst the entire system will yield better bang for the buck.
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