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Best AMD MB that does not have to support overclocking?

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Forgone

Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Okay. I am sure it may seem kind of odd for me to be on these forums and not interested in overclocking, but here goes anyway.

I need to upgrade my motherboard, CPU, video card, and get an additional hard drive.

I am trying to decided how to handle the first two while maintaining my simple Koolance cooling, but that is besides the point, as I am under the assumption that just about any CPU can be handled with the Koolance even though I am using the old CPU-100 waterblock (if I am severely mistaken, please go ahead and let me know).

Hopefully with that correct, what motherboard would you suggest that could support the new Thoroughbred Athlon XP 2200, keeping in mind that overclocking will not be something I wish to do?

Also, I am still very new with computer internals, so if someone could describe how current IDE ribbons work, it would be greatly appreciated. For example, since I will want two hard drives, and also my CD-ROM and floppy, do I look for a board that has two ISA slots… or what? Or am I way, way off base? Any insight would be welcome.

I apologize for all silly questions and/or statements.
 

Wicked Klown

Hard *** Southern Boy Senior
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Why not wait til the KT400a motherboards come out. That way you have support for future CPU's. Most of the new motherboards support up to 4 IDE devices or 8 if you go with one that has on-board raid. Also I don't think they are makin anything now for ISA slots. so no worry there. If your not going to overclock I would say go with a 2400+XP or wait til the 2800+Xp come out.
 

none1

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Holes or no holes?

1) I don't know about koolance waterblocks. Key quesiton is, do they need holes in the motherboard, OR, do they use the normal lugs like most fan coolers? Some of the cheaper boards do not have holes, so check if you need them.

2) Just about every motherboard has at least 2 IDE connectors on the motherboard, and each connector can hook up to 2 ide devices, so you can have 4 ide devices on any motherboard. You should be fine with 2 HD's and a CDROM on the IDE.

The floppy is a seperate connector on the motherboard, and does not take up an ide spot.

3) You don't need isa slots, or any slots for that matter, to hook up 4 IDE devices and 2 floppies.

WHAT DO YOU WISH TO DO? Games? Mostly surfing? What ram do you have today, sdram or DDR? What's your budget? What kind of video are you looking for? Give us some more info, and we can give you some more help .....

4) The ECS K7s5a does not OC so good, but has (ok) sound, a NIC, and will take EITHER sdram or DDR ram, so its a good stop on an upgrading path for those with old sdram. AND, this is one of the current cheapest boards, $53 from newegg.com.

5) The Asus A7N266-VM NVIDIA nFORCE 220 is DDR only, but has great onboard sound, and a Gforce2mx built in, and a NIC built in. Again, its cheap at $70, decent features, but does not have great OCing. Don't know where you're upgrading your video from, Gforce2mx may still be low, especially if you're extreme gaming.

6) I personally just got an MSI KT4VL, on board sound and NIC, with a newer KT400 chipset, and decent OCing features, for $85.

7) In general, I tend to push the abit and ausus, higher end motherboards. But then, I overclock. :) More recently, the epox motherboards have been great Ocers, and MSI had made some decent boards, I consider MSI and Epox (on average) to be slightly below abit and asus. Soyo waffels, they've got some great mobos, and some poor ones. There's a bunch of manufactuers in the middle, gigabyte, shuttle, etc.. PCCHIPS blow, don't buy them. The ECS are a slight step up from PCCHIPS. Both PCCHIPS and ECS you don't want to OC, or push hard at all. They'll be good for stock work, but that's it.

Good luck, let us know your current specs, budget and goals, and we'll try to throw out some more suggestions.
 
OP
F

Forgone

Registered
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Oct 16, 2002
More details...

Ack. It must be more than annoying to respond to a post, take quite a bit of your time, and not get a reply from the person you were trying to help until almost a month later. Let the long overdue answers begin:

First of all, games are of the utmost priority for the system. Games, games, games. The new hard drive I get to go along with current one will serve that purpose.

My current system is on Win98, with 512 DDR, a 900 Athlon, and a GeForce2 MX (64 MB). The PSU doing this is 400 WATTS (and was AMD approved), but I have been warned that I must be careful about such. Is it possible I’ll need something stronger?

Right now I get temperatures that range from about 33 to 39 Celsius, idle or when running the main thing I play presently, DAoC; hopefully I’ll update computer just in time for the SI expansion (and of course many games to follow-- i.e. Doom 3). So I am a bit concerned about the improvement to such a faster processor, although currently my system has no fans besides the ones that came as part the case (meaning I‘ll have to find some decent ones to install), and I assume that could be why I am not getting amazing temperatures for such a mediocre system.

As to the OS, I am told by some it’s still good to have Win98, and by others that it’s pathetic. I am undecided on whether I’ll switch or not… I’ll probably keep it.

The water block being used is kind of like a HSF as you say, where it was connected over the processor chip. Nothing special for the MB was needed. (www.koolance.com shows them. The current one I have is the lesser one of them all)

Video card will hopefully be a decent (or best, by whatever I discover the best to be) GeForce4.

In terms of a budget for this all, I am hoping to keep it under 600 dollars.

I was completely babied with an easy to follow guide and friend when I put together this system, so I still find myself struggling to grasp a few concepts. If I am forgetting anything, let me know.

Thanks, and again, I apologize for having such a delayed response.
 

none1

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
OK, exactly what motherboard do you have, and do you need a new one? You say you have DDR ram and an athalon 900, so your mb doesn't sound too outdated. You may be able to simply drop in a new fast proc, new video card, new HD, and call it a day. :)

Doom III worries me .... the front page said it this way
"Per any specific benchmark, if you only end up getting 46fps out of a shipping Doom III demo with a 3GHz PIV and this card at 1280X1024 at just HQ, this game is in trouble. "

What's DAoC? 3D game? Warcraft III runs just fine with gforce2mx. :)

What is your time frame to buy? Prices keep falling ... and new motherboards are due any time now, waiting can save you $$$$ .... but that's always true. :) The 2200 are going for around $155, the 2400 for $183, so TODAY's recomendation is to spend the extra $30 and get the 2400, if you're spending that much.

[shameless OC plug] Of course, many here would recomend getting a $55 1600XP and OCing it. :) [/shameless OC plug]

Just FYI, the ati raedons I think are going faster than the gforce4 these days. I'm still a gforce fan, they have good speed, and have had great driver support for more years than any other video card I've had.

MOTHERBOARD
Bargain basement no oc mobo is still the ECS K7S5A for $56. Medium price, my rec is the EP-8K9A KT400 for $85, GREAT OCing board also, no lan, no sound. :) MSI is a decent board too, KT400, sound, lan for decent OC (not as good as the epox) for only about $85 too. If you're gaming, onboard sound probably doesn't do you good, you want a dedicated 5:1 sound card.

I don't play in the high end mobo arena, so someone else will have to give you advice if you're looking to spend $$$$ on a mobo.

VIDEO CARD
Again, I don't play at the upper end, I usually find that the games I play don't get much out of the fastest card on the market. I recomend the GFORCE4 TI4200, they can be had for under $150.

HARD DRIVE
Western Digital special edition 80 gig with 8 meg cache (FASTTTTT) drive can be had for under $120.

SO, good HD and video card and 2400 AMD are gonna cost you $455. You might not need a mobo, add $80 if you do, so $535, under the $600 you mentioned.

39 degrees is no issue, your koolance water cooling should be fine with a 2400+.

If you use a mouse for your gaming, an optical mouse ($15) is a MUST MUST have. Aiming with an optical mouse is SO powerful in a first person shooter ........

Good luck!
 
OP
F

Forgone

Registered
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Oct 16, 2002
How funny. The motherboard I have now warns not to go above an Athlon 1400, and it is indeed the K7S5A. It was cheap, and had been getting decent reviews as a stable and good motherboard with few options.

DAoC stands for Dark Age of Camelot (it‘s a MMORPG), and the expansion will update its engine to something like an advanced version of Morrowind's early December.

I am grateful for the hard drive recommendation-- that’ll narrow one thing down a bit.

For the graphics card, I am not extremely worried. So long as it has the ability to make sure I am seeing everything at a decent frame rate from the next slew of games coming out, I’ll be fine.

So, going by your suggestions, it’ll be an Athlon 2400, GeForce 4 TI4200, EP-8K9A KT400 (perhaps more research is needed, but if it can handle what mine currently could not, and still offer me plenty of options for the future, then I‘ll go with it at a simple 85 dollars), and a Western Digital drive (all I will need to do with this is figure out the beauty to setting up a entirely new drive with one that is near full, and both of those going on a new MB).

Time frame is this year, preferably before Christmas.

And you say CPU cooling is fine-- do you have recommendations for any fans that I should get for the other parts?

Thanks.
 
OP
F

Forgone

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Oct 16, 2002
Getting very close.

All from newegg.com for my upgrades:

MB-- MSI Motherboard for Socket A (462) Athlon Processors w/ LAN. Chipset:VIAKT400, VT8235 @ $86

CPU-- AMD ATHLON XP 2400 /266 FSB PROCESSOR @ $185

HD-- WD WESTERN DIGITAL "SPECIAL EDITION" 80GB 7200RPM EIDE HARD DRIVE @ $114

VC-- ALBATRON GeForce 4 TI4200P TURBO (NVIDIA GeForce4 TI4200 GPU), 128MB DDR @ $185

Total: $570

Does this look good in components and price? For the video card I am wondering… it’s bang for the buck, supposedly excellent, and should last until the next breed of new-best-things. It is a 60 dollar save compared to a TI4600. For the memory I saw the word “Sale,” and went with it, so I wonder if that is actually a bad idea. Motherboard wise, it seemed to receive decent comments except for poor design in slots, but I’ll just buy some extra long IDE cables to fix that. The processor seems very expensive compared to the 1600 deal at $53, but I figured I would want to only have to worry about upgrading the video card from here on out. Thoughts?


P.S. Something I found odd though, is that at newegg.com, in the description of my current MB, the K7S5A, it states the thing can handle any AMD XP processor. The manual does not. Could I actually keep the same MB, or does my new option here seem a much better way to go?
 

youthemandan

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Location
Logan, UT
Why not just get a mobo with ocing features that way if u ever do get interested u can do it with out having to spend anymore money. Having the features will not hurt anything. Get a refurb 8k3a+ from newegg for 50 bux (not sure if they are still in stock) or look through the refurb section for a good kt333 board. KT 400 is a waste if u ask me a good kt333 board will perform just as well as a kt400 board.
 

none1

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Re: Getting very close.

Forgone said:
All from newegg.com for my upgrades:

MB-- MSI Motherboard for Socket A (462) Athlon Processors w/ LAN. Chipset:VIAKT400, VT8235 @ $86

CPU-- AMD ATHLON XP 2400 /266 FSB PROCESSOR @ $185

HD-- WD WESTERN DIGITAL "SPECIAL EDITION" 80GB 7200RPM EIDE HARD DRIVE @ $114

VC-- ALBATRON GeForce 4 TI4200P TURBO (NVIDIA GeForce4 TI4200 GPU), 128MB DDR @ $185

Total: $570

Does this look good in components and price? For the video card I am wondering… it’s bang for the buck, supposedly excellent, and should last until the next breed of new-best-things. It is a 60 dollar save compared to a TI4600. For the memory I saw the word “Sale,” and went with it, so I wonder if that is actually a bad idea. Motherboard wise, it seemed to receive decent comments except for poor design in slots, but I’ll just buy some extra long IDE cables to fix that. The processor seems very expensive compared to the 1600 deal at $53, but I figured I would want to only have to worry about upgrading the video card from here on out. Thoughts?


P.S. Something I found odd though, is that at newegg.com, in the description of my current MB, the K7S5A, it states the thing can handle any AMD XP processor. The manual does not. Could I actually keep the same MB, or does my new option here seem a much better way to go?

1) I ?THINK? you can use your current motherboard. If you buy a K7S5A TODAY, it would run the faster XPs NO PROBLEM, this board WILL do the XP.

My GUESS is that your manual only says athalon 1400 cause that was the fastest when your manual was printed.

1A) JUST CHECK in an ECS forum. SOMETIMES manufacturers have motherboard revisions, so maybe the K7S5A revision 1 won't do the XP, but revision 2 will. BUT, I really would guess your motherboard CAN do the XP.

Why get a new mobo if you don't have too? The longer you can wait, espeically right now, the better the mobos will be. The nforce2 JUST came out, and prices will drop, and the KT400A is just around the corner .... sometime.

2) Your prices look reasonable .....
A) good price on the MSI
B) Looks expensive on the CPU, but that's always a hard call. A $50 1600 now, leaves $130 to spend next spring, and who knows, maybe the XP3000 will be $130 in the spring .... tough call.
C) I think you can get a TI4200 a little cheaper, check price watch, I got my MSI 4200 for $115 at a local show, but thats real low, I think you could get it for $150 if you look around.

3) If you buy that setup, you will be A OK and competitive in every game for a while, its solid.

Have fun!
 
OP
F

Forgone

Registered
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Oct 16, 2002
I think I may go with that... And Windows XP. About 700 dollars. A bit more than I wanted, but oh well-- I did not realize that I had been limiting myself all this time with 98. The K7S5A has gone through some revisions it turns out, and I don't trust it with a 2400.

Thanks for all the aid.
 

none1

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Forgone said:
I think I may go with that... And Windows XP. About 700 dollars. A bit more than I wanted, but oh well-- I did not realize that I had been limiting myself all this time with 98. The K7S5A has gone through some revisions it turns out, and I don't trust it with a 2400.

Thanks for all the aid.


Um .... windows XP blows. No really, it does. I don't want to go on a tirade, but stick with 98. 98 requires a little bit more work if you have componets that 98 does not have drivers for and xp does, but xp blows. AND, XP requires you register your hardware with microsoft, so you can't use it on multiple machines, but it also makes it a pain to upgrade often, you need to register each time.
 
OP
F

Forgone

Registered
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Oct 16, 2002
What of the RAM situation though? Isn't having 512 RAM on Windows98 basically 256? So to get the most performance, it would be wise to go XP, would it not?
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
i havent priced things lately but i just checked this because i know they always have great prices and great service:

www.compgeeks.com

im not affiliated with them or anything but i have ordered a lot of stuff from them and have had nothing but great experiences. very reliable. check em out at bizrate.com, very many ratings and almost all positive.

Maxtor 120GB UDMA/133 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive $161.00
Western Digital 80GB UDMA/100 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive $99.00

anytime im shopping this is the first place i check... if they have something you are looking for, then they are very hard to beat.

note: check the signs next to products, some of their items are refurbished, but they are always CLEARLY labeled. the items i listed above are both brand new - good prices
 
Last edited:
OP
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Forgone

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Oct 16, 2002
I tend to leave my computer running with a restart here and there, but the main reason why I would want XP is to get the most out of my RAM.

However, I am also questioning my choice of MB now. Customer reviews are hit and miss with it.

Can anyone direct me to a perfectly stable and good MB that has very little gamble involved in purchasing it (and is less than 100 dollars)?
 

I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader
Joined
Nov 12, 2002
Location
Rootstown, OH
i have a soltek sl75drv2 and i had it for a year before i ever overclocked anything. never had a problem, i think i got it for right around a $100. its a excellent board.
 

none1

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Forgone said:
I tend to leave my computer running with a restart here and there, but the main reason why I would want XP is to get the most out of my RAM.

However, I am also questioning my choice of MB now. Customer reviews are hit and miss with it.

Can anyone direct me to a perfectly stable and good MB that has very little gamble involved in purchasing it (and is less than 100 dollars)?

That MSI is fine, I have two running right now, no problems. The MSI KT4VL is a solid motherboard. It will OC just fine, for optimal stability keep it at FSB = 166. This board won't unlock the new high multi tbreds though.

My other current rec is the epox 8K9A. Just sound, no lan, but this board just works, and overclocks. NO frills, no firewire, but the two boards I have do 200 FSB with no burn in. COOL.

The MSI KT4VL and the expox 8K9A both give you all the subtle advantages of the KT400, and are both around $85. They'll be as stable as any KT333 or KT266A you find.

For MB quality, I generally find abit / epox / asus tops, then MSI, then everyone else, then ECS, then PCCHIPS.