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Need help building AMD based upgradeable computer! I'm a newb

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beavdabomb

Registered
Joined
Aug 29, 2002
I'm moving out of my parents house and I NEED a computer for my new place. The thing is I'm low on cash and want something affordable now, but will allow me to keep the same mobo so that a huge upgrade in performance would only require and quick CPU swap and top of the line memory thrown in.

My main focus would be the motherboard for now. Whats a great mobo that will take a while to become obsolete but still accept 'affordable' CPUs?

Next is the CPU. What would be a good bang for the buck CPU? AMD ofcourse.

Memory isnt too big of an issue as I dont plan on doing any gaming until I do my big upgrade where I'll throw in a 9900 pro :)(hopefully), new cpu, fastest memory and loads of it. Right now Id like to use like 256mb PC333 (slow), but I have it lying around and would like to make use of it...just for now. Would that now work with todays high end mobos?

HD can always be upgraded by a lot.

Power supply would need to be beefy to accomidate the future upgrades? Whats a good one?

Case would just need to be a generic case, nothing special, just be able to house all the goodies. Im sure I could find a cheap one for like 30 bucks.

No graphics card for now, ill just be surfing the web. Unless a small one would help enough to be worth buying.

I have the minor parts necessary to build a computer lying around.

BTW, Im trying to keep it under 300 bucks. Heres what i think..
CPU- Athlon XP 1800+ $60
Mobo-Abit AT7-Max2 $150
Case-Generic ATX (power supply would be swaped) $20

throw me some thoughts
 

Top Hat Theater

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Location
Lost in Thought
With the 1800, you'll want to make sure it's a DLT3C in case you're planning on overclocking as they tend to do better than their DUT3C counterpart.

Quite honestly, I'd grab an EPoX 8RDA (non-plus) as it's based on the nForce2 chipset which is superior to the KT400 in just about every way. The 8RDA is only $85 at newegg. Your memory would work just fine with this board. It's also quite "future-proof".

The problem you're faced with is this: the Athlon XP as we know it is going the way of the dodo. The 3200 and 3400 chips that are to be coming out soon will probably be either the last of the XP line or very close to it. Afterwards, AMD switches to the higher-pin-count Hammer chips which will be incompatible with your current motherboard.

~THT
 
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beavdabomb

Registered
Joined
Aug 29, 2002
I shouldnt need a Hammer for a really long time though, right? Will I be able to keep playing all the graphic intense games with all the eye candy turned on for a year or so with the old style mobo? My graphics card is where I want to focus my attention while I do my upgrades in the mean time.

I'll check out the Epox board.
 
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beavdabomb

Registered
Joined
Aug 29, 2002
I noticed the Epox 8RDA+ has built in LAN on the mobo and the non plus doesnt. I plan on linking my xbox to my pc so Ill have a LAN. Does the built in LAN replace the need for a PCI network card? That would be nice!
 

Top Hat Theater

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Location
Lost in Thought
yes, the onboard nic replaces the need for a PCI NIC. And yes, with this board and a 400MHz FSB, you should have the memory bandwidth to play any game with the eye candy turned on provided your vid card can keep up.

And no, you shouldn't need Hammer any time soon however you'll probably see a lot of people selling their "old" 32-bit rigs in favor of A64.

~THT
 
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beavdabomb

Registered
Joined
Aug 29, 2002
I know this is a newbie question but better safe than sorry. Since the Epox board uses the nvidia nForce2 chipset, does that mean its only compatable with the nVidia cards? I really want an ATI as they offer the best performance for the money.

What exactly is this new nForce2 chipset and how is it superior to the KT400?

I'm almost fixed on the Epox EP-8RDA+ :D
 

Supertrucker

Way Too Jealous Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Location
Southern California
ati cards work just fine in nforce2 boards. the nf2 chipset is superior to the kt400 because it has a pci lock as opposed to dividers for the pci like the kt400, i.e. 133fsb or 166fsb on a kt400 = 33mhz pci clock which is in spec, but if you ran 150mhz fsb you would get about a 37mhz pci clock and 200 fsb would be a 40mhz pci which takes high quality components, and you risk hdd corruption. however with the nforce2 chipset, you have a locked pci at 33mhz no matter what fsb you run, so you are only limited by your ram and northbridge. the abit version of the board is supposed to reach a higher fsb without mods than the epox but the epox is still a quality board

edit:nforce2 also has dual ddr memory for higher memory badwidth but this is a wasted feature on amd chips at the moment
 

OC Noob

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2002
Location
Phoenix, AZ USA
Go for the Abit NF7-S as it has adjustable NB voltage, unless the Epox does now too. The Abit is $125, probably a few dollars more then the 8RDA+, but well worth it when you are almost garunteed 200+ FSB. Plus you get SATA, optical audio out and a few other features to boot.
 

sirtoby

Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2002
Location
Finland
Since you said you don't really need to game, but of course you still need a graphics card I'd get 8rga+

As it sounds that is what you need, has onboard lan, sound and vga.. the integrated graphics is equivalent to a gf4 mx.

Processor.. well.. since you will upgrade it (and not really play any games for the moment) why not just get a Duron (or a 1700+) .. you could later upgrade to a Barton.

Memory, well.. since you'll upgrade that as well just get some cheap generic ram. Kingston valueram or something like that.

Now I don't know exactly what you need (i.e. if you need a monitor also). You said you have 'minor parts' and since you only talk about other parts I assume you already have the monitor.

Anyways.. prices from newegg.com

Epox Motherboard for AMD Athlon/Athlon XP/Duron Processors, Model# EP-8RGA+

$139,00

AMD Athlon XP 1700+ Thoroughbred /266 FSB Processor CPU 1700+/ 1.47GHz -OEM

$50

CORSAIR MEMORY 512MB PC2700 VALUE

$55

PREMIER CP0-PR-TM868SWP 350W Mid Tower ATX Case w/ Acrylic Window & Fan

$41

That makes a total of $285.. not too shabby..