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Would like some opinions for an upgrade

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Zort

Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Hello all. Im about to build a new system and have browsed most of the forums here and the reviews at newegg.com to get peoples opinions. This system will be built mainly with gaming in mind. My budget is not unlimited so in a few cases I will not be choosing the absolute best product of any catagory. Also, I most likely will not be overclocking much, but I have a liquid cooling rig gathering dust so if I choose to do so, I will have a pretty good start. So far here is what Im thinking about and the logic behind it:

AMD Athlon XP 2000+/266 FSB Processor CPU - 2000+/ 1.67GHz -Retail Box (not sure if I want to pay the extra money for a more expensive processor if it will only offer marginally beter performance)

ATI RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB TV/DVI 8X AGP RETAIL
(So far everything I have read suggests that this thing owns absolutely every other video card on the market right now, so Im willing to drop a load of cash on it. Chose the ATI model because it is supposed to have better drivers and the quietest fan)

WD WESTERN DIGITAL "SPECIAL EDITION" 80GB 7200RPM EIDE OEM
(8Mb cache, definitely an upgrade from my 4G IBM scsii)

CREATIVE LABS SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY - OEM
(dont want to use onboard sound, this should take some load off the processor when gaming)

for the MB- either

Abit KD7-Raid

or

CHAINTECH Deluxe 7VJL AMD Motherboard KT400


Now, the things Im really looking for advice on:

Should I go ahead with the XP/2000 or will it be worth it to spend more on a faster processor?

MB reccomendations regarding these two or another if you happen to not like either.

Im thinking about buying two of the WD hard drives and setting them up in a RAID. Of course this entails tacking on another $100+ to the price tag. Would the increased performance in the form of lower seek times and lightened processor load be worth the extra expense.

If I go with the RAID idea, the chaintech MB does not have built in raid.

I already have a 512Mb dimm, but its relatively old and slow (pc2100 I think) Should I upgrade my ram as well?

Any and all input is appreciated. Thanks.
 

none1

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
OK, you've got a great start.

1) The WD Special Ed drive rocks, good choice. IMHO, the raid speed improvement will NOT get you much. You will see some improvement, and I notice mine gains more in large file transfers. For gaming, a faster proc will get you faster frame rates.

2) ATI RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB TV/DVI 8X AGP RETAIL
Ya, specs out at the top. 8x AGP is still new, and there have been some reported issues, make sure to check it all out with the motherboard you choose. For example, if you decide on the abit, go to the abit channel and ask if anyone has actually gotten a 9700 and a Abit KD7-Raid to work, and what issues they had.

3) 2000 XP or higher? UM ..... well how fast can you your games go? Go check out some of the reviews, anadtech, toms, etc.. See the frame rates at the resolutions you want. Remember, you can't see much faster than 30 FPS, and CERTAINLY you can't SEE the difference between 200 and 245 FPS.

I'm not sure these days, but a 9700 + xp2000 may very well go faster than the available games out there. Remember, proc prices drop so fast, you can buy a faster proc next spring for the same money that you save today.

4) RAM / OCING??? Standard (AMD) Front Speed Bus FSB today is 133, = 2100 DDR. So if you're not OCING, your ram is just fine. I overclock. I recomend running at LEAST at FSB = 166 with a KT333 or higher mb. Most systems can handle this with air cooling. Now, you WOULD see some speed improvement at FSB = 166, even with the CPU at the same MHZ, because of the increased ram speed.

BUT, if you're not OCing, stick with your ram, you will <probably> see no speed increase. Possibly, if your ram is not running at cas 2, you could get faster by upgrading to cas2, but you're probably good with the ram you got.

5) MOTHERBOARD? Well, you need at least kt400 for agp8x. Some here will tell you to wait for the nforce2 (specs out awesome) or the KT400A (for the 1/6 divider). But it is still unkown when these will come out.

If you're not OCING, it is also unclear if you will get any speed at all from the new boards. My rec would be stick with the KT400.

Both the boards you mention have got good reviews. IMHO, abit boards are the way to go. ON AVERAGE, they seem to have fewer issues and longer lifespans than other boards, so I rec the Abit KD7-Raid. That CHAINTECH has gotten favorable reviews, LOOKS COOL if you're going to case mod, and comes with some nice addons, round cables and stuff.


Good luck, and happy fragging.
 

Wicked Klown

Hard *** Southern Boy Senior
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
All sounds good. However I would wait to see what Nvidia comes out with. Also why not get an OEN 2000+ that way you can save some money. The 7VJL Deluxe sounds good to me I have read that the 7VJL oced very good.
 

Deathknight

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Location
Chicago
Even if you are not doing overclocking you may want to go with pc2700 memory. A kt333 mobo will let you run your memory at 166 which the pc2100 may not handle. Memory bandwidth makes a big difference in gaming.

Oh and I think Klownin79 was trying to say to get an OEM cpu instead of a retail. It would be cheaper if you are planning on getting a different heatsink fan. You don't get the longer warranty though so your call.
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
recommendations

Treat an uber-gaming rig with the respect it deserves.

OEM cpu w/ at least mid to high end air-cooling

Get a lower model cpu (1600+) or unlock so you can up the FSB easily to 166+. With PC2700 or better of course.

But then these things really aren't necessary. I would however cut up the case or keep the side panel off. I heard the 9700's get quite hot.