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Motherboard and processor recommendations


blackcalx
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I've decided to use some tax return money to upgrade my system. My first self-built system is working well, but I can only use one stick of DDR400 RAM and I don't want to shell out a ton of cash for a 1GB stick.

 

I'm looking for a new mobo, something that will support at least two sticks of DDR400 (or whatever the newest, best thing is). I'll need onboard LAN (gigabit is not required), USB (2.0 not required but it's probably hard to find a new mobo without it), at least five PCI slots, and an AGP bus. I know that PCI Express is the new hot thing but I can't afford a new graphics card at this point in time so that may be a bit down the road. Any recommendations?

 

I'll also need a new processor. I'm not sure I have the cash for an AMD64, but I'd like to get something relatively modern, and I'm very happy with AMD. What do you all think?

 

I'll be keeping my existing CD, DVD and HDD drives, and if possible will keep my Corsair 512 MB DDR400 RAM.

 

Any and all recommendations are welcome.

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I'm looking for a new mobo, something that will support at least two sticks of DDR400 (or whatever the newest, best thing is).

 

Keep an eye out. Per AMD the Athlon 64 memory controller does not OFFICIALLY support more than one double-sided stick of PC3200 (400 DDR) either - I just learned this the other day. Although most people can get away with it, it is a problem - apparently something to do with limitations of DDR1 tech. Some RAM is particularly problematic. Most cheap 512MB DIMMs are double-sided I guess. I've heard good reports for Corsair value select, and bad ones for the ultra low cas 2 Corsair RAM (Corsair xms??).

 

Athlon64 is definitely cheap enough to be worth it, though. 754 socket is $127 for a Retail boxed 2800+, $135 for a 3000+...939 socket 3000+ OEM is $155, retail 3200+ is $190. Theoretically the 939 socket has more upgrade potential, but I personally know I won't use it - I'll end up pitching the board for another one again, like I always do when I do an upgrade. So socket 754 is fine with me for the $$ savings.

 

What kind of Corsair is it? I am in mid-build of my new Athlon64 system (2800+, a 2x512MB kit of Corsair value select PC3200 - cas 2.5). I will let you know what my results are with two double sided modules.

 

I don't have a great motherboard suggestion, because I nabbed a refurb socket 754 Gigabyte K8N PRO (Nforce 3 150 based) board back in June for $29...it sat around in the closet until yesterday. :D Personally I am an Epox man myself, but this board is a Gigabyte and the last one was a Soltek. I still prefer Epox's excellent labeling - the Gigabyte took me a while to find the appropriate connectors last night.

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As gigapower will attest, I just built a new pc with an AMD64 Athlon 3500+ 939 90NS Core with an Asus board.

 

ZERO issues thus far. Totally stable and runs ultra cool.

 

I've seen a combo with a Gigabyte board for $400. I use dual sided Mushkin DDR400 Ram and can go up to 1 gig NP on my board. I know the Gigabyte 939 boards had lots of issues with Corsair RAM. Something to consider.

 

I think I paid around $430 for my Asus A8V Deluxe/Socket 939 3500+ combo. I don't regret it one bit. Windows installed in less than 10 minutes flat.

 

I was pretty scared of the other 939 boards as far as what I've read. If i wanted to go the NForce 3 chipset I was leanign towards the Epox board but I just couldn't stomach it.

 

In the end I went with the Asus and zero issues have came up for me or my friend(both bought locally).

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FYI

 

A quality 350W or 400W PS is better than a cheapass 2.21 gigawatt power supply. I checked the specs on my 350W Antec I got on a good case/ps rebate deal, and it puts out plenty of wattage on the 12V and 5V rails (I double checked with my other coworker/friend that does lots of geeky soldering and modchipping, etc).

 

I'm running my A64 2800+, 9800pro, 2HDD, 2optical drives.

 

My old 300W Enermax will go with my old 1800+ setup to my wife. :D

 

If you end up moving to a vanilla 6800 or higher, or an ATI x800-line card, a 400W would be a better idea, as I believe they suck more power.

 

 

PS - My 2 double sided 512MB sticks of Corsair Value Select cas2.5 work fine in my Nforce3 board. The board itself (a refurb Gigabyte K8N PRO) is a little flakey...IDE channel 0 is dead basically, so I am using the RAID channels instead for the HDD...and I can't get the onboard sound to work - but I can never get the damn onboard sound on a board, there is always a problem with it.

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