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Thread: AMD Upgrades....Vimeous tells it like it is !

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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    FAO Vimeous

    Lo matey.

    Your sig indicates a large collection of AMD hardware plodding along

    Can you tell us which system was most impressive once built? You now have Sempron hardware too, and as they are all running, you are probably best suited to answer the next question: Were the upgrades worth it?

    Cheers fella

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    where is he ?

    *waves*

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

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    VTECmeous Vimeous's Avatar
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    It's a long one ..... bear with me :)

    Ah ha!
    Ooo good question.

    In summary yep, it is indeed a fine choice. I've just realised I've gone to town on this answer.....soz

    I tend to be incredibly picky about my upgrades and vfm is right at the top of the list. I know from experience that I need a new machine every 2 years or so. If it's not harddrive space it's a game I actually want (a rare comodity). I also know I, like many, cannot afford to upgrade an entire PC at once. So every year I buy specific pieces of kit to keep the entire process rolling along.

    Starting with an old PC I replace the motherboard, RAM and CPU in the first year. The second year is for new graphics, harddrive(s) and other sundrie items. There are some crucial binding principles to which I adhere, one of which my recent Sempron purchase might seem to break as you'll see in a second.

    The Rules
    THE BIG ONE
    Build the PC with a specific aim in mind and stick to it. It could be cost, certain features, or minimum performance. Whatever you do plan carefully, research thoroughly and be ruthlessly honest with yourself.

    In this breakdown I'll use my own experience replacing my main rig as an example. My primary apps are Office, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro, FTP and general communications (IRC etc). Because I also run a game mod I need to be able to run the mod tools and play games as the average user might. To top it all off I need a level of video editing to back-up my gf's editing rig.

    I won't list everything I take into consideration here, it'd take hours (unless you guys really want to know ofc), but let me run through the rigs I currently own.

    A History Lesson
    My second ever home build PC was a from-scratch job (the previous 333MHz had seen better days). Back then DDR was just appearing and I realised it would be around for some time. I bought the first ASUS motherboard dedicated to DDR (A7M266) and the slowest CPU that supported that memory type. I reasoned that the A7M266 would have the longest possible upgrade lifespan of any motherboard then available. 1.2GHz was superfast for my needs at the time (Intels being way to expensive) and by the time the fastest processors for the mboard were a reasonable price I'd need new anyway.
    This meant I could get two significant performance upgrades out of one motherboard. That saved me cash and meant I could save for things I'd always wanted. I didn't skimp on the motherboard either. At £90 it was easily the most expnsive part of that PC.

    When the time to upgrade came newer CPU designs had pushed the price of the XP2200 down to £60 (the fastest PC2100 DDR chip for that mboard). That fitted nicely but suffered major heat issues and I struggled with open-sided cases and a temperamental PC for about 6 months. I decided to upgrade the fundamentals as the rest of the machine was solid.
    (Moby now has the XP2200+ running open-cased under an 80mm Delta and SLK800 HS. It still won't run Seti without falling over! )

    Using the same principles as before I bought a ASUS A7V8X revised to support 333MHz DDR and the first of the XP2600+ Bartons. The CPU had to be a Barton as it suffered less heat trouble and crucially the board would support the XP3000+. My plan was to switch to the faster CPU when the price hit £50-60.

    Todays Dilema
    The XP3000+ still hasn't hit the right price point so why upgrade now?
    Well had been pondering another upgrade and decided not to bother. Having read all I could about the latest technologies I discounted AMD's socket 754 as a waste of money. I want vfm and I was aiming at the slowest AMD socket 939. But what about DDR2 and PCI-Express? Clearly they are the technologies we'll see in PC's everywhere over the next few years!
    I resolved to wait until all the technologies resolved into one format that would last me for another 2 year stint which should include the advent of 64-bit operating systems into the mainstream.

    Damn Special Offers!
    Ok blame this one on the PC World component centre 25% off offer recently. It was too good to ignore and I quickly considered my current situation. Some carefull purchases will upgrade my rig (mboard/CPU/RAM/PSU), substantially update my gf's editing PC (1.2GHz to the XP2600+ plus new Case/Extra RAM) AND allow me to give the XP1800 I'd repaired from work to her Dad as a Chrissy present! (he gave me a 333MHz CPU machine to setup for him, I couldn't do that too him)

    Hold on! I recently bought a Radeon 9800Pro (still the best value gfx card) which will last for a year or two so why do I need PCI-Express? What about 64-bit OS'es? Not for a year at least. Hmm.
    What I needed was a 754 motherboard with cheaper CPU's.

    Sempron Power
    "OMG he's a tool! He went socket 754 and not the latest 939, tool tool tool"

    1. Sempron 3100+ is similar in performance to the XP3000+ I originally wanted.
    2. By going s754 I get a clear upgrade path to the Athlon64 3700+ when it becomes cheap (sub £60).
    3. I keep my superb Radeon 9800 Pro, the second most expensive component purchase I've ever made. (I once spent £305 on a 5Gb Maxtor Harddrive )
    4. I gain the SATA, IEE1394 and DDR400 support I was lacking.
    5. If AMD's pricing keeps going like it is I probably won't need to buy a new CPU for a year and mboard for 2.

    To top it off I'll have got massive vfm. All the components will be used to their full extent and passed down to other machines e.g. to service the editing machine or future presents.

    Advice
    Sempron on Socket A
    All the Sempron socket A chips are rebadged XP processors. Even without a BIOS update motherboards that supported similar speeds of XP CPU will happily run Semprons. It'll just call it the wrong name
    All Semprons on Socket A are based on the Thoroughbred-B core.

    Sempron/Athlon64 CPUs
    Be extremely carefull when removing the heatsink. The CPU has a very large and flat surface area giving it superb vaccuum properties and possibly sticking it to the bottom of the HSF by suction along. It happened to me and made me jump when I pulled the CPU out of the socket without lifting the ZIFF socket release!

    A Note on Motherboards
    NEVER skimp on the quality or features. You can save money by buying a slower CPU, the RAM you NEED now and what you actually want later etc. It is the be all and end all of your machine. A motherboard failure is one of the most difficult to diagnose and painfull in cash and time to fix.

    Digital out is not a digital out UNLESS you have a SoundForge motherboard. This is something I discovered only recently but apparently other digi outs are infact carry just the sterio signal for the front pair of speakers.

    NCQ Harddrives
    Intel 775 chipsets are currently the only ones supporting the new NCQ technology. However the Silicon Image Sil 3114 RAID chip apparently has an internal beta driver with NCQ support. This chip is used on the ASUS K8N-E Deluxe motherboard I'm using. Fingers crossed it'll support the technology.

    Remember to use NCQ it needs to be enabled in BIOS and the OS must be installed afterwards or it will need reinstalling. (eww! )

    Summary
    So there you have it.

    Were the upgrades worth it?
    Yep, all but the XP2200+ (on ebay you win some and loose almost as many). My main rig is purring along nicely. I did have an RMA nightmare with the original (MSI) motherboard which was one of the first generation 754 boards. It would have been a great board but make sure to get a second generation or first revision to ensure reliability.
    I'm in the process of prepping the revised edit rig (the XP2600+ in my sig) and the XP1800+ will go to it's new home after I've had my full use of it next month!

    Carefully prepared upgrades are always worth it.

    I could go into even more detail and am happy to if needed. However that should do you for now. If I've missed the point of the questioning keep asking away, I'm happy to help as best I can!


    I've built numerous other Athlon standard and XP based systems, Athlon64 and plenty of socket 7 madness. I'm currently trouble shooting a twin PIII 1GHz which thinks it's a twin 500MHz and our main works server which is in dire need of disc space, at least 2x143Gb SCSI Ultra320 of it

    P.s.
    NEVER throw any PC bits away, just reuse them sensibly
    Last edited by Vimeous; 12-11-2004 at 12:24 AM.
    1 : i5 4670K | 8Gb | ASUS Maximus VI Genie | HD6890 | MX100 512GB | TX650W | CM Black Widow | Dell U2713H | 8.1 Pro
    2 : Q9450 | 4Gb | ASUS P5E-WS Pro | HD4650 | M4 256GB | 2 x 750Gb (RAID1) | Enermax 525W MODU 82+ | CM RC-590 | 17" | 7 Pro
    3 : i7 3570K | 16Gb | ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe | GTX 660 TI | 2x 1TB 840EVO | Sugo SG05BB-450 | Dell U2713H + 17" | 8.1 Pro
    Svr : X2 4200+ | 2Gb | ASUS A8N-SLI Premium | HD6870 | SonicFury | 8x 250Gb (2x RAID10) | 3Ware 9650SE-8LPML | Seasonic 700W | CM Stacker 830 | XP Pro
    NAS : DS1511+ | DX513
    W1 : Dell Precision 690 | X5355 | 4Gb FBDIMM | Quadro FX3450 | 2x 146Gb 15k SAS (RAID1) | 2x 500GB (RAID1) | Dell SAS 5/iR | 2x U2412M | XP Pro
    W2 : Dell Precision T3610 | E5-1650 V2 | 16GB | Quadro K2000 | 256GB SSD | 1TB HDD | 8.1 Pro


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    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Nice post
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

  5. #5
    VTECmeous Vimeous's Avatar
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    Thanks
    1 : i5 4670K | 8Gb | ASUS Maximus VI Genie | HD6890 | MX100 512GB | TX650W | CM Black Widow | Dell U2713H | 8.1 Pro
    2 : Q9450 | 4Gb | ASUS P5E-WS Pro | HD4650 | M4 256GB | 2 x 750Gb (RAID1) | Enermax 525W MODU 82+ | CM RC-590 | 17" | 7 Pro
    3 : i7 3570K | 16Gb | ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe | GTX 660 TI | 2x 1TB 840EVO | Sugo SG05BB-450 | Dell U2713H + 17" | 8.1 Pro
    Svr : X2 4200+ | 2Gb | ASUS A8N-SLI Premium | HD6870 | SonicFury | 8x 250Gb (2x RAID10) | 3Ware 9650SE-8LPML | Seasonic 700W | CM Stacker 830 | XP Pro
    NAS : DS1511+ | DX513
    W1 : Dell Precision 690 | X5355 | 4Gb FBDIMM | Quadro FX3450 | 2x 146Gb 15k SAS (RAID1) | 2x 500GB (RAID1) | Dell SAS 5/iR | 2x U2412M | XP Pro
    W2 : Dell Precision T3610 | E5-1650 V2 | 16GB | Quadro K2000 | 256GB SSD | 1TB HDD | 8.1 Pro


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    Now with added sobriety Rave's Avatar
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    The Rules
    THE BIG ONE
    Build the PC with a specific aim in mind and stick to it. It could be cost, certain features, or minimum performance. Whatever you do plan carefully, research thoroughly and be ruthlessly honest with yourself.
    This is top advice. The urge to spend money on sexy but unecessary computer hardware is a powerful one, and most geeks fall victim to it at some point. To add to that, my advice is always buy at slow periods of the year, like after Christmas and late summer before the 'back to school' buying rush. Also, look at roadmaps etc. to see if there's a technology coming along that will render the hardware you're buying today obsolete sooner than you would like/can afford; right now the main example would be AGP/PCIE.

    Rich :¬)

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    I've lived with him for 3+ years...he dont spend unless its a good buy !
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    ok....one from me

    Not only is this a really very usefull thread, but one which people probably wont all read

    Why?

    Because it is human nature to sell things to yourself when you think you need something, but dont really.

    Vimeous...my friend, this thread is immensely usefull and (as always with yourself) well worded.

    My question to you is this:

    Lots of us have XP chips running in the 2600 Throbred/2800 Barton core speeds. Why? Cos they are 1700 ish XP chips (T bred) or 2500 Bartons, running at max multiplier (12.5) and max mem speeds (166/333) for PC2700.

    As memory is expensive still, and so are cpu's now

    IS IT WORTH GOING CHEAP 64bit AMD FOR GAMING?
    cos each person will probably need 512mb to 1 gig of better ram AND a new mobo AND a new CPU?

    Did you like your upgrade enough in comparison with your other CPU's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

  9. #9
    TiG
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    i like the thread, but Vimeous's layout makes it nice and easy to read as well. I've seen most of these builds in action too which is quite interesting, and i've spent ages playing on some of his machines.

    The problem is that i see the machines as price limited. When i tend to upgrade i want to buy for new technology. I don't tend to buy to fit a requirement. I soooo want SLI and PCIe, s939 etc etc, but the other thing i also want to make sure is that i buy into slight more mature technology. Wait for the initial bugs to be fixed

    TiG
    -- Hexus Meets Rock! --

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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    good points. PCI Express for me is next year. I KNOW its the future....

    its EXACTLY the future. Hence I got an X800 AGP for the next 6 months or so.

    The most critical thing for me to understand is peoples motives AND their genuine, non-bull happyness with the result.

    Jiff sold me the idea long ago. To spend a lot of money and ADMIT TO BEING GUTTED is a brave move. Good thing about Hexus is that most people WILL admit the wrongs as well as the rights. I should ALWAYS have had a good PSU. Once I realised, I was like a reformed smoker and I shove it down peoples throats daily

    But the step to 64bit has NOT been smooth. We really DID NOT need TWO SOCKETS and I was keen to guage Vimeous's responses to his spend

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

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    Resident abit mourner BUFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vimeous

    Digital out is not a digital out UNLESS you have a SoundForge motherboard. This is something I discovered only recently but apparently other digi outs are infact carry just the sterio signal for the front pair of speakers.
    Nitpicking time - this isn't true. Digital out only refers to sending the signal in a digital stream - nothing to do with 5.1 etc.
    & motherboards using nVidia SoundStorm send encoded 5.1 etc. info via digital out too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zak33
    Lots of us have XP chips running in the 2600 Throbred/2800 Barton core speeds. Why? Cos they are 1700 ish XP chips (T bred) or 2500 Bartons, running at max multiplier (12.5) and max mem speeds (166/333) for PC2700.

    As memory is expensive still, and so are cpu's now

    IS IT WORTH GOING CHEAP 64bit AMD FOR GAMING?
    cos each person will probably need 512mb to 1 gig of better ram AND a new mobo AND a new CPU?
    If you have decent RAM for your XP you can just carry it over to AMD64 (& which isn't bothered about running a divider).

    MSI P55-GD80, i5 750
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    Asking silly questions menthel's Avatar
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    Well said. I only upgrade when necessary now, and my rig does mostly what I want it to do. It can be difficult to decide on the upgrade time, but I feel the next one will be a whole system as there has been a lot of change really. However the advice I will take on board is to design your system for what it will be used for and not just splashing out on the latest and greatest.
    Not around too often!

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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BUFF
    If you have decent RAM for your XP you can just carry it over to AMD64 (& which isn't bothered about running a divider).
    PC2700?

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

  14. #14
    Spodes Henchman unrealrocks's Avatar
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    Good post - although I dissagree with your point about motherboards. There are alot of cheap motherboards that are very good and benchmark wise work nearly as well as the more expensive ones (K7 wise - ECS K7S5A, ASRock K7S5X-E are both extremely cheap but both great).

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    Resident abit mourner BUFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zak33
    PC2700?
    Yes, in fact in certain configurations the AMD64s memory controller defaults to 166fsb.
    Ultimately of course you are better running with faster RAM but it will run with PC2700.

    MSI P55-GD80, i5 750
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    HEXUS.timelord. Zak33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BUFF
    Yes, in fact in certain configurations the AMD64s memory controller defaults to 166fsb.
    Ultimately of course you are better running with faster RAM but it will run with PC2700.
    blimey...I have a gig of nice Infineon and it is the reason I have stayed Barton and not gone A64.

    I need to look into this now

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

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