Olde Fart
2008-09-25T04:00:40Z

Gidday young'uns!

Well, where to start? I haven't been in the hardware scene for years now, and had taken a sabbatical w.r.t. overclocking and stuff. I'm not a complete noob [:D], I've built phase-change and water-cooling rigs and so on when I was younger. As I got older, what I did set aside is that passion for the hardware and getting the most out of it.

Recently I've had more free time to play around and having bought some recent games that caught my eye (e.g STALKER), the lack of modern oomph from my current system is telling. Here are the specs:

MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum S939

A64 3200+ overclocked to 2.7GHz on air. (What does that make it, sort of a 4200+ ???)

1GB (2x512) generic PC3200 value sticks that handle the overclock decently.

Radeon X800 Pro with a nice 150Mhz overclock on core and gddr.

A nice (imo) 19" 5ms Gigabyte LCD panel with a native res of 1280x1024.

A 500W PSU (no idea what brand it is, I suspect it's some generic taiwanese job)

A variety of frankendrives plugged in any which way for storage.

The usual DVD writer and other odd gubbins.

 

 

Well now when I was knee-high to a leper, this was a nice system (I used to be an early adopter). It's still a nice system and is probably better at gaming than most mid-range OEM jobs you can buy these days. But me olde bones are a-itchin' for some more whack.

Here's what I have decided. My budget isn't unlimited, as I'd still like to get value for money. The days of blasting my pension fund on the latest and greatest isn't of concern to me any more. Besides, there's a H.D. VRSC Night Rod standing on the shop floor down the road that I've got my eye on!

  1. The PSU should be the limiting factor in terms of stuff I buy. I'd like to limit the amount of juice that I have to feed the PC, so ideally, the 500 Watter remains
  2. The panel is also perfect for my needs and so I would like not to overkill it with a monster graphics card setup. Lots of AA would be nice for the ol' pork pies, though.

Here are some specific questions:

  1. I can get a Core 2 Duo E8500 or Core 2 Quad Q6600 for similar cash. Which would be better - slow quad or fast duo? I will most probably be overclocking it out of principle.
  2. What's the difference between Crossfire and SLI? I understand the one is ATI/AMD's multi-GPU chipset solution and the other is nVidia's. Which should I go for? Can you run GeForces in CrossFire and vice versa?
  3. I been thinking about getting the HD4850 512MB. I can get this for similar money than the 8800 GT. Which way to go?
  4. Should I get a single-slot or XF/SLI motherboard? (I'm thinking future upgrades, maybe?)
  5. Should I go for a 1333MHz or 1066MHz motherboard?
  6. Which memory to get. The motherboards I can get cheaply are Gigabyte and Asus DDR2 boards. Should I rather go for more expensive DDR3 boards?

 

Thanks for reading and, if ye can, helping an old feller. I'll probably have more questions after.

Cheers!

Old Fart

 

bob_on_the_cob
2008-09-25T10:13:54Z

1 I would go with the quad because games are more and more using the extra cores.

2 You need to desided if you want crossfire or SLI before you get you motherboard. Most chipsets only support one or the other. Although with a 1280x1024 monitor you don't need either.

3 The 4850 is a better deal and plenty juice for you screen

4 I always buy SLI/Crossfire boards with the intent of upgrading later and always find faster single cards for cheap. That said most motherboards come with dual PCIe slots so you might as well get a crossfire board.

5 I would go for a 1333mhz board for the extra overclocking headroom.

6 DDR2 is cheap as dirt and is just as fast as DDR3 right now.

 

The only thing that worrys me is that 500 watt psu. A cheap psu might have 500 watts but not enought on the 12 rail to support such a system. Welcome to HH! let me know if you have any other questions.

Olde Fart
2008-09-25T10:34:50Z

Och, thanks for the kind reply!

So the Q6600 runs at 1033MHz fsb and should overclock quite well from what I've read? 1333MHz board it is!

The dual PCI-E boards I can buy are expensive as they're pretty much all 1600FSB, like the Asus Republic of Gamers  series boards. Hmm, I might have a green card but I'm not a naturalised citizen! :-D

I'm looking at the Asus P5Q with the Intel P45 chipset. Only PCI-E 16x times one but it does have DDR2 1200 support and lots of nice onboard options such as 8ch sound and a handful of gbe ports.

SLI or Crossfire is interesting to me but do I really need it? In all honesty, I probably wont.

I'm also thinking of getting 4gb of ram. I intend staying with Windows XP 32-bit SP3 (Hate Vista with a passion). I can get 4x 1024mb DDR2 800 sticks quite cheaply (not sure of the brand). Is this a good idea? The fastest non-premium 2048MB sticks I can get are 667megahurts (the top-shelf, brand name, paired memory sticks are too expensive I think for what one gets).

Will the 800Mhz RAM hurt any overclocking attempts? Do chipsets still have clock dividers for the memory bus?

This is starting to get to be an expensive little exercise... almost $1000 US if my calculations are correct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3vi1
  •  3vi1
  • 50.25% (Neutral)
  • Advanced Member
2008-09-25T12:45:51Z

 I second Bob's suggestions.  I have a system with a Q6600 and have had nothing but good experiences with that processor.

 Like Bob, I usually buy SLI (I use NVidia cards because I primarily run Linux) boards... but always end up finding a cheaper single card solution before I break down and buy the second card.

I seriously considered DDR3 for my last system, but when you break down the cost vs. performance, there's no way it was worth it (at least not at the time I was looking).  I went with DDR2.

bob_on_the_cob
2008-09-25T14:35:20Z

You don't need two GPUs for your monitor. If it will save you money go with a one PCIe slotted mobo.

Others may say different, but I buy value ram. Almost all motherboards com with dividers. Mine(Asus P5N-e SLI) you can set the memory to whatever speed you want independently from your FSB. I would still go with a name brand such as Corsair or Kingston. They sell very cheap value ram that is still high quality.

Super Dave
2008-09-25T15:08:23Z

Olde Fart wrote:

As I got older, what I did set aside is that passion for the hardware and getting the most out of it.

 

^LOL^ - [:D]Some passions never die, as evidenced by this statement:

Olde Fart wrote:

Will the 800Mhz RAM hurt any overclocking attempts? Do chipsets still have clock dividers for the memory bus?

 

Welcome to HotHardware Olde Fart![Y]

 

nelsoncp21
2008-09-25T17:08:53Z

 I second the new psu. If that thing is a couple years old and it's generic you def don't want to throw it in that brand new system. Even if it had the power to support it, it's a matter of time before it goes up and possibly takes some precious new peice of hardware you just bought with it. You can pick up a FSP or sparkle psu for pretty cheap to handle your system.

This looks like a pretty solid board to suite your needs

Maybe some of this RAM. 4GB isn't that important if your not running Vista not to mention you could always add more later if needed.

combine that with a 4850 and it's less then $600 from newegg for the cpu,MB,Ram and GPU. Not bad imo.

Der Meister
2008-09-25T17:25:13Z

I would definatly go with the Q6600 its a great chip for the price/ perfomance. I wouldn't worry about SLI or Crossfire. They are both way over priced sloutions to +10 in the frame rate. Id go with the 4850 its a great card for the price and will be able to play stalker, I love the game, no problem. I'd ge the dual or tri PCIe slot mobos since they are more main stream and it wont hurt having them. 1333 of you can or you can get the 1066, i know with either board you can get to 3.0ghz on the Q6600 with air. Id go with DDR2 there just isnt that big of a perfomance increase for the extra $ you spend on DDR3 at the moent. Bon brough up a good point, this will run fine on 500-600w however i dont think you Old PSU can supply enough on the Vrails to support the new card. And i would hate to have you get everything and then kill it all when the PSU takes a dump.

warlord
2008-09-25T18:25:38Z

1 more for the quad...4 is better than 2 ......Besides then you can use those extra cores to fold [Y]

zombiemaster
2008-09-25T23:06:36Z

I'll pile-on with all the recommendations above  [:)]  -  but throw in that if you want to get some of the higher OCing on air, you might want to take a look at an aftermarket cooler.  The new direct contact heatpipe coolers are very good and not too expensive.  Sunbeam has their 'Core Contact Freezer' and Xigmatek has their 'Heat-pipe Direct Touch'.   Only thing is they're big and you have to measure for motherboard clearance and make sure your case is wide enough.  

Olde Fart
2008-09-26T02:36:15Z

 Ah, you guys make me proud to be part o' the family.

Here's a little spanner in the works for you. I can lay my grubby old mits on a HD3650 AGP 512MB for absolutely dirt cheap (well, at least, in my neck of the woods).

Would this give my box a new lease on life for the next couple of months while prices go down, or should I bite the bullet while the old ticker still functions?

See, I'm not from the 'States and so cannot take advantage of many online offers, and besides, I simply just don't trust credit card deals online (That's another long tale in the telling...), so I make do with what I can find locally that is reasonable.

Did a bit of testing last night with that PSU. It's a "GoldPower" 500W. No idea where it's made, it doesn't say (Although the name does sound like it's from the, ahem, orient). It's a dirty big old gold-anodised job with two 120mm fans, top and bottom, and the usual exhaust fan.

Whacked some car audio equipment on the 12V rail with some big pots to limit current, to see how much juice it could push. It managed around 11.7V up until around 50A of draw, which is A LOT of juice, over 570W. At this stage the voltage started dropping, and I also suspect it wouldn't last long at this load. I placed some 5V fans (thank goodness for my box of computer crap in the garage) on the 5V and 3.3V rails, and they were very stable, if a little noisy at high loads. I might chuck some caps or chokes on there to smooth it out a little. I'll also see if the 12V could be tweaked to bring it in line with what it's supposed to be.

All in all it looks to be a solid PSU, perhaps a larger part that is marked down in order to make a reliable 500W piece. I did open it up and there were no signs of bulging caps or overheating bits, so I'm confident it should do for a single-card setup.

bob_on_the_cob
2008-09-26T08:53:54Z

First off good to here that PSU can handle some amps. The 3650 and maybe another gig of ram any your current rig should still be good to go if you wanna hold off. With intels new cpus coming out soon it might not be a bad idea.

Oh and glad we could make ya fill at home[;)]

Olde Fart
2008-09-29T05:13:18Z

 AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Well, I've gone over to the dark side, whippersnappers. [:|]

On their way are an ASUS P5Q motherboard, a Q6600, 2GB of DDR2-1066, and an MSI R4850 512MB.

I've also decided to get a 700 watter. As I'll be passing my current system onto my li'l nephew, he will need a good PSU anyway.

I've been reading some threads and reviews on the P5Q and it seems like a solid board. The MSI Radeon may (or may not) also come with a nice heatpipe heatsink (the earlier versions used the ATI reference design). We'll see what I get in the lucky packet.

My stuff should be arriving on Wednesday or so... I'll let you guys know how it progresses. This is my first system build in over 5 years and I'm pretty excited! [Y]

Farewell, my beloved Athlon... [:'(]

 

bob_on_the_cob
2008-09-29T05:41:07Z

Exciting stuff! Let us know how it all goes. We love pictures too. wink wink[;)]

Der Meister
2008-09-29T22:30:09Z

Wonderful to hear, Post some pics of it when you get it. In making pics are nice to have as well!