Hardware Advice Requested

I’ve been a bit out of the hardware game, I tend to ignore hardware specs and details until it’s time to actually get a new system, and I’ve been thinking that I should get an idea of what’s out there. I did some surfing today (partially because ScoobyD is speccing out a new system and asking me questions) and came up with some questions hopefully some of the hardware freaks/gamers out there can answer:

AMD or Intel?

Back in the day of the Athlon it was clear cut, but now an Athlon XP 3000 (2.17Ghz) is $159, a AMD64 $3000 is $179, a P4 S775 3Ghz is $219…. Hell, I hardly know the diff between the S929, S754, Semprom, S775, ATX, BTX, etc…. what’s “common” these days? Doesn’t look like much has happened in the SocketA boards (AthlonXP), is the AMD 3000+ really equiv to P4 3Ghz? Etc?

What Motherboard?

Again, back in the day it was the Asus boards that I liked, is the A8N S939 any good? Gigabyte vs Asus vs ?

nForce X?

My Mb has nForce2…. latest I see is nForce4 on the Asus site, is it good, bad, what does it give me vs what other chipsets there are?


SATA or SATA2? I’ve seen a page that basically said that even with SATA-2 you still are limited by the hard drives and you’re not going to get the 3G/s transfer rate anytime soon. Will the better HDs be coming out? Do those 10,000 rpm monsters (only 74G though which sucks) give you any real speed improvement? Are they even SATA or plain old IDE?


Realistically, does going from pc3200 to whatevers next really make a difference?

I think that’s it for now…. anyone with hardware-fu feel free to answer and help me kick my pocketbook just a little more 🙂

3 Comments on “Hardware Advice Requested”

  1. CPU/Motherboard – I don’t know, but at $work all we buy is Intel. Prices of AMD vs. Intel seem nominal.
    For sure get a board with SATA. But (and you know this was coming :-)), the top drive right now (according to storagereview.com) seems to be the Fugitsu MAU3147. 15,000 RPM, 90+ mb/s STR, <4 ms average seek time, and even very quiet. The Maxtor Atlas drives are pretty nice too though. Definetly hit Storage Review to compare any drives you’re looking at…
    A lot of the choices come down to what you want to use the box for… gaming? development/general purpose workhorse?
    Biggest bottleneck in most systems are still the hard drives.
    If you want LOTS of space without paying for SCSI prices, check out http://www.coraid.com… ATA over IP, awesome support under Linux 🙂 But not quite cheap enough for home use 🙁

  2. well i’d say amd over all, amd64 vs intel is pretty balanced right now, but amd has a great upgrade path a s939 board will last along time. there dual core cpu’s are out and use the same socket, so later on you can upgrade with just a bios update needed and get dual core running. as for sata vs sata2, sata2 has faster speeds (well is got the specs for it, no drive uses them yet though) NCQ which is really cool basically it re-orders the request sent to it to get the data in the most logical order rather then the way it was sent, pretty big boost in performance, only nf4 boards have it on the amd side. DFI is the creme of the crop for overclocking, and they are really stable, asus still has the best packages but dont’ OC as well as dfi, but are still very stable. you only ever need more then pc3200 if your going to overclock other wise it’s a waste of money cause the spec is always for either pc2700 or pc3200. AMD64 can pretty much do anything that p4’s do now, and a lot of things much better with less heat and power usage, but if your doing content creation p4 is still the king, so yeah depends on what you are going to do for sure.

    • Given the current prices I’d get Dual Core P4 2.8 GHz (about $350).
    • 200-250 MB Hard Drive (Maxtor has 16M cache drives that are interesting)
    • 1 GB RAM (2 x 512 MB for dual channel), something with a low CAS, Corsair is the sh$t these days.
    • Asus is still a good motherboard brand.
    • Case and PS are much more interesting.. I’m thinking the Antec Sonata w/380 Watt PS.. but otherwise I’d get a cheaper case and get a 400+ watt Antec or Enermax PS.
    • Monitor (if not using an existing one) would be a 19″ LCD (Viewsonic VP191b if you dont’ mind spending a bit more). See Tom’s Hardware for more info.
    • Graphics card.. well if Cat5’s ATI contact panned out, then that’s easy, otherwise a Geforce 6600GT or 6800GT depending on budget.
    • NEC DVD writer
    • KB and Mouse Logitech LX700 combo (includes MX 700 mouse) or for about twice the money the MX3100 combo (includes the MX1000 laser mouse!).