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    So I went into these holidays with a bit of spare cash and have since spent most of my energy trying not to spend it (it's so hard, there are so many shiny things in the world!) I have pretty much succeeded but am thinking of getting myself a new desktop PC before I head back to uni.

    My current (and first *new*) desktop is an Athlon 2100+ I had built for me about 4 years ago which has served me well but doesn't quite cut the mustard anymore. I've investigated a fair few pre-built options but feel I can probably get a fair bit more for my money if I put together the bits myself but would be greatful for a second (and third/fourth/...) opinion on a few of the specifics.

    If it helps: I only have a budget of £400-£500 so value is important (though I don't want it to fall apart after 6 months). On and it will probably used mainly for gaming / net surfing / messing about with linux / uni stuff (I'm a computer scientist).

    Currently I'm thinking something along the following lines:

    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ socket 939
    Motherboard: Asus A8N-E SKT 939 NFORCE 4 AUDIO LAN PCI-Express ATX
    RAM: 1GB DDR PC3200
    Graphics Card: NVidia 7600GT 256mb PCI-E (A Gainward if I can find one)
    Case: Something Cheap...
    PSU: ?
    Hard Drive / Optical Drives: Optional extras if I have the cash as I have some I can scrounge from other machines.

    It's my understanding that traditionaly AMD CPU's have been better value for money. However, given the appearance of the Intel Core 2 Duo's and then the subsequent AMD price cuts, have things changed?

    Assuming for the moment that AMD is still the way to go: Is AM2 good/better than 939/worthwhile?

    Memory wise: Are matched-pairs the extra slot being filled? What about DDR2?

    Also, I've noticed a fair amount of people on TSR advising staying away from cheap power supplies but don't really understand the reasoning behind it. Is it just that if the PSU goes it might take everything else with it? Also has anyone got any evidence (personal or otherwise) of this actually happening?

    Finally when it comes to actually buying things: I've been looking at ebuyer and maybe overclockers.co.uk. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance, oh and apologies if this should be in the rather long 'ask us for advice' thread.
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    (Original post by DrCube)
    Also, I've noticed a fair amount of people on TSR advising staying away from cheap power supplies but don't really understand the reasoning behind it. Is it just that if the PSU goes it might take everything else with it? Also has anyone got any evidence (personal or otherwise) of this actually happening?
    Ask AT82 for experience on the issue. Lets just say, its not a myth.

    As for RAM, a matched pair of cards will perform better than a single card.

    DDR2 RAM is able to run at higher speeds and therefore perform better than DDR RAM assuming everything else about the RAM stays the same.

    The new AMD platorm, AM2 platform is different only in that it takes DDR2 RAM, i think its worthwhile getting an AM2 motherboard for ~£20 more. However, youll be forced to use DDR2 RAM, but now it is as cheap as DDR RAM and therefore shouldnt be a problem. You may have to take a speed cut or go single core to stay in budget. But if it is for normal daya to day tasks as youve said, either shouldnt be a problem.

    ebuyer and overclockers are both fine, im sure people will suggest many more. But try and buy all your componenets from one retailer unless you save somethign more than a mere few quid + delivery.

    Also, you should read Piemaster's sticky on Making a PC specification. Its very helpful and will defintely help you in choosing a PSU.
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    (Original post by ghost101)
    Also, you should read Piemaster's sticky on Making a PC specification. Its very helpful and will defintely help you in choosing a PSU.
    Yay, someone remembered it!

    Ditto about AM2/DDR2 though; it seems a little pointless buying into old technology.
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    Best piece of advice atm is to buy an Intel Conroe chip (socket 775). The chip is noticeably faster than the Athlon X2 chips which are a year old now and therefore lag behind the new chips from Intel. I would recommend the E6300 (1.86ghz) version in your price range.
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    (Original post by NumberOne)
    Best piece of advice atm is to buy an Intel Conroe chip (socket 775). The chip is noticeably faster than the Athlon X2 chips which are a year old now and therefore lag behind the new chips from Intel. I would recommend the 1.86ghz version in your price range.
    Actually, its not an obvious decision. At the high end level it is obvious, but AMD have priced their CPUs to match Intel in price/performance comparisons so towards the bottom its tough. Conroe motherboards are expensive as well.
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    I have recently got the same basic rig you have (exept its AM2, DDR2 stuff) and i say you go for the AM2 socket, not only is it newer, the AM3 chips which will be released in 08/09 will be able to run on the old AM2 sockets (tho AM2 chips wont be able to run on AM3 sockets) so in the long run it will be cheaper if you want to upgrade.

    Also if your on a budget the difference bwteen 677 Mhz and 800 Mhz is minimal, so dont worry about the difference.
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    Ooh, thanks all for the quick replies.

    (Original post by ghost101)
    As for RAM, a matched pair of cards will perform better than a single card.
    This much I understand (or more accurately have been told). I'm more wondering if people think the extra performance is worth taking up the extra RAM slot.


    (Original post by ghost101)
    Also, you should read Piemaster's sticky on Making a PC specification. Its very helpful and will defintely help you in choosing a PSU.
    (Original post by PieMaster)
    Yay, someone remembered it!
    Thanks for pointing out said sticky, I'll read it in a mo.

    (Original post by ghost101)
    The new AMD platorm, AM2 platform is different only in that it takes DDR2 RAM, i think its worthwhile getting an AM2 motherboard for ~£20 more. However, youll be forced to use DDR2 RAM, but now it is as cheap as DDR RAM and therefore shouldnt be a problem. You may have to take a speed cut or go single core to stay in budget. But if it is for normal daya to day tasks as youve said, either shouldnt be a problem.
    (Original post by PieMaster)
    Ditto about AM2/DDR2 though; it seems a little pointless buying into old technology.
    (Original post by BhArJ)
    I have recently got the same basic rig you have (exept its AM2, DDR2 stuff) and i say you go for the AM2 socket, not only is it newer, the AM3 chips which will be released in 08/09 will be able to run on the old AM2 sockets (tho AM2 chips wont be able to run on AM3 sockets) so in the long run it will be cheaper if you want to upgrade.

    Also if your on a budget the difference bwteen 677 Mhz and 800 Mhz is minimal, so dont worry about the difference.
    IMHO 'old' technology is rarely pointless if at a reasonable price and may infact have it's advantages. However AM2/DDR2 is looking more and more the way to go (if my budget stretches that far) as one of my main complaints with my current pc is it's lack of upgradeability. However currently I'm thinking if the choice is between that and Dual Core: I'll stick with the Dual Core, sigh.

    Thanks again.
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    (Original post by DrCube)
    However currently I'm thinking if the choice is between that and Dual Core: I'll stick with the Dual Core, sigh.
    I understand you want to stay in budget, so this will be good news.

    On overclokers.co.uk the 939 and AM2 retail versions of x2 4200 are priced identically.

    Also the equivalent AM2 motherboard youve chosen only costs £7 more. And i wouldnt be surprised if the Geil 1GB kit which is highly specced is cheaper than the DDR RAM youve picked.

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatal...k_Only_25.html
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    (Original post by ghost101)
    I understand you want to stay in budget, so this will be good news.

    On overclokers.co.uk the 939 and AM2 retail versions of x2 4200 are priced identically.

    Also the equivalent AM2 motherboard youve chosen only costs £7 more. And i wouldnt be surprised if the Geil 1GB kit which is highly specced is cheaper than the DDR RAM youve picked.

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatal...k_Only_25.html
    Heh, thanks again. Was just looking at such things myself. Now if only I were buying things "this week only" I'd get most of it from that page alone!

    Now looking at AM2 I'm deluged with a whole new range of motherboards / chipsets. Any recommendations?
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    The equivalent of the A8N-E would be the M2N-E. I think you should just spend what your budget will allow. If you can get the M2N-SLi, you have the option of adding another 7600gt if the need should arrive in the future. And on that kind of timescale, 7600gts will be a fraction of the price they are today.
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    (Original post by ghost101)
    Conroe motherboards are expensive as well.
    As well as being comparatively featureless.
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    if you want to save a bit of money you could buy a x2 3800 and overclock it the extra 200mhz to make it the same as the x2 4200 or even higher.

    am2 x2 3800 - £105.69
    am2 x2 4200 - £129.19

    if you did this then you could use the money saved to buy a better psu and cpu cooler.

    you could potentially also be able to overclock the 3800 to 4600 levels or even higher
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    here is a good lowdown for a cheap PC trust me.
    intel core 2 duo e6300 (125 pounds ebuyer.co.uk) perofrms AS GOOD AS AN AM2 X2 4600+.
    2x512mb ram corsair value select DDR2 (around 50-60 pounds)
    power supply - a bit fo a shady area but people say seasonic are the best but its personal preference. get any good brand name. to knwo if it is a brand name the psus form that company will cost a minimum of around 40 quid. tthat usually works.

    everything else i have no idea so aks sumone sle for that. hoped it helped.
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    Yeah, the Core 2 Duo is E6300 is rated by PC Pro as performing at a similar level to the AMD AM2 X2 5000+, and hence offers terrific value for money when considering building a new system.
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    If you are wondering why not to get a cheap PSU:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=269116

    Bear in mind that if the PSU decides to make a spectacular exit, it takes the rest of your computer with it!!! My friend spent about 750 quid on a PC (No, I don't know why either) he put together himself and tried to save a bit of dough on the PSU. It lasted 3 months until it gave up with a bang. You've been warned...
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    Am i right in saying that the conros are 65nm and AM2 CPUs are 90nm, AMD haven't gone to 65nm but when they do....what would be the improvements?
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    (Original post by Lecter)
    Am i right in saying that the conros are 65nm and AM2 CPUs are 90nm, AMD haven't gone to 65nm but when they do....what would be the improvements?
    Correct. Massive performance increases as they can then fit more transistors on the die. They'd also even more energy efficient than they are already. AMD are slated to move to 65nm in 2008 - coinciding with the introduction of multicore (ie >2) processing and their DDR3 support rollout according to the AMD roadmap.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Correct. Massive performance increases as they can then fit more transistors on the die. They'd also even more energy efficient than they are already. AMD are slated to move to 65nm in 2008 - coninciding with the introduction of multicore (ie >2) processing and their DDR3 support rollout according to the AMD roadmap.
    They are going to 65nm towards the end of this year with the new windsor cores.

    65nm merely means that the cpu will run cooler and more efficiently. And therefore they can be clocked higher if needed. Dot expect to see any major improvements since its still the same core but with a die shrink. You could compare this die shrink with the change from prescott to cedar mill, no real performance gains but less heat.

    edit: sorry they are called brisbane cores
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    (Original post by ghost101)
    They are going to 65nm towards the end of this year with the new windsor cores.

    65nm merely means that the cpu will run cooler and more efficiently. And therefore they can be clocked higher if needed. Dot expect to see any major improvements since its still the same core but with a die shrink. You could compare this die shrink with the change from prescott to cedar mill, no real performance gains but less heat.
    I didn't realise they'd brought forward the 65nm SOI rollout. I'm sure they'll be doing a bit more than Intel's lacklustre effort with Cedar Mill, though. They're going to have to pull something out the bag to deal with the potential of Intel's new marchitecture.
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    thats why the next time i upgrade my PC would be in 2009. LOL, i assembled mine just last year, so this should do me well in 4 years or so... (maybe buy a new video card next year and thats it).

    But one word, a good powersupply means everything... dont go for anything lesser than 500watts, because graphics cards tend to be even more powerhungry these days... i used to have 300watts, and i had lots of power problem issues...
 
 
 
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