Best of luck,
...having trouble deciding exactly what to put in it.
Seeing as this is intended as a gaming system, I'm thinking an AMD processor is the best bet- but which?
The vendor I'm looking at offers 2 in my price range:
AMD Athlon 64 3400+ 2.2GHz, 1MB Cache, Socket 754 or
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2GHz, 512k Cache, Socket 939
Seems I'd want the higher speed and newer socket, or does the extra cache on the 3400+ more than make up for the slower speed of the other?
After that comes a very difficult question for me: which motherboard?
Its not made any simpler by all the options I'm given.
Asus K8V SE Deluxe
Asus K8V X
Asus K8N E
Gigabyte GA-K8NS Pro
Abit K8V Pro
Microstar K8T Neo-FSR
Microstar K8N Neo Platinum
Asus A8V Deluxe
Microstar K8N Neo2 Platinum
Microstar K8T Neo2-F
All are listed as supporting SATA & RAID (important to me), onboard LAN & audio (not important), and almost all mention firewire (not important, at least for the foreseeable future).
Mostly, I want the best, most stable performer here- anyone know which that is?
The next part giving me trouble deciding is the sound card: do I want (need) the Audigy 2 ZS, or can I safely go with the plain Audigy 2?
All I know I need it to do is power the Creative T5400 5.1 speakers.
I did try reading the spec sheets on these cards, but I can't tell most of what its trying to say- all I want is good sound in my games.
Everything else I *think* I have figured out, but if anyone wants a look at my configuration, maybe make suggestions, here's what my picks are atm:
Lian-Li PC-V1000D MidTower with Antec True 480w PS
AMD Athlon 64 3500+, 2.2GHz, 512k Cache, Socket 939
Asus A8V Deluxe with Audio-GB.LAN-Firewire-Dual S.ATA (Socket 939)
Corsair XMS TwinX 2,048 MB PC3200 DDR400, Heat Spreaders, Matched Pair
HD 1: Western Digital 80 GB, SATA, 7200 RPM, 8MB Cache
HD 2: Western Digital 80 GB, SATA, 7200 RPM, 8MB Cache
Lite On 832 Dual Layer [DVD
This roadmap is a bit easier to understand.
Notice that the Athlon 64 3500+ comes in two versions, a 130 nm one, and a 890 nm one, both socket 939. The 90 nm one uses less power and runs cooler(it might also overclock much better, although I don't recommend overclocking)
If you decide to go with a 3500+, then it is definitely worth the extra $40 for the 90 nm one.
The socket 939 would give you a better upgrade path if you decide to ungrade the processor without upgrading the motherboard. It looks like Athlon 64 3700+ may be the highest performance chip for socket 754. The socket 939 chip also needs two memory sticks that are the same, while the socket 754 can be used with just one memory stick. It might cost you around $150-200 more to go with the 3500+ 90 nm rather than the 3400+.
The decision boils down to how flexible your budget is.
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