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 Post subject: Help Construct My New AMD64
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 2:10 am 
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Location: Misawa Air Base, Japan (APO AP)
All,

I'm in need of the brilliant (bordering on savant!) advice of our SPCR members. I'm in the mood to upgrade my current Barton 2500 system that has served me faithfully and fairly quietly, and am looking at ordering new AMD64 components this weekend to have in time to install over my long 4th of July weekend. In addition to advice on the new components I wish to buy, I'm also looking for advice as to whether current ones will work in the new system.

Here's what I'm using now that I'll transfer to my new system to save unnecessary costs (that budget thing, you know?):

Case: Lian Li PC-6070
Hard Drive: Maxtor 250GB (my noisiest component :cry: )
Optical Drive: Plextor PX-708A
Video Card: Matrox P650

Items which I hope to keep but unsure if they'll work. I'd appreciate opinions on this, please (starting to feel the monetary pinch).

Memory: 2X512MB Samsung PC3200 400Mhz
Heatsink/fan: Thermalright SLK-800A w/Panaflo L1A
PSU: Mike's modded Seasonic 300W (a steady, wonderful and quiet PSU, do you think I'll be able to keep, Mike? :D )

I'm looking at the AMD64 3200 as my sweet spot, so does anyone have a recommendation as to what I should specifically look for when purchasing this CPU? Also, any recommendations for motherboards, which I always agonize over when upgrading, would be much appreciated.

As a final note, my primary interest is silence, I don't overclock, most of my work involves downloading and burning files/movies to DVD, and I no longer use a 3.5 floppy so I need to do BIOS upgrades via Windows. Other than that, I have no special power needs (yeah, yeah, I know, but I still have the itch to upgrade!).

Thanks in advance for any advice.

hawkeye1

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:32 am 
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I built myslef an AMD64 system a short time ago. I went with then AMD64 3000+ though to save that extra lilttle bit. The only difference between the 3000 and the 3200 is the 3000 has 512kb of cache and the 3200 has 1Mb of cache. All the benchmarking sites I looked at before buying showed these two were basically tied in performance yet the 3200 costs more. Just something to think about.

As far as motherboards, I bought the MSI K8T Neo FIS2R. It got high reviews on many sites and was reasonably priced.

You should have no problems with the memory and the power supply. However I don't think you can use the heatsink. AMD64 is a different larger socket than the XP. I bought a Zalman CNPS-7000 the all copper one. Even with the fan on high it is quiet enough for me.

You could get the retail version of the chip and use the included heatsink for now. It is reasonably quiet to use in the short term. I probably would not have ordered the Zalman if I had tried the stock heatsink first.

Just my opinion.... Enjoy your new machine :!:

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 Post subject: Welcome to SPCR, Hawkeye1
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:30 am 
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Welcome to SPCR, Hawkeye1

You might want to see if you can swing a Socket 939 Athlon 64 -- these will be the standard in the future. Though the Socket 754 are certainly less money. Apparently, AMD's production has hit stride, and they have shipped more Opterons in the first quarter than they did all last year...so prices may come down some.

I have built 3 Athlon 64 machines; one 2800+ and two 3000+. My favorite motherboard (so far, out of four that I tried), is the AOpen K89 MAX, A close second, is the Asus K8V Deluxe. The K89 MAX has almost everything you could want, including undervolting, fan control -- but it does not support Cool N' Quiet in the current BIOS. But if you Fold (for SPCR, natch), then this is not critical.

The Asus, does support CN'Q, but it does not undervolt, and the fan control is not as good.

RAM latency and compatibility is an issue: single sided sticks are much better, apparently, but I have not been able to tell which 512MB sticks are single sided -- if there is such a thing. Get RAM with 2.5-3-3-4 or better -- I found that I was unable to force better timings on Mushkin PC4000 3-4-4-8 RAM, even though it should have been able to do it.

Having said that, I had great luck with Mushkin's least expensive PC-3200:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-146-219&depa=1

and their Level 1 Dual Pack:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-146-290&depa=1

I did use the 2-2-2 Special stuff on the Asus, and it was fine, but it is a lot more $$ than the Level One stuff, and is barely any better.

Whatever RAM you get, you might have to push the RAM voltage *up* in order to get it to work right.

You will not be able to use the SLK-800A HS -- this is a different socket altogether. I used the Zalman 7000A, and the Alpha, and on one, I used the stock HSF (undervolted quite a bit) and while it wasn't as quiet as I had hoped, I was forced to use it because the backplate was glued onto the ECS motherboard that I was using.

A 300watt PS should be fine -- that's all I ever used in the three machines. BTW, I love the Matrox P650 but the ASRock and the Asus BIOS's often conflict with Matrox cards -- you have to disable their logo in order not to garble the POST and BIOS screens! :roll: One the ASRock K8S8X, I could not *ever* get it to work! :evil:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 2:23 pm 
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Neil - have you tried updating the BIOS on the Matrox P650? AFAIK flashing it will fix the garbled POST screens (the other alternative is usually to disable any boot logos). This problem existed with the original Parhelia - I can't really believe that Matrox didn't fix it in the shipped BIOS with the P6/750s... :roll:

http://www.matrox.com/mga/support/drive ... /home2.cfm


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 Post subject: I did...
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 6:51 pm 
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Hello:

I did update it, and I also tried a new BIOS that ASRock Tech Support sent me -- nothing worked. I ended up RMA'ing that board (it also did not work for CN'Q) and getting the ECS (same SiS 755 chipset), and in the meantime I had to install a PCI video card to be able to get into the BIOS... :roll:

The Asus/Athlon 64 3000+ machine had a Parhelia 128MB Retail, and it had no boot screen problems, though it did do strange things with lower resolutions on the DVI outputs...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:30 pm 
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Wow! Thanks for all the responses, helped clarify some of the exact things I was confused about, especially with motherboards. I figured I might have to go with a new heatsink, so I've been checking out the Zalman lately--both on the Net and in SPCR threads--so I'll think that's what I'll go with.

I don't fold, but sure would like Cool'N'Quiet as an option. I'll check out the motherboards some more before coming to a decision. I'll also check out the Socket 939 chips/boards, but don't know if my budget will allow that kind of expense. Might be able to talk myself into it though...

Thanks once again for the responses, some good info for me to build on.

Hawkeye1

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:35 pm 
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hawkeye1 wrote:
I don't fold,


Tsck, tsck, tsck, tsck. All that hardware, sitting idle? What's the point of getting a 3200+ when all it'll do is run at 800 MHz? :?:

It WANTS to fold, it's nature's call. :idea:

Just give in to the dark side. :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 12:20 am 
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Location: Misawa Air Base, Japan (APO AP)
Neil,

A couple of questions on your AK89 Max. First of all, I looked at AMD's list of Cool'n'Quiet motherboards, and this board was listed if it's Revision 57 and BIOS R1.06. Is this what you're using and still unable to get it working? Second, is the BIOS on this board upgradeable via Windows?

I looked at the Socket 939, just too much money for now. :cry:

TIA/Hawkeye1

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 6:54 pm 
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Hello:

hawkeye1 wrote:
Neil,

A couple of questions on your AK89 Max. First of all, I looked at AMD's list of Cool'n'Quiet motherboards, and this board was listed if it's Revision 57 and BIOS R1.06. Is this what you're using and still unable to get it working? Second, is the BIOS on this board upgradeable via Windows?

I looked at the Socket 939, just too much money for now. :cry:

TIA/Hawkeye1


I delivered it to my client, so I don't know what revision it was and I *think* the BIOS was 1.06 -- there was a newer version (1.07?) that just listed a "fix" of running two double sided RAM sticks at DDR333... :evil: So, I kept the shipped BIOS which was running two double sided 512MB sticks at DDR400. These were the Mushkin basic PC3200 sticks (without heat speaders).

Mike C. has an AK89 Max (or two?) and he said that he had not seen evidence that Cool N' Quiet was working, either. On the ECS and the Asus mobo's, I could see CPUID reporting the speed drop just a few moments after letting the system idle -- and this did not happen on the AK89 Max system. :cry: It certainly would be something to ask AOpen's "pre-sales" inquiries to confirm, one way or the other...

Another motherboard that might be worth checking into is the MSI Neo.

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http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 3:59 pm 
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Posts: 40
Just wanted to let you know that the Asus K8V deluxe does support undervolting. I'm writing this as a K8V deluxe owner. You can manually set the CPU parameters. Also, if you enable CnQ, you can use 3rd party software to customize your CnQ experience (ie custom undervolting from within windows). CnQ lets you change the CPU multiplier anytime you choose.

However, I don't exactly recommend this board simply because refuses to cooperate with me. Stable? Sure. Quiet? yeah it is passively cooled. But it gives me hell every chance it gets in other ways...

So put your faith in the other recommendations. They'll take good care of you.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:26 pm 
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Location: Misawa Air Base, Japan (APO AP)
Just a quick note to let the board know of my purchase decision. I ended up getting the MSI K8T Neo-FSR, AMD64 3200, and the Zalman ALCU cooler. The Samsung memory I'm currently using is on MSI's approved list, so I saved some money there.

Thanks once again for all the helpful comments.

hawkeye1

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