Upgrading my XP1800+

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FullQuiverNH
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Upgrading my XP1800+

Post by FullQuiverNH » Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:32 pm

Hi all,
Looking to upgrade parts of my XP1800+ system to something that can handle modern video codecs. It's been 5 years since I built a system so I could use some advice. Here is my current setup (components from 1-5 years old, oldest shown first):

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 1800+ with Zalman CNPS7000B-ALCU, stock fan running at minimum setting, 1400RPM
Motherboard: ABIT KR7A-133 motherboard with Zalman motherboard heatsink
Case: Antec SX1030B
DVD: TDK 440N DVD burner
Video: NVidia GForce Ti 4600 with Zalman ZM80C VGA cooler
Fans: 2x80mm Nexus fans, foam mounted to case
Power Supply: Seasonic S12-330
HD1: Hitachi 250GB 7200RPM on foam pad on floor of case
HD2: Seagate 120GB 7200RPM (model ST3120026A) mounted on removable sled, used occasionally for video editing and backups.

O/S is WinXP (no immediate plans for Vista) and Linux occasionally.

My temps w/Folding@Home:
Case: 32c, CPU: 51c with case fans at 12V
Case: 32c, CPU: 55c with case fans at 5V

My goal is to spend just enough to get a dual-core system with 1GB RAM. The most demanding application is video editing, encoding, and playback. The system is almost as quiet as I would like. The loudest components are CPU fan and HD seek noise. I no longer play games and 3D capabilities are not important.

* Should I sell the whole system and build something new from scratch, taking advantage of modern case design? I would lose money on the newer power supply and system disk. Or should I replace the CPU, MB, memory and video card?
* For a CPU, I'm considering the new 65nm AMD X2 3800, due to the low power consumption and it being nearly as fast as the C2D 6300. Does this make sense or would the C2D be "worth it"?
* Any motherboard recommendations? DVI is important as my LCD monitor looks horrible with the analog input. Is onboard DVI an option or should I go discrete?
* I could probably fit it in, but I don't have a lot of free time to build and tweek a custom system. Would something like a Dell E521 (around $500) be a better choice? My guess is that HD seek would be a real problem with the hardmounted drives.

Thanks very much for your assistance...

psiu
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Post by psiu » Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:57 pm

I'll attack a couple of your questions since I just recently went from my Athlon XP 1800 to a Athlon 64 FX-55.

Go dual core if you can--I ended up going single core because of the deal on the processor at the time. I would actually recommend 2GB of RAM now if possible--lot easier to do it all at once rather than later. 2 x 1GB sticks may give better performance than 4 x 512MB.
Which socket are you going for? AM2 is the latest for AMD's, but 939 is a mature stable platform with a lot of choices available. You could recycle current RAM as well. There are a few mobo's with onboard DVI, but for what you are doing, you want a separate video card, even a lower-end one will take the strain off the cpu & ram compared to onboard graphics.
The Zalman 7000 should be useable and probably sufficient on Socket 754/939 for AMD. Might run a bit warmer but I imagine it would still be well within acceptable limits. I would think that just upgrading your current rig with some choice additions would be better than trying to put a whole new system together, or getting a Dell and realizing it's too noisy and a PITA to fiddle with afterwards.
And I imagine the Seasonic should be fine--I am running an Antec Truepower 330 and it's powering the Athlon FX-55, ATI X800XT, 2 HD, DVD, and TV card.
Edit: I have the Zalman 7700 for mine and the noise increase is almost nonexistent for the first quarter turn on the Fanmate, so you might be able to squeeze a little extra cooling out of your 7000 too.

FullQuiverNH
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Post by FullQuiverNH » Wed Jan 03, 2007 6:49 pm

psiu, Thanks for the tips. If I go with the AMD platform, I would probably choose AM2 since that is the only socket supported by the lower-power "Brisbane" chip (though I would need new RAM). Not sure if my Zalman 7000 would work, but I'd prefer to get a fanless heatsink anyway and just sell the CPU/cooler/motherboard/RAM as a combo on e-bay :-)

lurkr
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Post by lurkr » Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:08 pm

Wow .. this is topical - I was just forced to upgrade when 1/2 the caps on my mobo popped, resulting in too much current from the PS being drawn, and burning 4 pins beyond recovery.

I had similar setup to you - the basics....
* EPOX mobo 8RDA+
* Athlon xp 1800+ with thermalright SLK900A + Panaflow
* GeForce Ti4200 with Zalman fanless HS
* Seagate 250GB IDE HDD + WD 80GB
* Antec Case with TruPower330

I HAD to replace mobo & power supply (and due to circumstance, had already replaced the AGP graphics card with a GeForce 7600GS as part of troubleshooting, before noticing the caps), so I wanted to be able to re-use the AGP card, IDE disks & CD/DVD Drives, while being prepared for more current technology, should my disk fail sometime in the next few years.

So I went an ASrock AM2NF3-VSTA mobo - it's AM2 so put me back into the "more recent" realm, and still supports AGP:-
http://www.asrock.com/product/AM2NF3-VSTA.htm

If you don't care about legacy AGP support (i.e will EBay your AGP card), go for mobo with PCI Express, for your new Vid card

the AM2NF3-VSTA supports Serial ATA - so is forward compatible for future potential disk replacement ... while it still has IDE for re-use of existing disks.

And it's VISTA ready - for potential future upgrade of OS.

For PS, went the Antec SmartPower2 450 ... as this has the additional pins for the Mobo connector just incase i have another MObo death, while it still supports the good old ATX connection as well (i.e look for a PS that is backward compatible to the old ATX form factor, as well as the newer ATX12v Version 2 form factor). With the ASRock mobo, if the pins on my old PS weren't burn so much, I could have re-used it :-( - you should be able to re-use your PS, provided your new MOBO connection is still the old ATX standard (i.e does not require the additional pins for ATX Version 2)

Memory had to be replaced - most new stuff supports DDRII, so that's an additional expense.

Got an AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+ to pop in (runs almost 10C cooler with stock HS/FAN than the xp1800+ ran with the SLK900 - so much lower cooling demand)
NOTE: HAVE to buy a new heatsink, due to AM2 socket compatibility (stock HS/Fan still too loud, even though the fan auto-throttles dependent upon temp).


Based on the options you're considering, I'm loath to go for a "branded" system - generally, louder & slower for the same money.
You should be able to do Mobo, CPU, Heatsink + Memory cheaper - then go and buy a cheap Vid card with DVI in - if games and 3D are not really important, just make sure the card you select will support your existing monitor resolution, and another jump up or 2 just in case you want a 22" widescreen down the track (don't knock it till you try it - 2 A4 pages side by side, and everything large enough that it's all readable ... niiiiiice - love my chimei 22D) - Without the high 3D demand, a DVI-in vid card on PCI-E or AGP will cost as little as $40 USD

RE: the X2 3800 - keep in mind that a LOT of apps are still not coded to take advantage of Dual-Cores - so performance is basically what you get out of a single 3800 CPU (thats a very basic and generalized statement - do some googling if you want more detailed info on why etc) .. that's why i went the 4200+ instead - just that little step more, for marginal cost difference (approx +15% more than the 3800).

And is it worth going the C2D6300 instead ?? Check this comparison.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/sh ... i=2802&p=9

It's a good performance leap, and reportedly very overclockable - but without the gaming, do you really need it ?

enjoy.

HammerSandwich
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Post by HammerSandwich » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:27 am

Socket 939 is obsolete, but it would be the cheapest way to go dual-core. Power consumption favors AMD if you spend a lot of time idling, but C2D wins under load.

I believe a 6150 mobo with DVI would be fine for your use and don't see how a separate vidcard would help. That said, I've been very happy with the Asrock 939Dual's affordable upgrade path. There's also a 775Dual that supports C2D.

You also might wait a few weeks for the E4300 to be introduced. It's specced for 9x200, so OCing on a 266FSB with DDR2-533 should give 2.4GHz with NO complications.

rpsgc
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Post by rpsgc » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:32 am

^^

Buy this one.

PCI-E + AGP
DDR + DDR2
Supports Core 2 Duo

Why should you settle for an inferior CPU when you can have a Core 2 Duo and still reuse your current VGA and RAM?

I'm buying that one as well and a E6300 or E6400. I'll keep my VGA and RAM (for now).

fastturtle
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Post by fastturtle » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:46 pm

I'm in the same position as far as upgrading goes but I decided on these components for my next build:
Motherboard-May not be available
Athlon 64 x2 3800+ (65watt)

4 GB of system ram and a sSagate 320 gig SATA2 drive.

Main reason I decided on that motherboard and CPU combo was total power draw between the board and CPU should be 130 watts.
Another reason is that unlike an enthusiast/performance board, this is a business board and according to Nvidia, the chipset should be supported for at least another 24 months. It's also Vista ready and a great bang for the buck.
Last edited by fastturtle on Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FullQuiverNH
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Post by FullQuiverNH » Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:30 pm

Thanks all for the replies and advice. So many choices. I never considered a micro ATX motherboard but sounds like a good choice, considering the built-in DVI out, and many have 2 IDE ports so I can reuse all my drives.

angelkiller
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Post by angelkiller » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:19 pm

fastturtle wrote:4 GB of system ram and a sSagate 320 gig SATA2 drive.


4 Gigs of RAM?? :shock: Is that really necessary?? Personally, I would reccomend only one, two for a high end system, but four? Thats crazy expensive too! Would any application (excluding server related) ever use 4 Gigs?

pyogenes
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Post by pyogenes » Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:27 pm

angelkiller wrote:
fastturtle wrote:4 GB of system ram and a sSagate 320 gig SATA2 drive.


4 Gigs of RAM?? :shock: Is that really necessary?? Personally, I would reccomend only one, two for a high end system, but four? Thats crazy expensive too! Would any application (excluding server related) ever use 4 Gigs?
There's plenty of apps out there that would be more than happy to use up all 4 GB (Photoshop, video editting, certain games, etc.), but alas 32-bit versions of Windows only allows apps to use 2 or 3 GB depending on the settings (the 1 or 2 GB remaining is reserved for the kernel).

DrJ
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Post by DrJ » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:42 am

angelkiller wrote:Would any application (excluding server related) ever use 4 Gigs?
I frequently run two virtual machines (XP, W2k) simultaneously on a FreeBSD host. I give the VMs 750MB each; 3GB works fine for the total machine with room to spare.

angelkiller
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Post by angelkiller » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:57 pm

Thank you both pyogenes and DrJ for answering my question.... But would 4 gigs of RAM really be useful for FullQuiver?

I raised a concern because I got the impression that he wanted a modest dual core system, and that much ram doesn't seem to go well with what he wanted.

DrJ
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Post by DrJ » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:04 pm

He probably does not need more than 1GB -- few people really do.

I admit that I don't understand the necessity to get a new computer to run modern codecs, though, unless his eye is on Vista.

FullQuiverNH
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Post by FullQuiverNH » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:40 am

DrJ,
My current RAM is 1GB and sufficient so I will probably stick with it.
Regarding the need to upgrade to support modern codecs - my current system isn't fast enough to playback fullscreen Xvid or WMV9 smoothly. I tried Quicktime (H.264) and it took 15 hours to encode 14 minutes of video. So I thought a new, low-end motherboard/CPU would help in these areas. Should I be able to do these things on my current system? I'm not considering Vista at this time.

DrJ
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Post by DrJ » Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:30 pm

Ah; you don't need the upgrade to run them per se, but you would like a new system to run them on something better than geological times scales. That makes more sense.

fastturtle
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Post by fastturtle » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:04 pm

Sorry for taking so long to respond on the 4 gig question.

Although Xp 32bit can't use the full 4 gigs right now, it supposedly can use about 3.25 gigs, meaning it's not wasted and once Vista becomes necessary, you're ready for the upgrade instead of having to scramble for new parts.

As to the video encoding issue, I'd actually look into something along the lines of an ATI video card. The reason is why have the CPU do something that is actually handled much better by the video card? You don't need to go high performance like an X19xx board as the 1300 series with AVIVO (audio video in/out) would certainly offer a big boost. Hell it's the reason I bought a 9600Pro with Vivo. Makes a big difference on my Xp1800 and full gig when working on converting vids from pure AVI to divx and mpeg and I'm running F@H in the background all the time except when updating XP.

FullQuiverNH
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Post by FullQuiverNH » Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:50 am

Here is my proposed shopping list (will wait a few weeks for the E4300 to drop in price a bit):

ASRock 775Dual-VSTA
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300
Scythe SCNJ-1000P 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink

I can re-use 256 & 512MB PC2700 memory modules, my Ti4600 AGP card and PATA HD, making this a very inexpensive upgrade. Later I can upgrade to DDR2 if I feel like overclocking the 4300.

I'm upgrading the heatsink from my current Zalman 7000 in an attempt to go fanless. The Zalman's fan is pretty loud in my system, even at the minimum RPM. If the temps are high with the fanless Ninja I will try making a duct from the 2x80mm exhaust fans to the heatsink.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:24 pm

Cool beans.

Looks like a pretty good way to go--and I think Anandtech just did a little feature on that processor--it's one heck of an overclocker as well.

What are you going to do with the 1800? Mine is still sitting around while I try to figure something out...though I have a secret project in mind 8)

FullQuiverNH
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Post by FullQuiverNH » Sat Jan 20, 2007 7:14 pm

Yes, it appears the 4300 has some excellent overclock potential.
I will probably sell the Abit motherboard, 1800 and Zalman cooler as a combo. Don't really have the need (or time) for a second computer.

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