Numerous upgrade questions

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I will be upgrading soon after the looming price cuts take effect and have
some questions. I currently have a Barton core 2800 with a gig of  DDR
PC3200 Ram. I am wanting to do a nice upgrade as cheaply as possible with an
emphasis on the items that will actually make a significant difference to
me. I know I will be building a X2 3800 system. I am looking at about a $250
budget for this upgrade that is assuming the X2 3800 gets down to $175 and
$75 for a motherboard.

Question 1) Ram
    Would there be much difference in running a 939 X2 3800 with my existing
ram and running an AM2 X2 3800 with DDR2 800 ram? Percentage wise how much
are we looking at 1 or 2% or 10 or 20% better with the AM2 and DDR2. If I
went AM2 I would have to buy new ram which would cost me about $100 for a
gig. My thinking here is if the X2 3800 drops to $175 as expected then an X2
4400 will likely end up about $275. If that is the case and I wanted to
spend the additional $100 would I not be better off just building a 939 X2
4400 machine with my existing ram than a AM2 X2 3800 with DDR2 ram? I know
about the future of 939  and DDR ram and I am not concerned with future
upgrades I am looking at bang for the buck today. However if I did choose to
go the AM2 route can I use 533 or 800 DDR2 with any of the X2 CPUs and if so
how much difference would there be in performance between them, again are we
talking 1 or 2% or 10 or 20%.

Question 2) Chipsets
    Do they make much difference in performance or is it more about
features? For example how much performance difference could I expect to see
between a  939 X2 3800 with a gig of DDR 400 Ram on a motherboard with the
lowest end chipset out there and AM2 X2 3800 with a gig of DDR2 800Ram on a
motherboard with the highest end chipset out there.

Question 3 ) Video
    I am not a gamer I currently have an  AGP ATI 9200 video card and am
quite satisfied with it. I have never found a situation where I felt like I
was video lacking. A lot of the motherboards I have looked at have Geforce
6100 graphics built in. How would the built in Geforce 6100 graphics compare
with my 9200? I just do not want to buy a video card now as I want to wait
till next year after Vista comes out to where I can get a card that has
direct X 10 and fully supports Vista.

I know this was long but I would really appreciate your responses!


Re: Numerous upgrade questions

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1) If you are on a budget, you stick to your plan, and get the 3800+.
   You can always try overclocking it.

2) Chipsets make no difference, relatively speaking. The reason
   for this, on the Athlon64 family, is because the memory controller
   is inside the processor. That means the chipset plays no part in
   CPU/memory performance issues. As long as the HyperTransport bus
   is wide enough and fast enough, to connect to the peripherals,
   there is little differentiation there. (Although some of the
   cheaper chipset makers, don't do their video slots as well as
   the competition. It pays to read some reviews on the board you
   plan on purchasing, to be sure.)

3) Integrated graphics are generally slower than plugin cards.
   They are so slow, in fact, that they tend to be left off
   performance charts, like the ones on Tomshardware.

A nice motherboard, for an incremental upgrader like yourself,
would be Asrock 939-dualsata2. The yellow slot, allows a big
adapter board with AM2 socket to be installed. Thus, if you buy
the adapter now, you can use AM2 processors in the future. The
adapter card has DDR2 DIMM slots on it, for the RAM. To use the
adapter, a whole bunch of jumper plugs must be moved (the four
groups of black things next to the yellow slot).

The 939-dual has both an AGP and a PCI Express x16 slot. The
chipset is a couple of ULI chips. One ULI chip has the PCI
Express interface, and the other does the AGP. Of the two
of them, one is a better implementation than the other, but
for an incremental upgrader, I feel this board can't be

ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket 939 ULi M1695 ATX AMD $66.99
ASRock Model AM2CPU Bridge Card CPU Upgrade $32.99 (motherboard) (AM2 adapter)


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