Need suggestions !!!!

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Hi all

I am running Abit Kr7a with AMD 1700 CPU and 1 GB Memory. I use
photoshop and Adobe premier occasionally.  Now I want to upgrade to
something better, but using my Hard Drives, TV Card, Lan Card and
Matrox Grafic Card from my old mobo.  I like to stick to ATA though as
I can not afford two hard drives right now.

I do not want top of the range Mobo and CPU, which I can not afford.
Something cheaper but very stable combination.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Re: Need suggestions !!!!

On Mon, 27 Aug 2007 14:15:22 GMT, bigdaddy

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You are not too specific about "something better."    Does that mean
your PC is too slow?  Are you getting errors?  Do you want a larger
display?   A wireless laser mouse?  More memory?  A larger display or
a new mouse can always be used for your new PC, but you need to be
careful about throwing too much money at an old PC.

Re: Need suggestions !!!!

bigdaddy wrote:
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BIOSTAR NF325-A7 Socket 754 NVIDIA nForce3 250 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $40
Only two slots for DDR memory. AGP slot for video, but card should not
be an older, 3.3V only type card, as that will damage the Northbridge.

ADA3000AIK4BX-N  AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 512 KB Socket 754 CPU  $29.75
Runs at 2GHz, feels like a P4 at 3GHz.

ZALMAN CNPS7000B-ALCU 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan - CPU Cooler (S754) $30
Cheaper ones can be found, but I've had no trouble with mine yet.

Macromedia Flash movie, showing how to install the Zalman 7000B for S754.
Only do it up tight enough to stay in place, not so tight that something
goes "krunch". Mine is shy about one turn, of being tight. If you tighten
it, the motherboard starts to bend. The degree of bend, really depends
on the processor socket type, and whether there is a stiffener used.
Some sockets types give better support than others.

Caveats so far. Matrox graphics cards. There are some to be aware of.
Modern AGP video card slots are not tolerant of 3.3V only cards,
or of cards that are disguised as something they are not. I
think it was some G400 cards that had problems in this regard.
The Matrox forum is closed down, so it is pretty hard to search
for details at this point in time. The following page gives a recipe
for checking out combinations of video cards and chipsets.

For a power supply, the new processor draws 51W or so. It is an E6 stepping,
which is relatively new. Power is drawn from the 12V rail. Your power
supply will need a 2x2 square power connector, typically used on Intel
P4 boards. The connector has two yellow wires and two black wires, so
accept no substitutes.

One peculiarity of Biostar boards, is their practice of connecting
the 12V pin on the main ATX power connector, to the two 12V pins on the
2x2 ATX12V connector. They really shouldn't do that. I have no way to
confirm which boards they do it on, either. Inside the power
supply, the rails could be joined together, in which case no harm is done.
But I don't see anything, except cheapness, from preventing a supply
from using independent 12V outputs.

A benefit of that quirk, could be that you could run the motherboard with
only the main connector plugged in. You might not need the ATX12V at
all. 51W/12V * (1/0.90) is 4.7 amps through the single pin on the
main connector. Motherboard fan headers also draw their current
through that single 12V pin as well. The pin is rated to carry 6 amps,
so it can be done without danger. (The 0.90 conversion factor represents
an estimate of the Vcore conversion efficiency.) It is hard to say
what the Matrox uses for its power consumption (i.e. I don't know
if video cards tend to draw 12V power from an AGP slot).

So, with your old supply plugged in, you could try the 20 pin main
connector only. Plug stuff in and give it a try. If it won't start
(won't POST), then you could look for a replacement supply that
has the 2x2 ATX12V connector.

If you want to do it right, this supply is good for a Biostar. It only
has a single 12V rail inside the power supply, so you know for sure that
it is safe to plug in the 2x2 connector with the two yellow and two
black wires, as well as the main 20 pin connector. Note that the main
connector on the supply is a "20+4". A four pin section slides off the
end of the connector, and it detaches into two pieces. The four pin
part has wires of four different colors, and it isn't used for anything
and just hangs down.

Is the new upgrade faster ? Well, of course not. A lot of upgrades
only feel faster, when you get out the stopwatch and check the results.
It may not give you any snappier desktop.

Note that you cannot move ahead in time much further than that,
because newer hardware uses PCI Express video, DDR2 RAM etc.
AMD has some cheap processors, in socket AM2, that would be
an alternative. A PCI Express video card would add at least
$50 to the price, and that would spoil the cheapness factor.

So, a half baked upgrade for $100 ? Is it worth it, or is it
$100 down the drain. (With computers, it is always down the
drain anyway :-) )

Oh, and the NF3 chipset, as far as I know, supports Win98.
Since you've got 1GB of RAM, my suspicion is you are using
something more recent than that for an OS.

Tigerdirect has bundles, consisting of a selected CPU and
motherboard. That is, as long as you don't need customer
service, or need to return merchandise. As long as the
transaction is unidirectional, and all gear works, you'll
never know what they are like to deal with.

To take an example, this AM2 motherboard has built-in graphics,
so you don't need to use your Matrox card. The 3800+ X2 is a dual
core processor. The processor is OEM, meaning there is ho heatsink
and fan to cool it. You'd have to shop for a cooler for it. I
like coolers that screw in place, so I get to control the
retention force. This board uses DDR2 RAM, which is reasonably
cheap. So this is another alternative way of doing an upgrade.

Is the 3800+ faster ? Well, in many cases, only one core gets used
by the software. The processor cores run at 2GHz, just like the 3000+
single core processor mentioned in my first proposal. So you may
find your stopwatch test returns the same result, on those test cases
where only one core is used. But Photoshop uses two cores, for some
of the filters, so in fact, that thing will fly in Photoshop. As long
as you don't use the filters that only run on one core.

The AM2 platform will also give better memory bandwidth,
especially if you split the total RAM into two identical
sticks. By running in dual channel mode for the memory, the
bandwidth is doubled. If you wanted a total of 1GB of DDR2
memory, you'd buy 2x512MB sticks. (The S754 platform is
single channel memory. Meaning the sticks don't have to
be identical, since there is no dual channel mode available.
Memory bandwidth will depend on the max speed of the RAM
you've got, and if the RAM was PC2100 DDR, then the memory
bandwidth might not be much better than on the KT266A.)

The AMD AM2 processors go up to about 6000+ dual core rating, so
there is room for upgrades later with the AM2 motherboard.
A slightly faster processor was just announced, but I
don't know if it reached retail yet.

Have fun,

Re: Need suggestions !!!!

Paul wrote:
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Missed the URL for the power supply...

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ENERMAX EG365P-VE FMA 1.3 ATX12V 350W $60 (suitable for NF325-A7, no matter what)


Re: Need suggestions !!!!

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Thanks all for your suggestions. The idea of using Matrox card etc.
was to minimize the expenses.  But as some good folks suggested, it is
better to find a m/board with onboard Video. But I do not know which
is a better proposition, on board Video or separate Video Card. But I
still wants to retain my ATA Hard Disks because of the huge DATA I
have on them.

Re: Need suggestions !!!!

Modern motherboards now use PCI-E based video cards.  Using your older
Matrox card may severely limit your choices in motherboards, and hence CPU.

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