New AMD system, no OC

Zakman3

Member
Mar 24, 2005
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Hi everyone,

It's been nearly two years since I built my last PC (Intel P2.4C, 865Perl, 9800 Pro). It's time to upgrade and since I didn't really keep up, the choices are killing me. I want to primarily build a gaming machine that will also be used for regular student work (mainly writing essays, etc). I do *not* intend to OC, and I would like it to run as cool as possible.

Looked at the Intel 5xx and 6xx series. Was interested in the 5xx series since I could run them in the 915 chipset and use DDR ram, but apparently they run very hot, and aren't that much faster than Prescotts. The 6xx series run a bit cooler (not that much), force me to use expensive DDR2, and have longer latency to boot. Seems the only reason to stick with Intel here is the stability of the chipset, which I considered to some extent: this has to be balanced against the fact that the Athlon Winchesters are cooler, faster, less expensive and use DDR.

The only thing that worries me then is the chipset stability with AMD. I have no intention of using SLI, which seems to leave the NF4 Ultra as the best option. The top three boards here, as far as I can determine, are the DFI-D Ultra, MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum and Asus A8N-SLI/Asus A8N-E. Using one of these, my component listing is below:

Motherboard: One of the 3 above
Athlon 64 - 3200 90nm w/stock HSF
Corsair Value Select Dual Channel 2x512MB PC3200 (unless there's any benefit with going faster RAM when not oc-ing?)
Seagate 120GB
Antec Sonata w/ Truepower 380S (Is this sufficient?)
ATI Radeon X800XL (MSI for the bundle)
17 inch 16ms LCD (any recommendations?)
MS Multimedia Keyboard
Logitech MX518 mouse
Altec Lansing ATP3W
DVD-RW (NEC or Plextor)

I would appreciate any comments on the above configuration. The only thing that concerns me is driver stability and maturity for the chipset. After reading all the reviews and benefits regarding the A64s I?m willing to give them a shot. Thanks everyone!
 

fstime

Diamond Member
Jan 18, 2004
4,384
5
81
Everything looks excellent! All those motherboards are great, which ever you can buy cheapest. Go ahread and order, that PSU has a whoping 24A on the 12V, its more then enough for a XL.
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
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:thumbsup: looks great.

welcome to the forums.

not really sure on what motherboard would be best... looks like you picked some nice options though.
 

batmanuel

Platinum Member
Jan 15, 2003
2,144
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One potential issue could be that the nForce 4 boards typically want a 24-pin PSU and the Sonata only has a 20-pin. That said, you can usually get by with a 20-pin since the 24-pin connector on most motherboards is designed to be backwards compatible (you just use the first 20 and leave the last four holes empty), and the Sonata's PSU is pretty beefy for a 380W rating - the new ones have a nice 24A on the all-important +12V rail.

I'd check the manuals (ususally available for download at the manufacturer's web site) for all the mobos you are looking at, just to make sure that you can get by with the Sonata's PSU. Usually there is a 4-pin molex you can connect on the motherboard that supplies extra power to the x16 slot when you are using a 20-pin PSU on a 24-pin mobo so the graphics card gets the right amount of power.

Alternatively, you could wait a bit for the Sonata II to come out. It is supposed to have an updated PSU, which I take as being a new 24-pin unit. Not sure how soon it will be until it hits the streets, though.
 

WW2Planes1

Member
Mar 11, 2003
172
0
86
looks good.
Motherboard: You should be fine with any one of those. MSI has had some problems in the past, but I think they're pretty much over now. I'd look at feature set/cost to decide which one
RAM: You'll definately be fine with Corsair Value-Select
HDD: I'm assuming you're looking at a SATA drive, and the Seagate 160GB Barracuda 7200.7 7200RPM SATA with NCQ Hard Drive, Model ST3160827AS, OEM, is actually a slightly better buy (~67c/GB vs. 78c/GB) than the 120GB, but that's your call.
Case: Nice case. Power supply will probably be enough. the X800XL only claims to need a 350W, and there's nothing in the system otherwise that's a huge power hog.
Display: check out the AT Display Section. They tend to focus on larger displays, but they do have a few 17" screens.

I have heard things saying that the NForce chipset isn't as stable as it should be, but that probably results more from people overclocking. You've got a pretty standard system there. No random or obsure components, so I doubt you'll have any problems.
Good Luck
 

Cares

Senior member
Mar 8, 2005
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I think DFI has the most instability of the 3 motherboards. Nice board but it doesn't like a lot of RAM and is picky about PSUs and etc etc. Just a lot of hassle if you ask me. My DFI has caused me a lot of headache.
 

ChicagoPCGuy

Senior member
Dec 11, 2004
361
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0
You might want to take a hard look at the EPoX nForce4 Ultra board. It has been reviewed and is proving itself stable. Another really stable board is the Foxconn nForce4 Ultra (I should know, it is what I am using). Just be sure and update to the latest BIOS for whatever board you go with, and make sure to use the 6.39 nForce driver as I have had trouble with the 6.53s, but that could also be my particular setup, too.

The X800XL is not power hungry enough to cause you any issues. I would utilize the 4 pin molex connector on the motherboard if it is present in any case--just insurance. I actually HAD to do this, as my 6800GT is a major power hog from hell (and I have a dual rail 24 pin PSU with 18A on 12V each rail yielding 34A).
 

CheesePoofs

Diamond Member
Dec 5, 2004
3,163
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Be careful about corsair value ram and the ultra-d, I've heard it causes problems. As long as you get a 24pin PS and some DFI approved ram, the ultra-d will be the best. MSI still has quality control issues from what I've seen, too of my friends bought MSI's recently and had to RMA them.
 

Zakman3

Member
Mar 24, 2005
38
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Thanks to everyone who replied! This is my first post although I?ve been lurking for upwards of three years now :)

As per the Sonata, does anyone have any idea if a new version is due out soon? Antec does list updated versions of all the Truepowers on its site but I can?t find them at retail anywhere in Toronto, and can?t really wait more than a day or two.

Yes, I?m looking at an SATA drive. I don?t really need more than 40 GB but the price differentials are ridiculously low. Might check out the 160GB version if it?s worth it.

Since I definitely do not want to RMA anything, how does this mobo sound:

Asus A8N-E w/ Nvidia 6.39 drivers.

I just need a stable build. Thanks everyone! :D
 

Trente

Golden Member
Apr 19, 2003
1,750
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I also agree that DFI > MSI > Asus. also, get a bigger HDD (160GB sounds good) and you're set!
 

Bonesdad

Platinum Member
Nov 18, 2002
2,213
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The RAM is overkill. I use the Corsair Value Select on that board with no problems whatsoever.