In the Market for a New System

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Cloaked, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Cloaked

    Cloaked Guest

    My current system is three years old and just recently I had my AGP video
    card die on me. This got me to thinking about a new system. I have had good
    history with Gigabyte and was hoping the group could recommend a new

    I don't need a gaming system as I will be running Office and Digital Camera
    applications. However I do want a system that hums. My new system will have a
    1tb internal, 1tb esata drive, 4gigs of memory. I'm not sure what video card
    to get yet, so I would welcome any advice in that regard also.

    What I'm confused about is what CPU and chipset I should go with and what
    type of video card interface should be on the motherboard.
    Cloaked, Mar 22, 2009
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  2. Cloaked

    OldMan Guest

    4GB memory, then you will be using Vista?
    OldMan, Mar 23, 2009
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  3. Cloaked

    Paul Guest

    For the video card, something in PCI Express should do. PCI Express x16 come
    in version 1 (4GB/sec) and version 2 (8GB/sec) and they're backward compatible,
    so you can mix motherboard and video card, mostly without a problem.

    A video card anywhere from $50 to $100, should give you the connectors,
    adapters, and enough horsepower for Vista Aero if you want. Gaming is what
    uses the more expensive cards to better effect. I'd select a card with
    two DVI connectors, and two DVI-to-VGA passive dongles, so that I could
    use any two monitors I wanted.

    A P43/P45 chipset board should handle most Intel processors. P43 supports
    one big PCI Express slot, while P45 combined with some small jelly bean chips,
    gives two big slots. (On P45, when only one slot is used, it runs at x16.
    If both slots are used, the slots run at x8. The jelly beans take the place
    of a paddle card which might have been used in a previous generation of
    motherboard with dual slots. The paddle card used to "rewire" the slots
    as desired by the user. The jelly beans do that automatically now.)

    So a P45 with a Core2 Quad or Core2 Dual, would be a place to start. One
    big slot could be used for your video card, and the second for some future
    RAID card perhaps.

    On the AMD side, you can get some motherboards with integrated graphics,
    and the combination of a cheap dual or quad core there, will give you
    a system at a lower total price. The board will also have at least one
    PCI Express x16 slot, for a video card upgrade when you're ready. But for
    an entry level system without graphics card, some of the <$100 motherboards
    allow a pretty cheap upgrade to be had.

    For memory types, DDR2 and DDR3 are current types. DDR2 is dirt cheap.
    I've seen 4GB for $40 recently. DDR3 is more expensive, and is available
    in higher overall clock speeds. Latency wise, they're not much different,
    but the DDR3 might be coaxed to a higher overall bandwidth. The difference
    is something you measure with benchmarks, but not usually in real applications.

    Intel has the Core i7, where they move the memory controller to the processor
    (just like AMD). The processor is triple channel in that case, and limited
    to DDR3 memory. So the combination of a more expensive motherboard (because
    they can charge for it), the processor, and three sticks of DDR3, tends to
    push up the final system price. People are buying them, but percentage wise
    it isn't a high runner right now.

    These would be more mainstream choices.

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA775 FSB1333 95W Quad-Core $275

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core $165

    AMD Phenom II X4 940 3.0GHz 4x512KB L2, 6MB L3 Cache, Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition $225

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core $109

    AM2 and AM2+ use DDR2. AM3 uses DDR3 and there aren't a lot of those yet.
    For the Core2 ones, the motherboard design determines the RAM type. So
    you can have your Core2 with DDR2 or DDR3 if you want. With AMD, the
    processor determines the memory type. AM2+ is distinguished by allowing
    DDR2-1066 memory (2 sticks only at that speed), and splitting the processor
    into two power planes. The motherboard may be labeled AM2/AM2+ indicating
    it can use either, which means an upgrade might be possible if you start
    with a low end ($60) processor.

    With the low price of some of the RAM types, wasting a little doesn't matter :)

    Have fun,
    Paul, Mar 23, 2009
  4. Cloaked

    Cloaked Guest

    Paul thanks for the detailed response. This gives me some ideas to work with.
    Is there a specific Gigabyte motherboard that you would recommend using the
    AMD chip?
    Cloaked, Mar 28, 2009
  5. Cloaked

    Paul Guest

    Have a browse, and you'll probably find something you like. 50001314 1070930149&bop=And&Order=PRICE

    For the AMD chipsets, there is a chart at the bottom of this page. I
    would have liked a chart that listed IGP clocks, pixel pipelines,
    vertex shaders and the like, but this will have to do.

    Gaming on integrated graphics :)

    Shopping procedure.

    1) ID a candidate board.
    2) Go to manufacturer web site
    a) Download the user manual. Check for BIOS features. Can it overclock ?
    b) Check the CPU compatibility chart. The processor you want to use,
    may not fit. Some AMD boards can take up to 140W processors, while
    there was a batch that could only handle 95W boards. So you have to
    check, what kind of Vcore regulator the motherboard has, and whether
    it will take a "high end" upgrade some day.
    c) Check for drivers on the website. Are they up to date ? Is everything
    there that you need ?
    3) Check reviews on Newegg or on a private forum, looking for DOA boards,
    or boards that tend to fry in a short time. There are a lot of bad
    boards out there, caused by the price sensitive designs.

    It was easier to pick a winner, maybe three or four years ago. You'd find
    the odd board, which stood out from the crowd. Now, they're a blur, and
    most of your time is spent "turning over rocks", looking for badly
    designed BIOS, bad drivers and the like. It's like picking apples
    from a bin, where all the apples are bruised. You want one with the
    fewest bruises.

    Good luck,
    Paul, Mar 29, 2009
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