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Hardware Thread, Upgrade decision time in Technical; With Vista becoming an OS that I need to start getting used to I'm sitting on the cusp of a ...
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    contink's Avatar
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    Upgrade decision time

    With Vista becoming an OS that I need to start getting used to I'm sitting on the cusp of a decision where I can either upgrade marginally or essentially get a new machine (read: motherboard, CPU, etc..) so some considered advice would be useful.

    The crux of this is that I use a 3 monitor setup to great effect with my script and coding work utilising an X800 for 2 screens and and older Radeon 7000 for one other. It all works rather well and given that I have a 4200 x2 939 CPU along with 2Gb of RAM I'm not really all fire keen to waste money on a full upgrade.

    However, Vista, which I've now successfully dual booted onto a seperate partition on the PC, will only accept the X800 card and won't touch the Radeon 7000 owing to driver limitations. To add to this, I don't have any more x16 PCI-E slots for another vista compatible graphics card.


    Now, looking around I've found that I could try sourcing a HIS radeon x1 PCIE card but that's tricky as the only place to get them is from the USA...


    Of course the other option is to pass my existing machine on to my partner and go for a new system based on either the AM2 or Intels latest chipset.

    I know my AM2's quite well but when it comes to Intel offerings I'm a babe in the woods so the question is what sort of system would I want to go for if I was looking at two PCI-E slots using ATI (Not nvidia) graphics boards with the idea being to use up to four screens maximum for regular office work and only occasional games use (realistically on 2 screens max)?

    Anyone want to make any suggestions on the above?

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    Check out Intel P965 or P35 chipset mainboards with 2x PCI-E slots, you will need DDR2 ram which is dirt cheap at the moment so grab 2GB or more of that. Core 2 Duo E6000 series would be good (there is a refresh coming up on 22nd july they are moving the E6000 series to 1333fsb) or if you are on a budget E4400 is a pretty decent chip for the money IMHO.

    Or you could pick up a replacement skt 939 mainboard with 2x PCI-E slots and another VGA card.

    Soon I will be dumping my Athlon 64 3500, mainboard (it has 2x PCI-E by the way) & 2x 512MB DDR in favor of a Intel P35 chipset based board with 2GB (poss 4GB) of decent DDR2 ram and hopefully a 2.3Ghz E6550 Core 2 Duo.

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterW
    Check out Intel P965 or P35 chipset mainboards
    Any clues you can give as to what the difference is between these chipsets and the P975 for that matter?

    Or you could pick up a replacement skt 939 mainboard with 2x PCI-E slots and another VGA card.
    Hmmm... I'm wondering about that but given the grief of upgrading a motherboard I'm leaning towards a new system with more scope for upgrade (CPU and RAM at least)

    Soon I will be dumping my Athlon 64 3500, mainboard (it has 2x PCI-E by the way)
    Hmm... second hand MB's... Hmm...

    Must be nice having or being employed by a hardware firm though

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    PeterW wrote:
    Check out Intel P965 or P35 chipset mainboards
    Any clues you can give as to what the difference is between these chipsets and the P975 for that matter?
    The 975X is the premium ($) version of the P965 which has a slightly better memory controller but to be honest the P965 is newer and has better USB & RAID performance but is being phased out by the P35 which is 65nm so runs a little cooler and will support the up coming 45nm cpus due out towards the end of the year. I would look for a P35 board I have my eye on P35 Platinum but I have heard good things about the eqiv ASUS Abit models also.

    Intel chipsets at the moment go like

    Premium 975X > X38 (Due soon)
    High end P965 > X35 (Out now)

    Check out tomshardware here & here

    Just thought getting another 939 board would be a quick simple fix if you could find one cheap with a similar chipset so you wont have to reinstall your os.

    Must be nice having or being employed by a hardware firm though
    There are benefits for sure

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    Hmm.. I see what you mean about that P35... Not so great on the crossfire side of things but in truth I get about as much time to play any games that would demand anything special as you do to go visiting the moon.

    I guess the next thing to do is get an idea of price and see where I go from there.. Thanks for the info.

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    Just a quick thankyou to Peter for the input..

    I managed to find an SLI version of my currently installed motherboard and a little digging indicated the cost was minimal (ie: £60) so I've successfully managed to upgrade with virtually no grief and reduced the noise in the box with some new fans too.. All good stuff.

    Interesting to note that the new board (an GA-K8N Pro-SLI) cuts the 16x PCIe channels to 8x if you aren't using the cards in tandem. Still n'all it's running Vista reasonably enough and I got my 3 screens back..

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    No problem I'm glad it worked out for you.

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    Re: Upgrade decision time

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterW
    No problem I'm glad it worked out for you.
    You and me both... the question of "Dare I turn this thing on now?!" was a big one for a few seconds there

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