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Best motherboard for Athlon XP 2500 (Barton) CPU

Posted on 2003-12-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Hi,

I'm building a new system with my son around an Athlon XP 2600 CPU.

The main decision is the motherboard, we've had several Via boards die on us in the past with Duron CPUs and we want a good one this time.

Specs we're looking for in order of importance:

1) Absolute BEST chipset & fastest buses to support this CPU.

2) MAX number of PCI slots (& of course at least one AGP, nobody doing two?)

3) NO on-board sound or video!

4) Of course on-board USB 2.2 ports.

5) One legacy ISA slot if possible would be good....

thanks,

Daniel
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Question by:danw95
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by:
chicagoan earned 70 total points
ID: 9918362
See the 2002 reader's choice awards:
http://www6.tomshardware.com/column/20030227/rc_2002-02.html#motherboards

ISA slot - ha!
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9918688
If you want a board that does all that....no ISA slot....why do you need one anyway?  There are very few boards these days without onboard sound as well.  So good luck finding one that is good without the sound.
The ASUS A7N8X deluxe board is decent.  Uses the Nforce 2 chipset.  Which is one of the faster chipsets out right now.

There are several other boards out there like the MSI KT600 (via chipset) which is pretty decent as well.  Very stable.
USB 2.0 ports not 2.2.  No such thing as 2.2.
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9918746
Yeah Wakeup maybe you could Wakeup to some manners?

The reason I mentioned an ISA legacy port is for a legacy peripheral, ever heard of that?

As for the onboard sound, there's no harm asking, the onboard chips are a waste of money if you have a 5.1 sound card.
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9918869
don't read into things
i took the time to respond to your post too and didn't see one on the boards i looked at recently when i went looking for my amd 2500 solution
it's simply a way of saying you're not likely to find an isa slot  
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by:StealthMullet
StealthMullet earned 35 total points
ID: 9919331
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by:Mr_Skinny
ID: 9919604
Asus every time!
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9921005
I wasnt trying to be an ill mannered person...just stating the facts...sorry you took it wrong...anyway yes legacy devices yes...ISA ports yes....if you want one to support a 2600+ Processor you will not find one.  Is all I was saying....Sorry you took it wrong....Als just stating that it is rare to find a GOOD board without built in sound....not to mention some of the newer better boards have better sound cards than a 5.1 sound card.
Several boards out there with 6.1 and 7.1 support nowadayz
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9921035
Plus the reason why I mentioned the no ISA slot is that you asked for the best board for a 2600+....and was stating that you wont find or get the best board with an ISA slot on it...you will cripple yourself with an old legacy device board.  Is all....so again, sorry you took it the wrong way.
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by:cmrayer
cmrayer earned 45 total points
ID: 9923276
Don't get the Gigabyte - unstable with more than one memory DIMM, we have some of the Asus A7N8X (deluxe and normal) boards and they are rock solid.  We are even running them with 2600+ processors...  You cannot have two AGP devices - the bus is point to point (CPU to GPU)
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Expert Comment

by:HBPS
ID: 9924892
Get something that has a NFORCE 2 chip. I have an EPOX 8RDA3+

NFORCE2 CHIP - 400mhz FSB
6 PCI slots
2 Network ports
3 Firewire
6 USB 2.0 - 4 at the back 2 at the front
8 times AGP
does have onboard sound.

I have been very happy with this board.

Also anything by ASUS that has similar stats.
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Expert Comment

by:HBPS
ID: 9924898
also forgot to mention it has 3 RAM bays and supports duel Channel RAM
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9926076
I've just had to rebuild me keyboard after the daughter spilled a glass of juice on it (well at least it's functioning like new now :-) and extreme storms are raging over Sydney (Aus) right, now so I'm unplugging all the sensitive electricals.

Thankyou for all the input so far. I'll be back in the discussion when the storms lift & I've researched the suggestions so far.

Daniel
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Assisted Solution

by:frankralph
frankralph earned 80 total points
ID: 9936242
Quote:
"legacy devices yes...ISA ports yes....if you want one to support a 2600+ Processor you will not find one.  Is all I was saying....Sorry you took it wrong...."


WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I work at an Information Technologies-Procurement dept. and we just go in a board with an ISA slot that had on-board RADE and supported (and we put in one) a P4 3GHz HT processor!

Got it in sometime last month, so I forgot the boards idenity. Will see if I can find it. But since you are looking for a AMD supporting board, it does matter. Board with ISA still do exist! I'll see what I cand find out for you.


frankralph
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Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9936364

Board like the one you need do exist (and exist do to needs like yours) but are hard to find due to extremely low demand.


Which type of 2600+ would you like to support? It might be easier to find a board with 266 Front-side bus (FSB) then 333, not sure though as I haven't looked yet.

The 2600+ comes in two versions, 266FSB and 333FSB. You will want to get DDR to match your FSB: (PC2700 (333MHZ) or PC2100 (266MHz). If one is higher than the other, than the lowest is the bottle-neck.



frankralph


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by:frankralph
ID: 9936389


Proof of concept... ;)



http://online.amax.com/amaxres/product.asp?dept%5Fid=5165&pf%5Fid=4010138&sku=99%2D99%2D99%2D99%2D99%2D4010138



Apparently it will be harder to find a state-of-the-art board w/ ISA that is designed for with AMD chips. Still looking, but I found this P4 board with a simple Google search that took just a minute.



frankralph



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by:frankralph
ID: 9936403
"Comment from HBPS
Date: 12/11/2003 07:31PM EST
 Comment  

also forgot to mention it has 3 RAM bays and supports duel Channel RAM"


;)


Stop mocking the guy and see what you can find!  LMHO



frankralph




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Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9936449

You might have to got Intel if you want really want that ISA slot. Just as I feard.

Here's a board that really advanced, but preatty steep price wise.


Vender:

"Supermicro S478 P4SCA RET 875P 800 SATA GIG 4G DDR 8XAGP ISA"
http://www.microstorm.com/hardware/partinfo-id-527270.html


Maufacturer:
"SUPER P4SCA"
http://www.supermicro.com/PRODUCT/MotherBoards/875/P4SCA.htm

Serial ATA
AGP8x
800FSB
USB 2.0
Up to 4GB of DDR-400/333/266
Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller
ATI Rage XL SVGA 8MB PCI video controller :(

This board probably more than you need and doesn't have an AGP slot. It also has a bunch of stuff you probably don;t need like:
1 fast UART 16550 compatible serial port
1 Infrared header
Intel® ICH5-R SATA controller supporting 2 SATA connectors for 2 drives (RAID 0 and 1)*
Wake-on-LAN
Intel PAT
Control of power-on mode for recovery from AC power loss


I does seem as though you will have to go P4 though.



frankralph




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by:frankralph
ID: 9936464

Alright let's get this straight... (obvisously no both 8xAGP and no AGP :D ).


Vendor:

Supermicro 875P 800 / 533 / 400 FSB SATA RAID 4GB DDR 4PCI 3ISA 8MB ATI
Part# MBD-P4SCA-O
http://www.microstorm.com/hardware/partinfo-id-504998.html


Supermicro S478 P4SCA RET 875P 800 SATA GIG 4G DDR 8XAGP ISA
Part# SUP-P4SCA
http://www.microstorm.com/hardware/partinfo-id-527270.html



Manufacturer:

SUPER P4SCA (MBD-P4SCA-O)!!
http://www.supermicro.com/PRODUCT/MotherBoards/875/P4SCA.htm


There we go. Two different versions of the board.



frankralph






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Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9936477


Well, I got to study. Sorry I couldn't find a AMD supported board for you. :(

Good luck to ya!



frankralph



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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9936528
Thanks for the input Frankralph.

The exmples you gave do show that the lack of inclusion of ISA support in recent MBs is more of a marketing than a technical decision - like stuffing Southbridge full of UNNECESSARY on-board sound rather than support for legacy devices.

I would REALLY rather not be forced to pay for that unnessary sound, but it looks inevitable.

I think the recent fad of putting sound (however many speakers it supports) on-board goes against the forte of teh PC design architecture: open modularity - which gives the user freedom of choice.

ISA IS a very old slot standard now, but at least one slot would have been good. That board with THREE is quite amazing.

Different users have different needs, with a large family (it's a bit like running a small business ;-)) I can't get the latest and greatest for everyone (including myself, I run a 500Mhz PIII) all the time, and being able to swap cards & peripherals between the different computers is important.

OK I've got a lot of technical research to continue before my next post.

Now I need to do more research regarding the CPU - which as you point out is not as simple as AMD seems to make it - there are now actually THREE types of "AMD XP2600+ Athlon" CPUs:

1) with 266 FSB
2) with 333FSB (both with Thoroughbred cores)
3) and now one with a slower clock speed, but a massive 512k L2 cache and the new Barton core.

I need to get the choice between them nailed down - while I'm looking at the competing Asus and Gigabyte MBs.

****************************************************************************************
AMD doesn't seem to have released the "XP2600+ Athlon" with Barton core in Australia, all I can find is the XP2500 with Barton core. But since this has a 333FSB and the MBs have good overclocking support (when the need for speed inevitably kicks in) this may be the way to go.

Any comments on that?
****************************************************************************************

The vendors here have been saying that "2600" means 2.6Ghz! I wish. Only by doing Internet research can you get the real dirt on these matters.

This is also why people need to ask questions on forums like EE, and why I get a little "antsi" when I get the "woa no way! and why do you need that old standard anyway!" type response. The signal to noise ratio needs to be kept high here....

I've been working with computer sor 23 years, but NOBODY is an expert on EVERY sub topic of computing.

Anyway apology accepted Wakeup, I think you mistook a wish list of PREFFERED things (note: listed in decreasing hope of getting them) with a MUST HAVE list :-).

Anyway this is an important question that a lot of people will be asking so I'm determined to get the right answer.

I'm going to do some double checking about available AMD CPU flavours in Australia -

****************************************
anyone heard of a 2600 Barton Athlon on sale here?
****************************************

That's the core.  

Then there is the question of whether a 266FSB or 333FSB affects the choice of MB? We're going to try to get a 333Mhz FSB CPU whatever.

thanks to all

Daniel
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9937496
After days of research the system is coming together with the following specs:
(Prices in AU$)

Component                                  Brand & model                                      $
CPU                                              AMD Athlon XP2500+ (Barton)                   $158.10
Motherboard                                 Asus A7N8X-Deluxe                                   $216.90
512 Mb DDR RAM 400Mhz                 Kingmax DDR3200                                  $141.20
Case & power supply                     OMNI9980 Black                                         $ 70.00
New Graphics card                     Still to be decided                                   $?
            
TOTAL             $586.20

My suppliers didn't have the Epox model MB mentioned.

The Gigabyte and Asus MBs have very similar specs. Several experts here have cast doubts on the Gigabyte's stability though.

The Gigabyte is a fair bit more expensive, and for that you get a super fast LAN (however our LAN goes through so many hubs & routers I doubt it would really make a difference) + a fan on the North Bridge among other things.

I think we'll try the (massive "aluminium crown") passive heat sink on the Asus Horthbridge for starters -we can always change to an active cooling system later.

Both support Serial ATA (the Asus in the Deluxe version). We'll stick with the ribbons for the moment but it will be nice to move over to Serial ATA cabling later when the dust settles and also the right adaptors for the current set of Ultra ATA devies are settled (there are several solutions there).

That will come with the extra cooling systems & neons the son wants to put in - imagine bothering with all that with all that ugly ribbon cables clutting the innards;-)!

The case quoted is for a Pentium model, we're trying to get a similar one - with the black & silver finish & side window for an AMD system.

**************************************************************************************
Remaining questions about the Asus A7N8X-Deluxe mother board:

1) There has been opinion on some discussion groups that the Asus A7N8X-Deluxe board needs "high end name brand RAM chips" to be stable. Any thoughts on that? (the DDR RAM quoted is pretty middle of the road name brand.

2) Is there any loss in performance getting 400Mhz RAM when the Front Side Bus is running at 333 Mhz?
***************************************************************************************

Daniel
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by:cmrayer
ID: 9937884
Pentium and Athlon cases are both ATX and compatible - you shouldn't need to find a different one.
2600+ was never released as Barton only 2500+ and 2700+ up.
You don't need a fan on the Asus board.
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9939429
Yeah Cmrayer, I'm getting that the Northbridge chip doesn't get that hot. I wonder why Gigabyte bothered with that noisy fan? Anyway the MB temp can be monitored with this board , which is a plus.

That will be good news if the Omni case will work with the system. I just put my PIII system into my son's old Duron case, all the ports fit at the back and there were plenty of supports for the MB, which is a very different size from the Duron's.

The problem was the power supply is VERY different, both in power and shape/bolts. I had to build in several brackets to bolt it tofrom the back of the box, rather than bolt it On to the back.

So power supply issues will be the main point to check with the Omni  case, I'm just about to check with the supplier on that.

Thanks for the info about the XP2500 / XP2700 divide. An XP2600 Barton was announced at
 http://www.athlonxp.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Diner_Wrapper&file=index&req=ShowFile&file_wrap=html/reviews_amd_2600barton.html

but I've never seen it being SOLD anywhere, I think Athlon XP Com were speculating, it's good to have that confirmed.

all the best to all,

I'll allocate points as we get to the finalisation stage.

Daniel
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by:danw95
ID: 9939432
Also the XP2500 (Barton) is getting a reputation as very good chip for stable overclocking.

Daniel
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by:danw95
ID: 9939449
Anyone have any news about the opinion: "must have high end name brand memory for the Asus  A7N8X-Deluxe motherboard"?
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by:Wakeup
Wakeup earned 70 total points
ID: 9939618
I sell the A7N8X boards at my store....and doesn't neeeeeeeedddd high end memory to work.  Just that it can be picky about the memory you use.  Using Kingston Value ram is sufficient.
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by:danw95
ID: 9939662
Thanks for that Wakeup.

What do you mean by "picky" though? What sort of memory does this board not like?

Daniel
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by:frankralph
ID: 9939823
Quote from Wakeup:

"Using Kingston Value ram is sufficient."

Sage advice! :)

Some other brands to consider (some manufacturer):
Samsung, Infineon, Nanya, Mushkin, Apacer, Crucial, Micron, Corsair, Hynix, IBM, OCZ,  Simpletech, Smart Modular, Spectek, Viking, and Visiontek just to name a few.

Companies like Micron, Crucial, Kingston, Corsair, OCZ, Mushkin, and flag-ship Samsung modules tend to be a little pricer (but high spec).
I would look for a Apacer, Hynix, IBM, Nanya, or value Samsung, and maybe Viking or Visiontek.

Prices can vary on manufacturer. Check out this link. This shows a span of $54-$99(US) for 512 PC2700 with manufacturer and CL (think of it as memory efficency) as the only difference. I would buy the "better" type in general and for some circumstances the "basic" or "best".
http://www.icentral.com/html/1stchoicememory/page13.html


Don't spend the money on 400MHz (PC3200) memory if your motherboard is 333MHz FSB. The PC3200 will just 'clock-down' to 333MHz.


The A7N8_ is a great board series. IMHO the best for AthlonXP out there. The only problem I know of with this nvidia chipset is that Lock On: Modern Air Combat ( www.lo-mac.com ) needs a soon coming patch to run stability on it. (If you haven't heard of this game, check it out! ;) ).



frankralph


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by:frankralph
ID: 9939873

Graphics cards:

ATI RADEON 9200 SE 128MB $45(US) DirectX8
ATI  ATI Radeon 9600 SE 128MB $70-80(US) DirectX9 (Latest standard)

I wouldn't go cheaper than the $45(US) card. I would also stear clear of all the latest nvidia cards--they are suprisingly inferior to ATI's similarly priced products. (Although the $150 nvidia GeForce FX 5700 128MB does seems to be a decent competitor to the $135 ATI 9600 Pro 128MB / $157 ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB though even here, ATI is on top. nvidia is still trying to regain it's former top-dog position).

The video card sector is my 'pet' field shall we say. ;)

for computer info and to do a little more video card research, check out www.tomshardware.com

for US pricing, check out www.pricewatch.com



frankralph



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by:frankralph
ID: 9939909



Don't get that Kingmax 400MHz memory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



http://www.cluboverclocker.com/reviews/memory/kingmax/DDR400/


"Conclusion

    Again, talking to Kingmax, I was told that their DDR400 modules are handpicked DDR333 sticks tested to run at DDR400.  This seems a little shady to me.  I was also told that the 266 chipsets have a little more "compliant" than the current DDR333/400 chipsets and I would probably have more success running this stick using an older 266 chipset.  All of this doesn't really matter.  If I pay my money for something that says it will run at 200MHz, it better run at 200MHz.  THIS ONE DOES NOT. (I chaped that ;) frankralph) Just out of curiosity and to make sure I wasn't screwing up, I searched for reviews on Kingmax DDR400.  I didn't find many, but every single one that I found couldn't get it to run at 200MHz.  I believe I was the only one that could even get a benchmark at 200MHz.  I'm going to leave you with one last quote from Kingmax, "when you want to speed on the highway, at least do it in a Ferrari".  All I can say to that is; "If you want to sell memory, make sure it works as advertised."

Go for Samsung or one of the other I listed or let us know if you are interested in another brand and I'll/we'll see what can find out about it.




frankralph





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by:frankralph
ID: 9939921

Later.

frankralph



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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9940272
Thanks for the answers on the right memory for this system question.

I was really wondering about the point of putting 400Mhz RAM with a 333Mhz FSB, which the XP2500 (Barton) has, I think the original CPU I was looking at had 400 Mhz FSB, but that's just from memory.

Anyway we're going with the XP2500 with the 333 Front Side Bus, so I'll look for the best manufacturer. There's Wakeup's recommendation of Kingston and all your makers FrankRalph.

ALSO factoring in the need to upgrade my son's old NVidia Riva TNT2 Model 64 graphics card, we are seriously looking at going for the much less expensive Asus A7N8X-X (NOT the Deluxe) motherboard.

This involves two matters:

1) Would the old card run AT ALL on the new MB, we can't find the docs to see what voltage it runs at, I think the Asus MB only supports one point something volt Graphic Cards? We would like delay the new graphics card a while, but........

2)  How importance is Dual channel DDR to the systems performance?

The basic Asus A7N8X-X MB has the Nvidia 2 chipset BUT not Dual Channel DDR. (Firewire we can get later when we need it)

Daniel
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by:frankralph
ID: 9940317

"How importance is Dual channel DDR to the systems performance?"

Not a whole lot now. We will see the performance improvmence increase more as the industry goes on to DDR2. Right now, only gamers/multimedia gurus really need the small increase.


Your right, save your money and get the non-deluxe model.


The board is 8xAGP so that means a 4xAGP minimum--anything below will NOT work. Look for a used gaming card that some gamer is willing to give up for a few cents since he has moved on to the latest and greatest. If you buy a new card in a store, even if you get a card with the cheapest chipset and lowest amount of memory, you'll still endup sending about $30. You should go on ahead and get the FAR superior 9200SE 128MB in this case.



frankralph
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9940368
>How importance is Dual channel DDR to the systems performance?"
http://www.kingston.com/newtech/MKF_520DDRwhitepaper.pdf
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by:frankralph
ID: 9940445

"Cost-Defying Single-Channel Platforms:
Chipsets from NVIDIA and VIA "

"Summary:
With its dual-channel RAM interface, NVIDIA's nForce2 Ultra 400 is still the performance champion. But not everyone can afford to spring for a new processor, a motherboard and two DIMMs in one fell swoop. We tell you how to cut costs by using a cheaper single-channel platform."

http://www6.tomshardware.com/motherboard/20031107/index.html

"We were shocked to discover that the performance gap between the two single-channel platforms and the nForce2 Ultra 400 with dual-channel DDR400 is a lot less than you might expect. Tests conducted a year ago with the nForce2, 166 MHz FSB and only one DIMM demonstrated that dual-channel mode is bound up with definite advantages.


This time, we used an Athlon XP 3200+ with a Barton core and a 200 MHz system clock. The results show that fast FSB clock is more important than sheer memory bandwidth. According to most of the benchmarks, the nForce2 400 (single channel) isn't that much slower than its big brother.

So cost-conscious users take note: the single-mode nForce2 400 is more than sufficient for many application scenarios. Investing in the nForce2 Ultra 400 and a couple of expensive brand-name RAM modules is only worth it when you need the very best performance level.

Generally, boards based on VIA's KT600 chipset should be cheaper than boards with NVIDIA products. As long as you can live with a touch less performance than what the nForce2 offers, the VIA chipset is the bargain for pre-Christmas season upgrades."



frankralph



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by:frankralph
ID: 9940454


"So cost-conscious users take note: the single-mode nForce2 400 is more than sufficient for many application scenarios. Investing in the nForce2 Ultra 400 and a couple of expensive brand-name RAM modules is only worth it when you need the very best performance level."


Just like I said before.



frankralph


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by:Wakeup
ID: 9940551
Your TNT2 card should still work fine in any of those ASUS boards mentioned above(I sell those cards at my store as well).  And as stated by the few here that the DDR Dual channel is not going to give you that much more performance for your dollar, unless of course you need the extra performance and can afford it etc.  

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by:danw95
ID: 9941864
That would be marvellous news Wakeup.

Diagnostics show this is an X2 card while the board supports X4 and X8 standards.

I would hope it would be backwards compatible but the problem seems to be the AGP slot voltage, the Asus MB rejects older cards with the 3.3 volts and the red LED flashes (I think that's it from memory, the new standard is one point something volts).

My son has lost all his docs for the card. Anyone know the voltage an Nvidia Riva TNT2 Model 64 (Mb) AGP card runs at?

Daniel
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9941944
Oh yes the new standard voltage is 1.5V for AGP4X/AGP8X video cards and was 3.3V for older video cards.

But if this video card has been seen working in that MB, that would be great. We'd like to put off the new video card till the after Xmas sales...

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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9942621
ALSO on speaking to the supplier, he is certain the P4 advertised power supply that comes with the Omni case will work fine with the Asus Athlon Motherboard.

I had thought that P4 MBs needed 300 watt power supplies and Athlon MBs needed 400 watt power supplies.

Or has this changed?

Daniel
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by:cmrayer
ID: 9944514
TNT2 works in A7N8X, that is what I ran until my Matrox card came through - and I used Kingston Value RAM as generic had blue-screens
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by:cmrayer
ID: 9944517
AOpen TNT2 that was!
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by:danw95
ID: 9947615
The Aida diagnostic reports this Graphics Crad as a TNT 2 but my son is certain it's a Geforce 2, does that give any more relevant info as to whether it will work with the MB?
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9947813
do you have the driver disks that it came with?  Most likely it is a TNT2.....if Aida says it is....but you never know.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9947816
oh, and either way tnt2 or geforce 2, they both should work fine.  I sell em both with that same board all the time.
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by:danw95
ID: 9948766
Excellent news Wakeup, we hope to have this system put together to the point where we can come to some final conclusions & wrap up discussion by the end of this week.

Daniel
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9950848
k
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9963931
It looks like we'll be able to get the system tommorow.

As of now the specs are (Amounts in Au$):

AMD Athlon XP2500+ (Barton)        $158.10
Asus A7N8X-X                               $135.00
Kingston DDR2700 (333Mhz)        $152.20
OMNI9980 Black / power supply       $70.00
TOTAL                                        $515  
                        
The only aspects that still worries me is the claim by the Vendor that the power supply that comes with the Omni case, which is advertised as a P4 ready case, will be fine for the Asus AMD motherboard. Have the Watt ratings and more importantly the various volt & amp outputs for Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon system been made the same now?

Does anyone have some final comments on that?

Daniel
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9964983
I've just been researching on the whole subjects of PSUs (not my forte at all so far).

This seems to be an area you can really fall foul in with AMD CPUs.

My previous info about Wattages (obtained of course from dealers) was just not getting the important points.

There's an articale at http://www.partshelf.com/powersupplies.html that makes sense of the Volts Amps and overall Wattage needed in building a system.

I'll just hope the PSU that comes with this case supplies the right power for this systme. I've got the AMD recommended PSU manufacturers list, but of course a lot of good Units aren't on it.

The data at that website is a useful guide though.

Daniel

0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 9965406
Wow those parts are expensive...
www.newegg.com is a reputable dealer.  Try them?
or
www.pcclub.com
(not as cheap, but they have local stores in most of the western states and have been good to me.)
Some PSU's to look for are Enermax and Antec.  Those two are pretty decent.  For a cheaper solution try Allied as well.  
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9966922
Your video card will work iff (if and only if) it is AGP4x or AGP8x. Not sure if it is? Go ahead and buy the system and see if the card works. If so, great. If not, well you’ll need a new one. Do you have a model# or something on the card? Post it and I’ll see if I can find some info on it.


Powersupply:

I would use a 350W on your system, no problem The big deal is the quality of the powersupply. I’ve seen powersupplies marked as 400W and larger that can’t put out 350!

Fortran is a great brand. They are also sold under the SPI (Sparkle Power Inc. or something) label. Other good brands: Enermax, Antec, Sentron is OK.

www.tomshardware.com did a review of some powersupplies awhile back. Will see if I can find it…



frankralph


p.s. Sorry about the lag in my responses. Exam week has started... :D
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9966952


Here we are:

"Inadequate and Deceptive Product Labeling: Comparison of 21 Power Supplies"
http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/20021021/index.html
October 21, 2002

"Rant-O-Matic: My Fried Power Supply"
http://www.tomshardware.com/column/20011012/index.html
October 12, 2001

"High Power For Power Users: 13 Power Supplies In The Spotlight"
http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/20030609/index.html
June 9, 2003



frankralph



p.s. not sure what's up with the "it…" deal on my last post.

0
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9969937
I'm having to put the points up as the input from the Experts is being extremely helpful on this question and I want to be able to share them around at the end.

Wakeup, the question of comparative prices between the U.S. and Australian Hardware and Software is an interesting one.

Up till last year the Aussie dollar was into the second year of a massive slump. That made Australian computing prices up to 60% higher than US prices, even after rate conversion!

Shipping costs could not have been a factor (they're all mostly made in either Malaysia, Tawian or PRC these days anyway), but we also had a horrendous 30% sales tax applying nationally.

So I used to get US experts saying "why are you staying with that outdated stuff, look it's so CHEAP to upgrade at such and such (US) vendor."

Oh how we Aussies would DROOL at your US prices!

BUT things have turned around this year, a combination of a resurgent Aussie $ and removal of the 30% sales tax (it's been replaced by a Goods & Services tax = 10% on almost everything).

Prices for big ticket items still have a way to come, but I just checked the two bargain stores you mentioned, and the RAM prices are almost at par - and thankyou BTW Wakeup for the tip about the Kingston RAM, further checking shows that is definitely the best and most cost effective for this system.

My local supplier is Arc Computers http://www.arc.com.au/ If someone finds a Computer store in Sydney Australia, or on-line in Australia, that significantly outdoes the Arc prices (and all the prices I quote on this question are from them) then do PLEASE let me know!

Of course I wouldn't get a complicated system like this from O/S (New egg don't ship overseas, and the other hassles are as you would expect, but certainly possible for great deal on individual components) - ANYWAY the price comparisons are interesting:

Asus A7N8X-X motherboard

New Egg (US): US$72.99 = AU$98.73
PC Club  (US): US$75.99 = AU$102.83

ARC       (AU): US$99.79 = AU$135.00


Kingston DDR Ram PC2700 333Mhz 256 Mb (New Egg didn't have 512Mb sticks so the comparison is with 256Mb sticks)

New Egg (US): US$56.00 = AU$75.77
PC Club  (US): US$52.99 = AU$71.68

ARC       (AU): US$57.05 = AU$77.20

Daniel
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9970011
Next to read through your references, Frankralph, on the major last issue, the PSU.

When I added up the REAL power delivered by the power supply that came with that lovely case (the Omni 9980Black, - I've seen it called the "AT825 Mid Tower side panel window" case in systems advertised on US websites) - anyway the Omni badged PSU is rated at "400 Watts" but the REAL actual power output came to only 180 Watts!

The best deal seems to be on Antec power supplies as suggested by Wakeup and Frankralph and are avaiable here.

There is the basic Antec 350 Watt PSU at AU$84     =  US$62.08
Then the Antect 380 Watt True Power at  AU$103   =  US$76.13
Then the Antec 480 Watt True Power at   AU$152   =  US$112.34

Loading on top of the basic system described above will be:

2 x 7200 RPM IDE hard drives
52 speed burner
52 speed CD
USB Printer
USB scanner
High end 8X AGP card
PCI graphics card for Monitor 2
PCI Creative 5.1 sound card

+ when he gets the system into "high fashion mode" ;-)
Serial ATA card
Serial ATA converters for the IDE devices
Internal flouro lighting strips
Water cooling (possibly)

It's all these extra doodads that make me wonder how powerful the PSU should be that we get at this stage - looking forward.

I wonder what REAL power level we would need eventually?

I'm going to see if if I can grab the full specs of the PSUs from the net, I've chewed the vendors ear off enough today ;-).

(BTW the gold plating on the connectors and fan bars of the True Power models is attractive from more than an aessthetic viewpoint: we live so near the Pacific Ocean that ordinbary metal components and plastics corrode before your eyes in the salt air!)

Daniel

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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9970058
BTW I'm looking at the PSU for my son's last computer. That system suffered 1 dead CPU and two (2) dead motherboards in only two years!

I was thinking it might have been heat stress, but it was ONLY an 800 Mhz Duron...

The PSU is badged "MCM" (http:\\unx.technology-webtump.com) and is rated at 250 Watts. Hmmmmm....
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 9970086
He shouldnt need a Serial ATA Card for that Asus board...it should come with the built in serial ATA controller already?  You may need to have the Power convertors tho.....depending on the brand of drive.  Most of the SATA drives are going molex or SATA Power plugs.....So wont matter much nowadayz.  250 should be enuff to run your older systems....newer systems I would suggest at LEAST 300 watt minimum, if it is a good brand name Power Supply...

For the setup you list, a 350 watt Enermax Power supply or that True 380 Antec is fine.  Enermax's power supplies have a better 12v, 5v, and 3.3v than the antec.....

0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9970181
The actual Wattage of the Duron's PSU was probably OK but I'm wondering about the quality & consistency of the current.  The system had a persistent "resetting for no apparent reason" problem that was never really explained, despite going back to the shop endless times.

Oh and I think you missed we're getting the Asus A7N8X-X (the basic model) MB now, not the Deluxe model. You lose SATA and Firewire and the high end on-board sound with the basic model, but we can get SATA and Firewire later on card as needed (SATA would be purely cosmetci to get rid of the ribbon wires really ;-)

I'll have a look at that Enermax supply you mentioned.

Daniel
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9970208
Oh and the other alternative PSU at this supplier is the

Antec 330 Watt True Power model for AU$100

As with CPUs these days the "rated power number" of whatever type is no real guide! You have to look at more indicative performance numbers.

They don't carry the Antec 350 Watt True Power model or the Enermax PSUs, but if they turn out the best I'll track them down elsewhere.

Daniel  
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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9970227
Tom's Hardware Guide, http://www.tomshardware.com based in Munich it seems, is EXCELLENT!
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 9970271
Ahh...sorry you are correct, I was still under the assumption that you were getting the delux.  Why not just straightway get the deluxe board?  If you plan to go the extra mile later on anyway....Especially if you think you'll be getting the SATA controller(Which runs around $40 US)  and Firewire (which runs another $40 US).  I mean I can understand if you just dont have the budget, but if you are just trying to skimp just to skimp.....Why?

It is rougly 40 dollars US more.....than the non deluxe.  It'll run you close to $80 US in the long run more....and you have to use up additional PCI Slots...

Just a thought anyway....

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Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9970313
Nope, definitely a VERY tight budget situation around Xmas with a lot of other things happening and now a (necessary but unexpected) blow out with the Power Supply.

+ If we got the Deluxe with SATA we'd have to buy about 4 converters for all the IDE devices + the extra cables.

Also on board SATA won't give any extra speed with all the bottlencks in the system as is. It would be purely to get rid of those damned ribbon cables - an aesthetic option that can be put off till later with 5 PCI slots available.

As for Firewire - we don't even have any digital cameras or video at this stage (still in the film and tape era there) - no need for Firewire right now.

The Collossal sound that comes with the Deluxe would be a waste of money ... don't want to go there again ;-)

All the ongoing research needed for this (we were going to purchase today, then the PSU matter came up and it is very important to get right) and my tight sccedule & my son's schedule MAY put the actual purchase to after Xmas, which MIGHT mean lower prices in Xmas sales.

So prices MAY change (not certain: after Xmas sales have become rather patchy in Aus in recent years).

Anyway, getting the brands and specs right is what matters at this stage.
Daniel
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 9970454
yup...I hear ya! :)  I wish you the best of luck!  Let us know how it goes!
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976494
danw95 Quote:
"Tom's Hardware Guide, http://www.tomshardware.com based in Munich it seems, is EXCELLENT! "

Right on! ;) I check it out basically as often as I can. I get about 70 some odd percent of my 'computer world' updates and a knowledge about them from this site.


PowerSupply (PS) for the Duron:

I'm using a 300W SPI (Sparkel Power somthing... basically a Fortran PS) for the following:
Asus A7V
AMD 900MHz T-Bird
256MB (one stick)
Hercules GeForce2 GTS 64MB AGP4x
3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 PCI 64MB (secondary video)
Creative Labs blah sound card
56k Modem
Western Digital (WD) 20GB 7200rpm
Creative 52x CD-Rom
TDK 48/24/48 CD-RW
A bunch of cooling fans

and the 300W is just fine. 250W would definitly be pushing it (I believe the Durons sucks more 'juice' and runs hotter too than the t-birds) expecially if a generic brand was being used.

"resetting for no apparent reason" Sounds a lot like an over-heating problem. Is the case fill of dust (I assume not ;) )?Can you find out what temperature the CPU is running at (does your motherboard have 'hardware monitoring'? The heat-sink on the duron cpu might not be sufficient.


New computer:
I would recommend a PS greater than or equal to 350W. A 380-400W would be better but might not be necessary. Be sure not to rule out Fortran (did you check out that tomshardware link?). tomshardware, if I'm not mistaken, found them the most efficient (even more so that Antec and Enermax!) and over all a great product. I pretty sure Fortrans are less expensive too. We use Fortrans for IT (Information Technologies) stock where I work (I'm in a IT-Procurement dept. Did I mention that? O well, if so. Twice can't hurt. ;) ).


Until next time ;)


frankralph

0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976523
"I get about 70 some odd percent of my 'computer world' updates and a knowledge about them from this site."

Well, maybe not that much, but you get the idea. ;) lol



frankralph



0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9976542
Thanks Frankralph, for that link to http://www.tomshardware.com and the other input.

I'll have a look then at the Fortran PSU if it's available here. The Antec is available at my supplier at 330W and then 380 Watts, I would rather the 350 Watts, so I might look elsewhere, also to compare the Fortran & Enermax which he doesn't carry.

IF we got Antec I'm thinking it may be overkill (and it's 50% more expensive!) but if we will need those extra Watts then....

I've never run an AMD Athlon CPU system before. They're reputed to be very power hungry, even with the Barton core. I'm going to do the sums & see if the 330 Watt Antec's REAL output could handle the future load.....

All the best with the exams!
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976560

330W...let me put it this way, if I was going to do it on <350, a good brand like Antec would be the type to do it on. You probably would be just fine, but I would hate to recommend it only for you to have to upgrade your PS later on.

"All the best with the exams!"

Thanks :)


frankralph


p.s. what time is it over there in Aus?
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976571

Be sure to look for Fortran under other lables (like SPI). I have to see if I can find a list...

It's 11:51 over here on the east-cost USA, so that will have to wait til later. lol I try to stop by tomarrow with the info., but if not, then Mon.


frankralph
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9976602
The time here is now 4:10 pm Saturday 20th.

I've also got to factor in the need for overclocking later when the CPU gets "too slow"

Hmmm more POWER Igor......... ;-)
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976640
Wouldn&#8217;t it be cheaper to get a cheaper powersupply and just buy a CPU that maxes out your motherboard (3200+ 400MHz FSB I believe) in a couple of years? I really don&#8217;t think you would benefit from paying more for a powersupply and overclocking than you would saving that money and putting it to a &#8216;future computer upgrade fund.&#8217; However, some CPUs will overclock BIGTIME, so yeah, it might be good to think about. What's the highest you've heard the 2500+ baron going?

What kind of heatsink&fan are you going to use? You can just about forget about overclocking significantly with the stock, bundeled heatsink&fan.

If your looking into over-clocking, I'll have to shower you with some &#8216;overclocking R&#8217;us&#8217; type links.

A now&#8230; to bed. Dec20 12:27AM lol


frankralph

0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976651
apparently the forum software changes " . . ." (with spaces removed) to "&#8230;"

Here's a test:

test...
test. . .
test ...


later


frankralph

0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976656
Well, it didn't change "test...". There goes my theory...


frankralph


0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9976661

frankralph, out.

0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9976700
Good point - overclocking VS CPU upgrade.

I had a file with the "maximum possible CPU upgrade" for this MB, but it's now buried in about a 100MB of files on this system. I THINK it was the 3200 Athlon from memory, is that right?

The overclocking option is definitely for way down the track. Just the reports on this CPU do indicate it takes OCing very well, people seem to be OCing the FSB speed and the clock speed. I think from memory getting the clock speed up to something like 2.5 Ghz - but that is JUST from memory.

I'll pull up that article later.

When we get into that we're thinking of water cooling. We don't really trust the standard  cooling at normal operating speeds!

[Talking of the EE system, why has the Comment input box gone all narrow? It's only about 8 characters wide before posting!]
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9978807
Your going to pay bigtime for water-cooling though. I do believe the 3200+ Athlon (the 32bit version, not athlon64!) is the highest for this board.

The input box looks the same for me. Maybe a fluke?

Will get that powersupply info to you on Mon. Until then,


frankralph


0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:cmrayer
ID: 9979104
Deluxe has PATA and SATA RAID
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 9998490

From: http://www.coolcases.com/catalog/p19.html

"FORTRON-SOURCE / SPARKLE POWER, INC. - 'SPI300, SPI350, SPI400': These companies may sell under different labels, and each company has independent marketing representatives, but they are owned by Fortron Source. Known as a higher-quality unit in the aftermarket, they are also heavily marketed as an OEM fan to computer manufacturers and are sometimes private labelled. For example The 300-w. model stocked is the SPI Model FSP300-60GT; this model has the "Noise Killer" Fan and appears to be the same unit as the PS PCP&Cooling 300w 'silencer.' Overall, the fans are a noticably noisier than the Addtronics / Antec PS and the Enermax models.

SPI 300: This unit has a better finish to its case, etc., than the A300, and is a 100,000 MTBF unit. Reliability is every bit as good as the A300 and the Enermax models. This product has gotten a bit 'lost' since the Enermax PSs came into the market, but it a good lower-power unit for use in the JUNIOR.

SPI350: This was the first 350w. to be priced aggresively in the market place, and the cost has continued coming down to compete with Enermax. You might consider the E365 and SPI 350 units and question why the need for the SPI--however, the specs show that the combined peak output of the SPI 350 is actually somewhat better. .

SPI400: This was the reigning horspower champ in the geek marketplace until the Enermax PSs came on the scene. Again this fan is noticeably noisier, but the output is phenomenal. The PS case finish is chrome over an unpolished metal. Again, high-powered output on the peak output."

I guess just Fortron and SPI are the same.


Merry Christmas!


frankralph


0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 9998909
Thanks FrankRalph

I'm trying to find the Antec PSI 350 locally. That sounds like the best for the job and we like the high quality finish. Our supplier carries the Antec SPI 300 & 380 which go from AU$100 to AU$151 so there is quite a difference in the choice.

Merry Christmas to you as well and to all the other contributors to this discussion.

It looks very much now that we'll wrap it up in the post Xmas period.

Daniel
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10006021

You could check this out:

Link:
http://www.devhardware.com/c/Hardware/Power_Supplies/SilenX_400W_PSU_Review/


Pic:
http://www.devhardware.com/rhinoCms/__r6YrKwIPUk/img/silenx400psu

"SilenX 400W PSU Review ( Page 1 of 5 )

Most cases today come equipped with a standard power supply unit (PSU). Often, those included units are cheap and lightweight. That's where companies like PC Power and Cooling, Antec, Enermax, Fortran, and SilenX come in. The unit we are reviewing here today is from the last manufacturer in that list, the SilenX 400W. As you can tell by the name, the main thing SilenX is going for is quiet computing. Usually quiet is associated with crappy, but no longer; Zalman has carved out an entire niche catering to this market. Now SilenX is tossing their name into the hat. How will their newest PSU perform?


Usually people don't give too much thought to picking a power supply. Most cases, in fact, now come equipped with a standard power supply unit (PSU), and most people just take that as it is. However, in a lot of cases, those included units are cheap, lightweight, and have both horrible power regulation and current handling characteristics. A computer is not going to gain extra 3DMark points by adding a better power supply while staying in stock form, nor is it going to show any other kind of performance gain that you can notice through your desktop. That said, the integrated circuits and motors that are in your computer do not appreciate fluctuating voltages, and could be damaged by them. In the long run, a quality PSU will last longer itself, and will help in that for the rest of your components.

This is where companies like PC Power and Cooling, Antec, Enermax, Fortran, and now SilenX come in. They each have something to offer that goes above and beyond what a generic PSU will do for you. The unit we are reviewing here today is from the last manufacturer in that list, the SilenX 400W. As you can tell by the name, the main thing SilenX is going for is quiet computing. Usually quiet is associated with crappy, but no longer; Zalman has carved out an entire niche catering to this market. Now SilenX is tossing their name into the hat."


Later,



frankralph


0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10051873
OK

The "silly season" is over & business life is starting to return to normal. We can finally get this show on the road.

One plus from waiting past New Year is the price of RAM has gone down and average of AU$20 / 512 Mb - probably due to the rising Aussie $..

Our vendor doesn't have Kingston RAM ins stock, so we're going for the Corsair.

I hear lots of conflicting opinions about that here, but it was one of the recommended brands above.

IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER WORDS ON CORSAIR RAM, SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE :-).

We're getting the system either Wednesday or Thursday this week (Sydney time) depending on all the parts coming in.

These are the final specs:

CPU                                            AMD Athlon XP2500+ (Barton)       AU$158.10
Motherboard                               Asus A7N8X-X                                  AU$135.00
512 Mb DDR RAM 333Mhz              Corsair DDR2700                                AU$132.20
Case                                           OMNI9980 Black                             AU$45.00
Power Supply                              Antec 380 Watt True Power           AU$103.20
TOTAL                                                                                          AU$573.50

Daniel
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 10056269
Looking good.  I prefer the kingston...but corasiar is fine.  Is it XMS?  Or just plain jane Corair...the plain cheap stuff is cheap.....like anything else....so if you aren't getting the XMS or ones with head spreaders on them then go with the cheaper brands.  Cuz that's what you are getting....
otherwise if the Kingston Value ram is available it has a lifetime warranty...And so does the kingston hyper-x.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10058401

Corsair is an excellent brand. Definitly not in the 'generic brand' category.

CorsairXMS is some of the best gaming memory money can buy. Just 'plain jane' Corsair is more than fine though for 99.9% of the world.



frankralph


ps. I was wondering about you, wether you had just abandoned the post or what. ;) Glad to see D-Day is soon approaching. Enjoy your new computer! :)



0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10070625
It's Thursday and everything is waiting at the store except the Motherboard (hmmm main point of the actual Question being asked here :-).

Anyway the vendor hopes this will arrive from the warehouse by Friday. I hope.

The warehouse is also completely out of Kingston RAM - it seems to have been VERY popular over Xmas.

The RAM we look like getting is Corsair "Value Select" - I take it that is the "Plain Jane" variety Corsair.

Daniel
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10085846
THE SYSTEM is bought and BUILT.

And it ran fine from the first power up :-S.

I am so unused to this sort of REAL "plug and Play" from ANY single computer device, let alone a complex system that I almost had a coronary!

The only thing needed was some tweaking in Award BIOS as it didn't detect the CPU speed correctly. The closest we could get to "half the FSB speed" was 166Mhz, and then the BIOS recognised the Athlon XP 2500 fine. I'm going to have to change the title of this question.

The crapped old Win 2000 installation on my son's boot drive threw a fit at the new environment (- just wanted to see if Windows would boot, it was 2:30 am last night. I have found Win 98 installations adapt better in a pinch).

Anyway the system OS we're going for is a dual boot Win 98SE / Linux system. Win 98Se for the classic games my son loves so much and the Linux for stable Web surfing and productivity. (I wouldn't give a rat's A#$E for Win 98's stability after opening more than three windows ;-).

We ended up getting 512 Mb Kingston Value RAM, Wakeup's advice (among others) was very much on the ball there I though. I also went for the 400 Mhz, as the cost was not much more and with the FSB of the MB now at 400Mhz, this will take care of any future CPU upgrades (like to an Athlon 3200, or overclocking etc).

The CASE is ECSQUISITE. The son was going for flouros later, but we didn't realise the case fan has a rainbow light effect built in.

I've given the link to the U.S. name of this Chinese built case above.

Also using a the good name brand Entec PSU (as opposed to the usual generic crap PSUs that comes with cases in deals) is like the difference between driving and using a Yugo and a BMW.
 
So points will be distributed soon, when I have the son off my back to fix this and that detail.

Daniel
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10085849

Oh yeah, final system specs, all in AU$:

System 5: FINAL CHOICE            
CPU                                                 AMD Athlon XP2500+ (Barton)       $151.80
Motherboard                                     Asus A7N8X-X                          $135.02
512 Mb DDR RAM 400Mhz                    Kingston Value RAM                $147.80
Case                                                 OMNI9980 Black                       $45.00
Power Supply                                     Antec 380 Watt True Power       $108.00
TOTAL             $587.62
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 10085927
Great.  I am glad you got your system up and running.  
As for the FSB speed the 2500+ does run at 166mhz x 2.  so setting it to 166 is perfect.  The corsair was plain jane....and nothing spectacular about their plain jane...ram...it's about as good as OEM....And you pay for the corsair name even though it's their crap line...however it probably isn't much more expensive as oem.  And the good part as you said about the ram is it is 400.  So if you do decide to take the step up for a faster system later, you will have that ability to move up...and the other good part is even if you do it in a year or two and if the ram goes caput....you can have it sent back for replacements!  no problems!  Lifetime warranty!

Good job on the parts.  And putting the system together.  Let us know if you require anymore assitance!
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10086511
Woa it is difficult to split these points.

Chicagoan put me on to the Asus Nvidia board in the first place and so must get substantial points.
(70)
Wakeup put in a lot of useful comments (70)
Chicagoan made a huge contribution in time and research (80)
Cmrayer (45) and Stealthmullet (35) also made useful contributions.

I'm sorry to the other experts that points just run out there, but thankyou to all involved.

all the best and thanks again to all,

Daniel

Epilogue:

One weird program ("AFUDOS") on the Nvidia motherboard CD has this Readme file:

How to run the utility under DOS
-------------------------------------------
1. Run the file afudos.exe

Usage
-------------------------------------------
afuXXX /i<ROM filename> [/o<save ROM filename>] [/nr] [/p[b][n][c]]

      /nr   - don't check ROM ID
      /pbnc -
            b - Program Boot Block
            n - Program NVRAM
            c - Destroy System CMOS

Obviously something to do with flashing the CMOS - but sounds like a mini WMD to me!
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10086517
E&OE at midnight:

"Chicagoan" for the 2nd time above should have read "Frankralph"
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10086626
1st OS (simplest) - Win98SE - is now installed & configured on to a 6Gb partition of the 20Gb System drive.

Ambient temp on a Sydney summer night is 28C, Motherboard temp of the AMD/Asus system is 34C and the CPU temp is 48C.

Ah 21st Century computing at last!
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10087115


Glad to be of help! :) Enjoy you new computer!



frankralph



P.s. What verion and type of Linux are you using? Just curious. I'm thinking about putting Fedora on my machine. Once again, glad to help! :)
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10089313
What  Linux distribution? Good question! I've been reseraching this for the last 6 months -  I've looked at so many there is no front runner right now, I'm leaving that till I've recovered from the hardware side.

Our last experience with the OS was three years ago with a RedHat based version (can't remember the exact name) which was great and rock solid, but there was no driver available for the son's Via on-board sound. I was too time stressed in my job and left it at that stage.

But the M$ OSs are SO awful and I don't see any progress in sight so we're going to take a slow and steady approach to installing a Linux distribution mostly for the Web Surfing, productvity, multimedia, and hopefully to take over as more and more Linux versions of major SW come out. Meanwhile clunky ole Win 98SE (complete with "force em to upgrade [TM registered]" obscenely small resources memory) is running the show.

thanks again mate,

Daniel
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10089586
http://www.linuxiso.org/


What I know so far...

TSL and Yellow Dog - For MACs

College Linux - minimal package, not recommended
debian - steep learning curve, for hard-core linux fans
gentoo - not worth looking into
Mandrake - simply take Red Hat and mess it up. no go.
TurboLinux - I think it's more for server stuff.

Red Hat9 - good but older and on its way out. Now the company Red Hat has a different scheme, an enterprise version (you pay for enterprise editons) and Fedora (free). Think of Fedora as an awsome and very good beta, and the enterprise version takes from what is found out and uses only the most stable stuff (not necessarily the best or the greatest) and sales it for servers (where stability is critical), desktops, and a few other versions.
Another note:the enterprise version, as stated before, sales in different versions and the server version don't work well in a desktop environment and visa versa--yet another incentive to get the free Fedora which has all the code and will work with whatever environment you need.

*Fedora* - still a little immature (core 1) and uses an inferior file system (a windows file system would be FAT, FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS) called ... if forget. XFS is the file system to look for a should be in Fedora core2. I would recommend Fedora over the great RedHat9 since RedHat9 is on its way out and Fedora is on its way in.

Knoppix - an AWSOME version of Linux that runs totally from a CD (boot from it (select to check the CD-Rom first before the floppy or hard drive in CMOS)). Great as a Linux 'demo' since no installation is needed. A good way to show someone what Linux is like.

SuSE - popular in Europe, but I would go for Fedora or RH9 instead. SuSE was just bought out by Norvell so SuSE Linux does have a good future though.





Also there are to interface versions. KDE (I think this is right) and gooie (like slimy, not sure about the spelling). KDE is more like windows and have more frills but is a little more intensive on the computer hardware and resources. Gooie is more simple ahd more on the hard-core Linux side of things. I'm pretty sure you choose which one you want when you login so you can check out both. Liken the difference between KDE and Gooie as the difference between the WinXP interface and preWinXP (though not that great a difference).



I just had a talk with a Linux goru and university friend of mine on Friday, but this is the best I can remember of the conversation. It pays to be in college and around so much knowledge. Got a question, just ask one of your friends in that feild. ;)


frankralph


ps. What city in are you? Sydney (good guess since there's what, 6 major populas center in Aus ;) )? A friend of mine in the states spent some time down there, came back to the States, married a guy she met down there and lives there now lol! Just curious.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10089617
the "if forget" under Fedora should read "I forget" ;)


If you want a version of Linux that you don't want to have to update every so often (with Fedora, you prob would need to) then got for Red Hat 9 hands-down.

later,
frankralph
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10091020
frankralph

All info on Linux, and its many variations, are gratefully accepted.

I'm in Sydney, a city where a girl might meet a guy but no comment on the other other combination; :-S - very cold place.

Daniel

0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10093422
Took another look at Fedora Linux and that definitely seems the way to go Fankralph.

Final notes on setting up the Asus A7N8X-X motherboard:

If you don't want the on-board sound - disabling it is as easy as pie in BIOS. BUT don't try to cherry pick the different drivers on the Asus installation disk to avoid the sound drivers. That ends up in a very screwed up mess and conflicts galore with system.in and the registry etc.
(thank Bill Gates' ghost code writers for scanreg /restore !)

It's best to just run ALL the driver installations from the GUI interface that autoboots from the Asus disk. If the sound chip is disabled in BIOS then the sound drivers don't seem to get a look in and you can go ahead and install your own sound card.

All the Asus Motherboard programs that come on the disk are great, although describing what they are and what they DO is the only place where the otherwise excellent handbook falls down. It just lists their file names.

Funnily we found out what all these programs do in plenty of detail from the pretty promotional SCREEN SAVER that comes on the disk!

The only Asus utility I have doubts about (apart from the weird WMD thing mentioned above ;-)) is the Quiet Fan program - WHEN you already have an intelligent PSU like the Antec. After a little while the system started making a ticking sound when Windows was on, which turned out to be the Asus Quiet Fan utility fighting with the Antec PSU. This stopped when Quiet Fan was turned off.

Daniel  
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10100186
The only Asus utility I have doubts about (apart from the weird WMD thing mentioned above ;-)) is the Quiet Fan program - WHEN you already have an intelligent PSU like the Antec. After a little while the system started making a ticking sound when Windows was on, which turned out to be the Asus Quiet Fan utility fighting with the Antec PSU. This stopped when Quiet Fan was turned off.



Yeah, I don't like tools like that either. Do Asus boards still come with AsusProbe? I have a 1GHz era Asus motherboard and I love this application.



Most of the stuff you get with hardware these days is just fuff.



frankralph



0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:cmrayer
ID: 10100486
PC Probe is still available and updated for the new boards
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10100809
Yup and the PC Probe utility defaults to system shutdown at 80 degrees C.

Daniel
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10100855
Cool deal (no pun intended ;)). I'll be upgrading in about 1year/12months exactly. I can't wait! Hopefully by then, Windows XP - 64bit Edition will be out and PCI-Express, DDR-2, SATA, and such will be common place.


frankralph
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10101708
Ah DDR-2 & SATA, nice to see real progress in standards. One day maybe they'll make a 1Gb standard for floppy drives? They'd have to be optical though - portable magnetic disks have never been reliable over time.

Daniel

0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10110672
Final comment (but one possibly):

The son is absolutely OVER THE MOON with the new system - and after all it was for him.

But a salutory tale of warning to new system builders: the MB comes with Peneicillin Antivirus SW on the setup disk. I didn't install it before letting the son take it to his place (he lives a few kilometres from here) as the system wasn't hooked up to his broadband connection for the post installation Viirus info DAT DL (the kids get all the best stuff in this family initially, I'm making do with a PIII 500 & dialup for now).

I think you can guess what happened: the son forgot to install Penicillin and went a surfin!

Frantic phone call next day "the computer is running all clunky, and if I try to copy text I get an 'out of memory error!' AGGGHH!!!"

I finally got the grumpy teenager to install Penicillin, he did and scanned the system immediately WITHOUT updating the DATs. Nothing.

After I went ballistic about the DAT update he finally did that and Penicillin THEN showed two horrors were eating away at the system. I don't have the names here, I'll post them later in the interests of surfing safety.

Both were cleaned instantly, but I don't know Penicillin, and I'm pushing him to restore the registry before he installs more heavy software, just in case.

Both viruses were downloaded from Kazaa-lite, one a CD crack and the other an FTP program. I've never had a virus alert from using Kazaa-Lite (I've got Norton which protects my system fine - but I'm not on broadband. These viruses & trojans seem to TARGET broadband users.

He tried to download the same virus ridden programs through Kazaa-Lite with Penicillin enabled and it alerted him & blocked them instantly.

The morals: Don't swim in shark pools trailng blood without a cage, and don't assume anything with teenagers who may be quite computer savvy but are naturally impatient with everything.

Daniel
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10114946

Wow, that&#8217;s just plain unsmart. A *good* antivirus program is just he beginning&#8212;even for 56k users(penicillin won't get everything, go for norton or mcaffy whatever).

A firewall is *needed* too. Check out www.zonelabs.com and use their free version. Would not believe how much hacker activity I get...and I'm on a 56k! (Fortunatly 56k is so slow they can't snoop around or upload a whole lot).

Also get &#8216;spybot: search and destroy&#8217; to protect from spyware and such (basically covers what anti-virus dosen&#8217;t).


Zonelabs link:

http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/catalog/products/sku_list_za.jsp?lid=pdb_za1

and click the single button (download) under ZoneAlarm (the non-pro, non-plus).



Spybot (latest version 1.2) Link (homepage):
http://www.safer-networking.org/


I would also recommend a router with a good firewall for any broadband users.


frankralph


0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10115008
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10115078

When you're connected to the internet, you're connected to the world. You have to be 'street savvy'--I guess you would say 'internet savvy.'

Until next time :)


frankralph
0
 

Author Comment

by:danw95
ID: 10116810
Yeah. He is very responsible usually, I couldn't believe he'd do that. Oh well, QUITE a learning experience as I said. The viruses could have been much worse too.

The son is behind the D-Link DI-704P ethernet Broadband router which does have a built in firewall. I gather it works by making his IP address that of the network, which is passworded. I'm obviously going to have to get to know how that works a lot more.

So you reckon Penicillin isn't as good as Norton? What do you think of Vet? I've sworn off Macafee - it is just too darned huge, clunky and intrusive these days for me. I've found Norton and Vet have the right balance there, I'm just not sure if Vet is as effective as the Big Name Norton.

all the best,

Daniel
0
 

Expert Comment

by:frankralph
ID: 10255762
between Vet and Norton, definitly Norton


frankralph



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