DRAM mobos

I'm getting ready to build a new system to replace a 1.7 P4 I've had for several years. I'd like to  migrate the existing ram - 2 512mg RIMS - RDRAM PC800(400) - 16 bit.

My biggest priority (aside from at least a moderate increase in system speed) is system noise. The little bit of research i've done at this point leads me to think AMD has some advantages in terms of system heat and fan control. But system RAMBUS is so 'Intel-niche-ish' I wonder what kind of problems i'll be facing. I'm not worried about cutting edge gaming performance - XP stability is paramount.

thoughts appreciated
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it is not likely that you will be able to migrate this type of ram with the newer processors. rambus was too proprietary and expensive compared to sdram back in the day. but now ddr versions of sdram have evolved so much that their performance just as good if not better than rambus. if you are opting to build your own system again then i would investigate an AMD 64 bit chip with dual channel ddr memory. as with any amd system the heat will run a little higher than its pentium counter part. but with a good heatsink and fan you should be fine if you are not overclocking. rambus was a nice inovation but its not very popular and will probably disappear unless they release something new and revolutionary.
You can keep the rambus and the system and install the fastest processor you find for these specifications. Otherwise, mainboards for rambus PC800 (the slower version) are hard to find otherwise than Intel. Anyway, if you want to buy and Intel board and use your rambus, you must read very carefully the specifications, because there must be requirements of speed between the processor speed and the memory and most new mainboards work with RDRAM 1033 at full speed. Go to Intel's site and look for rdram mainboards, there are some models, but I can't tell you where to buy.
There are a couple if issues here.

Firstly, I know you paid a lot for it, but your RDRAM is limited to 400Mhz.  There are newer i850 motherboards which will take your rimms and up to a P4 2.4, but, this means that even if you found one, the new CPUs FSB would not be able to work at the proper bus speed (533 or more likely, 800Mhz).  This would bottleneck the CPU down to 400Mhz bus (just half the speed of the current standard) by your slower ram.  PC3200 DDR has been the standard for a little while now and you would have the same level of stability using any of the major maufacturers sticks at this level.

Second.  Noise.  You are correct that the newer of the new AMD 64's do have a routine in the motherboard that controls the cooling in proportion to the load.  However if you are really dependant on stability then you may baulk about moving away from Intel kit. Im not claiming that all AMDs are unstable, far from it, just its an unknown quotient and noone ever got fired buying Intel. Besides that, enthusiasts have been making near silent machines for a couple of years now, http://forums.silentpcreview.com/ is a good place to start, they have a great knowledgebase if you have an interest.  If you just want a near silent heatsink & fan assy for either comanies processor then i can personally recommend the Zalman CNPS7000 Series (Computer Noise Prevention System).  They use a slower 92mm wide blade fan, I have an AlCu one on a P4 and on its own it is barely audible in a silent room - add my hard drives and i cannot hear the fan at all.  I see they have a new 120mm fan version too, but you may want to check it will fit on your new motherboard.

I would further mention that the all copper ones are only 1-2 degrees better than the AlCu version but up to 50% heavier, far exceeding the Intel recommended maximum weight for a sink hanging off a 478Pin socket.


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Jared LukerCommented:
If tempature and noise are your priority then it's going to be all about the water cooled CPU!

I agree with everyone above RAMBUS shot themselves in the foot when they started suing everyone and their dog for patent reasons.  Intel got a very sour taste in their mouth with them.  I'm sure that they are done for.

That being said, it means that you are going to need a new MB, RAM, and CPU.  I would go with the AMD 64 bit chips and get a water cooler for both your cpu and your video gpu.  It's the most efficient and quietest option out there (costs more though).

water cooling will provide very good cooling however there are some good fans out there which register a small db level and provide adequate air flow for cooling. if you are overclocking then water cooling is probably something you might want to look into. but if you are going to use the stock core speed then just get a good heat sink and fan.
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