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Hardware Questions if  you have some time.

Posted on 2006-05-31
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A).  This WILL BE my new system...or upgraded system.
Enermax 350w PSU
WD 40gig SATA HD
WD 250gig EIDE (storage drive)
2 gigs  ( 1 gig per stick x 2) Crucial 400mhz DDR
K8N Diamond Plus
AMD 64 Claw Hammer 3200  (2Ghz.... makes me scared as it isn't much better then my 1.8Ghz)
Geforce 6800 XTream 256 GDDR3 PCIe x16

I have an 8Meg ISP connection.
Where will the bottel neck be in my system.  I am thinking CPU to be replaced first (down the road) followed by the graphics card.... then add 2 more gigs of ram.   What order do you think it should be done in?

B.)  What is SLI? All I can tell is it has somthing to do with PCIe slots and 2 video cards?  Is this to us like DUAL GPU to play your games or is it so you can have 2 monitors and make a BIG screen or what?

C.) I just ordered teh K8N Diamond Plus mobo and an AMD 64 +3200 CPU. (clock is 2Ghz.)
Going from an MSI K7N Delta L Board that is an AMD XP 1.8Ghz cpu....

BOTH BOARDS had/has  2gigs of DDR 400Mhz .....

Will I see much of a change in games and aplacations?

D.)  How much faster is an SATA drive vs an EIDE?  
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Question by:mrchaos101
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by:Irwin Santos
ID: 16798988
A..clarify the motherboard manufacturer  CPU will be first..and the rest depends on what you will be running.

B... http://www.pantherproducts.co.uk/Articles/Graphics/SLI.shtml

C...depends on what is on the board

D)...it's usually faster in data througput. as for how fast? depends on what you are doing to your machine & how else everything within interfaces with each other.
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by:AndreDekolta
ID: 16798999
Hello mrchaos101!

< Where will the bottel neck be in my system.  I am thinking CPU to be replaced first (down the road) followed by the graphics card.... then add 2 more gigs of ram.   What order do you think it should be done in? >
 - RAM would be my first choice.

< B.)  What is SLI? All I can tell is it has somthing to do with PCIe slots and 2 video cards?  Is this to us like DUAL GPU to play your games or is it so you can have 2 monitors and make a BIG screen or what? >
 - SLI (Scaleable Link Interface) helps to increase PCI bandwidth.  You'd need a dual-display video card for two monitors.

< C.) I just ordered teh K8N Diamond Plus mobo and an AMD 64 +3200 CPU. (clock is 2Ghz.)
Going from an MSI K7N Delta L Board that is an AMD XP 1.8Ghz cpu.... >
 - You'll see some increase in performance.  But, nothing dramatic.

< D.)  How much faster is an SATA drive vs an EIDE? >
 - Yes, but most importantly they are more reliable.

Hope this helps!

Andre...
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 800 total points
ID: 16799192
That's a very expensive motherboard you're getting, considering all the other components - I would have expected this motherboard in an SLI system, at least.  The Asus A8N32 SLI or DFI's LANParty UT NF4 SLI are better performers.

An Athlon64 3200+ is NOT the same as an AthlonXP 3200+ cpu.  The architectures are very different, and the Athlon64 processors have on-die memory controllers, which make them faster.  Your proposed system is weakest in the HD system and the video card (a 6800 is just not that fast today, it is more like a medium video card).  40GB is tiny compared to today's hard drives, and SATA II drives with SATA II controllers give you NCQ and higher burst transfer rates.  You will probably see better performance with SATA than IDE drives, since many of the latest technologies and improved densities are going to SATA models.  You may want to look at specific models to compare performance: http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/09/27/round/

SLI is linking two same model nVidia cards to produce faster framerates, though they are not twice as fast as a single card.  ATI has the Crossfire that accomplishes something similar.  This is only pursued by extreme gamers, as it does not give a good return for the cost.
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by:mrchaos101
ID: 16799349
http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=K8N_Diamond_Plus&class=mb

That is the mother board I ordered.  IT says it is SLI ready?  So do I need 2 video cards or will SLI just work?
And, this is my GAME machine.... that happens to run MS OFFICE and Quickbooks Premier when Im between games =)
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by:1_UP
ID: 16799359
The most common bottleneck is always where mecahnical moving parts are required for work to be done...thus the HD is always the slowest part of any machine(except in the rarest most non-standard situations).

I would do it first, then the board/ram at the same time...

1_UP
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by:mrchaos101
ID: 16799398

bah,  I just ordered teh MSI K8N Diamond Plus board and you are saying it is not good?  Sigh.
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by:Callandor
ID: 16799430
You need two SLI-compatible video cards to make it work.  As I said before, you will get better bang for the buck with a single video card than two SLI cards - they are for those who want to squeeze out the maximum framerates.  See http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/12/02/vga_charts_viii/
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by:Callandor
ID: 16799459
You can see what Tom's Hardware says about that board: http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/01/26/msi_k8n_diamond_plus/index.html
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garycase earned 1200 total points
ID: 16799548
"... I have an 8Meg ISP connection. " ==>  Good connection :-)

"... Where will the bottel neck be in my system." ==>  Your video card.   The 2GB of memory you're going to install is plenty.   I wouldn't bother adding more -- the performance difference beyond 2GB is VERY small; and your system won't "see" all of the memory if you install 4GB (typically you'll see just over 3GB of it -- less if you have dual video cards).

"... What order do you think it should be done in? " ==>  You're already doing it in the right order -- the motherboard/CPU combo first;  then you can do additional upgrades as you have the time & money.

"... What is SLI?" ==>  As noted above, it stands for "Scaleable Link Interface."   To keep it simple, it just means you can "link" two video cards together and share the graphics processing capabilities to get a faster rendering of your graphics.   In practice, the difference is pretty modest => as Callandor said, it does not give a very good return for the cost.   Unless you're a very intense gamer, it's unlikely you'll notice ANY difference except in your pocketbook.   Note that for any high-end video card (and absolutely for a dual-card SLI system) your power supply is not adequate -- so if you're planning on a significant video upgrade you should also factor in a good quality 550w or 600w power supply.

"... I just ordered teh K8N Diamond Plus mobo and an AMD 64 +3200 CPU " ==>  
That's a major step up from your Athlon XP.   Don't let the close clock rates scare you;  as Callandor noted, there's a MAJOR difference in the architectures of the two processors.   This is a MUCH nicer system !!  (but see the next note r.e. how much you'll really notice -- except, of course, for benchmarks)

"... Will I see much of a change in games and aplacations? " ==>  It depends.  For CPU intensive games/applications, absolutely.   But remember that most applications use very little of your CPU's power, so having a faster CPU won't make them run much better.

"... How much faster is an SATA drive vs an EIDE? " ==>  If they're both the same rpm there's NO difference in the speed of the drive.   The INTERFACE is faster with SATA, but that only helps when transferring data to/from the drive's buffer.   Newer drives with NCQ support (the controller must also support this) help a bit more, as they optimize the seeks on the drive (think of the way an elevator works).   But the sustained data rate will be the same on either drive, so for large data transfers it makes essentially no difference.   But I would still buy SATA drives for the higher burst rates (to/from the buffer) and the nicer (smaller, neater) connectors.
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by:garycase
ID: 16799861
"... bah,  I just ordered teh MSI K8N Diamond Plus board and you are saying it is not good?  Sigh. " ==> I don't think Callandor was saying that.  It's a very good motherboard;  it's just more expensive than would typically be used with the other components you've listed (but that's a good thing -- it means you can upgrade further without having to replace the board).   Read the Tom's hardware review Callandor linked you to ... they say "... MSI's K8N Diamond Plus is the first board we have received from the company in a long time that we found completely satisfying technologically."

... doesn't sound "not good" to me :-)  :-)
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by:Callandor
ID: 16799997
That's right, Gary, I wasn't saying that it was bad; I was just saying that if you're not using it for SLI, it's an expensive motherboard and there are others that can do the job for less.  Judging from your budgetary concerns, SLI didn't seem like something you were going to spring for, since's it's not cost-effective.
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by:willcomp
ID: 16804656
I'm surprised no one mentioned power supply.  350 watts is a little light for that configuration.  It should work, but more capacity is highly recommended.  Unstable or insufficient power is a real bottleneck (frequent reboots).
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by:garycase
ID: 16804766
Dalton -- I'm surprised you didn't read my post !!   To quote "... Note that for any high-end video card ... your power supply is not adequate ..."

... I think that qualfies as "mentioning" a power supply :-)

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by:willcomp
ID: 16806825
Gary, just missed it.  Lost in all the verbage :>)

I scan through lengthy discussions and do sometimes miss details.  Thought that comment was an SLI dissertation and didn't make it to the end.
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by:garycase
ID: 16807607
... just teasing => I assumed as much.   (although I'm "crushed" that you would skip part of one of my carefully crafted compositions !!)
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by:mrchaos101
ID: 16807620
errrr the  dang MOBO was on back order.  THe company says it should show up on their truck today so I wont get it until next week some time.

Thanks all for your help.  Gonna split points up between callander and gary.
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