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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can this upgrade be done for less than $500? You should hear my other computer run. :D

Requirements:

• Black Case

• Quiet Fan

• Quiet but high wattage (around 350-400 watts) power supply

• AMD XP Processor

• 1 AGP 2.0 or higher

• 5 PCI slots (6 would be better though)
Note: If only 5 PCI slots computer case must have a blank slot. For instance, my SB live SPDIF adapter does not need to connect to the motherboard, but has inputs/outputs that must be shown from the back just like a PCI card. Again, 6 PCI slots, 1 AGP 2.0 slot, and one blank slot would be the optimal configuration.

• USB 2.0


And of course any extras are cool too! :p

Thanks

-Andrew
 

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you should be able to get all that stuff for around $500.


go to www.pricewatch.com for all the prices.
 

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You might want to look at the new Intel P4's that have 512KB cache on chip. They are a process shrink down to 0.13 microns (the old P4s were 0.18 microns). These guys run very, very cool and are easily overclocked - I took my 1.8GHz chip to 2.36GHz without increasing the voltage and it is running at around 40 degrees centigrade without any special cooling - much, much cooler than even an Athlon XP 1600 would run at which means less noise from fans. I'm not the only one doing this either, there are thousands of reports on the net of other people having similar success with the 512KB 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz P4s.


With all the new P4 motherboards supporting DDR, it is easy to find a cheap motherboard with all the slots and other features you might need. I use the gigabyte 8IRXP which was about $160, the little brother the 8IR was in the $130 range if I recall correctly. Asus makes a good a series of similar boards that is fairly popular around here too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jah-Wren,

That is very interesting. How did you overclock the chip? Do you have instructions and/or pictures of this?

Thanks


-Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've put a semi-list together and have a few questions:


Processor:

Intel Pentium 4 at 1.8GHz (will be overclocked to 2.36GHz) $198.00


Motherboard:

ASUS P4S533 $109.00


RAM:

Samsung 512MB PC-2700 DDR DIMM Memory 64 x 64 184 Pin 333MHz $148.00


The motherboard says it supports AGP 4X, but my GeForce III card says it needs a AGP 2X/4X compliant socket and under system requirements it says it needs an AGP 2.0 or higher expansion port. Will my GeForce III work with the motherboard?


This leaves up to $95 for a black case that supports this mother board. Any suggestions?


Thanks

-Andrew
 

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yes the gf3 will work in that board.
 

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I would caution you on the expected overclocking of the 1.8a. They all will not do it. I recently tried a 1.8a on a MSI Ultra ARU & a Shuttle M51 (Intel 845/SIS 650 chipsets) no amount of voltage tweaks (running a Volcano 7+ heatsink) would get the beast to post @ 133 FSB. 125 was the max stable oc I could obtain. Contrasting this 3 1.6a P4s all went to 133 and beyond on the same equipment. YMMV! especially when overclocking.
 

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No two CPUs off the production line are the same. Intel (and AMD for that matter) do not have multiple production lines producing different speed grades - each chip is tested at the end of the production line and its multiplier is locked at the highest speed grade the chip is able to safely run at.


However as the process of making chips is constantly being improved more and more chips will be capable of running at a higher speed - but many of these chips are locked and sold at a lower speed grade in order to fill all market segments. So you may get lucky when you buy a 1.8ghz CPU and find it is able to overclock, or alternatively you may end up with a chip that is only capable of its rated speed.


Ian
 

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As others have said, you can't know for sure if your cpu will overclock or not. But, there is a very good chance the you will be able to overclock one of these new P4's by a substantial margin.


The method of overclocking is very simple with my motherboard and I expect that Asus would be similar. By default, all of these P4's have a front-side-bus (FSB) speed of 100MHz. My motherboard supports setting that FSB speed up to 150MHz or so in 1MHz increments. I set it to 133MHz, which matches the DDR PC-2100 memory I purchased - your PC-2700 should have potentially even more headroom. So 1.8GHz * 1.33 = 2.4GHz.


For what it is worth, the best test of overclocking stability that I have found is Monkey's Audio - http://www.monkeysaudio.com/ - that program is ultrasensitive to instability due to bad ram and /or overclocked cpus that are pushed beyond their limits. Just compress a big wav file (couple of hundred megabytes) on your system before overclocking and then try decompressing it. If you can decompress it without any sort of errors, then you can be fairly confident that the system is stable. I find that if I set my FSB to 134 Monkey's Audio flips out, but at 133, it is completely stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Of course as things work out, I am $137 over what I was originally going to spend. Take a look at my list and see if there is something (or even more than one thing) that something cheaper can be used in it's place (without risking quality or performance greatly):


Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz Processor $198.00

ASUS P4S533 Motherboard $109.00

Samsung 512MB PC-2700 DDR RAM $148.00

Black ATX mid-tower case w/ 350 and hydraulic door power supply $119.00

Noise control silverado $62.99

Thanks


-Andrew
 

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Hi HDCblGuy:


___You simply have to begin doing some of the work yourself … For your cooling solution in particular, you bumped up your own thread without reading another particular post from yesterday offering a much better and cheaper solution … I kind of wonder how you are going to attach that Silverado to the P4 board and chip in the first place? Again, do the home work first by reading a few posts instead of relying on this forums membership to build your HTPC for you in one fell swoop. A quick review … Your CPU is probably wrong depending on your aggressiveness, your CPU F/HS is definitely wrong, your DDR and board are Ok if you are purchasing Samsung PC2700 chips on Samsung original PCB’s and you want a SiS chipset based board.


___Do not be fooled into purchasing second rate parts because you want to meet some mythical budget level. You should either build your HTPC out of HQ HW and properly or you shouldn’t be building an HTPC. Here is a small story for you … I had a full list recommendation for an individual that wanted to build his own. He eventually sent me his entire PIII based HTPC for rebuild because he either ran out of time or had to many problems. Not only did I specifically specify that he purchase Micron CAS2 PC133 from Crucial but I insisted on it. Low and behold, I received the HTPC from him with Windows installed as well as half the players but it was an unstable nightmare. Guess what kind of SDRAM he installed? A 256 MB DIMM of Micron CAS2 chips on a who knows PCB from who knows where. Damn thing was lucky to run an hour before crashing with fast timings at std. clocks let alone OC’s. Anyway, I replaced the junk DIMM with a Crucial purchased Micron PC133 CAS2 DIMM and low and behold, the HTPC is as stable as it ever could be. This is just one part in the list that you had better consider purchasing properly or you to could end up with a mess of a system yourself. Given the HW missteps you are thinking about above, I highly recommend that you stop and think about the HW as well as the SW and driver interactions for at least a few more weeks. If your having trouble with the HW choice now, what are you going to have problems with when it comes time to pick the OS, tweak the OS, what monitor inf, driver choice, what custom T&R, how to and to what do I setup the overlay for, S/PDIF output solution, or any other number of problems I can see your build heading for.


___Again, please read the hundreds of threads before you as they will help you out tremendously before you make mistake after mistake which is more than likely where you are heading if you don’t first slow down a bit.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Interesting thread. About a year ago was the last time I went looking for CPUs that could be overclocked. That was the last time I put any effort into the activity. At the time, I found a couple of resellers that pre-tested their stock of CPUs and separated out the units that were very overclockable, and sold them already mated to motherboards as OC-tested bare bones.


Nice idea, but I get the feeling that any purchases along these lines automatically void the warranty. Thus, buyer beware.
 

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Wayne, I have to disagree with you on the suitability of the 1.8GHz chip for over-clocking. If your goal is to get the highest front-side bus speed, then a slower chip, like the 1.6GHz may be of more value. But, if your goal is to get the cpu itself up to the highest clock-rate the system will support, then the 1.8 is a better choice because it requires less of a FSB boost to get to the same clock-rate. For example:


The FSB multiplier on a 1.6GHz cpu is 16 and on the 1.8GHz it is 18. A FSB speed of 125MHz will get you 16x125 = 2.0GHz for the 1.6GHz cpu, while the 1.8GHz would get 18x125 = 2.25GHz. Since the cache on these new cpus 512K, pure cpu speed can often buy you more than bumping the entire system and with less risk since the other components on the motherboard may not tolerate overclocking as well.


Nevertheless, he probably could shave another $30 or so by going with the 1.6a chip and being willing to accept the increase in risk of not being able to push the chip as high - I believe that the risk is fairly minor, especially with the PC2700 ram which will support FSB's higher than 133MHz.


In case, anyone is interested, I've since played with the voltage settings on my motherboard and increaed the cpu voltage from 1.5V to 1.6V and my system now comfortably runs at 2.46GHz on an FSB of 137MHz without getting any hotter during idle (~40C), and only a few degrees warmer than before when running something cpu intensive like monkey's audio (~50C). This is with the stock Intel fan too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wayne,

You talk about second-rate parts. The components I have listed to not seem to be thought of as second-rate components from other reviews. I am also trying not to do what you were discussing: purchasing "high-performance junk". If I have to downgrade a bit to meet a $500 to $550 budget than that is fine. That is exactly why I asked what others thought. Let me give details a little bit more closely and see what others have to say about it:


Items in bold are components I have not yet purchased, everything else is from my other computer.


OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Video Card: VisonTek Xtasy 6964 GeForce 3 Ti 500

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Live! Value

Sound Card Add-On: Hoontech SB DB III

Firewire Card: Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller

NIC: Standard NIC

DVD Drive: NEC DV-5700A

CD-RW Drive: Sony CD-RW CRX175E

3.5in Floppy Drive: Standard 3.5in Floppy Drive
Motherboard: ASUS P4S533
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz
Case: Black ATX Mid-Tower with Hydraulic Door
Power supply: 350W Dual Fan Enermax P4 Whisper
Fan: Undecided

Hard Drive: IBM-DTLA SCSI Disk Device

SCSI/RAID Controller: Maxtor Ultra ATA 100 IDE Controller


Now fire away! :D I can't see what is wrong with this set-up.

Thanks for everyone's help, I am not the most computer inclined person in the world!


-Andrew
 

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Hi Jah-Wren Ryel:


___114 - 132 x 16 or 18 (it doesn’t matter what multiplier from whatever chip here) is a classic newbie mistake. With a 125 MHz FSB, you are jamming all your PCI/IDE peripherals at up to 41 MHz + on almost all P4 based boards. There are a lot of drives and cards that will self destruct at that kind of frequency. Some can survive for years, others last a minute or less. Your AGP is all out of whack as well. I have seen Radeon’s artifact at just 78 MHz and above 113, you are pushing 76 MHz. 132, and you are at 88 MHz. 100-113/133-150 is my maximum unless there is a PCI divider for lower than spec or your using an nForce w/ 33 MHz PCI frequencies no matter what FSB you use along with an AMD chip of course. The 1.6A’s can usually make it to 2.13 GHz/133 MHz FSB where the ¼ divider places your PCI/IDE bus back in spec. The 1.8A is a problem because there are quite a large percentage of that particular spec’ed Northwood’s that cannot make it to 133 MHz FSB/2.4 GHz and if you cannot, you are forced to a safe 2.0 GHz or so. The P4’s w/ DDR in particular really need the added memory bandwidth to feed the P4 and the 133 – 150 MHz FSB is where the best bang for the buck occurs.


___HDCblGuy, your setup without specifying Samsung chips on Samsung PCB’s is possibly a very large mistake. There are a ton of resellers selling this combo with the cheaper PCB’s and screwing over the non-informed end user. As for the VC, are you building a gaming box or an HTPC. You already have lost the best overlay with your VC choices. There are sub $350.00 HTPC’s that will display better than what you have chosen and that is where the HTPC is solely judged. SC … for a gaming box, the Value 5.1 is pretty darn good. For an HTPC, you are barking up the wrong tree. The older Value II has in spec voltages vs. the 5.1 and you do not need a Hoontech adapter with one. If you want a gaming and Firewire card, purchase the other much more advanced yet very inexpensive Creative card with the 1394 input built in. If you simply want a gaming setup, the board of choice already has the S/PDIF bracket connection and a C-Media based chipset … You only need to pick up the Asus S/PDIF bracket with either COAX or COAX/Optical outputs and your set for a lower quality DD/DTS – PCM sound output. Have you even looked at the P4S533 manual? By your choices, I would say you haven’t. Wrong DVD and CD-RW … Look up a few HQ reviews to discover why you are possibly purchasing the wrong HW here. Why the SCSI device again? Why the ATA 100 controller? The SiS 645DX uses native ATA66/100/133 UDMA IDE controllers. What CPU F/HS are you going to use again? I pleaded with you to slow down and read just a few threads and you come up with an even more screwed up HW list and setup than your original. You have a lower quality display, lower quality sound than most here would use. Also, what happened to the

___Maybe I simply need a break ;)


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Quote:
114 - 132 x 16 or 18 (it doesn’t matter what multiplier from whatever chip here) is a classic newbie mistake. With a 125 MHz FSB, you are jamming all your PCI/IDE peripherals at up to 41 MHz + on almost all P4 based boards.

[..]

The 1.6A’s can usually make it to 2.13 GHz/133 MHz FSB where the ¼ divider places your PCI/IDE bus back in spec.
Wayne,


I realise that you said "almost all" P4 boards, so Asus boards could be among the few exceptions... but according to my P4B266 manual, the 1/4 PCI divider also applies to 125 MHz... placing the AGP at 62 MHz and the PCI at 31 MHz... still not exactly within specification, but unlikely to be harmful.


Using the FSB jumpers, you have two options at 120 MHz... 120/80/40 (1/3 divider) and 120/60/30 (1/4 divider). So I would guess that anything above 120 MHz uses the 1/4 divider.


I assume that the same applies to jumper-free mode. Since I don't think that the BIOS has any divider configuration options, I wouldn't like to use the 120 MHz setting jumper-free (for fear of the high FSB/AGP speeds). But I'd guess that 121 MHz or higher would be okay.


133 MHz is still the way to go if you can get there, of course. :D


-Bon
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wayne,

You are very right; I was hoping this upgrade was going to be easier than it has been. I was going to be purchasing my Samsung RAM from http://shop.store.yahoo.com/serverpa...mbddrpcsa.html maybe they have the information you were talking about. Here is a little bit of background. I started out with a Dell Dimension 4100 and everything ran great. That is until I started making more and more upgrades. My original intentions were to make the upgrades (the new video card, hard drive controller, CD-RW, etc.) and then use the unit as an HTPC. I didn’t and I still don’t see the unit being used for video input applications (like DScaler etc.), but I do see it used for making DVD backups, playing DVDs, and gaming. Well, it has been like a chain reaction and now I need to upgrade again (now that I think of it and after what you just said, I may just build another PC and sell the one I have now). So, I’ve kind of gotten myself into a bind here; I spent money, things didn’t go as planned, and now I may need to put more money into a computer because I had false hopes. I really appreciate your help and patience. I was trying to keep the upgrade as simple as possible, and I thought it would be, but it appears there is more to it than that. And as I have said before, I am not very computer literate (in the more technical sense like you have seen in my attempted upgrade), so the devices listed were some from the past computer and I got the devices’ names from the Microsoft hardware manager on my computer. So it looks like I’ve got some reading to do and I again appreciate your help.


-Andrew
 
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