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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the next week I plan to upgrade my HTPC (Please see my current config in my sig link). I am doing this for 2 reasons:

1. It's about time

2. Gamming performance is starting to suffer - Jedi II


I know my vid card is a problem, but I am waiting for the new Matrox card to see if it will be viable for both my gamming and pic qual needs.


So, I am thinking P4 1.6A for the CPU. From what I've read, the OC potential is excellent and stability is very good. What is the differance btw the 1.6 and the 1.6A and how do I know?


The MB/memory is giving me the biggest problem right now. I do NOT want RAMBUS because I believe it is on it's way out, so that discounts the 850 series. I think the MSI and ASUS boards are among the best. Seems the 845G or the SiS645DX are the best chipsets. But, reading http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=144575 it looks very hard to actually get a good 845G from MSI.


I have read that the MSI 845G Max L (MS-6580G) will not support my GF2Ultra - it's AGP is 1.5v and my vid card is 3.3v. True?


The Asus P4S533 looks very good.


I would like:

onboard LAN since it would save me a slot in the short term

USB 2.0 since I think it offers more flexability

6 PCI slots required - I have a lot of stuff

onboard RAID - maybe, but not a deal breaker

ATA 133 - I have a number of Maxtor 160GB drives that support this


Memory will probably be PC2700 333MHz DDR SDRAM CL2 CAS2 2.5v


Comments please.


TIA

Rich



If I OC, will I have problems with ADTV (PCI-PCI bridge) or dual vid cards?
 

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I've read lots of positive stuff on the new ASUS board and they generally have a pretty good reputation.


You want the 1.6A aka the Northwood series. That was the first in the line of die-shrunk P4s and is essentially a rebadged 2.0Ghz. People buying those are almost guaranteed a 2.1Ghz overclock. You do not want the older, plain 1.6.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Namlemez.


I have been reading lots re the Asus P4S533 in the last week and have all but decided that is the MB I want.


How do I find a 1.6A vs a normal 1.6? Looking at pricewatch seems little or no help.


Also, any heatsink fan combos anyone likes? Fairly quiet, of course.
 

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1.6A should be identified as "1.6A" "Northwood" or having 256kb of cache.


I've bought a lot of stuff from Newegg and they have a good reputation around here. I simply typed 1.6A in the search box and came up with the right processor for $139, retail boxed with the stock fan.


Here's a link to all their Asus motherboards as well:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...ry=1315&DEPA=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again.


Now, looks like:

CPU P4 1.6A 478 pin Northwood from Newegg - ~$139


MB Asus P4S533 - ~$103 also from Newegg


512M Memory - http://www.ocsystem.com/

OCSystem 512MB PC2700 333Mhz DDR SDRAM unbuffered 2.55v 184pin CL2 CAS 2 heat spreader included $115 - I'll look at Newegg also for this


Heatsink - Thermalright AX-478 - ~$40 [can't find this at Newegg] - the only place I see it at is http://www.3dcool.com/?module=product&sku=AX-478 and I don't know if it is in stock.


Fan - Sanyo Denki DC Petit Ace 32, #109P0812A201, 54 cfm @ 4600rpm, 45 dBA - ~$20 - also hard to find. I search for the part number and it says that it is a case fan - is that true?


Total ~$421
 

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Just one minor correction from Namlemez's description is that the 1.6A Northwood has 512 kb cache and not 256 kb.


You should be okay as long as you refer to 1.6A Northwood though and the cpu you referred to at Newegg is the correct cpu.
 

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Hi Ramick:


___The P4S533 is the enthusiast’s budget leader as I use one myself … 1.6A at 2.4. The DDR 400 memory settings are very nice indeed. The P4B533 has even more OC’ing features but forcing a 1.6A Northwood much above 150 MHz FSB is the start of pushing into dreamland. I built an MSI 845G-Max just last week and it is not in the same league as far as board features, BIOS options, and adjustments as the two Asus boards you are interested in. It is stable at default and slightly OC’ed settings but is missing way too many features to be considered an enthusiasts board.


___As for the CPU’s, the std. 1.6 Willamette’s are sometimes lucky if they hit 1.8 GHz although 2.0 Ghz + is not out of the question. These are the older generation chips missing not only the DIE shrink and 512 KB cache. Rumors abound about the Northwood’s dual processing capability in some of the later chips as well but I am not sure if the MB manufacturers will turn it on (if they are able too) given the registration issues with XP in particular.


___The HS of choice for both a cool and quiet overall solution on a Northwood would be an Alpha PAL8942 w/ a low RPM PC Power&Cooling Silencer, Panasonic Panaflow L1, Sunon TS3/TB-4, or any number of 7-Volt modded 80x80x25 mm case fans. Not only will this cooling solution handle an OC’ed Northwood at 100% full load but will handle it with temps ~ equal to the retail F/HS at std. frequencies and is literally silent inside your case.


___If you are an OC’ing fool (I resemble that remark ;)), the P4S533 would be my choice as well as saving a bit of money in the process. If you are a run of the mill tweaker looking for a solid board that is also fast enough to run Jedi Knight IV (that will be a few years), the P4B533 is the P4 HTPC board of choice for most IMO.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks - I think maybe I will revise my cooling solution.


The Alpha PAL8942 Heatsink is mounted to the MB!?


Is that really a good idea? Also, $43 at Newegg, wow.


The fans:

Power&Cooling Silencer - 80mm or 92mm? These run at 12V? VERY quiet - 20 and 23 dB respectively. Looks like I'll be wanting on of these!
http://www.pcpowercooling.com/produc...s/silencerfan/


Panasonic Panaflow L1 - I think you mean Panasonic Panaflo L1A 80mm. Looks like 32 dB and available at Newegg.
 

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Hi Ramick:


___Most P4 HS’s are attached to the MB with the stock Intel bracket … It’s just that they are not screwed into the standoff type bolts of the Alpha PAL series sinks. Good idea or not, it is totally secure and the springs allow for just the right amount of force to be applied. Might I suggest KD Computers for an even better price. Tell Dave I sent you and you can send me a check for the difference ;) His fan prices (L1’s for $4.50 in 1 lots) are pretty good as well.


___As for the Panaflow fans, no. I often use the “A†designation but it describes the type of lead wire. 3 different types are available from Panasonic but many vendors purchase bare and wire in a 3 (non-speed sensing unfortunately) or 4 pin connection. They output ~ 22 dB (A) or thereabouts. The Silencers are slightly quieter but the Panaflow L1’a have a higher pressure/CFM at stated voltage and RPM.


___An 80x80mm fan is what fits on the Alpha P4 HS’s so make sure that is what you purchase.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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I've been looking for a MicroATX 845G based board, w/ onboard LAN and USB 2.0, that supports 5.1 audio out. So far I've found:

+ ASUS P4B533B-VM ( http://usa.asus.com/mb/socket478/p4b533-vm/overview.htm )

+ AOpen MX4G ( http://www.aopen.com/products/mb/mx4g.htm )


Questions:

1) Do either of these Micro ATX boards actually work properly w/ DDR 333 and/or DDR400 memory? I presume faster RAM is useful for media encoding


2) Any feedback on the on-board audio implementations of these boards? Apparently both can do SPDIF audio out (w/ optional cables) -- are they any good?
 

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I want a stable, quiet system (without overclocking) that is rock solid running Win XP w/ power management. I prefer the 845G as:

+ DDR266 support and "purportedly" DDR333 support (pending confirmation; hence my question), which the 845E "purportedly" doesn't...

+ Most 845G motherboards include ICH4 w/ USB 2.0 support

+ Given a choice between Intel, VIA, SiS, ALi, nVidia for chipsets, my gut feel is that Intel is the most stable/reliable. What add-in card vendor _wouldn't_ test their chips/drivers on an Intel chipset? (can't say the same for ALi and VIA (based on experience), and I wonder how much they care about SiS)


Ideally Intel made a uATX mobo with the features I want (the D845GRG is close - but no SPDIF out and DDR266 only).


Preferably I wouldn't have to spend a month dorking around to build such a system to get it to work reasonably well while the manufactuers sort out their "issues"; life is too short! (I do enjoy building computers; just don't enjoy wasting over a month to get everything to work together...)
 

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I just assembled an Intel based HTPC using a very unusual MB made by Fujitsu/Siemens. The reason for getting this MB is that it has very unique power/ thermal management using specially designed chips which monitor temps and voltage via the CPU itself, not a sensor that is 'hopefully' attached correctly to the heatsink.


The board is 'rock solid' stable, and with the heatsink and fan combo it is absolutely silent. The heatsink and fan is the "TMD-Tip Magnetic Drive" which has the motor on the outside perifery of the fan itself and a much smaller hub area. The net benefit (I believe) is that on the 'rare' occasion that the fan 'spools up', the airflow is much less restricted allowing for more efficien cooling and thus it doesn't stay on as long.


Only drawbacks is that the MB is imported from Germany, and is a bit expensive. But if it has to be silent, IMHO there is NO other board I'd use, and I've tried alot with the work I do.


If anyone is interested, take a look at www.siliconacoustics.com and www.phamcomputer.com


-PGPfan
 

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Only novel thing I see on the board is that it has the "SpeedStep" type processor clock-reducer like on many laptops...I just always run my slower for the thermal advantages.


Lots of other boards and PSUs do the variable speeds I believe. The profile thing is kind of interesting, but you could achieve the same things through manual setting changes. I just _always_ shoot for lower performance / cooler, quieter operation so having profiles is unnecessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ordered:


From NewEgg.com:

Asus P4S533 MB SiS645/961 w/LAN

P4/1.6A CPU


From kdcomputers.com:

Alpha 8942T Heatsink

Panaflo 800mm Fan

Artic Silver 3 thermal compound


From ocsystem.com:

OCSystem 512MB PC2700 333MHz CL2/CAS 2 DDR SDRAM DIMM w/Al heat spreader


Thanks all.
 

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Hi Kirby:


___I have stated this even in this thread that there really isn’t a perfect I845 board out right now … The P4B533 offers almost all of what we want including USB 2.0 with an ICH4 Southbridge as well as locked PCI/AGP ratios but its limited supported memory frequencies hamper it quite hard vs. the P4S533 from SiS. The SiS 645DX has the problem of missing AGP/PCI locks and slightly slower IDE performance. MSI and Gigabyte boards have SiS based boards with the AGP/PCI frequency locks in some fashion but they appear to not work properly (Stability/performance problems) from what I have read. With this, the P4S533 is limited to a bit under 155 MHz but at 145 – 155 MHz, an OC’ed 1.6 A/1.8A, fast memory with fast timings, not much is going to touch it nowadays. It will be the later I845 Pro and SiS 648’s that will have the features that us OC’ers will want including both USB 2.0 and AGP 8X on the 648’s and faster memory configurations with the Pro’s. Even though the SiS645DX P4S533 board is as stable in my uses as any Intel board I have used, I know for a fact that the Intel I845 chipset based boards have had years worth of compatibility testing by the best design house in the business (Intel) whereas SiS will have a far more limited HW Quality testing program … I know this did not answer your question completely but if I were a pure HTPC/Gaming/General use performance enthusiast on a budget, the P4S533 is my board of choice and typed this post up currently. If I were building a general use HTPC with OC’ing and absolute sheer terror performance being a secondary thought/feature, the P4B533 would be typing this post up instead …


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Thanks Wayne,


Why not go with the P4B533-V that has the i845G chipset giving it the compatibility with DDR333 and everything else that's in the standard P4B533? NewEgg doesn't carry the -V version but it can be found on PriceWatch for around $170 with S/pdif audio and Lan


Regards,

Kirby
 

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Hi Kirby:


___Sorry for not getting back to you earlier but I have been swamped … Since the P4B533-V was just recently released to the public, I can’t give you a definite but it sure looks like a winner. At > $170.00 USD however, I wouldn’t purchase it myself as the cost is way out there but that is just me …


___As an afterthought, my favorite MB review site, Lost Circuits , released a great write-up on the P4S533 that you may be interested in reading ;)


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 
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