Looking to upgrade processor and motherboard

  Red Devil 11:00 25 Sep 2007

Hi all,

OK, I've got a Pentium III 1.3Ghz based system and it's really showing it's age. I'm looking at upgrading and am looking for some advice.

First off, I'm looking at going the Intel Core 2 route but have noticed something. 1.066Ghz FSB processors seem to be more expensive than 1.33GHz ones. Any particular reason. I would have thought it was the other way round.

Secondly, does anyone have any suggestions on a suitable motherboard around the £100 mark. If I've understood my chipsets for the processors I'm looking at - click here= - correctly, I'm looking for Intel 775-P35 chipset ones - but do stand to be corrected!! I'm looking for 3-5 boards to compare with each other before deciding to buy but can only find boards listed without a reliable review of them so as to compare the virtues of each.

What about memory? When doing an initial comparison at Crucial for a motherboard, they recommended DDR-5300 memory as being the best to buy rather than DDR-6400 or DDR-8500+. Any particular reason why this might be so?

Lastly, what about a reasonably priced graphics card? I'm not looking for a high end one and will probably be looking for a PCI-Express one for around the £100 mark.

I'm not after much am I? ;)

Many thanks for any advice anyone may be able to give me on this.

  Why wont it work 11:36 25 Sep 2007

The 1333mhz FSB Core 2 Duos are cheaper than their 1066mhz counterparts because they are based upon a more 'mature' process, thus being cheaper to produce. If you are buying a Core 2 Duo there is no point in buying a 1066mhz model as they are more expensive, and performance is very slightly less. If you want a Core 2 Quad though, they only come in a 1066mhz variant (with the exception of the horrendously expensive QX6850).

Indeed, you do want to make sure you get a p35 based chipset as they will offer some degree of futureproofing over the 965 and elderly 975X chipsets. If you have a lot of money to splash about, you consider the X38, but that has features that are unecessary for the average user). Here is a selection of P35s click here Performance for all of them will be very very similar, it just depends upon your price limit and the features you are looking for.

If you get a processor with a 1333mhz bus get 667mhz (PC5300 RAM). If you get a 1066mhz bus, 533mhz is better. This means that the ratio between the processor and ram match, which can often be quicker overall than having faster ram. eg a 1333mhz bus is equal to 10,600mb/s which pairs nicely with dual channel 667mhz (2x 5300mb/s) ram. You only really need faster ram if you want to overclock.

For a graphics card around the £100 mark I would suggest a Nvidia 8600GT or Radeon 2600XT (GGDR4). These are both DirectX 10 which will also allow for some future proofing. If you will be running XP though, and dont care much for DX10, you could get an older more powerful card such a Radeon X1950Pro or XT for a similar price.

  Red Devil 13:05 25 Sep 2007

OK, cheers for the advice. Based on what you've said and some other stuff I've researched, I've settled on the following parts:-

click here
click here
click here

As the motherboard is on special offer and has all the features I'm after as well as 3 PCI slots as I have 5 PCI cards. I can lose some of them as 1 is a USB2.0 controller - the motherboard has 4 built-in - a firewire card - the motherboard has 2 built-in - 2 network cards - the board has LAN built-in - and a SATA card - the motherboard has SATA built-in and can support 6 SATA drives. Currently I only have 2 of these drives.

I've gone for the processor I have as it's the best I can afford so should future-proof me a bit. I've gone for the graphics card I have as it has the output I need to support my monitor - an Iiyama 410 Pro - if I've done my research correctly and 2Gb of RAM as I only have the 32-bit version of Windows XP and I've read that this version of Windows only supports up to 3-3.5Gb of RAM. It therefore seems daft to spend an extra £100 for 4Gb when I can't utilise it all.


  Why wont it work 13:17 25 Sep 2007

Keep in mind that the offer is only until early Thursday morning.

You can get cheaper motherboards if you don't need all the features, but if you do it looks fine.

Don't worry about the graphics card, I guess you have a monitor with VGA (blue port). Most modern graphics cards come with 2x DVI ports now, but don't worry- its almost guaranteed that they will come with an adapter allowing you to use your monitor. (If not they are readily, and cheaply available.) That card is fine if you don't want to play games.. in gaming terms however it's a bit weak.

For memory, I would suggest click here It's cheaper than most PC5300 ram and would still perform very well. (You wouldnt lose performance by getting it, just because its not matched to the FSB). You definately don't need any more than 2gb ram for XP. Not even Vista 32bit gets on terribly well with any more.

The CPU you is a very good powerful choice for the money and should keep you going for a long time.

  Red Devil 13:22 25 Sep 2007

OK, cheers for that. Seeing as I've spent £100 less on memory than I was originally planning, what about if I got a graphics card like:-

click here

I don't really play games all that much but I will look to be getting into Civilization IV and EVE online amongst others if/when I have any free time.

  Red Devil 13:25 25 Sep 2007

I've already ordered these:-

click here

but thanks anyway.

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