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Sadako
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject: Yet another "Need help choosing system" post Reply with quote

I'm about to select a new amd64 system, and I have a few questions.
I was going to provide full details of two different systems with links for comparision, but instead I'll just ask some direct questions so that I can make up my own mind.

I know a lot of this has been posted about before, but I just want to get my facts straight, as there is a lot of contradictory information here.

I will be configuring this system from what's available at komplett.ie, if anyone wants to take a look.

1: Socket 754 or 939;
I know socket 939 is preferable for a new system (for upgradability and such), but I'm on a very tight budget, and with all other components (apart from the motherboard) being equal, I can get an athlon 64 3700+ (2.4 GHz, 1 MB) socket 754 system for a little less than an athlon 64 3200+ (2.0 GHz, 512 KB) socket 939 system.
So what are the real pros/cons of choosing 754 over 939 (or vice-versa)?

2: Motherboards;
First off, how much of a disadvantage is the lack of ensors support on Abit boards compared to others, and do other features make up for it?
I might make use of the onboard ethernet controller, but I'll be installing a pci card I have, so I won't be depending on it, but I really want to get alsa hardware mixing working. Apart from these two known issues, how highly would you recommend nforce3 chips?
Are via chips generally easier to use with linux?
Of the following manufacturers, which come highly regarded, and which should I avoid like the plague;
Abit, Asus, EPoX, Gigabyte & MSI.
Yeah, I admit it; I'm completely clueless when it comes to motherboards, any words of advice here are welcome.
Oh, I definitely want to go with an agp system, not pci-express.

3: Power Supply;
I was going to go with a 350 W power supply, but I really don't know what to base this decision on. Is it generally a good or a bad idea to get as large a power supply as you can?
I'll probably be using two or more hard drives, but other than that I can't think of anything else that would make this system more power hungry than any other.

4: SATA
I'm new to sata technology, so I'd like to know if there would be any problems with the following;
I have a couple of 2.5" laptop ide hard drives, and I was thinking about using a simple internal mounting kit to use one on my new system (possibly just for swap and /tmp).


That's about it.
Thanks for bearing with me, and I appreciate any and all advice or comments, on the above or otherwise.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. if you arent looking to upgrade again within the next couple (say 2-3) years then the life f your socket is not so important and the extra bang for your buck on 754 is probably worth it. I dont know about architectural differences. I always assumed they were the same chip internally.

2. I think all the big name mobos are as good as each other, and hence its about the specific features no the mobo that are important to you. When I recently upgraded i was swung by the MSI board becuse it had creative sound onboard (turns out its not the audigy thats in the cards you or i might know, so i do feel slightly stitched up, but nm!) and the alterative i had lined up (DFI lan party) had 'karajan' audio which as far as ic ould tell was unsupported. I sacrificed 2 extra sata ports, and pretty colored PCI slots for the MSI. Hindsight is a wonderful thing :)

I have run Abit/MSI/Gigabyte (even ECS as a cheap and cheerful option) on linux with ver little problems.

With AGP you are likely to save a few gbp/dollars.

3. PSU's are a funny thing. Often overlooked. The one thing I would say is that the numebr on the front aren't necassarily the best indication of a PSU's worth. At least by avoiding PCIe you dont need additional power & connectors. I believe a PSU is an important part of the system and should be invested in. Others beleive you should get the cheapest one you can, after all power is power.

Id be more inclined to go for something like an enermax 350W even though you might be able to get some cheapo 600W monster for the same price. The 350W will likely be sufficient (as i say the way they add numbers up is screwy, more important is max voltage across 12V and 5V rails or some other thing which i wont pretend to be an expert on!) it will provide cleaner (ie less fluctuating) power to your system, which in theory results in more stabilty.

For the record I just invested in the enermax noisetaker whcih reckons to be 600W (around gbp80). Largely for the numerous sata connectors, the dual PCI-E gfx connectors and that I expect this PSU to be perfectly adequate even once i am up to the full qouta of 6 drives and SLI'd 6800's, and whatever else i deem fit to be powered off it - I dont expect this to be anytime soon though :)

4. SATA is cool. Just like IDE but nicer cables and faster transfer. Hurrah! Dependign on your mobo (you are getting one with sata and IDE right?) you should have no problem hooking up several devices of your choice - its perfectly feasible to connect 2.5" drives to a normal desktop through an IDE adapter cable AFAIK. As long as you remeber one sata port = one drive (master only). One IDE port = two drives (master+slave) most new ish boards come with at least 2 ide conenctors and 4 sata ports.

look around on anandtech / toms etc for many detailed reviews. I always use sites like these to research before i make a purchase.

good luck!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got 350W enermax supply which is sufficent for 3000+, 1gb ram , gf6800le overclocked and 3 hdds, 2 burners. So i would say if you are not gonna use sli 350w is enough but only if you buy some brand one which actually does that 350w. If you are planning to go dual core/sli , you'll probably would need more decent one. Also go for socket 939 cause you have a better upgrade path there which will probably save you money on upgrades in the future. Also check the forums cause I see many people have problems specifficaly with dfi lan party. Also if you have a crappy gfx, switch to pci-express now so you won't be limited to agp only options in the future. pci expres is also great for gigabit network cards. Also some boards already support sata2 which has such cool things like ncq which is great for fileservers or just for anything which uses lots of random acceses to different parts of hdd at the same time. The cost ist minimal but you will have better upgrade options in the future.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for the replies. You've already cleared up a number of things for me, but I have some more questions, if you don't mind.

First off, I've pretty much decided on the 754 socket system, as it'll probably be some time before I even think about upgrading, so when I do a new motherboard may very well be in order anyway, and that's if I ever do a major upgrade on this system.

I've also re-evaluated my position on nforce chips after reading up on them, but just to make sure I have things straight;
The audio on nforce2 chips are the ones with poor alsa support, whereas hardware mixing with alsa on nforce3 chips are fully supported, right?
What about nforce4?
And how usable is the forcedeth driver at present?

Another question; A few of the boards I've been looking at have three dimm slots. What does this mean in regards to dual channel memory?
(I'm going with a matched pair of 512 Mb twinmos PC3200 DDR dimm modules).

UgolinoII wrote:
When I recently upgraded i was swung by the MSI board becuse it had creative sound onboard (turns out its not the audigy thats in the cards you or i might know, so i do feel slightly stitched up, but nm!)

Yeah, I had a look at this board, but I read that the sound chip used wasn't exactly top of the line anyway, so I didn't really give it much consideration.

UgolinoII wrote:
With AGP you are likely to save a few gbp/dollars.

crazycat wrote:
Also if you have a crappy gfx, switch to pci-express now so you won't be limited to agp only options in the future.

I should have included this in my previous post, the reason I'm going with AGP is because I've already picked up my graphics card, a radeon 9250, and before you kill me, yes I'm aware of how bad the ati proprietary drivers are compared to nvidia, but as far as I can gather the 9250 is one of the best cards fully supported by the DRI projects' open source drivers.
Also, I'm not a gamer, and I'll be happy as long as I can get direct rendering working (bad past experiences with older hardware).

crazycat wrote:
Also some boards already support sata2 which has such cool things like ncq which is great for fileservers or just for anything which uses lots of random acceses to different parts of hdd at the same time.

Another thing I should have stated in my last post; I've already selected a hard drive, either a 160 or 200 Gb Samsung spinpoint SATA drive with NCQ, and all the mainboards I've been looking at support SATA.
You've given me one more questiion, though; how can I tell whether or not any particular board supports ncq (all the ones I've looked at are serial ATA-150, and most are nforce3 boards)?

Again, thanks for the help.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an Abit mother board and other than the issues related to not having sensors it has been a good MB. But just so that you are aware of all of the sensors related issues here goes.

1. Abit has refused to work with anyone to in anyway help provide sensors support for Linux. The folks who support lm-sensors have asked them for a spec sheet a number of times. This is not a simple oversite but is in fact active hostility to the Linux community.

2. You will not be able to monitor any hardware related information such as temperatures, voltages, clock multiplier....

3. Because of the lack of hardware modules for these mother boards you will also not be able to do things like control fan speeds.

All in all a bad situation. Since Abit is actively refusing to support the Linux community I think Linux users should avoid buying their products. If I had known their attitude I would not have purchased this mother board.

939 vs. 754: I agree that if you don't plan on upgrading anytime soon (until it is time to replace the MB) that 754 will give more bang for the buck. But keep in mind that the upgrade path for 754 is very limited where as for 939 it is huge (dual core now and quad core next year). In the case of 939 an upgrade involves buying and installing the new multi-core cpu, upgrading the BIOS and recompiling the kernel. So the 939 upgrade path is a very appealing one.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hvengel wrote:
939 vs. 754: I agree that if you don't plan on upgrading anytime soon (until it is time to replace the MB) that 754 will give more bang for the buck. But keep in mind that the upgrade path for 754 is very limited where as for 939 it is huge (dual core now and quad core next year). In the case of 939 an upgrade involves buying and installing the new multi-core cpu, upgrading the BIOS and recompiling the kernel. So the 939 upgrade path is a very appealing one.

Believe me, if I had the money I'd be going with a 939 system, and I'd be going for an X2 right now too.
Being broke sucks. :(

As for the whole abit sensors thing, this looks promising (only I don't particularly like gkrellm. Conky all the way!)
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get the 939, you can get an ASUS A8V for about $90 now. The 3200 chip is around $180. Then later you can always upgrade to a dual core or faster chip.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sata2 aka sata-150 is pointed extra on description of the board, hard to miss it. Probably only so939 have it cause it's new. 754 isn't worth it anyhow. This 20$ you save will cost you ~100$ on the new board in future, also you cant actually upgrade 754 , with a reasonable performance/price. In 2 years you can upgrade only cpu and not your board + cpu and it will save you at least 2 times more than the amount you save now if you buy 754. It only makes sence if one want the ultimately price/performance now and it would consist of so754 and a sempron with 64-bit extension.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crazycat wrote:
sata2 aka sata-150 is pointed extra on description of the board, hard to miss it. Probably only so939 have it cause it's new.

That's cool, most of the boards I've looked at are sata-150, even the 754's.

And about the 754 socket, does it support dual-channel memory?
I've seen some indications that it does, but no board I've seen supports it.

Not that it matters.
I've decided to go with the 939 after all, partly due to your recommendations.
I'll just get one of the low end processors (3000+/3200+) for the moment, and upgrade when I get the money together (and by the time that happens, the dual-cores will probably be a lot more affordable).

Having decided that, now I simply have to decide on the mainboard once and for all, and my choice seems to be between nforce3 and via K8T800 pro boards.
As I'll have to rely on the onboard sound and ethernet controllers (at least for the moment), could someone please give me some opinions or a run down on how good the performance of and support for these two are under linux?
(The two via boards I'm looking at are both MSI NEO2's, with VT8237 audio chipsets and Realtek RTL8110S ethernet controllers).

Anyway, thanks yet again. You've already been a great help.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopeless wrote:
Having decided that, now I simply have to decide on the mainboard once and for all, and my choice seems to be between nforce3 and via K8T800 pro boards.
As I'll have to rely on the onboard sound and ethernet controllers (at least for the moment), could someone please give me some opinions or a run down on how good the performance of and support for these two are under linux?
(The two via boards I'm looking at are both MSI NEO2's, with VT8237 audio chipsets and Realtek RTL8110S ethernet controllers).

Anyway, thanks yet again. You've already been a great help.


Do not get the nforce3 chipset. It requires more CPU to make them work right, so system performance will be lower.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lotw wrote:
Do not get the nforce3 chipset. It requires more CPU to make them work right, so system performance will be lower.

Seriously? I haven't read anything about that.
I had almost decided on the MSI K8N NEO2 Platinum-54G, but now you've given me second thoughts, so thanks for the advice.

From the little I've read, though, it sounds like via has embraced the linux community moreso than most hardware companies, and their support seems to be superb.
So it looks like either the MSI K8T NEO2 F, or the MSI K8T NEO2 FIR, all I need to know before making my mind up is how well the audio and ethernet components work (and any personal recommendations for/warnings about these two boards).

Anyone?
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know about the audio/ethernet, but I'd suggest that you look into the 3000+ instead of the 3200+ if you plan on overclocking in the future. Look into a power supply that is 24-pin natively instead of 20+adapter and delivers massive wattage - I saw an Antec SmartPower 2.0 500W go for ~70USD somewhere.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nekranos wrote:
Don't know about the audio/ethernet, but I'd suggest that you look into the 3000+ instead of the 3200+ if you plan on overclocking in the future. Look into a power supply that is 24-pin natively instead of 20+adapter and delivers massive wattage - I saw an Antec SmartPower 2.0 500W go for ~70USD somewhere.

I've never actually given any thought towards overclocking (this will actually be my first desktop, I've been using laptops since windoze '95 :lol: ) but you've just put the idea into my head, and I have a feeling it's not going to just go away without a fight.

So, what makes the 3000+ better suited, and what kind of perfomance increase can I expect?

And if I were to try overclocking, and the worst came to the worst, what are the odds that I'd damage anything other than the cpu itself?

All the power supplies I've been looking atl seem to be 24 pin
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopeless wrote:
nekranos wrote:
Don't know about the audio/ethernet, but I'd suggest that you look into the 3000+ instead of the 3200+ if you plan on overclocking in the future. Look into a power supply that is 24-pin natively instead of 20+adapter and delivers massive wattage - I saw an Antec SmartPower 2.0 500W go for ~70USD somewhere.

I've never actually given any thought towards overclocking (this will actually be my first desktop, I've been using laptops since windoze '95 :lol: ) but you've just put the idea into my head, and I have a feeling it's not going to just go away without a fight.

So, what makes the 3000+ better suited, and what kind of perfomance increase can I expect?

And if I were to try overclocking, and the worst came to the worst, what are the odds that I'd damage anything other than the cpu itself?

All the power supplies I've been looking atl seem to be 24 pin


Actually the Overclocking depends on the core. If you get the 3200 with the Winchester core, it runs pretty cool and can be over clocked easily. I got mine up from 2ghz to 2.4ghz.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I'm not sure if you should go for the 3200 or the 3000 after mulling over it. Some people on another board that I belong to have mixed opinions that get thrown left and right over Winnie vs. Venice in either 3200/3000 variations. :roll:

Disclaimer: I do not overclock, I just hang around on a board where 99% of the users do :roll: I'm in the same boat as you, this is my first real desktop in years (as opposed to laptops); I'm not all to comfortable towards the idea of OC'ing, so I don't...

I'd say go for a Venice since there's not much price difference between a 3000 Venice and a 3200 Venice *shrug*
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your help and advice, I've finally ordered my new system (and the anticipation is worse than chrismas eve as a kid).

The main specs are;
    MSI K8T NEO2 F, K8T800PRO, Socket-939 SATA, GbLAN, Raid, Dual-DDR, AGP8X
    Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz Socket 939, 512KB
    TwinMOS PC3200 DDR-DIMM 1024MB Dual Pack Kit w/two matched PC3200 DDR DIMMs
    Samsung SpinPoint P120S 200GB SATA2, 8MB 7200RPM NCQ
    Sapphire Radeon 9250 256MB DDR, 128 bit
    NEC DVD recorder (ND-3540A) DVD+ and DVD-, dual layer

All for around €700, (including case and power supply, obviously).
No monitor, keyboard or mouse. I said I was on a budget.

nekranos wrote:
Actually, I'm not sure if you should go for the 3200 or the 3000 after mulling over it. Some people on another board that I belong to have mixed opinions that get thrown left and right over Winnie vs. Venice in either 3200/3000 variations. :roll:

Disclaimer: I do not overclock, I just hang around on a board where 99% of the users do :roll: I'm in the same boat as you, this is my first real desktop in years (as opposed to laptops); I'm not all to comfortable towards the idea of OC'ing, so I don't...

I'd say go for a Venice since there's not much price difference between a 3000 Venice and a 3200 Venice *shrug*

Yeah, I'm not to sure about the overclocking thing either, but as I probably (or hopefully) will be upgrading the cpu within six to twelve months anyway, I might give it try. Don't have that much to lose.
I'm not sure which core the chip I'm getting is (as in venice vs. winchester), but it uses the 90 nm manufacturing process, and has a lower thermal rating than the other 3200+'s, so I'm guessing it's the more suitable (for OC'ing) chip.

Anyway, thanks yet again for your help.

I'm looking forward to wasting all my time in Gentoo on AMD64. :D
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as Hopeless I've been on a laptop during the last years and now I'm planning on putting toghether a AMD-64 desktop system. My main concern have been deciding on a motherboard that will cause me as little trouble with linux as possible, therefore I was glad to find this thread!

I've found this reweiv of the MSI K8T Neo2 mob and especially this

Quote:
Everything on this motherboard works excellently in GNU/Linux, using either a 64-bit or 32-bit kernel.


sounded promissing.

I've also read this thread and this specific post made me interested in the MSI K8T Neo2.

I would like to now how things worked out four you, had any troubles with MSI K8T Neo2?

Btw, since I'm no gamer I might also go for your (Hopeless) choice of the Sapphire Radeon graphics card.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using a Athlon64 3000+ on a MSI Neo2 Platinum (nVidia nForce3) myself running dual booting with winxp & gentoo amd64. No complain so far on setting up the system in gentoo. The 2005 livecd detected my onboard ethernet card so I can connect to the internet easily. Everything went on smoothly for me. Using my old nvidia gf 5200 apg card cos not much of a gamer, I think most linux user choose nvidia card over ati due to the driver support.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

radonsg wrote:
Using a Athlon64 3000+ on a MSI Neo2 Platinum (nVidia nForce3) myself running dual booting with winxp & gentoo amd64. No complain so far on setting up the system in gentoo. The 2005 livecd detected my onboard ethernet card so I can connect to the internet easily. Everything went on smoothly for me. Using my old nvidia gf 5200 apg card cos not much of a gamer, I think most linux user choose nvidia card over ati due to the driver support.


Thanks, I think I'll go with the MSI motherboard!

I also appreciate your comment about the ati vs nvdia grx cards. All I want is the possibilty for dual head and tv-out. I picked up on this

Hopeless wrote:
I'm aware of how bad the ati proprietary drivers are compared to nvidia, but as far as I can gather the 9250 is one of the best cards fully supported by the DRI projects' open source drivers.


but after doing some more reading it seems that ATI and Tv-out is a non-match under linux (and you are right, most linux users don't seem to like ATI but Nvidea seems to embrace the linux community). The cheapest card I found at my local shop that I hope fullfills my needs are XFX GeForce FX5200 256MB DDR AGP8X, Tv-Out/DVI
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

borge wrote:
radonsg wrote:
Using a Athlon64 3000+ on a MSI Neo2 Platinum (nVidia nForce3) myself running dual booting with winxp & gentoo amd64. No complain so far on setting up the system in gentoo. The 2005 livecd detected my onboard ethernet card so I can connect to the internet easily. Everything went on smoothly for me. Using my old nvidia gf 5200 apg card cos not much of a gamer, I think most linux user choose nvidia card over ati due to the driver support.


Thanks, I think I'll go with the MSI motherboard!

I also appreciate your comment about the ati vs nvdia grx cards. All I want is the possibilty for dual head and tv-out. I picked up on this

Hopeless wrote:
I'm aware of how bad the ati proprietary drivers are compared to nvidia, but as far as I can gather the 9250 is one of the best cards fully supported by the DRI projects' open source drivers.


but after doing some more reading it seems that ATI and Tv-out is a non-match under linux (and you are right, most linux users don't seem to like ATI but Nvidea seems to embrace the linux community). The cheapest card I found at my local shop that I hope fullfills my needs are XFX GeForce FX5200 256MB DDR AGP8X, Tv-Out/DVI


Hey, sorry I haven't replied sooner, only got your message now. Hope it's not too late, been kinda busy lately.

As for the motherboard, I'm very happy with it, but for two things;
The onboard sound card, while it pretty much works perfectly, the sound quality could be a little better, although I hear this is true of a lot of integrated audio chips. I intend to pick up an audigy when I get the money together anyway (/me is living on bread and water for the next month). Both hardware mixing and optical output work without any effort.
Second problem, although it's probably not a motherboard problem so you shouldn't let it put you off, is that I can't get it to operate with a dual channel memory configuration.

Ethernet controller works perfectly, as do the hardware sensors with lmsensors.

Other than the memory thing, I've had no problems with this board, and the stage 1 amd64 installation was a breeze.

Also, I would highly recommend the video card for non-gamers (and it's performance in games within window$ is actually quite good for a "budget" card). Direct rendering works fine with the in kernel drm and xorg's drivers, no need for the x11-drm package or anything else.
I haven't tried messing with the tv-out yet, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work with the ati-gatos package.

Thank yet again to everyone who helped me with this.

Any thoughts on/similar experiences with the memory problem?
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