I'm hoping that someone can help me out with a few pointers. I am looking to upgrade a system on a budget & want to best understand the implications of what I am looking to select. What I really know about AMD processors & any other complications would fit on a 1 cent piece (& as I am from OZ, we don't have them anymore anyway.....)
My current system is a P4 1.6 on an ASUS P4B MB & most of it will (obviously) get junked (or passed on to my kid.
In upgrading I am looking at a GB 7VT600-1394 board - it's got everything (400FSB, FW, SATA & LAN) & it's reasonably priced. I am looking to pair that with an XP2600+ (or 2700+ or 2800+ depending upon cost/availability - I can't afford the 3000/3200+ that is 400FSB). I am figuring that Barton is better (?newer?) than Tbred, so will aim at that as a minimum. 2800+'s are scarce at the moment, so am I better off with 2700 or 2600 (or won't it make a real difference)?
Another option is a similarly spec'd ASUS board, however (according to ASUS) it cannot handle more than 2 RAM of DDR3200 spec (even though they have 3 slots. Someone told me that ASUS perform better that GB??!!?? I am looking at 1GB RAM now, but am concerned about expansion options later....
The 64MB AGP (4X) card will probably have to stay for a while & it works really nicely today in the current machine.
Now the big one is my usage of the machine. It will not be strictly gaming (although the odd Wolfenstein ET or BF1942 is often played), and I will be needing to run some ugly apps like VMWare or Virtual PC on it.
If anyone could help out with experiences/feelings I would really appreciate it.
Your questions are laced with the need for opinions vice facts ... so I'll give you my opinions.
I just built two computers for my home, both with ASUS motherboards (one A7N8X-X and one A7N8X-E Deluxe). Both have AMD 2600+ Barton CPUs. I used the two different boards because of the different purposes I'll be using the two computers. I didn't get the 2700+ or 2800+ because I couldn't justify the cost for the performance increase.
I wouldn't worry about the 2MB RAM limitation unless you are planning on doing some serious stuff, all running simultaneously. By the time 2MB is not enough for most users, the AMD 2600 will be long gone. My point being that in my opinion, other aspects of your system will be outdated long before the 2MB limitation.
As you can tell, I personally am an advocate of buying mid-level components because I find their cost/benefit ratios are usually the best, and they all exceed my real needs (note I didn't say my desires).