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  • PotterVilla - Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - link

    Hello,

    I've not been able to find a XFX, MSI, or eVGA 6800GT graphics card at new egg (I'm not really looking to buy, just being wishful) and I also saw that the 6800XT is only $170. The 7800GT is more in your ballpark of $345 a card. Would ether of these cards be an upgrade, and has their price gone down that much ($175) in only about seven months?

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • jonp - Friday, August 26, 2005 - link

    i wonder about the hp 1905fp recommend for the mid-range non-gaming display. there are considerable comments here and elsewhere about the poor analog (d-sub 15 pin) performance ie image quality. the Genesis gm-5321 controller chip is no longer shown on their web site and the datasheets are no longer available as well. (one wonders how much longer the 1905fp will even be available?) the dvi interface might be great, but there are some of us who connect their display through a kvm that only handles analog signals--so dvi performance is of little interest. i think we need a new monitor review and new pick for the non-gaming monitor recommendation. we depend on Anandtech for solid testing and non-subjective analysis to guide us in our quest for the best value. it is clear that we need new help in this area. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 16, 2005 - link

    56 - not usually on NVIDIA nF3/4 or Intel chipsets. That's only an issue with secondary SATA controllers (VIA, SiS, Silicon Image, etc.) But still, never hurts to have that $8 part around just in case! Reply
  • mhallang - Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - link

    Another reason to get a floppy drive is to install Win XP on a SATA drive. Maybe SP2 is different, and I would bet there's another way around it; but my experience was that I needed a floppy with the SATA drivers during the install process for XP. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 13, 2005 - link

    54 - Oh, I'd stay far away from XP64 for SLI. Raw doesn't begin to describe it, IMO. Longhorn is when I'll actually consider switching to a 64-bit OS. Reply
  • GreedyBumps - Thursday, June 09, 2005 - link

    I built this system with all major components that are in this guide and cannot get SLI to work. Both cards work great individually but when I try to but them both in in SLI mode screen goes black after the black windows loading screen. I have tried all the driver / bios updates for everything I could find and still no dice.

    One issue could be that I installed Windows x64 professional - maybe some drivers are still too raw.

    Also - the SLI jumpers on this DFI Lanparty board are a complete pain. They are tough to pull out and there are 6 of them. When you are trying to get SLI to work it is absolute nightmare to keep switching between SLI and Normal jumper cable settings.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    52 - I got the information from Wesley. Basically, there is a higher number of RMA for motherboards and RAM when voltages above 3.3V are used. (Not too surprising, really, as higher V = higher heat.) 3.3V and below are fine, but there is a jumper to allow up to 4.0V. If you use that jumper, it causes problems. That's my understanding. In other words, don't plan on running OCZ VX at 3.7V with no active cooling. :) Reply
  • hgkfahgsa - Wednesday, June 01, 2005 - link

    Jarred, could you elaborate on the problems with high voltages with the DFI cards? Is there any chance of the problems being resolved, does 3.3 volts work? etc... Thanks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 27, 2005 - link

    50 - I know there are some Turtle Beach cards with S/PDIF in and out connections. M-Audio also has some, i.e. the Delta and Audiophile. Which one you want depends on the use. Most only have optical *OR* coaxial (RCA). I think many of the models with external boxes have both. If you were interested in an expensive, "everything" solution, there's the Audigy 4 Pro, but that's $280 or so, and I can't vouch for the actual quality as a whole.

    Honestly, I'm not a demanding audio person. If you want more advice on audio, I'm sure there are people in our forums that can provide better advice for "pro level" cards. You may as well ask me for advice on cars while you're at it! (Get something cheap and reliable!) ;-)
    Reply
  • devslash - Friday, May 27, 2005 - link

    how important is capability of S/PDIF input. i dont see many motherboards that have this on-board.

    isn't it important/good to have it, so DVD's audio
    can be directly fed into the on-board sound system?

    can you recommend a good board w/ S/PDIF input?
    Reply
  • CP5670 - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    You can still get Mitsubishi 2070s (I got a new one for $600 about three weeks ago), although they are out of production and are somewhat hard to find. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    44 - Venice and Winchester seem to be the same chip, only with SSE3 enabled on Venice. I don't think it matters much for games right now, but with the difference only being $4 now, go for it. (At the time I wrote this Guide, Winchester retail chips were $20 less than Venice retail chips, which is harder to justify.)

    47 - I've emailed a few people about this, but basically there just aren't any improvements to CRTs coming out these days. You can still find some Dell, HP, etc. monitors that use the same tube as the NEC FE2111SB, and it's a good tube overall. The Mitsubishi 2070 still boasts the best specs I'm aware of (140 kHz horizontal scan rate and 2048x1536 resolution).

    If you want a CRT, by all means get one. The Samsung 997DF is still a decent 19" model for around $210, though it's not perfectly flat. NEC FE991SB are also good, though they cost more than the Samsung. If you can find a discount on a Dell, HP, etc. CRT and it sports an aperture grille, it's probably going to be similar enough to the NEC/Mitsubishi models that you wouldn't notice other than the exterior.

    Personally, I'm just tired of large CRTs, and I've recommended them in so many Guides (without any change) that it's time to move on. I'll continue to mention them, but I don't recommend them anymore for a lot of people.
    Reply
  • CrimsonChaos - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    Great guide!

    I was recently considering buying a system inbetween a mid-range and high-end computer. This would have been a tremendous help to me as I started the researching process.

    Just a quick question -- why no PC Power & Cooling power supply for a high-end system? That too expensive even for the biggest enthusiast (aka money-waster)??

    Also, going to add any normal CRT recommendations to the "Display" part?
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    Re: 16

    > and I feel about the same for audio.

    That's not a very strong argument.

    But because audio is always integrated while video isn't, it's indeed simpler to add one later.
    Reply
  • ceefka - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    #43 Reapsy00,

    About every new CPU, mobo/chipset, graphicscard, RAM, LCD/CRT mentioned here has been benched, just not in this same article.

    Also, recommendations here were winners in past benchmarkings before this article.

    You'll even find links to benchmarks in the buyers guide. In my opinion AT has got it nailed pretty good.
    Reply
  • dmaduram - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    Kudos to Jarred for such an excellent guide -- it's quite informative!

    Just two quick questions -- first of all, with regard to gaming, is there an advantage in selecting a AMD-Venice core instead of a AMD-Wichester core? I was unsure on what specific applications recieved a boost from Venice's "SSE3" support.

    Secondly, d'you know if there are any disadvantages in purchasing a Venice core instead of the recommended Wichester core? There's only a 4-dollar difference in price on NewEgg, so I was wondering which one I should buy for my gaming box :)
    Reply
  • Reapsy00 - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    You see lots of these buyer's guides on different sites, AT should take it further and build the system's and benchmark 'em. Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - link

    No problem, Tujan
    I wouldn't choose a VIA miniITX platform - the 1GHz processors are quite faster than the older 700-800MHz ones. However, their very size forces them to be niche systems.
    If I would like a computer in my car, a MiniITX would be the best choice. But for a stand alone, I very much prefer upgradable PC technology
    Reply
  • R3MF - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    ah well, my new shuttle SN25P with a 3200 Venice, 6600GT (£98.00), and 250GB 7200.8 doesn't look too shabby.

    it even has onboard via-envy sound, and will be even better with a 7800GT and dual-core X2 early next year.

    i am happy.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    35 - Thanks. I wasn't aware of that. (I hate it when manufacturers do that!) Anyway, I added a comment about this in the article. Basically, I'm saying that RAM with TCCD blanks is still a great choice for overclockers looking for maximum clock speeds. Reply
  • Tujan - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Err a,thanks for reply..Calin.

    bummer when I do that.
    Reply
  • Garyclaus16 - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    All this article tells me is that my once 'bleeding edge' [939 Athlon64 3200+]system is now merely a mid range PC...save for my pqi turbo 2-2-2-5 :P
    Still...I am sad...I need to save up another 2k now for later this year. > :(
    Reply
  • Tujan - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Thanks for reply Chris..

    Yeah Ive followed a few stories about the VIA Edens. Just hovering around 1 GHz. With single PCI slot.They too,have onboard graphics. Like pull that off , keep onboard sound maybe,...

    Certainly limiting themselves with that kind of choice.Then Im not what that is suppose to reach. Two PCI-e slots at minimum for me.But this sends the engineers back to work.

    Most vendors Iv seen include the graphics onto the mini-atx motherboards. MSI has an mini-atx w/o graphics ,..775.But isn't seen at vendors. Situation with the power,could make do with feature set of 915..945,955/Nvidias on mini-atx(s),.Since the lan is onboard.Might consider having maybe single Sata as well.

    Not like being able to see clearly now...""I can see clearly now the rain is gone""..:)

    Weird how we will see magic in closed black box embedded solution before we have that choice.
    Reply
  • ProviaFan - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    I agree with #34 for the most part, but anyone heavily into digital photography (whether with DSLR or scanned film) knows that it is very easy to exceed 1GB with Photoshop and a few images with some adjustment layers and layer masks (not to mention that my PC is general purpose and I usually have other stuff going in the background as well). Reply
  • stickx - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    quoted from the guide: "long-time favorite, the OCZ Rev. 2 Platinum. While the price increase is quite drastic, it's worth mentioning that this same RAM cost as much as $275 just a few months back. It uses Samsung TCCD memory blanks"

    Unfortunately OCZ is no longer using TCCD memory in this product. This has been verified on several forums in xtremesystems.org and in dfi-street.com where people have removed the heat spreaders to find chips other that TCCD. I think you need to update your guide for this info.
    Reply
  • OrSin - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Damn people get off thier backs. It a damn guide. Make all the choices you. They are giving thier recommondation, they are not give you ever fcking choice under the sun. No guide can have everyones choice.

    And ars, I don't know what planet your from but if you think epox is even near Asus or MSI in quality then then you full of it. If i saw any sit say Exop is better then ASUS, then I would stop reading them. Better then chaintech ost likely then not the top tier guys.

    And for the record I play alot games and have noticed no improvement with 2GB of 1GB or memory.
    Don know what you do thet 2GB is needed. Now I'm not saying you can;t find a way to use more then 1GB, but how many people actually do and on a regular bases.
    Reply
  • Pythias - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    When you guys refer to response time, is thet grey-to-grey, black-white-black, or total response time? Reply
  • MrOblivious - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Supposedly the issue with MSI NEO4 boards and 90nm chips has been fixed:

    http://forum.msi.com.tw/index.php?topic=80384.0
    Reply
  • arswihart - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Kris - so you are now saying all mobo makers are essentially equal in terms of support, upgrades, MTBF (bad caps excuse is dead now since they all use good/great quality caps). So what's left to make me choose Asus/MSI? If you are saying reputation, I can just direct you to the forums, their boards are no better or worse than any of the competition. If you are recommending based on sales, thats just dumb. Reply
  • ceefka - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    #1 I don't know how the onboard will handle sound in games, but I'd count on it to do that on the level it is built, i.e. no better than it will play a CD or DVD. It is however safe to say that onboard will definately not work for (semi)professional audio on a PC.

    I always thought that any realtime sound effects were handled by the CPU, unless you have a dedicated DSP-card or multiples thereof which gamers seldom do ;-)

    Jarred: "anyone who doesn't intend to do any recording of audio" and what about those that do? I do read a lot about DAW's on the net, but have to get back to AT regularly to get a the details straight.

    What do you make of this? http://www.rme-audio.com/english/techinfo/nforce4_...

    With the Thonex audio stress test file (downloadable from http://www.adkproaudio.com/downloads.cfm), including memory-intensive data communication via samples/VSTis, and used with Cubase SX/Nuendo 2/3, soundcard latency has to be increased to approx. 2048 samples buffer latency setting with the NF4 to receive glitch-free audio recordings whereas with the NF3, and equivalent software/hardware/soundware equipment, the minimum latency can be significantly reduced (some 128-256 samples). Likewise, cpu load values are significantly higher with the NF4 than with the NF3 ditto - based on exactly the same audio stress test files and equivalent hardware peripherals.

    The Thonex could be nice for your next high end guide when the dualcores are out.
    Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Oh, and no micro ATX board is the flagship of any mainboard manufacturer. VIA is the only one that has a small mainboard as the flagship (the Mini ITX platform) Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    Hi Tujan
    I think I would like to see more Micro ATX mainboards too. But the idea is that micro ATX boards are not in the segment that typical reviewers like. They usually lack any kind of overclocking potential, their expansion possibilities are very restricted, and in some cases the performance is lacking compared to their big brothers (ATX). Also, they usually have 2 memory slots (unlike 3 to 4 of ATX), and the layout is much more cramped.
    Advantages? There could be a price advantage, size and maybe cooling.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    crimson117 - Hey, I gave plenty of options for more RAM. The fact is there are very few people that really need more than 1GB of RAM right now. If you need more than 1GB, I'd probably go for 2x1GB rather than 4x512MB, as that gives you the option of upgrading to 4x1GB in the future. Still, 1GB DIMMs are expensive, so 4x512 isn't a terrible choice. Just realize that unless you really need more than 1GB of RAM, you'll end up with slightly slower performance, as none of the boards we've tested will run with 1T command rates and maximum timings when using four DIMMs. Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    If you go for the AMD board, I'd recommend getting 4x512mb ram. Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    It is a crime to limit such great systems with a mere 2x512mb of ram. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    arswihart: All motherboard manufacturers do that.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • arswihart - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - link

    that chaintech card is one of the best values in computer hardware, it only has a few downsides, including lack of eq control, no eax (who cares?), can't use microphone input when hi-quality mode (24-bit 96 khz) is enabled, and no spdif in (who needs it?). The Hi-quality 24-bit 96 khz 2-channel mode is what this card is all about, and it is a noticable improvement over onboard audio.

    Regarding the Catalina card, the sound quality of the DAC's on that card are obviously worse than the Chaintech.
    Reply
  • berkut7 - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    My brother owns the Chaintech soundcard, and the drivers do not have an option that allows control of either treble, or more imortantly (he has the Logitech's Z-560 speakers.) Plus, the soundcard doesn't feature any EAX support, but I don't think EAX even does anything to make games sound better. Reply
  • Tujan - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    Im a little aprehensive about putting money into Nvidia now.Since there are plenty of other vendors wich have AMD solutions.True Nvidia is the one to best. But it simply cant be an all Nvidia show.

    Your article is most of dealing with what 'cost is for given components.Think that the smarter buyer is purchasing,especially the first time buyer,based on fact of 'future proofing . In a performance based category. The smarter buyer,is buying performance,they are buying cheaper components on a performance upgrade path.

    An example for the AMD setup,a 1.8 Winchester,could be used instead.And too a video card such as an ATI x600pro PCI-e. This shaves about 120.00 off of that notch. A 300+ LCD ? Dont think so. However anyway,the fact is the 'smarter buyer,is taking the cheaper expense,to a platform wich is 'performance.

    I know Ive seen the benchmarks for the different Video cards.It isn't a bragging thing to me.My grandma uses DDRMemory on here video card,with a 400Mhz Ramdac,but she uses it on a PCI-e board.

    The range of performance/platform is a little different for an Intel platform,where processors run from Celerons ,to EM64 Prescotts.Then stop at where we are now,the 945,955/dual core 'boards.But the range of upgrade is there,and its based on performance.The smarter buyer is taking the least expense,for the platform with the longest upgrade range.

    First time buyers are the most luckiest because they do not have to take second chances with their money.

    Would like to see more m-atx performance platforms.Motherboards w/o onboard graphics for example.There are only a few.However this would probably be something 'performance should win,over 'cost analysis.

    Like IDE,IDE went to IDE33 all the way through to UDMA133. Only criteria was the prerequisite of the 40 pin connector on the motherboard.

    Limiting 'range on a 'cost effective analysis is anybodies choice.If there is such a choice.
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    i hope you didn't dump your 8rda+, you should send it to epox I know they will fix your caps or give you a new board

    my caps started bulging as well, without any problems though, but I sent it to Epox anyways and i had another 8rda+ with high-quality caps just over a week after i sent it out. Thats great customer service.
    Reply
  • ProviaFan - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    And I had an Epox board (8RDA, which was all the rage when it came out) die just over a year old from bad capacitors. Now, I use an Abit NF7-S v2, but found the guide useful as I'm planning an upgrade "soon" (dual core is necessary as I'm a non-gaming multitasker: Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign - at the same time, and SMP is well beyond the budget).

    Thanks Jarred, I appreciated the article, despite the few typos and the whiner(s) in the comment section. :)
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    I think Epox is more than a step above Biostar and Soltek, as for customer support, Epox is lightyears better than Asus and MSI, so not sure what you are referring to there. They also have the best BIOS support I've ever seen, always updated quickly and often, so again I don't know where you are getting your information. Reply
  • kevindarcy - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    For those of us who run our PCs continuously, I think Anandtech should be giving a clear recommendation of Venice over Newcastle, regardless of their respective overclocking potentials, or support of SSE3. According to PC Perspective (http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=127&type=... a Venice CPU consumes 20W less than an equivalent Newcastle at idle, and 37W less under load (!). Where I live, the electricity savings alone, based on the "idle" number, are at least $16/yr, more than enough to justify the (hopefully temporary) price differential, not to mention the "intangible" benefits of having a quieter, cooler-running computer. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    15 - typo. Fixed now.

    1 - Would you buy a LAN card for a PC? Most people would say no, and I feel about the same for audio. If you find the integrated audio is lacking, it's simple enough to add a sound card after the fact.
    Reply
  • whatever - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    quote:
    That means Intel's 845 and 855 chipsets or the aforementioned nForce 4 SLI for 775.

    Isn't 845 and 855 old? don't they mean 945 and 955? (this is from the Intel mobos section)
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    >and I even wonder sometimes if your site is getting some compensation for these recommendations.

    arswihart: Generally we will always recommend at Tier 1 motherboard manufacturer over a Tier 2 one. The peripheral things like product support, updates and MTBF usually sway our opinion in favor of an ASUS/MSI/Gigabyte board over a Biostar/Epox/Soltek board even if they are nearly the same. By the way, Epox's production was actually via another Tier 1 production house until not too long ago.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    *I'm* not in the market for an SLI rig. Very few people really are. My 6800GT is more than powerful enough for what I do, and I think most people feel the same way.

    The reason I went with SLI for the High-End is because I feel people that are interested in spending $500+ on a CPU are probably going to be interested in the bragging rights of SLI. I think the Mid-Range is the sweet spot for computer purchases, so I really look at the High-End market as potential upgrades rather than entire systems. Of course, if you win the lottery or something, go for it! :)
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    i only say that because the products I refer to have been available for many many months, except for the 9npa sli. It is nonsense that you haven't been aware of their existence until today. Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    you mean you miss all of them, not just some of them Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    I've been going by the AnandTech Pricing Engine (which is apparently missing the EPoX and Biostar SLI products). I generally search around at Newegg, ZipZoomFly, ChiefValue, Monarch, and several other sites to verify that I've got the best prices I can find as well as most recent product lists, but obviously I miss some of them. Sorry.

    As for the EPoX nF4 Ultra vs. Chaintech, I wouldn't say the EPoX board is bad (though I haven't tested it), but past experience is that it's probably not much better than other options. We'll be coming out with a new nF4 motherboard roundup, so I'll have to see what our other editors say about the various models. :)

    (I did mention nF3, by the way - at the top of the page. I would't recommend it for a complete new system, but for upgraders it's still a reasonable choice.)
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    jarred,
    I know you put a lot of work into these articles, and I take back saying this article is bs. You obviously don't need someone like me telling you you have made good recommendations, but regardless, most of your recommendations are very good.
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    btw, theres the Epox 9npa-sli for $158 shipped, not mentioned even while its been out for months

    if anandtech doesn't review it, it doesn't exist I guess
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    jarred,
    hey man, re-reading my posts and your reply, I feel I was being an ass with some of my language and tone. But you really are ignoring Epox products and always focusing on Asus and MSI for unknown reasons, and I even wonder sometimes if your site is getting some compensation for these recommendations. Don't get me wrong, they make good products, but really I don't get how you are constantly ignoring, not even mentioning, and Epox products, why?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    arswihart - That article by Kris was the first I heard of the issues, and needless to say the Buyer's Guide was written early last week. I am in the process of editing the MSI Neo4 recommendation. Reply
  • raskren - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    What's the deal with these gingerbread house cases? All the other computer peripherals look fairly sleek but I would be embarassed to have either one of those cases on or UNDER my desk. Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    direct quote from today's CPU article:
    "On another side note, we have heard several reports about 90nm Athlon 64 processors performing poorly in MSI’s K8N Neo4 product line. We will have more details for you in the near future, but if you are in between motherboards and you are also planning a 90nm purchase, you may want to stay away from the K8N until we can either verify or dispute those K8N reports."
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    oh, I neglected to notice they are focusing exclusively on nf4 boards now, as if nf3 has no merits at all at this point (and sli is "a must for high-end, yeah right).

    Well, there's the 9npaj for $94.50 shipped @ newegg, 5 bucks more than for a chaintech, you make the call
    Reply
  • arswihart - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    amazing

    they continue to recommend msi neo4, even while their last article admits the boards have issues with 90nm AMD64's, truely amazing. And the Epox 9nda3j continues to be ignored, at $90 shipped from newegg, I'd much rather have it than either of the boards they recommend. Truly rediculous recommendations, this is a bs article no doubt about it.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Monday, May 23, 2005 - link

    > We feel that the integrated audio is sufficient for anyone who doesn't intend to do any recording of audio, so we don't feel that an actual sound card is really necessary.

    What's gonna do all the audio effects in games then? I doubt every effect can be simulated by software.
    Reply
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    http://www.ghdhairstraighteners4nz.org Reply

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