Jonathan's Hardware Thread 4.0 (Q3 2004)

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Postby VLSmooth » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:10 pm

I'm pretty sure two outputs is synonymous with "dualhead" for most if not all current video cards. Heck, my integrated nforce2 IGP on my SFF supports dual monitor support for both spanning and cloning. I believe ATI's variant is called "twinhead".

By all means, look this up, but I think you're safe Peijen.

IGP = Integrated Graphics Processor
SFF = Small Form Factor
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Postby Peijen » Thu Jun 10, 2004 12:11 pm

alright, I will take vinny's word for it.

now what kind of card do i need? I have athlon xp 1700, and 512mb of ram. So i think stuff like 9600 pro are overkill for the system.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:15 pm

Peijen wrote:alright, I will take vinny's word for it.

now what kind of card do i need? I have athlon xp 1700, and 512mb of ram. So i think stuff like 9600 pro are overkill for the system.

What kind of games are you going to play?

For under $100, your best bet is probably a DirectX 8 card like a GeForce 4 Ti. That gets you good performance and a relatively up-to-date feature set. You won't be running big DirectX 9 shader programs, but then, with a $100 card, you never will enable shaders simply because of performance reasons. I still think not every card in the $100 segment with two outputs is going to have dual head support despite what Vinny says, but I guess you'll find out sooner or later. Going with the older GeForce 4 Ti means there's a broader range of third party cards to choose from, so you're more likely to find what you want, feature-wise. I would avoid the SE products from ATI because they're just plain crippled. Same goes for MX products from Nvidia. On no account should you get a cheap DirectX 9 card from Nvidia, either. The midrange one should be okay.

Consider moving into the ~$150 segment to get a DirectX 9 card. It might be a little bit faster, plus you'd have the option of supporting shaders in future games.

Let me break it down:

DX8, $100: Nvidia
DX9, $100: don't do it
DX9, $100-150: ATI
DX9, >$150: either

I think a good rule of thumb is to spend roughly the same amount on your memory, CPU, disk, and video card in order to have a balanced system.
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Postby Peijen » Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:35 pm

with only athlon 1700 I don't think i will be running many new games. I will be running games that are out last year at most if not older, so directx 9/shader support isn't necessary.

I guess I will look into geforce 4 cards, and make sure they support dual monitors.
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Postby Peijen » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:18 pm

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Postby VLSmooth » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:36 pm

Heh, looks like someone found the search/filter features of newegg.

ie. stick in min/max price, go to summary view, and then sort by rating if you want to get a quick good solution.

That's nice, as well as its 256 mb alternative at $106. Also, if you can splurge, I like this:
SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 9600XT Video Card, 128MB DDR, 128-bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP -BULK -OEM for $149

Note the larger number of voters (92), and 40 reviews.

Number isn't a guarantee that a product is good, but more good reviews reduces the chance of suckage, so to speak.
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Postby VLSmooth » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:42 pm

On second thought:
SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 9800SE Video Card, 128MB DDR, 128-bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP, Model "ATLANTIS RADEON 9800SE" -OEM for $136.

Yes, it's an SE, but it also apparently softmoddable. Need to figure out more details.
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Postby Peijen » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:46 pm

nay, i will stick with my sub 100 plan, i might consider the 256mb

remember the computer itself is not that great
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Postby VLSmooth » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:49 pm

Here's a good thread with softmod details and link to "the faq":
http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview ... id=1316850

You guys have to understand that you can't just softmod a card and it is magically a pro. Don't be brainwashed by reviews on newegg. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. SAPPHIRE 9800 SE 256bit ATLANTIS CARDS WILL NOT SOFTMOD STRAIGHT INTO A PRO. Their core/mem clocks are at 325/290mhz. The card comes with 3.3ns hynix memory. You will not get pro memory speeds out of those memory chips, unless you happen to have really good cooling and a really lucky card. The Powercolor 9800SE C3 model is the SE card to buy. After unlocking its pipes, it's a true 9800 pro. It's already running at 380mhz/340mhz with Samsung 2.8ns chips.
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Postby VLSmooth » Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:54 pm

Peijen wrote:nay, i will stick with my sub 100 plan, i might consider the 256mb

remember the computer itself is not that great

In that range I agree with the:
SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 9600 Video Card, 256MB DDR, 128-bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP, Model "ATLANTIS RADEON 9600" -RETAIL for $106
and the
SAPPHIRE ATI RADEON 9600 Video Card, 128MB DDR, 128-bit, DVI/TV-Out, 8X AGP, Model "ATLANTIS RADEON 9600" -RETAIL for $94
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Jun 10, 2004 10:05 pm

http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,63774,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_11

Not that regular Mohtalim readers will care, but Apple launched a liquid-cooled dual processor desktop computer earlier this month.
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Postby quantus » Thu Jun 10, 2004 10:13 pm

I could make some comments on why, but I can't.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Jun 10, 2004 10:59 pm

http://www.eet.com/semi/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=21700176

Xilinx did not cite a reason for parting with IBM, though company officials have acknowledged that IBM has had trouble attaining sufficient yields for its first 90-nm products, the Spartan-3.
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Postby quantus » Thu Jun 10, 2004 11:48 pm

It's that kind of news that PDF loves to see. It's like "HEY!! Business opportunity over here!"
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Postby quantus » Fri Jun 11, 2004 12:33 am

Virtex 4 uses 11 layers of metal and includes triple oxides, allowing the use of three transistor types per device. The Spartan 3 is based on a dual oxide process, according to Xilinx vice president and general manager Erich Goetting, during a recent presentation with financial analysts.


Holy crap that's a lot of processing options that it uses. No wonder they were having yield issues with it. Still, it's not all the designer's fault they have so many options given to them...
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Postby quantus » Fri Jun 11, 2004 2:15 am

http://www.eedesign.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=21700191

Heh, and then there's this article where the designers are like, "oh, it's all the same" And, the process people are like, "no it's not fool, now shut up"
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Postby quantus » Fri Jun 11, 2004 2:32 am

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Postby quantus » Tue Jun 15, 2004 5:50 pm

As for its roadmap, AMD said it will continue to enhance its AMD64 processors this year with a transition to 90-nanometer (nm) process and low-power technology. AMD said it is also working with IBM to build chips based on 65-nm processes in mid-2005. Those smaller processors are due out in products in 2006.

http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3368171
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Jul 15, 2004 4:47 pm

For Jason:

My main box is:

Northwood with HT 3.0 GHz @ 3.6 GHz
Asus P4P800 (865 chipset, 800 MHz FSB @ 960 MHz)
1 GB dual-channel low-latency DDR
7200 RPM 20 GB IDE hard drive
GeForce DDR 32 MB
integrated sound
17" CRT monitor

Here's a quick run down of the decisions that went into it:

Prescott and Northwood are essentially equivalent clock-for-clock, and I got the Northwood for free.
Socket 775, Serial ATA, DDR2, and PCI Express do not provide any performance advantage. They do provide headroom for FSB speeds greater than 800, transfer rates greater than 133ATA, memory speeds greater than 400 MHz, and bandwidth greater than AGP 8x, but there aren't any products which take advantage of that yet. I do want a Serial ATA drive, for the capacity and cabling if nothing else, but I'm waiting. A drive with an 8MB cache would perform better than mine, but it's not compelling enough yet. 10000 RPM drives perform a lot better, but are still too expensive. Drives with 16MB caches perform almost as well as 10000 RPM drives and have lots of capacity. They're coming out now. I might get one.
Memory is cheap.
There are LCD monitors suitable for gaming out now, but cost is a factor. I'll get one later.
I can't tell the difference in sound quality from motherboard sound and dedicated sound, and there's no real performance advantage for dedicated sound. Plus, the P4P800 has decent gain on their onboard sound so I can hear everything just fine, even on unpowered headphones.
The video card is one I purchased to play Quake III Arena. It's only appropriate that I upgrade it now to play id's next title. I want a card in the $200-$300 range. In the high end $400-$600 range, ATI has a clear lead with their single-slot design. In the midrange $300 segment, nVidia's GeForce 6800 looks better than ATI's chopped part. Neither company has announced $200 mainstream next-generation cards yet.

My next machine will be Cedar Mill-based (again, because I get the processor for free). It will be a BTX design with 1067 MHz FSB, dual-channel DDR2, SATA at decent speeds, and PCI Express at decent speeds. I will have had my current box for at least two years by that time. I won't be able to reuse anything from my current setup, unfortunately.
Last edited by Jonathan on Thu Jul 15, 2004 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jonathan » Thu Jul 15, 2004 5:08 pm

Looking forward, if you want to purchase a machine right now, it's a tough call. Neither Intel's nor AMD's big changes for the summer are real appealing right now.

AMD moved to Socket 939. It's a big win: dual-channel performance on regular consumer-grade memory. The problem is it's still very expensive for AMD to manufacture, and likely will continue to be until AMD moves to the 90nm process to offset some of the packaging costs. Your guess is as good as or better than mine as when that will happen. Until then, a Socket 939 computer is going to be expensive, although not ridiculous (still below $2000). Socket A is very cheap now, if you want something in a sub $500 computer. You may already have a Socket A processor (or its performance equivalent). Socket 754 is positioned right at the fabulous $1000 price point, but if you buy a Socket 754, understand that it's probably the last Socket 754 you'll ever buy. For a lot of people that's not a problem, though.

Intel moved to Socket 775, DDR2, BTX, and PCI Express all together (they had SATA support in their last chipset). The problem is you still cannot buy retail 925/915 motherboards or the processors that are supposed to go into them. Also, the performance is not much improved over the 875/865 platform. There will be a kicker later to up the speeds on some of these new technologies, but right now neither the products nor the incentive to buy them is there. Socket 478 products are still kicking along, but like their Socket 754 brethren, it is a dead-end platform.

You must ask yourself, then, what upgrades you are likely to make in the next few years. Are you going to buy a whole new system from Dell in two years? Get a 478 or 754, then. Planning to upgrade your video card in 18 months? You'll probably want to wait for a PCI Express motherboard, then, because everything will be PCI Express in 18 months. Want to pay top dollar for a fast system? Get a Socket 939, then. Want to build your own system on the cheap and upgrade it haphazardly over time? Bad time to be you.

I work for Intel, but I do not speak for Intel. My opinions are not necessarily the opinions of Intel Corporation.
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