Intel or AMD?

My computer has just blown up, not sure if it was due to Mrs Fluffy touching it, or the cats peeing in it, but it seems I need to rebuild it. I had a old (1.2GHz) AMD, which was the cheapest and most powerful at the time, is that still the case ? Which one would give me the most bang per buck ? I’m looking at getting one just below the fastest (The price differencial between the best and second best is probaly too much) Are Celerions still stripped down Pentiums ? I don’t think I want one of those then.
Any recommendations about motherboards ? What’s FSB what would should I look for ? I have a decent video and sound card, so I don’t that on board.
What sort of RAM do I want ? 512MB should be enough.
What do I need to power and cool this beasty ?
Would WindowsXP have a fit if I change the motherboard on it ? I would prefer to have had time to prepare beforehand :x

Ta muchly.

A Celeron is a crippled Pentium. Anandtech ran some benchmarks a while ago which showed that the AMDs blew Celerons out of the water every time, so there is zero point in going with a Celeron IMHO.

There really isn’t any user-experience difference between any of the processors out there. If you want to approach the issue in an optimizing way, you could decide how much you want to spend, then think about what sort of stuff you do with the computer, and then check out some benchmarks to figure out which chip will perform fastest for those tasks within your price range.

For memory bus speed, you’ll want it to be synchronous with the processor’s FSB, so once you’ve picked your CPU your decision has been made. At least in AMD-land, the 333MHz processors are about the same price as the 266MHz’s, so you may as well go with the faster memory. Memory prices are almost the same no matter what the speed is. One issue – if you choose a motherboard based on an nVidia chipset (certainly the NForce2, not sure about the '3) you will need to verify that the memory you buy is compatible. The NF2 doesn’t function with a lot of the memory that is out there. Don’t let this put you off the NF2, though – you can find memory that will work with it, and it won’t cost you any more; it’s just one more item on the checklist to make sure of.

Motherboard-wise, Asus is usually a good bet. You could also go for one of the new SFF PC’s like the Shuttle XPC or the Asus Terminator. I have an XPC sitting in front of me right now, and it’s a nice little box – the only negative I’ve found so far is that it simply will not accept more than one HD in it. Putting a second drive on either bus causes problems. Of course, you can always hook up a second HD externally via USB2 or FireWire.

BTW, another issue is how much you want to reuse from your old machine. You might well be able to buy just a replacement motherboard or a replacement power supply and be done with it. What blew? Did the cats really pee on it??

Personally, I focused more on small size and light weight, and it came down to either an XPC or the Asus Terminator – and since the Asus was an 18-month old design, and since the XPC was on sale. . . .

AMD, that’s my vote.

ABTW, at least in the U.S., prices for the almost-highest Athlon XP’s are under US$100, whereas you can blow as much as US$989 on the fastest Opteron, or US$720 on a 64FX. That’s just the CPU, nothing else.

If you go “one just below the fastest”, that’s either US$950 or US$400 for the chip. :slight_smile:

Meanwhile, you can get a very zippy XP 2800_ for about US$120, or start at the bottom end of the 64-bits for US$210. IMHO unless you’re doing serious work, it’s not worth it.

If you are, you would probably want to consider an Intel Pentium anyway, at US$270 or US$425 (tops is US$900). They still outperform the AMD XP line at the very high end, IIRC, although I’ve heard that AMD rules the 64-bits.

AABTW, if you get a 64-bit AMD, Microsoft has a special beta of WinXP out for them – free download, free use for one year. No joke, but remember, it’s a beta.

BTW, an AMD CPU FSB on an SFF PC with NF2 and a USB2 HD is OK IMHO.

Only problems I’ve had with AMD are heat in my laptop, which may actually be a fan design problem from Compaq (or as I now call 'em Comcrap…what a pile of junk, in 18 months it has spent 3 months in for servicing…hardware problems).

Heat is a big issue with AMD CPU’s, not only in laptops but in desktops too. My 1GHz AMD got cooked after the case fan failed. Now I replaced the MB and CPU with the AMD XP 2400+, installed a new 500W power supply with dual fans, and put in a 3-fan cooler in one of the drive bays. Sounds like a 747, but runs cool.

Stay away from overclocking too!

After trying another one, it seems it is only the PSU that’s broken, so I’ll just get a new one of those for now. But still interested in upgrading someday…