View Full Version : Critique Utwigs budget workstation

7th June 2003, 10:35
Here's the deal:
Budget: $1.500USD
If something would make a big difference, Im willing to go to $1.750USD.
Arstechnica Hot-Rod (http://arstechnica.com/guide/system/hotrod.html) components cost $1.931 here ($1.258 price listed in Ars guide), so if youll suggest newegg priced components, you might as well assume my budget is 65% lower ($975 and $1,138max).

ETA: 2-4 weeks

Overclocking: No FSB ocing, just adjusting multiplier if I go with 166FSB CPU.

Needed: I need a new rig, this rig goes to my bro (homework, internet, if he wants to game, hell have to upgrade on his own budget), Ill move burner and videocards from this rig. Ill stay with current monitors, mouse, keyboard and speakers for a while (upgrade those next). I also need a burner and NIC for the old rig and ADSL router (for home, nothing corporate).

Usage: architecture student, graphic freelancer, meaning AutoCAD, 3DstudioMAX, Photoshop, Pagemaker, InDesign, Illustrator, CorelDraw. Id also like to get more serious with videoediting and 3D modelling. Gaming I dont game a lot, however if I had better rig, I might game more. Otherwise, priority is work. Videocards: until I replace my monitors, no videocard upgrade.

Since applications I use and my using pattern would benefit from SMP, Ill go with dualCPU system. Canterwood/P4 2.4C costs about as much as 760MPX/dualXP 2500+.

Rig 1 main workstation:

Case $66 Antec SX1040BII SOHO file server, black, 10 (4-2-4) drive bays.
$144 Antec True Power 430W PSU
$15 3x Zalman F1 Case fan

I could also go with Chieftec dragon, which has 14 drive bays, however it costs $122 almost twice as much.

Q1:Are PAPST 8412N/2GL 80mm fans that cost $14 a piece much better than Zalman F1s ($5) I had good experience with them.

CPU/Motherboard $305 TYAN S2466N4-M DUAL +LAN
$142 2x AthlonXP 1800+ (1.53GHz) (pinwrapped to MPs)
$51 2x Thermalright SK-6BS
$18 2x YS-TECH 60mm SILENT
$264 2x Corsair CM72SD512RLP 512MB (ECC, registered, 2700, C2.5)

Q2:Id like to hear your pros and cons for CPU Motherboard combo, the other options are Canterwood/P4 2.4C (same price as dualies), nForce2/AthlonXP (cheaper than previous, not Intel or AMD chipset) or ultra budget ECS K7S5A/AthlonXP and reuse 512MB PC133CAS2.

Q3;AthlonXPs till 2600+ are 133FSB. Above that they would require multiplier modding, which is not undoable. Also Barton 2500+ (1.83) costs twice as much as AthlonXP 1800+ (1.53), and I could just get dual 2800+ CPUs in 6 months for much lower than they cost now.

Q4Generally people recommend ECC registered RAM for MPX, however I could as well go with some vanilla stuff. For instance 2x512MB PC2700 Twinmos with lifetime warranty would cost $152.


Cards have Matrox Millennium G400 AGP 16 SH AGP 2x
have Matrox Millennium PCI
$91 Hercules Digifire 7.1 (Firewire port)
LAN = onboard
Adaptec 2904 PCI Fast SCSI host adapter

Ill upgrade videocard and monitors together. Ill go either Matrox Parhelia (2) or GeForce Ti4200 (will decide at moment of upgrading).

I have SCSI+USB1 Scanner. Performance is much better with SCSI, so it stays on SCSI. Since I was running NTs in 1999 I went with SCSI scanner.

Digifire gives me Firewire port, I have no FW peripherals for now, but I might get some latter.

Storage $178 WD1200JB 120GB/8MB Cache/7200RPM
$59 TOSHIBA SD-M1712 16X48 IDE
$11 Black floppy drive
have Teac CD-ROM 532S SCSI CD-ROM
have Teac CD-R56S SCSI CD-R

I intend to go SCSI HDD latter. Ill go SCSI or IDE Plextor burner latter for this rig.

Intended OS: Windows2000

Total Rig 1: $1.348

Rig2 current rig, goes to bro

Case have Beige midi tower 6 (3-3-0) drive bays
have Macase 300W PSU
have 2x ZalmanF1

CPU Motherboard have DFI P2XBL i440BX
have PII 350@467
have 2x 256MB Micron PC133CAS2

Card have Hercules 3D Prophet 2MX
have Creative SB64 PCI

Storage have WDC AC28004 8.4GB/5400RPM
have Philips CD-ROM 36x ATAPI
$61 LITE ON 48/24/48 IDE RET

Hell be able to upgrade components piece by piece incrementaly, a new HDD, new CPU/Motherboard combo and a videocard would liven up this rig for cheap.

Intended OS: Windows2000

Total Rig 2: $94

Miscelaneous $112LevelOne ADSL router, 4-port switch and parallel print server

TOTAL: $1.554

I'm posting this on 2CPU and Ars as well.
Comments, suggestions arguments welcome.

7th June 2003, 11:14
I'll throw in what I know on the SMP Choices you have put forth:

OS: Win2K does not support hyperthreading, so the Canterwood/P4 is "only" going to be a straight speed advantage.

Memory: Most MPX boards will work with up to 512MB of Unbuffered DDR in the FIRST TWO Memory slots. Anything above that requires Buffered ECC DDR - both of my MPXs are running 1GB of Crucial RAM, four banks full in the Chaintech and two banks full in the Gigabyte Board.

Modding XPs to MPs can be a risky proposition in terms of stability: the reason you pay a premium for MPs is because they are guaranteed to be within 5% of one another: they are the not the "cream of the crop", but rather they are the closest to the actual reference design parameters of the CPU in terms of Speed, Power Consumption, Radiated heat, and On-die Cache performance.

MP1200 to MP2400 processors are fairly inexpensive right now with the MP2600 in wide circulation and the MP2800 Barton Core being the flagship.

Tyan's MPX board seems to have more issues than most other MPX boards out there: Well maybe not as many as the Asus, but the sheer number of BIOS revisions worries me. The onboard 3COM NIC on the Tyan seems to be the root of an awful lot of issues. MSI's K7D-L or Gigabyte's GA-7DPXDW-P are probably better alternatives.

You case choices speak for themselves: excellent and well-reasoned.

An SMP system demands a good quality power supply...you might want to price RAIDMAX PSUs...very inexpensive and quiet.

7th June 2003, 11:27
Save a bit of money if you can and put PC2100 on the MPX. It isn't specced for higher memory/bus speed.

7th June 2003, 11:42
I'ts almost hard to find PC2100 now. It also costs about as much as PC2700.

The RAM i intend to buy (Corsair) is recommended by Corsair for Tyan TigerMPX.

7th June 2003, 11:43
MultimediaMan mentions that the 3Com on board the Tyan causes lots of problems. But I have the exact same controller as a PCI card, and the only problem I have is that it doesn't always get the duplex mode right, thanks to the horribly convoluted and messy network setup we have here. I really ought to force duplexing off, it's just a non-issue really.

Does your Adaptec 2904 support 66MHz PCI? If not, and you don't intend to upgrade, you might want to consider getting a Tiger MP instead of an MPX. It should be cheaper, and you won't have two slots going to waste. The MP (chipset) is allegedly a bit more stable than the MPX as well.

Disadvantages of the Tiger MP against Tiger MPX:
- Doesn't, and likely never will support >137GB IDE drives in the BIOS (but Win2K doesn't support them either anyway).
- No onboard NIC
- Only specced for up to 1900+ processors (although lots of people successfully run 2000+ in them).

7th June 2003, 12:05
Originally posted by UtwigMU
I'ts almost hard to find PC2100 now. It also costs about as much as PC2700.

same latency-timings?


7th June 2003, 12:16
Why not buy Infineon, they're much cheaper?

Also, if it makes a big difference, I could buy here and send the stuff to you as a present.


7th June 2003, 12:23

With regard to motherboards:

The following are available here:

<pre><font, size = +1> Tyan TigerMPX Epox M762A Gigabyte GA-7DPXDW

BIOS Phoenix/AMI Award Award
PCI 66/64 2 2 2
PCI 33/32 4 3 3
LAN 3Com 3C920 Intel 82559 Intel 82550PM
SOUND - - AC-97
RAID - - Promise PDC20267

Price $305 $330 $330</pre></font>

PCI slots: as manny as possible, onboard LAN as well.

PCI cards I intend to use now:
- videocard
- sound

PCI cards i intend to use latter:
- sound
- capture/TV tuner (consumer)
- IDE RAID (aditional channels or RAID1)

Onboard sound - I don't care, onboard RAID - I won't run RAID0, however I might need extra channels or go RAID1 latter.

Tyan and Gigabyte would fit my needs. Tyan is slightly cheaper, has an extra PCI slot.

Which cards can one use in 66/64bit slots?

7th June 2003, 12:28
TigerMP = no.

I was considering going with dual Bartons 2500+ now. However friend said: look, you can get 1800+ for half price now and Barton 2500+ for half price in 6 months.

Adaptec 2904 = fast SCSI (10MB/s) for burners, ZIPs, scanners and the like. Nothing fancy. I intend to go Adaptec 29160N (or something similar from LSI, Tekram or others) and SCSI boot + apps drive latter. The card has a LVD SCSI160 channel and single ended Ultra channel for burners, ZIPs and scanners with external connector.

IIRC there's no infineon listed here. For such a major purchase I could go to Germany myself and buy case here.

However if anything breaks, getting the warranty would be hassle.

Az, please link me a referenc pricelist, so that I can see, how much I could save.

Wulfman, no idea for now. I have unanswered question with regard to this: MPX boards don't have memory timings adjustments in BIOS. So I don't know wether they detect CAS2.5 or CAS2 RAM as such and run it at CAS2.5 or CAS2 or do they just run it at CAS3.

With SDR SDRAM CAS2 vs CAS3 makes a difference.

7th June 2003, 13:00

Some suggestions.

1. Do you really need Antec TruePower 430W? Some others has the same quality while the price is at least 1/3 lower.

2. I personally prefer Seagate hdds to WD, mainly due to noise issues.

3. It is 2003 now :) So go DVD instead of plain old CD-ROM. The difference in price would not be much.

4. For your ECC DDR, I would go for Crucial instead, because of the price. Quality is about the same.

5. I have a YS TECH silent 60mm fan... and it is far from silent. -_-
You might want to 7V it.

7th June 2003, 13:04
3 - I'm going Toshiba DVD for rig1. For other rig, I gave my bro a choice: do you want a DVD or CD-RW. So LiteOn CDRW it is.

Right now I have 3 optical drives and they come handy (listening to CDs, compiling a publication from images that are on 2 CD-s), etc...

I'm not going to make a step back.

7th June 2003, 13:13
Utwig, if you can read german:

http://markt.golem.de/ or httP://www.guenstiger.de/


7th June 2003, 13:14
A shop where I can walk and get the stuff, so I wouldn't have to order from the net: http://www.x2com.de


7th June 2003, 15:25
Az, kein problem, ich spreche Deutsch.

I was browsing the 2CPU forum, when I noticed the Interactive AMD Athlon multiplier pin mod (http://www.ocinside.de/go_e.html?/html/workshop/pinmod/amd_pinmod.html).

I also noticed some 2500+ Bartons at special price.

So did anyone pin-mod socket or CPU?

Was it succesful?

What do you think about it?

7th June 2003, 15:31
Here's a screenshot from the link i posted above.

7th June 2003, 16:33
One more thing: I'm considering Thermalright heatsinks.

I'd like to know what are the biggest Thermalright or other heatsinks, that fit on TigerMPX and which fans to use with them?

MultimediaMan, what heatsinks are you using in your sig gaming system?

7th June 2003, 16:52
Originally posted by UtwigMU

So did anyone pin-mod socket or CPU?

Was it succesful?

What do you think about it? I shorted the back of my motherboard to unlock the multipliers. It's easy, and it works. Now I've got to debate if I want to cut my L3 bridge to get the higher multipliers.

7th June 2003, 17:56
Well you can apparently get higher multipliers by shorting certain pins, however you have to redo the mod for each multiplier.

8th June 2003, 01:44
Originally posted by UtwigMU
Well you can apparently get higher multipliers by shorting certain pins, however you have to redo the mod for each multiplier. Right, no thanks. If I cut the L3, I'll be able to choose the multipliers from 13 up, but we'll see.

8th June 2003, 06:15
if the SLK 800 fits (that would be very tight), combined with some nice 80mm fans, you'd have some very good cooling. but i doubt they will fit.

Definetly worth checking to see if they fit.

8th June 2003, 11:04
Well, mod at 2cpu said they will fit, however they cost 2-times as much as sk-7

8th June 2003, 11:40

The most comprehensive coolers comparison I know, from a no-nonsense guy, not your average overclocking teenage "reviewer".


8th June 2003, 11:40
UtwigMU: Swiftech MCX462+ x 2, baby:


8th June 2003, 12:20
I would probably go with SK7, almost the same cooling ability as the SLK800 and, as you said, 1/2 the price.

8th June 2003, 13:35
Well, I'm not going to pay as much as for CPUs for freaking coolers.