Pentium Or Athlon?

Published Date
01 - Feb - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Feb - 2005
Pentium Or Athlon?
I am learning Maya and plan to buy a new PC to pursue a career in designing. What processor should I settle for? Should it be a Pentium or an Athlon 64 FX? Also, please mention the appropriate motherboard and the cost of the respective motherboard-processor combo.

Applications used for 3D modelling such as Maya require colossal amount of processing power and tons of memory. As of today, AMD's Athlon 64-bit processor is the numero uno and there should be no doubt about which processor to go for. The Athlon 64 family comprises the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX processors, the latter being significantly costlier. In case money is not a problem, consider the FX series, the required RAM and motherboard, else you can settle for the Athlon 64 processor.

The Athlon 64 3200 is ideally priced at Rs 12K and should prove to be a great performer when coupled with the K8N Neo FSR motherboard from MSI. This motherboard is priced at Rs 7.5K, and a higher option, the fully loaded Platinum priced at Rs 9.5K, is also available. Keep in mind that for getting the maximum out of this PC, you need to equip it with at least 1 GB of DDR 400 MHz RAM from Transcend or Kingston. 

Sound Decisions
Q. My current PC configuration is P4 2.66GHz, Gigabyte 8S650GXM motherboard, 256 MB Ram, 80 GB HDD, S3 Savage 2000 64 MB card. I want to upgrade and have already bought an Asus P4C800 DLX motherboard, 1 GB DDR 400MHz RAM and Antec PlusView 1000 AMG cabinet. Which is the best CPU, graphic card, hard drive and sound card? Money is not an issue.
Raj Anand

The Asus P4C800-DLX supports socket 478 P 4 Processors with 800 MHz FSB. For maximum performance, you can opt for a P 4, 3.2 GHz processor with 1 MB cache. For the graphics, a GeForce 6800 GT card from Gainward is a good investment. Western digital drives also perform admirably; however, are harder to obtain and service might become an issue. You can safely bet on the Maxtor or Samsung SATA drives, though; they perform and help for them is not too far!

As for the sound card, I recommend you try the on-board sound first. If you are not satisfied with the quality, then you could go in for any Creative Audigy card.

CRTs Rule Still!
Q. I want to buy a good 17" TFT monitor with fast response time (8-12 ms), analogue and digital inputs. My four-year-old CRT monitor has recently conked off and I would also like to know if this is the right time to upgrade to an LCD monitor considering the prices. Is a fall in prices expected any time soon? 
M K Mech

TFT LCD monitors are expensive and will set you back by at least 23K for a decent 17-inch model. LCD monitors with low response time of 8 to 12 ms are rare in India and even if they are available, would be priced high. For the moment, it is not advisable to go in for an LCD monitor given the fact that they are expensive for the marginal advantages they offer. My reasoning is also based on experience…I play lot of games and have come to the conclusion that even the worst CRT is a better bet than a reasonable LCD since they let you play without distortions. LCDs are also finicky about the resolution you run them at.

On the positive side, LCDs consume less power, but that should not be an issue since home computers hardly run long enough to show up in the electricity bill.

First Hand Or Second Hand?
Q. I am interested in buying 256 MB SD RAM-new or used. I have a P3 64 MB SDRAM, 1 GHz processor. What is the market price for both options?

You should never compromise on a component like memory modules. Going in for used RAM has many pitfalls although the deal might look good. Used RAM does not carry warranty and if you are going to buy used RAM, buy it from a trusted source only. New 256 SD RAM would cost you somewhere around Rs 1,950. Before you buy, though, make sure you point out to the dealer that you are using a Pentium 3 and not a P4 processor.

Building A Gaming Rig
Q. I like playing games and would like to assemble a reasonably good gaming rig. Can you to chart a configuration that will play new games including Doom3, Half-Life2 and Commandos 3.
Anshul Thakur

I generally avoid such questions since many variable parameters govern the answer; least of all, the price restriction. However, since I have received a lot of similar queries, I am listing down a configuration that will cost around Rs 35K.

Configuration For Gaming
Product                                                           Price Range (Rs) 
Processor                                                   AMD Athlon 64 3000  
Motherboard                                               MSI K8N Neo FSR 
RAM                                         Transcend 512 or 256 MB at least
Graphic Card      ATi 9600XT or GeForce 5700 Ultra-based cards 
HDD                                                  Maxtor or Samsung 120 GB  
Monitor                                                                 Samsung 793S 
Case                                                                         Your choice 
Power supply                                                         VIP 400 watts 
Keyboard                                                      Logitech New Touch 
Mouse                                                                 Logitech Optical 
Optical drive                                                 Lite-on Combo drive 

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