Well I have about had it with my ECS K7S5A, and am ready to pull it in favor of one of the new Nforce2 boards.
Every so often the ECS loses all its settings and needs to be reset. Worse, it occasionally won’t post, requiring me to cycle the power, even with the beefy new 400w Enermax. None of this happend until I upgraded to the latest bios to support my new 2400+. It may be a bios problem, or I may have a short in the case and just can’t find it. I dunno. I feel like I am being led around by the nose.
Here is what I am thinking:
ASUS A7N8X (non-deluxe part)
MULTIWAVE 512MB PC2100 (x2)
/w shipping: $284.24
Motherboard: It has to be the Asus. I have always had good luck and reliability with the Asus brand. I know there was some discussion about the Nforce2 boards not too long ago. For those that have them, how are they holding up? If I do go Nforce2, is there any compelling reason to go with the deluxe part? I already have an extra NIC and an Audigy sound card, so I am not really finding the on-board parts that compelling. If the serial ATA were an IDE raid, I would snap it up just to have the ability to add RAID or more IDE parts (I have a zip, 3 disks, DVD and CDRW). Oh, does anyone know if there are AGP 8x cards on the market? Would my Ti4200 be one of them or is that the next generation cards?
Memory: I struggled with whether to get the good memory, fast memory, or just get a lot of the cheap stuff. If I upgrade my 2400+, to 333 MHz chip I will have to get new memory. I am generally opposed to paying a permium for faster memory unless I actually can use it and at least I have a lot.
The nForce2 chipset consists of two chips: A north bridge and a south bridge. Each of these comes in two versions.
North bridges: IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) and SPP (System Platform Processor). The IGP contains a Geforce4 MX, while the SPP has no integrated graphics controller.
South bridges: MCP and MCP-T (Media & Communications Processor). The MCP-T adds Firewire support, a second Ethernet controller and the Audio Processing Unit (APU) compared with the plain MCP.
Most nForce2 motherboards so far have the SPP and the MCP-T.
I own the Asus A7N8X deluxe myself, and I am very pleased with it so far. My old NIC and Audigy have been sold off - no more crappy Creative drivers! :wink:
Hi, NI (any relation to Bill Ni, the science guy? ;))
Does the plain MCP not have a sound card, then? I am confused. I have read the reviews at tomshardware and anadtech, and I came away thinking there was no difference between sound features between MCP and MCP-T.
I thought that the deluxe features for MCP-T were extra NIC, Serial ATA Raid, & firewire? The $112 part I am looking at is SPP & MCP, by the way.
One other thing I’d mention (and this is just based on my experience and that of others at nforcehq.com) about the NForce and NForce2 boards: the microphone input for the sound is terrible. The solution? Use a USB microphone.
Unfortunately, I bought two regular mics before discovering it was the motherboard, not the mic. Anyone in the market for a cheap mic? :)
Actually it would allow you to encode, not decode, dolby digital surround sound. It’s like the Xbox where game audio ican be output as a 5.1 channel digital signal. You plug it into a surround sound setup that supports DD 5.1 and you’ve got instant 3D surround sound. It’s not to big a deal as very few multimedia speaker setups actually support AC3 decoding. Most soundcards output 3D audio via multiple analog channels. Like I have a quad setup, which is common now. Some also support 5.1 channel analog output. Those which do have digital output usually can only pass through surround sound bitstreams from DVD software, or 2 channel mixing. What the nForce 2’s MCP-T (and indeed the nF 1’s MCP-D and the Xbox) does which is new is generate a dolby digital surround signal automatically from 3D audio (like that created in a game). Pretty much any four channel sound card can decode digital surround sound from a DVD with the right player software or directshow filter and mix it to whatever is appropriate for your speaker setup.
Hmm, after some further research it looks like you may be right, though I cant believe nVidia took out the APU from the MCP. And to make it that much more confusing even MCP-T equipped motherboards still need a 6 channel codecs to do basic digital to analog conversions. I still haven’t figured out whether the SoundStorm solution changes that.