Neo4 vs An8? Plus RAM selection?

Building a new system? Need help choosing between parts? Then step in and let our trained gerbils assist you.

Moderator: JustAnEngineer

Neo4 vs An8? Plus RAM selection?

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:14 pm

Can some of you experts please chime in with your advice on which to purchase? I'm sure many of you on here have these motherboards and RAM and would have valuable input for my purchase.

I was leaning towards the MSI K8N Neo4. It looks like I have to go with the Platinum to get the Ultra. The Neo4 -F doesn't have the NF4 Ultra chip.
The downsides I'm seeing on the reviews are two.
1) the northbridge fan is LOUD
2) Funky memory configuration. From the manual I saw, it looked like if you ran in dual channel you could only run 333mhz. Then I heard some people just populating the first two slots and running at 400mhz... but are they running dual channel at that point? I am unclear here.... and maybe running 400mhz non-dual channel is way better than 333mhz dual channel.
I'd like to hear from some ppl here with real experience that know what they are talking about.

The other board I am seriously considering is the Abit AN8 Ultra. It seems like there are a lot of varieties and similar boards out there. I don't need all the firewire and dual LAN. But.. if there is an advantage to Ultra over non-Ultra I'd want to get that advantage.
I haven't heard too many downsides.
Some mentioned needing a longer floppy cable.
It looked like some of these boards were passively cooled with heat piping and some weren't. I didn't know the difference in models.

Then there is the matter of RAM. I'm looking to get 2 Gigs of performance RAM. I was thinking the Corsair Twinx2048-3200C2

I do not know the difference between San Diego and Venice.
I thought San Diego was FX, but I see some Athlon 64 3800's that are designated San Diego.
I was thinking I could probably swing a processor around 3000 or 3800.
Some input on which processor speed overclocks well with one of these motherboards and specific RAM would be valued information.

So, I'm looking at getting MB, RAM, CPU, and depending on how those costs come out I'll get either a 6800Ultra or a 7800 for video. Hoping to keep the upgrade around 1-1.5k.

Specific information about a combination of motherboard, CPU, RAM (which slots, timings, etc) would be great. Especially if you've overclocked it. Overclock with the included software?

I picked those boards because they got good performance ratings in the last motherboard benchmarks at tomshardware. The DFI was listed in there too, but to simplify matters I thought I would limit it to the MSI and the Abit since I have experience with those two brands in the past.

Thanks a lot guys I really appreciate the time put into responses.
tivot
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:06 pm

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:28 pm

Peeps are none too happy with the AN8, it appears to be hit-or-miss (with a lot of the latter).
View some experiences at the Abit forums.

It was mostly because of these varied complaints that I went with an Asus board. (I haven't installed it yet, so no opinion from me on that.)
totoro
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1097
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2003 9:00 pm
Location: Detroit

Re: Neo4 vs An8? Plus RAM selection?

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:39 pm

Welcome to the forums!
tivot wrote:The downsides I'm seeing on the reviews are two.
1) the northbridge fan is LOUD
I would say this is more or less a common thing among chipset fans these days, and the sad thing is nForce4 chip does run quite hot. :(
tivot wrote:2) Funky memory configuration. From the manual I saw, it looked like if you ran in dual channel you could only run 333mhz.
This is odd, it shouldn't happen that way, or may be double-sided RAM sticks? Even so, Venice/San Diego should have rectified the situation already.
tivot wrote:Then I heard some people just populating the first two slots and running at 400mhz... but are they running dual channel at that point?
Probably not.
tivot wrote:I am unclear here.... and maybe running 400mhz non-dual channel is way better than 333mhz dual channel.
Dual channel should win out even if it is 333MHz. I may be wrong on this one though.
I'd like to hear from some ppl here with real experience that know what they are talking about.
tivot wrote:if there is an advantage to Ultra over non-Ultra I'd want to get that advantage.
Depends on what you want to do. nForce4 ultra offers only a few things that most people shouldn't notice the difference anyways, like:
- SATA-II for 300MB/s transfer speed: no drive can phyically transfer that quick
- NCQ: only if you have NCQ capable drives and you multitask heavily (not games!)
tivot wrote:Then there is the matter of RAM. I'm looking to get 2 Gigs of performance RAM. I was thinking the Corsair Twinx2048-3200C2
Sounds good.
tivot wrote:I do not know the difference between San Diego and Venice.
San Diego is the one with 1 meg L2 cache. Venice is 512K. Not too much of a big deal, depending on which application we are talking about of course.
tivot wrote:Some input on which processor speed overclocks well with one of these motherboards and specific RAM would be valued information.
Generally the lower speed grades should give you better overclocks, but as always, YMMV.
tivot wrote:So, I'm looking at getting MB, RAM, CPU, and depending on how those costs come out I'll get either a 6800Ultra or a 7800 for video. Hoping to keep the upgrade around 1-1.5k.
If your primary purpose is to game, then I would sacrifice a bit CPU for a better video card. You may even be able to get away with only 1 gig of RAM.
tivot wrote:I picked those boards because they got good performance ratings in the last motherboard benchmarks at tomshardware. The DFI was listed in there too, but to simplify matters I thought I would limit it to the MSI and the Abit since I have experience with those two brands in the past.
Even without THG bashing, do not rely on benchmarks from only one review. Read a few more from here @TR, Anandtech and the like. Then hop on the forums (use the search function) to see if people have issues with those boards that you are looking at. They will give you a more realistic picture.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24141
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 1:19 am

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:22 pm

I am not seeing a lot of love for DFI at this site, but overclockers.com forum posters seem to love the DFI.

The bit about the noisy fan on the MSI. The reason I was comparing the Abit is because it has some type of heat pipe cooling for the northbridge. It looks pretty overwrought, but its passive.

That forum you linked on Abits site looked pretty damming. I'm feeling like the more research I do the less sure I feel about any of the boards. They all seem to have glowing reviews and hateful flames.

I guess it would be nice to have someone say,
Yeah, I've got X board, with Y processor slightly overclocked, using Z RAM with these timings and I love it. hahaha
tivot
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:06 pm

Re: Neo4 vs An8? Plus RAM selection?

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:43 pm

tivot wrote:Funky memory configuration. From the manual I saw, it looked like if you ran in dual channel you could only run 333mhz. Then I heard some people just populating the first two slots and running at 400mhz... but are they running dual channel at that point? I am unclear here.... and maybe running 400mhz non-dual channel is way better than 333mhz dual channel.
I'd like to hear from some ppl here with real experience that know what they are talking about.


I have the MSI K8N Neo4/SLI, and I can say that there is no problem running DDR400 in dual channel mode. The reason people get confused is because MSI arranges their memory slots differently than the other manufacturers. The slots are arranged A-B-A-B instead of A-A-B-B so that when you are in dual channel mode you have two adjacent slots populated, rather than having them separated by an empty slot. Does that make sense?
astrotech66
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 691
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 9:48 am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Postposted on Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:16 pm

You have to keep in mind most of the time it's the people that have issues will jump up and down saying "this sucks". It's always the negatives that are the loudest.

Sure, you can find someone tells you that board X, CPU Y, and RAM Z works like a charm, but then again there will be someone saying this combo is complete crap and does not work for him/her at all. It's a crapshoot, really.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24141
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 1:19 am


Return to System Builders Anonymous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest