Personal computing discussed

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Gerbil In Training
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Wed Jan 23, 2002 1:49 pm

I'm new to the forums, though I've read the Tech Report for almost two years. Now that the irrelevant butt-kissing is out of the way, I'm building a system and have three questions:

1. I've seen AMD XP1800+ processors listed on Pricewatch as OEM with 10-20 *day* warranties. This seems really low to me, and implies that these chips are sub-standard somehow. Are these chips to be avoided? Will AMD support them to *any* degree? How important is a three year warranty on a CPU? (btw, that's the retail box warranty - it's about $20 for the retail package).

2. Is there a significant performance gain to using ECC DDR RAM? Again, it costs more, but does that really matter?

3. Any motherboard recommendations? Right now I like the Abit KR7-RAID, primarily for the 4 DIMM and 6 PCI slots. What's the history on these boards?

Thanks in advance for your help folks!
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground"
Gerbil Elite
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Wed Jan 23, 2002 3:11 pm


Shellhead, to answer your second question: there is normally no performance gain in using ECC SDRAM, in fact there may be a minor performance hit when using ECC DIMMs as they may be "registered". They offer data integrity, not performance.

Gerbil Team Leader
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Wed Jan 23, 2002 3:16 pm

OEM warranties are typically 30 days, these are offered by the vendor. AMD will not support you in any way even within the 30 days, its all on the vendor. Thats the advantage of the retail box, they also come with an OK Taisol HSF unit (Heat Sink & Fan).
ECC actually slows the performance of your system, as it stands for Error Checking and Correction. Extra CPU cycles are required to calculate the parity bit that is used for error checking. It's typically utilized only in servers and critical-function workstations, not by power users/gamers.
The KR7A-RAID is based on the VIA KT-266A chipset, which is one of the fastest available for the AMD processor family. However, VIA seems to have PCI bus implementation problems. A slightly slower, but more stable platform that has the same features would be the ABit KG7-RAID, which is based on the AMD 760 chipset. It also has 4 DIMM slosts and 6 PCI slots.
Hope that helps you out.
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Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:28 pm

The post above is correct, ECC will slow down your system by about 1%. From Tom's Hardware:

"It is possible to boost performance by a whole 1 percent by disabling the "ECC Checking" switch in the BIOS. In doing so, the data flow is no longer permanently supplemented with a checksum, whose function costs additional time."

Also, don't believe that AMD chips might be "faulty" because the vendor warranties don't seem too good. The XP 1800+ is an amazing chip--it blows away the Pentium4 1.8 GHz, which you definitely can't get for the same price as the Athlon.

Most vendors set limits like 30 days because it takes the heat off of them if their customers call them back relatively soon to try to get the CPUs RMA'd (factory replaced) because the customer rushed the job and crushed their cores or burned the hell out of their processors because they didn't seat the heatsink correctly. Sometimes people overclock their CPUs to extremes, without adequate cooling and shorten the lives of their processors from years down to months.

It is starting to become widely accepted that AMD makes better processors for less money. It explains why AMD is rapidly making gains on marketshare of desktop processors. Market competition doesn't just lower prices for comsumers--it produces better products.

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