New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

Post by Jimmy Crackcor » Sun, 14 May 2006 04:52:32



I've got an old Penguin Computing system (dual PIII 800MHz) system whose
power supply is slowly dying a painful death.  I might just swap out the
PS but was then wondering if I might as well take this opportunity to
make a "new" box out of it.

My question is whether a new mobo will fit into this system's old ATX
chassis.  Here is the box:

   http://www.calpc.com/catalog/2u-atx.html

The system is a few hundred miles away from me so I can't take it into
the local Fry's but I would appreciate any advice.

Thanks!

 
 
 

New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

Post by General Schvantzkop » Sun, 14 May 2006 07:12:46



> I've got an old Penguin Computing system (dual PIII 800MHz) system whose
> power supply is slowly dying a painful death.  I might just swap out the
> PS but was then wondering if I might as well take this opportunity to make
> a "new" box out of it.

> My question is whether a new mobo will fit into this system's old ATX
> chassis.  Here is the box:

>    http://www.calpc.com/catalog/2u-atx.html

> The system is a few hundred miles away from me so I can't take it into the
> local Fry's but I would appreciate any advice.

> Thanks!

The case is the least expensive part of the system, it's penny wise and
pound foolish to try to upgrade a system where the only thing that you are
saving is the case. Your power supply is dying do you have to replace
that. A new motherboard will require a new processor and new memory so
there is no savings possible there. Also new motherboards use PCIe
graphics, not AGP, so you'll need a new graphics card. There are some
motherboards still available that support AGP but they are using out
of date chipsets that don't support SATA-II so you really don't want
one of those. You could reuse your disks if you want, moving them from one
box to another is trivial, so the cost is the same if you remain in the
old box or go to a new one. What you should do is price a new system from
MonarchComputer.

 
 
 

New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

Post by Jimmy Crackcor » Sun, 14 May 2006 07:24:01



Quote:

> The case is the least expensive part of the system, it's penny wise and
> pound foolish to try to upgrade a system where the only thing that you are
> saving is the case. Your power supply is dying do you have to replace
> that. A new motherboard will require a new processor and new memory so
> there is no savings possible there. Also new motherboards use PCIe
> graphics, not AGP, so you'll need a new graphics card. There are some
> motherboards still available that support AGP but they are using out
> of date chipsets that don't support SATA-II so you really don't want
> one of those. You could reuse your disks if you want, moving them from one
> box to another is trivial, so the cost is the same if you remain in the
> old box or go to a new one. What you should do is price a new system from
> MonarchComputer.

Thanks for the reply,

This is actually a 2U rackmount so I'd be happy with whatever onboard
graphics card a new mobo would come with.

I figure if I gutted it, I'd need a new PS, mobo, processors, memory and
probably want to move the existing 9.1Gb U160 SCSI HDD to a SATA drive.
Right now, it's got a gig of PC100 memory in it.  

I just don't want to replace the PS just to get the system back up only
to have some other piece of hardware die on me shortly thereafter which
is why I was thinking about gutting it.  I'll take a look at Monarch to
see what they have but I was just wondering whether a new mobo would
actually fit in that chassis.

Thanks again!

 
 
 

New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

Post by General Schvantzkop » Sun, 14 May 2006 07:40:57




>> The case is the least expensive part of the system, it's penny wise and
>> pound foolish to try to upgrade a system where the only thing that you
>> are saving is the case. Your power supply is dying do you have to
>> replace that. A new motherboard will require a new processor and new
>> memory so there is no savings possible there. Also new motherboards use
>> PCIe graphics, not AGP, so you'll need a new graphics card. There are
>> some motherboards still available that support AGP but they are using
>> out of date chipsets that don't support SATA-II so you really don't want
>> one of those. You could reuse your disks if you want, moving them from
>> one box to another is trivial, so the cost is the same if you remain in
>> the old box or go to a new one. What you should do is price a new system
>> from MonarchComputer.

> Thanks for the reply,

> This is actually a 2U rackmount so I'd be happy with whatever onboard
> graphics card a new mobo would come with.

> I figure if I gutted it, I'd need a new PS, mobo, processors, memory and
> probably want to move the existing 9.1Gb U160 SCSI HDD to a SATA drive.
> Right now, it's got a gig of PC100 memory in it.

> I just don't want to replace the PS just to get the system back up only to
> have some other piece of hardware die on me shortly thereafter which is
> why I was thinking about gutting it.  I'll take a look at Monarch to see
> what they have but I was just wondering whether a new mobo would actually
> fit in that chassis.

> Thanks again!

One thing to consider, you don't have to get another server class system
to get a huge performance boost over your current system. A dual core
Athlon 64 4400+ with 4G of memory and a couple of SATA-II drives will
probably do the job for you. I got mine a year ago from MonarchComputer,
it cost me $1800 for the whole system. There are cheaper PCIe graphics
cards now so it will cost you less then I paid. I've been running my
system 24/7 since I got it, I haven't had any problems. It's running 64
bit FC4.
 
 
 

New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

Post by Jimmy Crackcor » Sun, 14 May 2006 07:57:26



Quote:

> One thing to consider, you don't have to get another server class system
> to get a huge performance boost over your current system. A dual core
> Athlon 64 4400+ with 4G of memory and a couple of SATA-II drives will
> probably do the job for you. I got mine a year ago from MonarchComputer,
> it cost me $1800 for the whole system. There are cheaper PCIe graphics
> cards now so it will cost you less then I paid. I've been running my
> system 24/7 since I got it, I haven't had any problems. It's running 64
> bit FC4.

On the processor front, it's a dual PIII 800MHz and I'd gladly move over
to an AMD based system.  So what's the difference between the AMD
Athlon 64 (that's not really 64bit -- that's the Opteron, right?), the
Duron and the Sempron?  Looking at AMD's web site makes it seem like the
Sempron is the equivalent to Intel's Celeron, the Athlon 64 the PIV and,
actually, the Duron isn't on there anymore.  Is it worth getting a dual
core processor?
 
 
 

New mobo in old ATX Penguin Computing box?

Post by General Schvantzkop » Sun, 14 May 2006 09:08:49




>> One thing to consider, you don't have to get another server class system
>> to get a huge performance boost over your current system. A dual core
>> Athlon 64 4400+ with 4G of memory and a couple of SATA-II drives will
>> probably do the job for you. I got mine a year ago from MonarchComputer,
>> it cost me $1800 for the whole system. There are cheaper PCIe graphics
>> cards now so it will cost you less then I paid. I've been running my
>> system 24/7 since I got it, I haven't had any problems. It's running 64
>> bit FC4.

> On the processor front, it's a dual PIII 800MHz and I'd gladly move over
> to an AMD based system.  So what's the difference between the AMD Athlon
> 64 (that's not really 64bit -- that's the Opteron, right?), the Duron and
> the Sempron?  Looking at AMD's web site makes it seem like the Sempron is
> the equivalent to Intel's Celeron, the Athlon 64 the PIV and, actually,
> the Duron isn't on there anymore.  Is it worth getting a dual core
> processor?

The Athlon 64 is 64 bit. In the 939 package the Athlon 64 X2 and the
Opteron 1xx are the identical chip. The only difference is that the
Opterons all have 1M of cache per core but some Athlon 64s have only 1/2M
of cache. The processor that I suggested, the Athlon 64 X2 4400+ has 1M
caches so it's exactly the same chip as the Opteron 175 only it's about
$50 cheaper. In the 940 pin package the Opterons have some significant
differences. The 2xx Opterons can have two chips on a board for a total of
4 cores. They also use registered DIMMs instead of unbuffered DIMMs.
Registered DIMMs are more expensive but they allow you to have twice as
much RAM per chip as the unbuffered DIMMs. A dual 2xx Opteron system could
have up to 16G on the board, an Athlon 64 or 1xx Opteron system is limited
to 4G on the board using largest available unbuffered DIMMs. For really
big servers the 8xx Opterons support up to 8 processors on a card for a
total of 16 cores (four 8xx Opteron cards are more common).

The Semprons are single core only and they have tiny caches. The basic
core is the same as a single core Athlon 64 with the exception of the
cache size.

The Duron is obsolete, don't even think about using those. They were the
budget version of the Athlon XP 32 bit processor.

For your purposes you should be looking at the Athlon X2 4400+, or a
Opteron 1xx system (they use the same motherboards and are for all
practical purposes the same chip). The chipset of choice is the Nforce 4
Ultra. My system has an MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum motherboard which works
fine. However I think any name brand Nforce 4 motherboard will work as
well.

If you want a true server class system then consider a dual Opteron 2xx
box with an Nforce Pro chipset. If you aren't in a hurry the next
generation of both AMD's and Intel's chips will be out this summer. The
major change in the AMD parts will be support for DDR2 RAM, there probably
won't be much of a speed improvement but those system will eventually be
able to support more than 4G of RAM, I doubt that there will ever be DDR
DIMMs bigger than 1G. The Intel Core2 Duo promises to be a huge
improvement over the current P4 and Xeon. They might also be faster than
the Athlon 64, Intel claims 30%, but until both new chips ship that
remains to be proved.