Right now I'd go dual PIII/450 with 256MB RAM. If possible go U2W SCSI
for disks and CDROM and get a fast 10K RPM disk. That way you can take
the disk subsystem with you to later systems. U2W 10K rpm drives are
roughly 70-100% faster than the fastest IDE disks (and 2x more costly).
You can always overclock the cpu's to 500Mhz or get 600Mhz chips when
prices drop in the future if you need a speed bump. That is still a VERY
powerful machine compared to the majority of RISC workstations.
The new 820 chipset is supposed to support RAMBUS memory meaning it will
be expensive compared to PC100 SDRAM with only a slight performance
boost. PC133 SDRAM is the same, but at least has a lower latency than
RAMBUS. The new coppermine CPU's will start at 600-665Mhz and offer 256K
on-chip full speed L2 (very nice). You really will see the benefits over
the current PC100 500-600Mhz PIII's when they hit 800-900Mhz. At that
point the pure clock speed boost is the gain, not the 5% boost from
PC133 RAMBUS. They will also be pretty expensive.
You can get today's dual CPU GX/BX boards and run them at 133Mhz FSB's
with little problem. Getting two PIII's that clock that high is a
problem (only the 450's really stand a chance of runnning an a 133Mhz
bus). Still a dual cpu board and two cheap PIII/450's is a pretty nice
setup for linux. Once the new coppermine PIII's arrive prices will drop
of PIII/600's making them very cost effective: slightly lower clock
speed and memory speed but very comparable performance to Coppermine
665Mhz chips running on a 133Mhz FSB.
FWIW, I'm starting to see diminishing returns for faster CPU's. Each new
chip has a smaller speed bump over the last (as a percentage of clock).
The 486DX2/66 was 100% faster than the DX33. The PIII/600 is only 10%
faster than the PIII/550 based on the clock, but still carries the same
price premium as the DX66 had over the DX33. For my basic personal use
the 450-500Mhz range seems to handle everything with good performance.
The next generation of 2d/3D graphics cards with geometry setup onboard
will mean that a slow PII/PIII will run 3D games almost as fast as the
latest and greatest 800Mhz monster. 2D graphics performance is maxed out
Right now a PII/450 or celeron 466 will seem just as fast in everyday
Win98 use as a PIII/600 based on the fact that each system has the same
disk drives and graphics card. Running games the 600 will have an edge,
but in most cases each is still over 30fps in most games. When MS Word
repaginates a document in 1.1 vs. 1 second does one really see the
If you are going complex computations on you box then by all means go
for the fastest you can get, but for 90% of today's users a 600 over a
450 makes little or no difference.
> >Check out http://developer.intel.com/design/chipsets/linecard.htm
> >This will answers all your questions. For your future purchase you may
> >want to hold off until the new 820 chipset comes that support 133MHZ
> >FSB. Since the BX or GX chipsets won't support many more future
> Perhaps I might. However, I can't afford much. I am looking at a dual
> system with 128 or 256 Meg memory, 10G SCSI HD, perhaps a CD writer(
> probable ), a network interface so the wife can connect her Win95/98
> machine to mine, plus the other minimums( sound card, etc ).
> I'm developing a client/server game and the machine will
> double as a developement system for the server and a linux client, and
> the server proper. The game will probaly require lots of horse power,
> since it will need to calculate orbital positions of planets and moons
> in double precision FP. My P200 can calc > 500,000 positions a second,
> so I figure a dual P450-P500 should be fine.
> Thanks for the link. I'll spend tonight looking at it.
> Oh, OMT, will the 820 chipset be backward compatible with PII/III?