Table of Contents
All modern motherboards today use dual channel DDR400 memory, so that aspect of our decision is already made. The fundamental question then is: do we go with AMD or Intel? While Intel has some definite performance benefits and the moment, AMD has always been the brand to turn to when you need the most performance for your dollar. For that reason, when on a tight budget, AMD already holds our preference. To close the deal, however, we need to take a look at the nForce2 chipset. This is the chipset that we recommend for AMD processors, and it has some very attractive features. Not only does it have the now standard USB2.0, firewire, SATA and RAID onboard, but it also has the nearly legendary nForce2 onboard audio system. This onboard audio has shown such great performance that we would recommend it even in demanding gaming situations. Because of this, systems using the nForce2 chipset rarely need a high end sound card for great performance. Since that saves us the cost of buying a good sound card, that makes our choice easy! The great features of the nForce2 motherboard for AMD processors, and the great value of AMD processors in themselves, makes the Asus A7N8X-Deluxe motherboard our choice.
Even once we have the type of CPU and memory to use, we still need to decide what speed of CPU and amount of memory to get. As we outlined in our Ultimate Gaming PC article, the speed of the CPU should not be the primary focus of our budget. The video card should get our attention first, so we will defer the decision on the speed of the processor and amount of memory to later — when we know how much of our budget we have left!
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