P4 3.0C GHz vs. Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939


Hey guys,

I’m brand new to the CGtalk forums. For a few months now, I’ve been nit-picking over what components to get for my very first computer build. I’ve got everything picked except for my final decision on a CPU/mobo. Up until recently, I decided on getting the P4 3.0C GHz HT CPU for my build along with the Asus P4P800 SE mobo. Well… about a week ago a friend of mine suggested to me that I go with an AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939. Being that i’m on somewhat of a tight budget, I can only afford the 3500+ at the moment. But here’s the kicker… between the AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 3500+ and an Asus A8V-Deluxe Via K8T800Pro Athlon 64(FX) Socket 939 motherboard, I would be spending $300 more than I had intended on spending in the first place. Now, I have done some searching on these forums for a subject similar to this but I didn’t find anything to answer my question. If I missed it, forgive me.

But anyway… my question is this: If I decide to go with the AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939 that supports Dual Channel memory, will it definitely be worth spending the extra $300 compared to sticking with my original choice of Intel P4 3.0C GHz cpu. So you know for reference, I will be using this computer for Maya, some Photoshop, and gaming (Half Life 2, Doom 3, Counter-Strike, Far Cry etc). Mostly for Maya, though. Will the Athlon 64 be better for me in terms of usage of this computer? Being that I’m new to building a computer, I will not be OC’ing anything at all, either. Would the Athlon 64 be better for me in terms of it not becoming ‘obsolete’ as quickly as the P4 and will it last me much longer? It’s just random questions like these that I need a few answers for. I just keep on struggling with the idea of spending an extra $300 dollars on this system and as to whether or not it would really be worth it being that I’m on somewhat of a tight budget.

On two other notes:

  1. I ordered my RAM a few weeks ago already. It is OCZ DDR400 1 GB (512mb x 2) Dual Channel PC3200 RAM. After looking at the specs for the A8V-Deluxe Via K8T800Pro mobo, I did not see the OCZ RAM as listed under the tested RAM on that motherboard. So does this mean there’s a chance that my RAM won’t be compatible with the motherboard? I would hate to see that happen. :cry:

  2. The case that I am getting for this build is the RAIDMAX Silver 10-Bay Case with 420W Powersupply. Do you think that the 420W psu will be enough for the Athlon 64 3500+ skt 939?

-I would appreciate any informed opinions from anyone. Especially if you yourself already are using a socket 939 Athlon 64. Thanks a lot. :slight_smile:


Well if your on a tight budget, id say you’d be better off sticking with P4 3ghz, and saving the extra $300 on a top range graphics card (800XT or 6800 if ya lucky). Especially with games like HL2 and Doom3 around the corner.

BUT if u already have a decent card, then use the money to get even more RAM, pack it with 3GB of memory which will do you MORE good in the long run with software’s Maya etc. Not many programs utilise the 64bit technology yet, so your better of splashing out on what counts. P4 3ghz should be good enough.


EVO-SUPRA - 3GBs of RAM would basically be completely useless, seeing as how Windows only sees around 2GBs.

SCORCHED - I personally prefer AMD, so I would go with the Athlon64 chip, BUT if your that tight on a buget, look at the next fastest chip - having a quick look at pricewatch, the 3400 is going for ~$60 less than the 3500, and the 3200 is obvioulsy way cheaper than even that. But honestly which ever one you pick, I am sure your not gonna be disappointed - PCs are just soo damn fast now a days, its freaky.

About the PS, 420W should be plenty - but a good quality ones is better than a cheap one with tons of Watts.


evo_supra- I agree with Hazdaz about the RAM thing. As of now, 1 GB for me is plenty and I think I would probably go with 2 GB at the max. As for your suggestion on getting a better graphics card, that is a somewhat decent proposal but I think that If I stick with my choice of the Radeon 9800Pro 128 MB then i’m good to go as far as games and Maya go being that as of NOW this isn’t a workstation build so the 9800Pro should work fine for what i need it to in terms of Maya. Altho recently I’ve been doing a lot of looking around the CGTalk forums and finding that nVidia cards are better in terms of Maya’s OpenGL. And If I’m not mistaken… most 3D apps are OpenGL, correct? So being that I still have some time before I make my final purchases, I’ll have to do some more looking around and such on the subject of a graphics card for this system.

Hazdaz- See, here’s the thing with the ‘tight budget’… I got quite a bit of money from NUMEROUS people and relatives for graduation gifts this year after highschool was done. Sooo… I do have the extra $300 to spend on the CPU/mobo combo for the Athlon 64 socket 939 BUT I just want to make sure that it would be worth getting it for not only current use but future use with applications etc. as well. And the one thing that I don’t like about the Athlon 64 socket 754 (3200+, 3400+ etc.) is that they do not support Dual Channel memory. And as I said before, I already have my 1 GB PC3200 DDR RAM (OCZ) right in front of me. I personally wouldn’t want to have dual channel RAM without being able to use the dual channel capability, ya know? Therefore, I think I would rather skip out on the socket 754 Athlon 64s and go for the better card if it’s worth it.

So is it really worth it or not? Hmmmm… this is a very tough question! lol, it’s bugging me. Oh well, thanks for your replies guys, I appreciate your help and opinions. Anymore are welcome! :slight_smile:


Any other input into my purchase would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. :slight_smile:


I understand the desire for futureproofing. As of today though I’d still go for S754 over S939. It’s cheaper, and the performance benefits of dual channel memory are really quite small compared with the benefits of better graphics, CPU or more memory. However AMD are cutting CPU prices tomorrow (Monday), so it’s worth waiting at least until then to see what impact it has on your purchase plans.


Yeah, I think the main reason I’m going to go for the s939 is that the prices are dropping rapidly since it’s first been released. For example on the 21st and 22nd, on http://www.ZipZoomFly.com the price of the s939 3500+ was $460. As of now it is down to $390 and as you say now, it’s most likely still going to decrease in price :slight_smile: therefore, More reason to buy it! :smiley: Thanks for the input, martinw.


a 6800 would be the perfect range for you as a nvidia cards work well in maya compared to ati. the nvidia would also last you the longest in raw power but in direct x tearms than it wont last any longer really


yes, the 6800 would be an excellent video card to get. But I don’t have the money to spend on that thing, I mean, I could get it but I’m saving as much money as I can for living expenses for when I start school. Therefore, I think I might just go with a GeForce FX 5900XT for now. Catchya later.


Well now… being that the Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939 CPU has gone down from $460 to $365 since I first saw it priced on ZipZoomFly.com (SCORE!) I feel that I shall definitely order it. And by the time I can actually order it, it might even go down a little more which would be very nice. Even so, if it doesn’t, I’m happy spending $365 on it since it is a $95 drop since I first saw it for sale which helps me out a lot because now I don’t have to worry about spending that extra $100 that could come into use somewhere else. :slight_smile: So I should be a very happy camper once I get this computer build going with the Athlon64 and the Asus A8V-Deluxe mobo :slight_smile: Thanks for your replies, guys. :slight_smile:


I urge you not to forget about silent components. Go here and take your pick of some of the quietest PSU’s on the market.

Silent HDD are the seagate barracudas.

A nice CPU heatsink like the Thermalright SP94 fitted with an RPM controllable Panaflo 80mm fan, that when used with A64 Cool & Quiet and ASUS auto heat sensing fan controlling feature will sometime turn the fan off!

The latest GPU’s are difficult to silence. There are solutions out there tho. I think if you’re getting a later card you’ll have more luck finding info on how to silence it.

A good case is important. For example the Antec SLK3700 BQE (Black Quiet Edition) is a nice roomy case that will give you good airflow, with mounts that fit the large 120mm fans that are better because they push more air without having to spin as fast as the 80mms or lower sizes - very quiet. I’ll be getting this one but cutting away the restrictive front grill and slapping on some modders mesh as Katana did with his super silent rig you can check out here .

The Northbridge on you MOBO has a fan on it that you can slap a heatsink on - another fan removed. I think the ASUS boards come standard with this I’m not sure.

If you do it right you will be able to open your case and hardly hear you comp from a meter back :).

You do not have to sacrifice performance to get silence. Just take some care and be smart about what you buy and you won’t have to put up with the constant whining and grinding of stock fans.


hmmm… very interesting b1_, I’ll definitely have to check these items out. But to be honest with you… noise really isn’t an issue to me, I am more concerned with cooling. But I will still definitely take it into consideration… specifically that Seagate Barracuda IV HDD Thanks,


Cooling and silencing go hand in hand. If your computer runs cool then you don’t need to have fans at max revs. Slower fans make less noise.

It’s just something to consider. If you’re not that worried about noise you can still make smart choices and improve you computing experience over the next few years just by being aware of, for example, how much noise similar priced PSUs make and choosing the quietest. eg. PSUs with: only one fan, a 120mm fan, efficient heatsinks, fan contol.

My last computer I put together I didn’t even consider noise, but now I wish I had. After three years of use I get ringing in my ears when all is quiet (ie my comps turned off), I’ve bought earplugs, I can’t leave it on overnight and sleep aswell, can’tenjoy my music with it on. The noise isn’t that bad, it’s just that it’s constant and high pitched.


No. Windows can only assign a maximum of 2Gb for any single application. On a 3Gb system the extra would be spread between Windows itself and any other programs running as normal.

In Scorched.Phoenix’s case 1Gb or RAM should be adequate for now. 3Gb is overkill not unless you expressly have a need for such an amount.


Yeah, that’s precisely what I was planning on doing. Like a few years down the road I would probably take into consideration getting another PSU/case fans that is/are quieter. What I plan on getting for the computer as of now is a-okay with me. Thanks for all of your suggestions, tho, b1_!



Time to bring up an old post :slight_smile: :

Hey guys, I’m back! How’s everyone doin today? Anyway… I have ordered MOST of my computer components except for the 2 ‘mainbrains’, if you will. I have yet to order the A64 3500+ Socket 939 CPU and the Asus A8V-Deluxe mobo.

Here are the parts that I have as of now:

RAIDMAX “Scorpio 668” case in blue (looks awesome!)

NEC 8X Black Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Drive

MSI nVidia GeForce FX5900XT 128 MB

Seagate 120GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive

OCZ 1 GB (512x2) Dual Channel PC3200 RAM

And so… Why haven’t I ordered the CPU and mobo yet, you may ask? Well… being that I’m on somewhat of a tight budget, I have decided to wait like 2 or 3 more weeks before I order the A64 3500+ 939pin CPU because… even tho I can afford paying $400 for the CPU. I would like to wait until the price goes back down to $350 at least. I know that before I could start ordering my parts, the CPU was down to $350 at most sites (namely http://www.newegg.com and http://www.zipzoomfly.com ). Unfortunately for now… the prices have gone back up to $400. Sure it’s only like $50 but I’m just trying to save some money. Plus… that $50 could go towards my HL2 purchase :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Anyway. Here’s my take on the situation:

After AMD announced their cut in prices on their 64 line of products, CPU prices (for the most part, i believe) dropped like bombs. I namely noticed the one I will be purchasing. It went from $460 when it first came out… all the way down to $350 after like a week and a half. As of now tho… the 3500+ seems to be in such HIGH demand that the prices have gone back up to around $390-$420. So would it be correct to say that due to supply and demand consumers keep demanding more and more thus making the supply less and less. I have noticed that the sites that sell the 3500+ just keep running out of stock. So, am I right in thinking that If I wait until the HIGH demand goes down a little that the price will go back down a little with it? To be honest, as much as I want to wait for the price to go back down to $350 or even less, I’m getting quite antsy to purchase it VERY soon. But I know that patience is a good thing :smiley: So I was just wondering if any of you guys had any input into my idea of waiting for a bit of a drop in demand/price. One thing is for sure… I am DEFINITELY getting the A64 3500+ for this computer build. What do ya think about me waiting it out? Any input/thoughts? Thanks ahead of time, guys.


There’s really no point waiting. $50 is nothing. Would you pay $17 per week to be using that computer now? What if the prices don’t drop in three weeks?

So you buy it now and the price drops unexpectedly the week after. So what, it happens to everyone who ever bought a computer. No need to feel like you’re not purchasing smart if you buy now.


so during a Maya render, with 3 gigs of ram, windows will allocate 2 whole gigs to the rendering and 1 gig to other backround apps/services?


Hi there.

I had been using a ATI Radeon 9800 Pro on my XP Machine but had to switch to an Nvidia card. The ATI drivers are really buggy while using Maya. It would slow down randomly and I would have to restart Maya to fix the lag. I actually bought a much cheaper nvidia card and it performs better in Maya. Of course, my gaming graphics have gone down considerably.

So if I were you I would consider an Nvidia card if you are using Maya alot.

-Travis :slight_smile:


Hi there!

I am on my way building a PC (a big one!), but I’m not a windows user right now, so I would like to know :

when you say windows won’t asign more than 2 Gb per application, do you mean that if you have 4Gb of ram, a render that need 3Gb won’t render at all, or that 1Gb will be swapped to the HD even if there is more ram ?

I ask because I need more power than a mac can offer, but I need more than 2Gb to do some of my renderings (2 Gb isn’t enough to do high res rendering with lightwave)