Upgrade options for A7V8X/Athlon 2400+ System

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: Nov 11 2003

Hi Gang,
I'm hoping that some of you may have been here before me, and so be able to offer some sound advice (or at least some opinions)...

Present system:
evesham.com "movie" system (built April '03)
ASUS a7v8x mother-board
AMD Athlon 2400+ cpu
512MB RAM (don't know the exact specs)
nVidia GeForce4 MX440 AGP 8x graphics card, 64MB
2 x 120 GB HDD, NTFS (don't know the make, speeds, cache, etc.)
LG 17" LCD monitor
Matsushita SW-9571 DVD-RAM/-RW (x2 speed)
Pinnacle DV500DVD card (only used for analogue capture now)

Award BIOS v6.0
Windows XP Pro SP1
Pinnacle Liquid Edition v5.62
Scenalyzer Live
Canopus ProCoder Express
Ahead Nero 5.5.10 (?)
DVD-lab Pro (demo version at the moment...)

I'd like rendering in LE and MPEG2 creation in LE and ProCoder to run faster (especially PAL to NTSC conversion in ProCoder!). I purchased the software-only upgrade to LE6 at Video Forum, since it was half-price (or was it - not so sure now, having seen this post.), though I probably won't install it until 6.1 is released. For the moment, all my editing work will be SD DV25 (and perhaps a small amount of normal MPEG footage?), and my output will be MPEG2 for DVD and DV25 AVI.

A new toy that I'd like to add is a DVD writer with LightScribe (available later this year?), but I don't suppose that makes much difference to the discussion.

I'm not likely to move up to HDV for at least a couple of years. When I do, I realise I'll need a new PC. What I'm talking about here is an interim upgrade...

So what I'm really asking is: what's going to give me the most benefit, and what's it likely to cost? I think these are my options, but please suggest other things as well...

RAM: increase to 1 GB? Don't know whether I have a single stick or a pair at the moment. Do you still have to add 2 sticks at a time? I know there are different types (speed) of RAM available. What are my options?

CPU: AMD Athlons are still available but will be discontinued later this year (according to the man on the AMD stand at Video Forum). I think the fastest that will fit my mobo is the Athlon XP 3000+, but I've seen comments that the 2800+ is much cheaper and almost as quick. I got very confused by the ASUS web site when I tried to check my options.

Graphics Card: Opinion on the LE web forum is that 128 MB is sufficient for SD editing in LE6. I've not seen a straight answer about how much difference a 256MB card makes. What's your experience? I'm not into computer games, but I'd like to be able to add a second LCD monitor later this year.

I look forward to your suggestions.

Mark @ Steam Age Pictures - Steam trains on video in aid of railway preservation societies. Latest release: "Mainline 2012, LMS Locomotives", on DVD or Bluray Disc.

Joined: Dec 5 2000

Definitely go for the RAM upgrade to 1GB. No, you don't normally need to add 2 modules at a time, but the a7v8x is limited to 2 modules total if you are running at 400MHz bus speed, 4 in total at 333MHz.

It sounds like the graphics card upgrade would be a good idea - especially if you might need dual monitor support. I'd be surprised if 256MB was noticably faster than 128MB for your purposes.

CPU - the XP2800 would speed up CPU intensive operations (like MPEG encoding and other complex rendering) but it's probably the least cost effective of the upgrade options you mention.


Tony Carter
Joined: Oct 15 2000

I have just removed a now defunct A7V8X - (damaged by a slight slip of a screwdriver ) but the User Manual states 'The motherboard comes with three Double Data Rate (DDR) Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets. These sockets support up to 3GB system memory using 184 pin unbuffered non-ECC PC3200/PC2700/2100/1600 DIMMs. (Note: DDR400 supports one (1) socket only. DDR333 supports two (2) sockets only.)'. Tony C.


Joined: Dec 5 2000

Sorry - Tony Carter is correct - my info came from a quick look at the spec on the Asus site, and I mixed up banks and modules(sockets).

Tony (Owlsroost)