High-Performance Engineering Desktop Computers
For this system configuration, we will be using system pricing from Monarch Computer of Tucker, Georgia. If you are interested in this or a similar configuration, you should consider contacting Sterling Harris of Monarch Computer. I have found their attention to detail and passion for computers to be excellent. If you choose to use another vendor, feel free to use this pricing as leverage to get better pricing of your own. I know I would if I were in your shoes.
Processor - AMD 1.1GHz Athlon - $389
Every significant benchmark shows that the 1.1GHz Athlon outperforms the fastest Intel processor. Additionally, there are some floating point tests where the 1.1GHz Athlon outperforms the 1GHz Pentium3 by approximately 50%. For engineering systems, this is the processor to have, hands down. This is the second month in a row that we have gone with the 1.1 GHz Athlon. I would have chosen a 1.2 GHz Athlon; however, it is very difficult to find (if you can find one, I would suggest paying the extra $90-$100 for the faster processor).
Heat Sink Fan - TaiSol CER733092 - $27
When buying a 1+GHz processor, the cooling for the processor is very important, especially with an Athlon. This HSF has a rated fan life of 70,000 hours and moves up to 21 cubic feet/minute of air over the heat sink. This HSF should serve you well for the next few years.
Motherboard - Abit KT7-RAID - $152
The basic engineering configuration centers around the Abit KT7-RAID Motherboard. This is Abitís new Athlon motherboard with the VIA KT-133 chipset. What sets it apart is the integrated ATA100 RAID Controller. This integrated RAID controller is what sets this Abit Motherboard apart from every other Socket A motherboard on the market and along with its stability and overall excellent performance, makes it the ideal candidate for a high-performance system. (If you are wondering, yes we will be using the RAID 0.) This is not one of the new motherboards that supports DDR SDRAM (AMD 760 chipset) with PC2100 memory and a 266MHz front side bus. As soon as one of those motherboards becomes widely available, we will probably move to it.
Memory - 256 MB PC133 CAS2 SDRAM - $209
Until DDR SDRAM hits the market, the best you can do on the Athlon platform is PC133 CAS2 memory. You will want to make sure you are buying CAS2 memory. The extra memory performance (approximately 20% more) is worth the extra money. By the way, donít consider 256 MB to be the ceiling for your configuration. The Abit motherboard will accept up to 1.5GB of RAM. Donít hesitate to load up if you need to.