The Ideal Athlon System: Our Recommendations
There are several things to consider when assembling a powerful Athlon machine. First of all I would like to mention the importance of a decent power supply. The most important factor besides the power output is the amperage at 5 V. Most 230 or 250 W power supplies provide a maximum of 25 A, which is insufficient for Athlon systems running at 1 GHz or more. The most critical moment is when you turn the computer on and most components require maximum power. Older power supplies usually cannot resist the peak and shut down (or even blast). Here are my recommendations:
- Standard multimedia computer, up to 4 drives
300 W power supply, at least 30 amps at 5 V
- High end computer, up to 6 drives, additional hardware
400 W power supply, at least 40 amps at 5 V
I have been using a 431 W power supply from Enermax (EG451P-V), which is also able to bridge short power failures of one or two waves. That usually happens during thunderstorms.
The second issue is the memory. RAM may have become incredibly cheap these days, but be wary of cheap quality too. For this reason, I would try to obtain brand products. Getting the original products from Micron/Crucial, Samsung, Infineon, Viking, Kingston and others is usually the best way to go, since they are officially listed as being compatible with many motherboards. As such memory cannot be obtained everywhere, you may also choose a dealer that guarantees his memory to run with your motherboard.
Issue number three is proper cooling of your Athlon processor. The versions running at 1 GHz or faster have a high power dissipation that should be taken seriously. AMD CPUs may be cheap today, but losing $150 due to a poor CPU cooler still hurts. Make sure that you get a model that ensures a safe die temperature. Depending on the type of computer (home computer, workstation, server), you should also keep an eye on the noise levels. Tom's Hardware Guide recently published a comprehensive review of