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Updating a 7 yro computer w/ 'newish' cpu and graphics card

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July 23, 2013 12:21:42 PM

Howdy,

The internet always brings me back to you folks. I look forward to your advice.

I dropped at $1000 bucks on an HP machine (hp pavilion d4100e) back in the day. I'll spare you the saga of trying to replace OEM XP home with XP professional. Suffice to say, it likes to eat DVD drives and it rarely gets in battles with the graphics card (7900) where it tries to change some setting and makes the screen a lovely set of diagnonal lines. Never did figure that one out. Also, the fan is so excitable I just took the side off to let it breath.

Anyway, I'm trying to squeeze the last of the gaming juice out of it that I can (works perfectly for work) before I finally cave and build a real machine. For that, I figure I need to replace the graphics card and CPU. I could be convinced to buy a SSD drive as well, as I have a copy of Windows 7 waiting on the shelf and a dual boot sounds swell.

Ideally I'd like to keep the upgrades rather cheap, as I assume the motherboard and power supply are antiquated and I'd like to build that new machine in the next year or two. Maybe under a $100 buying used parts?

Please bear with me while I get my system information posted. I shall do that within the hour I hope.

Thank you again for your sage advice in advance.
a b à CPUs
July 23, 2013 12:26:16 PM

You'd be far better with just saving your cash to be able to splurge all at one time. What with the chance of you coming across deals and the gradual degredation of the price of computer parts/release of better performing parts @ the same price.
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July 23, 2013 12:28:18 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2005?

Budget Range: Under $200...under $100 if possible

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Work (excel, adobe, word), gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, graphics card, power supply if needed (I'd rather not buy a new power supply unless I can cannabilize it later and really need it)

Do you need to buy OS: No. Running XP. Have Window 7 on the shelf

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon, ebay

Location: USA

Parts Preferences: AMD? Nevidia? Whatever works really. Not Intel integrated (haha)

Overclocking: Maybe. Please save me from the fan.

SLI or Crossfire: ?

Your Monitor Resolution: I can look it up if it matters, but a thousand by something. It can fit two pdfs on the same screen at regular size.

Additional Comments: Goal is a cheap, stop gap, fun upgrade. Without out any more fan noise than I currently have.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Dropped frames in games. Lousy graphics quality.
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July 23, 2013 12:53:03 PM

The problem you have with a 7 yr old system is new CPU and Video most likly will be difficult to match up to your system board. HDD is about the only thing that would be consistant and that really won't buy you much improvement. Not to mention the Pavilion may be OEM specific hardware.
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July 23, 2013 12:56:30 PM

MajinCry said:
You'd be far better with just saving your cash to be able to splurge all at one time. What with the chance of you coming across deals and the gradual degredation of the price of computer parts/release of better performing parts @ the same price.


I agree to a certain extent. However, I'm not likely to do that for another year or two...so in the meanwhile, I'd like to make this machine slightly more fun...maybe for under $80.

Here are my system details...information was editied for space. I notice my socket can't run some of the later CPUs, so maybe someone can tell me what I could use:

Name AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+.
Core Speed 1989.9 MHz
Package Socket 939

Northbridge ATI Xpress 200 (RS480) rev. 10
Southbridge ATI SB400 rev. 80
Graphic Interface PCI-Express
PCI-E Link Width x16
PCI-E Max Link Width x16
Memory Type DDR
Memory Size 3 GBytes
Channels Dual
Memory Frequency 199.0 MHz (CPU/10)
CAS# latency (CL) 3.0
RAS# to CAS# delay (tRCD) 3
RAS# Precharge (tRP) 3
Cycle Time (tRAS) 8
Bank Cycle Time (tRC) 11
DRAM Idle Timer 16
Command Rate (CR) 2T

DIMM # 1
SMBus address 0x50
Memory type DDR
Manufacturer (ID) Infineon (C100000000000000)
Size 512 MBytes
Max bandwidth PC3200 (200 MHz)
Part number 64D64320HU5C
Serial number 02069510
Manufacturing date Week 02/Year 06
Number of banks 2
Data width 64 bits
Correction None
Registered no
Buffered no
Nominal Voltage 2.50 Volts
EPP no
XMP no
AMP no

(etc.)

Mainboard Model Amberine (0x00000323 - 0x00ED83E6)

LPCIO
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hardware Monitors
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hardware monitor SMSC DME1737
Voltage 1 1.38 Volts [0x75] (CPU VCORE)
Voltage 2 3.32 Volts [0xC1] (ATX +3.3V)
Voltage 3 5.00 Volts [0xC0] (ATX +5V)
Voltage 4 11.80 Volts [0xBC] (ATX +12V)
Temperature 0 48°C (118°F) [0x30] (Diode 1)
Temperature 1 48°C (118°F) [0x30] (Internal)
Temperature 2 74°C (165°F) [0x4A] (Diode 2)
Fan 0 3362 RPM [0x646] (FANIN0)
Fan 1 1821 RPM [0xB95] (FANIN1)
Register space SMBus, base address = 0x0B00
SMBus request channel 0x0, address 0x2E

PCI Devices
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Description Host Bridge
Location bus 0 (0x00), device 0 (0x00), function 0 (0x00)
Common header
Vendor ID 0x1002
Model ID 0x5950
Revision ID 0x10
PI 0x00
SubClass 0x00
BaseClass 0x06
Cache Line 0x00
Latency 0x40
Header 0x00
PCI header
Subvendor ID 0x103C
Subsystem ID 0x2A26
Int. Line 0x00
Int. Pin 0x00
PCI capability
Caps class HyperTransport
Caps offset 0xC4
Caps revision 1.05
Interface type Slave/Primary
Link 0 width (in/out) 16 bits/16 bits
Link 0 frequency 1000 MHz
Link 1 width (in/out) 8 bits/8 bits
Link 1 frequency 200 MHz

DMI Baseboard
vendor ASUSTek Computer INC.
model Amberine
revision 1.03
serial MB-1234567890

DMI System Enclosure
manufacturer unknown
chassis type Desktop
chassis serial unknown

DMI Processor
manufacturer AMD
model AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3800+
clock speed 2000.0 MHz
FSB speed 200.0 MHz
multiplier 10.0x

DMI Processor
manufacturer AMD
model AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3800+
clock speed 2000.0 MHz
FSB speed 200.0 MHz
multiplier 10.0x

DMI Memory Controller
correction 64-bit ECC
Max module size 1024 MBytes


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July 23, 2013 12:58:41 PM

price_th said:
The problem you have with a 7 yr old system is new CPU and Video most likly will be difficult to match up to your system board. HDD is about the only thing that would be consistant and that really won't buy you much improvement. Not to mention the Pavilion may be OEM specific hardware.


Merp. Yeah. OEM sucks. I learned this the hard way. This was my first PC purchase...

But couldn't I update the CPU using the same series and then maybe find a graphics card that played nicely with it? I can play Skyrim, Portal 2, etc. I'd just like them to look at little better.
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July 23, 2013 1:06:13 PM

Not to keep swimming upstream, but what about:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400? The low price on eBay is about 50 bucks.

And then combine that with some graphics card that you'd all consider a clunker but would be acceptable for this machine? Not sure what that would be.
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Best solution

a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
July 23, 2013 1:18:13 PM

It's a socket 939 motherboard. It will only accept Socket 939 processors. The X2-6400+ is an AM2 processor and not compatible with your motherboard. You need to find a Socket 939 X2-4800+ (best of the X2's) or check to see if your motherboard could accept an FX60 processor (also socket 939).

If you can get an X2-4800+, I used to run mine (still have it, btw) with an 8800GTS-640, I wouldn't go any better than an NVidia GT630 or GT640 based on Tom's Hardware Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart.

PM me if you're interested in my X2-4800+

-Wolf sends
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July 23, 2013 1:27:44 PM

Wolfshadw said:
It's a socket 939 motherboard. It will only accept Socket 939 processors. The X2-6400+ is an AM2 processor and not compatible with your motherboard. You need to find a Socket 939 X2-4800+ (best of the X2's) or check to see if your motherboard could accept an FX60 processor (also socket 939).

If you can get an X2-4800+, I used to run mine (still have it, btw) with an 8800GTS-640, I wouldn't go any better than an NVidia GT630 or GT640 based on Tom's Hardware Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart.

PM me if you're interested in my X2-4800+

-Wolf sends


Okay, my reply to you didn't load right. Duh, thank you for pointing out something I should have noticed. I may be interested. Let me think about whether 2.4 is sufficently improved over 2.0, when combined with that new/old card, to be worth the money.

Changing chips, given the OEM nature of things, is probably a bad idea. This machine was a frustrating one.
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July 23, 2013 1:30:11 PM

Hmm. That solution comes out to about 50 bucks with the graphics card.....
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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
July 23, 2013 1:39:36 PM

Here are the specifications of your system.
The Motherboard specifications state:

Quote:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 up to 4800+


True, a 400Mhz upgrade isn't anything to write home about, but it does give you that little extra push needed to minimize the bottleneck of the GT640 graphics card.

Note: You should probably make sure you stay with PCI-E 2.0 cards.

-Wolf sends
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July 23, 2013 2:27:46 PM

Wolfshadw said:
Here are the specifications of your system.
The Motherboard specifications state:

Quote:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 up to 4800+


For some reason I keep getting a 404 error when I try to PM you. eBay goes as low as $20 for the chip including shipping. Would you be in that ballpark? Perhaps you could PM back.

True, a 400Mhz upgrade isn't anything to write home about, but it does give you that little extra push needed to minimize the bottleneck of the GT640 graphics card.

Note: You should probably make sure you stay with PCI-E 2.0 cards.

-Wolf sends


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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
July 23, 2013 3:01:20 PM

My PMs are not working either. The cheapest Socket 939 AMD Athlon X2-4800+ processor I'm finding on EBay is going for $78.99.

I'm not recommending you upgrade to the 8800GTS-640. I just mentioned that it was the card I had used with my S939 processor (and it didn't bottleneck). Newer cards that are on-a-par with the 8800GTS-640, according to Tom's Hierarchy chart are the GT630/GT640. Those are the cards I'd recommend (PCI-E 2.0).

-Wolf sends
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August 1, 2013 2:56:05 PM

Wolfshadw said:
My PMs are not working either. The cheapest Socket 939 AMD Athlon X2-4800+ processor I'm finding on EBay is going for $78.99.

I'm not recommending you upgrade to the 8800GTS-640. I just mentioned that it was the card I had used with my S939 processor (and it didn't bottleneck). Newer cards that are on-a-par with the 8800GTS-640, according to Tom's Hierarchy chart are the GT630/GT640. Those are the cards I'd recommend (PCI-E 2.0).

-Wolf sends


Good grief, I had no idea that many days had past. I will keep you in mind for the chip. I've decided to focus on the card for now. You were psychic about the graphics card; my HP PSU is 350W max load (300 otherwise) and the 2 two lines pull down 18 amps. So that means I have to be picky about which card I buy.

Besides the 640, the boards seem to suggest the HD 7750 (7770 if I am edgy) and the 6670. My assumption is they would all fit in my slot given I've been apparently slightly abusing the existing 7900 GT.

Anyway, I'm going to price each of these options out and pick the lowest costing unit. Feel free to correct me if I'm going to fuse my computer into a single mass by plugging one of these things in.
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August 1, 2013 4:18:15 PM

Also, Wolf, you were right about the chip cost. There is another chip, the Opteron 180, which is about the same (slower bus speed) for quite a bit cheaper. However, it doesn't show up with this motherboard on that file you posted a link to (thanks). Also, I gather from the first page of this thread (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/171501-30-a8ae) that the heat sink/fan unit likes to stick to the CPU.

Given I still use this machine a little for work, I'm going to see how bottlenecked the new graphics card is and perhaps only 'upgrade' the CPU as a learning experience when this machine is out the door.
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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
August 1, 2013 7:30:10 PM

PCI-Ex16 graphic cards all conform to a single physical design. A PCI-E 2.0/3.0 graphics card is fully compatible with a PCI-E 1.0 graphic card slot. The only incompatibility issues are with PCI-E 2.1 cards in PCI-E 1.0 slots.

Understand that I recommended nothing better than the GT640 as anything better (like the HD7750/7770/6770) would be bottlenecked by even the X2-4800+ processor; let alone your current processor.

If the Opteron chip is not on the Supported CPU list, then it's not going to work.

-Wolf sends
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August 7, 2013 7:19:25 PM

Whelp,

Adventures in graphics cards. I bought an overclocked GT 640 1 GB....its from a company called Galaxy. Anyway, I updated the drivers and made sure the BIOS went to the PCI E for the graphics card. And....

The CPU doesn't seem to recognize the card as the VGA cable to the monitor doesn't seem to get a signal. I looked at the idle power requirements on the GT 640 and it doesn't make sense to me that it wouldn't boot up to the desktop. I didn't unintall the nvidia drivers for the old card, but the disk that installed this card's drivers seemed to overwrite them anyway.

The old 7900 had that secondary 6 pin power supply going into it, so I was trying rationalize this as the 640 not getting enough juice, but that seems tenuous to me.

So either I'm looking at a problem I am too ignorant to know about, a magical OEM motherboard poke in the eye, or the card that I got from eBay was toast to begin with. I'm going to try and check out that last option tomorrow at a computer store that's friendly.

I won't mention the tiny capacitor I had to glue back on to the 7900 card after some kind of card removal mishap. Suffice to say I won't be selling it on eBay now.
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August 8, 2013 4:09:17 PM

It looks like the pci E slot on this may be a 1, rather than the 16 the GT 640 requires. Another reason to kill this machine....so if anyone has a recommendation for a card that would run it, I'm open.

My local computer store offered me an RX800, whatever that is.
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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
August 8, 2013 4:23:58 PM

No, it's definitely a PCI-Ex16 graphics card slot. It may be PCI-E version 1.0, but as I mentioned earlier, a PCI-E 2.0 graphics card should be fully compatible with a PCI-E 1.0 graphics card slot. There's no reason that I can see as to why the GT640 would not work. The card should be drawing all the power it needs from the PCI-E slot (up to 75 watts).

I would ask if this is the card you purchased from E-Bay.

Also, the RX800 is the ATI (now AMD) Radeon X800XT graphics card. Quite a step down from your previous NVidia Geforce 7900GTX

-Wolf sends
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August 8, 2013 4:30:13 PM

Darn. Yes, that is the card. Sigh. I need to get better at reading the fine print. I guess I'll be selling that on eBay (cost me $42 bucks including shipping) and trying again. And you're right about it being 16. I figured that out just now.

Okay. Having now limited myself to the actual card, suddenly prices are higher. Merp.

Can I purchase the 2GB version if that looks cheaper (example http://www.ebay.com/itm/EVGA-GeForce-GT-640-2048MB-GDDR...)? It says it is dual slot, though I only see one place to plug it into the motherboard.
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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
August 8, 2013 4:34:31 PM

Again, I don't see any reason why that card did not work (other than it was broken to begin with). Try booting the system into safe mode and see if it's just a resolution issue. Uninstall the driver packages and then re-install only the drivers for the GT640. If none of the above works, then take the card to the local shop for testing.

-Wolf sends
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August 8, 2013 4:38:02 PM

Wolfshadw, it doesn't even show the bios. Just acts like there is no card installed. I can try safe mode by figuring out what I'd have to select using the 7900, but maybe the PCI-E 3.0 really was the problem.
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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
August 8, 2013 6:01:26 PM

Yes, that should be PCI-E 2.0, but that is a bottom of the barrel card; barely comparable to on-board graphics. I still say test out the GT640 at a local shop (or in a friend's computer), but if you really want to make sure you're using a PCI-E 2.0 card, I'd look at the GT630.

-Wolf sends
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August 8, 2013 6:34:22 PM

Okay. Well that 640 did work at a store but it was a quirky model. The basic 640 1 GB goes for around $80 so I'm trying to find a quirky alternate 640 that sells for more like 40 bucks. Past that price point, I could buy a used computer that was better than what I have now. Exaggeration but only a little. Sent from my phone.
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August 11, 2013 12:57:45 PM

My new theory is that my board is PCIE 1.0. I couldn't find a gt 640 that was pcie 2.0...which is important for backwards compatibility to 1.0 in some cases. Perhaps this was obvious. Back to the card drawing board as it seems unlikely HP was nice enough to update their drivers to a higher standard. I couldn't find such a driver anyway.
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a c 140 U Graphics card
a c 82 à CPUs
August 11, 2013 1:16:08 PM

Check to see if there is a BIOS update for your system/motherboard. Some companies (mainly motherboard manufacturers) provided a BIOS update that allowed for better backwards compatibility. Just understand the consequences of a failed BIOS update and be prepared to revert back if that's even possible.

I still think the easier solution would be to find a PCI-E 2,0 GT630.

-Wolf sends
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August 11, 2013 1:44:18 PM

I will next try for a gt 545 as it is comparable to the 640 but a 2.0.
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