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Upgrading an aging system

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November 14, 2006 8:59:28 PM

I am faced with a bit of a dilemma. I will be upgrading my machine, and for the longest time I planed to upgrade to the asrock 775dual-vsta and e6300. But I think a new videocard is in order too. However, I don't have the money to build a new system either. I would like to get a conroe, however, a quality motherboard is very important too. To keep the cost down I will be keeping the same case, psu, HDs, Soundcard, and RAM.

(1)
ASRock 775DUAL-VSTA
$73.44
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300
$217.97
ASUS Radeon 1950 Pro EAX1950PRO/HTDP
$219.99

(2)
ASUS A8N-E
$93.96
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ s939
$229.00
ASUS Radeon 1950 Pro EAX1950PRO/HTDP
$219.99

If anyone has any suggestions or opinions I would like to hear them. This isn't AMD vs Intel. The two things I'm looking for are raw power (I am not overclocking until I get a better psu, and cooling setup), and quality. I have heard alot of good things with that asrock but, except it doesn't overclock well, so when/if I do overclock, I wont have very far to go. The only chance to get a good overclocking platform for the conroe is DDR2, and a different motherboard, which isn't an option anytime soon.

Also any suggestions on what videocard I should get would also be appreciated, although I believe the x1950pro is by far the best value.

All prices are in Canadian.

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November 14, 2006 9:35:18 PM

One thing to remember is that the ASRock 775DUAL-VSTA does not have a PCI-e x16 slot. Instead it has a PCI-e x4 slot for the GPU.

I think that 4 lanes one the PCI-e slot is good enough for DX9 cards, but I'm not sure if it will become a bottleneck for fast DX10 cards like the nVidia 8800GTX.

At stock speed, the E6300 should be faster of the two CPUs. Benchmarks basically pegs it as being just as fast as the X2 4400+ or 4600+ depending on the benchmark. In games you'll probably want notice any difference with the naked eye. With intensive non gaming performance like video encoding you will most likely notice that the E6300 will be faster.
November 14, 2006 11:18:58 PM

c2d seems to be cheaper... why not go for it?
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November 15, 2006 1:07:46 AM

Quote:
I will be upgrading my machine, and for the longest time I planed to upgrade to the asrock 775dual-vsta and e6300. But I think a new videocard is in order too.

The potential problem I see with this is that the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA approach is really best suited for someone who wants to move up to a Core 2 CPU while holding off on committing to both new DDR2 and a new PCIe video card.

Consider skipping the VGA card if decide to go with the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA. Or at least holding off on it until you see how your games perform with the E6300. Maybe you're currently CPU bound?

-john
November 15, 2006 1:31:37 AM

Quote:
I will be upgrading my machine, and for the longest time I planed to upgrade to the asrock 775dual-vsta and e6300. But I think a new videocard is in order too.

The potential problem I see with this is that the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA approach is really best suited for someone who wants to move up to a Core 2 CPU while holding off on committing to both new DDR2 and a new PCIe video card.

Consider skipping the VGA card if decide to go with the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA. Or at least holding off on it until you see how your games perform with the E6300. Maybe you're currently CPU bound?

-john

I know I'm cpu bound, but that is my dilemma, I am buying a new videocard, I already made that decision. I have compared what I can do vs what a 7600gt, 7800gt can do with a faster cpu (and I usually place my card somewhere inbetween), against what I can do, and againt what a new videocard could do for frames too. Ever since games like FEAR, Call of Duty 2, NFS Carbon, Age of Empires 3, all these games take so much power just to run at max ingame settings. I usually play games at 12x9 at all time if possible, 2xaa 4xaf. And I have to sacrafice alot of quality to hit that res. I hate jaggies more then I hate things like, say, shadows. I turn shadows off in just about every game I play lately, and I don't like it, it doesn't 'feal' right, but turning that feature on, or other eye candy, deprives me of my needed frames. In short, I'm getting a videocard either way, and it's questions like this that make me wonder if I should go the AMD route instead?
November 15, 2006 3:55:23 AM

Quote:
I am buying a new videocard, I already made that decision.

As the saying goes, "Ya pays ya money and ya takes ya chances".

Good luck. Whichever way you decide to go, I'd be curious to know what it was and how it turned out for you.

-john, the redundant legacy dinosaur
November 15, 2006 8:36:28 AM

I have been doing my research and I think I'm going to aim for the long-term upgrade.

DFI LANParty UT NF4 ULTRA-D Motherboard ATX S939 NFORCE4 Ultra DDR 2PCI-E16 SATA RAID Sound LAN 1394
$146.14

AMD Athlon64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ Socket 939 CPU, 2.2Ghz, 2x512k L2 - retail box
$245.84

ASUS Radeon 1950 Pro EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M 581MHZ 256MB 1.4GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E 2XDVI HDTV Out
$219.99

It costs a little more, but I got a full featured overclocking board, so I can get a good overclock out of this system. Maybe make up for the difference of not getting a conroe. This way I also get to keep my ram, I will probably pick up another 2x 512mb kit after christmas and get 2gb going on. And shortly after that I will get myself a ocz 600watt psu, and the Thermaltake Armor LCS (built-in water cooling) And squeeze some really high clocks. This system should last me until the end of next year hopefully. Sometime in the summer I could get another videocard too (assuming ATI + Nvidia has a full line-up of DX10 cards by then).

Well, it sounds like a good plan to me anyways.
November 15, 2006 9:36:23 AM

gah, d00d, get real! That $245 CPU doesn't stand a chance against an E6400! And the E6400 is easier to overclock!

Do more research. If you want a moderately-priced board that's moderately overclockable and a good performer, consider the Abit AB9-Pro.

Oh, never mind, you'd rather give up everything else to keep your old RAM.
November 15, 2006 10:10:28 AM

DFI LANParty UT NF4 ULTRA-D Motherboard ATX S939 NFORCE4 Ultra DDR 2PCI-E16 SATA RAID Sound LAN 1394
$146.14

AMD Athlon64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ Socket 939 CPU, 2.2Ghz, 2x512k L2 - retail box
$245.84

TOTAL: 430 (includes taxes + shipping)

VERSUS

Abit AB9 Pro ATX LGA775 P965 DDR2 1PCI-E16X 2PCI-E1X 2PCI SATA2 GBLAN Sound Motherboard
$183.54

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Dual Core Processor LGA775 Conroe 2.13GHZ 1066FSB 2MB Retail
$302.10

Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-6400C4 2GB 2X1GB PC6400 DDR2-800 CL 4-4-4-12 240PIN Dual Channel Memory Kit
$368.38

TOTAL: 920 (includes taxes + shipping)

If I went Conroe, I would decide to get new ram too, no point in getting 2x 512, I would get 2x 1024 right off the bat. Even if I compared getting the extra ram for the other build option, I'm still saving nearly 300$. Is the E6400, even overclocked (air cooling) really worth 300$ more? I don't think so, if it was it would have to be at least twice as fast as the x2 4200+. According to AnandTech it's not. It's about 30-50% faster in best case scenarios. I will NOT buy a conroe because it can do 400fps at 640x480 at low quality. Here is more proof to support my claims.

In short I get a fairly fast system with decent overclocking headroom. It isn't the newest hardware but since ram is so expensive, I don't think it's a good idea to throw away ram that performs oh so slightly slower then DDR2 800. If I did go conroe, I'd have a system thats, on average, 30% faster in games, if overclocked to 3ghz (which I believe to be pretty easy) vs an athlon x2 clocked in at 3ghz as well (which is also fairly easy, especially with that DFI motherboard) and with 500$ less in my pocket because the hardware was more expensive, or it forced me to buy more new hardware. Besides, I can't afford new ram.

Just because a chip is faster, or overclocks higher, does NOT make it the best cpu for all circumstances, and this is one of those circumstances.

With that said, I still appreciate your critisism.



Hmm, after my rant I realized that I guess I know what I'm going to buy. I got to see what an overclocked x2 would do against a stock conroe (since I wouldn't overclock if I bought the Asrock motherboard), and it looks like they are neck and neck, the only thing is the x2 wont overclock much higher even with watercooling and such, but I wont need to buy new ram and a new motherboard down the line just to get started on overclocking the conroe. I think to get the best value for the dollar thing to do is go the x2 route.
November 15, 2006 10:21:03 AM

Wow, I hadn't realized you were using Cannookie Bux in your former prices, and since I hadn't actually looked up U.S. pricing I was thrown off!
!