Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Upgrade Advice for AMD System - Socket A to 939, AM2 or ???

Last response: in Systems
Share
December 13, 2006 3:57:27 PM

Good morning/afternoon/evening, depending upon your time zone. I have the following core components in my primary system:

Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe (Socket A, PC-3200, AGP 8x)
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ Barton Processor (400FSB)
Crucial 2GB PC-3200 CL3 Memory (1GB x 2)
ATI All-In-Wonder RADEON 9800 AGP 128MB

I have come to a realization that my system is OK but really behind the times, and essentially 2-3 years old at this point. I need a decent upgrade of all the above components. I was considering an interim 939 upgrade so I could use my existing memory to save $$$, but it doesn't make sense at this point in the game with AM2 and Windows Vista being released in November (Corporate) and again in January (Retail). I would like to stay under the $500 mark, otherwise my wife would kill me, lol.

I've looked into Intel Core 2 Duo as an option, but I think that would push me over the envelope of what I'd like to spend. Just a note, I have 4 large internal ATA-100 hard drives (120, 120, 200, 200) and an Antec NEO 480Watt PS. Any input? Thanks!

-- MaSoP
December 13, 2006 4:09:33 PM

Don't bother with an "interim upgrade", there's no point and no need. There is a much better option for you:

Get an ASRock Socket 775 mobo that will let you keep your current RAM (and even your AGP vid card for now) but will let you upgrade to Core2Duo 6300. Seriously. It can take DDR and DDR2, AGP and PCI-e vid cards.....otherwise, you won't hit your budget because of the need for new RAM (which costs a small fortune these days). This option below will let you upgrade in phases as you have more budget.

-C2D 6300, $181
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

-ASRock mobo, $57:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Video card: keep what you have if you wish, or upgrade.....depends on you priorities and budget

Memory: same thing

Power supply: Consider upgrading.........


Seriously, get the mobo and C2D, you'll be extremely pleased. Then upgrade whatever you want, as your budget permits. It's a win-win situation for you. Get more RAM or a better vid card. Look at a better PSU.


The only thing here is.........even though you have 4 ATA drives, you may want to consider taking some of the money you've just saved overall and get a good-sized (320 gig) SATA II drive. That mobo has limited slots for ATA, and an upgrade to SATA would be recommended. Time to ditch the old drives there ;) 
December 13, 2006 4:34:40 PM

500$ is a tight but do able goal if you aren't looking for high end gaming equip. Def scratch the 939 if you are going to stay AMD & go with AM2 or if you can go the way SkyGuy suggested & don't mind switching to Intel go for it.

-AM2 X2 3800+ & ABIT KN9 ULTRA Socket AM2 combo, $214
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

or

-AM2 X2 4200+ & BIOSTAR TForce590SLI Deluxe combo, $338
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Will def need a new PSU & vid card along with memory.
-Stick to Crucial, Corsair, OCZ for the RAM but avoid the high end stuff as its got a stiff price tag on it.
-Antec & Hiper for the PSU in like the 450W+ range
-I've found eVGA to be nice with vid cards plus the step up option within 90 days is a nice plus too.
Related resources
December 13, 2006 4:46:45 PM

support for the 939 ends this month so switching to AM2 is a no-brainer if you're booking passage on AMD's cruise ship...
The 5200 is on sale right now at newegg and is a TREMENDOUS value at just over $300, I just realized that money is a object though so maybe you wanna look at the AMD 4200 or Intel 6400
December 13, 2006 4:54:39 PM

I bought my Antec NeoHE 480 Watt PS about 12-18 months ago. I would think it meets requirements for most setups. It is modular and includes built in SATA connectors and solid voltage support. I know it got excellent reviews when I bought it, but that doesn't mean new standards haven't pushed it behind the times a bit in the last year.

Right now I'm having to run my 3200+ in 2500+ mode due to a compatibility with the A7N8X-E Deluxe motherboard. I had the motherboard, processor (retail box) and memory replaced but still had the same power problem where windows xp would crash whenever the hard drive powered down and caused a hard reboot, then spun back up and windows booted back to normal. The bios version was moot, as it happened with all versions available up to late 2005 anyways.

I eventually swapped out all hardware including the case when I was troubleshooting and could never get that model to work with the motherboard. Even with 12 years of experience in hardware troubleshooting, I never discovered what caused my system to fail when operating in 3200 mode. It's easy to reproduce, by simply changing the FSB in the bios to 400 from 266 and rebooting. I'm lucky to get past 5-10 min in windows even idle before the hard drive shuts off or a second and then powers back up at post. I ruled out all components including the drives and cables and power. So, 2500+ has served me well but I need something faster and more stable.

I eventually gave up and ran it at 2500+ and sacrificed the FSB in the process, having to run at 266FSB if I recall correctly. :-( So, most current upgrade paths should yield a signifigant increase in performance over what I have now. I'd like to stick to AMD, but am open to the Intel option Skyguy referenced. I'm looking into both of your suggestions. Thanks!

-- MaSoP

Quote:
500$ is a tight but do able goal if you aren't looking for high end gaming equip. Def scratch the 939 if you are going to stay AMD & go with AM2 or if you can go the way SkyGuy suggested & don't mind switching to Intel go for it.

-AM2 X2 3800+ & ABIT KN9 ULTRA Socket AM2 combo, $214
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

or

-AM2 X2 4200+ & BIOSTAR TForce590SLI Deluxe combo, $338
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Will def need a new PSU & vid card along with memory.
-Stick to Crucial, Corsair, OCZ for the RAM but avoid the high end stuff as its got a stiff price tag on it.
-Antec & Hiper for the PSU in like the 450W+ range
-I've found eVGA to be nice with vid cards plus the step up option within 90 days is a nice plus too.
December 13, 2006 5:04:04 PM

I didn't know support ended so soon, considering AM2 came out just 6 months ago or so. That's good to know. I'm trying to weigh the benefits vs drawbacks other than price, of a processor with 512KB vs 1MB L2 cache. The X2 4000, 4400, 4800 and 5200 all have 1MB L2 cache x 2, whereas the ones in between only have 512KB x2. Notably the 3800, 4200, 4600 and 5000 models. I've seen some great prices on the 3800 and 4200 models, but those have half the cache.

I play games such as Oblivion and Just Cause on my PC. I used to do video encoding, but that is a rare task these days as I have little time for it anymore. Other than occassional game playing, it is internet, email, office apps and major downloading. I use arching apps alot and give the hard drives a run for their money by doing alot of file management (tens of thousands of files, gigs of data often) and file extraction and archiving. I may invest in a Raptor some day for top notch non-raid and non-scsi based drive performance. Thanks for the input.

-- MaSoP

Quote:
support for the 939 ends this month so switching to AM2 is a no-brainer if you're booking passage on AMD's cruise ship...
The 5200 is on sale right now at newegg and is a TREMENDOUS value at just over $300, I just realized that money is a object though so maybe you wanna look at the AMD 4200 or Intel 6400
December 13, 2006 5:32:08 PM

Excellent advice from Skyguy. Understand the AsRock 775 doesn't have the overclocking facilities of more expensive boards. If you're OK with that, then for about $40.00 more, the E6400 is the best bang for the buck, and another $90.00 will buy a 320 Gb Seagate SATA hard drive. This will allow you to build a very nice C2D rig with most of your old parts, (including your power supply), while still remaining well within your budget.

If you must build an AM2 rig, then consider the Opteron 1212, which is 1Mb L2 Cache per core, and is an excellent overclocker. I've built some great AMD rigs, including an XP2500 OC'd to 2.4Ghz, and most recently an Opteron 170 OC'd to 3.0Ghz, but as performance is the most relevant factor, your best choice is a C2D rig. The proof is in Tom's CPU charts. Check it out.

Good luck selecting your parts, and enjoy building your new rig!
December 13, 2006 6:18:56 PM

I agree with the skyguy on everything except the PS. The 480W should still be plenty of juice.

There is a Wattage meter in the PS forum, under one of the sticky, use that if you have any doubts.
:) 
December 13, 2006 6:27:43 PM

Here are your options. Your HDDs are fine, just realize that most new motherboards (exc. the socket 939 ones) have only one ATA connector, so you'll want to pick up a $30 PCI Express ATA controller card. Your PSU is fine too.

1. Save up and get an entirely new system. This is your best option IMHO. If you want to go with AMD, then a decent socket AM2 board (~$100-120) and a 4200+ or 4600+ (65W EE) are good deals at about $180 and $220. If you want to spend some more money, the 5000+ is about $300 and also is not a bad deal. Some might say that the Core 2 Duos are faster- and they're right- but AMD is still very competitive dollar for dollar outside of the top-end parts and makes for a worthy choice for your machine. You'll need some DDR2-800 ($200+ for 2GB) and a new GPU. How nice of a GPU is up to you, but the mid-range cards with 256-bit interfaces are generally your best bet as they're a big leap over the $130-150 128-bit cards but a ton less expensive than the high-end cards that don't perform *all* that much faster. These cost $170-250 and include the ATi x1900GT, x1950 Pro, x1900 XT and the NVIDIA 7900GS and 7900GT.

2. You could get a socket 939 unit to use your RAM. This would be an okay choice if you intend to upgrade RAM + CPU + motherboard as a unit later and are fine with the fact that there's no upgrade path. Get an Nforce 4 or CrossFire 3200 chipset board for about $100-120 and an X2 4200+ or 4600+. The 4800+ would be good, but they're hard to find. The fastest chip is the 2.6 GHz FX-62 for $460, and it's a little overpriced for the performance. Stick with the 4200+ or 4600+. You'd also need a GPU but these boards have 2 IDE channels, so you'd not need a controller card.

3. Some people have said that you could get a socket 775 Core 2 Duo board that supports DDR 400. That's a bad idea. It's a real hack job of a board and I'd not recommend it. Either go 939 or better yet, save and get a wholly new setup.
December 13, 2006 7:11:08 PM

Little sad when noone can answer this very well. The correct options for limited money is the Asrock 939dual-vsta.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
It is the older 939 socket, but there is an add-on board that allows The am2 cpus to be used along with ddr2 memory.
http://www.xpcgear.com/am2cpuboard.html
By default, the motherboard can user full speed agp Or pci-e. uses ddr by default, cheapest upgrade, but you do need to get the addonboard quickly, probably will not be around long.
December 13, 2006 10:01:11 PM

Why the recommendation to upgrade to 939?? Seriously?

I agree with MU on one point: an option is to save up for awhile longer and go with an AM2 or C2D system. But the OP doesn't say how long he has, or if he'll even have the budget in the near future. DDR2 RAM these days costs more than CPUs by quite a bit. He could get an ASRock mobo and CPU for the cost of decent DDR2 RAM.

Granted, the ASRock is no barnstormer, but when you balance the benefits against the costs, it affords the OP the opportunity to upgrade to a non-dead socket. He can upgrade on the cheap to a C2D system, use his memory (which saves him a FORTUNE), and can even use his current vid card if he wants. He can upgrade whatever he wants, whenever he wants, as his budget permits.

No offense guys, but the OP doesn't sound like an enthusiast....he doesn't need a blazing setup. He needs options on a budget, and there are certainly better choices than "upgrading" to 939. Please.

He can have flexibility of upgrade path, timing, budget, and components. What MORE could someone in his position ask for? Seriously. It's not the "best", but it fits his needs, so it's the optimal solution......not the perfect one, but the best with his constraints. Telling him to spend double his budget to upgrade is irresponsible, and so is telling him to upgrade to a dead socket. Come on, the guy needs accurate advice, not misleading information that doesn't suit his needs.

No offense.

MaSoP, I still stand by my recommendation, given your info you've posted. It's a win-win situation for you. No offense to any contrary opinions, but I don't think they accurately represent what your situation requires.

It's your money, ask around some more. But with such a tight budget, I think it's gives you the greatest flexibility and options for your money.

Best of luck! Cheers.
December 14, 2006 1:39:37 AM

Skyguy... it couldn't have been said better! Right on target!! Well done!!!
!