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Upgrading, Need Help (939....)

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Last response: in Systems
February 15, 2007 12:38:17 PM

I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds in my first post, but I registered here because it seems that there are quite a few knowledgeable people on this board.

I built my system in the summer of '05 and have been quite happy with it. The only problem I've had is having to RMA the graphics card b/c of a fan problem. Even though I successfully put this machine together, I am still very much a noob to custom builds. Here is the setup:

Case: APEVIA ATXA2XPW-BK/420 Black Solid 1.0mm aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case ATX 420W dual fan power supply Power Supply - Retail

MoBo: CHAINTECH VNF4 Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Winchester 2.0GHz Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3200BIBOX - Retail

Mem: CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Desktop Memory Model VS2GBKIT400C3 - Retail

GPU: GIGABYTE GV-NX66T128D GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM

Burner: NEC DVD Burner Black IDE/ATAPI Model ND-3540A - OEM

3.5" (I NEVER use): SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP - OEM

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24bit 70SB041000000 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail

The reason I am posting is that I would like to upgrade to Vista and have it run smoothly. I also play Madden 07 and Tiger Woods 07, and that's pretty much it as far as games go. Dual-Core (AMD X2 4800 sk. 939) is my objective, but I want to see if everything is compatible. I can't afford and don't have a true need to switch to Intel at this point.

More about : upgrading 939

February 15, 2007 12:46:37 PM

I don't think there'd be a problem. Only thing would be if the mobo doesn't support X2, but a bios update should be enough to fix that with an NF4 board. Could be wrong though.
February 15, 2007 12:54:08 PM

The BIOS upgrade issue does concern me, because I checked Chaintech's website and the latest BIOS is from June of 2005 for my MoBo. Hopefully I'm wrong.
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February 15, 2007 1:04:12 PM

Don't do it Dude!
Stay on XP for a year.

There are not any DirectX 10 games yet available.
You will be hard pressed to find any software that requires Vista.

However, you will find many software/hardware things that dont work.
With the added overhead of the OS, expect many things to be slower.

Revisit this after SP1 has been released.

I'm not bashing MS or Vista, it's just the reality of the release of a new OS. Especially one as different as this one is. Windows NT 4.0-> Windows XP was less of an upgrade than XP->Vista.

Give all the hardware/software vendors get their stuff in order.

By the time SP1 is released in about a year, you may even be ready to get a new system as hardware will be even leaps and bounds ahead of where it is today.
February 15, 2007 1:19:53 PM

939 dual core CPU's are getting hard to find but Newegg has some left. Go for the best you can afford - Opties are a good choice. To get some more time out of your system, it depends what you do with your computer. If you use it as a general purpose machine and not a dedicated game only rig, with XP or Vista, you won't be disappointed with dual core.

Run the Vista upgrade advisor from the MS site to get an idea of your current system driver and hardware compatibility and then make sure Chaintech has all the Vista drivers for your board.
February 15, 2007 1:50:46 PM

Thanks for the advice, I'll hold off on Vista. However, I would still like to go Dual-Core with my 939.

As I said, I am still quite the noob w/ hardware. Say I buy an OEM chip, where do I go from there. Pop it in, and put my old heat sink and fan on?
February 15, 2007 1:52:03 PM

a opty 170, 175 or 180 can be a really good choice, even if your a gamer or not, but your board really need to get bios update .. hope it can.

personnally i run Vista Ultimate presently. really stable but ressource eater an di run it on a AMD64 3200+ venice core OC 2.5GHZ with 2GB of DDR550

for game its lame .... dont go on it, dont worth the price right now, maybe it will worth it in 6 month
February 15, 2007 2:55:25 PM

Supply on the Optys has been good so it may be a far easier to find alternative. And as for OCing if your not going to the optys are very stable
February 15, 2007 2:56:44 PM

For the heatsink, you might want to see if you can by a boxed version of the new processor since the newer AMD heatsinks are much better. You could always buy an aftermarket cooler but look at the price difference between boxed and the additional heatsink.

It's relatively easy to change the processor and heatsink. Just make sure you either clean the old heatsink and reapply thermal compound or use what comes with the replacement heatsink. You can check the arctic silver web site for directions for applying thermal compound if you go that route. For a replacement heatsink that is other than AMD - read the description carefully. You may need to remove the mobo from the case if it uses screws and your backing plate doesn't stay in place when you remove the screws. If it's an original AMD type of heatsink, it uses clips (like your original) so the issue of the backing plate and screws won't apply in that case.

A couple of precautions with removing and replacing the processor: The old thermal compound has probably hardened and will make it difficult to remove the heatsink - DON"T twist the processor out of the socket! Rock it gently back and forth. Either the processor will slip out of the socket or the heatsink will pull away. When you install the new processor - make sure it slips easily into the socket before you apply any pressure.

Use some common sense about static electricity, e.g., don't work on the components while standing on a carpet, don't handle the processor pins, ground yourself to the computer case before you handle the components, etc.

After you install the new processor, don't forget to update to dual core drivers. Just Google "AMD dual core driver" to get the update from the AMD site.

Hope this helps - have fun!
February 15, 2007 3:29:16 PM

The list is a tad confusing but it includes dual cores here and there, so it seems it should be ok with your board, although if I were you I'd want a second opinion. By the way, where is the BIOS you were looking at? Cause I couldn't find your model on the site at all!
February 15, 2007 4:04:33 PM

Nice Link.....

From what I can tell the 3800, 4200, and 4600 Dual cores where tested.

The only failed tests appear to be with Semprons.
I see no results or Opertons. Good or Bad.
February 15, 2007 4:12:59 PM

Interesting - looks like Chaintech may have quit making motherboards. If that's the case, updated drivers and bios will be from 3rd party sources. From looking at other forums, it appears that your mobo will support an X2 processor with bios revision 5.

What I don't see are updates for your other drivers (ethernet, sound, etc.) but you may be able to find those if you google your adapters and exact drivers. Of course, if you're not going the Vista route - those shoulnd't matter.
February 15, 2007 4:13:35 PM

Supply on the Optys has been good so it may be a far easier to find alternative. And as for OCing if your not going to the optys are very stable

Yeah I was thinking I should go for one of those if i can put aside the extra cash to get one...

the Opteron 185 looks to be the best option of keeping my s939 computer alive.

It's a little more then I was looking to toss at this computer but maybe it might be my best choice until the quads have been out for a while and either drop the price of all the rest or i just splurge and get a quad...
February 15, 2007 4:28:56 PM

I really think that's too much for this CPU.

I would go with

Then OC it.

Remember, All of these CPUs are built the same and should operate at basically the same performance. The cheaper ones just have lower default values.

First, however, I would try to find an OverClocking guide/article for the MB. There appears to be quite a few reviews for it. Thought I did not read any in detail.
February 15, 2007 4:40:00 PM

You should look at upgrading your graphics card, you will see the difference in your few games that you like, and you can get an upgrade for pretty cheap. Not sure if the 6600GT will be enough for the full glassy effect though on vista though.
February 15, 2007 5:01:31 PM

For a good price (after rebate) on a X2 4400+ 939 :4400+ I'd hurry, since AMD stopped making any of the 4000 series of processors for the 939 Q4 2006! A single sore option would be: 4000+ They have a combo with a hs/fan that looks good also.
I'd recommend upgrading the CPU now, wait for Vista's SP1 and then think about upgrading the video card once DX10 cards are more readily available and affordable. The rest of your system looks fine, although you might need to look at your PSU according to the power needs of the DX10 card you get.
February 15, 2007 5:19:14 PM

WOW! - $150 after rebates is a good price for a 4400. I'd grab it quick before they're gone. Just be aware that TG has at times advertised something that's out of stock - you won't know until the actually shipping notification is sent (or not sent) to you.
February 15, 2007 5:38:39 PM

I did notice that Newegg has some of the 4600+ back in stock for $220, but I'd rather have the 4400+ with its 2x1MB L2 than the 4600+ with its 2x512kb L2. A 200 Mhz overclock of the 4400+ turns it into a 4800+.
February 15, 2007 5:43:17 PM

I did notice that Newegg has some of the 4600+ back in stock for $220, but I'd rather have the 4400+ with its 2x1MB L2 than the 4600+ with its 2x512kb L2. A 200 Mhz overclock of the 4400+ turns it into a 4800+.

That's exactly what i was thinking in the first place, but since they seem to be getting rare, i started looking at the opteron's and am kinda leaning towards one of them now....

LOL, I can convince myself and change my mind about parts for my PC faster then the PC itself could process them... :lol: 
February 15, 2007 6:26:40 PM

Asrock dual-vsta mobo + C2D E4300 tbh is best bang for the buck.

use stock cooler and up the FSB to 266. and you get a 2.4ghz C2D.

You can keep your existing hardware with this board also

The mobo is fully vista capable also.

I think it's your video card that's causing the bottleneck though to be honest. You may want to upgrade your video card. You should see alot of differences when playing games. 128MB of ddr3 just not enough.
February 16, 2007 2:10:39 AM

I did notice that Newegg has some of the 4600+ back in stock for $220, but I'd rather have the 4400+ with its 2x1MB L2 than the 4600+ with its 2x512kb L2. A 200 Mhz overclock of the 4400+ turns it into a 4800+.

didn't realize there was a difference in the L2 Cache on those! now I am wanting that as a little upgrade!
February 16, 2007 2:44:42 AM

Save your money........stay with least for a while.....just like the rest of us
February 16, 2007 3:05:33 AM

I didn't have time to read everyone's posts, but I have the same motherboard as you, and I was in a similar predicament. However, things turned out great! Get the Opteron 165 from newegg, and overclock it to 2.7ghz. It's the easiest thing ever, and you can do with your ram easily, just use the memory divider. If you need more help I will walk you through the process. That chaintech board is a great board, I was saddened when they went out of the motherboard business because I like mine so much. The bios update works fine for dual cores. With my dual core opteron 165 oced to 2.7ghz and 2 gigs of ddr500 my system flies, honestly it's the best (and really cheap) upgrade to any s939 system that can use dual core.

Edit: here is the link for the opteron, also, it comes with a really good (for an oem anyways) heatsink, that is better than some aftermarket coolers.
February 16, 2007 3:34:05 AM

That system you have listed is similiar to two systems I built that summer... I wouldn't have picked Chaintech for a motherboard... but regardless...

An X2 3800+ or a X2 4600+ processor are good ones... but I don't think its necessary to upgrade.

I have a nVidia Geforce 6600 Gt... plenty of horsepower to run Vista.

Wouldn't worry so much about the pessimists with Vista. If you have 1 GB of ram you should be fine. When Windows XP came out there were more troubles with it... and so many people stayed with Windows 98 now they all have Windows XP... or they went Linux. In the long run its just better the upgrade. True -- right now XP is better than Vista, but soon that will change. If it were me buying the thing, I'd try to get the 64 bit version simply because its faster and more stable (but thats me). Drivers and everything else will come.