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Considering a CPU upgrade

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March 28, 2007 2:25:12 PM

hey guys :)  Havent madea topic here for a wee while...

Right, I tend to perform minor upgrades on my rig every 3-4 months or so and after my pre-xmas upgrade from a single IDE hard drive for my system to mirrored sata drives it has come around for my next upgrade... and I am looking at my CPU.

I currently have a S939 Athlon X2 4200+ with the stock cooler, not overclocked.
Motherboard and RAM as quoted in my sig.

Bearing in mind I only have a minor budget of between £30 and £50, what would present the best upgrade path:

Buy a 4600+ or 4800+ and then flog my existing CPU on ebay.

Buy a new HSF and overclock the little bitch till it screams (well not literally...)

If the latter, what HSF woudl you recommend for my budget and how much do you think I could add to the speed. I played around with the gigabyte utility for live overclocking and cranked it up to 2.4GHz with the stock cooler (i think it was anyway... give or take) but didnt leave it there as I was too scared to take it any higher as I had only just built my rig (around a year ago, just before the X2 prices came crashing down in the run up to C2D release...) and didnt want to blow the £200 I had spent...

Cheers :) 

After this there will only be probably one more minor upgrade before I start the run up for a new system as my usual pattern is Build a PC, over the course of 18 months do 3 or 4 minor upgrades before after 18-24 months, starting all over again :D  and then selling the old rig

More about : cpu upgrade

March 28, 2007 2:41:00 PM

and Im having a memory lapse... whats the name of the HSf's that everyone seems to be raving about... the ones which can practically fill your case as its fins almost surround the fan... BAH damn my memory!
March 28, 2007 2:56:28 PM

I know it's a dead socket but I know one or two places that may have some left over stock... plus there is *shudders* ebay.
The way I was looking at things, save for component failure, this will be my last upgrade before I start looking into building a new system, which looking at current specs, I will be returning to intel for a C2D. The main reasoning behind my thinking of upgrading the 4200 is to maybe give it more potential to sell on to give me some extra green towards the next rig.
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March 28, 2007 2:58:34 PM

Even on stock 1.40V, you will most probably be able to clock it at 2.6GHz and something like an Arctic Freezer 64 Pro (the best price/performance) or Zalman 7000 series if you like strange looking stuff, will probably keep it cooler than the stock HSF does now on 2.2GHz. So IMO, Go for a better cooler and overclock to 2.6GHz at least (even 2.7 if you can do it around 1.45V).
March 28, 2007 3:03:54 PM

cheers guys. I was leaning more towards a new HSF and oc'ing as I would have had to go through the hassle of trying to sell the 4200...

And zalman was the name I was looking for. I shall start mooching around for the best i can get to fit my case *gets out ruler*
March 28, 2007 3:10:05 PM

I'd pick up a new heatsink. Personally, I see this as worthwhile because if you get a decent one (Thermalright Ultra-120) you can put it in your new PC when you build it.
March 28, 2007 3:10:59 PM

Quote:
cheers guys. I was leaning more towards a new HSF and oc'ing as I would have had to go through the hassle of trying to sell the 4200...

And zalman was the name I was looking for. I shall start mooching around for the best i can get to fit my case *gets out ruler*

I know Zalman coolers are nice looking, but I'd not advice those flower-like 7000 series fans because they ere really problematic to mount and they don't fit at all on some boards. For your target OC, the AF64PRO is one of the best cooler around with an unbeatable price:
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-AC6PRO
March 28, 2007 3:16:59 PM

thats why I am going to measure things up inside my case. It it currently very messy in there as my cable management has gone to pot lately with all the virus cleaning I have been doing for people lately...

But that cooler definately makes the list. I will probably add another 80mm fan to the rear of the case (currently has one, but space for 2) as well.

Does anyone here have one of them zalman "flower" coolers? Just wondering how effective they are. Always nice to get a full spectrum of opinions and options :D 
March 28, 2007 3:55:27 PM

My brother used the Zalman 7000 AlCu in his old 478 comp, and it was a damn good HSF, and they have come down in price drastically since he bought it 3 or so years ago. Looks pretty too, and they come in blue LED varieties.

A couple of things to watch out with the flower coolers are the weights of the pure copper versions (can hit nearly a kg) and the sizes of the 7700 series, which most motherboards cant take easily (they are the 120mm fan+fins)

Now hes using a 9500 (the weird vertical flower heatpipe one), which was pretty pricey but it offers good cooling for its noise level.

Me? Im happy enough with my Gigabyte G-power Pro. Mid-priced, noisy at max speed, but it cools well enough that nobody should ever need to run it at max speed. Overall Im happy with it.

Also whats the airflow like inside your case? Any spare money might want to be spent upgrading case fans.
March 28, 2007 4:20:59 PM

My case is currently residing inside my desk... by inside I mean you know how on many desks you have a set of drawers on one side and a cupboard on the other... well mine has that but minis a cupboard door and I have knocked out the back sheeting (was only ply wood :\)... I could do with moving it outside of the cubby hole but alas room space prohibbits it... I originally had the case sitting just next to the desk but my gf kept on backing her chair into my rig...

ATM I could do wth tidying up the cables... nothing a few ties woudlnt fix.

I have a single 80mm fan on the rear of the case, the fan on the gfx, the fan on the cpu and then the fans on the PSU. I can never EVER remember the make of my PSU though... but it has a huge fan on the underside.

The case has space for 4 hard drives on the bottom, currently the middle 2 are occupied. Those are the Barracudas. The other hard drives reside beneath my DVD-RW drive on mounting brackets as I didnt want to restrict the air flow coming from the bottom. Woudl it be worth investing in a front fan to help bring air in?
March 28, 2007 5:34:14 PM

I'm with everyone else on this. My previous upgrade was from a single core 3800 to a 4600 X2. I had a chance to pick up an Arctic Cooling Freezer 64pro to go with it. It cools NICE! Its sitting in a MircoATX tower with all the side vents plugged (tape and construction paper...window mod coming soon). Even with an overclock to 2.6 ghz its still cooling better and quieter than my previous setup.
A cable clean up job can do wonders. After some re-routing my temps went down about 4 degrees Celcuis. Thats without a front intake fan.
:roll: Wow...my 'pooter is starting to sound like crap.
March 29, 2007 8:57:03 AM

I have just ordered one of them Cooler Freezer HSF's and should arrive by monday. I have also ordered a couple of round IDE cables to help with all the cable clutter and also a front intake fan - My reasoning bing if i can bring in cooler air quicker, then i cant really go much wrong. Off the top of my head I went for a zalman silent 120mm. Was only about 3 or 4 quid so its all good.
I have also ordered an additional 80mm fan for the rear. Hopefully it wont be too loud... I will experiment with the fan setup. Worst case scenario I have a couple of spare fans....

Cheers for all your help guys :) 
March 29, 2007 1:48:43 PM

Until your new CPU cooler arrives, I would advice you to start testing the OC-ing capabilities of your 4200+ with your current HSF because running hotter will make problems show up earlier and clearer.
March 29, 2007 3:48:15 PM

now there is good thinking...

ONly trouble is I did my quarterly re-format this week so Im still in the process of getting my system back up to how I want it so that is taking my immediete concentration... fortunately future formats shoudl go smoother as I decided to ghost the setup once i had got it up to "barebones" (ie, xp, updates, my main games and their updates, all the various programs and hardware i use, antivirus, etc) so It wont take me as long next time...

But i shoudl be able to do that over the weekend :D 
March 29, 2007 4:39:19 PM

Quote:
I'd pick up a new heatsink. Personally, I see this as worthwhile because if you get a decent one (Thermalright Ultra-120) you can put it in your new PC when you build it.

Exactly!

Going from a 4200+ to a 4600+ will not yield any noticeable gains... yes, I'm sure a benchmark will return a higher score, but it won't be anything dramatic . Socket 939 is a dead end street... and as long as you get a heatsink that's compatible with an AM2/Socket 775 motherboard, you'll be able to recycle your upgraded cooling when you upgrade to a new rig.
March 29, 2007 4:40:13 PM

Quote:
now there is good thinking...

ONly trouble is I did my quarterly re-format this week so Im still in the process of getting my system back up to how I want it so that is taking my immediete concentration... fortunately future formats shoudl go smoother as I decided to ghost the setup once i had got it up to "barebones" (ie, xp, updates, my main games and their updates, all the various programs and hardware i use, antivirus, etc) so It wont take me as long next time...

But i shoudl be able to do that over the weekend :D 

Quarterly reformat?!? LOL... too funny. I know Windows is bad and everything, but man... it's not THAT bad.
March 29, 2007 5:06:58 PM

Quote:
now there is good thinking...

ONly trouble is I did my quarterly re-format this week so Im still in the process of getting my system back up to how I want it so that is taking my immediete concentration... fortunately future formats shoudl go smoother as I decided to ghost the setup once i had got it up to "barebones" (ie, xp, updates, my main games and their updates, all the various programs and hardware i use, antivirus, etc) so It wont take me as long next time...

But i shoudl be able to do that over the weekend :D 

Quarterly reformat?!? LOL... too funny. I know Windows is bad and everything, but man... it's not THAT bad.

I do it to clear out junk such as left over bits from old programs that i am too lazy to hunt down. Plus i get to re-use my 90 day version of my antivirus with out having to actually pay for it :p 

I know someone who does it every month... but that is because their windows isnt legal and he hasnt cracked it...
March 29, 2007 5:36:32 PM

Quote:
now there is good thinking...

ONly trouble is I did my quarterly re-format this week so Im still in the process of getting my system back up to how I want it so that is taking my immediete concentration... fortunately future formats shoudl go smoother as I decided to ghost the setup once i had got it up to "barebones" (ie, xp, updates, my main games and their updates, all the various programs and hardware i use, antivirus, etc) so It wont take me as long next time...

But i shoudl be able to do that over the weekend :D 

Quarterly reformat?!? LOL... too funny. I know Windows is bad and everything, but man... it's not THAT bad.

I do it to clear out junk such as left over bits from old programs that i am too lazy to hunt down. Plus i get to re-use my 90 day version of my antivirus with out having to actually pay for it :p 

I know someone who does it every month... but that is because their windows isnt legal and he hasnt cracked it...

Monthly?!? Even funnier... your friend could have likely picked up an OEM copy of Windows for what $80? Is his time really that valueless? Considering XP Has lasted us for 5 years that means 60 reinstalls for your friend for what... to save $80? If you're talking about Vista, the numbers are different but the concept is the same. I'm not some hot-shot lawyer or some super-important doctor, but my time is still valuable to me... much too valuable to waste it fighting anti-piracy measures in order to save so little.
March 29, 2007 8:16:44 PM

hes very anti M$...
March 29, 2007 8:37:48 PM

Quote:
hes very anti M$...

yet he still has windows? (albeit a pirate copy)

There's a way around that you know...
Its called LINUX.
a b à CPUs
March 29, 2007 9:08:37 PM

I have to agree with dj_taboo. If he hates Microsoft that much, why doesn't he just go to Linux? There are some nice distro's out there made for beginners, like Ubuntu.
March 29, 2007 9:28:03 PM

Quote:
I have to agree with dj_taboo. If he hates Microsoft that much, why doesn't he just go to Linux? There are some nice distro's out there made for beginners, like Ubuntu.

I've tried to move to ubuntu some weeks ago but using windows is like being on drugs man; software support (especially games for gamers) hold you back. The reasons that held me back were:
1-no support for my dialup modem
2-bad support for the optimized build of the main program I use; tried a lot of builds but they all required some package I didn't have :evil: 
March 29, 2007 10:23:09 PM

what i meant to say was that he hates the amount of money M$ make... he has nothing against the software
April 3, 2007 8:24:55 PM

Just thought I would give you guys a little update...

New HSF and a couple of case fans and some round IDE cables later and my CPU is now running under my standard non-game play load running at 30 Celcius.

Compared to a temp before of around 40. So already a fantastic improvement bearing in mind that it was running at 40 under stock clock... and I am currently running the beast at 2.3GHz instead of the apparant 2.1GHz... seems that it was running at 1.35V the whole time ive had it... a quick bump up to 1.4V and im running without a hitch :D  I'll try experimenting with how far I can push it before i reach the temp it was at using the stock cooler and only a single rear fan and a side fan

And its actually quieter since i changed ot the crummy old rear fan it had :) 

cheers for all your help guys
April 10, 2007 4:20:25 PM

Glad to help...
Congrats
!