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Need Advice on processor upgrade

Last response: in Overclocking
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June 9, 2007 4:42:19 PM

I want to upgrade my K8N Neo4 Platinum socket 939 board with its current x2 3800 processor to a faster one. MSI says that I can go as high as x2 4600 or Opteron 165 through 180.

I do MS office, internet, some photo, mostly CAD 2d and 3d, no games, no overclocking desired. My 3800 is bogging down somewhat with large 3d Sketchup models. I have 2 gig memory, nvidia Quadro 3400 with 256 mem video card, raid 1 (160 gb mirrored ).

1) Which processor will give me the best performance, regardless of cost?
2) Which one is most cost efficient, in other words, if the 180 is tops, how much more of a boost will that be vs, say, the x2 4600. Newegg has the 4600 at $140, the 180 at $200, all others in between.
3) Will I have to update the bios, regardless of processor change, and is that a big deal?
4) The windows performance monitor never shows a page commit number higher than about 900 meg – does that mean that my cpu is my bottleneck, not memory?
5) Can/should I add another 2 sticks of 512 memory, to give me 3gig, recognizing the 3.2gig XP Pro addressable limitation? 2 512 sticks about $60, 2 1gig sticks about $120, all DDR 400. I doubt I will ever upgrade to Vista on this machine.
6) Also, I have recently been getting “low virtual memory” warnings, which is new in the past few months, have had machine for almost 2 years, haven’t added any major new software, just utilities and such here and there. Virtual memory is set at 3 gig. Usage hasn’t changed either – get it with 5-10 internet sites open, and software applications.

Thanks for your help.
June 9, 2007 6:16:56 PM

Of the processors available, the 185 is the fastest available. It appears to be the Opteron version of the FX60. Although MSI does not state that the 185 is supported, I'd bet that it will work, since the FX60 IS supported. The price on the 185 has dropped recently. AMD is no longer making 939s, so don't wait too long to make a decision. Make sure that you're looking at the 939 chips when searching online. The 4600+ is the 4800+ with only 1MB of L2 cache instead of 2MB.

As for your virtual memory problem, check on how much space you have on you HDD.
June 9, 2007 6:23:21 PM

Quote:
I want to upgrade my K8N Neo4 Platinum socket 939 board with its current x2 3800 processor to a faster one. MSI says that I can go as high as x2 4600 or Opteron 165 through 180.

I do MS office, internet, some photo, mostly CAD 2d and 3d, no games, no overclocking desired. My 3800 is bogging down somewhat with large 3d Sketchup models. I have 2 gig memory, nvidia Quadro 3400 with 256 mem video card, raid 1 (160 gb mirrored ).


I would go with an opty for CAD work loads and longer life.

Quote:

1) Which processor will give me the best performance, regardless of cost?

the Opteron 180. Higher L2 cash.

Quote:

2) Which one is most cost efficient, in other words, if the 180 is tops, how much more of a boost will that be vs, say, the x2 4600. Newegg has the 4600 at $140, the 180 at $200, all others in between.

Maybe I'm looking at the wrong country but Opty 180 and 4600+

The L2 cache on the opty may speed you up some, but if your not using you're cpu 24/7 and you might upgrade to a new system in 2 years, then go with the 4600.

Quote:

3) Will I have to update the bios, regardless of processor change, and is that a big deal?


I'm not sure if you have to upgrade, but it's a good idea, and it's usually as easy as installing a large program that ask you to restart your computer at the end, because of the programs that come with most mobo's lately.

Quote:

4) The windows performance monitor never shows a page commit number higher than about 900 meg – does that mean that my cpu is my bottleneck, not memory?


Sounds like memory, but I can't be sure what the Page commit number is. (sorry)

Quote:

5) Can/should I add another 2 sticks of 512 memory, to give me 3gig, recognizing the 3.2gig XP Pro addressable limitation? 2 512 sticks about $60, 2 1gig sticks about $120, all DDR 400. I doubt I will ever upgrade to Vista on this machine.


With Photo shop and CAD they can use the extra RAM, but it depends on how much you use them, to if you see a great benefit from the extra RAM.



Quote:

6) Also, I have recently been getting “low virtual memory” warnings, which is new in the past few months, have had machine for almost 2 years, haven’t added any major new software, just utilities and such here and there. Virtual memory is set at 3 gig. Usage hasn’t changed either – get it with 5-10 internet sites open, and software applications.


I'm guess this is why the RAM questions. Either you page file size is too small, and you need to make it bigger (at least as much as your RAM, considering the Apps you use) or it's corrupt, and needs to be replaced by a new page file. To get to the page file setting right click on my computer, select properties, go to the advanced tab and then click settings in the performance field, then go to the advanced tab in the new window and at the bottom there will be the Virtual memory Change button. Also when you go to the my computer properties, before you click on the advanced tab, near the bottom, check to see if the right amount of ram is showing up.
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