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Worth upgrading my Athlon 64 X2 4200+ for Vista/DX10?

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June 23, 2007 5:40:35 AM

So I'm running an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (2.2Ghz) Manchester that I purchased exactly 2 years ago this week. I don't have it overclocked at all. I'm running it on an Asus A8N-SLI Premium MB with 2 gigs of DDR 400 memory and an Nvidia 7800GTX Overclocked by BFG Tech.

I've got a copy of Vista Ultimate waiting to be installed, but here's the dilemma: It's an OEM version and if I decide to upgrade or build a new system, it will make my current copy null and void (according to the OEM license I believe) costing me $300 on a new OS.

Currently the system performs OK for me. Of course it could be better, I like running everything in every game at max in 1680x1050 resolution.

I don't know if my bottleneck is going to be my processor, my video card, the fact that I have DDR and not DDR2 Memory, thus limiting my upgradability.

I'm running the beta of Quake Wars right now without too much of a problem but it's only 24 players right now and I'm sure it's going to be taxing at 64. I'm going to want to play Crysis, UT2007 and Quake Wars when they're released.

So the root of the question, is it worthwhile to upgrade the processor, motherboard and memory or are they going to be good enough for a while yet and I should just upgrade the video card? Should I just upgrade the process and/or video card? Scrap the whole thing and start anew?

Yeah first post, of hopefully many..=) Thanks for the advice!
June 23, 2007 7:44:30 AM

for gaming, your biggest performance dilemma is going to be your gpu... a 7800gtx is still very decent though even still. if youre not opposed to overclocking, i would say to OC your X2 4200+, and upgrade your gpu when the time comes
June 23, 2007 5:52:54 PM

So the processor isn't what is going to hold me back? I don't even know how it compares since it doesn't appear to be sold anymore.

I was considering upgrading to an 8800GTS 320MB
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June 23, 2007 6:10:25 PM

nope, your cpu is just fine, particularly since its dual core. as far as comparison to an intel cpu, its about on par with an E6300-E6400... take a top end c2d for example, it provides virtually no real performance benefit when you start relying on and stressing your gpu more (by increasing resolutions and graphics details for instance)

as far as the 8800GTS 320MB... its good for resolutions up to 1280x1024 (or an equivalent widescreen resolution)... for much above that resolution though, if you want to maintain solid performance, youll want to get the 640MB version instead... ...the resolution of 1680x1050 seems to be outside, or nearing outside the range of the 320MB version:

1280x1024 = 1310720 pixels
1680x1050 = 1764000 pixels
1600x1200 = 1920000 pixels

so, the resolutions are similar... but smooth performance might tip more in favor of the 640MB version... ...for DX9 games however, you should be okay with the 320MB version
June 23, 2007 9:39:11 PM

Aslong as your MB can supply the juice it will over clock tons, id say easily to 2.6gigz, on top of that you could improve your memory freq. and FSB for overall performance.
(unfortunately mine cant i got x2 4200+ as well)
June 23, 2007 10:23:48 PM

It sounds a good idea to upgrade your Graphics card with 8800GTS 320.
Did you try 7800GTX with lost planet demo? Man it sucks 1280x960 max out settings and you get only 20FPS maximum. My Rig 7800GTX 256 SLI, X2 4400 CPU. I will definitely go for 8800GTS 320 before my major upgrade.
June 23, 2007 10:40:47 PM

I haven't tried the lost planet demo yet, I'm downloading it right now.

I'm looking at overclocking but don't know where to begin. I'm following the basic how-to on the anandtech.com forums but most of it's gibberish. Guess I'll just have to push through!


Should I upgrade my memory when I switch to vista or is 2gigs plenty? I'm running 2GB of Corsair XMS memory, still sells for $270 at newegg. I don't know if I can just use any old memory or if I should stick with the exact same stuff. Another $270 on memory seems excessive..hehe

Thanks for all the help, I appreciate it.

Now I've got to figure if I should just get a new 8800 or if i should wait for Nvidia's next release.
June 23, 2007 10:52:18 PM

Overclocking is actually pretty simple to a certain extent.

In your BIOS just say increase your standard 200mhz FSB to about 240mhz. Try to start-up windows use it for a while if it doesn't work well go into BIOS and slightly up your voltage and try it again and do the same until it works. Should work a long time before your CPU reaches any dangerous levels.

Also disable amd cool and quiet, it mucks stuff up.
June 24, 2007 12:02:20 AM

Hey there, I have basically the same setup as you other than my graphics card. Im running Vista Ultimate and It rates the CPU as a 5.0 (which is actually my lowest score in the new rating thing they have going)

As for the ram im in the same boat. I have 2 gigs of XMS and I was looking for 2 more bc im using 50% of my ram just typing this up now but i cant see spending 200 bucks on DDR ram when in a few months DDR3 is going to be the new standard.

On my board i as easy run 2.42GHZ on stock voltages. (220*11) At about 2.5ghz i need to bump up the voltage. The highest I could clock my 4200+ on air was 2.62 (240*11) in the winter time in the summer it just gets too hot.

EDIT* if you want any help OC that CPU just respond and ill see what i can do.
June 24, 2007 1:43:38 PM

They question is: should I upgrade to vista instead...
June 24, 2007 5:27:14 PM

Quote:
They question is: should I upgrade to vista instead...


It isn't a matter of if I should upgrade to vista it's when. Vista will be the future, and we'll all eventually switch to it.

Anyhow, for OC'ing do I have to increase the voltage or can I just move the CPU frequency and multiplier up? Multi at x11 and CPU Freq. to say 225?

I read one topic that suggested I increase my CPU Voltage to 1.525, but that isn't even an option in the bios.

Edit:
I ran the Lost Planet performance test.

My processor usage according to windows was at 64%. According to the AI Booster utility, one core was at 64% and the other was at 44%. My average FPS was I think 13 at the end of the first test (snow), 21 at the end of the second (cave).

Should my processor be taxed that high?

Also, I was running the following applications during the test (as I would usually have the open/running:
Firefox with 8 tabs,
Teamspeak while holding a conversation,
my newgroup application while it was downloading at max load (1.5MBps)
June 24, 2007 10:09:18 PM

Well if you were downloading at 1.5MBps and have a firewall like ZoneAlarm that in itself will put a load on your CPU. But to give an acturate measure of performace you prob should have other applications open because that will be a real world test.
June 24, 2007 11:12:37 PM

Okay, I did another test and here's what I got:

I was streaming a movie to another computer across the house
playing music with itunes
Unraring a 4 gig iso file to an external hard drive (same drive that has the movie that was being streamed)
2 windows explorer windows open
firefox open with 6 tabs.

Doing the demo my max processor usage was at 85% according to Windows, and 85/79% according to AI Booster (asus utility)

If I moved my mouse around it would go up to 95% usage on both CPU's

I'm running dual screen, hence why I can see all the information while running the performance test.

Average FPS was 9 in the test. There were also some artifacts on the screen, such as giant blue/purple walls where they should have been transparent.
!