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What would be the most sensible AM2 upgrade?

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August 27, 2007 10:55:38 PM

Hello all

I have a 6 months gaming rig that was a dissapointment to me right from the start- all kinds of hitchings, stutters and judders, unsteady fps rates due to CPU not being strong enough and in short- its not an harmonious machine.

I know it wont redeem me of all my problems but I thought of getting an Opteron 1216 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) cos a. I can get one for a bargain b. Ive heard the Opteron are much more OCable and c. The double L2 cache size.
Should I go for it? And if not what processor should I get- Im sure my current one is not up to par with the 8800- my budget is 200$ top and I can get the 1216 for 140.

Any help will be welcomed.

If you wanna learn more about my issues check here- http://www.techsupportforum.com/gaming-forum/pc-gaming-...

More about : am2 upgrade

August 27, 2007 10:59:31 PM

My current specs-
Athlon 64 2X 4200+
Leadtek 8800GTS 320M
ASUS M2N-E
Corsair 2GB PC-5300
ZALMAN HP-600W
Related resources
August 28, 2007 12:43:54 AM

Mousemonkey said:
Best thing to try first is some proper RAM that works i.e.DDR2 800 rather than the DDR2 533 that you are currently running, here is an article from last year that touched on the subject http://www.behardware.com/articles/625-1/socket-am2-ddr2-according-to-amd.html HTH


What mouse monkey said. Your system isnt bad at all, but AM2 is much more sensative to ram bus speed than Intels stuff is.

All games are not created equally. What games are giving you problems? What are those games graphics settings at? If you are trying to run oblivion with every option set at high, there are certain scenes that are going to bog any machine. If you are trying to run MSHearts, you definately have a problem.

Also, insure yor OS's backround ops are minimzed. If you are running XP, make sure 'system restore' is turned off, weed out the recent docs history etc. Make sure that your processor scheduling and memory usage are set to give priority to programs and not backround services or system cache. If you have a constant internet connection, make sure msmsgr, AOLIM, etc or an other instant communications programs you hve are turned off. If you are running an after market AV, make sure its not set to actively check programs or extensions while theey are running...you can either exempt them in you AVs options or turn off the feature altogether.
August 28, 2007 12:52:34 AM

Dude that processor shouldnt be the problem, I had that processor and i have that motherboard, I think that your memory is a posibility, but i kinda doubt it. Did you try a different video card?
August 28, 2007 12:56:40 AM

As far as a processor to replace yours, I;d go with a x2 5200 ee, 2.6ghz, 2mb cache, and low wattage, gotta love it. I wish i had got it instead of a 5600(a very good processor, but I,m a green kinda guy).
August 28, 2007 1:27:49 AM

turpit said:

All games are not created equally. What games are giving you problems? What are those games graphics settings at? If you are trying to run oblivion with every option set at high, there are certain scenes that are going to bog any machine. If you are trying to run MSHearts, you definately have a problem.

Also, insure yor OS's backround ops are minimzed. If you are running XP, make sure 'system restore' is turned off, weed out the recent docs history etc. Make sure that your processor scheduling and memory usage are set to give priority to programs and not backround services or system cache. If you have a constant internet connection, make sure msmsgr, AOLIM, etc or an other instant communications programs you hve are turned off. If you are running an after market AV, make sure its not set to actively check programs or extensions while theey are running...you can either exempt them in you AVs options or turn off the feature altogether.


Sorry, guys.. I really cant repeat all the info I relayed trying to solve my issues or Ill turn mental :pt1cable: ... its just cos Ive already tried in 6 different tech forums. Here's again, the link to the most helpful one- http://www.techsupportforum.com/gaming-forum/pc-gaming-...

As for the RAM- its 533 but in fact I downclocked it to 400 so I could tighten the latencies (it did nothing or a little good for my stutters but its definetly not the cause of them)- my HTT is 200Mhz so it should be ok, or am I way off?

Monkeymouse, Im not sure I got that article right but on the second page, in the frequencies table it shows that I wont get 100% utillizing with DDR2-800, in fact, according to it I can only use the DDR2-400. Did I get it right? My CPU clock is 2200Mhz.
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August 28, 2007 1:50:41 AM

I forgive for redoing my nick :)  , the article was from a year ago before the AM2's were really out in the wild so to speak but it was already known that there was going to be issues with the slower 533 and 667 speeds, I pretty sure there was even talk of OCZ (I think) making memory with AM2 in mind, http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_ddr2_pc2_7200_gold_gx_xtc I'm not sure if these are the right modules but I'll see if I can find the article.

edit: link added (for really expensive RAM)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=3112949&sku=O261-8076
August 28, 2007 2:42:32 AM

Oops, sorry about that- probably reminded me of Mighty Mouse...
now it reminds me of a brilliant Dilbert strip- was it your nick inspiration?

I dont get how those modules will solve my probs. Im running the RAM at 400 so I uttillize it to the max. What am I missing here? :??: 
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August 28, 2007 3:07:54 AM

:lol:  , I was not trying to suggest that you get those modules, rather it was an attempt to show that RAM was marketed specifically for the AM2 platform and that it was not 533, the cheaper solution would be to get some DDR2 800 which you could run at 667 like the 'special' stuff or at 800 either way at current prices 800 is the way to go. Running your RAM at DDR2 400 means that you're running it slower than the CPU wants and not utilising it to the max. Oh and my nick has more to do with the year that I was born and what I use most of the time ;)  , cryptic enough for you? :) 
August 28, 2007 3:33:30 AM

Well, reading your link, youve tried a lot. Did you try a differnt PSU as suggested? Looking at your rig, it shouldnt have too many problems even considering that many of the games you listed are GPU killers. If you turned down the resolutions and eye candy as you said, you should have been able to run those games reasonably well with your current CPU, assuming your system was configured properly and the hardware was functioning properly.

One more question....your not trying to run those games windowed, are you?
August 28, 2007 4:02:58 AM

Mousemonkey said:
Oh and my nick has more to do with the year that I was born and what I use most of the time ;)  , cryptic enough for you? :) 


More than enough. :) 
You should really get your hands on that Dilbert strip, though- they bring a monkey to do his job and he feels he cant compete as the monky has an evolutionary edge on him- he's using the mouse with his tail so both his hands are free for the keyboard.

Anyways, I dont doubt what you're saying but I really need to understand- AFAIK my HTT before any multiplier is 200Mhz, so- no matter how fast my RAM will be it will still be fed only at 200Mhz for each stick. 200X2=400, hence I have no chance of making the most out of faster RAMs unless I OC, no?

turpit- no, of course not.
And my games do run reasonably well if we look at that only in fps terms- but fps counts cant always tell about the stutters.
August 28, 2007 4:08:21 AM

Sorry, had to ask....gotta cover all the bases. ;) 

Cooling to the GPU is good, yes? Temps on the CPU are within limits when loaded?
August 28, 2007 4:34:41 AM

Ever since I got an Arctic pro for my CPU it hasnt gone beyond 52-54c. (prior: 58-62c)

The GPU is 65-67c on load.

Measures taken with Speedfan, Everest and Rivatuner.
August 28, 2007 4:37:38 AM

Mousemonkey said:
I found this article for you, you may have read it but if you haven't it explains why DDR2 800 is the sweet spot for AM2's a lot better than I could :- http://www.legitreviews.com/article/347/1/


Cheers, mate. :) 

Going to sleep now, Ill check it out asap.
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August 28, 2007 4:40:42 AM

You're welcome.
August 28, 2007 4:50:09 AM

Jet boot Jack said:
Ever since I got an Arctic pro for my CPU it hasnt gone beyond 52-54c. (prior: 58-62c)

The GPU is 65-67c on load.

Measures taken with Speedfan, Everest and Rivatuner.


Well, those look good. Hmmm...interesting problem. Youre using Vista, which is a known memory whore...I know you tried reloading the OS, and I hate to suggest it, but have you tried loading a copy of XP?

I would suggest pulling one stick of ram and putting the other in a differnt channel, but that wont do much in Vista.

Any friends you can borrow some ram from?
August 28, 2007 4:53:28 AM

its pretty rare for a cpu not to be able to game only a few games demand a strong cpu - you did not day what the cpu you had or its speed?
i am curious as its not something else?
August 28, 2007 5:01:22 AM

Mousemonkey said:
I found this article for you, you may have read it but if you haven't it explains why DDR2 800 is the sweet spot for AM2's a lot better than I could :- http://www.legitreviews.com/article/347/1/


Couldnt resist myself and took a peak- according to the first page there is a problem with odd dividers so my 4200+ would never be able to get the max out of DDR2-800.

So what d'you guys think about that Opteron 1216? Its 2400Mhz so it could go well with the 800 modules.

turpit, Im using XP- sorry if I misled you somehow. My RAM is two sticks of 1G in slots 1 and 3 which, as several sources claim, are the right place for em.
August 28, 2007 5:09:59 AM

1. Get DDR2-800 ram, CL4 if possible

2. You can easily overclock the X2 4200+ to 2.4Ghz and then use the ram at full speed.

3. Your temps seem a little high for using an ACFP. I was getting those temps with the stock heatsink on my X2 4200+. Be sure your heatsink is seated properly and your case has good airflow.

August 28, 2007 5:12:09 AM

Yup, thats the right place for dual channel.

Inthe other forum you had wrote "Tried Vista in a dual boot" so I assumed wrongly that you werent running XP. But since you are running XP, have you tried running with only one stick of ram, swapping each stick to test if you have a bad module?
August 28, 2007 6:08:54 AM

swap out the video card for known good 1, as with the memory, run the games with what u have before u go spending money on hardware u probly dont need. it sounds to me the studder might be the games on too high a setting, even with the nvidia card at the highend. bad drivers can cause this also, but your rig is above average, and dont need to be upgraded for anyother 2 years.
August 28, 2007 8:57:19 AM

turpit said:

Inthe other forum you had wrote "Tried Vista in a dual boot" so I assumed wrongly that you werent running XP. But since you are running XP, have you tried running with only one stick of ram, swapping each stick to test if you have a bad module?


The keyword is "tried" ;)  - I tried and didnt like so I reverted back to XP. Ill wait till Vista ripens.

I ran memtest and another memory tester which I cant remember atm and all was well, d'you reckon I still should try the physical test you offered?

Naw-wi: Youre right, theroticaly it should have been a system that would have lasted for the next 2 years with no upgrade needed, de facto- its not. I get so many stutters, so varied in shape and form that Im certain that one upgrade wont fix them all: Im afraid my GPU is slightly borked somehow but I dont want to RMA it as I heard awful things bout Leadtek's customer support and I cant afford a new one. Im sure my CPU isnt responsible for all my issues but Im pissed off that even in older titles such as Red Orchestra my fps plummets to its teens in heavy fire fights, same as it did with my old rig.

Id love to have access to nifty hardware so I could test and pinpoint the culprit(s) but I dont.
August 28, 2007 9:09:07 AM

orangegator said:
1. Get DDR2-800 ram, CL4 if possible

2. You can easily overclock the X2 4200+ to 2.4Ghz and then use the ram at full speed.

3. Your temps seem a little high for using an ACFP. I was getting those temps with the stock heatsink on my X2 4200+. Be sure your heatsink is seated properly and your case has good airflow.


1. Why is the CL4 preferable? If I see CL3 should I still go for the CL4? (serious question- I honestly dont know)

3. I think my temps are reasonable considering I live in the mediteranian, the summer is hot and my room has no AC.

Edit- Ok, Ive seen the prices of the CL3s and I understand...
August 29, 2007 12:04:33 AM

Mousemonkey, you convinced me. Im gonna get CORSAIR TWIN2X2048-6400C4 DDR2 2GB (1GBX2) 800MHZ CL4 in the next few days. Thanks for your input (that applies to all of you, guys) and if you're curious Ill post here back to tell you how it affected my issues.

Cheers
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August 29, 2007 12:33:58 AM

We will look forward to hearing how it turns out mate, good luck.
August 29, 2007 1:04:54 AM

Yeah, I would still try swapping the ram around 1 stick at a time just in case. It wont cost you anything but a little time.

About buying new ram, check the vendors return policy carefully. It may be worth paying a few dollars more if they dont stab you for a %35 restocking fee on RMAs

Honestly, though everything Mousemonkey told you was accurate, and I aggree with him for the most part, Im not 100% convinced its the RAM. Ive run oblivion on an A64 3200 with an ATI 128 and 512K of ram. I got the expected ultra low frame rates, but no "hitchings, stutters and judders" you described. It may very well be you RAM, But first on the list of things I would suspect would be your video card, followed by the mobo or PSU.

In any event, thank you yes, please do keep us posted, and very good luck to you.
August 30, 2007 7:45:23 PM

Did your check yesterday, turpit, and both sticks were the same.
Today I got the new RAM and had time only to check two games (HL2:1 and Bioshock) and run Futurmark.

The frame skip stutter, Im sorry to say, is still with us- but I gained 500 points in Futurmark which was nice, though I need to game a while to see the actual benefiets.
(Tbh I OCd to 2.4Ghz but the same OCing with the old RAM only made me lose score)

I guess we are down to the GPU or mobo (I find it hard to believe its the PSU)... but Im not even sure yet its the hardware as I recall now two things:- 1. setting the ifpsclamp=0 in Oblivion to 60 or whatever actually eliminated the stutter, if I remember correctly. The game wasnt playable as your avatar's speed was chained to the fps meter but the fact remains- the stutter is not a law of nature.
2. I dont get noticeable stutters/judders in DoD:source and they are so obvious in HL2... its the same engine so wtf?



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August 31, 2007 12:20:17 PM

I was so hoping your prob was going to be sorted, but at least you've got a bit more speed so not all is lost. Every thing I have found on Oblivion seem to point to the loading of large texture maps but the HL2 stutters still have me scratching my noggin (and getting lots of splinters in my fingertips). If I find anything that looks promising I'll post back here.
August 31, 2007 6:48:08 PM

No worries, mate- I do see an actual improvement in my games, they are not smooth but the fps meter doesnt plummets as low as before during CPU-intensive moments, so Im quite happy with this purchase.

Thanks again and if I ever find a cure Ill fill you in.
August 31, 2007 8:19:48 PM

Jet boot Jack said:
Did your check yesterday, turpit, and both sticks were the same.
Today I got the new RAM and had time only to check two games (HL2:1 and Bioshock) and run Futurmark.

The frame skip stutter, Im sorry to say, is still with us- but I gained 500 points in Futurmark which was nice, though I need to game a while to see the actual benefiets.
(Tbh I OCd to 2.4Ghz but the same OCing with the old RAM only made me lose score)

I guess we are down to the GPU or mobo (I find it hard to believe its the PSU)... but Im not even sure yet its the hardware as I recall now two things:- 1. setting the ifpsclamp=0 in Oblivion to 60 or whatever actually eliminated the stutter, if I remember correctly. The game wasnt playable as your avatar's speed was chained to the fps meter but the fact remains- the stutter is not a law of nature.
2. I dont get noticeable stutters/judders in DoD:source and they are so obvious in HL2... its the same engine so wtf?


I don't have the patience to read all through the thread, just skimmed through it, so this may have escaped me. Have you tried installing the AMD dual-core optimizer and the microsoft hotfix for dual-core processors? I have the exact same processor you have and I'm quite happy with it to tell you the truth.
August 31, 2007 10:59:34 PM

As far as wanting to know how it works with the RAM.

The Processor runs on a 200Mhz processor bus speed, which is multiplied by 11 to get the core clock. I'm not quite sure how hypertransport being a 1000Mhz / 2000M/T bus factors into that, I know it's mainly a data and instruction interlink that the proc uses. DDR2 800 Ram, when put to max speed will show as being clocked to 400Mhz in the bios. But, as it is DDR(Double Data rate) it's effective speed is 800Mhz.

I read that you think you downclocked your Ram. Did you set it at 400Mhz in the bios, or 200Mhz? If you set it to 400 in the bios it is actually running at 800, like I said above. Which means you've severely overclocked your Ram, along with overclocking it's timings. Also Ram is one of those tricky things, that you'll get more benefit from a faster bus rate on the ram, than faster timings.

So, you'd get the best increase from some DDR2 800 memory with decent timings, like others have said. Your GPU isn't all that bad, in fact its one of the upper end models. Only way you could get better would be with a 640mb or a GTX, and that likely wouldn't improve your problem as those would just be bottlenecked by the processor. Otherwise, the X2 5600 isn't bad, and the X2 6000 would likely be the most bang for your buck that you can get at the moment. I know it may sound odd, but are you having any sound issues? I'd experienced some onboard sound issues at one time with a build I had, that was causing stuttering and hangs.

Also like Mannwhite said, if you don't have the AMD dual core Optimizer driver, Get it, as well as the dual core fix put out on windows update for xp. What versions of the drivers are you running? I'm running almost the same setup, just no decent video card right now, and have had no stuttering issues, other than while playing some online games.

Athlon X2 4200+ EE
ASRock AliveNF7G HDReady
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 800 A-Data (soon to be 3GB)
Onboard Nforce 7050pv video Set to use 256mb of system memory(upgrading to 8600GTS next week)
Rosewill Stallion 450W power supply
September 1, 2007 2:23:38 AM

mannwhite said:
Have you tried installing the AMD dual-core optimizer and the microsoft hotfix for dual-core processors?


Yes, I did have them both on one of my previous xp installtions, now I only have the AMD optimizer cos I read two resources that claims the hotfix is redundant (one being the guy who writes all those tweak guides- K. Ghazi) and I was happy to listen, remembering there were some registry edits to do manualy or something.

Mathos- it was indeed a downclock (200Mhz) but you're right,- my reasoning for doing it was wrong at that time, thinking 200Mhz was the bus (HTT) speed.

I already disabled my onboard sound in the bios and its not it.

I wish I could show you guys the issue I have, I already frap'ed some 30 sec of it and wanted to put it on youtube but it weighs 1.3G and Im clueless as to how to compress video files. So if anyone has the patience to explain please do.

And speaking of RAM- my new module has only one mode in the SPD and the command rate is 2T, could it hurt if I tried 1T?
September 5, 2007 3:16:01 PM

Went to a store, tried a 8600- nothing changed. Guess its either the CPU or my mobo.
September 6, 2007 1:16:45 AM

The plot thickens......
Keep us updated if you have the time
September 6, 2007 10:57:50 AM

Lol Im sure youre all holding your breath.

I might be able to persudae some1 to try his 6000+ cpu. If it wont help than I guess its down to the mobo, if its not the mobo Ill have no choice but to commit suicide. :pt1cable: 
a c 143 à CPUs
September 6, 2007 11:31:04 AM

Don't call it a suicide, call it a "martyrdom operation."

I would have thought mannwhite hit it, but you may also try setting the affinity of the game to only one core. Even with the drivers, some games were unplayable on my X2 3800+ without doing that. Sorry if you've already tried this; I haven't tried to access the other forums you've mentioned because I know that most such sites are blocked at work.
September 11, 2007 3:49:10 PM

Guys, I need your help with the 800Mhz CL4 RAM I got.
Only today I noticed- with cpu-z- that they are running at CL5:

CAS# 5
RAStoCAS 5
RAS# 5
Tras 18
Trc 23

While in the SPD its:

CAS# 4
RAStoCAS 4
RAS# 4
Tras 12
Trc 22

I tried to force the SPD values in the bios and all hell broke loose- it went into a shut down/ boot loop and didnt even let me back in the bios. I had to weap out my old RAM and only then I could get into the BIOS again.

I thought it was because I OC (as mentioned earlier) the CPU to 2.4Ghz so the RAM will run 800Mhz but its not that. I loaded BIOS defaults so nothing is OCed now and its still CL5 (running at 737Mhz).
Whats going on??
September 11, 2007 4:29:36 PM

Did you up the voltage to 2.1v when you set the timing? If not, try doing that and it should work fine.
September 11, 2007 5:19:41 PM

But why? I bought a CL4 and nowhere it was mentioned I should mass with the voltages. Doesnt it suppose to be CL4 out of the box? My BIOS is updated and its not like its some ancient piece- they are of the same generation.
September 11, 2007 5:31:10 PM

Jet boot Jack said:
Guys, I need your help with the 800Mhz CL4 RAM I got.
Only today I noticed- with cpu-z- that they are running at CL5:

CAS# 5
RAStoCAS 5
RAS# 5
Tras 18
Trc 23

While in the SPD its:

CAS# 4
RAStoCAS 4
RAS# 4
Tras 12
Trc 22

I tried to force the SPD values in the bios and all hell broke loose- it went into a shut down/ boot loop and didnt even let me back in the bios. I had to weap out my old RAM and only then I could get into the BIOS again.

I thought it was because I OC (as mentioned earlier) the CPU to 2.4Ghz so the RAM will run 800Mhz but its not that. I loaded BIOS defaults so nothing is OCed now and its still CL5 (running at 737Mhz).
Whats going on??


Read through the whole thread. I may be wrong, but its starting to sound, like a motherboard problem to me. I had a few problems with the ASUS board on my rig. I got a new board and the problems went away. The new board also came with a newer BIOS, which may have had something to do with it as well, because the original board would not accept the newest BIOS. So that also suggests that if you haven't tried it already, try installing the latest BIOS from ASUS and see if that helps.

My reasoning on the motherboard is that you tried better ram, which helped the frame rates, but not the stuttering. Ram should not affect the stuttering, unless you were using only 512 of ram and the game had to access the hard disk constantly. The video card could also cause some stuttering if it was overheating and locking up intermittently, but from what you've written, the video card isn't overheating. Of course, the video card might be bad anyway. You could try testing it in another machine that has no problems and see if the problem follows it. If the problem does follow it, you found the culprit. If things work correctly, then the card is probably good.

That leaves the motherboard. It may have an intermittent short which opens a circuit when it gets hot enough, but then closes as soon as it cools enough. Also it might have a bad resistorwhich does the same type of thing. If you can test the rest of the components (ram, video card, sound card) on another machine and they all work as intended on the other machine, then the motherboard is the next obvious problem.

Just some thoughts, but no gaurentees.
September 11, 2007 5:32:16 PM

Checked the Dram voltages in the BIOS, I have 5 options-
Auto and 1.80- 1.95 in steps of 0.05- no 2.1 option.
September 11, 2007 5:32:37 PM

If I were you I'd still try to test on another PSU, a good one. Zalman makes great cooling solutions, however their PSUs are less than stellar to say the least.
September 11, 2007 8:22:38 PM

I know it sounds dumb, but if you're using a sata hard drive, verify the sata cable is connected correctly/securely (and even try replacing the cable).

I experienced stuttering for months which drove me up the walls before realizing my sata cable was the problem :fou: 
September 11, 2007 9:02:31 PM

A lot of input, thanks guys.
Sailer- it makes much sense that it is the mobo, I tried a different gpu (8600) and my issues were the same.
The only time I tried to flash the BIOS was with the ASUS updater that came with mobo CD- its a cumbersome program that wont let you be sure whether there is a newer version of the BIOS that you need, and their servers are always busy and it took me literally hours to dl the "new" version, which upon close inspection turned to be actually older than the one I got.
If there is a more humanitarian way of updating the bios- plz let me know.

MrsBytch- Ive put everything on auto and thought it will figure itself out. When I forced the CL4 I left the dram v. on auto.

If Im to change the mobo Ill probably go for the AM2+ or AM3 with the DDR3, as there's no point spending money on something older- my current DDR2 and AM2 cpu should fit in, no?

lghtmup98- Ill try it, though I have the feeling that it will happen all over again- it was freaky,- it couldnt even reach the BIOS loading screen and when it did- it froze.
September 11, 2007 9:39:13 PM

i had a socket 754 sempron 3400+ with a PCIE gf6600
beginning of this year i started having issues with the video displaying odd textures and frame rates dropping skipping and doing all kinds of weird crap

i wanted a new video card anyway so i went ahead and got a gf8600gt for $100usd it was inside my budget (which just happened to be $100 max) well needless to say the problem kept up. I have extra ram laying around so i swapped it and nothing changed. I was also thinking along the same lines, perhaps power supply or motherboard.

well i found a good combo deal on a 3800+ socket 939 with motherboard for $100 (let me reuse my ddr400 memory and was again inside my meager budget) - well that fixed the problem

I've also had systems in the past with just frame rates dropping at odd times - it turned out to be a faulty ethernet card. sometimes funny things happen that make you want to pull out yur hair...
!