Hello, thanks for reading. I'm posting this because I've read a number of discussions on the 939 v AM2 debate, most of which were written many months ago and which advocate an upgrade to dual core simple because the technology would mature over time, as at the time it offered virtual no improvement in gaming terms over a single core system.
I am curently on (Win XP SP2)
DFI Infinity NF4 SLI (socket 939)
AMD64 3700+ @ 2.5Ghz
2 x 7600GT 256mb in SLi
I almost exclusively use my PC for gaming or surfing the internet, and am curious as to whether I need a dual core processor now that the technology has matured (or has it - can gamers tell the difference?) . I also realise that my GFX cards are getting out of date.
I have £160 or so at the moment to spend on an upgrade, which basically means I have 3 options:
- Buy a socket 939 dual core; either 4200+ or 4400+, costing £50/£100 respectively.
- Buy a new graphics card; most likely an 8600GTS or an 8800GT, for £160 ish.
- Buy a new AM2 motherboard, an AM2 4800+, and 2GB DDR800, costing £160 ish.
I am getting CoD4 and World in Conflict for xmas and would really like to play the games in at least 1280 x 1024 medium settings, in multiplayer, without serious framerate issues. Which option would be best? I realise the 3rd option would give my computer most upgradeability, but it is also the most expensive, and if I were to follow this path I could not afford a new GFX card for a while, whereas if I stick with the 939 I could reasonably buy a new GFX card in the not too distant future.
Thanks a lot for reading, I’d appreciate any advice.
i was in the similar situation as you about a year ago (but i already had a dual core). I went from sli'd 7900gs's to my current 8800gts 640MB. with some judicious overclocking, i can still play anything that comes out almost maxed out @ 1440 x 900, including cod4, ut3 etc.
my wager is the 8800gt, if you can't afford that and only the 8600gts then...i dont know. the 8600gts is a garbage card and not worth putting in your old system right now, IMO. i would probably go with the mobo, proc and ram but all things being equal, you will see a larger increase in playability with a new video card and your old system vs. a new system and old video cards.
and on the subject of dual cores, i am probably the only one you will hear this from but for gamers, DUAL CORE DONT MATTER ONE DAMN BIT. before i get flamed (thank goodness there is no modding down here), let me expound. people will say 'but you add a E6750 and it would be a very substantial increase in performance.' yes but you are forgetting the key difference, i.e. Architecture! core 2's are much more efficient than AMD64's so of course you would see an increase in games, has absolutely nothing to do with more cores. you want to do a real test? drop a 4200+ overclocked to 2.5Ghz into your machine and you will see little to no increase in gaming. my little brother upgraded from a 3700+ to a 4200+ (don't get all huffy over L2 cache, i know the 3700+ is the 3500+ with more cache and the 4400+ is the 4200+ with more cache, same clock speeds though) and he saw very little increase in his games. he was able to convert files while he was gaming, that was an improvement but he saw very little increase in raw fps.
I personally just upgraded from a 3200+ 939 to an Opteron 180. ($160). The difference is quite noticeable for me. I overclocked mine about 13% off the bat on stock volts/air cooling. Like Jrnyfan said; you really won't notice a huge difference in games. After all it's really just 200mhz faster. Depending on your cooling/ram/mobo you could get 2.8 or 2.9 fairly easily I imagine, though.
Anyway. My AMD system keeps up with my e6600 C2D system with most tasks now.
Honestly, though, I think a new high end video card may be best for you; as far as seeing game performance dramatically increase. Good luck.
When i went from the single core 3500+ to the X2 3800+, I definitely saw a boost in performance. It was not a radical increase in performance but it helped none the less. One of the games, I think it was Call of Duty 3, ran several times better. On my 6800GT I was running, I got under 30fps with the single core cpu at times (most of the time actually), but when I put the X2 in there it never dropped below 50fps. And its not that the dual core was that much faster, I had them both OC'd to 2.4Ghz, but the dual core definitely slowed down less.
Sounds like a familiar scenario most of us 939 board owners have gone through. I bit over a year ago, after learning of my short lived 939 boards pending demise. I decided to give it a little future proofing and bought an opty 180 to upgrade my 4000+. My 4000+ wasn't even a year old yet. So have I noticed a huge difference with 2 cores? No! I will say some tasks to run smoother and I find myself trying to do things in the background just to take advantage of the cores. And now we have 4 cores and still I don't think we have utilized our 2 cores yet. I also built myself a core 2 duo system for my office computer which I must say is nice and zippy. And since many of my office computers are dells and over 5 years old I just decided (2 weeks ago)to buy a new 939 mb to re-service my 4000+. Secretary loves it! Now that was a noticable difference.
Since you surf and game I think the question comes down to have you come across any games that you haven't been able to play. I must say my 7800 GT sli seem to be cutting through every thing I throw at them so far. If your cards are not cutting it then you will see the most gain from a Graphics card (my vote 8800GT). But I think I would wait and save some more $ and by mid next year you can do it all.
I think going to a dual-core would be worthwhile. Top speed might not increase noticeably, but stutters and lag from the background tasks that ALL Windows PCs have on them will mostly disappear.
If you can do that for L50, you could perhaps add an 8800GT, HD3870, or HD3850 to raise the top speed.
Of course, a big GPU upgrade requires the question "What PSU do you have?" Your 7600GTs sip power, and don't need auxilliary power, but newer faster GPUs need a lot more juice. I'd say get 450W for one card, and at least 550W if you are thinking of [eventual] SLI. Choose one from tier-3 or better from the list at http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon
Let's face it, you will need to upgrade your mobo and processor soon, but if you want instant gratification, buy a decent mid range video card that will work with your current rig, and still work with a future rig. A 3850 is a good bet, it doesn't need a lot of power. It also gives you the opportunity to Crossfire when you take the plunge and get a new intel processor and a crossfire capable mobo. Two 3850's in crossfire will keep you happy for another two or three years.
Cool stuff, thanks for the replies guys. I think I'm going to plump for the 8800GT, as it would seem that will delivery the most performance increase for my budget, and also when I do eventually move over to core 2 duo/ am2, i can take it with me and maybe get a 2nd one in SLi I have a 550watt PSU at the moment so it should be ok.
Anyway, gonna go and try to find one now, Merry Christmas everyone!
Just about a month or 2 ago i replaced my 939 A64 x2 4200+ with an e2160 OCed to 3.2 ghz and I am seeing jaw dropping differences in all my games and apps. I have an 8800GTS 320 that I kept but I still saw a huge difference in just about everything that I do on my computer.
actually it does even by a little bit, my x2 4000+ * 8400gs was at least 10-15fps faster at a higher resolution (12x10) sempron 3200+ & 8400gs @ 10x8. hell my sempron can barely run Gears of War @ the lowest possible resolution and detail while my x2 system can cake walk it @ 10x8 medium.i think it depends on the game you're going to play.
screw the 8600gts, you're better of with a 9600gso and above. anything low is obscure and unreasonable.
You got 2.5 GHz out of a 3700+? That's pretty good! The best I've ever managed was 2.4. The jump in speed for an AM2 X2 would be 3.1-3.4 GHz at best (and their right, the second core won't make much of a difference).
I'd go with a better video card first. You can upgrade the motherboard, processor, and RAM later (when you can afford it). An upgrade on these components wouldn't leave you with enough funds to upgrade your video cards (and they could definitely use an upgrade)/