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Do i need to upgrade my cpu? Or something else?

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December 23, 2007 8:53:12 PM

Hi, i am interested in upgrading my computer, and as a noob, need your help

My cpu maxes out often, (I play a lot of poker, which uses heaps of graphics, memory, databases, etc) at 100%.

I have recently upgraded to 3G ram

What upgrades do you suggest? Is it possible to run two or more cpus on my board, or am i best to just have one more powerful one?

Maybe i dont need a new cpu after all, and there are bottlenecks elsewhere that i am unaware of?

Following is an internal specs of my machine-please note that this was run prior to me upgrading my ram to 3G

Kindest regards,

Paul

*CPU-Z 1.42 report file*
>
> *Processor(s)*
> *Number of processors* 1
> *Number of cores* 1 per processor
> *Number of threads* 1 (max 1) per processor
> *Name* AMD Athlon 64 3500+
> *Code Name* Venice
> *Specification* AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+
> *Package* Socket 939
> *Family/Model/Stepping* F.F.2
> *Extended Family/Model* F.2F
> *Brand ID* 4
> *Core Stepping* DH-E6
> *Technology* 90 nm
> *Core Speed* 2211.5 MHz
> *Multiplier x Bus speed* 11.0 x 201.0 MHz
> *HT Link speed* 1005.2 MHz
> *Stock frequency* 2200 MHz
> *Instruction sets* MMX (+), 3DNow! (+), SSE, SSE2, SSE3, x86-64
> *L1 Data cache (per processor)* 64 KBytes, 2-way set associative, 64-byte line size
> *L1 Instruction cache (per processor)* 64 KBytes, 2-way set associative, 64-byte line size
> *L2 cache (per processor)* 512 KBytes, 16-way set associative, 64-byte line size
>
> *Chipset & Memory*
> *Northbridge* NVIDIA nForce4 rev. A3
> *Southbridge* NVIDIA nForce4 MCP rev. A3
> *Memory Type* DDR
> *Memory Size* 1024 MBytes
> *Memory Frequency* 201.0 MHz (CPU/11)
> *CAS# Latency (tCL)* 2.5 clocks
> *RAS# to CAS# (tRCD)* 3 clocks
> *RAS# Precharge (tRP)* 3 clocks
> *Cycle Time (tRAS)* 8 clocks
> *Bank Cycle Time (tRC)* 11 clocks
> *DRAM Idle Timer* 16 clocks
> *Command Rate (CR)* 2T
>
> *System*
> *System Manufacturer* System manufacturer
> *System Name* System Product Name
> *System S/N* System Serial Number
> *Mainboard Vendor* ASUSTeK Computer INC.
> *Mainboard Model* A8N-SLI DELUXE
> *BIOS Vendor* Phoenix Technologies, LTD
> *BIOS Version* ASUS A8N-SLI DELUXE ACPI BIOS Revision 1013
> *BIOS Date* 07/26/2005
>
> *Memory SPD*
> *Module 1* DDR, PC3200 (200 MHz), 512 MBytes, Corsair
> *Module 2* DDR, PC3200 (200 MHz), 512 MBytes, Corsair
>
> *Software*
> *Windows Version* Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (Build 2600)
> *DirectX Version* 9.0c

More about : upgrade cpu

December 23, 2007 9:03:57 PM

I'm no rocket scientist like most of the guys on here, but I can tell you that you cant run a second CPU on your board or prety well any other AMD mobo but the knee-slapper QuadFX which was purchased by two addled little old ladies in Iowa who thought they were getting a cable channel. :)  Your extra RAM should have helped some, but your system is a couple of genertions old, single core, outdated video, etc. You may have made a mistake by adding RAM as PC3200 is now no good in any modern board. You can get some fantstic dual and quad core cpu/mobo packages for under $300 (go Intel... AMD is S.O.L rite now) which with a modern vid card and 2GB RAM should make it zoom. You shuld also be aware if your playing poker online a lot of it is depindent on your broadband speed. No cpu can help that! Just make sure that you hang up the sign up over your PC when your playing: Liquor in the front, Poker in the rear! :) 
December 23, 2007 10:05:17 PM



Well, if you don't have the cash to build a whole new pc you could always try to do some overclocking. It won't get you the uber performance of a new Q6600, but it should make some things run more smoothly.

You could also upgrade to a dual-core athlon 64 and probly over clock that a bit. Newegg still has some socket 939 X2s for sale:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103222

Related resources
December 23, 2007 10:33:34 PM

Your pc is a bit outdated so there is only 2 choices here:
1.) Build a new pc (or buy one).
2.) Assuming you built it, you can try overclocking.

It's pretty much not worth upgrading, although if you really must, newegg offers some 939 Socket dual-core cpu. Dual-core meaning 2 cpus on a single die :) 

If you bought your pc from a company like Dell, Gateway, emachines, etc, then I suggest you not to upgrade and learn how to build a pc.
December 31, 2007 12:44:22 AM

Thanks for the replies guys.

I had someone build it for me a few years ago, who warned me to steer clear of the dells, etc as they wernt upgradable, but his were.

I posted this original on the poker website, and someone pointed me towards

http://www.pricewatch.com/cpu/socket_939.htm

They seem to have cpus that go from 40 dollars to 450. Are all suitable?

I dont really play any games on it (apart from a shiitload of poker), so i am pretty happy with it.

Although i can stay with it, what would be the max cpu i could upgrade to?

Will i really see much difference?

The newegg link was for a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Manchester 2.0GHz 2 x 256KB L2 Cache Socket 939 89W Dual-Core Processor - OEM

Mine seems to be a 3500+ 2.2Ghz, isnt this about the same as the newegg one? Or is the newegg one twice as fast, as it is a dual core cpu

Sorry if my questions are kinda retarded, i am WAAAAY out of my league in the forums here, so all advice much appreciated
December 31, 2007 12:52:20 AM

Also, what is a new BIOS flash? is that extra hardware, or is is just a software download?

December 31, 2007 1:00:30 AM

omaha said:
Thanks for the replies guys.

I had someone build it for me a few years ago, who warned me to steer clear of the dells, etc as they wernt upgradable, but his were.

I posted this original on the poker website, and someone pointed me towards

http://www.pricewatch.com/cpu/socket_939.htm

They seem to have cpus that go from 40 dollars to 450. Are all suitable?

I dont really play any games on it (apart from a shiitload of poker), so i am pretty happy with it.

Although i can stay with it, what would be the max cpu i could upgrade to?

Will i really see much difference?

The newegg link was for a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Manchester 2.0GHz 2 x 256KB L2 Cache Socket 939 89W Dual-Core Processor - OEM

Mine seems to be a 3500+ 2.2Ghz, isnt this about the same as the newegg one? Or is the newegg one twice as fast, as it is a dual core cpu

Sorry if my questions are kinda retarded, i am WAAAAY out of my league in the forums here, so all advice much appreciated



If all you are running is single threaded programs keep what you have. Getting a dual core cpu will only speed up programs that can take advantage of them. In regards to gaming don't believe all the hype you hear a lot of single core cpus can easily hold their own in older games that don't take advantage of the multiple cores. Most games are more dependent on the GPU and not the CPU. Only recently have games started to come out that support multiple cores.
December 31, 2007 1:03:05 AM

Toss a Dual Core Opteron in it, and OC it.

I have a S939, OC'd to 2.25Ghz and I can play Crysis on Max settings (with the DX10 hack) at 1440x900, and it is VERY playable, about 30FPS.

I figure my "dated" S939 should be good till the 45nm Octals are out :) 
December 31, 2007 4:42:40 AM

Online poker does not use dual cores, so your chip is probably not the problem. It doesn't need more than a gig of ram, nor does it use what we would call intensive graphics.
You may have poor internet service. Are you using DSL/ADSL in the U.S.? If so, that is probably not your problem either.
My guess is that you are running so much crap in the background, that your system has bogged.
A clean install is your best bet, but you can "click run, type in msconfig, hit OK, click the startup tab, and uncheck everything you think you dont need, while playing poker"
Good luck.
January 2, 2008 10:36:40 PM

I dont have any stuff in the background, and have done the adaware/spyware/virus check, etc

My main problem is that, while playying poker, i get constant cpu spikes, and occasional trouble. I play party poker, have pokertracker 2, and pokerace heads up display, and spadeye running, all of which really suck up the cpu

I have broadband, and am here in australia. My problem is not the net, just the cpu spikes.

Is there anything else (other bottlenecks, perhaps? -eg i upgraded my ram, and it is heaps better than before) that it may be, apart from my cpu.

Would also like peoples opinions on cpus, they range from bugger all, to $450us

Many thanks
a b à CPUs
January 2, 2008 10:41:01 PM

online poker shouldnt be any trouble for your current system. But none the less I would uprade to socket 939 x2. Shouldnt run you to much money if you can track them down in your country. What web browser are you using by the way? Your cpu should eat up online poker like its nothing.
a b à CPUs
January 2, 2008 10:57:23 PM

Good grief people, come on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the system he has for online poker. Any upgrade other than your internet service is a complete waste of money for what you are doing and will not help one tiny bit.

Omaha, what kind of internet service are you using currently?
January 2, 2008 11:33:29 PM

It's hard to say what the right course of action is here. Most people think poker shouldn't tax a A64 3500+ (though that is one of the slower A64s I think- 256MB L2?). Try a A64 4000+. The S939 dual cores are getting pretty expensive. personally, I'd try the A64 4000+ before I tried the X2 3600+. I believe that one might be cache crippled also. You'd have to check but I don't remember it to be much of a performer.
January 3, 2008 1:04:00 AM

I think socket 939 3600 x2 are only 256 kb of cache. I think tigerdirect still has the 3800 x2 with larger cache for 60 dollars US currency. Would also look at ebay. Should be able to get an x2 4200 or 3800 x2 for a reasonable price, then he could overclock it for more speed. But I would not dump too much into the socket 939.

Also he said he's getting cpu spikes and has a lot of programs running in the background. I think the dual core would take some load off. Because we who have dual cores and have had single cores, you can do a lot more multitasking on a dual core. That said I would NOT put more than 60-80 dollars US currency into a socket 939 chip. The reason is that it's an end of life upgrade, and any socket 939 upgrades are going to worth less than moving to a newer platform.
January 3, 2008 1:14:33 AM

Personally, I wouldn't put any more money in commiting to S939.

S939 uses DDR, nothing modern does.

I would move to dual or quad core.

If you go dual, AMD and Intel both have great offerings.

If you go quad, Intel is the only company I can recommend.
a b à CPUs
January 3, 2008 1:38:37 AM

I agree with others that is sounds most likely that background apps or internet service is biggest problem. I can't imagine that online poker - which I don't play - is that CPU or graphics intensive.
Still, what graphics card do you have? Or is it onboard - if so which one? I did not see you list the card. Onboard graphics are pretty good today for routine applications, but I don't know about when you purchased yours.
Also, you said that you recently increased memory to 3 GB, but the cpu-z listing you provided seemed to only report 1 GB. Did you upgrade after the report?
Have you defragged your HD any time in the recent past? This probably has less impact on online activities, but who knows if you can't find another source.
January 5, 2008 10:43:59 PM

HD is defragged all the time, as is ad aware, spy bot, and no viruses.
Have a broadband connection here, but that is NOT the problem
Yes, rockyjohn is right, i upgradedto 3gig ram, but i posted the cpuz report from before the upgrade

Thoughts on this-

Checked out ebay, and this was pulled from a gateway server



MINT - AMD Opteron 875 2.2GHz Socket 940 - OST875FAA6CC for $135

New, on pricewatch, they are $435

I am thinking, price wise, i could afford this easily, but what are everybodys thoughts on buying from OS on ebay, on items i know are second hand?

I know everybody seems to think that poker couldnt tax it so much, but it does, unfortunatly the sites dont have streamlined software, and the imports of hands is pretty cpu intensive. There are a few million hands in a database, which gets constantly upgraded and played with

My current thoughts are to get a second hand really good cpu from ebay, from a seller who has many favourable comments.

All help and thoughts on this much appreciated

Also, what is a bios update? Is this hardware/software/ easy to upgrade/difficult to upgrade?
January 5, 2008 11:27:18 PM

OOps, i was refering to the opteron 165,170, 180 or185
January 5, 2008 11:38:43 PM

AMD Opteron 170 (939 pin) 2.0GHz Dual-Core, retail

Price: $ 215.00 / Each
Qty
Product Code: CP-AD-OP170
-----------------------------------------------------------
Product Description:
AMD Opteron 170 2.0GHz 64-Bit Processor CPU, 2MB cache, 939pin
Part# OSA170CDBOX

Would this opteron 170 improve things by much?

My amd athlon 64 3500 is a 2.21Gh, is this much better? If so, by what factor?
January 5, 2008 11:48:32 PM

I still think you'd be better pricewise with a 3800 x2 or 4200 x2. You may actually see a decrease on single threaded apps at stock, b/c the opty has a real speed of 2 ghz. But where it will help is with all the extra stuff. So myself, I'd be looking at the 3800 x2 or 4200 x2, which are still available in socket 939. That way, you'd get by cheaper, and still get benefits of dual core. That should hold you until you go to another platform.
a b à CPUs
January 5, 2008 11:52:41 PM

When you say you have no "stuff" running in the background, do you mean of any kind? That would be extremely unusual since systems usually have a fair number of supporting applications - as opposed to software you use for particular applications - running all the time. Whe you open Task Manager, how many processes does it show running?

I still think no one really understands what your problem is and therefore I am leary of recommending what for you might be an expensive harware upgrade.

That being said, if it is some problem with your CPU or background apps, then a dual core processor would help - I agree with what Ohiou said above. If so, this might be your lucky day. Newegg currently has an X2 3800 listed for $60

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

They don't have non-Opteron dual cores listed very often so you should decide quickly. Opteron would be a good choice but the cheapest one - Opteron 180 is $170. Keep in mind that your current 3500 operates at 2.2 Ghz, the x2 3800 at 2.0 Ghz (so the speed is slower than your current system but you will gain IF the dual cores help), and the Opteron 180 is 2.4 Ghz. And keep in mind that without really knowing what the problem is, this might not fix it.
January 6, 2008 10:00:54 AM

rockyjohn the ops from Australia, we can't buy from Newegg!
January 6, 2008 8:56:57 PM

omaha,
I'm in Australia also. Are you on a 1.5 Meg connection or ADSL 2+?
The fist thing I would do is run "ccleaner"(Crap Cleaner www.ccleaner.com). It's free and the new version is very good.I wouldn't install the Google toolbar on the way through.First run the cleaner. If that takes a while, then you know it's got something.I've seen it get rid of 4.5 gig of stuff after a sweep.
Then do a registry clean (and choose the backup option at the end of its sweep).
I recently cleaned a 3 Gig Pentium 4 with 1.5 gig ram that took more than 6 minutes to fully start up. After a clean it took about 45 seconds (it was the one with 4.5 Gigs of "stuff")
January 7, 2008 4:32:01 PM

That's a bad price.

omaha said:
AMD Opteron 170 (939 pin) 2.0GHz Dual-Core, retail

Price: $ 215.00 / Each
Qty
Product Code: CP-AD-OP170
-----------------------------------------------------------
Product Description:
AMD Opteron 170 2.0GHz 64-Bit Processor CPU, 2MB cache, 939pin
Part# OSA170CDBOX

Would this opteron 170 improve things by much?

My amd athlon 64 3500 is a 2.21Gh, is this much better? If so, by what factor?

a b à CPUs
January 8, 2008 3:50:55 AM

omaha said:
Would this opteron 170 improve things by much?
My amd athlon 64 3500 is a 2.21Gh, is this much better? If so, by what factor?


Go look on the THG CPU charts. Since the Opteron runs at 2.0 Ghz, compare yours with the X2 4000. This will actually understate the performance of the Opteron since it has a 2 MB L2 cache while the X2 4000 has only 1 MB. It appears that the difference ranges from about 10% to 30% depending on app.

However, keep in mind that this is for normal systems and you have some problem that has not been defined. So don't know how this will affect the difference.

You still have not responded to an earlier post and reported how many apps you have running by checking Task Manager.
January 8, 2008 3:57:23 AM

I would either go with the 4200 X2 (S939) or save you're $$ and do an overhaul.
January 9, 2008 9:05:10 AM

Got a bit of an update for you all, it turns out i had a stack of poker files in the wrong place, so they were always getting re entered. Turfed them out and noticed some improvements straight away. Ran the crap cleaner, and a couple of windows tweaks to speed things up

Also contacted the makers of pokertracker 2, and they said 1 or 2 million hands was WAAAY more than is really possible. Thankfully, there will be a pokertracker 3 out in the next few weeks, which uses an updated postgres db which will happily handle a couple of million hands.

So, will just have to wait it out for another month and see.

Couple of quick questions- Why is the x2 4200 about $106, and the opteron 170 is $170? opteron 180 is $233?

Seems like everyone seems to think that the 4200 (which is well within my budget) is better?

Also, septic, why would i save $ by doing an overhaul, instead of just coughing up 1 or 200 for an updated cpu? Is it because the system would not be improved much with a 4200, or another reason

At work atm, so cant answer your Qs re task manager. I stripped messenger, etc off it, and the cpu is on 1% on startup, it only spikes when i have a couple of the poker programs running, even if i am disconnected from the net

Am going to add speech recognition to my system, so might get a new cpu anyway

I had a play around with the cpu charts, it seems as if the x2 4200 will be about 50% faster, but i couldnt find any opterons on the charts. Are they elsewhere?
a b à CPUs
January 9, 2008 1:39:05 PM

omaha said:


Couple of quick questions- Why is the x2 4200 about $106, and the opteron 170 is $170? opteron 180 is $233?

Seems like everyone seems to think that the 4200 (which is well within my budget) is better?

At work atm, so cant answer your Qs re task manager. I stripped messenger, etc off it, and the cpu is on 1% on startup, it only spikes when i have a couple of the poker programs running, even if i am disconnected from the net

Am going to add speech recognition to my system, so might get a new cpu anyway

I had a play around with the cpu charts, it seems as if the x2 4200 will be about 50% faster, but i couldnt find any opterons on the charts. Are they elsewhere?


1. The Opteron can sell at a higher price because it is a better chip and used in workstations. It is a higher bin chip and has more L2 cache.
2. Who thinks the standard X2 is better than Opteron? Every comment I have seen recognizes the superiority of the Opteron over comparable X2 chips. Now if you cannot afford the Opteron - that is a different matter.
3. I asked the question 3 days ago.
4. Speech recognition will work just fine on your system. I used to use it on on Athlon 1600. The new programs require more processing power than the old ones - but your CPU is fine. A faster CPU might have a marginal affect on accuracy - something like increasing it from 95% to 97% for a trained, experienced user. However you would benefit from adding another GB of memory.
5. Opterons are not on the charts because they are marketed as workstation not desktop chips. However I told you in my post above how to use the chart to approximate Opteron performance.
January 12, 2008 1:51:16 AM

I clicked on task manager, and there are no applications running when i boot up.

Under processes, there are a whole stack of things, which i will list. Interestingly, when i get the cpu spikes, only the poker apps -party poker, poker ace hud and pokertracker and spadey are taking all the work, and everything else is running at zero

Some of the start up processes are -PDVDServ, setarray, ctfmon, dragdiag, logitech desktop manater, realsched, teatimer,drst, soundman, ltmsg,itype,apdproxy,brctcen,ebaytbdaenmon, Ince, point32,alg,firedfox,mmtaxk,mmtray, nod32kui,postgres,mdm, Incdsrv, scchost,apache,pptd40nt.guard,vmnetdhcp,,svchost,CNAC3RPK,vmount,vmware-authd,mover
BrMfcWnd,svchost,svchost,vmnat,lsass,services,winlogon,csrss,wdfmgr,smsss,brss01a,svchost,ntrayfw,aasservice,pg ctl,apache,nSvcLog,svchost,explorer,taskmgr,nSvAppFlt,nSvcIp,nod32krn,system and system Idle process

Is this a lot? I thought i had nothing under applications, but was surprised at all the processes when i clicked on the tab'

NONe of these ever spike, so i assume they are just running in the background?

There is a cheap opteron 165 going on ebay, is this a good/bad idea?

Also, how do i tell the differences within the opterons, ie the 165vs 180, etc?

rockyjohn, when you were talking about the x2 4000, was this the same speed as a 165,175 or 185 opteron?

All help much appreciated
a b à CPUs
January 13, 2008 2:07:07 AM

If you scroll up, the Opteron we were talking about was the 170.

How do you tell the differences, for the 160 -185 models just look at the speed of the processor. The rest is the same. You can compare with the speed of an x2 in the 4xxx family and they will the similar but, as noted above, the Opterons have a large cache.
January 13, 2008 2:48:58 AM

The issue here that everyone seems to be missing is that Omaha is running some impressive data base files and number crunchers. It is not his online interface that is crushing the CPU but the trackers he uses.


On that note, Omaha, you can get a bit more life out of your 939 by upgrading to a 64 x2 of some type. Should be fairly cheap.

A second choice would be to wait until the next version of your database software comes out and hopefully they streamlined it. Also by shrinking the size of your database it would run allot faster, but you may have your reasons for not wanting to do that.

Lastly, you can clean up your windows. Some of those processes are required, some are not. I don't know what the logitech desktop manater is but i am pretty sure it is not required. (just because it says it is at 0% cpu does not actually mean the cpu is not doing anything, windows is lying to you)

Of the three, the second two would have the biggest impact while the first is only a stall. Eventually, if your database keeps growing, you will need to move on to a newer cpu.

By the way, you may want to look at a retailer like dell for your new PC, while custom built units are more upgradeable, they only remain as such for 2 to 4 years as the core of the system will become outdated (as is the case of your system now). However, if you are up to the task it is surprisingly easy to build a computer yourself and it will definitely be cheaper. Depending on the rest of your system, you should only have to spend $300-$500 (u.s) to build a new system that would work well for you. Perhaps more, but that depends on the reset of your system.
January 17, 2008 6:27:24 AM

I have come to the conclusion that i will need to upgrade the cpu

My database is big, and i intend to get it bigger and bigger and bigger. Also, just started using dragon naturally speaking which uses a bit of cpu.

I am thinking that i might just get the best cpu, as i think my setup will be usable for many, many years (i hear you all laughing in the background, but this is a poker player, not a gamer here!)

So, lets talk about the best cpu for me. I dont think i will OC, but maybe in the future.

Is my best bet the opteron 185? What about the fx something i remember reading about? Or is an x2 5000 better?
a b à CPUs
January 17, 2008 2:05:58 PM

In the comments above we have already answered the question about what CPU is best.

Your choices are limited by the 939 socket for the CPU in your mobo - unless you wish to upgrade mobo, CPU, and RAM. I am not aware of any available fx CPUs with the 939 socket and I believe the x2 4600 or 4800 was the fastest chip made for that socket.

A poster said you are in Australia and I have no idea what your available stores are. But just check for socket 939 CPUs. You will probably find limited choices.
January 23, 2008 11:07:44 PM

Opty 180 has been ordered, and, in addition the new poker software is out
Many thanks for all of your help, feedback, and opinions in helping out this noob computertard virgin
!