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Best Processor to upgrade to - for gaming

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February 18, 2008 5:40:28 PM

Hi there - I recently updated my pc with new graphics card but realised what was a fast CPU a couple of years ago is now a bit sub par. I have the AMD Athlon 3400+ at 2.2GHz

Question is what is the best processor to look at upgrading to - I'm hearing everyone saying quad processors are the future rather than core but what are the options, do I need to look at my motherboard before I can work out which cpu i could go with?

Ideally I'd like to spend less than £250 but may go a bit more if it;s worth it, most of the games I play on PC are flight sims / Battlefield 2 but I installed Rainbow 6 this evening which told me my cpu is below minimum game requirements (shock horror!)

Any advice appreciated!
February 18, 2008 5:51:33 PM

Intel's Core 2 series are the best CPUs for gaming. As for quad vs duals, currently very few games can take advantage of quads, but Flight Sim-X actually does, so if thats up your alley then a quad core might be the better choice. Most people would recommend a Q6600, particularly if you are into overclocking. There is also the choice of AMD's Phenom quads, which whilst not quite as fast as the Q6600, is a bit cheaper, but they're not the best choice for overclockers.

You can build a decent quad core platform for £250, but the GPU is often more important for gaming, you may want to look at upgrading that also if your current GPU is fairly old.
February 18, 2008 5:54:08 PM

Nah i think the VIA C7 is the best option for you, i heard gaming pwns on that cpu........
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February 18, 2008 5:58:25 PM

Yes, 250 is too low. Good mobo and processor will cost you that. The GPU is really important today, expect 150 or so for it. You might need a new PSU and ram also too keep up with the new GPU/CPU.
February 18, 2008 6:12:59 PM

Conumdrum said:
Yes, 250 is too low. Good mobo and processor will cost you that. The GPU is really important today, expect 150 or so for it. You might need a new PSU and ram also too keep up with the new GPU/CPU.


I'm not sure what the exchange rate is atm, £250 is around $600 US right?

You can get quite a lot of gear for that amount, a Q6600 + mobo will cost around $400 (or $500 for a high end mobo). Still leaves a bit of change left over.
February 18, 2008 6:37:48 PM

Thanks guys - I take it by GPU you mean the graphics card? I recently bought GeForce 8500GT (512mb) which is probably what started this all off, it's upstaged my CPU!

So if I buy a quad 6600... can I just plug into the motherboard in place of my current Athlon processor? I seem to remember years ago certain motherboards could take certain processors, you had to check beforehand?
February 18, 2008 6:40:07 PM

notanameleft said:
So if I buy a quad 6600... can I just plug into the motherboard in place of my current Athlon processor? I seem to remember years ago certain motherboards could take certain processors, you had to check beforehand?

NO NO NO! AMD and Intel are not compatible!

You'll need to get a new motherboard for the Q6600.
February 18, 2008 6:42:25 PM

oh ok... well i don't need to go top of the range so i guess AMD Phenom quad would be ok.

SO... can i just buy a new AMD Phenom quad processor and stick it in where the current one is?
February 18, 2008 6:46:00 PM

notanameleft said:
oh ok... well i don't need to go top of the range so i guess AMD Phenom quad would be ok.

SO... can i just buy a new AMD Phenom quad processor and stick it in where the current one is?


No. Your Athlon64 3400+ is either Socket 754 or 939. These are NOT compatible with Phenom, which either requires a Socket AM2 or AM2+ to run.

Sorry, you're outta luck, you'll need to get a new mobo to run a quad core.
February 18, 2008 6:48:57 PM

Indeed. You should make sure your motherboard is compatible with the cpu before doing anything.
February 18, 2008 6:49:33 PM

thanks epsilon and everyone else for coming back so quickly

well if i need to get a new motherboard then I suppose best to go for one that will take the intel core 2

Could you recommend a particular motherboard? Also is there a particular website you would recommend for buying cpu/mobo online?

Many thanks!
February 18, 2008 6:54:28 PM

notanameleft said:
thanks epsilon and everyone else for coming back so quickly

well if i need to get a new motherboard then I suppose best to go for one that will take the intel core 2

Could you recommend a particular motherboard? Also is there a particular website you would recommend for buying cpu/mobo online?

Many thanks!


There are so many mobos to choose from, without knowing your exact needs its difficult to make a recommendation. Do you just want a no frills board that will run a quad, or do you need all the fancy features like extra SATA ports, Firewire ports, dual Gigabit LAN and all that jazz?

Sorry, I can't help in regards to online sites since you're from the UK. ;) 
February 18, 2008 6:54:36 PM

notanameleft said:
thanks epsilon and everyone else for coming back so quickly

well if i need to get a new motherboard then I suppose best to go for one that will take the intel core 2

Could you recommend a particular motherboard? Also is there a particular website you would recommend for buying cpu/mobo online?

Many thanks!

Asus P5k-e is an excellent motherboard for the Q6600. If you only play games, the E8400 would probably serve you better. If you're into OCing, the E2160 is a even better option.

Newegg.com is one of the best place to buy hardware from.
February 18, 2008 6:55:38 PM

Evilonigiri said:
Asus P5k-e is an excellent motherboard for the Q6600. If you only play games, the E8400 would probably serve you better. If you're into OCing, the E2160 is a even better option.

Newegg.com is one of the best place to buy hardware from.


Newegg is US only. If the guy speaks in pounds, chances are he's from the UK. :kaola: 
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February 18, 2008 6:58:20 PM

Remember whilst buying your spanking new motherboard youll need to buy some new ram to go with the processor...

Your old machine will take ddr400 and not ddr2 - go for 800 as theyre not to badly priced... and go for a brand make too..

just thought i add this one in as the other gurus forgot the other "important thing" going over to the intel dark side....or even if your sticking to the amd slow side.

February 18, 2008 7:02:16 PM

Places I use in the UK for components are -
scan.co.uk, ebuyer.co.uk, microdirect isn't bad either.
Overclockers UK is highly regarded although I've never used them... :) 
February 18, 2008 7:03:06 PM

Hellboy said:
Remember whilst buying your spanking new motherboard youll need to buy some new ram to go with the processor...

Your old machine will take ddr400 and not ddr2 - go for 800 as theyre not to badly priced... and go for a brand make too..

just thought i add this one in as the other gurus forgot the other "important thing" going over to the intel dark side....or even if your sticking to the amd slow side.


Yeah, good point. And a new GPU as well, if his current one is AGP.
February 18, 2008 7:03:34 PM

thanks again everyone, i've got some thinking to do now - appreciate all your help, hope I can return it some day when i get better at all this!! ;o)
February 18, 2008 7:04:53 PM

p.s. GPU is graphics card? Yes I have got PCI express Geforce 8500 GT
February 18, 2008 7:08:27 PM

notanameleft said:
p.s. GPU is graphics card? Yes I have got PCI express Geforce 8500 GT


Yeah. It's good that you have a PCI-E card at least, but it's not a particularly strong one for games. You'll probably want to upgrade it as well, in fact it should take priority over a CPU upgrade at this stage. Relatively speaking, it's an even weaker link than your CPU for the latest games.
February 18, 2008 7:16:04 PM

epsilon84 said:
Newegg is US only. If the guy speaks in pounds, chances are he's from the UK. :kaola: 

Hoho, I was merely answering his question of a "website you would recommend for buying cpu/mobo online". :kaola: 

In other words, my bad. :pt1cable: 
February 18, 2008 7:39:35 PM

817
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2160, S775, 1.8 GHz
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
MSI P35 NEO2-FR, iP35, S 775,
256MB ATI HD3850
2GB (2x1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400
500w Seasonic S12II-500 PSU, 12Cm fan

that is a full package for £320
February 18, 2008 7:40:36 PM

try scan.co.uk or overclockers.co.uk or dabs.com all uk sites all reliable
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February 18, 2008 7:55:36 PM

LukeBird said:
Places I use in the UK for components are -
scan.co.uk, ebuyer.co.uk, microdirect isn't bad either.
Overclockers UK is highly regarded although I've never used them... :) 

You might want to have a look here :- http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/ and if you are prepared to haggle the deals get better.
February 18, 2008 8:12:13 PM

notanameleft said:
I recently bought GeForce 8500GT (512mb) which is probably what started this all off....

don't tell me - the packet said DX10, so you thought it could actuallly run DX10 at a decent FPS.... WRONG!!!!
February 18, 2008 10:06:08 PM

i'd go with the quad core since the more recent games are designed for it..
February 18, 2008 10:48:14 PM

notanameleft said:
Thanks guys - I take it by GPU you mean the graphics card? I recently bought GeForce 8500GT (512mb) which is probably what started this all off, it's upstaged my CPU!

So if I buy a quad 6600... can I just plug into the motherboard in place of my current Athlon processor? I seem to remember years ago certain motherboards could take certain processors, you had to check beforehand?

Dude, please tell me you didnt come into a forum and tel people you bought a 8500gt, thats your problem right there.
February 19, 2008 7:57:36 AM

what video card do u have suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun??!!
February 19, 2008 8:03:54 AM

Before we talk about any of this we need to ask u what games u play or want to play?..Then we need to ask you how much money u are willing to pay?...Then we go in order...videocard...motherboard...ram...psu...drives...etc.
February 19, 2008 8:33:02 AM

ryanthesav said:
Before we talk about any of this we need to ask u what games u play or want to play?..Then we need to ask you how much money u are willing to pay?...Then we go in order...videocard...motherboard...ram...psu...drives...etc.


Then we educate you on reading the whole thread..

He's got 250 pounds available after purchasing the 8500GT. I don't think he's aiming for a complete rebuild and suffice to say, he's better off getting his mobo/cpu and ram replaced and at a later stage upgrade his gcard.
February 19, 2008 8:41:10 AM

thanks everyone for your input. Heh heh I realise now the 8500 GT is pretty bottom-of-the-range - but a step up from what i had before, the 6600 turbocache which although it says 256Mb actually leaches most of that from the RAM. So at least my PC can now play FS9, Silent Hunter, Battlefield 2, Far Cry etc without the graphics scaled right down

I have an xbox 360 for most FPS games it's fine, but I find some of the games listed above (ok maybe not Far Cry) I miss the keyboard, especially with the new modded version of Enemy Engaged Comanche Hokum (if anyone is a fan of combat helo sims you really have to see the mods some of these guys have made it's incredible)

So right now most of my games work ok but looking at some future games coming out I realise my rig is about to become obsolete. Sometimes it isn't worth the money to upgrade new mobo/cpu/ram/graphics it can be cheaper to start at the beginning again and buy a new system altogether?
February 19, 2008 8:48:54 AM

A complete refresh won't hurt, especially in your case. If you can hold out for some time, save some cash, sell your old pc and buy a new rig you've lost nothing except time - and in the interim you have two platforms to play off.
February 19, 2008 10:19:44 AM

If you have S939 you can fit Opteron 175 (dual core) which is best CPU for the board.
try http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProdu... (is out of stock at present)
What problems are you having at present? The 8500 is pretty low end and you may be able to overclock your CPU by 15-20%. what games are you trying to play? You could sell that 8500 on ebay and buy an 8800GT, if your PSU will take it? http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProdu... What PSU, make and model?
February 19, 2008 10:48:46 AM

Get an S939 x2 or opti and a 3850 or similiar. You will have a playable system that will kill even a quad with a 8500GTfor gaming. So plan on a major rebuild or just upgrade to dual core and a halfway decent GPU solution.
February 19, 2008 11:21:32 AM

notanameleft said:
oh ok... well i don't need to go top of the range so i guess AMD Phenom quad would be ok.

SO... can i just buy a new AMD Phenom quad processor and stick it in where the current one is?



If it is for gaming and you MUST stick with AMD, consider a high end dual core, you'll get better performance on most games. An Athlon 5000+ Black Edition is pretty spiffy if you like overclocking. If you don't like overclocking, go with a 6400+.
February 19, 2008 11:28:27 AM

thanks guys i'm a bit new to this when it comes to looking at motherboards etc

What do you mean by 939, is that the processor or mobo? (Have pasted in my current system specs below)

I just installed a new 400w PSU the other day as the one that came with the pc was only 300. It is a Jeantech, part number JNP-400P.

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2 (2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.070227-2254)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Compaq Presario 061
System Model: PX631AA-ABU SR1440UK GB520
BIOS: Phoenix - Award BIOS v6.00PG
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3400+, MMX, 3DNow, ~2.2GHz
Memory: 1022MB RAM
Page File: 263MB used, 2196MB available
Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.2180 32bit Unicode
---------------
Display Devices
---------------
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce 8500 GT
DAC type: Integrated RAMDAC
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0421&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_A1
Display Memory: 512.0 MB
Current Mode: 1680 x 1050 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor: LG L204WS
Monitor Max Res: 1680,1050

February 19, 2008 12:21:17 PM

epsilon84 said:
I'm not sure what the exchange rate is atm, £250 is around $600 US right?

You can get quite a lot of gear for that amount, a Q6600 + mobo will cost around $400 (or $500 for a high end mobo). Still leaves a bit of change left over.


Noo, 250 Euros is around 350-400 dollars actually.
February 19, 2008 1:01:16 PM

notanameleft said:
thanks epsilon and everyone else for coming back so quickly

well if i need to get a new motherboard then I suppose best to go for one that will take the intel core 2

Could you recommend a particular motherboard? Also is there a particular website you would recommend for buying cpu/mobo online?

Many thanks!


939 is the type of soctet. The best CPU available to you is http://www.ebuyer.com/product/125398 this one. Tom might still list this on the CPU charts, if you want to do a comparison to your current CPU. The good news is that it only costs £30 and with a bit of overclocking your PC might just be able to extend it's shelf life another 8-12 months.

You really ought to start thinking about a complete overhaul, new case, motherboard, cpu, ram, hard drives, the lot. £600 can get you a lot of PC these days.

A lot of the suggestion previous mentioned however require to buy a new motherboard as well as a new CPU. This might lead to you spending more money then you anticapted, for example newer motherboards only have sockets for DDR2 ram, I have a feeling your ram is DDR1, also most motherboards these days only have 1 IDE channel which is used for optical drives new hard drives use the SATA connection instead of IDE, your Hard drive is IDE (SATA and IDE are types of cables, SATA is narrow and IDE is wide and flat or if it's been rounded fat and round).
February 19, 2008 1:02:09 PM

Thanks Starcraft - I was talking about GB Pounds (£) rather than Euro (€) but it doesn't really matter if it's easier for people to talk about those or US Dollars - it will give me an idea either way!
February 19, 2008 1:07:49 PM

Sorry I've just edited my last post, may want to re-read it.
February 20, 2008 9:42:27 AM

Thanks Jean Luc - I think I'll wait it out for another few months and then start again - as you say a complete overhaul looks like the best idea!
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February 22, 2008 6:42:38 AM

The Socket 939 relates to how many pins on the processor and how many sockets on the processor socket..

Due to AMD dropping a great Socket that will go down in processor history, nothing from AMD has been much better since..

But alas as AMD dropped this architecture like a stone, it is no longer supported....

What ever you decide to do, you have some options...

Upgrade the processor you all ready have..... Problem is the board is quite old now and only evailable on ebay..

Buy a new motherboard, RAM, Processor and sell the old on ebay....

Now both Intel and AMD do budget processors.....

If monies tight i would go for a AM2+ motherboard, get 2 gb of ram - get a decent motherboard - something by Asus or Gigabyte....... look as the motherboard as your motorway structure if you like, then the processor, go for a 6400 Black edition...



All this will fit your budget... You may need a new Power Supply as I dont know what rating you have...

When the Phenom becomes more stable and faster, then upgrade to one of these later on.

The 6400 will play all the latest stuff and in some respects faster than the current Phenoms....

Hope this is of help,,,

Im a Uk'er btw so I know the pound value :)  not Euros :bounce: 

The weekest component by far is the video card......

Get a 8800GT 512 or even the new 9600GT when you can, you wont regret it and dump the Xbox 360... I got one of those and you cant beat keyboard and mouse combos.... those joypads are just so annoying..... I leave them to my son to play Starwars Lego on... ( best game in my opinion )
!