Opteron Dual Core Upgrade

I’m thinking of upgrading from an Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego (socket 939) to an Opteron 175, Opteron 180 or Opteron 185 for their dual core capabilities. After performing this upgrade I’d like to then upgrade my video card. I currently own an EVGA 7800GT. This card has served me very, very well, but its starting to show its age.

So I have some…what I hope are simple questions, but unknown to me.

1) The price for these Opterons run around $150-$170. Obviously this seems high when compared to the performance gained by investing in a Core 2 setup with Intel. Am I better off getting a new mobo with a Core 2 processor or just moving forward with my Opteron upgrade for my current socket 939?

2) Is there any significant difference between the Opteron 175, Opteron 180 and the 185? I mean any noticeable difference that should drive my towards one or the other?

3) Is it absolutely necessary to get an aftermarket HSF for this processor or can I use my current HSF that I have on my Athlon 3700+??

4) Anyone with experience overclocking these? Are they fairly easy overclockers? I’m a newb overclocker, but I think I’m ready to dive into the waters.

5) Video card: 8800GT 512mb or 9600GT 512mb? What’s the better card here?

After all of this, I’d like to install Vista for a dual-boot with XP so that I can play DX10 games. Anything else that may keep me from doing so?

Current specs:
Corsair HX520w
AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego
2GB G.Skill DDR800
250GB Western Digital Caviar
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More about opteron dual core upgrade
  1. You can do intel, However, although the AMD's are a bit slower at the moment, you could go with a new AMD AM2+ mobo, use a dual core Athlon X2, then be ready for a quad core phenom when they get fixed and get shipped out. That way you get a decent upgrade, and a bit of upgradeability built in as well. I saw a decent Biostar board for 65 on newegg that supports AM2+, though you spend more you get more, but if you are on a budget, do that, Transcend Jetram, 2 gb of ddr2 pc6400 can be had on newegg for under 40 bucks, then add in a chip, like a 4800+ or so for about 85, so you are right at the price of that opteron and you have a whole new system to build off of as well. I mean 'i think you'd get good performance from the opty don't get me wrong....but I think you might essentially be throwing money away into a dead platform, I was in the same boat a few months back......go with the newer socket, you'll be happier. Intel stuff is faster at the moment, but I hear socket 775 is going bye bye, so a year or 2, you end up where you are now, and that's no fun either if you are on a budget.
  2. Also, Video, 8800 gt from what I understand is better, but 9600 is still good, and is cheaper.
  3. I just upgraded from an FX60 to a Q6600. the Intels OC soooo much easier and performance is incredible. So my suggestion is now is the time to switch. Try an E2160 ($72), GA-p35-ds3l ($89), and 2 gb of G.Skill PC6400 ($44) or Adata ($34w/MIR). You can OC it and then upgrade later this year to an E8x00 or Q9xx0 or even go with a Q6600 as prices drop.
  4. Tough call, the dual core opteron would probably fast enough for most applications over the next few years (especially if you overclock it), but if you're looking for a more substantial improvement think of starting a new build, and maybe just sell what you have now.

    8800gt > 9600gt
  5. The 100 series Optys are great chips. Im using the 165 right now, overclocks like a dream. Hit my comfort limit at 2.8, i can get it up to 2.9 but starts to get scary hot. The 165 has the most headroom, but has a low multi, so it takes a beefy board to really push it, the 175 has a little higher one, so should be a hair easier to OC. If your looking for a dual core processor upgrade to tide you over for the next 1-2 years, id say grab a 175 and OC it. If your looking for BIG performance improvements, I would look to a new (Intel) platform. If you decide to go AM2+, be sure that you get a board that uses SB700, not SB600, vista doesn't play nice with the older part.
  6. I went from a 4400+ to an Opty 165 @ 2.9. Not bad chips, but even stock C2D E6600s impressed me much more. Now I have a Q6600 @ 3.2 and there's no going back. My advice is its time for a switch to a Core 2. When you can get 2GB DDR2 for 40 bucks and a good P35 for $90 why not?
  7. It all depends how much you want to spend. The Opty will be cheaper as you can keep your platform and it will be fast enough for a while yet. If you go for the Opty, you are doing so for cost reasons so go for the 175 as it will likely overclock the same or very clost to a 180/185.

    I have an Opty 165 myself and they are easy to overclock.

    C2D is obviously faster and equally / more overclockable, will cost you more, but last you longer.

    The HSF that comes with the Opty is pretty good. If you're overclocking it might help to get an aftermarket cooler, but that costs more money.

  8. It's not looking like I'm going to be able to find an OEM version of the Opteron 175, so I guess I'll have the get the retailed box version. I think its $149.99 from Newegg. Yes, price is a major consideration here. My 3700+ has done well for me along with my 7800GT, but I want to do more with my PC...play better games on DX10 primarily, but I do a ton of photo editing and burning of DVD's, and right now it's a one task only operation. Dual-core would benefit someone like me greatly.
  9. I'd say go with the Opty 175 for now. I'm running a S939 X2 4800+ at stock (2.4 GHz) with Win XP Pro-64, 2 Gig of RAM and an 8800GTS-640 on a 22" 1680x1050 monitor.

    Running through the first part of the Crysis Demo with modest settings (mix med and high), I noticed CPU utilization (both cores) averaged about 80%. I figure this rig will get me through comfortably until I'm ready to upgrade in a year or so.

    -Wolf sends
  10. I think I may have found an OEM version. Is there a decent HSF out there that you can recommend?
  11. Check out this review that threw up a cheap solution:


    Otherwise the Scythe Ninja and Thermalright Ultra 120 / IFX14 always get good press.
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