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Cheap Motherboard/CPU/RAM upgrade

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Last response: in Systems
April 22, 2008 8:49:37 PM

Hey guys,

I'm looking to upgrade my computer from this:

AMD 64 3800+ Single Core CPU
ASUS A8N5X Mobo (socket 939)
2GB PC2100 DDR
Evga 8800GT 512MB

To something a little more up to date. Dual core of course. My problem is that I am on a limited budget, and can only afford to spend Around $240 on the whole thing. I know that's not leaving a huge budget for a CPU but I'm mostly looking for something that'll last me for around a year, yet leave me with a mobo and RAM that I can use for my next CPU upgrade instead of having to ditch all my stuff yet again and blowing more money on yet anther board.

I've been looking at AMD systems as they seem to be the ones within my budget, but I've heard great things about Intel. Here is my tentative selection:

AMD X2 5000+ Black Edition

I'm also considering this to go with it:


I need a cooler to go with this, any suggestions? Stuff under 25 dollars would be best. I'm also very keen on hearing what your suggestions might be on the CPU and motherboard fronts.

Here are my thoughts on a mobo:

-I don't need RAID
-Don't need integrated GFX
-Don't need more than 1 PCI Xpress slot
-Needs to be able to overclock to match the 5000+ BE. If another CPU is suggested, it doesn't necessarily need to overclock. I'm brand new to OCing so if I can avoid it for a few months or so and still game OK, I'll wait until I need the extra power.

Many thanks guys!

More about : cheap motherboard cpu ram upgrade

a b à CPUs
April 22, 2008 9:20:30 PM

P35-DS3L + E2160/2180. I can't see your links (gives me errors) but any quality (ie Corsair, Crucial, G.Skill,etc) DDR2 800 would work.
$90 (motherboard) + $74( E2180)= $164.

It will OC better/same as the X2 and is cheaper. You can also go with a E4xxx CPU.
April 22, 2008 9:42:09 PM

Adding onto what shadow said, the remaining $70 could get you a 2x2GB pair of DDR2 800 RAM.

I think that the E2160 only has to overclock to 2.2GHz to outperform the 5000+BE, meanwhile most people talk about going to 3.0GHz on the E2160.
Related resources
April 22, 2008 10:07:45 PM

DDR2 ram is dirt cheap...Tigerdirrect has the Corsair 2GB set for $29 ( with an email code and rebate right now.

Is your 3800+ the dual core?
Put it on a different ram/cpu ratio and run it @ 3.2-3.4 untill you get another system together.
April 22, 2008 10:17:15 PM

If you have a fry's around you check there adds. I purchased a phenom 9600 + cheap mobo + 2gb ram for $189+tax a few weeks ago. They have a cheap mobo+AMD 5200 dual core for $99 this week.
April 22, 2008 11:40:10 PM

Hey guys, thanks for all the suggestions. Sorry about the non working links

Pomaikai: I've been very tempted to get one of those combos sometimes, however, I've heard so much about your motherboard being so important for your computer that it seems as if buying those ECS motherboards would almost be a waste of money.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Also, what could I get if I increased my budget to somewhere around $300? I only need the 2 GB of RAM since I'm on XP.

If I went with intel, would my mobo slot get phased out like 939 did in about a year? I've heard Intel is ditching their socket soon, and I'd hate to have to throw a board away after only one upgrade.

Thanks for putting up with my endless questions!
April 23, 2008 12:35:35 AM

The combos at Fry's are usually fine if you're going to be running everything stock. Also, make sure you know what mobo you're getting with the combo. I often see outdated chipsets thrown in which will be a pain in the ass when you try to upgrade in a year. I would probably only go this route if you plan to get a combo with a top of the line processor like the E8400 and not upgrade the CPU anymore for the remainder of the system's life.

Yes, next year Nehalem will be coming out... as a result, all current Intel motherboards will become obsolete. However, this should only concern you if you're obsessed with having everything top of the line. If you have a decent motherboard, you will still be able to upgrade to a much better processor at a (theoretically) lower price due to the new platform release.
April 23, 2008 2:05:26 AM

So would you suggest getting this:

P35-DS3L + E2160/2180. I can't see your links (gives me errors) but any quality (ie Corsair, Crucial, G.Skill,etc) DDR2 800 would work.
$90 (motherboard) + $74( E2180)= $164

And then upgrading to a new CPU when that one doesn't cut it? Does that mobo support Quad cores by the way?

Which CPU would you recommend if I used that mobo, went for 40 dollar RAM, and then spent ~170 on the CPU? This computer is mostly used for surfing the net, programming, and gaming. Gaming being the most system intensive task on it.

Again, sorry about all the questions. I'm not new to all of this but I have been really out of the loop as far as hardware goes lately :-(
a b à CPUs
April 23, 2008 11:09:17 AM

^Yes the P35-DS3L supports QX and Q CPUs. (Ie Q6600)
April 23, 2008 2:36:30 PM

Coolio... it looks like I might be getting this build soon then. Do you guys have any idea where I could find a guide on overclocking this particular setup?
a b à CPUs
April 23, 2008 7:08:08 PM

^Add to that:
The C2D Temp guide (stickied)

April 23, 2008 9:46:52 PM

Thanks a lot for all the helpful replies!

Would you guys also recommend I got a cooler and thermal paste? I'm only planning to overclock this to about 2.6 ghz or so, I'm not big on OCing but I'd like my clock speed to be higher than my current CPU's at least (2.2ghz)

Speaking of my old CPu, do you guys think this is gonna be a big performance increase? Going from the old system to the new one?
April 23, 2008 10:02:41 PM

of course there will be an increase.... do you already have a case and some drives that you can use by the way? cause i have a medocrely decent comp for 210. but it only has a ps, mobo, cpu, and ram for just $200
April 23, 2008 10:22:54 PM

I have an E2160 overclocked to 3.0GHz on the stock cooler. My temps are about 35 idle, 50 load. An aftermarket cooler isn't really necessary for 2.6GHz but it wouldn't hurt either if you can afford it. Plus, you can always reuse it when you upgrade your CPU again later. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro or Xigmatek HDT-S1283 are good coolers that won't break the bank.