Was this an Upgrade?

Or did I just spend $180 to stroke my e-peen?

I currently run a 5400+ stock 2.8Ghz OC'ed to 3.0Ghz.

I just bought a Phenom 9950 2.6GHz which I hear can OC on the stock Voltage between 3Ghz & 3.5Ghz, but I am wondering just how much of an upgrade is this really?

The only reason I wanted to upgrade was so that I could get the most out of my GTX280, and while I would have made the move to Intel, what with Christmas coming up I cannot afford to dump an extra $1000+ into my system, because were I to get an Intel Quadcore, I would need at least 8 gigs of new RAM, I would want a nice motherboard capable of Tri SLI, another 280 to SLI and of course, this would all require a new Power supply... and at that point I may as well get a new case, which makes an entirely new computer.

Working within the bounds of what I have, means that I am stuck with AMD for the mean time and I am beginning to notice a trend of games requiring multi-core processors so I figured I may as well jump to a Quad, try it out and if I notice an improvement of Quad over Dual then that can be something to look into when I build a new rig (Which hopefully will not be for a year or so.)

So was the move to a Phenom worth it? Or am I just blowing smoke up my ass thinking it will get me more out of my video card?
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  1. If you can get the Phenom to run at 3Ghz, it's an upgrade albeit not a huge one. It's faster than Athlon clock for clock and you have two more cores for quad optimized games and multitasking.

    And just for my own edification, why would you need at least 8 gigs of ram for an Intel setup?
  2. Oh nothing big, I just do a lot of sound and Video editing, so I use a lot of RAM.
  3. Having just gone from an x2 6400 to a Phenom 9550 (both stock) I would say the performance is disspointing - several games which have a lot of AI are noticably slower (CnC 3 being my main one) and I can't play true 1080p movies using the ffdshow codec without large skips.

    Luckily my x2 is still around in my second machine, I will get around to swapping it back. Quad core is the future performance increases - but unfortunately as there is so little truely multi-threaded software. just not quite yet imho :D

    Shame as the power management on the Phenom is excellent.
  4. Why do you need to upgrade RAM if switching to intel?
  5. I'm guessing you are gaming at a higher resolution so you might get a nice bump - nothing huge, however.

    Depending upon your software you should see a major leap in your audio/video work.
  6. mi1ez said:
    Why do you need to upgrade RAM if switching to intel?

    Because if I am going to go through the trouble of upgrading my Motherboard, I would want to get something top tier that supports DDR3. If I build a new computer, I want to build something decent, not throw together a bunch of bargain parts to support a couple of enthusiast pieces like I am doing now.

    So I figured I would throw a final $200 at my current system, top out the processor for what it can support and when that is no longer enough to do what I want to do in a year or two's time, I will relegate this system as a linux box and build a new computer from the ground up.

    Over the past 3 years I have been upgradeing my PC, an upgrade here, and upgrade there and I have spent about $1000 for the components that are currently inside and another $500-600 worth of parts have been grandfathered into my wifes computer, so over all for almost 3 years I have not spent all that much keeping 2 PC's up to date. That being said, I now also know what its like to hit frustrating bottlenecks because of decisions I made only in making upgrades to a system based on saving a couple of bucks now, rather than spending a little extra and getting significantly more value in the long run, and when I do build a new system I do not wish to make that same mistake twice.

    I know I could find a motherboard that supports my current RAM and an intel processor, but I don't want to. I want to move out of the DDR2 800 bracket (Which is already a limiting factor) and on to bigger and better things, and I don't want to waste money on superfluous upgrades just to inch up the ladder, I would rather say "Ok, that's the most im going to get out of that rig" and make the investment down the line on building a whole new system.

    My current rig started out as a T2616 e-Machine

    MB/Chipset: NVIDIA nForce 410
    CPU: AMD Athlon™ 64 3200+ Processor (Socket 939) (2GHz, 2000MHz system bus, 512KB L2 cache)
    RAM: 512Megs SDRAM
    Hard Drive: 160GB HDD (7200rpm, 2MB cache)
    On Board GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 6100 GPU up to 128MB of shared video memory
    Dedicated GPU: ATI X1300 Pro

    It is now:

    MB/Chipset: GA-MA69VM-S2 - AMD 690V (AM2/AM2+)
    CPU: AMD X2 4200+ to an X2 5400+ and soon to be a Phenom 9550 BE
    RAM: 8 Gigs of Corsair DDR2 800 (4x2Gig Matched)
    Hard Drive: 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
    GPU: GTX280
    PSU: Antec NeoPower 650 Blue 650W

    All crammed inside the old beat up e-Machine case for laughs, with an oversized heatsink and a 5 custom mounted 120mm fans for cooling.

    It has come a long way for an e-Machine, however when I upgraded the Motherboard I should have made the move to Intel, but at the time I did not need as much out of my processor and AMD seemed to be a more financially sound choice for price/performance and sadly its a choice that I have since regretted.

    I have pushed this system as far as Its financially sound to push it, and it has been a good learning tool. Turning it from an e-Machine to a modern day gaming rig meant I had to learn a hell of a lot about hardware in the past 3 years and I still have a long way to go, I learn something new every day and I hope to continue to learning as I work on my own computer. But I know that this systems time is over, I'm pretty much done making any major upgrades on this rig and I will wait until the Nehalem goes through a generation or two and then make the switch to Intel and build a whole new computer.

    Anonymous said:
    I'm guessing you are gaming at a higher resolution so you might get a nice bump - nothing huge, however.

    Depending upon your software you should see a major leap in your audio/video work.

    Fair enough, I'm not looking for it to blow me away in gaming performance... just to get the most out of the GTX280 for a year or two until I build a new rig. I noticed when benching the 280 that the 5400+ was holding it back, and reading performance reviews it looked as if the 280 really loves Quad-Cores, the more CPU you give it the better it performs overall.

    I was just going to pop in a X2 6400+ for $90 but after thinking about it I thought it may be worth the extra $90 just to go Quad and try it out, I know my Motherboard and RAM will hold it back in terms of OC'ing but I have read reports of people getting at the very minimum a stable 3GHz out of it on stock voltage and with DDR2 800 RAM instead of 1022, so I thought "Eh what the hell, lets give this a try."

    Oh, and I just did some research and it seems newegg has a 7 day refund policy on it, so if I am unhappy with it, I can still send it back, get a 6400+ for $90 and get $60 back ($90 -restocking fee) so I guess thanks to the egg I will get to try this out as a little experiment and see how it goes... I love newegg.

  7. Because the price and performance difference between an E7300 and a cheap motherboard comparable to my current, and a 9950 is negligible and I don't have to spend 2 hours rebuilding my computer, reverifying 2 copies of windows and various games with hellish DRM.

    In short... my laziness exceeds my level of careing for the sake of having a lesser intel quadcore that will have negligible performance gain VS the 9550.
  8. Undoubtedly... AMD has fallen way behind, I guess its something to look into.

  9. The E7300 shouldn't crush the quad on video encoding (or any apps that support four threads), as far as I can remember the Ph 9950 should support SSE4 (at least partially?), so it should actually be faster than a dual core.

    I would hold it for now if I were you, until Deneb is released, since it's looking like a really good chip, something definitely worth waiting for. Worse case scenario you'll get a slightly cheaper 9950, use the deneb on your current board, or you might be enticed to buy a 790GX board ($100) and a deneb chip to have improved overclocking results.
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