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I was offered a free 9950 BE

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January 23, 2009 4:29:20 AM

Current built 2 years ago:
Intel E6600
Asus P5B-E Deluxe
2GB GSkill DDR2 800
4GB Corsair DDR2 800
Sapphire X1950 XT 256MB

So, I was offered a free AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition from a buddy and shortly thereafter the search for reviews, prices, and forum posts begun! At first I thought "Geez, a jump from dual core to quad core - amazing!", but now I am not so sure it is a wise investment. I would like to ask the community to help me differentiate facts between over speculation by enthusiasts and more general advice. Obviously, a new motherboard is required which is a good $150 investment and all of a sudden everything either says it only supports DDR2 1066 or natively supports DDR2 1066. The next thought during my price hunt was of which RAM should I get and is that really a needed upgrade? No. Am I forced to get an older or less feature-rich board? I would like the boards with AM3 support for the future proof aspect of my purchase, but wait that damn DDR3 will be out soon! It seems that every corner I turn the upgrade badger is waiting for me. My system runs nearly everything fine as it is and this free upgrade appears to be turning into a rather larger than expected and undesired purchase. Also, I keep reading about how the original Phenoms were a horrible disappointment... What am I getting myself into? Keep in mind that I have been loosely informed of the technology world's goings-on until this recent need for knowledge came about. This is a passion of mine so learning generally has a welcomed curve.

As I see it my options are to:
1) Purchase an older board with native DDR2 800 support for a cheaper price and save some change for a future system upgrade.
2) Purchase a nice new board (M3A79-T or something in the neighborhood) and potentially have to spend some more $$ on upgrading the RAM all for a CPU that supposedly is highly inferior to the new phenom II!

I dual boot Ubuntu and Vista, have not overclocked since my AMD XP2500+, spend most time downloading files, browsing, playing media, and trying out all sorts of applications with the occasional game. What would you do? I am leaning towards turning the upgrade down and wait a bit for another round of Phenom II's and some DDR3 boards so a full on upgrade will be worth it. Thank you for reading.

More about : offered free 9950

a b à CPUs
January 23, 2009 5:25:15 AM

Do nothing. Its tempting cause you can get a free good cpu. But do not spend the money to build the amd machine. For what you do with the machine you do not need more cpu power. For single threaded apps you wouldnt even gain anything. And if you did more speed a simple overclock would do on your e6600

Not unless you try and use a application that flys on a quad core. Like encoding then there isnt a point.

If you needed to upgrade to a quad if would be more cost effective to just pop in q6600. Its the same exact chip that you got now but with 2 more cores. So in anything doesnt take advantage or 4 cores you will notice no difference. Except the extra heat/power draw.

Take the cpu for free. And sell it on ebay or whatnot
a b à CPUs
January 23, 2009 7:25:04 AM

+1
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January 23, 2009 7:28:32 AM

The comment about the original Phenoms being a dissapointment i imagine is more aimed towards the chips ending in 00. They have a nasty bug on them that effectively disables one core.
The 9950 aint too shabby. Still id pass it up as you dont overclock and probably wont be using those 2 extra cores.
a b à CPUs
January 23, 2009 4:23:59 PM

What in the world are you talking about the bug effectlively disabled one core.

1st of all it wasnt a nasty bug. And 2nd of all it didnt do ANYTHING to any of the cores. Neither did the bios fix.
a c 83 à CPUs
January 23, 2009 4:53:30 PM

someguy7 said:
What in the world are you talking about the bug effectlively disabled one core.

1st of all it wasnt a nasty bug. And 2nd of all it didnt do ANYTHING to any of the cores. Neither did the bios fix.


Well the B2 stepping was a horrible overclocker and the bios fix if left enabled reduced performance of the processor up to 10%

But your right in saying it wasn't nasty and doesn't effect the cores. The bug could only occur during virtualization, something 99% of desktop users would never encounter so there was no need to leave the bios fix on.

IMO it was the low clock speeds and over hyped bug that made the Phenom a dissapointment. Everyone was hoping it would mop the floor with the C2Q like the Athlon 64 did to the Pentium 4.
January 23, 2009 5:32:08 PM

plainshane said:

As I see it my options are to:
1) Purchase an older board with native DDR2 800 support for a cheaper price and save some change for a future system upgrade.
2) Purchase a nice new board (M3A79-T or something in the neighborhood) and potentially have to spend some more $$ on upgrading the RAM all for a CPU that supposedly is highly inferior to the new phenom II!


The AM2+ motherboards don't have "native" DDR2-800 or DDR2-1066 support. The CPU determines what ram can be used. The Phenoms can use up to DDR2-1066 but they will work fine with DDR2-800; just 3%-5% slower in about 30%-40% of the applications. (Enough that it makes a difference... but not enough to matter if you are trying to save money and already have DDR2-800 ram.)

You can currently get an AM2+ motherboard for around $100.00. (Make sure it has a SB750 southbridge.)

Most current AM2+ motherboard will allow you to use the new AM3 CPUs. It would depend on whether the company updates their bios. The older AM2+ chips will NOT work in the new AM3 motherboards. MANY of the current AM2+ motherboards are marketed as being "AM3 ready" because the new AM3 CPU can work in them... but they are NOT really AM3 motherboads; AM3 motherboards will only take an AM3 CPU and can only use DDR3 ram.
January 23, 2009 5:40:05 PM

Keithlm summed it up well, theres alot of hype and marketing buzz clouding the water, but a solid AM2+ board with SB750 will do just fine with your current RAM. Will also leave the door open for potential AM3 CPU upgrades in the future, as those chips will support either DDR2 or DDR3.
January 23, 2009 7:06:02 PM

im thinking he gave it away because it was the version pf the Phenom that has the bug in it LOL
January 23, 2009 8:24:22 PM

captaincharisma said:
im thinking he gave it away because it was the version pf the Phenom that has the bug in it LOL


definitely not because it's not one of the 9x00 cpu's.
January 23, 2009 8:52:41 PM

heck its free so take it. you can sit and stare at it and pick up pieces here and there and have a second system for cheap. its the right price!
January 23, 2009 8:57:06 PM

Geez guys, it seems that a wise move would be to either turn the charity away or just buy an inexpensive AM2+ motherboard and be done with it. I plan on doing a full system upgrade when DDR3 and AM3 have a strong footing; perhaps second generation products of that nature.

Thank you for taking the time. Any further replies will definitely be looked at.
January 23, 2009 9:36:44 PM

You can always sell the processor used. Phenom B3's aren't bad in their price range. I'm sure there's someone out there who needs more cores and would be happy to buy it off you. So, consider Ebay.

I'm ordering a Phenom II 940 in two weeks and will move the Phenom triple core to my wife's 690G board. I'm tempted to move it to my son's board instead and get a 9850 for my wife's PC (the board only supports up to the 9850).

Phenom's have a higher IPC than an Athlon X2 and Phenom II's have a higher IPC than a Phenom. Intel Core 2's have higher IPC's but the clocks and overclockability for Phenom II's have finally begun to match Intel.
a b à CPUs
January 24, 2009 2:16:36 AM

The memory controller is on the CPU itself not the motherboard, so memory speed support is dependent mostly on the CPU. The phenom 9950 can support DDR2 speeds from 1066 on down, so the DDR2 800 you already have is usable. Basically all you need is a motherboard that supports the 9950. I would recommend getting a board that is AM3 ready as you will be able to use AM3 CPUs in certain AM2+ boards so you won't have to buy a new board and new memory.
a b à CPUs
January 24, 2009 2:17:32 AM

By the way if you don't want it you can give it to me. It will work in my board just fine :D 
January 24, 2009 3:53:56 AM

Quote:
Fear stupidity in life...Yeah, take the time you have during the day waiting for your janitor job to start at 5pm and sit on EBay, trying to sell an AMD CPU!! Finally BEGUN to ALMOST match Intel... Stick with what you have, give the AMD CPU back to your FRIEND, I'm sure he was happy to palm that piece of garbage off on somebody... Stick with only AMD Phenoms with three cores, they're not that disabled, they're setup for people who are a little slower on the uptake...


Shut up, you troll. The OP asked for some honest answers and advice regarding his situation, not your worthless jackassery.
a b à CPUs
January 24, 2009 4:13:25 AM

+2 for Keith's post.

Any of the early phenoms would also make fantastic HTPC boxes when underclocked or small home servers.

A 9950 would be a good base for a decent gaming machine with a newer mobo.

It might not overclock as well as a Kenty or have quite the speed for gaming on certain titles but it would be a good workhorse nevertheless.

You don't look a gift horse in the mouth ... unless its dead.
a b à CPUs
January 24, 2009 4:53:28 AM

Free stuff is good.
February 12, 2009 10:31:24 PM

Ended up ordering this board with this heatsink. Thank you for all of the opinions, for they helped my purchasing decision. Can't wait to rock it out! Is a reformat necessary or encouraged when upgrading CPU and mobo? Like I said earlier, I have overclocked before years ago, and want to again. Would browsing the forums give me enough information on how to do so properly with this 9950?
a b à CPUs
February 12, 2009 10:56:51 PM

I always reformat when changing the MB (though I do it whenever I change a major part). You may be able to get away without a format, however you may run into some REALLY weird bugs if you don't.
February 15, 2009 10:27:32 PM

Hooray! Spent the day installing the mobo, cpu and heatsink. Ended up having to take a case fan off the side because it would not close with that monster heatsink in there. On stock settings, my CPU is idling around 38 Celsius. Reformatted and everything is peachy.
February 16, 2009 5:57:23 AM

Sounds like you should have a very nice Quad rig, for almost nothing. Not as good as the Phenom II but hey, the 9950 was free, as long as you got a motherboard with the 750 south bridge you should be able to get a decent over clock with it, 3.1-3.3 ghz maybe. Goodluck and enjoy your Quad.
!