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Partial Upgrade (CPU/Mobo/RAM)

Last response: in Systems
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November 24, 2008 10:22:50 AM

So my current PC is a Socket 939 Athlon X2 3800+ with 2gb of DDR RAM, but at present the machine is struggling to keep up with the various development tools I've had to throw at it (including virtual machines.) So for starters, I need to move to a processor with virtualization support as well as more RAM.

The problem is - I'm a college student and I just can't money toward this despite necessity. I'm trying to stay under $400 if at all possible.

I'm looking at this processor:


As for ram, I'd definitely like to go for 8gb because of the nature of what I'm doing. I have this set, actually:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But as I can only purchase one, what would you think about adding in this along with it? I don't know a lot about RAM;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then I finally need to settle on a motherboard. I'd like a motherboard with an Intel chipset, but otherwise I'm just looking for something under $100 if possible. Overclocking would be nice, but in general, I'm just looking for something inexpensive but as high quality as possible. Any recommendations?
November 24, 2008 11:15:15 AM

Do you have a PCI-E video card or an old AGP? If you had AGP, you will need to change it or get a MB with on-board GPU.
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November 24, 2008 11:28:31 AM

If you are going with 8 GB of Ram, you will need a 64-bit operating system.
4 GB is the limit for a 32-bit operating system.
If you have problems with 8 GB of Ram:

Set the RAM voltage to max and bump up the NB voltage until its stable.
November 24, 2008 11:51:22 AM

I'm aware of the need for a 64-bit operating system, and I currently have an nVidia 7600 GT PCI-Express 16x card as well as SATA hard drives and a PATA DVD+RW drive. The power supply is 500w ATX.

I've got to stick with Intel due to the nature of the virtualisation I'll be doing, but thank you for that suggestion. It is a very good deal, just not one I can go with at present.

Given that the two sets of RAM have different timings and voltages, can their compatibility be remedied without losing performance? (Even if i have to push them to higher power, etc.)

Also, what motherboards would be a good option assuming I'm sticking with an Intel processor and I'd prefer an Intel chipset?
November 24, 2008 11:55:52 AM

So... exactly what is preventing you from getting 2 packs of the Corsair ram?
November 24, 2008 11:56:35 AM

I realized I left out the link for the processor in the OP, here it is:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would love to go toward an i7, but with the DDR3 RAM, the cost increase is tremendous. Remember that I'm more concerned with power in the $400ish range (given that the RAM could be as inexpensive as $50 total and I'm not looking for an excessively-high featured motherboard) than going much under that.
November 24, 2008 12:02:06 PM

I still may just buy the second pack of Corsair. The only benefit is that I can get the second set (of differently branded RAM) on rebate as well, totalling just over $50 for the 8gb.
November 24, 2008 12:05:30 PM

Just have a friend or family member(one that doesn't live with you) to order you the second set :p 
November 24, 2008 12:12:28 PM

Ha, something like that. Thank you very much for your help, Slomo. The motherboard looks like a good fit, and with all the rebates and using the second rebated ram, It'd be just shy of $400. I obviously figured I'd have to add the expense of the thermal grease and a better cooler as well. Got any recommendations for an inexpensive cooler also?
!