Compare old Pentium with new(er) AMD ??

Ok - I know I should be considering a new system...BUT -
I can upgrade my existing Dell Dimension 8300 for about $300.00 with a new motherboard.
For my regular work, my current system is fine, but I want as much cheap speed as I can get for playing games....(I'd probably get an ATI Radeon 4870 for my new graphics card - that would put my upgrade at about $500.00)

I need to know this:

How do I compare my existing Pentium 4 3ghz (standard cpu from the 8300) to an AMD Dual Core X2 4000?

I'm trying to determine if this is a reasonable intermediate step instead of buying a new box.

Here's the actual deal:

I would appreciate any help at all
(except saying things like - 'junk your box and buy a new one' - that's not really being helpful...)

39 answers Last reply
More about compare pentium
  1. Why don't you build it in yourself? As you're buying an new motherboard you might consider an AM3 board with an Phenom II, as the 4000+ will probably bottleneck the HD4870.
  2. the amd is rated at 4000+

    The rating is against a pentium 4 like yours which is 3GHz or "3000"

    The AMD is stronger but frankly not worth paying to upgrade to since its at the very bottom end of processors available today .

    And then theres the windows problem . The version of windows you have on the dell machine would not install on another computer

    You'd be far better heading to newegg and geting cpu/mb/ram . For $350 you canget a decent core system . As an example you can get FOUR gig of ram for less than your site wants to charge for 1
  3. They want 59.99 to replace the Sempron with an X2 4000. I believe the 4000 is a 2.1Ghz part. You can get an Athlon X2 7750 (2.7Ghz and newer architecture) for $59.99 at

    Than the upgrade from 1Gb to 2Gb is also 59.99, that's a joke as 4Gb of ram can be had for under $50 off as well.

    You didn't mention getting the hard drive, but for what they charge for an 80Gb hard drive you could also go to newegg and get a 500Gb instead.

    Not only is that site ripping you off, but buying an X2 4000 would be of little good if you want to game. It's just to weak, there are already a few games that would be unplayable on it and only more to come.
  4. I agree, the x2 4000+ is a poor choice and wont give you what you want. I also recommend an AM2 board at a minimum, am2+ is better. get a combo deal for the AMD 7750 and am2 mobo and ram is dirt cheap. I ALWAYS recommend new egg.

    Specifically, I would recommend a 790 GX motherboard because it has decent onboard graphics that could get you by for a while if necessary. Also because its the recommended chipset for the am2 processors.
    I always recommend at least 2.4 ghz dual core for modern games. Anything slower will hold you back. In single threaded apps, your 3.0 Ghz pentium will prolly run about the same as the 4400+ with the faster ram.

    I agree its time for an upgrade, but if you're feeling adventurous this could be a great experience for you. Along those same lines, if you're in the market for a new OS with the upgrade you could install Win7 RC.
  5. Well, this is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for - thanks!

    I'll skip upgrading through CPUtopia and consider NewEgg (I've bought from them a bunch before).

    I gotta be honest though - I'm mostly a software guy, not hardware, so I have a lot of concerns about swapping out my motherboard. I've seen some posts about how hard it it can be to get a board for Dells and make it fit.

    I use my machine for work, so I won't be changing the OS - gotta keep XP Pro to be compatible with my clients (They won;t touch Vist and won't look at W7 for a while). Plus, I can't really take the time to reinstall all my apps, databases, etc - it's a huge pain.

    So let's say I want to get a motherboard that's fast enough to make a difference for games, plus a Radeon 4870 (I've got a 3850 AGP now and it's pretty nice. It's my CPU that's holding me back.)
    I may or may not get new SATA drives (I've got an 80gb IDE for music and a 500gb IDE for work).
    And most importantly, it's gotta fit my 8300 case (I guess I'll need a new power supply too).

    What do you hardware geeks recommend for a software geek?
    Can this be done for $500 - $600 ?

    Again, THANKS!!
  6. Well one issue I can tell you right now, if you install a new motherboard and try to keep the same OS, drivers, etc, you are going to run into more nightmares than a backup and reinstall will entail. Believe me, everyone wants to keep everything status quo, but you are asking for trouble if you do this.

    Here's an idea though, get a new drive for the upgrade. 500GB can be had for around $60. WD black 640gb for a few dollars more is an excellent choice. Kepp your old drive as a backup. Install the new board and new drive in the 1st SATA slot, do a clean install of XP pro on the new HD, then add the old drive. The system should boot to the new drive, but if it tries to boot to the old one, you can correct that in bios. Now you have your old data and a fresh smelling new OS!

    Here's a recommendation
    Dell sucks. buy a new case
    Antec 300 plus AMD X2 7750 $105

    PS coolermaster 550W $60

    Ram $55

    Video card HD4870 $160 $20 MIR

    Total = $450 and maybe some for shipping. And of course we'll be here to help install it.
  7. for 110 you can get an HD4850 which is also a great card at a good price
  8. Sorry, but I must be blind or stupid...In the list, what about a motherboard - or is it part of some other item and I didn't see it?

    Also, wouldn't I also need some details - Heat Sink/Fan for the CPU, cables, etc?
  9. Wayneh said:
    Sorry, but I must be blind or stupid...In the list, what about a motherboard - or is it part of some other item and I didn't see it?

    O crap!
    I had originally grabbed it as part of another combo, then I found that case combo and deleted it. well, here's one but prolly any of the 790gx or 790x boards would do, provided they can handle a 90 watt proc. $100

    That's the board I own. There are a couple of uATX boards as well. the dfi lan party for 105, then the Biostar for $90, and an asrock micro 790gx for $85. All of the uATX mobos have only one PCI express 16x slot, except for the lanparty.

    If you really were set on keeping the Dell box, you could easily fit a micro atx board in there, saving a few dollars. maybe you could find a combo with a mobo or video card instead. However, dell's typically take special (sized) power supplies that newegg also sells. I couldn't make a meaningful brand recommendation tho.

    To take a look at these go to newegg and go to:
    motherboards, amd, amd northbridge, and 790gx.

    So this will adjust your price by a good bit, which is why I recommended looking at the HD4850 in case of other options. If you did get the 4850, and you wanted to add another 4850 for crossfire (down the road perhaps?), you would have a pretty screaming rig.
  10. Wow - this adds up pretty quick - $640 now!

    This is what I got so far (almost all your suggestions):
    I think I'm missing an SATA cable or two - not sure...
    I'll probably dump the Dell at this point - why bother?

    I'd also consider the AMD X2 6000 ($30 more) but I guess I'd need a different Motherboard?
    How do you know what will handle the 125w for the 6000?


    HD x2 (I have my reasons for 2 smaller drives...weird, I know)





    Heat Sink

    CPU/Case [...] mbo.199755
  11. Don't let the higher clock speed fool you, the Athlon X2 7750 keeps up with, or beats the X2 6000 in many tasks. The Athlon X2 7750 is built using a newer architecture(K10) vs the Athlon 6000 (K8). There's no way the X2 6000 is worth $30 more than the X2 7750.

    I have the same motherboard that you have picked out, I've been completely happy with it, same with the memory, just thought I'd mention that.

    Oh, and almost all processors come with a heatsink/fan, so you don't need to buy one unless you want to lower your temps which really isn't needed.
  12. Yeah ditto for me, 6000+ not worth it. If you really want more speed, you could step up to the PII X3 720, about 130 bones. Games right now can use 3 cores efficiently but you dont get much more with four cores. But that thang is a beast.

    Your mobo will come with at least two SATA cables. I guess you may need one for your dvd drive. I think if you spend a couple bucks more for a retail drive, it will come with a SATA cable. I dunno, I never worry about it. I have about a dozen sittin in my garage! :)

    But I think this is a nice build. You'll be happy. GL and have fun!

    ps: if you do decide on the X3 720, look for combo deals cuz I think they have some nice ones.
  13. I had a 140W processor on the TA 790gx board, BTW
    It can handle anything.
  14. Why look at older AMD chips? AMD released its 45nm generation chips now, also for dualcores: Phenom II 550 3.1GHz and also the Athlon X2 250 are both built on 45nm.

    See here for a review of these two chips:
  15. If you want dual-core I would look as the X2 550.
  16. I would go for the e5200 combo deal at newegg or Fry's for $112 or less. Get a 2x2gb of pc 6400, and watch for the windows 7 upgrade deal from best buy on June 26th for $49.95 for windows 7 premium. If you currently use windows 2k or xp, this would be a good deal for your system. Always go for the 64 bit windows version with 4 gigs or more of ram. It's very smooth.
  17. The Phenom II is alot faster than the E5200, and its more expensive brothers, from the review:

    New dual-core AMD processors performed very well in 3D games. It is especially true for Phenom II X2 550, which L3 cache helped it outperform not only Pentium E6300 and Core 2 Duo E7400, but often also Core 2 Duo E7500. As a result, Phenom II X2 550 may be considered an excellent budget dual-core CPU for gaming.

    At this stage AMD has a powerful chip for gamers, the Phenom II X2 might become a very popular chip amongst gamers -- and its just released. Its pricetag is alot lower than the intel chips, and you also get cheaper motherboards, less power consuming chipsets (if you stick to AMD/nvidia IGP) and cheaper DDR2 memory. It should also overclock well, though you may want a better heatsink/fan if you go this route.
  18. As the only one in this thread that actually has any experience with modding Dell clamshell cases, I'm sorry to tell you that your Dimension 8300 is not accepting to regular aftermarket motherboards. First of all, the problem with every clamshell design Dell case is the single flat ribbon cable running from the motherboard to the front USB/audio ports PCB, which in turn has a smaller flat ribbon cable running to the power switch pcb. It is a big mess that needs to be removed and replaced with a more conventional design.
    Secondly, the Dell 8x00 series used a motherboard tray with oddly placed screw holes, making them incapable of holding a regular ATX/mATX board. In order to put a different mobo into that case, you would need a mobo tray out of a Dimension 4xx0 series of clamshell case, specifically the Dimension 4500 and 4550 will work. You'll need to cut off the I/O panel off the mobo tray, but after that it should be accepting of a new motherboard.

    check out my thread on modding one of these Dell cases to fit aftermarket mobos:

    Finally, only mATX boards will fit, so make sure you shop for mATX.
    Any regular power supply will fit in the Dell, you will just have to cut a portion off of the back of the case to clear the power switch on the aftermarket PSU, as Dell PSU do not have a power switch so the Dell case does not have a rear opening large enough to accommodate them.

    It's probably best you just buy a different case and sell your old Dell 8300.
  19. anandtech has a nice 'bench' showing how a P4 660 and EE955 performs compared with new cpus

    just to give you an idea what to expect when getting a new system...
  20. Ok, well, again thanks for all the input!
    Of course, now I have even more to think about...

    So, it looks like I'm gonna change my specs a bit and spend a bit more.
    If I'm gonna build this sucker, I may as well give a decent lifespan....

    This is what I'm looking at now:


    HD (x2)



    CPU/Graphics Bundle


    What do you guys think?
    Do you see any conflicts?
  21. I've read that the new AMD Athlon II X2 250 or 550 is about the same speed as the E8400, but it's $60 less. I won't swear to that, but you may want to look into it.

    The ATI 4850 really isn't that much worse than the 4870 and it's $50-70 less. Unless you just have to have that extra boost, I'd go for a 4850. Check benchmarks for the exact performance difference.

    I think it's fine that you want two hard drives, but you can get 500GB SATA drives with 16mb buffer for the same price.
  22. Thanks for the recommendations.

    I checked out the Athlon II X2 250 and 550 - they rate lower than the E8400 so for the price difference I think I'll stick with the Intel E8400.

    I'm also gonna stay with the 4870 - in some tests it's a bit better than the 4850, but in others it's quite a bit better.

    I'm trying to put together a box for work and gaming, so I'll go with the extra speed.
    The E8400 and 4870 pair I suspect will perform noticably better than the X2 250 or 550 and the 4850...for gaming it looks like I can gain more than 20fps in most situations.
  23. Ok - this is getting crazy - I could mix-n-match forever....

    Here's another option (same price as the previous grouping)

    AMD Phenom II X4 940 vs Intel Core 2 Duo E8400.
    With a motherboard, they're about the same price at NewEgg.

    It seems that most people prefer the AMD, claim it can be overclocked better, and typically compare it to the Intel i7 920.

    Got any opinions?
  24. The Phenom can be OCd similarly (not quite as well), but it's got TWO MORE CORES!!! Isn't that a pretty good redeeming factor?
  25. Um, I'm not so sure.
    From what I've been reading lately, 4 cores doesn't = better. Just different.
    If the apps don't access the 4 cores, then it's not better....
  26. Quad-Core will be more furture proof. so you wont need to upgrade for about 3+ years with a quad-core. and plus Quad-Core is mainsteam but thats me
  27. Hey Wayneh-
    I highly recommend the X4 940. Think of it as furture proofing. You will have plenty of speed and headroom if even slightly interested in overclocking.

    I am running my X4 940 @ 3.7 ghz on the biostar board I metnioned, with an HD 4850. It performs very well, and now that prices have dropped, it will on;ly cost me $110 to crossfire, and like I said it will be a screamer.

    If you're going to spend 190 on a e8400, why not get a quad core that in some games will give better performance? I don't have the exact specs in front of me, but last month Toms had a very handy article on muliticore performance scaling on the most popular current game titles. Its an extremely helpful read.

    Here's the link:,2280.html
    "How many cores do you need?"

    That article is also why I originally recommended the AMD PII X3 720 BE processor upgrade (post X2 rumblings), as it appears to be the best bang for your buck at 130 bones.
    Anyway, its your baby. If you like Intel, go for it. You will have a good experience. AMD offers a way to save money for a similar experience. 1 word of advice, some Intel processors ( not the e8400) do not do virtualization which becomes important in the next version of windows. I am pretty sure the e8400 is on the virtualization list.
    Again, gl with that thang!
  28. I think pentium is good, this is my opinion....

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  29. OK, I went with the AMD Phenom II X4 940.

    I got it all last week and built the system in about 1.5 hours.
    It tool me another 3 hours to install XP Pro plus all the drivers and updates.

    I installed Cryostasis (the game is just ok) and started playing it.
    On my aold machine, everything was either off, or on low and it lagged.
    On the new box, everything if High/On, 1680x1050 and it KICKS ASS!

    Levels load in about 20 seconds, no lag.
    Play is smooth...

    Now, before I get too involved in the games, can anyone recommend the following:

    1) A few benchmark utilities - something I can use for CPU Speed and FPS?
    2) Some settings for tweaking the CPU ?

    I'll report back after some tests.

  30. Hey
    So for XP I use 3dmark06 and pcmrk05, there are free versions that you can download and they have an online service called orb where you can see where you stack up against others with similar hardware. You can find them here.

    I also use pcpitstop as it is a quicker test and I use it for all my machines regardless of how they are being used. (gaming, office work, surfing) you cna find it here:

    Did you get a 3rd party HS for the 940? If not I would start with a 16x multiplier (3.2ghz) and use the AMD overdrive utility to monitor temps. Use the stability test to stress the processor whenever you make a change.

    Continue to raise the multi in half steps until you are no longer stable, then back off to the last half step. Also back off if your core temps reach 60C, that proc is rated at 70C max but damage could happen over time if its maintained in the 60s. That's under stress at full load temps.

    If I didn't mention before there's a good primer here:,2161.html

    If you reach a satisfying oc on your processor, then you can move on to tweeking some other settings. I have set my HT clock at 1.8ghz, and my northbridge speed at 2.4ghz. My bus speed I have at 205Mhz, and a 18x multi for a 3.7ghz processor speed.

    If you want to just stick with a multiplier overclock, it is quite easy and works well. With a retail HS you should be able to hit 3.2-3.4 Ghz. I would NOT recommend increasing voltage with the AMD HS.

    And remember to use the benchmark tool, overclocking doesn't always result in better performance. An overclocked processor can be inefficient, resulting in lower benchies and lower overall performance.
    The goal is to find the right overclock for you.
  31. Some games I recommend for FPS testing are FEAR, crysis (for benching), Oblivion, Left for Dead, Bioshock, Unreal Tournament. There are others as well, but I don't have experience with some of the newer games. Too broke! :)
  32. buzznut - OK, I'll check that stuff out. I'm kind of a weenie when it comes to overclocking - I'm sacred shitless of ruining my machine.

    What's an 'HS' ?

    By the way - if you my copy of Cryostasis when I'm done - it's yours (for all the help). Let me know ... I figure I'll finish it this week.
    (Unfortunately I just sold a bunch of my old games on eBay...)
  33. HS=Heatsink. Its the cooler for your CPU.

    So I recommend you check your temps before doing any overclocking. Use the temp feature in AMD overdrive, and another utility like speedfan or coretemp. Speedfan will show the core temp and ambient, but it also shows a bunch of other temps so it can be difficult to interpret. I like speedfan because its a very small download and has a small footprint on the desktop.

    Also your BIOS should have temp readings, usually located under the PC Health heading. This will prolly show ambient temps for your CPU and chipset (790fx chipset, or southbridge temp)

    Write down the temps at idle and under load. You can repost them here if you like, then we can decide how to proceed.

    But like I said, with the stock HS you should be able to at least bump your multi up to 16x for a 3.2ghz processor speed, provided your temps are reasonable and you've successfully seated the heatsink fan.

    Above all, remember that you have a kick ass quad core running at 3.0 Ghz and you'll be able to play anything you want. You don't NEED to overclock. The tweeking is just for inquiring minds that must get the most outta their hardware.
  34. I'm using the AMD heatsink that came with the cpu. It's massive and appears to be liquid cooled (alum fans, copper tubing, etc...)
    As I said, I'm not in a hurry to overclock, except maybe the graphics card 'cause it's a basic, built-in app.

    I'll play with some of the benchmarks and post back here....
  35. OK, got a problem now....

    I was running the PCMark benchmark, and I noticed that it was reporting only
    3312 MB RAM.

    It should be 4096 MB (or close - I bought 2x2GB RAM)

    I checked with Windows System Properties, and it's reporting 3.25 GB

    I checked with Task Manager and it's reporting:
    Total: 3406252
    Avail: 2730732
    Sys Cache: 1068440

    I ran an online tool from Crucial, which reported 2x2048 (4096) installed.

    Now, I know I installed the RAM correctly - I used the two sockets (same color) closest to the CPU, just like the instructions said.

    (Also, I have since swapped the two sticks' position - no change)

    Any idea what's going on?

    Shouldn't everything report about 4096MB (4.0x GB) ???

    Does this mean I have bad RAM and need to return it?

    Slightly panicky....Thanks.
  36. Are you running a 32 bit operating system, or using integrated graphics?
  37. Yes - Win XP Pro 32, no integrated graphics.

    I've been doing some reading about this - apparently, it's partly that XP can't show the correct amount, and partly due to shared resources and my Radeon 4850 Graphics card.

    However, I did read something about my mobo/bios and memory mapping...although I'm not sure if it's just for display purposes......
  38. that is all 32-bit supports
  39. Well, I've had my system for a couple weeks now and it really screams.

    I just played Cryostasis at full everything, and it never skipped a beat.
    (Cryostasis is about a 6 out of 10, not that it has anything to do with the system).
    I loaded Call of Duty World at War and it too is running at full everything.

    So, a sincere THANKS to everyone who helped me out - I really appreciate it.

    I doubt I'll ever buy another pre-fab system again.
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