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Should I upgrade my CPU?

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  • CPUs
  • Gaming
  • Components
  • Product
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September 21, 2009 12:02:57 PM

hello all,

I'm looking to upgrade components in my PC specifically for gaming (going from 9600GT to GTX260 or HD4870). I'm wondering If it's worth upgrading my CPU as well and if so, any recommendations on which CPU would be great. I currently have an AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000 .

Thanks in advance!

More about : upgrade cpu

a b à CPUs
September 21, 2009 1:57:17 PM

thats a pretty old cpu to be honest. there new amd quads, the cheapest quads out there, its the best cpu for the money, amd athlon II x4 620. if u have the money, phenom II 940 BE or 955 BE would be great. phenom II X3 720 BE is also great cpu.

gtx260 and hd4870 are both great cards.
September 21, 2009 2:07:07 PM

is there a good upgrade option that will work with my current AM2 socket? or is it advisable that I get a new motherboard too?
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a b à CPUs
September 21, 2009 3:07:59 PM

whats your budget
September 21, 2009 3:52:28 PM

If you tell us what your motherboard is we could tell you if a drop-in upgrade would work.
a c 83 à CPUs
September 21, 2009 9:56:31 PM

Depending what motherboard you have, you could drop a much better AM2+ or AM3 based cpu into it.
September 22, 2009 11:18:50 AM

you need a new motherboard for a better processor. Good news is that there are cheap am2 like

AsRock for $45 good and cheap will fit your current processsor as well to hold off on a


athlon II 620
or even better a
athlon II X3 720
September 22, 2009 12:38:05 PM

can someone explain to me how the phenom II x3 720 triple core is better than the athlon II 620 quad core? I have no idea how to read the specifications...
a b à CPUs
September 22, 2009 12:46:24 PM

about the only reason why i can guess that is because of the lack of 3 cache in the athlon. Also the 720 is slightly faster than 620
September 22, 2009 3:31:13 PM

...which means in dual-threaded apps, it'll run better, especially after being OC'd.
a c 83 à CPUs
September 22, 2009 4:07:45 PM

Due to the L3 cache, Phenom II X2/X3/X4 will out perform the Athlon II X3/X4 in certain applications including gaming. Athlon II 620 is a very tempting processor but with no L3 cache I wouldn't recommend it for a gamer.
September 22, 2009 4:45:09 PM

ychorst said:
can someone explain to me how the phenom II x3 720 triple core is better than the athlon II 620 quad core? I have no idea how to read the specifications...


From another thread, although it doesn't specifically address the x3, it does address some of the negatives about the Athlon II in comparison to a Phenom II:

MU_Engineer said:
The Athlon II X4s are supposedly not the greatest overclockers and the few reviews I've seen have only been able to push them to the mid 3 GHz range. You probably won't be able to hit 3.7 with the Athlon II X4. 550BEs have gone over 4 GHz without that much trouble. So, the question is really "if I had a Phenom II X2 550BE at 3.7 GHz and an Athlon II X4 at 3.4 GHz, which one would win?"

Secondly, you should find whether or not your 550BE unlocks to all four cores with AOD. Try to unlock it; you just might be surprised as you may end up unlocking the other two cores that are present on the 550BE's native quad-core-with-L3 (Deneb) die. Four 3.1 GHz cores and the 6 MB L3 is faster than the Athlon II X4, plus you are unlikely to be able to unlock anything in the Athlon II X4. Very few Athlon II X4s are made from Deneb dies; most are native L3-less Propus dies.

Here's roughly how it would shake out:

- The L3 cache in the Phenom II parts adds between 5-20% extra performance clock-for-clock over the Athlon II X4. The general impression was the Athlon II X4 was something between 10 and 15% slower clock for clock than the Phenom IIs.

- A stock 550BE would be about as fast core-for-core as an Athlon II X4 overclocked to its ~3.4 GHz maximum. This means the 550BE ties the Athlon II X4 in single and two-threaded tasks while the Athlon II X4 cleans up in games with three or four threads.

- A 550BE overclocked to 3.7 GHz will noticeably outrun the Athlon II X4 in single and two-threaded programs, even when the Athlon II is overclocked to 3.4 GHz.

- You would probably see a little better performance in more current games with the 550BE running at 3.7 GHz than an Athlon II X4 running at 3.4 GHz. However, games are only getting more and more core-hungry and in a couple of years, the Athlon II X4 will do better than the Phenom II X2. We went through this the first time with people deciding between 2.4 GHz/1 MB L2 Athlon 64 4000+s and 2.0 GHz/512 KB L2 Athlon 64 X2 3800+s back in the day since they were about the same price. The A64 4000+ whipped the X2 3800+ at first, but it wasn't that long afterwards that getting a single-core CPU like the 4000+ for gaming was throwing your money away.

So I would recommend that since you have the 550BE already, keep it. When you feel that it doesn't have the grunt any more, then buy a faster quad-core AM3 CPU with L3 cache and put it in your board. You should be able to buy them pretty cheaply in a couple of years.
September 23, 2009 7:52:43 AM



So, judging by the graph in the link. The difference between the 2 cpu's in terms of game rate is very small (2,3 frames). Should I take this as a cue to just go for the cheaper one? or is this L3 Cache thing important?
a b à CPUs
September 23, 2009 9:03:14 AM

L3 cache makes difference, but not much.
a b à CPUs
September 24, 2009 11:03:36 AM

its a quad, what do you prefer?, another core , or 6mb l3
a b à CPUs
September 24, 2009 11:25:37 AM

depends how well the game I'm in love with is threaded.
!