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What CPU?

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January 22, 2010 8:32:48 PM

I want to upgrade my CPU to a quad core Phenom, but I'm wondering if I should wait till I have enough cash and buy a new AM3 motherboard, DDR3 memory and Phenom II X4 965 or get a Phenom II X4 940 which will fit my current AM2/AM2+ motherboard. Currently I'm using a dual core AMD Athlon X2 6000 which is bare slow compared with what's new(er).

Cheers,
Fela

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January 22, 2010 8:56:14 PM

what's your ram? if u have ddr2 800 Mhz with nice timings (5 at least) u can as well go with the 940.
January 22, 2010 9:04:15 PM

jimishtar said:
what's your ram? if u have ddr2 800 Mhz with nice timings (5 at least) u can as well go with the 940.


Yes, I have 4GB DDR2 800MHz, I think it's at CAS 5 latency. So you reckon just getting a 940 would bring a big performance increase? What I'm most interested in improving is multi tasking performance, as well as highly multi-threaded applications such as GTA IV.
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January 22, 2010 9:38:16 PM

With some AM2 motherboards you can flash the bios and install AM3 cpu.
January 22, 2010 9:43:25 PM

srynznfyra said:
I want to upgrade my CPU to a quad core Phenom, but I'm wondering if I should wait till I have enough cash and buy a new AM3 motherboard, DDR3 memory and Phenom II X4 965 or get a Phenom II X4 940 which will fit my current AM2/AM2+ motherboard. Currently I'm using a dual core AMD Athlon X2 6000 which is bare slow compared with what's new(er).

Cheers,
Fela



How about you tell us more about your system. What MB do you have what video card etc. Do you have the Windsor core or the brisbane core of the X2 6000+?
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January 22, 2010 9:46:36 PM

As cobra said, check the mobo product page and see if the AM3 CPUs are supported with a bios flash. The AM3 CPUs have both DDR2 and DDR3 memory controllers on them so they can plug into AM2+ boards also. The 920 and 940 were the first Phenom IIs out and will only work on AM2+ boards since they only have the DDR2 controller. The main hit you'll take from upgrading to an AM3 CPU using DDR2 800 ram is the OC potential might be held back a little. But if you're not going to OC, then go for the 955BE and save $25. Won't notice the 200mhz. Or if you are looking to spend less, the Athlon II x4s will do very well to increase your multi threaded apps.
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January 22, 2010 11:12:26 PM

srynznfyra said:
I want to upgrade my CPU to a quad core Phenom, but I'm wondering if I should wait till I have enough cash and buy a new AM3 motherboard, DDR3 memory and Phenom II X4 965 or get a Phenom II X4 940 which will fit my current AM2/AM2+ motherboard. Currently I'm using a dual core AMD Athlon X2 6000 which is bare slow compared with what's new(er).

Cheers,
Fela

In what way is your system slow?

Upgrading to a quad core will help you most if your applications are multi core enabled, or if you are a heavy multitasker.
If you are a gamer, a quad will most likely not help much for most games. For games, a better vga system will usually be more cost efficient.

Tell us more.
January 23, 2010 9:05:03 AM

@cobra5000: I've checked the mobo support page, and as far as PIIs are concerned it only supports AM2+ (e.g. 940). I don't know what will happen if I try putting an AM3 CPU in but it would almost certainly void the warranty/break the mobo at worst.

@caamsa: My motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-M52L-S3, basically just a budget AM2/AM2+ mobo. Vid card is GF 9800 GT made by palit, also I have 4GB DDR2 CAS5 800mhz memory, and the CPU is a brisbane 3.1ghz 2x512KB L2 amd x2 6000.

@skora: as I said I've checked the mobo cpu support list. I think I'm pretty settled on the 940 now (it's not too expensive, for a quad core), well that's if I'm going with my original plan of keeping this mobo and ram. My mobo sadly doesn't support the 955. It seems like it supports all the AM3 cpus except the quad core am3 phenoms (it supports the dual core phenoms though).

@geofelt: I do like to keep alot of things running simultaneously, the main games I like playing are GTA IV and Flight Simulator X, both of which I should imagine would benefit alot from a quad core (I know for a fact that GTA IV utilizes quad cores anyway). Also it would be nice to not have to worry about virus scans and whatnot slowing down my system. About the GPU thing: most people would think that a GF 9800 GT would be the bottleneck in most games. However I've run alot of benchmarks on different resolutions and texture settings and I've proven that even on Crysis something other than the GPU is the bottleneck, I assume it's the CPU but haven't proven that.

@all, thanks for your replies :) 
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January 23, 2010 9:30:21 AM

Gigabytes site is down right now so I can't check the list, but it did for sure say the 940 was on there? Reason I ask is the older AM2 boards had a 95w TDP cap and the 940 is 125w TDP.
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January 23, 2010 3:47:38 PM

^I just checked right now, and he is correct (though I agree, it is a bit odd), the 940 is supported where the 125 W AM3s are not.

@srynznfyra: if you decide to buy the new chip, make sure you update your BIOS before installing the new cpu; this could save you a lot of headaches.
January 23, 2010 4:16:07 PM

@skora: yeah it's funny that it supports the 125W AM2(+) cpus but not AM3.

@pepperman: I updated my BIOS a while ago to F7 (from the original F6 which doesn't support the phenoms), it says that the 940 is supported by F7 but I'll probably update to F8 before I get the new CPU.
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January 23, 2010 4:41:26 PM

Waiting is good, though the PhII 940 at $146 would be a great upgrade for you.

That mobo is killin' yah, though ...for the same money you can snag the Asus M4A79 Deluxe 790FX AM2+ for $140 (that's insane!) that will accept your 4Gb of RAMs and CPU.

The mobo will happily accept the latest AM3 'C3' Phenoms for when you save up a few more bucks. Throw in another 2x2Gb of RAMs and you will be a multitasking monster.

And dang if that motherboard doesn't scream 'VIDEO UPGRADE' at you, too, for whatever the future may bring ...

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January 23, 2010 4:43:08 PM

FSX is multi core enabled, and is cpu intensive. A quad is good for you. If you will upgrade using your existing mobo, then go ahead. If you will upgrade with a new quad cpu, mobo, and ram, then compare to a i5/i7 alternative. With hyperthreading you might do better.
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January 23, 2010 5:08:12 PM

I don't see the point in buying an AM2+ mobo tbh wise, although I see a lot of people suggesting them for some reason.

+1 Go for the 940 and stick with current mobo if its supported. I don't see a $100+ (buying a new mobo) difference between the 940 and the 955 even with DDR3.
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January 23, 2010 5:16:43 PM

^I agree. You'd be better off either buying the 940, or rebuilding your system with an AM3. In terms of price/performance, the 940 is probably the best option.
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January 23, 2010 6:26:38 PM

Actually, AM3, or specifically DDR3, does not really bring anything to the table for the OP from a performance standpoint.

6-8Gb of DDR2 trumps 4Gb of DDR3 any way you look at it.

$146 paid for a Phenom 940 is a 'dead-end' sunk cost --- the proc, and the cost, goes no where toward an AM3 CPU. So the OP is still looking at a future expense of CPU, mobo and RAMs.

His current mobo, kindly put, is a dawg. Single-slot Gen1 PCIe x16, 1000MHz HT, nForce 520LE chipset, etc.

The Asus 790FX provides PCIe Gen2 x16/x16 among all its other goodies, in addition to current C3 Phenom support. There are no guarantees in life, but it is highly likely that with a BIOS update the new PhII x6 hexa-core Thuban will be fully backwards compatible with the Asus 790FX AM2+.

Moving completely to AM3 / DDR3 will require 50% more in cost (including the PhII 940) with any overall gains in performance being questionable. Look at it this way ...

PhII 940 + Future AM3 (PhII 955 + MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 + 4Gb AM3) = $570'ish

Asus 790FX + PhII 955 = $305

The difference in price is a Radeon HD 5850 :o 

(or an SSD, another 2x2Gb of RAMs, etc. ....)

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January 23, 2010 7:04:45 PM

^With that thinking, he'd be better off just waiting for thuban; besides, we don't even know if thuban will include the ddr2 mem controller like current AM3s do.

IMHO he's better off keeping his current mobo and getting the 940, and maybe a better gpu if he wants to spend more.
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January 23, 2010 7:12:55 PM

I meant for upgrade path rather than performance, I'd rather buy a LGA 775 board than a AM2+ board, unless next gen (and socket) AMD CPUs are going to be backwards compatible all the way to AM2+. And 16x 1.0 PCI-E is enough to run a 5870 and maybe more without much of a decrease in frames.
January 23, 2010 7:38:38 PM

Thanks for all the help guys! I think I'm fairly set on getting the 940 and calling it a sick machine (no matter how much better the x6 oompa loompa i7 might be!)
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January 23, 2010 7:40:49 PM

If you will upgrade your current system:

1) Consider upgrading your ram to 6gb or even 8gb. That will cost $50 -$100.
With lots of multitasking going on, you can't have too much ram.
This, of course assumes that you have a 64 bit OS.
Here is a study on 6gb vs. 3gb:
http://www.corsair.com/_appnotes/AN811_Gaming_Performan...

2) Your x2-6000 is rated 1580 on this passmark cpu chart:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html
upgrading to a X4-940(passmark=3560) will cost you about $150.

You can market your old cpu for perhaps $50 on e-bay.
total for cpu +6gb = $150. Future upgradeability is minimal.

2) If you save and go to a X4-965(passmark=4227), you will pay about $150 for 6gb of ddr3 ram, $190 for the cpu, and about $140 for a good mobo with two pci-e slots.

Total =$480, less $50 for your old 4gb of ddr2, and $50 for your old cpu. The net cost is $380. future upgradeability is possible, but not announced.

3) For a i7-920(passmark=5449) upgrade, the cpu is $290, the mobo and ram are about the same, total= $580 less $100 for old parts net=$480. future upgrade to gulftown; past that is unknown.

Upgrading the current cpu is clearly the most cost efficient route. But... does that take you where you want for long enough.

Options 2 & 3 are about equal in performance per dollar. Does either one fit your budget, and get you where you want to be?

Two years out, who knows what good choices will be. I suggest meeting your near term needs now and don't plan too far out.



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January 23, 2010 7:57:06 PM

It would be better to compare the actual performance of FSX rather than a synthetic (such as passmark). As we see here , the HT of the core i7 doesn't even help with frames (though this particular shot is most likely gpu limited), and with that in mind, 6 cores vs. 4 cores might not even make that much difference.

In short, go with the 940, and upgrade your gpu when you get the money.
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January 23, 2010 8:54:51 PM

2049131,21,480065 said:
It would be better to compare the actual performance of FSX rather than a synthetic (such as passmark). As we see here , the HT of the core i7 doesn't even help with frames (though this particular shot is most likely gpu limited), and with that in mind, 6 cores vs. 4 cores might not even make that much difference.

Good idea. I looked, and it appears that if your game is FSX, the i7-920 is exceptional, based on feedback from an actual user:
http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforums/showthread.php?p=....
He went from a 3.0 quad which is somewhat like A x4-965



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January 23, 2010 8:57:39 PM

geofelt said:
FSX is multi core enabled, and is cpu intensive. A quad is good for you. If you will upgrade using your existing mobo, then go ahead. If you will upgrade with a new quad cpu, mobo, and ram, then compare to a i5/i7 alternative. With hyperthreading you might do better.


*Scrolling down the text, trying to find I5 recommendation for the person who doesn't f'ing need it at all...*

I knew it! I just waited for it! That's why I can't stand this forum...
January 23, 2010 9:16:24 PM

@geofelt:

The thing is I'm very limited in budget. I'll be happy with a 940, and then when everything gets REALLY obsolete I'll have lots of cash (hopefully) and be able to get a sick computer that'll last another decade :)  I think trying to continuously keep up with hardware trends is impossible in this day and age - my strategy is to get as good hardware as possible, forget about it, then upgrade when I need to. I'm still considering whether I should make this upgrade at all... it's not as if there's a black hole in my life due to my aging CPU lol! The money COULD be better spent on something else when there's so little of it...

So, if I DO upgrade my CPU it'll be the 940.
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January 23, 2010 9:23:49 PM

It is a pretty good decision, but since I have experience with PII 955, I must give you an advice. I have that particular CPU paired with a 4890, while my friend has it with GTX275. Games run so much better on his PC... I don't know is it just in this case, but AMD really stacks up better with nVidia, which has, nevertheless, much better support in games. Hope that helps...
January 23, 2010 10:08:56 PM

@Cryslayer80: good job I have an nvidia card then eh :) 
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January 24, 2010 5:38:46 PM

srynznfyra said:
@Cryslayer80: good job I have an nvidia card then eh :) 


Too bad the Radeons are kickin' yah hard, then .... LOL

Anand benchies on the HD 4890 and GTX 275


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January 24, 2010 5:42:17 PM

I know my experience, and no monkey from Anand can convince me not to believe what I've seen :) 
January 24, 2010 5:46:47 PM

Nvidia or AMD, I don't mind which GPU I have as long as it has enough horsepower, and my 9800GT is great for my (1920x1080) + (1280x1024) = 3,384,320 pixels. I'll get my two GTX295s once I have my yot and mansion, plus a few private islands LOL!
!