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Need input choosing AMD AM2+ processor

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January 25, 2010 8:04:10 AM

hello i am looking to upgrade my Phenom x3 8400, im looking mainly for a cpu that will allow me to run 25 man raids in warcraft with decent fps, right now with my geforce 9800 gt (max settings @ 1440x900 res) im getting 10-20 fps while raiding and its just horrible, i can get 70+ fps if im running around by myself though. i think if i could get up to around 40fps during a raid i would be happy with that. im looking at this cpu on newegg for $89 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... i need some input on this before i purchase it and any info would be greatly appreciated :) 
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January 25, 2010 8:20:54 AM

If you're going to upgrade, don't go from a Phenom I to another Phenom I. They were a disaster product from AMD from start to finish. Look at the Athlon IIs x3 or x4s in that price range if you need more CPU power.

To address your issue of RAIDs though, the problem is more in your HDD than the CPU. Everyone avatar has 7-11 different unique textures to load even if its just for a small little trinket on the avatar. 11 by 25 is 275 textures to pull off the HDD and load into the graphics. The HDD can't pre load all that data into its cache and has to pull it right from the platter to the GPU. So the drop in FPS is due to waiting for the HDD to spin around to the next piece of data it needs.

Options:
SSD. If all you do is WoW, a small boot drive with WoW on it will do very well and be around $100. You don't need the super powered second gen SSDs. Even the originals have much better access times than platter drives.

Faster HDD. While a 10k drive would be an improvement, you're in entry level SDD price range to get one. Or get a HDD with 500gb platters and short stroke it. I know that sounds dirty but it isn't. You are telling the drive to only use 1/3 of the platter at the outside edge so the heads have very little distance to travel and the data density out there on the edge of the platter is higher than the inner part.

While a new CPU should be in your long term plans, the HDD might provide better results for WoW.
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January 25, 2010 8:26:41 AM

im sorry im having a real hard time understanding all of this, when you say HDD you mean hard drive right? if so my HDD is 600gb. the new processor i was looking at is a phenom x4 9850, my old processor is the phenom x3 8400. there arent many am2+ cpus on newegg i can choose from either :( 
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January 25, 2010 8:36:03 AM

Sorry, sometimes I type like I think. And with all the voices in my head, it gets confusing :p 

HDD = Hard Disk Drive
SSD = Solid State Drive

What model of HDD do you have?

All of the first generation Phenoms are garbage. A Phenom II or Athlon II would be much better for you. AM3 CPUs can work on AM2+ mobos. Just have to check with the mobo manufacture to see what CPUs are supported. Might require a bios flash, but thats just like updating a driver, no big deal.

What mobo do you have?
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January 25, 2010 9:34:55 AM

i believe my HDD is a seagate, and the mobo, Motherboard Name: M2N68-LA, HP/Compaq motherboard name: Narra3-GL8E

which processor would you recommend? im looking to spend around $100
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January 25, 2010 10:00:40 AM

How about the 550BE. Its is probably the best gaming proccy at that budget and a very reputed overclocker!
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January 25, 2010 10:05:03 AM

if that badboy will fit on my mobo i will purchase it tomorrow! :) 
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January 25, 2010 8:54:00 PM

does anyone know if that AM3 550BE will work with my AM2+ socket?
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January 25, 2010 9:45:35 PM

It depends on your motherboard. While any current AM3 CPU is quite capable of running on an AM2+ board, and even some AM2 boards, it does require that the motherboard have a BIOS update to do so. That said, just what motherboard do you have?
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January 25, 2010 10:02:30 PM

Motherboard Name: M2N68-LA, HP/Compaq motherboard name: Narra3-GL8E

could you please tell me if it's compatible?
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January 25, 2010 10:30:52 PM

Whats the Compaq model number for the whole system? While the chipset and socket are capable of taking an upgrade, the bios is the sticking point. HP/Compaq write the bios (not Asus) and they generally only spend the money to write for the CPUs that they plan to sell for the system. Then instead of upgrading, you have to go buy a new system from them. Sometimes, they will do bios updates and include other CPUs, but only they will know that. Sending them an email is your best bet asking for supported CPUs and required bios for them.

Still can do the hard drive or solid state drive update. If you can get the actual model number of your HDD, just having a seagate doesn't tell us anything.
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January 25, 2010 10:43:41 PM

its HP Pavilion A6430F and the HDD is a Hitachi 725032GLA i have 2 of them in there i believe they are 300gb each
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January 26, 2010 12:11:46 AM

Here's a few mixed signals from HP. This is their product page for your system.
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/documentSubCategory?...
It shows the 8400x3 on the product specification page. But the 8400 doesn't show as an option for the mobo specifications. Then they have an updates/upgrades page with the following:

First time I've ever seen a system builder provide a document like this!!!!
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=bph...

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

So the only way to know what CPU your system will support is contact HP.

Can't find any info on the HDD. Based on the age, I'd say its a slower HDD. Either way, one component isn't going to increase 25man runs on WoW.
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January 26, 2010 1:10:09 AM

i just ordered that 550BE, im going to give it a shot and hope improves a little :) 
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January 26, 2010 1:24:33 AM

It will help quite a bit since Wow responds more to clock speed rather than the number of cores. For your raids you might need to turn the detail level down a notch or two. Are the two harddrives in a raid array?
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January 26, 2010 2:33:15 AM

im not sure what a raid array means lol :p 
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January 26, 2010 8:02:37 AM

That's a real gamble buying before confirming the bios will allow it. Good luck.
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January 26, 2010 3:45:36 PM

Raid array is the way the motherboard writes to and reads from the hard drives. A raid 0 writes portions of the data on each disk so it is faster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

As far as the 550BE is concerned it is an awesome chip, but you may end up needing to buy a new motherboard to use it. If you have to buy a new board you can get a cheap AM3 board that will do what you want.

Good luck.
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January 26, 2010 5:12:29 PM

can you show me a cheap mobo that will work with the 550BE chip? also could i use all my old parts from my current mobo on the new one or do i have to buy more stuff?
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January 26, 2010 5:50:13 PM

Without know what you have connected I can’t pick out a board. Considering your ram is ddr2 you can still use it will that chip but you can’t buy an AM3 board and continue to use the ddr2. You can get a different AM2+ board that will support your ram. Here are some cheap boards that may be able to unlock the 3rd and 4th cores on your chip:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you tell me what you need in a board I can guide you a little better.
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January 26, 2010 6:25:39 PM

well i ordered the 550BE so really i just need a board that will support it and i can swap parts from my old board to the new one to play games on without much or any lag. so if i buy a new board i'll have to upgrade to ddr3 ram? will those boards even fit in my HP?
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January 26, 2010 9:29:21 PM

A hurdle that presents itself when swapping mobos is the OS from an OEM builder. They can build in a check to make sure you're using the OS they provided on one of their products. That's done through a bios check. Replacing the mobo, you loose the bios, so you may end up having to buy a new copy of Windows also. I'm not trying to seem like a pessimist, or that the OS won't work on a new mobo, its just something to be prepared for.
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January 27, 2010 7:03:45 AM

i have a copy of windows xp laying around, im still trying to figure out if my current mobo will take the 550BE and if it doesnt what mobo to buy that will fit in my HP
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January 27, 2010 12:36:03 PM

dacviet said:
well i ordered the 550BE so really i just need a board that will support it and i can swap parts from my old board to the new one to play games on without much or any lag. so if i buy a new board i'll have to upgrade to ddr3 ram? will those boards even fit in my HP?


What I mean by what you need from it is what you are connecting to it. How many “parts” from your old board use the pci slots?

You only need ddr3 if you want an AM3 board. If you go with an AM2+ board like the ones I listed you can use your old ddr2 ram.

The mother board that you said your comp has is a Micro-ATX at 9.6x9.6. All the boards that I listed are Micro-ATX and slightly smaller than 9.6x9.6 so they should fit fine.

Now here is my suggestion. When you get the 550BE if it works in your board, then that’s great. If it does not; I would do one of two things return it or do an AM3 setup. The reason I say do an AM3 set up is because right now your board only supports 2gb of ram and down the line I know you are going to want to have 4gb of ram. As ddr2 ram goes away and ddr3 takes over ddr2 ram will begin to cost more and will only be able to work as fast as your old ddr2 ram. Buying ddr3 ram now will cost you about $90-$100 extra for 4gb which isn’t bad. Going with an AM3 board will make it so you can upgrade later without being in the situation you are in now.

There is one thing that I did notice about the board you have; the chipset supports raid. That means that if you change boards you need to know if raid is set up and if you would like to set it up again.
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January 27, 2010 6:22:16 PM

ok good deal i think i understand what you are saying now except for the raid setup i've tried looking for it and i dont think my computer has it right now, should i try getting a raid controller also? and thanks for all the help and advice im really learning alot too! :) 
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January 27, 2010 6:44:16 PM

dacviet said:
ok good deal i think i understand what you are saying now except for the raid setup i've tried looking for it and i dont think my computer has it right now, should i try getting a raid controller also? and thanks for all the help and advice im really learning alot too! :) 

I don’t think you need a raid controller but if you wanted to do a raid setup I would get one. It’s good to heard that you are learning a lot. If you have any more question shot, if not when you get the chip in and find out whether or not it works let us know.

Good luck
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January 27, 2010 8:57:49 PM

yeah i should have the chip tomorrow, i'll let you guys know if it does or doesnt work :p  thanks
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January 28, 2010 7:35:53 PM

im assuming it wont work cause i just put it in and when i turned the computer on it wont boot lol
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February 2, 2010 3:16:17 PM

dacviet said:
im assuming it wont work cause i just put it in and when i turned the computer on it wont boot lol

Lol yea, so what course of action do you want to take?
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February 2, 2010 5:25:39 PM

well i've tried contacting HP to see if they have an update but they dont. so i guess my only option is to buy a new mobo. can you help find me a cheap one that will still fit inside my hp and i can re use all of my parts?
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February 2, 2010 6:00:36 PM

Either of these boards will fit in your case and use your components:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here are two boards that will need you to upgrade to ddr3 ram:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As we spoke about earlier you can get 2gb of ram for about $60 and 4gb of ram for about $85. If you upgrade now you pay about $70-$95 more than just getting a new board and it will cost lease then you trying to buy more ram 8 months from now. The choice is yours but I would do a full upgrade now and save money in the long run.
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February 2, 2010 6:45:59 PM

yeah that would probly be better for me, ill just find a board that works with dd3 ram then. thanks alot for the help!! :) 
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February 2, 2010 7:11:27 PM

dacviet said:
yeah that would probly be better for me, ill just find a board that works with dd3 ram then. thanks alot for the help!! :) 


Well either of the 2 AM3 boards that I posted will work well, and both have a chip set that will allow you to unlock the two extra cores on your chip. Personally I would go with the asrock: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is the ram I would get: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hope everything turns out well.
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