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Need some advice on upgrade

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  • Homebuilt
  • CPUs
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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March 8, 2010 9:31:31 PM

Hello all,

Long time reader, new to posting. I am thinking about upgrading my system and would appreciate any advice.

Currently running:
MSI K9A2 Platinum
AMD Athlon 64x2 5000+BE @3GHZ (Brisbane)
ZeroTherm Nirvana NV120 (CPU cooler)
4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800
ATI Radeon 3870x2 (had 2 crossfired, but same performace as a single; CPU bottleneck perhaps?)
Seagate ST3400320AS 300ish GB.

That should take care of the the important components.

I'm looking for a minor upgrade, so I really don't want to upgrade the MOBO or RAM unless it's necessary. I'm thinking the cpu and gpu.
I use this mainly for gaming. I am wondering what would be a decent upgrade for the cpu, go cheap with an Athlon II or more expensive with Phenom II. I will do a new build if/when bulldozer (renamed now?) rolls out in the next say 5 years.....

There are plenty of options for gpu with AMD, and reading the reviews for cards here, there are a couple of attractive setups that can fit in this build. But any preferences or experiences with crossfire vs single cards would be appreciated.

If i left anything out please let me know. Otherwise, thanks for your time and I look forward to reading your responses.


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a b B Homebuilt system
March 8, 2010 10:55:12 PM

That sounds like the motherboard you have is capable of crossfire and AM3 CPU's.

I'd first buy an Athlon II x3 and see where that leaves you. If it's still not enough, go with a 4870 or a 5770. Or I guess the 5850. But what you have now is supposed to be next to the 4850 which is a pretty good card still.

Does that mean you don't have the other card anymore?
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March 8, 2010 11:00:17 PM

I still have both of the 3870x2's. Bought those when they were new to the market for around 450 each. Unplugged one because I didn't see any improvement, that's why I was thinking about a cpu upgrade and what would be the best fit without the hassle of MOBO upgrade. And would I need to upgrade the MOBO for an AM3 cpu and DDR3 ram. Or would the AM3 cpu work well enough with the DDR2.

I will save that when their next platform rolls out.

Thanks for the response.
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March 8, 2010 11:04:23 PM

The mobo supports running both in 8x, so there should be some improvement, run some benchmarking with a single and with both, and compare the scores. 3dmark 06 should be good for the ati cards as vantage is better for the dx10/phyx nvidia cards.
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March 8, 2010 11:13:31 PM

I did when I got them. Of course, crossfire wasn't even supported when I bought the cards, had to wait a couple of months for the option to enable them. Even after that, there wasn't an improvement. Granted it has been a long time and crossfire is more mature. I was still thinking if the cpu was a bottleneck. If not then I can hold off for awhile, just had some cash burning a hole in my pocket. But, if it is better used for a complete future build, then I can wait.

I have the Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE with the 1000w psu, so power and cooling shouldn't be an issue with any upgrade. Not sure how good that psu is..but it has alot of connections.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 9, 2010 2:10:15 AM

It should be fine (actually overkill)

Like I said, go with that CPU upgrade and get both running with new drivers. That should show you something better.
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March 9, 2010 2:04:05 PM

So the Athlon II x3 or x4/ or a Phenom II?
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 9, 2010 4:10:32 PM

Yeah, the x3 seems to be the sweet spot for price. But if you can go for the 2.8 gigahertz x4, then that works too. You don't really need one from the phenom line.
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March 9, 2010 7:01:52 PM

That's what I was thinking too. The only thing that draws me to the Phenom is the BE's, bumps in speed for free. Thanks for the help.
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March 9, 2010 7:04:01 PM

Best answer selected by corndawg.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 10, 2010 1:24:05 AM

You can overclock non-BE's
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