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Upgrade Advice

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Last response: in Systems
March 17, 2010 7:06:27 PM

I'm about to make a slight upgrade to my PC to hold me over until I buy a new system later this year.
Currently I have an AMD x2 240, radeon 4550, 4gigs of ram, and an Asus m3a76-cm MB running on windows 7 64-bit.
My computer is actually a cyberpower that bought for around 400 bucks so it came with a no name 420w power supply.

What I'm thinking of buying

CPU: AMD x4 940 AM2+, Will I see a noticeable difference upgrading to a phenom x4 from an x2 240?

GPU: Radeon 5770 or 4870, This is where I'm having a bit of trouble. The 4870 performs a bit better but the 5770 I think runs cooler and consumes less power, but I heard of the gray screen and big cursor issues with windows 7 64-bit. Is that still a problem?

PSU: Antec BP550 plus. I know my current PSU wouldn't be able to handle the new parts, plus it doesn't have a 6 pin connector. I also like the fact the Antec PSU is modular.

Other suggestions are welcome.

More about : upgrade advice

March 17, 2010 7:12:38 PM

Might want to follow the guidelines from the link in my signature.

A couple of things to point out.

First, the AM2+ socket is dead. Either buy an AM3 CPU (which will work in AM2+ sockets), or plan to replace the CPU, board and RAM to be current.

Second, buy a quality unit. Antec generally makes good units, but their bargain series (Basiq and BP) aren't very good quality. For $4 more (counting shipping), you can get a high quality Antec Earthwatts 650W.

Third, definitely get the 5770. If you got the 4870, you'd be looking at replacing it in a year or so. The problems have been fixed for a month since the last driver update. It also wasn't that big of a deal.
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March 17, 2010 7:17:32 PM

the antec bp 550 actually aint too bad its made be delta unlike the other bp series made by fsp, for reference delta also make the antec ea430/ea500/ea650 and sg650/850 series
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March 17, 2010 7:19:54 PM

Still, for only $4 more, I'd rather have the Earthwatts. I don't trust any PSU that isn't at least 80 Plus Certified...
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March 17, 2010 7:21:30 PM

420W? Sounds like one of the cheaper Apevia boxes of dung. You might get 350W out of it on a cool day. For a while...
But yes, those upgrades will make a huge difference; not "slight" at all. I don't know what your budget is, but although that particular PSU can be trusted, I'd only call it "ok" if only because there are much more efficient ones available. Look at the Earthwatts 500D (the 80+ bronze one) or the 550W Truepower New if you prefer Antec, or a 550VX for Corsair.

Edit: I agree with Mad Admiral on getting an AM3 CPU. Especially if it allows more money for a nicer PSU, check out the Athlon II X4 440 for $85; $71 less than the 940BE.
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March 17, 2010 7:22:01 PM

Thanks for the reply. Sorry for not following the guidelines. I looked through the sticky before posting, but didn't think all that information was needed for a few parts.

And yeah I know the AM2+ is dead. But like I said, I'm going to build a new system later this year. I'm really just looking for a cheap quad core for now.

That Antec is actually $10. Do you think a 650w is necessary for this build? This computer is just temporary. How bad can the BP series be?

And for the video card. I think I will go with the 5770.

Thanks
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March 17, 2010 7:26:39 PM

Onus said:
420W? Sounds like one of the cheaper Apevia boxes of dung. You might get 350W out of it on a cool day. For a while...
But yes, those upgrades will make a huge difference; not "slight" at all. I don't know what your budget is, but although that particular PSU can be trusted, I'd only call it "ok" if only because there are much more efficient ones available. Look at the Earthwatts 500D (the 80+ bronze one) or the 550W Truepower New if you prefer Antec, or a 550VX for Corsair.


Cool. I'm glad to know I see a big performance boost. I knew that for the video card, cause the 4550 is crap. I just wasn't sure on how fast the x4 940 actually was.

And it seems like I do need to change the power supply. I guess I'll go for something better. Though I would prefer a modular one. Any suggestions for one around 60-70 bucks?
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March 17, 2010 7:29:07 PM

The 650W has free shipping, while the BP550 has a $6 shipping charge. $10 price increase - $6 saved in shipping = $4.

I would buy the 650W as it can be used in another build. Why buy a PSU that you're going to replace when you can spend only slightly more for one that you can reuse?
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March 17, 2010 7:32:45 PM

The Truepower New is semi-modular; most commonly needed cables are fixed, and additional ones are modular. If you get the CPU I suggest in my edit, you'll then have up to $131-$141 for a PSU. If you want a quad, get the Athlon II X4 630 for $100, which allows another $56 for the PSU (still enough).
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March 17, 2010 7:34:14 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The 650W has free shipping, while the BP550 has a $6 shipping charge. $10 price increase - $6 saved in shipping = $4.

I would buy the 650W as it can be used in another build. Why buy a PSU that you're going to replace when you can spend only slightly more for one that you can reuse?


Ah, I didn't notice the shipping. Thanks for that. I actually wasn't planning on reusing it. I'm going to give this computer to my younger brother once I buy my new one. But you're right, I'll make the PSU upgrade to the 650 earth watts.

So I decided on the phenom x4 940, radeon 5770, and the 650 earth watts. Any other suggestions, or am I free to click the buy button?

edit: Does the M3A76-cm support AM3? I've looked through the manual, and I only see it mention AM2 and AM2+. I really don't want to buy a new MB, especially if the phenom 940 is a fast quad core.

edit2: Ok, screw modular. the Earth Watt it is.
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March 17, 2010 7:36:42 PM

Hard to beat the value of the 650W Earthwatts for only $75, but $100 buys the 650W version of the Truepower New, which is [semi] modular, and even more efficient. Neither is a bad choice, it depends on your budget and what you want.

Edit: If you're not going to re-use this PSU, the EA-500D is the same price as the EA-650, also has free shipping, is easily powerful enough for this rig, and is 80+ bronze instead of just 80+.
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March 17, 2010 7:48:35 PM

I dont really have a hard budget. I'm just looking for the best bang for buck. But right now it seems like I'll be spending $390, so it seems like 400 is the maximum.

I decided on the XFX 5770, Antec EarthWatts 650, and phenom 940 x4. AM3 isn't really important since I'm going to buy an i7 system later this year. And I'm sure after the upgrades, this computer should be more than enough for my brother, who isn't much of a PC gamer.

So any other suggestions, or do you guys think I'm set?

Thanks everyone for all your quick help.
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March 17, 2010 7:53:22 PM

If he's not much of a gamer, why get a HD5770? A HD5670 would be sufficient, and a lot cheaper; and before you give it away, it's still a lot more powerful than that HD4550 you have now.
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March 17, 2010 7:56:45 PM

Oh, and make sure the 940 is on the supported list for the mobo. It may be AM2+, but if it can't handle 125W CPUs, you may be limited to 95W. If that's the case, you'd be limited to an Athlon II X4.

Edit: I checked the list at http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=aU8effdifLvraVze and the board does support 125W CPUs (but not the 140W 965BE). You're good to go.
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March 17, 2010 7:58:34 PM

Well, it's cause I'm the one who really wants a good video card. I have a 1920x1080 monitor and I want to play bad company 2, and the starcraft 2 at the highest settings as possible without going broke. And he is a gamer just not PC, he plays xbox. But he might get a couple of games for the PC once I give him the computer.
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March 17, 2010 8:01:14 PM

Onus said:
Oh, and make sure the 940 is on the supported list for the mobo. It may be AM2+, but if it can't handle 125W CPUs, you may be limited to 95W. If that's the case, you'd be limited to an Athlon II X4.


Thanks for telling me, I just checked, and it does support Phenoms and 125w CPUs.
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March 17, 2010 8:03:53 PM

Just so you know, a 5770 cannot play games at max setting at 1900x. You need at least the 5850 for that.
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March 17, 2010 8:09:56 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Just so you know, a 5770 cannot play games at max setting at 1900x. You need at least the 5850 for that.


Yeah I know I won't be able to completely max out every game(maybe starcraft 2), but it'll be a hell of a lot better than a 4550. I'm just looking for good quality and performance at my native resolution. A 5850 is for my later purchase. Or maybe a new nvidia, if the gf100 ever come out. But anyways, that's months from now. I just wanted this upgrade to hold me over.
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March 17, 2010 8:10:07 PM

Waiting for new technology to do your main upgrade?
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March 17, 2010 8:14:41 PM

willmalcom said:
Waiting for new technology to do your main upgrade?


Yup.

Thanks MadAdmiral and Jtt. I really appreciate your help. I'm glad I posted here before making the plunge.
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