Athlon64 X2 6000+, time to upgrade or the problem elsewhere ?

I'm wondering is there something I can do to get better gaming performance out of my PC. From the point of view of someone with limited knowledge about this the CPU appears to be the weakest link, as CPU usage is more often than not between 80-100% whenever an even slightly performance intensive game is running. I upgraded my graphics card to a HD5770 from a HD3850 2 months ago, but in WoW the upgrade had zero effect.

- WoW: FPS in Dalaran (=a busy city) is between 15-25 at crowded times. In 25man raids usually the same, sometimes dropping below 10. Anywhere else I'm sitting at 60fps which is what I've limited it to, aside from 10man raids which still stay above ~35 usually. CPU usage seems to be always very high.

- Splinter Cell Conviction: tried this game a few days ago, whenever there's "something going on", FPS is pretty much locked between 15-25. Changing the graphics settings even from maximum to minimum had no noticeable effect. CPU usage at 100%.

- Knights of the Old Republic: this one's odd, the game is 7 years old but CPU usage is constantly close to 100% and FPS pretty much never goes above 25.

That last example made me suspect there's something wrong (though I guess it's possible the problem is in the game's support of newer hardware), that the component hasn't hit a performance cap but is simply aging, or something.

GPU temperature tends to stay below 50 Celsius, CPU during gaming 50-59 Celsius.

Full computer specs:
CPU: AMD Athlon64 X2 6000+
GPU: Radeon HD5770 1024mb
Memory: 3gb DDR2 333Mhz
Mainboard: Asus M2N
Harddrives: 80bg (rather old) and 500gb, both are IDE/ATA (could this be slowing the PC down ? My father who has worked with computers for ~20 years insists you can't notice a difference between ATA and SATA in "normal" use, but sometimes I suspect his info is outdated)

Thanks in advance
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More about athlon64 6000 time upgrade problem
  1. ct1615 said:
    i owned the athlon x2 6000 one time. it ran WoW fine, not great but not bad. what resolution are you playing at? your WoW FPS, hitting 60 everywhere but dalarn and raids is fine.

    1680x1050 resolution. I'll add that just like Conviction, changing the graphics settings has close to zero effect in WoW performance.

    Having spent hours researching ways to get WoW to perform better some time ago, I know there are a LOT of people who aren't getting any better performance in WoW, but there are also a lot who are, but they're never able to explain the difference (and it almost seems it has nothing to do with PC specs, heh). I'm wondering whether there's the same cause behind it's low performance as in the case of the other games I mentioned.
  2. If I were to upgrade my CPU, would I have to get a new motherboard as well ? I was a able to identify my motherboard more precisely as "Asus m2n nforce430 atx", and it appears it does not support AM3 socket processors (it doesn't seem to have AM2+ support, only AM2), is this correct ?

    Anything else I should take into account when upgrading ? For example, how much of a waste is it to use DDR2 memory with a motherboard supporting DDR3 (or does it even support DDR2 in the first place).
  3. What ram r u using if u upgrade i suggest getting DDR3, if ur ram is good (hopefully xms2) ill buy it off you oh yer its obviously not 333mhz xD
  4. Quote:

    Harddrives: 80bg (rather old) and 500gb, both are IDE/ATA (could this be slowing the PC down ? My father who has worked with computers for ~20 years insists you can't notice a difference between ATA and SATA in "normal" use, but sometimes I suspect his info is outdated)

    HDDs have certainly improved the last couple of years.

    It's not just about the interface but the HDD's themselves have been improved.
    For example, have a look at this comparison between an older and a newer HDD:,2377-12.html
  5. Time for a complete upgrade if you are not happy with your systems performance. The only thing I would save is your GPU from the list above.
    IDE drives? I am afraid that yeah your dad is just not being rational here. With the size of the games, the OS, and everything else going on inside your system these days, you definitely need to make the old ATA drives go away and replace them with SATA drives. A decent SATA drive does not cost much, and they are literally 10 times faster than the drives you have now. You will notice a difference.
    you might want to keep the 500gig drive as a secondary or backup, but the 80 gig needs to go out to pasture.
  6. The 80GB obviously is slow, but the 500GB isn't slowed down that much by its IDE interface. It can't burst at 150MB/s or 300MB/s, but 100MB/s or 133MB/s as provided by current motherboards still provides acceptable performance. Most 7200 RPM hard drives can't saturate a 100MB/s interface. If a 40-wire instead of an 80-wire ribbon cable is used, then it will run slower, but that's easy to fix.
  7. Asus finally put out a bios update about 2 weeks ago for the M2N-VA, it's lableled like 5000. This was the first update in at least a year and allows multiple Phenom, athlon and other AM3 chips, there's an updated cpu list.
    Only caveat, didn't look at it for one using the Nvidia chipset but works fine with the amd690 default chipset. Loaded and tried on son's system and works good. When he forks over for a new board he'll already have the processor.
    Sorry Correction!!!! M2A-VM series Sorry! Correction, back to my cave.
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