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Salvage/Upgrade from Athlon 64 3500+ DDR1 era system to DDR3 system

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June 22, 2010 6:40:36 PM

Hello,

Last week my motherboard/cpu (I think) went bad. Essentially the motherboard 'might' power on, and I might be able to use either of my OS's (I have dual boot to either XP or Linux - Ubuntu), however, any time I use the ethernet (regardless of OS) the system becomes unstable and crashes. At other times the system might not come up at all, and all that happens from pressing the power button is the power supply will come on but nothing else. I guess 'something' on the motherboard is still working because holding the power button for 5 seconds will still power off the system.

At any rate, I was planning to replace this motherboard (ASUS A8V-e Deluxe) anyway because USB 2.0 ever worked properly with it from the beginning, and I later found out that there was a design flaw in early versions of the board (and of course Asus didn't want to have anything to do with me in terms of getting the updated revision just 4 months later when I started calling their support line).

What I'd like to replace are my motherboard, CPU, RAM (since it's DDR1 and only 1GB) and power supply (as I have a hunch it was this 'bargain' power supply that ended up fully killing the motherboard).

I'd like to get into a system that supports DDR3 RAM, and might as well get support for USB 3.0.

I was thinking of going with an I3 processor, but, if there is an AMD processor out there offering more bang for the buck, I could be easily convinced otherwise.

Obviously I have a budget as well. It's not written in stone, but, I'd like to keep this under $400.

Also, since this is my first 'rebuild' in about 5 years, I'm wondering if there is anything else I'd need to also replace? I haven't even physically 'looked' at a CPU in 5 years, so, for example, will my fairly good cpu cooler that fits on my AMD Athlon 64 3500+ also need to be replaced if I went to an Intel I3 ?

I'm not much of a gamer, the only game I've played has really been CIV4, and my existing system ran that fine, so, I doubt I need to upgrade my existing PCI-e video card which should be able to carry over.

So, in summary I'm really looking for recommendations on:
1) Motherboard that supports I3 CPU (again, make a case for AMD and I could be convinced). Also for reasons given above, if all else being equal, I'd prefer a brand other than ASUS.
2) RAM -- would like to get about 4GB or more. I'm actually more concerned about making sure I use the DDR3 RAM properly in DDR3 mode (assuming an I3 even properly uses it that way, and I'm not sure about that from my research so far).
3) Recommendation on a good reliable power supply.
4) Budget: $400-ish, cheaper is better, but, willing to go above that by quite a bit if a good case can be made for doing so.

and 5) if I can not reuse my existing CPU cooler (as I had it on an AMD Athlon 64 and I'm planning to go to an Intel I3), well, then a recommendation on what to use.

and perhaps 6) Do I maybe want to get into an I5 instead for the extra $30 it seems to cost at newegg ?

I should add that add that although I am not much of a gamer, I do use my system as a upnp media server to my xbox, and, at the same time might be browsing the internet -- so there is a fair bit of multitasking going on. That said, I'm thinking moving the upnp server to a network storage device in the not too distant future.

If anyone has any advice and/or opinions would be welcome. Essentially looking to get the most bang for the buck in this $400 ish (as in give or take even $200) upgrade.

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
June 22, 2010 6:58:49 PM

You're not getting an i3 for $400. The CPU and board alone will cost at least $200. Also, you're likely not getting USB 3 at that price either. It's possible that you're not even going to get 4 GB of RAM, but I'll look for some deals...

Here's what I'm starting with (I'll edit for good links and what you should be getting):

CPU/Mobo: X3 440 and MSI 870A-G54 $150 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case: Coolermaster Elite $40 after rebate
PSU/Optical: OCZ ModXStream 500W and cheap SATA DVD burner $49 after rebate

Total: $404
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
June 22, 2010 7:34:43 PM

Mainly, don't bother with Intel unless you like throwing money away. You're paying 30-40% more for the same performance across the board. There IS a cheaper AMD equivalent for everything except the over-$500 processors at the super high end.

Everything else above I pretty much agree with, except that if it were my machine, I'd drop a few extra bucks to get a quad-core instead of a triple-core, like this combo:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also, Tiger Direct is selling the same exact hard drive for $5 less: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... ... anmd

Too bad you weren't doing this a week ago, because Tiger was also having a promotion where they were selling Seagate Barracuda 1TB hard drives for $39.99, which is impossibly cheap.
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June 22, 2010 7:37:07 PM

Well, I don't need the HDD or the Case, I'm going to reuse what I've already got. I suppose I can get the cheap SATA DVD burner, as it seems the cost of the bundle is the same as the cost of the power supply alone.

So dropping the case and hdd free's up about $95. The question is though, is I3 worth it? or is AMD X3 at about $100 less for the CPU and motherboard a far better deal? If so, I don't mind sticking to a $309 budget instead :) 

June 22, 2010 7:47:06 PM

EDIT: The second reply appeared as I was writing my own.

So, it seems AMD is definitely a better bang for the buck, especially when considering the lower end CPU's.

I could go with the X4 instead of the I3 then.

Would my CPU cooler from my Athlon 64 be reusable with either the X3 or X4 processors you guys suggested? I'm not sure if the chip physically differs in size (if it matters in a few hours I can tell you the specific model number of the cooler, just don't have it in front of me at the moment).

Also a question about DDR3 in general. Does it require you to add your SDRAM's in 3's in order to get the triple channel access? Or is this an irrelevant question in regards to the chips mentioned above and only applys to systems using an I7 CPU ?

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
June 22, 2010 7:52:24 PM

I'd guess that your CPU cooler isn't compatible, but that's a strict guess. It very well could be. I'd look at the Coolermaster Hyper 21 Plus on Amazon (Newegg's price for it is obscene).

Nothing runs in triple channel except the i7-9xx and the X58 boards. Even then, you don't HAVE to run it in groups of three, it'll just be slower.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 134 V Motherboard
June 22, 2010 8:05:00 PM

Just a couple of thoughts:

1) I'd hold off on getting a CPU cooler. The stock cooler that comes with the CPU should do fine. If you're not happy with it, then go ahead and get a replacement.

2) Motherboard manufacturers are starting to completely eliminate IDE connections. Most motherboards still have one connector, but there are some without any. Make sure the motherboard you select has enough ports for all your IDE components or plan on replacing them with SATA components.

Just my $.02

-Wolf sends
June 22, 2010 9:07:49 PM

I forgot that CPU's in general came with the cooling fan. I think last time I bought my processor as OEM and thus had to go and buy the fan after, still had that thought in my head and didn't want to repeat that.

At any rate, you bring up a great point about IDE connectors. My existing system is a mix of SATA and IDE. Ubuntu boots from the SATA drive, while XP boots from the IDE drive. Also my DVD and CDR burners are IDE.

So, looks like I'll have another challenge of getting my data from the IDE drive (for the most part video and pictures of my daughters). Any recommendation on a board (in the same price range) with an IDE connector? If it's too much hassle, I'll just buy some sort of enclosure, or find a friend who also has an IDE/SATA system and offload my data there.
June 22, 2010 9:36:11 PM

In regards to the IDE connectors though, just by looking at the pictures, it seems the MSI 880GMA-E45 recommended by capt_taco does in fact have the EIDE connectors (despite the fact I don't see it listed in the product specifications). Am I mistaken?

a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 9:41:27 PM

It's got one. PATA is, for the modern builder, the same as IDE.

If it ends up not working, you can easily get a $15-20 external enclosure that does both IDE & SATA. They're pretty handy, actually.
June 22, 2010 10:34:58 PM

Thanks for the confirmation.

One last thing, since 'Bing Cashback' for tiger direct seems to be 12% today (vs apparently zero today for newegg), my preference is to shop there, and thus came across this:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

It's listed for the same price as the MSI 880GMA combo above, but, instead uses the MSI 785GM-E51 board instead. Perhaps I'm getting too much into the fine details now, but, is there a significant difference? Just looking at the pictures, I think the 785 is giving me an extra PCI slot.

EDIT: Not sure if this board supports usb 3.0 though...

Also, as far as power supply goes, is OCZ the best to stick with? How about Thermaltake in the same price point and wattage specifications? For example:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

The least expensive OCZ that Tiger Direct has is a 600 W version:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

As far as the RAM goes, I don't think I see G. Skill being sold at Tiger Direct. Closest a price point (actually a little higher) is Patriot Viper II:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Again, the only reason I'm looking at Tiger Direct is they're roughly the same price as newegg, but, with 'Bing Cashback' at 12%, and the fact that I live in California (nearly 10% sales tax) and newegg must charge tax when shipping there while tiger direct does not, does sway me to buy most if not everything from them.

At any rate, if I use the cheaper power supply listed, and build exclusively from Tiger Direct, my bill comes in at $353 X 0.88 = $310 (plus shipping), which is certainly well under budget. :) 

If advised, I would not be against getting a better power supply.



a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 11:45:33 PM

Out of the PSU's they have, terrible selection btw, I'd go with that OCZ or this
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

The RAM looks okay.

I'd pass on that mobo, if it's the same price the full ATX and whatnot newer chipset mobo is definitely preferable. Just the existence of bing cashback wouldn't be good enough to make me choose from there, they generally have a small selection in comparison. A similar price for a lesser thing does not a comparison make.
June 23, 2010 7:36:51 AM

Actually after I asked the question I realized that the model numbers for the most part refer to the chipset. Again, been a while since I've built anything, and haven't kept up to date.

At any rate, since this is a 'budget build' so to speak, a 22% difference for same/similar components is something to consider. That said, the same package mobo/cpu package at tiger direct is $40 more (then again, 10% tax from newegg because I live in California, and a 12% cashback from bing at TD remove that $40 difference). I'll go with the OCZ power supply, thanks for the advice. I guess Thermaltake isn't that great? Or just that specific one.

How does gigabyte compare with MSI in general? (assuming all else being equal: chipset, ram slots, expansion slots, price, etc). The gigabyte boards seem to be coming in a bit less, and I assume there is a reason for that?

a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
June 23, 2010 7:42:33 AM

No SATA/USB 3.0 but at such a mind bogglingly low price point of $210AR :p 
June 23, 2010 7:49:33 PM

That does seem to be a great price. Can't find how you got the deal on the memory to be $90, best I can find is $107

And can't even find the mobo/cpu combo.

I guess that deal expired.

At any rate, this is just even more options to get me side tracked, not that I mind :) 

a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 8:28:23 PM

Newegg's prices and deals are extremely volatile. That's why you didn't see that price before.

And gigabytes a pretty good brand, I have their mobos in all my stuff.
June 25, 2010 9:53:32 PM

Ok, I think I'm just going to go with batuchka idea and keep it cheap. Use the money later on to upgrade if I need it. Since I'm upgrading from an Athlon 64 3500+ with 1GB DDR to an X3 4 GB DDR3 I'm very likely to already find more than enough improvement to keep me happy (and I'm not really a gamer anyway, other than CIV4, which my 5 year old system played fine).

While searching for the ram he mentioned, I did come across these, both by OCZ and both for about the same price. For the life of me I can't really find the difference between the two. Same speed, same latency, I suppose there's some QC in here to set them apart, but, I haven't a clue. Anyone care to weigh in?

1) OCZ AMD Black Edition (OCZ3BE1600C8LV4GK) - $89.99 (AR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) OCZ Gold 4GB (OCZ3G16004GK) - $ 88.99 (AR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The rest of what I'm getting will be identical to batuchka suggestion 3 replies ago (power supply, sony drive, mobo and cpu). Is the memory I'm suggesting any good? Which would be better (especially considering the rest of what I'm getting)?

At any rate, this puts my total $220 (AR) plus taxes and shipping. Well under budget.

Appreciate everyones help on this.


PS: Yup, I'm aware that what I'm getting won't have USB 3.0, which was what I originally wanted. Ultimately since I have no USB 3.0 devices, I don't know when I'm going to get any, and if I really end up needing it that badly, it might be well down the line that (i.e. 5 years) that I might be looking to upgrade a bunch of things anyway. So, having the extra $60 or so in my pocket seems more prudent, and if absolutely needed I can put it towards getting a USB 3.0 card.

June 25, 2010 10:24:39 PM

Actually, it looks like this decision might be made for me, unless there is some reason I should not get the AMD Black Edition over the Gold series that someone would like to tell me about, I'm going to go for the AMD Black Edition, only because there is a combo for it coming with the power supply I was going to get with that Sony Drive, but, since I didn't need the Sony drive (was getting it only cuz it was free in the bundle) , I'll get this Memory + Power supply bundle instead:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Effectively adds $20 to the price of the RAM alone to get the power supply.

So, my total now is $200 after rebates (plus tax and shipping of course)

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
June 25, 2010 10:58:29 PM

There is a good reason not to get OCZ at all. Their sticks are known to have major compatibility issues with a wide range of boards. It's generally better to avoid OCZ RAM if at all possible. There is a reason why their sticks are so cheap...
June 25, 2010 11:21:03 PM

Ugh... so they make good power supplies, but, bad RAM...

...and I was just about to hit 'submit' on the order... back to the drawing board.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
June 26, 2010 12:42:30 AM

If you're not in a rush to build, you should just keep watching the deals. Every once in a while, an absolute steal comes along...
June 26, 2010 1:00:04 AM

Unfortunately already took a few days more than I wanted to just trying to 'figure' out what I wanted (last time I really kept up to date on hardware was when I built 486's...) And all this for really a $200 build now. So, I'm starting to become what's known as 'penny wise, pound foolish' if we account for the time I've spent :) 

At any rate, I am still debating to try the sticks. I spent some time speaking with a newegg agent (she gave me her name and id) and she said that if the sticks failed to work they'd exchange them. Of course how that would work out in a bundled package is unclear...

At any rate, I suppose I can hold off a few more hours before making a decision, or, I guess cough up an extra $40 for the G. Skill's or corsairs (and get a sony dvd player that I do not need, I guess).

a b B Homebuilt system
June 26, 2010 5:35:50 AM

Well I was gonna warn you to not buy OCZ, but he already did. My DDR3 experience with them has been in not being able to actually get the timings to work as they should, since they generally want unrealistic voltage. Are the corsairs not $80 anymore? I ask because I just helped a friend build a comp and got that on tuesday.

And it's more like, good enough power supplies to be willing to put them in our systems compared to the super crappy/potentially dangerous stuff that's also out there.
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