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Worth Upgrading?

Last response: in CPUs
September 30, 2010 5:54:47 AM

I'm running an Athlon 64 X2 5200+ that I've had for a few years. I recently upgraded my video card from a GeForce 9800GT to a Radeon HD 5850. I don't feel like I'm getting the frame rate difference that I should be, and I also felt like my 9800 GT was not performing as well as it should have been. Could my CPU be a significant bottleneck at this point? Summary of my system:

CPU: Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (2.6Ghz)
GPU: Radeon HD 5850
RAM: 4GB DDR2 800

Would I get a noticeable performance boost by upgrading to a newer Quad core Phenom (by performance, I mostly mean in games, but elsewhere is good to too)?

More about : worth upgrading

September 30, 2010 6:16:52 AM

What if I don't want to switch motherboards? What AMD CPU would you suggest?
September 30, 2010 6:23:42 AM

You can try Phenom II x4 940 or Phenom II x4 955 (if your motherboard supports it)
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September 30, 2010 9:11:15 PM

Thanks for your unbiased opinions malmental :p 

I'm not home now and I can't check the details, but I do know that it's an AM2 socket and I can't overclock at all (I've tried, system doesn't start even after a 100MHz bump). My motherboard is an MSI K9N4-SLI if you want to see the specs.

September 30, 2010 9:44:34 PM

I looked up your board and unfortunately it cant support anything over a Athlon X2 and no am2+ CPU updates or am3. But what you could do is buy a older am2+ Bord, and maybe phoneme 2 940 or Athlon2 x4. This would save you from buying new ram. :)  I did the same thing when i wanted to upgrade my CPU from a old am2 4200, but ddr3 was a arm and a leg. So i got a nice am2+ MB and CPU and just swamped the ram. But don't know what your budget is.
September 30, 2010 9:58:38 PM

I can spend whatever I need to (using the word 'need' very loosely here considering why I'm upgrading this stuff), I just tend to be frugal. But I guess I'll get an AM3 motherboard and Phenom x4 of some sort.

And now that I'll be switching motherboards, that brings Intel in as an option. I'm not trying to start a flamewar here, but of all the quad core options from AMD and Intel, what would get me the most bang for my buck? Maybe that isn't an easy question to answer considering all the options.
September 30, 2010 10:27:53 PM

best bang for the buck is AMD.. the better cpu is Intel.

I agree AMD best bang for the buck and Intel is faster it is all what your willing to pay. Personally i would go amd for the price to performance point. :) 
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October 1, 2010 3:27:21 AM

My opinion is not to upgrade the cpu. If you can't put something in that will seriously help the 5850.... ( 955/945 etc. ) It's not worth doing.

I just built a system using the Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H. One heck of a nice board for only $64. That along with above mentioned processor and your ram ( if compatible ) would be a big jump in performance.
October 1, 2010 3:34:20 AM


Upgrade to am3 or intel icore series = new ram. Your have 800 which = DDR2 you will need DDR3 for either system. You could, if you don't wanna buy ram also, but a am2+ board (most support am3) and go that route. But if you cna afford it get the ram too, G.Skill 2x2GB runs around 90 bucks and its 1600.
October 1, 2010 3:48:40 AM

if you live near a microcenter they have the best prices on cpus...
October 1, 2010 1:31:23 PM

AMD route is about 20% cheaper for not a huge difference in performace (well in the UK anyways) I got New Mobo, CPU, PSU, RAM.

AMD - £395
Phenom II X6 1055T - £147 - Asus M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 - £85 - G-Skill Ripjaw 2x2gb DDR3 1600mhz - £93 Coolermaster GX750w £70

Intel - £540
i7 930 2.8ghz - £212 - Asus P6X58D-E - £145 - Geil Black Dragon 3x2gb - £114 - Coolermaster GX750w - £70

October 1, 2010 1:47:47 PM

love microcenter.
you must be a Floridian..

Actually am an Ohio native
October 3, 2010 12:25:47 AM

Dang, I have 3 sticks. Well, I'll change the configuration if it seems to be sluggish. Thanks for the advice!
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October 6, 2010 2:08:11 AM

I think I read somewhere that the system will utilize the 3gigs and optimize it. But I would "try" running it in dual channel mode. Most systems need extra ram these days. I am using that board with a 6core BE and 4 1gig sticks of XMS2. Runs like a champ. No reason yours shouldn't either. Don't worry about the ram being a bottleneck. Most people will never know the difference between DDR2 800 and DDR3 1600. No worries. You got a good system with the board/memory/5850. Let us know how it goes.
October 6, 2010 2:38:07 AM

I recommend upgrading your CPU to a i7-950 or something around that, due to the fact that it is a bottle neck in your system.
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October 6, 2010 2:44:09 AM

funny. i was born in cleveland oh.
so in a way, i am too. lol

Did someone say microcenter and ohio :o  ? :lol: 

Dayton ohio native here but loved the Cincinnati MC. :D 
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October 6, 2010 1:10:51 PM

gdtyra said:
Alright, I've ordered the motherboard that swifty_morgan mentioned and a Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition. No new RAM for now because that board supports my 800. Do you expect the RAM to now be a bottleneck? highlife mentioned DDR3 being necessary.

If gaming is yer thang and you wish to frugal-out, snag the Phenom II 555BE / Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H combo for $142. It will:

1) Push your HD 5850 'just dandy' :D  ;
2) Possibly unlock to a quad core;
3) Overclock like a dream; and
4) Move to an AM3+ motherboard in a few years when you are ready for DDR3 memory.

Additionally --- don't worry about a loss of performance in 'dual channel' (generally seen as a 5% increase over single-channel). For each 10% you increase the NB/IMC speed on the Phenom II, latency is reduced 3-4% and bandwidth is increased 3-4%. Raising the NB/IMC speed from stock 2000MHz to 2400MHz is as close to a 'slam dunk' as AMD/Intel flame wars are annoying.

'Enthusiasts' are now passing 3000MHz with their NB/IMC speeds so you should have little difficulty with a 'piddling' 20% increase.

What PSU are you using to push that HD 5850 ?

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October 6, 2010 3:22:26 PM

Dude, he already made his purchase if you were reading. But I have to ask, who in their right mind would buy a dual core processor at this point in time ? Most certainly not a multi tasker nor a gamer......
October 8, 2010 3:38:28 AM

I just wanted to come back and say that the new CPU made all the difference. Definitely unlocked my GPU's full potential. Everything runs ridiculously well now!

Thanks again for the advice!
October 8, 2010 11:26:27 AM

lupinesithlord said:
if you live near a microcenter they have the best prices on cpus...

I don't think Micro Center posts internationally.

Is there a store with cheap CPU's that ships out to Australia?