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Final upgrade to old AM2 PC

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August 6, 2010 4:22:01 PM

What should I upgrade in my pc for maximum performance?

This will be the last upgrade of this system before I bite the bullet and buy a new system. This is for light gaming. I have a budget of around 350-400 pounds. I am looking to change the case, the power supply, GPU and processor. And possibly the RAM if I can find a 2GB stick to fit in-between my 2x1Gb sticks.

I’m UK based but after that, no sites preferred.

I’m held back by 32-bit OS, and AM2 motherboard.

My current computer specifications are below:

AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 6000+ ( 2 x 3.0Ghz )
Vista Home Premium 32 bit
300W power supply
2GB DDR2 667MHz Memory - (2x 1GB)
500GB Serial ATA Hard Drive with 16MB Buffer
256MB nVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT

My Current plans for upgrading are below:

Coolermaster HAF 922 Case - Black
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

£85

AMD Phenom X4 Quad Core 9850 2.50GHz Black Edition (Socket AM2)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

£76.36

ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...

£138.64

I have no idea about the PSU

I intend at some point down the line to overclock.

Thanks in advance.

More about : final upgrade am2

a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 4:43:49 PM

Umm...400 quids=600 dollars, right?

Lemme see...
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August 6, 2010 5:11:19 PM

what motherboard do you have, as an updated BIOS may allow for AM3 processors (or at least AM2+ Phenom II's), as the original Phenom cpu's weren't that good
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 5:15:38 PM

P.S : If you wanna overclock, you'll ideally need an aftermarket HSF.

Also if you want a quad, go with an Athlon II or Phenom II quad, rather than a Phenom.

Slightly more expensive, but well worth it.
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August 6, 2010 5:18:41 PM

calguyhunk said:
P.S : If you wanna overclock, you'll ideally need an aftermarket HSF.

Also if you want a quad, go with an Athlon II or Phenom II quad, rather than a Phenom.

Slightly more expensive, but well worth it.


before he buys one, he is going to need to check what board he has to see if they will even work in the board
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 5:21:17 PM

You might wanna check this page out. Ideal for you if you wanna quad.
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August 6, 2010 5:31:15 PM

calguyhunk said:
You might wanna check this page out. Ideal for you if you wanna quad.


what the hell, just wait for him to respond, there might not be a reason to buy a new board, we just need the current board
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August 7, 2010 8:31:17 AM

Hi again, thanks for the replies.

The motherboard i have is a Asus M3N78-AM
http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/motherboar [...] m/details/

However the bundle calguyhunk posted seems to only cost a small amount for a faster and more future proof system.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 10:13:05 AM

Your mobo does support Athlon II & Phenom II quads.

So if you wanna save some money, for now you can postpone the mobo purchase decision.

Asus Website.

Keep your mobo, go with one of the supported Athlon II or Phenom II CPU's.
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August 7, 2010 10:45:05 AM

I had a look around the other ebuyer AMD combos, and i found this one;
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/227294

Please correct me if i'm wrong, but as far i can see, the only difference is that this combo's mobo has 4 DIMM slots and is 7 pounds cheaper. The same processor and same RAM.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 2:28:54 PM

As far as RAM is concerned you're better off with a 2X1 set-up, that is having two 1GB sticks for a total of 2GB or two 2GB sticks for a total of 4GB & so on (since you talked about "max performance" in your original post.

Also look for a cas latency of 7 or lower ideally. It's not of paramount importance though, if you're not gaming. CL9 should be just fine.

1. Your board is standard ATX but it only supports 1333 oc'ed for RAM. So it'll basically just downgrade it to 1066 Mhz.

Mine is uATX but it supports 1333 off the box.

But really, all this is purely academic 'coz the speed difference is barely even noticeable. Read this to find out.
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August 8, 2010 12:32:59 PM

I've been working around my budget and i've come up with this;


AMD Athlon II X4 Quad Core 635 2.90GHz (Socket AM3)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

£76.36

OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800Mhz
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/146049
£68.70

Corsair TX 650W ATX
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...
£59.98

Coolermaster HAF 922
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164961
£80.86

Which comes to £286 w/o Graphics card. So if you could help me find a card that would fit in this system. I don't intend to Crossfire/SLI because of mobo restrictions and PSU.
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2010 3:07:54 PM

1. Your PSU is good enough for SLI / xfire. It's one of the best in the market & you should definitely keep it for your next build.

2. Why would you spend that much on a case? You might wanna go with this mid tower case. Add the extra fans later if you have to - costs just a few quids.

In any case, you wont be needing a dozen fans, if you don't plan to OC.

3. Which mobo are you actually going with? The RAM you've chosen is DDR2 800 but if your mobo supports DDR3 1066 / 1333, you're better off going with that, coz' then you'll be able save it for your next build.

Also, DDR2 800 wont give you the same performance, that say DDR3 (1333) would, but if your mobo supports only DDR2, then it wont take DDR3 anyways.

So please link me to the mobo that you intend to use, or copy / paste the exact name.

Love the Athlon II X4 range, but there are so few choices there. I'd have personally gone with the quad 620, save some money, & OC'ed it :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2010 3:18:51 PM

BTW, if you do choose to save some money by going with a more inexpensive case, (which you should), then the budget for your GPU will rise :D 

If your mobo has a PCIe X16 slot, I'll recommend this bad boy.

The best price / performance card in the market today IMO. It'll allow you to play almost all games on high.

EDIT : You might also wanna go with this one. It's 12 pounds cheaper, but ever so slightly slower & single DVI only.

P.S : Please link all the components for final compatibility checks after going through my previous posts & making your decisions.
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August 8, 2010 6:27:29 PM

Thanks again,

The motherboard i have is a Asus M3N78-AM, which I intend to continue using.
http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/motherboard/asus-m3n78-am/

And as regarding GPU's i had already had my eye on the HD5770, It is what i had decided to be the sweet spot in GPU's.

The only reason I went with the DDR2 800 RAM is because it had a lot of good reviews and preformed at the same voltage as my current RAM. I haven't looked in to changing the voltage in my mobo but i will do.

I went with that case previously because my last system before this one had overheating issues, so i've gone to the other extreme with buying case above my budget.
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August 8, 2010 6:55:14 PM

Also,

I was looking into to case you suggested and this one;
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127584

And just wondered if you think w/o any over-clocking I would need another fan? And also just to confirm there would be enough room to fit a HD5770
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August 8, 2010 8:04:18 PM

I've also never really understood SLI or Crossfire. So, can any motherboard do it? I would imagine it would need 2 PCI express x16 slots which mine doesn't have, but that might not be the case. If you could shed any light on this i would be grateful.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2010 9:09:28 PM

You mentioned that you are limited by Vista 32-bit. Do you have a retail/upgrade license? If so, your Windows key will work for both 32 and 64-bit. Get your hands on a 64-bit Vista disc and re-install a 64-bit version of Vista using your current key. OEM license will not work however.

A 64-bit disc can be obtained directly from Microsoft for a small fee (~$10) here. Or, if you are willing, you can get the iso through "unofficial" channels.
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August 8, 2010 9:14:25 PM

I've looked down that path but found i don't have the required licence. I'm instead looking into the student version of Win 7. After i've made these upgrades i need a new HDD so i'll prob install Win 7 then and then transfer it over.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2010 5:56:19 AM

By unofficial, he means a certain Swedish website. I dunno if we're supposed to promote that here though.

Downloading the iso should be enough. Imgburn should take care of the rest :) 

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER : I do not know about the availability of any such stuff. It's all hearsay. Go with Genuine Microsoft Windows for the safety, security and smooth functioning of your system. Buy Genuine, Kill Piracy :) 
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August 9, 2010 12:31:57 PM

I agree, $10 seems a fair price for the security of my OS.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2010 1:52:40 PM

joeboy235 said:
I agree, $10 seems a fair price for the security of my OS.
10 dollars!!! OMG! You're robbed in broad daylight, man.

I'd say it's more like 1 dollar for Win 7 Ultimate - Build 7600 :lol: 

God bless Imgburn.

Oops!!! Did I say Win 7? I meant Ubuntu 10.04. Seriously, I have gotta learn how to type :p 


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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2010 2:06:40 PM

joeboy235 said:
I've also never really understood SLI or Crossfire. So, can any motherboard do it? I would imagine it would need 2 PCI express x16 slots which mine doesn't have, but that might not be the case. If you could shed any light on this i would be grateful.

Yes, a mobo needs 2 PCIe slots for SLI / Xfire. It's the setting up of dual gfx cards in a slave / master configuration. Both the cards need to be from the same family though. You can also have a 3 way SLI set-up.

The basic difference is that, SLI is Nvidia's tech, whereas Xfire is ATI's.

But really, these are for hardcore gamers. For most people, even serious gamers, 1 card is more than enough.
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August 9, 2010 4:40:54 PM

Just a current overview of what i'm looking at so far;

Asus M3N78-AM
http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/motherboard/asus-m3n78-am/

'In current Build'


500GB standard SATA HDD


'In current Build'


22x Dvd Writer

'In current Build'


AMD Athlon II X4 Quad Core 635 2.90GHz (Socket AM3)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/show [...] -AM&tool=3

£76.36


OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800Mhz
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/146049

£68.70


Corsair TX 650W ATX
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/show [...] -CS&tool=3

£59.98


Coolermaster Elite 330
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127584

£29.26


Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/189741

£131.84

Comes to £366.14 slightly under budget, with room for postage etc.

And i'd also like to make sure that the PSU would have a couple of 4 PIN connectors left over for general use.

Still open to changing parts. I'm in no rush to perchase parts
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August 9, 2010 4:54:19 PM

the 650TX has 8 4-pin (molex) connectors, you should be fine (as it also has 8 sata power connectors)
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August 9, 2010 6:24:44 PM

Thanks for confirming that.
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August 9, 2010 6:29:18 PM

And, do you think that, w/o OC'ing, this case;

Coolermaster Elite 330
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127584

Should keep my system cool with just the rear fan, or should i buy another fan. And if i should buy another fan, should it be a side or front fan?
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August 9, 2010 9:54:50 PM

looks pretty good, though i am no expert on cases (plenty of people here better than me with them)
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 10, 2010 1:33:30 AM

Even without a fan IMO you should be all right. My air-cooled OC'ed 920 works plenty alright with just the one 120 mm fan. My case came with 3, but I had to detach 2 'coz every time I'd switch my comp on, it'd sound like a freakin' jumbo-jet taking off.

Btw, these are the two supported versions of the 635 propus for your motherboard (after a bios upgrade) :

Athlon IIX4 635(ADX635WFK42GM),2.9GHz,512KB,rev.C2,95W,SocketAM3

Athlon IIX4 635(ADX635WFK42GM),2.9GHz,512KB,rev.C3,95W,SocketAM3

If your DVD writer is IDE (& not SATA), make sure your PSU provides an IDE connector as well.
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August 10, 2010 9:27:38 AM

I've been looking into a bios update, and it seems my motherboard has a feature to make it easier ( Asus E-Z Flash ). And since i'm moving from AM2 to AM3, am i right in thinking, that if i update the bios on current AM2 CPU won't work, or it that not the case?

I looked briefly into Bios updates and came across this;

http://www.downloadatoz.com/driver/item_asus-m3n78-am-b...

This seems to imply that i don't even go into Post Bios and that to update my bios i just run an .exe off my desktop and restart. Is that normally how it is done. The last time i did an bios update i was using floppy disks.

EDIT: I just downloaded the above file and extracted it to a .ROM file. Which is more how i'm used to. I'm not going to do it now, but is it just a case of burning in to a cd?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 2:35:25 AM

You're right. The BIOS update procedure is fairly easy these days. That's exactly how it's done. Just run the downloaded .exe file. Then reboot, and you're good to go.

Yes, by definition BIOS updates are always backwards compatible.

Backup your existing BIOS image first, just in case.
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August 11, 2010 6:06:27 AM

I've been looking around for CPU's, and i can't seem to find any Athlon II x4 2.9GHz with the manufacturer's codes

ADX635WFK42GM
or
ADX635WFK42GI

And i was wondering if the exact code is needed for it to be compatible. What i mean to say is, is the below processor, with the manufacturer's code ADX635WFGIBOX compatible, as only the last 5 letters are different, and perhaps they change with every model, and if not, could you help me in finding one with the same code.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

Thanks again.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 10:25:52 AM

Same processor. I gave you the CPU part no. & you gave me the box part no. - Check this out.

You're good to go :) 
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August 11, 2010 11:09:04 AM

If you could just take another quick run through this, just to make sure it all works,

Current Build:

500GB standard SATA HDD

'In current Build'

22x Dvd Writer

'In current Build'

Asus M3N78-AM
http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/motherboard/asus-m3n78-am/

AMD Athlon II X4 Quad Core 635 2.90GHz (Socket AM3)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

£79.89

Crucial 4GB Kit (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Memory CL6 1.8V
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/142403

£68.34

Corsair TX 650W ATX
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

£59.98

Coolermaster Elite 330
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127584

£29.26

Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/189741

£131.84

Comes to £369.31 slightly under budget, with room for postage etc.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 11:18:43 AM

Looks good, bro. I'm just happy you ain't spending 80 quids on a case :) 

Also, it's better to be under budget than go over. Just in case your mobo wont take the AM3 processor, you can always get yourself a new mobo :kaola: 
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August 11, 2010 11:31:25 AM

Yea, I'm still not 100% about the motherboard and the RAM. I'm still not sure if its worth going a bit over and getting DDR3 RAM and AM3 motherboard. But i keep going round in circles. An Athlon x4 OC'ed is probably going to be just about the end of the AM3 socket so I wonder if it is worth it.

And i know i've said this a couple of times but i'd just a bit worried about the HD5770 fitting in the case i've selected. So if you could please clarify my concerns i would be very grateful.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 2:32:29 PM

AMD website :

"AM3 processors are backwards-compatible with Socket AM2+, contingent upon a BIOS update for the motherboard. Manufacturers including Asus,[5] Gigabyte,[6] and others have labeled existing AM2/AM2+ boards as being "AM3 Ready" or similar, indicating that BIOS support is provided for the specified boards.

This allows existing AM2/AM2+ systems to upgrade the CPU without having to upgrade any other components."

Here's what I think you can do. Buy everything, but the DDR2 RAM. See if the new 635 works, then accordingly, put your money down either for the DDR2 RAM, or a new AM3 mobo + DDR3 RAM.

As far as the GPU goes, well, I can say with certainty, that it fits in mid tower ATX cases. I should know. I use one myself. So there's no reason, that it wont fit into YOUR particular case.

See if your case measures 18.50" x 7.48" x 17.08". Mine does.
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August 11, 2010 2:52:18 PM

First of all You need to change your mother board to am3 (look for 785g or better). Then update your ram upto 4/6 gb ddr3 minimum.them look for a good graphics card like 5770hd or 5750hd. I prefere 5770>5750 just little bucks extra. Your processor and hard disk is looking not bad so no need to change. Remember this two graphics card needs atleast 450 to 500 watt powersupply. Alright i think its enough :) 
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August 11, 2010 2:53:32 PM

First of all You need to change your mother board to am3 (look for 785g or better). Then update your ram upto 4/6 gb ddr3 minimum.them look for a good graphics card like 5770hd or 5750hd. I prefere 5770>5750 just little bucks extra. Your processor and hard disk is looking not bad so no need to change. Remember this two graphics card needs atleast 450 to 500 watt powersupply hd you hardly oc them get minimum 750 watt and a good cooler. Alright i think its enough :) 
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August 12, 2010 5:47:03 AM

Good idea about buying the RAM last, i had already though of doing something similar, and also, thanks for confirming the case.

And Dibakar, thanks for the input, but i'm already confident about not changing my motherboard and changing my CPU instead.
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August 12, 2010 5:48:12 AM

Best answer selected by joeboy235.
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August 12, 2010 6:31:49 AM

I know i've already selected the best answer, but i was wondering, just in case the CPU doesn't work. What king of Motherboard and DDR3 RAM i should go for?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 12, 2010 7:20:24 AM

Firstly, thanks :) 

Secondly, it's gonna work hopefully. If it does'nt, then this is what you should be looking at -

Mobo : Asus M4A87TD/USB3 - 81 incl vat.

RAM : Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) - 76 incl. vat. or OCZ Gold 4GB (2x2GB) - 68 / 70 incl. vat.

I did'nt find any there with CL7, but you wont really be needing 'em until & unless you're a hard-core gamer & in any case, it's gonna be more costly.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 12, 2010 10:05:48 AM

If you're gonna buy something for the future, you're prolly better off going for something with USB 3.0. that's why I chose the Asus M4A87TD/USB3.

You're not a hardcore gamer anyways. By the time you'd wanna xfire, there will be newer (DX-12) cards anyways. So you can just buy one of those, without going for a Xfire set-up with outdated tech.

That was my thought-process anyways. YMMV
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August 12, 2010 11:09:56 AM

No, your right. With technology being as it is there is now point spending extra for the future. I remember when i first built my current system i though it would last for a decade or so.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 12, 2010 11:14:41 AM

Hopefully, there ain't gonna be no snags - Happy Computing :) 
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