Need a new CPU....and help

Ok this is where I stand. I am currently running:

Asus M3A78-EM (rev x.0x according to cpu-z, i assume that means revision 0 or first iteration)
AMD 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane
4 gb ddr2 800
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1gb
Win 7 64 bit

My cpu is bottlenecking my GPU. I have never been able to get full performance out of the 4870. My 9800gt paired with an Intel C2D E8400 and 2gb ddr2 800 gets better performance. According to ASUS's CPU compatability chart for the m3a78em, I can run CERTAIN Phenom II X4 9xx series depending on the BIOS I have. However, not all models are listed as working with my board revision so my choices are somewhat limited. (that is, unless someone knows something i do not.) Now, I know I could upgrade my MOBO for fairly cheap, but that would push me well over what I am willing to spend. (~$150, or the price of the newer 955 revision) Plus, I dont really want to upgrade my MOBO unless im going to get crossfire capability and NOT have to upgrade my memory to DDR3 in the process. That leaves me with very few options as well.

Best scenario for me at this time is to get the BEST CPU, within my budget ,that my MOBO will support without spending too much money for negligable performance gains. I would love to get a 955 but there is only one that will work with my board and is hard to find, or cost more than some that are more easily available. The few CPUs that I can find on newegg that are listed as working with my board are:

AMD Athlon II x4 640 ADX640WFK42GM / ADX640WFGMBOX $99.99
This seems to be pretty much on par with the lower end Phenom II's albeit without the L3 cache

AMD Phenom II X4 920 HDX920XCJ4DGI / HDX920XCGIBOX $119.99
Cheapest offering in the Quad core phenom family that includes an L3 cache, albeit with a slightly lower clock speed than the 640 above.

AMD Phenom II X4 945 HDX945FBK4DGI / HDX945FBGIBOX $135.99

I left out the Athlon II 635 ADX635WFGIBOX simply because it is the same price as the slightly "faster" 640. My board doesnt appear to support any version of the 645.

I left out the Phenom II X4 925 because for all I can see, the only difference between it and the 920 is the lower wattage. Same clock speed yet more expensive

I would prefer the PIIX4 940 Black edition (HDZ940XCGIBOX) for its price/performace/OC ability but I can not find it anywhere at a price that makes sense to pay given the lower prices of the 945 & 955.

I would prefer to buy from Newegg since I have a $40 gift card for them burning a hole in my pocket.

Of course, given my budget i would get one and only ONE 955, the HDZ955FBK4DGI / HDZ955FBGIBOX. BUT I can only find it for a reasonable price without a fan/heatsink, or with the fan/HS it costs WAY more than the newer version available.

Whew, ok. Given all the above, which one should I get? I am leaning at this time to the 640 because it is cheap. However, if you really think the L3 will make that much of a difference I could bump up to the 920 or 945. I just dont see the $36 difference of the 945 over the 640 being worth having the L3. The 920 is cheaper, although with a lower clock speed. Im sure i could squeeze out an extra 200 mhz on the 920 and get a 3ghz with a L3 for a little more. Thoughts?
24 answers Last reply
More about need help
  1. I probably should give some idea of what ill be using this PC for. I use it for gaming, though im not a heavy gamer. I play Fallout 3 & New Vegas, Dead Space, Borderlands, Dragon Age, Divinity2...mostly somewhat older titles and get pretty good performance with my 9800gt/E8400 setup but i hate having that hd4870 sitting there not being used to its potential.
    The other half of my time on this pc would be spent doing rather simple things on the internet, the occasional RAR file extraction, a little Photoshop- nothing too intense.
    I would just put the 4870 in the PC with the E8400, but its a dell and Dell likes to make their PCs next to impossible to upgrade so the 4870 will not fit on the board so im screwed as afar as that goes. The dell will eventually be swapped with the M3A78 PC if i get a better CPU and be relegated to the living room for watching movies and playing music. The M3A78 PC will move to my office as my main gaming rig for when the wife is watching Glee.
  2. As far as I can see on the CPU support list you can even have a X6 and at least 3 versions of the 955
  3. But the only version of the 955 my PCB version will support is the HDX955WFK4DGM, which I can not find without also having to buy a fan/heatsink for it which would put me over the $150 mark.

    Thats where i am confused....It seems that if My board would support up to a 140w cpu, any of the 955's should work. I dont understand why the 955 version HDZ955FBK4DGI 125w would work on my board but the HDZ955FBGMBOX 125w version will not. The chart says the M3A78-EM board revision 1.03 is needed, mine is revision x.0x (0?)
  4. x is sometimes used for a replacement character in generalization. Maybe the x.0x refers to 1.03. The correct revision should be printed somewhere on the board it self close to the name.
  5. i would assume that you would have to get a heat sink and fan anyway as i wouldnt think that your current fan and heat sink would be sufficient. could be wrong.

    wait a few weeks till your account is bigger and get the x6 it is pretty future proof.
  6. Nah, most of the ones im looking at are the reatail boxed versions so they come with the HS/Fan. Leaning towardas either the 640 athlon or the 920 at this point. Only a $20 difference, the 920 having a slightly lower clock speed @ 2.8 than the 640 @ 3.0, but the 920 has the L3 which Im not convinced would make much of a difference. But, i feel fairly confident I should be able to OC it to 955 clock speed @ 3.2 with little trouble. Would be like having the 955 for $119.
  7. Figured it out, my MOBO will ONLY support certain steppings of (insert model here) CPU. I am stuck with either a CERTAIN 955,945,940,920....etc. Newegg has all BUT the 955 and the 940. Pretty much stuck with the 945 and 920 Phenom or the Athlon II 640. Have to decide now if the L3 is worth the extra $20+.
  8. Save more money towards the upcoming Bulldozer or SandyBridge.
  9. Cant do that. Can not afford it. My MB will only support so doesnt even support any versions of the PIIX4 965. Curiously enough ASUS says i can use some version of the new X6's.....WAAAAAY too much $$$. I am stuck choosing between the 920 and the 945 or the Athlon II X4 640- then, ONLY certain models.
  10. Can't you even afford a cheap AM3 MB? They are quite cheap!
  11. Could I? Maybe, but then Id have to buy new ram as well. Just more money I dont have.
  12. Then I would say 920 or 945.


    Get a part time job to save up more quickly. :)
  13. is there any real differnce in the 920 or 945 other than Clock speed? Couldnt I simply save money and OC to 945 or 955 clock speeds? Part time job?! Sh*t, i work in I.T. and have no free time as it is!, Lol! In all seriousness, I am trying to be budget conscious here. Yes, I could simply buy a new AM3 MB and new DDR3 RAM.......AND a new CPU, but damn...If I could reasonably do that, i wouldnt have bought the am2 5000+ Brisbane and DDR2 im running now. Trying to keep it on the cheap. I have the "Wife Acceptance Factor" to deal with here as well. ;)
  14. Your wife is so mean!!! Emigrate to an Arabian country and get a new wife. LOL


    Get to know "SECRET SAVING"! :lol:
  15. Only difference is clock speed and the 945 being AM3 having both DDR2 and DDR3 memory controller
  16. rolli59 said:
    Only difference is clock speed
  17. andy5174 said:
    Your wife is so mean!!! Emigrate to an Arabian country and get a new wife. LOL


    Get to know "SECRET SAVING"! :lol:

    Dont think havent considered it! The Immigration i mean. Nothing quite like a Harem so you can have MULTIPLE wives telling how to spend your money, ha ha! Shoot me...please.
  18. rolli59 said:
    Only difference is clock speed and the 945 being AM3 having both DDR2 and DDR3 memory controller

    Yeah, the 94AND the Athlon 640 are AM3 compliant...A little more "future proff" if you will. But the 640= no L3. the 945 = about $40 more than the 640, the 920 being in the middle. Im pinching pennies here, i know.....
  19. Quote:
    AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition : Based on the Phenom II core, featuring 6MB of L3 cache and running at 3.2GHz, thisprocessor offers tremendous value for$100. Its 6MB of L3 cache will make a noticeable difference in performance, especially in games and it makes this processor definitely interesting. With its 3.2GHz stock frequency, if you don’t overclock your CPU, it’s a slightly superior choice to the triple-core Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz in most situations. If you do overclock, it also offers more overclocking headroom thanks to its C3 stepping

    Yeah, ive looked at this and the Athlon X3 445/450.But, i figure id rather have the 4th core if for no other reason than a little peace of mind as far as future-proofing goes, with games at least.

    Im pretty mucsold on having the 4th core, even if most games do not utilize it yet. Because:
    1)future-proofing (games) and....
    2)I DO do some photo editing, graphics design, 7zip/winRAR'ing and video encoding. Not much but id prefer to have the extra core for when i do it.
  20. for $100 USD i can get a 4th core.....
  21. *IF* you have a MB capable of unlocking it and *IF* it wasnt locked because it was a POS in the first place ;)
  22. Quote:
    lol yeah those boards are like 60usd from AsRock. I'm just having a in general chat with you I'm not telling you to get another cpu the guys gave you fine choices and its good choice you made. So don't get me wrong lol

    I kmow, i appreciate the advice, dont get me wrong. Just having fun.
  23. Best answer selected by robv60.
  24. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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