Upgrading a sorta old machine

Hey Guys got a question about upgrading a CPU, or rather other parts of a machine if neccesary.

A couple years back I purchased a barebones machine from Tiger Direct with the idea that my friend would be able to game on it at least a little bit, since then we've upgraded his case since he was getting overheating issues, or at least we think, anyways when I upgraded to a Coolmaster HAF tower I gave him my old one, a Smiledon case I beleive.

So anyways fast forward to recently he moved away from me to another state, so I can't actually go and help him install components etc, and he is sorta lacking in technical skill at computers. A few days ago I managed to talk him through replacing his power supply and Graphics Card using Windows messenger video chat, took a while but he got it. So, we did that, went from a 600 watt Ultra PSU to a Corsair 750 Watt something or other, I forget cause it was supposed to be a 650 watt but we got a 750 for the 650's price. Weird.

So anyways we took out the XFX 9600GSO that he was running and put in a EVGA GTX 460, we got everything up and running and ran some benchmarks and the results comparison wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be (Used Dawn of War II for a benchmark), considering the distance between the two cards in performance. This has me concerened that his machine is bottlnecking somwhere, the rest of the system is pretty outdated, a MSI KN92 Platinum Motherboard, XMS 2 PC6400 Corsair DDR2, and a AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+.

I'm thinking his CPU is the bottleneck, so that being said I guess my question is, I need a better cpu for that motherboard and was wondering what suggestions if any, anyone has. Currently I was looking at a Phenom X4 9850, to replace for about $80.

I would like to just upgrade his whole system, new mobo, new memory, and cpu all in one go, but I fear he lacks the technical skills to install those things on his own, also if he started having issues I couldn't be right there to help him with whatever issue it is, since I physically can't touch the computer. Also cost factors too, I can't go spending like $500+, hell for that I'd just build a whole new rig and send him that. I should also mention that I'm trying to avoid him having to do a reformat, but if he does have to then maybe just upgrading his whole machine may be better.

So were down to this, if I did go and get him all new stuff, how would I best go about getting him to install all this stuff? Or, should I bassically put in the CPU and mount the CPU fan then ship that as a whole to him? Then of course there's just replacing the CPU, a quick pop of the pin, pull out the old cpu, put new one in, apply some thermal paste then remount the fan.

Anyways here is the current spec of his machine, at least the parts I know.

MSI K9N2 SLI Platinum Motherboard nForce 750a, Socket AM2/AM2+
EVGA GTX 460 Graphics Card
4gb XMS 2 Corsair DDR2 PC6400 800mhz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Dual Core I beleive
Seagate ST3500418AS Barracuda 500gb 7200.12 Hard Drive

Anyways I appreciate any answers and suggestions on what to do.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrading sorta machine
  1. if you change the cpu change also the motherboard and the memory for am3 system
  2. I'd do a ~$200-$300 rebuild mobo, CPU, RAM.
    Any decent (AsRock?) uATX Mobo will do, along with 2x4GB DDR3 1300 Cas 9, and either a Regor or Phenom BE, depending on whether you want to be closer to 200 or 300.

    If you have video chat, have him put CPU/HSF/MB/RAM together on a bench, stay with the stock HSF, I believe AMD still uses the paste that's already on the HS, so it's really easy, no messing with paste.

    Have him screw it into the case, then Look at the newegg picture of whatever MoBo you buy, and locate the headers, point them out to him on the video chat so he knows where to put the HDD, RST, et al.

    Should be pretty easy to put a uATX motherboard into what I assume is a full size tower.
  3. Have him upgrade the CPU to one on the list, you'll probably have to update the BIOS to the most recent one.
  4. ^ Yea, do that, disregard my earlier post.
    I assumed the mobo wouldn't be supported with bios updates or have 125/140W CPU support. (I wish mine was...)
  5. Thanks for the answers guys, I think I should also mention he is using Vista 64 bit... that probably could also factor into slower speeds, if I did a rebuild I would most likely have him get Windows 7, which would require a reinstall of OS, so might as well do a rebuild, only thing is, is it possible to keep a mobo/cpu/memory rebuild under $200? I've already spent like $240 putting stuff into his machine lol.

    Appreciate suggestions.
  6. Personally I would suggest new mobo, new ram, new CPU, and fresh windows install or you will do more work at troubleshooting. If he gets win7 make sure he gets pro or ult, so you can Remote desktop to help him out. Home or Home Prem dont have it.
  7. Best answer
    Personally i'd just stick to the CPU upgrade. For $80 he can get a 3.2 Ghz AthlonII x3 processor and you can mail the BIOS update to him on a cheap flash drive.

    For a complete upgrade i'd wait until either the AMD Bulldozer and/or Sandy Bridge was available.
  8. Best answer selected by Motoko Kusanagi.
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