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Phenom 9950, 4GB memory to 1090t and 6GB, future-proofing

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February 22, 2011 3:30:14 AM

Hello everyone;

I have a two year old PC with an AMD 9950 Phenom processor at stock speeds and am looking to upgrade to the Phenom X6 1090t. Aside from general activities, the PC is used for high-end gaming (I play demanding titles like MS FSX, Crysis and BFBC2) and occasionally for video editing and file / video compression.

I figure the Phenom 965BE would probably better suit my needs at the moment, but I want to future-proof my system as I expect to be keeping it for another two to three years. Is the 1090t a better future-proof investment than the 965BE considering I will be using it two years down the road?

I am also considering a memory upgrade; right now I have 4GB (2x 2GB XMS2 DIMMs) in dual channel. I can get a 2GB (2x 1GB) XMS2 kit for $36 to have 6GB of memory. Would this be a good mid-life upgrade for my PC or will it have a negligible effect a few years from now? I have read that running 4 DIMMs causes stability issues, so I am hesitant to upgrade.

Thanks. ^_^

system specs:
Phenom 9950 x4,
ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+,
Corsair XMS2 4096MB ,
ATI HD4870 1GB,
Antec Earthwatts 500w,
Windows7 x64 Pro
a b à CPUs
February 22, 2011 3:56:28 AM

No reason to upgrade, a PHenom II or Thuban would be crippled on that board anyway.
Llanos and Zambezi are just around the corner, wait for am3+ before any upgrade (Even if a 965 is your best bet at the time)
Your graphics are likely your weak point regardless.
February 22, 2011 4:19:58 AM

So, I would not see any real improvement with the 1090t on my board, even 2-3 years in the future?

How much is the Thuban crippled on AM2+ boards?
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February 22, 2011 5:55:57 AM

Kistel said:
Hello everyone;

I have a two year old PC with an AMD 9950 Phenom processor at stock speeds and am looking to upgrade to the Phenom X6 1090t. Aside from general activities, the PC is used for high-end gaming (I play demanding titles like MS FSX, Crysis and BFBC2) and occasionally for video editing and file / video compression.

I figure the Phenom 965BE would probably better suit my needs at the moment, but I want to future-proof my system as I expect to be keeping it for another two to three years. Is the 1090t a better future-proof investment than the 965BE considering I will be using it two years down the road?

I am also considering a memory upgrade; right now I have 4GB (2x 2GB XMS2 DIMMs) in dual channel. I can get a 2GB (2x 1GB) XMS2 kit for $36 to have 6GB of memory. Would this be a good mid-life upgrade for my PC or will it have a negligible effect a few years from now? I have read that running 4 DIMMs causes stability issues, so I am hesitant to upgrade.

Thanks. ^_^

system specs:
Phenom 9950 x4,
ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+,
Corsair XMS2 4096MB ,
ATI HD4870 1GB,
Antec Earthwatts 500w,
Windows7 x64 Pro


If I were you I would get the 1090 skip the RAM and add a GFX card possibly later on should the need arise for gaming.

Both CPU and GFX card could later be used in an AM3 motherboard, if you find out by benchmarking or other means that the platform is limiting the potential.

I am currently running an athlon 640 + a radeon 6850 on a M3A78 pro and with light benchmarking (3Dmark) i found it lacking maybe around 10-15% compared to other more current systems.

System consumes 80-90 watts idle and around 200 when gaming. Running these of an 80+ 400Watt PSU just fine...
a b à CPUs
February 22, 2011 9:02:18 AM

It seems that you guys don't realize that the 9950 is the whole bottleneck.

Even the slowest core 2 quad, the q8200 smashes down the 9950. Same for the Athlon II X4 6xx, they eat the 9950 for breakfast. So he can't do a gpu upgrade.

@ OP i suggest that you upgrade your platform first. AMD 1090T, Gigabyte or ASUS board with an 880/890gx chipset and a 2x2GB DDR3 kit. Or if you can wait for Intel to fix that Cougar point chipset bug, you can get a Sandy Bridge platform, since Bulldozer probably won't be compatible with AM3 mobos.
February 22, 2011 11:47:22 AM

I just performed a similar upgrade.

I have a Biostar AM2+ 785GX 128M motherboard and went performed the following:

CPU: 7750BE --> 955BE.
Memory: 4 GIGS of G-Skill 2x2gb 1066 --> 8 GIGS of G-Skill 2x2 1066 (4 sticks total)
GPU: HIS 4670 512meg -> HIS 5770 1 Gig

The Phenom II 4 and 6 core chips have a dual IMC that will handle the DDR2 just fine. Adding two more sticks of RAM may cause a problem. I added 4 more GIGS of DDR2 and found that I could not run all four at 1066. The DDR2 IMC did not recieve the fix that the DDR3 controller did. Thus on SOME boards to may have instability. I compensated by running the RAM at 800 and tightened the timings from 5-5-5-15 to 4-4-4-12. I found that it is actually a little faster with the tighter timings.

There is a slight bottleneck with the DDR2 memory, but this simple upgrade easiily added another 2 years to my machine. The CPU and GPU will move on to my next build which will be a AM3r2 socket which (if the techies are right) will support the AM3 as well and the upcoming Bulldozer core. Thus all I should need is a decent motherboard and some RAM the next time around.

The plus side is I build machines for the kids from all the leftover parts. I unfortunelty can not afford to drop 2 grand a year for the latest and greatest or for a whole machine at once.
February 22, 2011 4:10:28 PM

Ok so your main priority is gaming which really does not benefit form the 6 cores the 1090T has to offer and since you want a system that will last for 2 to 3 years I think its best you wait for bulldozer.

Or you can go for Sandy Bridge.
a c 111 à CPUs
February 22, 2011 6:28:15 PM

The HD48701GB is still a great video card --- and the PhI 9950BE is not as bad a chip as some may make it out to be.

Your biggest issue is the sb700 -- it will not enable the '6 magic pins' on the 9950BE so you can clock that suckah to 3GHz+.

If the mobo supports it your best bet is the 95w AMD Phenom II X4 840 Propus 3.2GHz. It should move to an AM3+ motherboard when you are ready to upgrade.

February 22, 2011 7:57:24 PM

Perhaps I should have been more clear in my initial post; I probably wont be upgrading my motherboard and am not looking to upgrade to DDR3 memory.

So my question is whether or not a 1090t would still be a beneficial upgrade as far as future applications are concerned, on my current SB700 platform. Based on the responses I've received thus far, I should not even be looking at an upgrade without changing my motherboard. The Athlon II 840 Propus does not look like a good upgrade, I have seen reviews where the Phenom I chips are on par or better than the Althlon IIs.

I will probably upgrade my GPU in a year when the prices for the HD6950 come down, right now my HD4870 handles all my games well at 1080p resolution.

a b à CPUs
February 22, 2011 8:40:22 PM

Kistel said:
Perhaps I should have been more clear in my initial post; I probably wont be upgrading my motherboard and am not looking to upgrade to DDR3 memory.

So my question is whether or not a 1090t would still be a beneficial upgrade as far as future applications are concerned, on my current SB700 platform. Based on the responses I've received thus far, I should not even be looking at an upgrade without changing my motherboard. The Athlon II 840 Propus does not look like a good upgrade, I have seen reviews where the Phenom I chips are on par or better than the Althlon IIs.

I will probably upgrade my GPU in a year when the prices for the HD6950 come down, right now my HD4870 handles all my games well at 1080p resolution.


The 1090T is an AM3 CPU, your mobo is an AM2+, so your best bet is the Phenom II X4 840 as someone mentioned it earlier, if you can find it, or an used Phenom II X4 920/940.
February 23, 2011 2:54:23 AM

Quote:
NO.
I have the nVidia version to your board:
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition (3.0GHz/3.4GHz) Deneb
ASUS M3N78-EM AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 HDMI mATX
Scythe SCSK-1100 100mm Shuriken Rev. B - AS5 thermal compound
4GB kit (2x2GB) OCZ Gold DDR2 1066MHz memory module 5-6-6@2.10V
MSI N450GTS CYCLONE 1GD5/OC GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5

I'm not going any higher on the cpu and when Bulldozer gets here and if I go that way then a new motherboard and DDR3 as it's needed.
Going for that 1090T is a waste of money becuase of the board restrictions (being older) for one the word 'future-proofing' is kinda
thrown around too much like the word 'bottleneck'..
'Future-proofing' as you say is upgrading the motherboard and not the processor for you.
And the need to look for the 1090T is overkill if indeed you are not upgrading that board.
Just do an upgrade like the Phenom II X4 955BE (BIOS update required) or 940 like mine, (no BIOS update required)
and then gfx card and keep what you have into late this year or next so you can get a feel for Bulldozer if staying AMD.


So the 1090t is bottlenecked / handicapped on my board, but the Phenom 955BE is not? If that is the case, I will probably settle for the 955BE (or 965BE).

I am interested in knowing how the 1090t (or Phenom II x4 for that matter) is handicapped on the 780G...is it that they can't properly take advantage of the L3 cache?
February 23, 2011 9:28:33 PM

If the 955BE is not severely handicapped on the 780G, why would the 1090t be anymore handicapped? At the least, I would expect the same performance as a 955BE until applications start to demand 4 or more cores. I figure it would be better to have a 1090t in my system rather than a 955 a few years from now. (and no, I probably wont be upgrading my motherboard / entire PC anytime soon, meaning, not for a good few years).

Also, I stumbled upon this thread that examines the 1090t in a DDR2 system:

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2078725

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