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Which CPU to upgrade to?

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March 3, 2011 7:18:01 PM

Thanks in advance for the advice and comments you guys give!


Ok, well I've been running an unlocked Sempron 140 2.7ghz for about a year now and it's done wonderfully. Now its time has inevitably come and I am upgrading to a quad core. It's mostly just for my little budget gaming rig I was playing WoW on, but now I'm switching to Rift and find I'm just not getting the FPS that I want. There was a bit of a boost after OCing to 3.1 Ghz but not enough to sate my hunger for a higher frame rate. I don't want to change out any other hardware for the upgrade and will be staying with AMD to keep things simple.

I'm staying as far below $200 as I can manage but will spend the $200 if it's worth it, since I don't plan on getting another CPU until the new Bulldozer line is released and I can decide whether to stay AMD or switch to intel and the sandy bridge. I definitely want a quad core since Rift will utilize 4 cores, and I'd like something that will enable better multitasking.

My current set up includes Radeon HD 4850 1GB, 4 gigs DDR2 1066 RAM, and a GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H ATX AMD Motherboard, Windows 7.

I narrowed the options down to these CPUs:

AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz at $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz at $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

These are my first few choices with the Phenom II x4 965 looking pretty good to me especially with the unlocked multiplier. I'm not sure if either would would end up being much better than the Athlon II x4 3.1 though and worth the extra $40. Does anyone know if the L3 cache will make much of a difference?

At the upper end of my price range are these two options:

Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition Deneb 3.6GHz at $200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not sure if the 200mhz bump would make the Phenom II x4 975 worth the extra $40, especially when I could likely OC the 965 to the same speed that the 975 would OC to before losing stability. The Phenom II X6 1090T is a little more tempting since I've seen plenty of instances where it's been OCed to 4Ghz on air and while all 6 cores wouldn't really be used in Rift, the extra two cores may help take off strain of background programs to leave the other 4 cores available for the game.

Any comments, advice, personal experience is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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a c 105 à CPUs
March 3, 2011 7:47:11 PM

WoW ( no pun intended) you gamed on a sempron, any upgrade will be huge for you. you basically have three choices but first make sure your mobo supports any CPU upgrade is is updated to the latest BIOS

1. - cheap - the Athlon II x3 for $80. it will basically give you equal performance to the athlon II x4 in most games
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. - cheap but not as cheap - Phenom II x4 840 for $110- its really an athlon II (don't ask) for the same price as the 645 but is 100mhz faster so why pay for a slower chip?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3 - still cheap but more then the 840 - Phenom II x4 955 for $140 - increase the multiplier just slightly and you have an instant phenom II 975 with $60 saved.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPUs to avoid.

athlon II x4 - the phenom II 840 is really an athlon II x4 at the same price..yes the naming scheme is silly

Phenom II x6 - the extra cores are useless in current games, they won't be needed for a while and when they will be needed there will be much better CPUs on the market so why pay extra for cores you won't use?
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a c 159 à CPUs
March 3, 2011 7:47:20 PM

I recommend you look for one used first. I found my regor 255 for only $30 a few days ago on craigslist. Some phenom II's are going for under $100.
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March 3, 2011 8:38:55 PM

Great recommendation on the 840! At 3.2Ghz for the same price? That's a steal.

The Athlon II x3 was my first choice, but since Rift actually does use 4 cores I'm willing to pay a little more for an x4.

Now my only real question is: Are the L3 cache and the unlocked multiplier worth the extra 30-50 bucks? I've got the money to spend if it will make a difference.

However, as was already mentioned, I was gaming on an OC'd and unlocked sempron. I could probably get the 840 to 3.6 to 3.8 with a fair amount of tweaking. With an unlocked multiplier I could probably get it to 4.0 or higher with just a few adjustments.

So, anyone have any experience with a black edition phenom who can give some insight?
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a c 105 à CPUs
March 3, 2011 8:56:27 PM

i have an athlon II x3 @ 3.5ghz and a phenom II x4 955BE @ 3.6ghz ( i got it to 4ghz but saw little need to keep it there)

you will see a slight to moderate difference with the L3 cache, nothing where the phenom II can play this game while athlon II can't type scenarios.

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a c 131 à CPUs
March 3, 2011 10:18:08 PM

ct1615 said:
WoW ( no pun intended) you gamed on a sempron, any upgrade will be huge for you. you basically have three choices but first make sure your mobo supports any CPU upgrade is is updated to the latest BIOS

1. - cheap - the Athlon II x3 for $80. it will basically give you equal performance to the athlon II x4 in most games
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. - cheap but not as cheap - Phenom II x4 840 for $110- its really an athlon II (don't ask) for the same price as the 645 but is 100mhz faster so why pay for a slower chip?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3 - still cheap but more then the 840 - Phenom II x4 955 for $140 - increase the multiplier just slightly and you have an instant phenom II 975 with $60 saved.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPUs to avoid.

athlon II x4 - the phenom II 840 is really an athlon II x4 at the same price..yes the naming scheme is silly

Phenom II x6 - the extra cores are useless in current games, they won't be needed for a while and when they will be needed there will be much better CPUs on the market so why pay extra for cores you won't use?


Now that's what I call a perfect recommendation. Honestly, of the four "x4 9XX" processors, the 955 is the only one worth it's money. Well, the others are to a point but the 955 just blows away the price.
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March 3, 2011 11:42:57 PM

Yeah, some very good advice so far. I'm leaning toward the Phenom II x4 840 at $110 right now.

Is the 955's L3 cache and the unlocked multiplier worth the extra $30?
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a c 131 à CPUs
March 4, 2011 12:11:52 AM

noollig said:
Yeah, some very good advice so far. I'm leaning toward the Phenom II x4 840 at $110 right now.

Is the 955's L3 cache and the unlocked multiplier worth the extra $30?


The L3 cache will increase gaming performance but not by a huge amount. The BE will let you overclock easier. On lower end motherboards (where a higher FSB is not possible), it will help you overclock further.
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March 5, 2011 12:06:06 AM

Best answer selected by noollig.
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