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[Build Upgrade] CPU & Mobo Choices?

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April 26, 2011 7:59:45 PM

Currently I am trying to upgrade my CPU and motherboard, as I believe that's the best thing to do right now. If there are alternate suggestions, let me know, but this seems to be the most efficient thing I can do right now from what I've read.

The problem is, I don't really understand what to look for currently, at all.

Current specs as follows:

2x2GB RAM, I believe Kingston, and they are DDR2 I'm not sure about additional information (like speed?).

nVidia 9800 GTX+

ASRock P43Twins1600

Intel Pentium D 3.40 GHz

I'm attempting to keep the price for the mobo+CPU under about $240 or so. I've been looking at combo-deals on Newegg, for example, but I don't really understand CPUs too well. Everything under $240 shows up as 3.1 GHz or even lower, but I suspect that they may still be faster than my current CPU, which was released in '06.

My goal is to improving gaming and performance. If I'm totally swinging in the wrong direction for such an upgrade, let me know. I do know that the CPU is the oldest component of my computer right now (it's pretty much the only piece that survived a full-on computer fatality in December 2008).
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April 26, 2011 9:11:29 PM

The best immediate upgrade on that budget (for gaming performance) would be along the lines of an Athlon x3 + a Cheap AM2+ board like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (so you can keep your DDR2 ram) & a Radeon 5770. The only issue is it doesn't leave much of an upgrade path. You could just get the best GPU you can and save for a better CPU and board later or get the best CPU you can afford now and upgrade the graphics later, the problem with these options is you don't get a great improvement now. Depends if you want a computer to keep upgrading or one to use until its too slow then totally upgrade. You also need to check your PSU and case are OK with any option.
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April 26, 2011 9:16:18 PM

Better get new RAM as well

GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 + AMD Athlon II X3 450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$221.97

or with this combo
GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 + AMD Athlon II X4 640
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$241.97

with the ASUS M4A87TD/USB3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

$234.98

Not much faster in single threaded applications but way faster in multi threaded ones and sensibly faster in many games.



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April 26, 2011 9:38:46 PM

I generally upgrade just a few pieces at a time. The last time I did a total overhaul on the computer was 2006, with a hefty overhaul (except the video card and the CPU) in 2008.

I'm not sure why I would throw out a fully functional 9800 GTX+ video card, though.

What sort of performance difference will I see with upgraded RAM? That is -- what kinds of performance/processes will be noticeable?
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April 26, 2011 9:41:18 PM

Yep but the 5770 is not much faster than his card, the 9800 GTX+ is about just as fast as a HD 5750.
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a c 103 à CPUs
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April 26, 2011 10:00:37 PM

I just checked and the difference is not as big as I first thought but theres a 20%ish gain in FPS from a 9800 GTX+ to a 5770 when DDR2 to DDR3 RAM would be only a few % sorry I can't find a benchmark only alot of other forum posts saying it makes no noticeable difference if you want to check google DDR2 vs DDR3 (memory bench marks show a performance increase but nothing thats a real usage benchmark or game).
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a c 345 à CPUs
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April 27, 2011 1:30:35 AM

For gaming, the usual limitation is the graphics card. Perhaps not in this case.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

I would not spend any more on upgrading an old platform.
If a graphics card update is appropriate, then OK.

At this time, sandy bridge cpu's are faster than amd.
At the cheapest, a i3-2100 cpu @125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
minimum 1155 motherboard@$60:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4gb of ram@$40:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total $225. You can go up from there if your budget permits.
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April 27, 2011 3:31:32 AM

I'm thinking it may be more efficient to just buy a new CPU right now, and then later pick up a new motherboard (a big jump up, so I can hold onto it for a while).

What I'm looking at are these.

http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/711/Intel_Core_2_Duo_E...

For $170 on NewEgg, the E8400 strikes me as a good idea. I'm not sure what the performance difference would be with the Q9505.

Is this a bad idea?
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a c 345 à CPUs
a c 265 V Motherboard
April 27, 2011 4:01:05 AM

Bad idea in my opinion.
The E8400 was nice in it's time, but it is several generations old.
Newer processors are much more efficient on a clock for clock basis and run cooler.
To give you some idea, scan this list :
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
Your PentiumD 3.40 scores 928
The E8400 scores 2250, and costs $170
The Q9505 scores 4081 and costs $240
The Intel i5-2500K scores 6720 and costs the $225.
Even the cheapest sandy bridge 2100 scores 3872 and costs $125.

Don't throw good money after bad.
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April 27, 2011 4:47:06 AM

Having looked at motherboards, and CPUs, it looks like my best theoretical option is to pick up an i3 with a motherboard that supports the i-series Intel chipsets.

The problem with this is to get, for example, an i3-2100, I'd have to pick up an 1155 Intel motherboard, which would require DDR3. As I don't have any DDR3, that bumps the price up a significant bump.

So for now, I may just buy some good, solid DDR3, put it on my current motherboard, and save up for a mobo/CPU combo later when I can afford it more reasonably.

Does that seem like a good idea, instead?
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April 27, 2011 5:08:22 AM

I think I'm just going to get this RAM for now, and when I have more to upgrade the motherboard and CPU, I'll have some DDR3 ready to go.

It should only be a couple months before I can fritter away some cash on my machine. Plus, it's not like the thing is working terribly right now, I just have some spare money to but into it right now.
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April 27, 2011 12:05:44 PM

What's wrong with AMD? Intel is not for budget builds. And you can do with 4G of RAM.
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a c 345 à CPUs
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April 27, 2011 2:29:07 PM

bonker said:
I think I'm just going to get this RAM for now, and when I have more to upgrade the motherboard and CPU, I'll have some DDR3 ready to go.

It should only be a couple months before I can fritter away some cash on my machine. Plus, it's not like the thing is working terribly right now, I just have some spare money to but into it right now.


Do not get DDR3 ram for your current system, and expect to be able to use it on a later sandy bridge build. The specs for your motherboard will require ram that has higher voltage than the sandy bridge cpu's can tolerate. Usually 1.8 or 1.9v . The ram you linked to is 1.5v and will probably not run on your motherboard.SB wants 1.5v ram, with a max of 1.65v. More than that can fry your sb cpu.

Possibly, there is ram that can be supported by both the old and new motherboards. Check the corsair or other configurator to see if there is a DDR3 ram kit that is supported on both the old and new motherboards.

What is your budget?
There will be a market for your old DDR2 ram, and possibly the cpu which will help defray the cost of a proper upgrade.
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April 27, 2011 8:11:19 PM

Every time I think it makes sense, things get more complicated. Voltage? Eeesh.

Alright, looking at benchmarks on Tom's, along with CPUBenchmarks.net, it looks like AMD is, indeed, much more budget-friendly. However, I've gotten suggestions that an i3 would be perfectly reasonable (along with a cheap mobo that'll do the trick, and DDR3). This would also give me greater opportunities to upgrade later to an i5 or i7, when I've got money to spend. But I'll certainly still look at AMDs. I have nothing against them or anything, so long as they'll work with my video card.

Right now the budget is more like $200 or so, not including what I might be able to sell my current RAM, motherboard, and CPU for. I'd like to keep it under $200, though.
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April 27, 2011 8:26:52 PM

To complicate matters even more, it wouldn't make much sense to upgrade the CPU/Mobo without upgrading the video card. That 9800 GTX+ will bottleneck the system. And, if you need a new GPU, you will likely need a new PSU....
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April 27, 2011 9:03:03 PM

I see no reason to upgrade the GTX+. I've read about people running high-end games on higher resolution than what I have (1920x1080) with high settings without problems. Besides, I don't really have the cash to upgrade everything.

Anyways, here is what I'm looking at right now.

This RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With this CPU/mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

This comes out to $184.

What might be better? I can go up about $20, reasonably, if I can get a significantly better deal for the money. This seems like a pretty good deal, considering what I'm looking for.
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April 27, 2011 10:11:01 PM

Quote:
maybe this mobo: $35.99
the 925 phenom II is quite a lot better than the athlon 640.


Where did you see that? The two benchmarks I found placed the 925 slightly behind the 640. The main one I've been using is http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

Admittedly, I really don't want a micro board, simply because I like to be able to get in and out of the computer easier. I might get the 640 and the motherboard you suggested. That'll save me...$5 or so, too.
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April 27, 2011 10:18:19 PM

geofelt said:
You might want to read this article on sub $200 gaming cpu's:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...


The thing is, I'm not looking for just a CPU under $200. I'm looking for (it would seem) a CPU, a motherboard, and RAM all for under $200. The Sandy Bridges, and Intel in general, strikes me as pretty good, but they are simply too expensive from what I can find. The minimum I'd have to throw down for an i3 + mobo + DDR3 would be about $250, unless I got junk RAM.

There may be a combination that fits my budget, but I simply haven't found it yet. The AMDs seem to be much more within my range is all.
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April 27, 2011 10:22:15 PM

Being on a bubget myself, I have been in the same position. Unlike most that have posted here, I went AMD.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You already have a good video card, so the only thing left is Ram.
I got this for $45. The ram is on sale all the time.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm sure I could have gotten close with the Sandy Bridge, but due to past prices, I have always looked at AMD first.
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a c 345 à CPUs
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April 27, 2011 11:35:00 PM

bonker said:
The thing is, I'm not looking for just a CPU under $200. I'm looking for (it would seem) a CPU, a motherboard, and RAM all for under $200. The Sandy Bridges, and Intel in general, strikes me as pretty good, but they are simply too expensive from what I can find. The minimum I'd have to throw down for an i3 + mobo + DDR3 would be about $250, unless I got junk RAM.

There may be a combination that fits my budget, but I simply haven't found it yet. The AMDs seem to be much more within my range is all.


The parts I listed earlier come to $225. There is no such thing as junk ram. It works or it doesn't. Fancy heat spreaders are totally marketing and unnecessary. The sandy bridge memory controllers are so good at keeping the cpu fed with data that that they operate 99% as well with the slowest available ram.

If you get a micro motherboard, it will fit in your case, and you will actually have more room for messing around inside the case.

There is an old saying that "The bitterness of the product is remembered long after the sweetness of the price is forgotten"

With sandy bridge 2100, you may not have to upgrade the cpu for a long time.
Look more at the link I gave you. They used a GTX480, and the 2100 gives higher fps in starcraft2 than even an amd 6 core phenomII X6 1075T
See if there is a test on the games you want to play.

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April 28, 2011 4:04:09 AM

Best answer selected by bonker.
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April 28, 2011 4:15:15 AM

I ended up going with the following.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 813138179R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103871
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231274

In addition I got a free cheapie video card with the CPU, which I'm just going to resell on eBay (it was an extra $10, and I know I can sell the GPU for upwards of $30 or so).

So, that came out to $204, pretty much dead on my optimal price range. Higher would have been rough on the cash flow, and it looks like I got the best deal for the money.

Thank you all for your help. I will be saving up, no doubt, for an i5 + mobo later, and this should improve things for now.

Or possibly a Sandy Bridge.

Thanks again guys. I realize I may have sold myself a little short on the optimal price-to-quality, but I simply got to the point where I wanted to make a decision. It's frustrating having to compare so many things.
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