Hey guys, I was thinking of getting a new cpu. I use my comp for mostly gaming and surfing the internet. I dont need something real extreme and/or expensive. I know my MOBO isnt the best or up to date. I would really like to stick with it though just to keep costs low, unless I found a good mobo/cpu combo. I have done the research and found that AM3 cpu's will work in AM2/AM2+ mobo's. This is what I have so far and just want something to free up any bottlenecking there. I wont overclock if I dont feel the need to. I will most likely buy and aftermarket HSF, so that isnt a concern.
AMD Athlon dual-core 7850 Black Edition 2.8Ghz O.C. to 3.05Ghz
ASUS M3A76-CM motherboard AM2+ socket
Sapphire ATI Radeon 6850 GPU
8gb DDR2 Crucial ram
500 gb hard drive
I've been leaning toward the 960T, but both have got really great reviews, and both have been said to overclock nicley. The 960T has also been said to be able to unlock 2 additional cores, but my mobo doesnt support ACC, which I believe is what allows people to do that (correct me if I'm wrong). Any suggestions are greatly appreciated guys, thank you.
You will need to update your bios when installing any of the newer ones unless you already have it up to date. The asus site doesn't list the 960T as being supported. And for some reason i don't see either of the new bios's adding any CPU support even if they claim to do so.
Your best bet would be updating the bios and getting a PhenomII x4 955 or possibly PhenomII x4 965 if you can find them.
I checked the Asus forums and the point to the same list of supported CPU's and the 960T is not amongst them, but then i don't think your current CPU is either so it may just be wrong. However usually if the CPU is not on the list it doesn't work either.
To actually upgrade more than what you listed will probably cost somewhere around $300, depending on what you will upgrade to.
i wouldnt throw that much at the motherboard if your not gonna quad sli...
the 960 is a great cpu so is a worthy buy. but you may need a new motherboard to run it... getting a cheap am3+ board would do the trick and you can find 1 or 3 that still support ddr2... ddr2 1066 is just as good as ddr3 1600 due to the latency difference. ddr2 cas4 will perform as well as ddr3 cas 9 in fact it should be pretty even performance wise.
I actually found that with a bios update the AMD 925 Phenom II X4 is compatible. that would save me alot of money and keep the wife out of my ear. But I also found a mobo that takes ddr2 ram that can run the 960T and also has ACC that can maybe unlock 2 more cores in the 960T. Here is the mobo. I like it because it has 4 ram slots, I'm running 4x2gb is why.
Getting a CPU that can overclock would keep you going for a while, even if you're not keen on it right now. It's always worth looking at lower-end but newer components too, even if it means replacing your existing mobo, if that's within your budget.
Most games are gpu limited, and you are relatively good there.
Also, most games will only make good use of two cores, possibly 3, , so chasing a quad may not be that helpful.
If your game/s are different, then by all means optimize for your game.
I would not spend too much upgrading your cpu/mobo/ram today. The current sandy bridge cpu's are much more effective, and ivy bridge in april/may will be more so.
DDR2 ram is expensive.
To help clarify your options, run these two tests:
a) 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.
b) 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.
A better cpu for your current motherboard will be the cheapest option. Since budget is a real constraint, look for a used cpu on e-bay from a reputable seller.
Longer term,assuming you need a better cpu, I think I would try to accumulate $300 or so for a ivy bridge cpu and ddr3 ram.