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How to upgrade from an Athlon 64 X2 4200+

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February 20, 2012 5:59:20 PM

I haven't upgraded a computer in about 5 years so I've lost track of what's out there component-wise. I have a box with an Asus A8V Deluxe, an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ with 4 Gigs of Ram and a Quadro FX 3000 on Win XP. Very solid and stable. I do Cad, mostly Solidworks and would like to upgrade to something faster by replacing the motherboard, CPU and RAM and reusing the other components. Budget is very tight - $400 max. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

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February 21, 2012 6:33:58 PM

Thank you very much - I really appreciate it!
I was planning on reusing the video card , the Hard Drives, the case and power supply, etc. just to put the $ into the upgrade itself.
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a c 479 à CPUs
February 21, 2012 10:27:30 PM

If I am not mistaken the Quadro FX 3000 is an AGP card.

The AGP standard is dead and no current motherboard supports that interface. The last AGP card was manufactured back in 2005. Unfortunately, that means if you update your motherboard, CPU and RAM you also need to buy a new video card.

On top of that you most like have hard drives with the E-IDE interface. That standard has also died and been replaced by SATA. However, I believe there are still some motherboards that have that interface. Otherwise you need to upgrade your hard drives as well.

All in all, you are looking at a complete system upgrade with the possible exception of the hard drive.
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a c 203 à CPUs
February 21, 2012 10:35:08 PM

Luckily, you can hold off getting a new video card if you need to.
The Core i3-2400 CPU has it's own integrated GPU. You'll be able to use that to run your graphics.

More details on the other parts - like model numbers if you can.
Monitor, keyboard and mouse as well.
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February 21, 2012 10:40:45 PM

WR2 said:
Luckily, you can hold off getting a new video card if you need to.
The Core i3-2400 CPU has it's own integrated GPU. You'll be able to use that to run your graphics.

More details on the other parts - like model numbers if you can.
Monitor, keyboard and mouse as well.


Intel IGP is likely slower than that Quadro, I have a copy of that card my self and the Quadro series drivers are much more specialized for such tasks like CAD and solid works. The IGP will be much more efficient power wise but performance and as well maybe a few features won't be present. The biggest problem with this is the compatibility of the psu to the board. Some boards do require newer units and with a unit of that age it is likely it may or may not run even though the unit works fine.

On the cpu side as well memory I/O you will be seeing a massive improvement in performance.
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a c 479 à CPUs
February 21, 2012 10:50:26 PM

No sure how well the Intel HD 2000 graphic core can handle CAD or Solidworks, but it's better than nothing I suppose.
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February 21, 2012 11:37:06 PM

jaguarskx said:
If I am not mistaken the Quadro FX 3000 is an AGP card.

The AGP standard is dead and no current motherboard supports that interface. The last AGP card was manufactured back in 2005. Unfortunately, that means if you update your motherboard, CPU and RAM you also need to buy a new video card.

On top of that you most like have hard drives with the E-IDE interface. That standard has also died and been replaced by SATA. However, I believe there are still some motherboards that have that interface. Otherwise you need to upgrade your hard drives as well.

All in all, you are looking at a complete system upgrade with the possible exception of the hard drive.



I hava a SATA adapter card that the hard drives plug int.

That's a shame about the Quadro FX 3000. It's a solid performer.
What's the current standard?

With the suggested configurations, what would be the ballpark speed increase - 10%, 50%, more maybe?
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a b à CPUs
February 22, 2012 1:00:37 AM

Is there anyway you can stretch that budget?

8GB (2x4gb) 1600 9.9.924 kit ($47) and later on can pick up a second if needed
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Pentium G620 for $70 (barf a dual core)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PNY Quadro 600 1GB $170 and comes with full height bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could try the Quadro 400 that has 512mb but if it doesn't come with full height bracket then out of luck.

Cheap MSI H61M-E23 $72
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your budget doesn't help maybe saving for a little longer or readjusting other expenses if possible.
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February 22, 2012 1:56:50 AM

nforce4max said:
Is there anyway you can stretch that budget?

8GB (2x4gb) 1600 9.9.924 kit ($47) and later on can pick up a second if needed
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Pentium G620 for $70 (barf a dual core)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PNY Quadro 600 1GB $170 and comes with full height bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could try the Quadro 400 that has 512mb but if it doesn't come with full height bracket then out of luck.

Cheap MSI H61M-E23 $72
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your budget doesn't help maybe saving for a little longer or readjusting other expenses if possible.


Hmmm....maybe I should hold off a tad more if it makes a significant difference.
What seems to be hard to establish is how much faster the models will rebuild.
That's the bottom line. If $400 results in at least a 25% speed increase then it maybe worth it.

If it results in more than that, then I'd be thrilled.
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a c 203 à CPUs
February 22, 2012 3:15:37 AM

I think that under-weights the Quadro features for CAD applications.
But it shows that GPUs have come a long way in 8~9 years.
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February 22, 2012 3:28:24 AM

WR2 said:
Performance comparison between the CPUs in range of benchmark tests:AMD Athlon X2 4600+ - 2.4GHz vs Intel Core i5 2400 - 3.1GHz

Performance comparison between Athlon X2 4600+ - 2.4GHz vs Pentium G620 - 2.6GHz

Of course this doesn't factor in any GPU assisted work.



From both the CPU comparisons and the graphics cards comparisons, it looks like I could get a huge jump in performance while keeping close to the budget. Makes me very optimistic!


That brings up a point though, my box runs Win XP which has turned out to be very stable. I have a few friends who do CAD on Win 7 and they just seem to have a lot more crashes, not to mention the obvious bloatware of that OS. I would like to keep XP but I've heard that it can't deal with more than 4 gigs of RAM. Is this accurate?
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February 22, 2012 3:34:16 AM

It's true that the 32bit version of WinXP can only use 4GB and you'll have something less than that available for use.
Considering that 8GB of RAM can be had for less than $40 Im thinking a 64bit OS is a worthy upgrade.

What are the other CAD forums saying about WinXP vs Win7?
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February 22, 2012 5:14:34 AM

WR2 said:
It's true that the 32bit version of WinXP can only use 4GB and you'll have something less than that available for use.
Considering that 8GB of RAM can be had for less than $40 Im thinking a 64bit OS is a worthy upgrade.

What are the other CAD forums saying about WinXP vs Win7?


Solidworks users are all over the map about XP vs Win 7 for earlier versions of SW.
Later versions are pretty much Win 7 only.

I have one box that runs SW 2011 and one box that runs SW 2006 (the one I want to upgrade).
I use SW 2006 on a lot of projects due to customer compatibility so it has to remain on a 32 bit system.
I read that some people create a RAM disk using any system available memory above 4GB and use that for the virtual memory location. Will have to research that some more, sounds iffy.
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a c 203 à CPUs
February 22, 2012 5:35:56 AM

You might be a good candidate to set up a dual boot option for the new rig.
Run SW 2006 on XP and SW 2011 on Win7 - all on the same machine.

Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

You'll have a boot time option of which OS you want to load.

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February 22, 2012 6:46:38 PM

mannyr said:
Solidworks users are all over the map about XP vs Win 7 for earlier versions of SW.
Later versions are pretty much Win 7 only.

I have one box that runs SW 2011 and one box that runs SW 2006 (the one I want to upgrade).
I use SW 2006 on a lot of projects due to customer compatibility so it has to remain on a 32 bit system.
I read that some people create a RAM disk using any system available memory above 4GB and use that for the virtual memory location. Will have to research that some more, sounds iffy.


I have done that a few times mainly because I have unable to truly kill off the page file but found other ways to improve performance. You can move the page file onto a ram disk (using system ram) for incredible performance improvements that make any SSD look tame but the software is a pain in the back side to get it to work. The trick is to have the ram disk load upon start up with windows configured to use the ram disk as the page file. To keep boot up short I haven't figured out yet but know that the ram disk doesn't have to be saved during shut down but also doubles as a security enhancement as it's contents are not saved to the physical hard drive. The only con is during a blue screen or power failure any project data that wasn't saved is lost.
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February 22, 2012 8:39:57 PM

nforce4max said:
I have done that a few times mainly because I have unable to truly kill off the page file but found other ways to improve performance. You can move the page file onto a ram disk (using system ram) for incredible performance improvements that make any SSD look tame but the software is a pain in the back side to get it to work. The trick is to have the ram disk load upon start up with windows configured to use the ram disk as the page file. To keep boot up short I haven't figured out yet but know that the ram disk doesn't have to be saved during shut down but also doubles as a security enhancement as it's contents are not saved to the physical hard drive. The only con is during a blue screen or power failure any project data that wasn't saved is lost.



I saw that VSuite has a free version of a RAM disk that supposedly can access RAM above 4gigs in a 32 bit machine.. Is that what you're using?
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February 29, 2012 5:13:22 AM

Best answer selected by mannyr.
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