I bought a HTPC on ebay just like this http://code.google.com/p/dava33display/wiki/Hardware about a year ago. It has an ASUS M2NPV2-DHS mobo with Athlon 64 3800+ CPU and 2.5Gb of DDR2-667. I have upgraded with Zotac GeForce GT-520 graphics card and am using Ubuntu 12.04 for the OS. Seems to be stable and working much better with the Zotac, but a little slow on startup, with streaming video, and when opening applications.
My overall goals with this is to set it up as a HTPC/DVR. I am getting to know Ubuntu and want to also install MythTV (front and back ends) and XBMC. It's obviously older, so I want to keep upgrades low cost and lower power as well.
I probably need to upgrade the hard drive as well, but have been researching AMD AM2 CPU's in capability and what they are trading for on ebay. I don't know the exact specs of my CPU without tearing down to its model number, but Wikipedia says it is probably a 62w or 45w TDP. Since there are "better" AM2 CPU's listed that are 45w or less, I'm looking at those and almost all seem to be going for $45 or less on ebay.
Here are the specific CPU's I'm interested in:
-Athlon 64 LE-1640 or LE-1660 2.7-2.8GHz 45w
-Athlon 64 x2 3800+ 2GHz 35w
-Athlon x2 BE-2300/BE-2350/BE-2400 1.9-2.3GHz 45w
-Athlon x2 4050e-5050e 2.1-2.6GHz 45w
-Athlon x2 4450b-4850b 2.3-2.5GHz 45w
-Will these cpu's improve performance appreciably?
-Based on my usage, will the dual cores with lower GHz ratings perform much better than the higher GHz single cores?
-They range from $25 to $40+ generally based on their GHz rating. Will the highest rated GHz dual cores perform much better than the lower GHz dual cores, again based on my usage? (I'm just trying to get the best "bang-for-buck" here.)
Thanks for your help and will appreciate any other info to help point me in the right direction.
There is no way to really tell which CPU to use.
The equavalent assume mb, is quite capable of running quad core CPUs. Keep the one you have for now or until you have tried updating the bios to latest one. Also from what I have read about this particular machine. You should probably upgrade the Psu first before doing anything. Get a good quality one and then feel free to go nuts with the CPU.