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Best cpu/motherboard bundle for an aging rig.

Last response: in Systems
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May 20, 2012 6:29:53 AM

Hello all,

I've been into gaming for a while now and after several upgrades my rig has all but fell out of the gaming "arms" race mainly due to the cpu.

I currently have an old AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+ @ 2.2ghz and an nvidia 9500gt.

I am looking to spend no more then about 250$ for a new motherboard and cpu. I know that my video card is not so high end anymore, but I don't need to run every setting on highest.


I appreciate anyone's help to get an old gamer back in the swing of things, thanks!
May 20, 2012 7:17:29 AM

Thanks for the quick reply but, how do I determine if my case can support it or not?

Its a rather large case so I don't think i will have a problem.....


I've only replaced RAM and GPU's so im not all that great when it comes to adding upgrades.
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May 20, 2012 7:30:13 AM

What is the case? Usually in the manufacturer of the case's site they say what can be supported by the case. Or in the manual, they also say.
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May 20, 2012 7:48:43 AM

Well I wiil chalk out an Intel build cuz an AMD build is "not for gaming".Here's it:─

☺i3-2120 @ 3.3 Ghz LGA 1155________ ~ $ 120

☺Intel DZ68DB ________ ~ $ 100

I listed Intel's stock z68 mobo cuz OP seems to game on low to medium settings,so a stock one will be perfectly good.Going for Asus or Gigabyte can push it outta his budget,but some really good LGA 1155 boards are available @ # 160 pricepoint.

You further future proof your build by going for a quad cored processor.i5-2400 is very best quad you can grab.BTW,don't look for FX ones,they are not true multi cored processors,half of which are Hyper Threaded which is not of much use in gaming.Opting for i5-2500K will push your budget further high,so it's not recommendable at your budget.

Remember one thing,the more you play at low resolutions,the more load shifts towards the processor's shoulders than the GPU.That's why I will recommend to save some more dough to get a quad cored Intel CPU.Rest is upon you to decide.Also,do let us know to how much can you stretch your budget.

Have a good day ! :) 
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May 20, 2012 9:44:28 AM

I may be able to stretch it to 300$. I hate to say it but I can't really invest too much into it as I have more important bills and such to take care of.
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May 20, 2012 10:10:28 AM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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May 20, 2012 10:29:15 AM

You will also need to buy new RAM since all modern CPUs uses that type of RAM.

The make and model will help determine what type of motherboard it supports. Otherwise you can open up your case and look at the motherboard itself. A standard ATX motherboard will look rectangular and typically measure 9" x 12". A mATX case will be squarish with typically dimensions of 9" x 9".

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May 20, 2012 10:45:08 AM

I'm betting he's still on DDR2, which was common around the time of the CPU/mobo.

* I'd get Intel i3 2120 CPU for $125.
* Z77 Mobo, so you get the latest USB 3.0 support and PCI-e 3.0 support (not that it's critical, but good to have). Here is an inexpensive one for $99!
* Get 8 gb's DDR3 Here is a $43 set!

Total ~$268 shipped!
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May 20, 2012 10:46:19 AM

The following works out to less and $200 and since you said you have a "large case" I will assume it can handle a ATX motherboard. This total price is below your budget, it is still a substantial increase in performance compared to what you currently have. 4GB of RAM is more than enough for any 32-bit Windows operating system; only about 3.25GB will be recognized though. 64-bit version of Windows can recognize up to 24GB of RAM (maybe more).

ASRock B75 PRO3 LGA 1155 motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Pentium G850 Sandy Bridge 2.9GHz CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In case you are sticking with Windows XP, you can download motherboard drivers from Asus' webiste:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/download.asp?Model=B75%20Pro3&...

------------------------------------------------

The motherboard I selected supports Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU which is their current (3rd) generation of CPUs. It will allow you to upgrade in the future to their current "latest and greatest" should you decide you need more performance in the future. This motherboard does not support overclocking, then again overclocking is generally not done on a low budget build.

You should also be aware that Intel's current socket 1155 CPUs will be discontinued next year when they release the new Haswell (socket 1150) CPUs. Ivy Bridge CPUs will still be available though, however if you plan on upgrading in the future then keep an eye out on CPU prices. Once inventory starts to dry up, prices can go up. That might start to happen in mid-2014.
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May 20, 2012 11:13:17 AM

As stated above, my recommended components works out to less than $200; $192 before shipping and potential taxes to be more precise.

You can swap out the Intel G850 CPU if you mind reaching your $250 or $300 limit.

Core i3-2120 CPU - This will more or less bring you to the limit of your $250 budget. The Next faster Core i3-2130 will push a little past that, but the difference of 100MHz is not worth the price. The vast amount of games only sue two cores.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Core i5-2320 - This is a quad core CPU and it is basically the best CPU you can buy without going over your $300 limit. There are only a small number of games that can actually use more than 2 core. There will be more games released than can utilize more than 2 core in the future, but they will still be a minority compared to dual core games. It will take at least a decade before game using quad cores will be standard and that is being optimistic. If you consider yourself a "light gamer", then you can forgo the Core i5-2320 and instead use the remaining money in your budget towards a new graphic card.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge CPU - The above two CPU are Sandy Bridge CPUs, this is Intel's latest Ivy Bridge CPU and it just slightly over your budget; $304. It has a slightly higher stock speed than the Core i5-2320, but the CPU design is also slightly more efficient which means the overall performance is a bit more than just a 100MHz difference in stock speed. Overall difference when it comes to game performance will be very small because most games are limited by the performance of the graphics card. Ivy Bridge CPUs do use a little less power than comparable Sandy Bridge CPUs.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 20, 2012 11:58:39 AM

More points:
- He doesn't state his Power Supply so that may need to be updated. Possibly not. Just don't know.

- You can't legally transfer Windows unless it's a FULL VERSION (non-OEM) and that's pretty rare to have.

- even if he had an older copy of Windows that could be transferred legally, it's probably not 64-bit which would limit how much RAM he could support.

- If he doesn't spend any money on graphics there will be a very small improvement to games.

*While it may be true that the load "shifts" more towards the GPU at higher resolutions, it's also true that when there's a SEVERE difference between a high-end CPU and a low-end graphics card that the bottleneck is simply going to be the graphics card at all settings.

Basically $300 with no graphics card gets a very minor difference in gaming, but $400 (with an HD6850 on sale for $100) would be a massive boost.

**Laptop:
Now I know this is over his $300 limit (which again doesn't include Windows, or a graphics card, or possibly a needed Power Supply) so don't flame me about this.

However, check out what you can get for $450:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+17.3%26%2334%3B+Pavili...

It has an HDMI output so you can plug it into a monitor or HDTV. It's got half decent gaming for the price and can actually run Diablo 3 quite well.
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May 20, 2012 12:24:15 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8RUTrlpEHg

I stumbled on a video of a laptop with the same APU running Starcraft 2. SC2 is much more demanding than Diablo 3.

*FYI, if you have an AMD card/chip, there's a really useful tool called RadeonPro that can force something called "Tweaks->Always On (Double VSYNC)" which I used in several games to force 30FPS because the card wasn't powerful enough to get 60FPS so this way you can cap at 30FPS with VSYNC and don't get the annoying screen tearing.

I use RadeonPro in several games usually to force VSYNC and/or anti-aliasing when the game doesn't support it, but on a few occasions the 30FPS mentioned above. "The Sims 3" works far, far better at 30FPS (Double VSYNC) on my computer.
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May 20, 2012 8:29:12 PM

lunyone said:
I'm betting he's still on DDR2, which was common around the time of the CPU/mobo.

* I'd get Intel i3 2120 CPU for $125.
* Z77 Mobo, so you get the latest USB 3.0 support and PCI-e 3.0 support (not that it's critical, but good to have). Here is an inexpensive one for $99!
* Get 8 gb's DDR3 Here is a $43 set!

Total ~$268 shipped!



Yes I still use DDR2 and this looks like a nice combo, I am hoping to play BF3 and a few near future titles on high settings. I have a 600watt power supply.
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May 21, 2012 2:25:36 AM

Aubryn said:
Yes I still use DDR2 and this looks like a nice combo, I am hoping to play BF3 and a few near future titles on high settings. I have a 600watt power supply.

Which 600w PSU do you have? They are all NOT created equal, so that is why I ask.
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May 22, 2012 3:51:29 AM

Alright correction, I have a silenpro atx 2.0 500 watt power supply

btw I also have a Corsair H50 CPU cooler.

my full specs:

64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+ @ 2.2ghz

nvidia 9500gt video card

my motherboard is a KN9 ( NF-MCP55 Series ) Nvidia nForce 570 SLI

4gb of DDR2 Ram PC2-5300
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May 22, 2012 8:34:09 AM

Well here's what I'd consider given your budget and trying to upgrade as many things as possible:

* CPU - $80 shipped! One of the cheaper gaming CPU's.
AMD Athlon II X3 455 Rana 3.3GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX455WFGMBOX

* Mobo - $61 shipped! Holds your DDR2, so you can put that extra $ into a CPU/GPU.
ASRock A785GM-LE AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

* Keep RAM and install into new mobo above!

* GPU - $150 - $15 MIRc = $135!!! One of the better GPU's in this price range. Only requires 1 x PCI-e power connectors, which you should have already with your PSU.
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Total ~$291 - $15 MIRc = $276!

An Intel option would probably mean:
* Pentium G630 (see Tom's latest best CPU's for gaming on the front page or here ). Cost is about $75.
* Possibly the H61 chipset (socket 1155) to keep the cost around $50-70.
* 4 GB DDR3 ~$25 or ~$40-45 for 8 gb's
* AMD 7750/6790 ~$110

The AMD system would game better, but the Intel would have more upgrade path (if you went with a z68 or z77 based mobo - which would add about $30 to the mobo price ~$100 for lowest z77 mobo).

Intel build = ~$310 for z77 system and ~$280 for H61 system
AMD build = ~$276 with a better GPU and generally a better gaming experience.

You decide. If you have a bit more budget, I'd go with the Intel system with a z77 based mobo or even a z68 one (they are selling a bit cheaper with promo codes too).
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May 28, 2012 1:14:26 AM

Hey thanks for the info Lunyone, The suggestions provided look like a good fit for now within my budget.

I never knew they had triple core processors though! :bounce: 
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May 28, 2012 1:20:31 AM

GothAmKing said:
Well I wiil chalk out an Intel build cuz an AMD build is "not for gaming".Here's it:─

☺i3-2120 @ 3.3 Ghz LGA 1155________ ~ $ 120

☺Intel DZ68DB ________ ~ $ 100

I listed Intel's stock z68 mobo cuz OP seems to game on low to medium settings,so a stock one will be perfectly good.Going for Asus or Gigabyte can push it outta his budget,but some really good LGA 1155 boards are available @ # 160 pricepoint.

You further future proof your build by going for a quad cored processor.i5-2400 is very best quad you can grab.BTW,don't look for FX ones,they are not true multi cored processors,half of which are Hyper Threaded which is not of much use in gaming.Opting for i5-2500K will push your budget further high,so it's not recommendable at your budget.

Remember one thing,the more you play at low resolutions,the more load shifts towards the processor's shoulders than the GPU.That's why I will recommend to save some more dough to get a quad cored Intel CPU.Rest is upon you to decide.Also,do let us know to how much can you stretch your budget.

Have a good day ! :) 

While I will agree that Intel builds perform better in games, that is not to say that AMD builds are not for gaming, in fact my 955 BE does quite well in all the newest games.
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