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Can I update a single core processor to a dual core?

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  • Dual Processor
  • Processors
  • Components
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Last response: in Components
October 22, 2012 5:20:56 PM

Hello,

My son has a Compaq Presario SR1730z desktop. It uses an Athlon 3800+ 64 processor, which appears to be single processor. He just got a game which requires a dual processor. Can we just switch out his processor with a new dual processor? or do we need a whole new computer to play this game?

More about : update single core processor dual core

October 22, 2012 5:34:39 PM

the 3800+ is a Socket 939 CPU which means that you will probably get a more powerful CPU/Mobo combo if you go for an AM3 socket setup for half the price of just a 939 CPU.
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October 22, 2012 5:37:11 PM

Unlikely, even if your motherboard supports a dual core CPU, it would be so slow and outdated that it wouldn't really be worthwhile getting it, at best you might just barely get that game running if you can find a compatible dual core. Time for a new system, that one is at the end of its lifespan.
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October 22, 2012 5:43:52 PM

It will be hard to tell. The BIOS controls what processors are recognized and the OEM PC makers are allowed to modify the BIOS as they see fit.

A lot of times, an OEM PC maker will modify the BIOS to lock out the ability to put in processors with more cores, a lot of times they won't do that too.

Your best bet would be to go on the Compaq forums and try to see if someone else has done what you are trying to do in the past and if so did it work?

However, the smallest step up to a dual core from there would probably be like $20 RL so you could probably just try it anyway and not take too much of a loss if it didn't work. Ebay would probably be where you would find such a processor.

You would need to have your own thermal paste and you would have to know how to both take it off and apply new in order to be able to do this. There should be plenty of videos on youtube about this process if you look them up.
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October 22, 2012 6:53:45 PM

If you are trying to install a game that requires a dual core processor, you are getting into games that are simply not going to run very well at all this machine I am afraid. Its quite outdated, and unless your budget is extremely limited, tossing any money at all into this machine is just not worth it in my opinion. Having said that you can go here to this page for a full spec of your machine and what it can use. You can upgrade to a 4800 X2 processor according to this page. This was a very fast processor in its day, its just that its day came and went about 5 years ago. Its really time for a new machine.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

Oh, and be advised that this was a transitional period for AMD, there are processors from this era that were made for socket 939, and socket AM2 boards, and one will not work on the other. Be sure you are getting a socket 939 CPU if you decide to upgrade with a faster processor.
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October 22, 2012 7:34:34 PM

jitpublisher said:
If you are trying to install a game that requires a dual core processor, you are getting into games that are simply not going to run very well at all this machine I am afraid. Its quite outdated, and unless your budget is extremely limited, tossing any money at all into this machine is just not worth it in my opinion. Having said that you can go here to this page for a full spec of your machine and what it can use. You can upgrade to a 4800 X2 processor according to this page. This was a very fast processor in its day, its just that its day came and went about 5 years ago. Its really time for a new machine.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

Oh, and be advised that this was a transitional period for AMD, there are processors from this era that were made for socket 939, and socket AM2 boards, and one will not work on the other. Be sure you are getting a socket 939 CPU if you decide to upgrade with a faster processor.

He won't even be able to get a 939 CPU for a price lower than a AM3 mobo/Triple core AMD combined, and at that point he might as well do so and get some DDR3 RAM for like 20$ and bam, faster than it would have ever been with a 939 dual core. They cost about 170$, that's obsurd when you know that you can get a Triple or even a quadcore with a motherboard new and outperform that by such a large gap where it doesn't even make sense to consider that option :) 
~UnlimitedBanana
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October 22, 2012 7:51:08 PM

I would also say its probably better to just get a whole new cheap $200 PC with dual or quad core already in it. There should be plenty of OEM off lease PCs that PC sellers want to get rid of for about that price.
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October 22, 2012 10:51:06 PM

UnlimitedBanana said:
He won't even be able to get a 939 CPU for a price lower than a AM3 mobo/Triple core AMD combined, and at that point he might as well do so and get some DDR3 RAM for like 20$ and bam, faster than it would have ever been with a 939 dual core. They cost about 170$, that's obsurd when you know that you can get a Triple or even a quadcore with a motherboard new and outperform that by such a large gap where it doesn't even make sense to consider that option :) 
~UnlimitedBanana



Well, I believe that was kinda what I was implying in my answer, but that is not what he asked. So, after stating what I would do, and telling him the machine is not worth upgrading, (you did read my whole answer, right ;)  ) I gave him the information he was asking for, hopefully he can make a decision that works for him.

By the way, I have a couple of gigabyte boards and AMD processors sitting around here, I know I have an AM2+ 920 Phenom X4 and a AM3 965 BE X4 sitting in the closet.
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October 23, 2012 12:48:35 PM

jitpublisher said:
Well, I believe that was kinda what I was implying in my answer, but that is not what he asked. So, after stating what I would do, and telling him the machine is not worth upgrading, (you did read my whole answer, right ;)  ) I gave him the information he was asking for, hopefully he can make a decision that works for him.

By the way, I have a couple of gigabyte boards and AMD processors sitting around here, I know I have an AM2+ 920 Phenom X4 and a AM3 965 BE X4 sitting in the closet.

You have a 965 sitting in your closet, poor thing. I bought one recently to replace my old Athlon x2 64 6000+, and seeing as I did my upgrade for 200 euros (about 260-270$) I found it to be a better solution to upgrade the whole pack Mobo/CPU/RAM than just getting a new CPU for that ancient socket.
I did read your whole comment, I was adding to it (or at least that's what I meant to do). I've had AMD's in my system for 4 years now and have built at least 5 machines for friends on an AMD Platform. That's the main reason I steered away from a 939 CPU since it is possible to get an acceptible price for one, but considering the performance gap between the 4800+ and an Athlon II 450 or even a 240 it just doesn't make sense to me to even consider it as an option. Anyway you made your point very clear and I really think that the OP should consider his choice carefully :) 
~UnlimitedBanana
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October 24, 2012 4:43:39 PM

Socket 939 ping Athlon X2 4400
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/AMD-Athlon-64-X2-4400-939-dual-c...
47$ free shipping

Same as above, athlon X2 3800
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/AMD-Athlon-64-x2-3800-2-0G-1MB-S...
20$ free shipping.


This will work really well for windows 7, basic tasks and it can play some games if there is a half decent videocard like a radeon 5570.
(also note that these days you need minimum 2 to 4 gigs ram. You can get away with at least 1.5Gigs ram if you run windows 7)

DDR400 memory is a bit pricier these days.

Keep in mind that for basic tasks, the "Health" of the Windows Installation is what really affects performance.... If it's really slow, you would gain a lot of performance with a good backup and reinstalling Windows XP or 7

It all depends on the use.


If he needs more performance beyond a good old dual core chip on this rig; It would be better to buy new computer as the compaq is a little old for a new motherboard, cpu and the rest of the components.... what you save on Case and PSU(probably dated too) isn't worth getting rid of a perfectly fine working PC.

(You can make a very good computer for about 500$)
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October 24, 2012 5:36:10 PM

Its time to upgrade

Get a A10 5800k with a FM2 board and you should be able to play new games fine although not at the highest settings but what you pay is what you get!
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October 24, 2012 6:13:52 PM

C00lIT made some pretty decent posts with those links, but I still think that it would be better to just go for a whole new Mobo/CPU/RAM combo. A 4400 will not be enough for most modern games, I had a 6000+ and it just didn't cut it. Crysis 2 (even Crysis 1), Battlefield 3/BC2, Batman Arkham City and GTA IV ran horribly on it even with an HD6750 which is more than enough to get playable framerates in all those games even on Med/High settings, though it didn't even cut it on low. In BF3 I had around 20-30FPS with it and my HD6750 on all Low 1440x900. Now I get 40-50 with all High and even some Ultra at the same res with my PII 965.
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October 24, 2012 11:52:23 PM

Thank you all. Looks like it's time for a new one. I'm afraid to open a can of worms, but any recommendations for a new cheap gaming computer for a 14 year old with limited means are appreciated. Favorite game is Skyrim and the game he is trying to play is Chivalry Medieval Warfare.
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October 25, 2012 12:19:07 AM

APU for budget (sub $400), amd budget build for the $400-800 range. Anything over will probably use intel as the processor.

Make another thread with your requirements and budget and screen resolution and we'll make something nice for you.
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October 25, 2012 5:30:26 AM

Thanks for the reply. Sorry, this is all Greek to me (us). Don't know what APU means. Where is the best subject heading to post this request for an optimal system on a budget?

Will he be better configuring his own (with your help) or just buying an existing computer from Costco? We have about $500 to spend, and need it to last several years...until he has a job and can buy another one. Of course we'll probably be on car forums then.
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October 25, 2012 5:41:17 AM

Try the system section, make sure you read this sticky: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/353572-31-build-upgra...

APU is a processor that is made by AMD and has a GPU built into it (GPU for playing games). The newest one out is Trinity on the FM2 motherboards.

You can also get a OEM computer from somewhere. They have money making margins though, so it probably would have components to it that aren't good-great quality.
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October 25, 2012 7:39:07 AM

Are you willing to have a parent and son bonding time?

Build the system with him. :) 
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October 25, 2012 11:03:26 AM

Which country are you from? When you say I can look trough some sites and see what would best fit an $500 budget. A pretty decent computer can come from $500 as long as it's custom built, buying existing computers is pretty silly considering that PC's are really easy to put togeather when you have the right parts. And as amuffin said, have some bonding time with him and help him build the system :) 
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October 25, 2012 12:10:11 PM

I would like to do this, but have absolutely no experience doing anything like this, and I know nothing about computers. I suppose there are plenty of books out there explaining how to go about it?
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October 25, 2012 12:54:48 PM

Rather than starting from scratch, is there any reason I can't use the existing computer, keeping all of the basics, but just replacing power supply, processors, video card and ram?
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October 25, 2012 2:10:27 PM

Topangadan said:
Rather than starting from scratch, is there any reason I can't use the existing computer, keeping all of the basics, but just replacing power supply, processors, video card and ram?

Well, a computer only consists of the Motherboard, RAM, Processor, Power Supply, Video Card and a storage drive. The only thing you should think about keeping is your storage drive, DVD burner, and case. If you open the computer up it seems complicated, but it's actually really simple. The motherboard is that big plastic thing stuck on the wall of your PC, it hosts all the hardware. The CPU (processor) is under a metal heatsink with a fan on it, removal is easy but placing it has a requirement, match up the two triangles on the Socket and CPU to the same corner, bam done :)  The video card is the board that is sticking out of the motherboard horizontally when the PC is upright, removing it is also a breeze and placing one is like placing an old game cartrige. RAM is a small board next to the CPU and you only need to flip the pins on the sides to release it. The hard Drive is actually not mounted on the Motherboard itself, it's connected via cable and is usually at the front of the case in a cage below the DVD drive slots, same goes for the DVD - it's in a cage at the front of the case. The power supply is just a box at the top of the case, removed with screws will release it and then just unplug all the cables from the motherboard and other hardware.
The motherboard in that PC is VERY old and can only host weak dual cores at max.
If you have any more questions just ask :) 
~UnlimitedBanana
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October 25, 2012 3:19:44 PM

Motherboard: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS FM2 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
49$ + 5 shipping


CPU:AMD A10-5800K Trinity 3.8GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 7660D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
130$


Ram:8 gigs Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
40$ free shipping

320Gig drive gig harddrive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
50$ (I don't understand why these drives are so expensive on newegg atm) The flood is long gone

DVDR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
16$

Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
20$

PSU
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
45$

Total of full new computer is: 350$
+ Not sure what taxes are like in your area
+ misc shipping if I didn't miss it


This computer will run skyrim quite well.

If you don't want to build it, print the list, take it to a computer shop and have them build it for you... an equivalent acer costs... too much more.


(I also still suggest you upgrade that old computer to a dual core... it's only like 20 to 30$ to give it new life for all basic tasks and very light gaming ;) 
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October 25, 2012 3:30:39 PM

I also like llano APUs (denoted by A#-xxxxx in the product name, ie A10-5800k) for low end builds particularly for those who are a bit intimidated by the process of building computers.

They let you play games on reasonable settings and simplify down the process by taking the video card out of the equation. One less piece that can arrive DOA and one less piece that people can break on accident.

However, I will say that I am not against OEM PCs on the low end as much as some others here are. OEM PCs usually have weak hardware, but the maker gets all their parts including OSs at a steep discount so they can sell computers a t a cost lower than what an individual can build a computer for themselves.

If you are trying to build a computer at $500 or less, I would check what is available in the OEM space once you have figured out the sort of parts that you want to see if something comparable is available for cheaper from HP, DELL, or whoever.

OEMs are well known for using bad cases and bad PSUs, but they are generally OK for an unmodified system and it doesn't sound like you like to mess around inside there too much anyway.

This newegg PC kit doesn't look that bad:

http://tinyurl.com/9aruzpu


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October 26, 2012 1:10:13 AM

wow, thanks for such concise info...getting this level of information is amazing. I think we can do this.

So the video card is built into the CPU on the Llano, correct? Would this make it impossible to upgrade video cards in, say, 2 years..or I guess he would just upgrade the entire CPU?

What version of Windows would be best to run? Chivalry will not run on Linux.
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October 26, 2012 1:39:42 AM

You can try the Windows 8 Dev preview...
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October 26, 2012 2:15:43 AM

C00lIT said:
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS FM2 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
49$ + 5 shipping


CPU:AMD A10-5800K Trinity 3.8GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 7660D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
130$


Ram:8 gigs Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
40$ free shipping

320Gig drive gig harddrive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
50$ (I don't understand why these drives are so expensive on newegg atm) The flood is long gone

DVDR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
16$

Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
20$

PSU
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
45$

Total of full new computer is: 350$
+ Not sure what taxes are like in your area
+ misc shipping if I didn't miss it


This computer will run skyrim quite well.

If you don't want to build it, print the list, take it to a computer shop and have them build it for you... an equivalent acer costs... too much more.


(I also still suggest you upgrade that old computer to a dual core... it's only like 20 to 30$ to give it new life for all basic tasks and very light gaming ;) 

What processor would you recommend for an upgrade?
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October 26, 2012 3:55:13 AM

It's useless to even upgrade it. Skyrim is fairly demanding on the cpu with the requirements being at least an intel core 2 duo or amd equivalent (Anthlon II X2). Chivalry is a fun game but still needs optimization for you get decreased frame rate when there's a bunch of people grouped together in a small map or its a server running more than 32 players.

Just get an APU and run with it. Not worth it trying to upgrade the old computer.
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October 26, 2012 12:05:53 PM

Topangadan said:
wow, thanks for such concise info...getting this level of information is amazing. I think we can do this.

So the video card is built into the CPU on the Llano, correct? Would this make it impossible to upgrade video cards in, say, 2 years..or I guess he would just upgrade the entire CPU?

What version of Windows would be best to run? Chivalry will not run on Linux.

Yes, you will be able to put an Add In Graphics card since there is a PCI-E x16 slot on that motherboard. The A10 is a quad core so it should be plenty for gaming for at least 3 more years with pretty decent settings and a good Graphics card to go with it. Thankfully the 7660D is good enough for most any game, if you don't mind 1280x720 or 1024x768 resolutions, but for a mainstream gamer that shouldn't really bother you and your son :) 
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October 26, 2012 6:35:00 PM

The Llano or Trinity APUs have graphics hardware built into the processor, yes.

If you decide later to get a stand alone card, you can just plug it into the computer and the computer should auto detect that you don't need the processor graphics and use the stand alone card instead.

However, as mentioned, a better processor down the road might kill two birds with one stone in 3 or 4 years and give you another processor and graphics upgrade in one shot.
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