I do a bit of casual gaming on my PC It is a stock Hewlett Packard HP5105UK: AMD X3 440 cpu, maxxed out to 4GB DDR3 RAM, with a reference HD7750 graphics card. It gives me playable frame rates (30fps) on Crysis 1 & 2 on high settings (1600 x 900 res.)and other similar games, and I am quite content with what I get. I do not demand ultra-high game spec, and am perfectly happy with my gaming. The PSU restricts what graphics card I get, but I am not bothered. I am hearing that modern games love 4 cores, so is it worth me upgrading to a AMD X4 640 cpu? Basically I will just be getting an extra core compared to the triple core 440. I cannot unlock any 4th core on the 440 due to the HP locked out BIOS. And would the X4 640 just simply slot in and replace the X3 440?
Thanks in advance for some sound advice.
No, it probably isn't. I haven't 'gamed' in awhile, and have been doing some research lately myself. But, for the money I don't think that extra core is going to make that much difference. AMD quad cores are not even as powerful as Intel Dual Cores, so, when people talk about modern games wanting quad cores they tend to recommend Intel I5's with 4 true cores. The last computer I built was a Phenom II X3 @ 2.4 ghz about 3 years ago. I have been shopping around and have settled on the AMD FX 6300 despite its "inferior" power. But, if you are going to do some upgrading I would hold off and wait until you can afford a full system upgrade.
To answer your second question. Yes, you would just take out the old and put in the new. Make sure you apply thermal paste to the new one and carefully seat the cooler. They both use the same slot AM3. I looked at both tigerdirect and newegg and the processor you are looking to buy was out. It may be on the discontinued list soon. That is a dead socket. You may be able to get the phenom II X4 instead. BUT it requires 125 watts up from the 95 watts your current chip requires. IF you can use it, then I suggest this one:
If you were doing something like encoding video that hits all cores evenly, then that extra core would make a pretty significant difference. For most games, however, single or dual core performance seems to be the biggest influence on framerates and those two processors have the same core performance.
You mention your power supply is limiting your graphics card choices and I would suspect that means you graphics cards is the biggest limiter here in gaming performance.
Thanks everyone for the sound advice. Obviously not such a great increase in performance down going the X4 640 route. Just an idea: I can get a Phenom X4 945, which is a quad-core at 3.0Ghz and it has L3 cache which the 440 and 640 don't have. I may be wrong, but i am sure you can get these at 95W TDP (like my current X3 440). The other Phenoms are 125W, so I don't want to take a chance on overloading the board. Would the Phenom 945 be worth it? That way I will have sort of maxxed my board, so I can carry on casual gaming for a few years before replacing the entire PC.