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Upgrade of CPU/Memory for ageing desktop

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January 6, 2013 4:34:41 PM

Hi,

I wonder if I could ask the opinions of a few of the experts out there about the "best value" CPU/RAM upgrade options for my old desktop PC. The PC is a bit of a self-build from an even older PC and new parts over the years. I'm finding it a bit sluggish these days (Win7) despite rebuilding the OS every year or so. The latest versions of things like Chrome/Office 2010/IE9/FF all seem to be taking their toll and I think the CPU and memory may be struggling a bit. Main annoyance is the time to load the newer apps etc.. I do not use the PC for gaming. Mainly Outlook/Office 2010/Internet and such like.

I would like to get a better CPU to replace the AM2 4000+ and perhaps switch the existing slower memory modules (5300's) to match the faster ones (6400's) if that would be worthwhile based on the costs to do each.

Here is what I have currently (btw. It is not overclocked at all):

GA-MA770-UD3 (Socket M2) - BIOS - FKb - All set to Auto/default except that Serial/Firewire and Parallel all disabled and virtualization enabled (as I use virtualbox occasionally)

PSU 350W

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ / Stock Fan

4Gb RAM:
2 x 1Gb PC2-5300 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-5400C4)
2 x 1Gb PC2-6400 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-6400)

Seperate Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5450 (not OC's at all)

Drives:
Seagate ST332031 SATA2 300Gb - OS Win7 Ultimate (no swap) with all latest SP and patches
Seagate ST325082 SATA2 300Gb - 8Gb Swap file + Infrequently accessed data


Hoping to do this on a low budget of maybe £100 and hopefully improve performance a fair bit - happy to buy used kit of ebay.
My last parts added were the XMS2 6400 RAM modules and the Graphics card (to replace a blown older card)


Many thanks
Paul
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 6, 2013 8:20:23 PM

Hi. It sounds like a faster storage drive like an SSD would benefit you the most. And maybe a CPU upgrade too if you want. An SSD for your OS and programs would help reduce booting/loading times and sluggishness. Since you have a small budget, I suggest a 120/128GB drive for about £60-70. Here are a few:

Sandisk 128GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-d...

Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/kingston-internal-hard-...

Samsung 840 Series 120GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/samsung-internal-hard-d...

Sandisk Extreme 120GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-d...

Your motherboard is actually Socket AM3 ready so you have more processors to choose from. I'm guessing you have either rev. 2.0 or 2.1 since I think you meant to say BIOS version FKD. With that latest BIOS version your motherboard supports the following CPUs in the CPU Support List here:

http://uk.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-po...

Here are a few CPUs that I think are worth upgrading to if you don't plan on a platform upgrade (CPU/motherboard/RAM). I don't think you need the X6 but I'll put it out there as an option. My X2 4000+ is collecting dust. :lol: 

AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-adx640wfgmbox

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdz965fbgmbox

AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 2.7GHz
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdt45twfgrbox

As for memory replacement you can find 2GB (2 x 1GB) for a little more than £25 but I don't think this is worth it and certainly not worth as much as getting an SSD.

Corsair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/corsair-memory-twin2x20...
January 6, 2013 9:23:56 PM

Hi johnsonjohnson,

That's all cool stuff buddy. Thanks for that. hadn't even thought of an SSD.

Cheers,
Paul


johnsonjohnson said:
Hi. It sounds like a faster storage drive like an SSD would benefit you the most. And maybe a CPU upgrade too if you want. An SSD for your OS and programs would help reduce booting/loading times and sluggishness. Since you have a small budget, I suggest a 120/128GB drive for about £60-70. Here are a few:

Sandisk 128GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-d...

Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/kingston-internal-hard-...

Samsung 840 Series 120GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/samsung-internal-hard-d...

Sandisk Extreme 120GB
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-d...

Your motherboard is actually Socket AM3 ready so you have more processors to choose from. I'm guessing you have either rev. 2.0 or 2.1 since I think you meant to say BIOS version FKD. With that latest BIOS version your motherboard supports the following CPUs in the CPU Support List here:

http://uk.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-po...

Here are a few CPUs that I think are worth upgrading to if you don't plan on a platform upgrade (CPU/motherboard/RAM). I don't think you need the X6 but I'll put it out there as an option. My X2 4000+ is collecting dust. :lol: 

AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-adx640wfgmbox

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdz965fbgmbox

AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 2.7GHz
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdt45twfgrbox

As for memory replacement you can find 2GB (2 x 1GB) for a little more than £25 but I don't think this is worth it and certainly not worth as much as getting an SSD.

Corsair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800
http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/corsair-memory-twin2x20...
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 6, 2013 9:27:29 PM

You're welcome and good luck with the upgrade.
January 6, 2013 9:59:22 PM

Hi, FYI. It's rev 2.0 but it is BIOS V.FKb according to speccy.

Cheers,
Paul


johnsonjohnson said:

Your motherboard is actually Socket AM3 ready so you have more processors to choose from. I'm guessing you have either rev. 2.0 or 2.1 since I think you meant to say BIOS version FKD. With that latest BIOS version your motherboard supports the following CPUs in the CPU Support List here:


January 10, 2013 5:22:59 PM

One more question if U don't mind.

I have the:

2 x 1Gb PC2-5400 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-5400C4)
2 x 1Gb PC2-6400 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-6400)

memory modules.

I think i'm right in saying that all things being equal the 6400 should be about 2-8% faster than 5300 if all the sticks are one or the other.

If they are mixed I know that the 6400 will run at the speed of the 5300.

the question I have is whether it will run at the fasted speed the 5300 can run at or will if have to find a compatability match for available speeds. Let me explain my questiion in another way.

Speccy is telling me that the two ram module types I have can run at the following speeds:

The 5300 I have can run at 266 and 333.3
The 6400 I have can run at 400 and 270

As the 6400 does not have 333 in the list does that mean that they must both run at the lowest common denominator i.e. 266(270)

If so then I suspect that the PC2-5300 may be slowing the system by double what I thought (i.e. 4-16%)

Speccy says:

RAM
Memory slots
Total memory slots 4
Used memory slots 4
Free memory slots 0
Memory
Type DDR2
Size 4096 MBytes
Channels # Dual
DRAM Frequency 301.4 MHz
CAS# Latency (CL) 5 clocks
RAS# to CAS# Delay (tRCD) 5 clocks
RAS# Precharge (tRP) 5 clocks
Cycle Time (tRAS) 15 clocks
Bank Cycle Time (tRC) 19 clocks
Command Rate (CR) 2T
Physical Memory
Memory Usage 60 %
Total Physical 4.00 GB
Available Physical 1.57 GB
Total Virtual 12 GB
Available Virtual 9.35 GB
SPD


Number Of SPD Modules 4
Slot #1
Type DDR2
Size 1024 MBytes
Manufacturer Corsair
Max Bandwidth PC2-5300 (333 MHz)
Part Number CM2X1024-5400C4
SPD Ext. EPP
JEDEC #2
Frequency 333.3 MHz
CAS# Latency 5.0
RAS# To CAS# 5
RAS# Precharge 5
tRAS 15
tRC 19
Voltage 1.800 V
JEDEC #1
Frequency 266.7 MHz
CAS# Latency 4.0
RAS# To CAS# 4
RAS# Precharge 4
tRAS 12
tRC 15
Voltage 1.800 V
Slot #2 - Same as above
Slot #3
Type DDR2
Size 1024 MBytes
Manufacturer Corsair
Max Bandwidth PC2-6400 (400 MHz)
Part Number CM2X1024-6400
SPD Ext. EPP
JEDEC #2
Frequency 400.0 MHz
CAS# Latency 5.0
RAS# To CAS# 5
RAS# Precharge 5
tRAS 18
tRC 22
Voltage 1.800 V
JEDEC #1
Frequency 270.3 MHz
CAS# Latency 4.0
RAS# To CAS# 4
RAS# Precharge 4
tRAS 13
tRC 15
Voltage 1.800 V
Slot #4 same as above

Thanks
Paul
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 10, 2013 7:19:44 PM

You are right that there may be some performance loss and that the higher speed 6400 will run at the limit of the 5300 which is 333 MHz. The 6400 is able to run at 333 MHz since you can already see that they are running at 301.4 MHz from your post which is higher than 266.7 MHz. Now whether that performance is worth the money is up to you. In my opinion it isn't especially for everyday usage. My old system was similar to yours too and I used it for gaming: 1GB (512 x 512) DDR2-667 and 2GB (1 x 1) DDR2-800. :lol: 
January 10, 2013 10:23:49 PM

Thanks. Will stick to the CPU u/g.
January 17, 2013 5:46:47 PM

Job done. Got the X4 640 and overclocked it a tad from 200 to 235Mhz bus speed

CPU mark went from 587 on old 4000+ CPU to 3800

System much more responsive now. Well happy for a £50 upgrade.

Cheers,
Paul
January 17, 2013 5:47:42 PM

and ... the temperatures never went over 35C. I did use the old Fan and heatsink from the old 4000+ CPU though as it was much larger than the crappy stock one.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
January 17, 2013 6:36:27 PM

Glad to hear you're pleased with the upgrade.
!