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Gaming upgrade - AMD system

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February 10, 2013 2:03:59 PM

Hello,

I'm looking for an optimal upgrade for my currently used homebuilt system:

mobo: Gigabyte GA-MA78MG-S3H - AM2
CPU: Phenom II X2 565 Black
VGA: Gigabyte GeForce 9600 GT
RAM: 2x2GB DDR2 800
HDD: 1TB WD Caviar Blue
Win7 64bit Home


As far as I know the worst segments of this config that cry for an update are the motherboard and the VGA card, especially for gaming. Those are both from 2008 or earier. Correct me if I'm wrong on this.

1.) CPU & MoBo: Would you recommend me a board for that CPU and Graph card please for mid budget. Should I change from Gigabyte to something else to gain better performance for the same price? Asus seems overpriced to me but it could be way better, I don't really know.

2.) RAM: If I'm going to change my mobo to an AM3+ socketed, should I change my DDR2 RAMs also to DDR3? or it is possible to use DDr2 rams in an AM3+ mobo? If not, is 4GB enough for games like World of Warcraft?

3.) HDD: My Hard Disk is continuously working (similar to swapping) all the time while playing. Also, copy function is kinda slow (copying speed for a 3Gb file from partition-1 to partition-2 on the same disk is around 22 MB / sec) Are those problems comes from the "Blue" type which is not that fast as the "Black" caviar or maybe my OS?

Thank you for your suggestion!
February 10, 2013 7:46:45 PM

How much do you have to spend on upgrades?
a b B Homebuilt system
February 10, 2013 8:12:57 PM

Actually you need a whole new system; CPU, MOBO, VGA & RAM. All the modern games will depend on the strength of these components.
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February 10, 2013 8:37:27 PM

I don't understand why you want to change the mobo? Going from AM2 to AM3 won't significantly change performance. It depends more on the CPU actually. I agree with ilysaml you get to the point where you might need a new build, and unfortunately I don't think you'll be able to salvage a lot of your components aside from the HDD.

And about that transfer rate there's something wrong. Usually there's not much difference between "Blue" and "Black" (or maybe a 10 MB/sec difference) but both should offer performance above 100 MB/sec. Is your drive full? Is it healthy? (no bad sector?) Is your chipset and disk controller drivers up to date? Is your BIOS set to AHCI? It could also depend on the nature of the file your copying. If you transfer other types of data, is the performance any different?
February 10, 2013 9:38:57 PM

@ tenaciousk & ilysaml : I don't have the money to update my whole system at once atm, I have to do it in order of importance. I thought those are my VGA card and the mobo on the first place. Correct it if 'Im wrong. Also, with the mobo change I'll probably have to change my ram to DDR3 also if DDR2 cannot be used in the new board. I'm thinking about 220-240 Euros - excluding the RAM change.

@ MC_K7 : Well, about the mobo change I didn't know that. But since its an old mobo, and I barely could coax my current CPU into it, I think there is no any further processor update for that mobo. Or at least not any significant. So I can upgrade my VGA but not my CPU that straight since it needs a mobo change. So right now, after the VGA what peripheral should I change to gain the most gamer performance advantage?

As for HDD, it is set to AHCI, but the 20-25 MB-ish speed exists since day 1 of its lifetime. Its not nearly full and no bad sectors, defragged or not, its the same with any type of data. I use the (inbuilt / windows updated) Win7 64 bit OS' controllers and drivers because there is no driver update for that mobo for years. Actually I used the last version of the mobo chipset driver pack when I bought the HDD and speed was pretty the same.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 11, 2013 2:28:30 AM

@VOX
What's your gaming resolution?

For the HDD speed, that's the normal don't worry SINCE YOU PARTIONED THE DRIVE INTO MANY PARTITIONS, plug in another SATA HDD and transfer some files between the drives and you'll see the speed significantly increase, I have 2 x 500GB HDDs in Raid0 (software raid) and SSD and 2TB HDD, from SSD to Raid0 HDDs it averages around 250 MB/s, from HDDs to 2TB HDD it averages 135-150 due to the limitation of the 2TB HDD.

I googled once for the slow speed between partitions and storage geeks told me it's normal, you can search the storage section for similar problem and you'll find the technical answer.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 11, 2013 3:31:59 AM

Yeah, you will need to start fresh. I would only re-use your hdd. Try sell some parts to get your new computer.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/CMmE
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/CMmE/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/CMmE/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($50.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($239.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $595.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-11 00:31 EST-0500)
February 12, 2013 5:16:06 AM

@ilysaml : Usually play in 1440x900 (wide screen)

@camohanna : Would you recommed something for AMD like for gaming pls. I heard that increasing amount of cores above 3 helps only a marginal amount, instead, the core speed will boost the performance big time.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 12, 2013 5:51:25 AM

For amd, a Fx-6300 and a 970 chipset motherboard will suit you well.
February 13, 2013 4:11:02 PM

Thanks for the suggestion!

Anyway can I salvage my DDR2 ram by using it in AM3+ boards? Or they accept only DDR3 modules?


@ilysaml : Where does my screen resolution (1440x900) matter?

a b B Homebuilt system
February 13, 2013 4:49:31 PM

Ram is so cheap these days. I suggest just getting a single 4gb stick of ram for ~$20 and then later down the road buy another to complete the dual channel.
February 13, 2013 6:38:35 PM

Yes, I got this definately. But does that mean I can use my old modules if I want or its just not possible to use DD2s in AM3+ boards?
February 13, 2013 8:39:54 PM

That is a good question. Unfortunately the forums are full of "just buy all new stuff" advice. I have an AM2+ mb with an am2 processor and ddr2 ram. My motherboard definitely supports am3 to a certain wattage. It is my understanding that the memory controller is built in to the AMD processors. So all you have to worry about I think is Hyper Transport at 5.2g speed. Now I have the same question as you. IF I put in a am3 of not over specified wattage that is listed as compatible right in the mb manual will I have to use ddr2 memory since the memory controller is built in the cpu?
a b B Homebuilt system
February 13, 2013 8:45:48 PM

No, i think that ddr 3 is different from ddr2. They are not intercompatible.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 13, 2013 9:34:13 PM

DDR3 RAM won't work in a DDR2 mobo, basically they have different electricity and different pin notch.

@cioangel, no mate, the forum isn't full of such advises, but an AM2 based system is really weak for the modern games, come on man haven't you heard of Far Cry 3 and Crysis 3? !!!!!!!!

@Vox
Sorry for being late, your resolution does matter, in lower resolutions 1024 and above lots of work being done on the CPU in rendering, so any mid range card can max out any game at such a resolution if you have a good CPU, while in 1600x resolution and above it's just a mix of CPU+GPU performance...Your board supports Phenom II X4 & X6 if you flash your BIOS to the latest, go and grab phenom II X4 965 on newegg it's the only X4 CPU that's available.

HD 7770 GHz edition will be overkill for your gaming resolution. So now you don't have to buy a new system. Just make sure you have a quality PSU.
February 14, 2013 6:01:39 AM

Thanks for the infos!

Are radeon cards performing better than nVidia eqvivalents @ the same price nowadays?

Also,

Quote:
DDR3 RAM won't work in a DDR2 mobo


I'm interested in backward compatibility, so can DDR2 be used in AM3+ boards despite their electricity?
a b B Homebuilt system
February 14, 2013 9:52:33 AM

Nope, they have different pin notch.

For the last 5 Years, there was no "better" between nVidia and AMD... Get either the HD 7770 or HD 7850 both are great cards for even 1080P gaming.
!