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Old 12-25-2012, 04:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Processor upgrade question

Hello everyone,

I had a computer built around 9 years ago custom from a computer shop for gaming. The motherboard no longer works, and shortly after i was given an HP Pavilion p6803w. Its nothing special but I did upgrade it, here are it's current specs:

Processor: Athlon II X2 220 2.8Ghz
Motherboard: Foxconn 2AB1
Graphics card: (from old computer)
Power Supply:

This setup works good but not so much on the newest games. I play on 1920x1080 resolution and can run source games on highest settings 4x AA with generally 60+ fps. On newer games like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which ran great on my old XP computer, now only pulls around 30 fps on DX9 high settings same resolution. From what I've read this seems to be caused by my dual core processor, and while playing that came my CPU usage is constantly at 100%.

I'm limited on processors that I can upgrade to because my motherboard can only support 95W max. I can go with a Athlon II X4, or a used Phenom II x4 95w (they are discontinued), or I could just do a future proof upgrade on motherboard, a newer cpu, case because this small hp case lacks good air flow, and you guys tell me if my graphics card should be upgraded. I would have to buy a new copy of windows 7 if I did a large upgrade like this tho right?

I have never replaced a motherboard or installed a CPU but I've done a lot of research and watched videos on it. Take a look at the picture in my motherboard link and you will see this metal heat spreader right next to to the CPU socket, if the heat sink is bigger on the Athlon X4 than the one on the Athlon X2 I don't think it will fit. I can't find any dimensions on the Athlon X4 fan but I know that it has a 4 pin motherboard connector and my motherboard only has a 3 pin connector. From what I understand this will mean the CPU will run at 100% constantly.

So here is my questions: Should I upgrade to one of the processors mentioned above or should I just do a future proof upgrade? Can I reuse the heat sink from my Athlon X2 on a Athlon II X4 or Phenom II X4 using Arctic silver 5? What is the smartest choice and also any tips on installing would be helpful.

Here is a link to my motherboard specs: Foxconn 2AB1 Mainboard Specs

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-26-2012, 01:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Typos

The CPU fan will run at 100%*

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Old 12-26-2012, 02:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Processor upgrade question

  • if you are using 100% CPU, Phenom 2 x4 would be good. Athlon 2 x4 processors are a great alternative if you are on a budget. Phenom 2 processors have L3 cache, but not all games utilizes L3 cache. AnandTech - Bench - CPU scroll down to bottom to see game benchmarks. fallout 3 sees about 5% difference, while Far Cry 2 sees about 18%. (one thing to note is the athlon 2 is clocked 100mhz slower in the link, so actual differences may be smaller.)
  • video card could use an upgrade too.
  • you only need a new windows 7 license if you change the motherboard.

best choice? it all depends on your budget.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Processor upgrade question

I think you should grab a new GPU (GTX 660, 7870, 660ti, depending on budget) and then a little later due an overhaul when you can afford it. Your current PSU is good for all modern GPUs except the dual GPU cards.
Your RAM amount is good for any gaming and can be reused in the new rig as well. Really though, at 1080p your biggest problem is that 4870. When I got my first high res monitor in early 09 I had Crossfire 4870s and they kind of struggled with a 940BE overclocked using only 2x AA at that res.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Processor upgrade question

Thanks for the input guys! My budget would be around 600-700 but if it goes over its not a big deal.

Parts I'm considering upgrading to:
CPU: - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Motherboard: - GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
GPU: - SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition OC 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card (11199-03-20G)
Case: - COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN3-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior
OS: - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade

Just last week windows 7 was down to 100 and now its back to 200. Could I use the OS from my old computer with the upgrade that only costs 120?
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