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Old 05-25-2011, 07:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Hi guys,

Okay, so the system that I'm running now I rebuilt about five years ago. Obviously, it's starting to show its age. My RAM died and I replaced it about a month ago but I've been considering a major overhaul and need some advice. Here's my current setup:

ASUS A8N32-SLi Deluxe
AMD Athlon X2 3800+
2GB G.SKILL DDR 400 2.5-3-3-6
EVGA 9800GTX+
WD Raptor 300GB 10k RPM main drive, WD 160GB 7500RPM storage
Windows 7 Home

I've been able to OC the CPU to 2.5GHz without any issues. I haven't OC'd the RAM, trying to keep the timings down. And considering that I just had to buy new RAM ($72!!) I really don't want to fry these DIMMS.

My main question is: What is the best cost-to-value upgrade path that I can take?

Should I save up around $800 or so and upgrade to DDR3? That would include a CPU, MB, RAM, and (maybe) GPU.

I've been playing with the idea of going DDR2... I can get my hands on a XFX 780i MB for about $65. Couple that with a Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz and 4GB of RAM and that might make for a 'good enough' system for a couple of years.

Or is the GPU my problem? It's not DX-11 and I'm unsure how badly that's hurting me. Would I be better off dropping $230 on a 560 Ti? Only problem with that is my MB doesn't support PCI-E 2.0... garrr

So I need some advice. I can save about $200/mo without dipping into my main savings. I know that AMD is releasing Bulldozer soon and that everybody seems to be holding their collective breath. If I upgrade to DDR3 I won't be doing it for several months as I'll have to save up the required capital. Even then, I really hate spending that kind of money.

I'm highly aggravated that I can't play new games on anything above minimal graphics settings. Not fun.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Your best bet is to save up some cash and build a new PC. There's nothing you can buy that will make your system perform more than marginally better.

You can buy a updated video card and use it in your present system but you'll probably need a new power supply also. But it won't perform nearly as good as it should because your cpu just doesn't have enough power to really handle it. It would be like putting a car engine on a bicycle.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Slay is right, mate. You could reuse your case, PSU, GPU, and HDDs if you wanted to. You will most definitely want/need a CPU/mobo/RAM upgrade at a minimum.

For $250 you could go with a Phenom II X4 955 and GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 combo, and 2x2GB G.Skill RAM.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Thanks for the replies

Slay, that analogy is awesome. I knew that going the proper route was the right way to go... but after building a couple of systems on newegg and seeing the final cost got me to thinking of alternatives.

My psu should be fine, I splurged when I bought it. Actually, that's a funny story. I was woken up early one morning with the sound of my older psu blowing up. Wasn't fun at the time, but thinking back at the heightened sense of panic shooting through my system is quite hilarious. Wow, that was a long time ago. Oi.

That combo looks fairly good. One question though... should I wait for AM3+? I need to read some reviews on that MB. I know the proc well enough, it's nice.

I also had the thought of diving into Z68 for the SSD caching. With Win7 being on a platter drive I could just pop in a smallish SSD later on and reap the benefits without the hassle of a reinstall.

So many options. I need focus.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Bulldozer will be great, but now is now. You definitely want a quad or better, though.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trotter View Post
Bulldozer will be great, but now is now. You definitely want a quad or better, though.
IMO it's to early to say anything about Bulldozer. Just look at Phenom I, leading up to it's launch everyone talked about how it would destroy Intel yet it was a near total flop.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

I went with Trotter's suggestion and made the purchase. What convinced me was that the UD3 is shipping with AM3+ sockets, so I have the option to upgrade the CPU later.

I got the new hardware installed on Friday and I'm amazed at how well win7 handled the upgrade. The last time I tried to install a new MB, CPU, and RAM the windows install (XP?) decided to reject life. I'm very happy with the performance of the new hardware. I went from 8600 '06 3DMarks to 14900. Awesome.

I initially installed the stock heatsink, I have plans on going with one of those corsair CPU watercoolers. But that silly little thing was running at 80Db, I kid you not, and running hot. So I removed it and replaced it with my old Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 64. But my temps are still kinda high. And to complicate things, AMD OverDrive and Speedfan can't agree on what my Core temp is.

As I'm writing this OverDrive is reporting my core temps as about 42C while Speedfan is saying 32C. Not sure which one to believe, OverDrive is always 10C hotter. I set my BIOS to warn me when my cpu temp hits 70C. I ran Prime95 last night and OverDrive said I hit 71C, but I didn't get my BIOS alarm.

According to Speedfan, my load temps are flirting around 61C. That's not acceptable. That's with my aftermarket cooler. I've installed my share of coolers, I do know what I'm doing. Just to double check, I read up on Arctic Silver 5's website and applied the paste per their directions.

So, my question now is... what the **** do I do with load temps 1C below AMD's recommended max?
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

You may not have the cooler on good. Are you sure that it is compatible with AM3? Is it the 92mm version?
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Arctic Silver 5 isn't a very good choice for newer cpu's, Tuniq TX-2 is a much better choice. One of the problems with AS5 is it's very thick and hard to apply properly. Newer cpu's will run hot if to much paste is applied, it takes very little paste to conduct the heat away properly. And AS5 just hasn't kept up with the research, almost every other thermal paste manufacturer has a product that will outperform AS5 by at least a few degrees (2-3) and some pastes like the Tuniq will lower your temps by more than just a few (5-10) if applied properly.

Try cleaning the existing paste off and just apply a single small gob of paste to the center of the cpu. By a small gob I mean the size of a single grain of dried rice or a bb. Then attach the heatsink, allowing the weight of the heatsink to spread the paste. Make sure the heatsink is firmly attached at each of the 4 motherboard holes.

Speedfan isn't what I would call reliable anymore. Every time I hear someone mention Speedfan it seems like their asking why it's reporting temps that aren't even close to the temps reported from other programs. I recommend using a program like RealTemp or HWMonitor
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrade advice needed, from DDR to ??

Alternately, put nine smudges on the CPU spread out in three lines of three to cover the CPU, none too close tot he edge as the heat is found in the interior of the chip.

Either way Slay is right in that it sounds like too much paste, or the cooler is not centered on the CPU, or it is an old design not suited for AM3 and so is not making a good contact.
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