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pikaia
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Location: Cincinnati

upgrade advice

Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:16 pm

My box is in need of an upgrade, (built it on a budget in Fall 2004 for about $400). Here are my current specs, (not including case and PSU which I'll try to reuse).

CPU: AMD Athlon 2800 (754)
MOBO: Chaintech VNF-250
RAM: 1.5GB DDR1 3200 (Corsair)
Video: ATI 9200 SE

I don't really do much high end gaming. But I do play some newer games (NWN2, CivIV, and some older games etc) So I want to be able to play these games and do the standard music, movies, burning, and internet. I'm a grad student, so my funds are limited. (~$200- I know its not much) But what I'm looking to do is just get me through the next 2-3 years. My current build has done that, I'm just looking for the next one to as well.

I'm debating whether or not to just go to 939 until after grad school or spend a few more bucks, on a slightly slower AM2-X2 chip and set myself up for an easier upgrade next time. (since AM2 will be supported for a while longer)

Potential 939:
AMD 4000 San Diego
Biostar GeForce 6100
This way I'd be able to reuse my current DDR1 RAM...

or

AM2 build
AMD X2 3600 Brisbane
This chip comes as a combo with two potential boards.
PC Chips
ECS 6100 S
I'll also need a heatsink and fan but Rosewill makes a nice one for ~$25

Any other board recommendations that might fit my budget are appreciated. And I'd need to get 2GB of DDR2 RAM probably this Kingston:
Kingston

Essentially, is the jump to AM2 at this point worth the extra $80? Of course now that I look at it I'm thinking this is a dumb question. But I'd like to hear some opinions.

My other thought was to pick up the Turion MT37 for $59 and couple it with a new AGP video card... FX5500 for about the same price

Thanks.
Desktop
Windows 7
AMD X2 4200
Biostar K8M800 MOBO
2.0 GB DDR2
GeForce 7600GS AGP
120 GB HD - Windows XP
300 GB SATA - Linux Mint 9
 
lex-ington
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Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:29 pm

go for the AM2 build. Dual-cores make a big difference in multi-tasking.

More than likely everyone else will say go with Intel - since they just release the 2xxx models - but that's not a secure path either since they all like to change chipsets faster you change the T.V. during commercials.

The new AMD chips will slide into an AM2 socket too, so upgrading MAY be easier - depending on how long you plan on keepeing this setup, and what you do when you graduate from grad school (You may mot have time to waste on upgrades till the next major overhaul.

Just for the record - I am running an X2-3800 w/ a 7300GS vid card and 2GB DDR2-667 memory on a 350W PSU and ALL is well.
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Klyith
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Re: upgrade advice

Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:49 am

pikaia wrote:
Essentially, is the jump to AM2 at this point worth the extra $80? Of course now that I look at it I'm thinking this is a dumb question. But I'd like to hear some opinions.
Very much so, since the K10 (next amd chip) is confirmed to initially work with AM2. Ram is also cheap now, so even 2 gb of DDR2 is not very expensive. If you're going to do a new motherboard, you should do this. But honestly, with your current budget, you're in a bad position. Upgrading to an integrated graphics mobo isn't much of an upgrade.

My other thought was to pick up the Turion MT37 for $59 and couple it with a new AGP video card... FX5500 for about the same price
The FX series cards should not be bought under any circumstances. I don't even think it's much of an upgrade over a 9600. I also don't see why you'd do the turion instead of a 3200+ venice that's 200mhz faster for $20 less.

On your list of activities, the only thing your current machine can't do is gaming. NWN2 needs a midrange video card, your 9200 is below the minimum specs. So you might want to look for a used AGP card on the cheap. There should be plenty around from PCIe upgraders. Something like an X800, 7600, or x1650 would work really well if you could get them for $60-80.

$200 is just not enough IMHO to go the "mostly new computer" route. I wouldn't be very happy with the new cpu, mobo, and ram if it also means integrated graphics. You also don't want to put too much money into upgrades for the current system, as it's a dead end. But about $100 for a new cpu and video card (used would be better) would keep that system going for another year. You could then save up as much as possible to build a new system that you'll actually be happy with.
 
Flying Fox
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Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:32 am

I don't know about NWN2, but Civ4 should run pretty good on your system. Civ4 is all about RAM and you've got it.

I would spend about $100-$150 for a good used video card, and start saving.
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pikaia
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Location: Cincinnati

Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:38 am

Thanks guys.

It seems, so far, the opinion is to get a better video card, and not something to bide a couple years. hmm. Went to look for some AGP cards and realized the one in my box is actually PCI. Is AGP better? or no real difference? And I'd actually heard that the 6100 (although onboard) was pretty good.

I was thinking it over and did some pricing, and to get a new heatsink/fan and video card, (My CPU has been running hot since I got it... idles at 59C under 'mild' OC with 4 case fans and the side off, 55-56C without OC...) the price is about the same as the upgrade... which is what put me in this dilemma in the first place.

I've got two boxes I'm gonna be selling to fund whatever I plan to do. My old Athlon 800 Gateway which I was holding onto for I don't know what reasons, and I just picked up a box that was sitting on the receiving dock here at school to be trashed. Come to find out its an XP 2400 running at 2.0GB, so I just need to find some RAM and a decent HD and pawn it off on Craigslist for a bit of cash.

Again, any further input is welcome. I'm still torn.

Thanks
Desktop
Windows 7
AMD X2 4200
Biostar K8M800 MOBO
2.0 GB DDR2
GeForce 7600GS AGP
120 GB HD - Windows XP
300 GB SATA - Linux Mint 9
 
JustAnEngineer
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Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:38 pm

1: i7-9700K, NH-D15, Z390M Pro4, 32GiB, RX Vega64, ½TB 960Pro +2TB MX500, Define Mini-C, SSR-850PX, LG 32UD99 + UltraSharp U2410, RK9000V2-BR
2: R5-3600X, Wraith Spire, B450M Steel Legend, 32GiB, RX5500XT, 2TB SX8200Pro, P160, SS-660XP2, TV, G610
 
Coran Fixx
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Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:29 pm

Asrock 4Core Dual Vsta (intel board that uses ddr) ~ $70
Intel e2160 ~ $100

You have $30 left over. Bring over your pci video card. Sell your old 754 mb and processor. I don't understand if those 2 other computers were going to be bringing in more money or contributing to make the $200. In either case, when you are done raising money, come back for a recommendation for a video card. It is going to suck using your current video card, but it should only be for the short term.

thats my 2
 
ALIAS
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Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:06 am

i would go with a better AM2 board that you will be able to use with the newer AMD socket AM2 cpus and buy the cheap 3600+ AM2 cpu right now to go with it. This way you dont spend too much right now but have the option to upgrade later. You can also find yourself a decent PCI-e video card for under $80. Something like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814161030
For the games your playing, you will survive. Ram you can find easily 2 Gb of DDR2 for less than $75 these days. And hopefully your current PSU will do.
i7-4770k, ASRock Z87 Extreme6, Radeon R9 270, 16 GB G.Skill Ares DDR3-2133, Creative SB Z, OCZ Vertex 460 240 GB SSD, 2x 1TB WD Black HDD, Windows 10 Pro
 
pikaia
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Location: Cincinnati

Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:27 am

PSU is good. So no worries there. I'm getting a lot of mixed input, which is good, but leaving me still a bit undecided.

I know I need a new video card... I've had NWN2 sitting here since Christmas and I can't play it because of this crappy 9200SE. (At least I can still play Tropico... Hey I love that game!) And its just time to upgrade the graphics. I also do want to pick up a better Heatsink and fan again because of the heat issue... my AC is blowing right into my box and firefox is all I'm using right now and the temp is 61C. (but it could be an error because I've reseated and Arctic Silvered that thing 4 times now...) The heatsink isn't warm to the touch... but thats another issue, probably for another board.

So I'm stuck between just getting a new card and heatsink... probably about $100. I don't need a $150+ graphics card... not for what I'm doing. And I saw a decent heatsink but its not in stock anywhere.

So my thought was if I'm making the $100-150 upgrade for those parts isn't it smarter to get the 939 board and chip for the same price, or the AM2 for $170ish and use the integrated graphics for a couple months, (since it is an upgrade from what I've got) until Christmas or so when I can get some holiday cash? Or is that just a complete waste? Just get a decent card to hold me? I'm not trying to be difficult, just letting you know whats going through my overly frugal mind. (Saw someone selling an ATI X800 for $75 in the BB here)

Also, where else do you get used parts? (other than the bargain basement?) I'm not an ebay shopper... and Craigslist rarely has decent finds here in Cincy. And as far as decent AGP cards go, what is decent in the $50-75 range. I see I had a Nay vote for the FX5500 any other thoughts. Oh yeah, I see some cards have DDR2 RAM will this be compatible with my DDR1 board?

Thanks again.
Desktop
Windows 7
AMD X2 4200
Biostar K8M800 MOBO
2.0 GB DDR2
GeForce 7600GS AGP
120 GB HD - Windows XP
300 GB SATA - Linux Mint 9
 
just brew it!
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:42 am

If you're not ready to take the AM2 plunge, then just get a decent used video card and sit tight for a while. Socket 939 is a really bad idea right now if you care at all about having a future upgrade path; no more speed grades will be released on 939, and AFAIK AMD isn't even producing the existing speed grades any more (so what's left in the distribution channel is all there is).

If you're going the video card only route, yes you definitely want AGP (not PCI), assuming your motherboard has an AGP slot. There are no high or even mid-range PCI video cards available; even if someone produced them, they would be crippled by the PCI bus's lack of bandwidth. The card you have now is probably pretty close to the fastest available for PCI.

If the heatsink is properly seated and cool to the touch, the 61C temperature reading is simply wrong. If the system is stable, don't worry about it, and don't spend any more money on a heatsink and fan, unless it is also AM2-compatible (so you can re-use it in the next build).
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
flip-mode
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:52 am

This Asrock motherboard
This Core2 based CPU

About $150 total.

Advantages: DDR / DDR2. AGP / PCIE. Keep your DDR, keep your video and move to DDR2 and PCIE when ready. Core2 architecture. Core2 overclocking headroom.

Uh, I just notice that you're using a 9200SE? That sucks but I'm actually going to disagree with JBI here and say that it's just as bad an idea to get a new AGP card as it is to move to 939. Sticking with the 9200SE for now will be a hard pill to swallow but it is the forward thinking thing to do ironically. The mobo that I linked to above offers tremendous flexibility for you to do incremental upgrades.

Actually, an even better idea for you would be to get the mobo I linked above and this Conroe based Celron (someone please verify) or else a low-end Pentium D and that would leave you with 1. money left over for a video upgrade and 2. the same wide-open field of upgrade options because of the mobo.
 
just brew it!
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:26 am

flip-mode wrote:
Uh, I just notice that you're using a 9200SE? That sucks but I'm actually going to disagree with JBI here and say that it's just as bad an idea to get a new AGP card as it is to move to 939. Sticking with the 9200SE for now will be a hard pill to swallow but it is the forward thinking thing to do ironically. The mobo that I linked to above offers tremendous flexibility for you to do incremental upgrades.

Note that his existing 9200SE is not even AGP, it's PCI. So it is doubly crippled, and is probably the biggest factor that is holding him back now.

If he's gonna spend money on a "throwaway", it might as well be one that gives him the biggest bang for the buck. I agree that AGP is equally as obsolete as Socket 939 at this point, but any upgrade that doesn't include replacing the video card with something else is not going to do much to improve his gaming experience.

That said, the Asrock mobo you're recommending may be an option.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
flip-mode
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:43 am

JBI do you know anything about that Conroe based Celeron? Is it worth considering. He probably doesn't need dual core at all to be frank, so maybe the Asrock mobo and the Conroe based Celery (approx $120), and used what's left on a video upgrade?

$53 6800XE
$60 7300GT
$63 x1600pro
$70 x1650 256MB

Pikaia, it would be useful to have a definite budget to work with.

Edit: here's something on the Core2 based Celeron: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... html#sect1
 
Nullvoid
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:53 am

From the above posts he could compromise and go for:

A 4coredual-vsta $68.12 inc. shipping.

A 1.6ghz celeron-L $53.99 inc. shipping.

A pci-express Radeon x1650pro $65.63 after MIR inc. shipping ($85.63 without the MIR).

So he gets a better cpu, a mobo with great options for upgrading and a graphics card that is streets ahead of what he currently has. While staying within the $200 budget (it comes to $187.74 with the MIR) mentioned in the first post.
 
flip-mode
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:18 am

Nullvoid wrote:
While staying within the $200 budget (it comes to $187.74 with the MIR) mentioned in the first post.
Crap I missed that. But everything else you said was essentially what I was saying :lol: I think this is the best of all scenarios. That way you can upgrade to a Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad or DDR2 whenever you get the chance.
 
Nullvoid
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:20 am

You managed to get your post together while I was umming and ahhing over mine :)

edit - and yes, these asrock boards are great for those on a budget. I have the earlier iteration (775dual-vsta) and just this week took advantage of the super-low ddr2 prices. Swapping my ddr out for it was painless and and I took the liberty of having a little vacuum inside the case while I was at it (my cpu temps are now 10 degC lower again :lol: )

Starting from a ye olde athlon xp system, I firstly got a c2d e6300+775dual-vsta (keeping the ddr ram+agp gfx card). Having just got 2gb of ddr2 I'm now just waiting on the right moment to finally ditch my radeon9600LE, after which I'll finally have a somewhat decent gaming pc again. Without ever having spent much at a single time, yay.
 
Dagwood
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Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:40 pm

I like the socket 939 option myself. Right now it is on sale with a processor included. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138269

So for $80 your done. If you must have better graphics save some starbucks money and buy this.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130085
 
heruur
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Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:55 pm

That card is great, I have the PNY version. Games play like butter if you keep the resolution below 1280*1024 (4x AA/ 16x AF). Don't let that price fool you, its the best bang for the buck card.
 
ALIAS
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Sun Jun 17, 2007 1:11 am

pikaia, i was the one selling the X800 for $75. its no use to you if you get a PCI-E board because its an AGP card. The cheap Biostar board Dagwood is suggesting is a decent board. Its PCI-E. I got one free when I bought an AMD FX-55 processor from Newegg. The onboard sound is pretty lousy but the onboard video geforce 6100 is decent. However I dont think you will be able to play Neverwinter Nights on it very well. I bought a refurbished X850XL PE 256 mb card from Newegg for $60. Thats my office computer now. If you can find a deal for a video card like that, that would probably be your best option.
i7-4770k, ASRock Z87 Extreme6, Radeon R9 270, 16 GB G.Skill Ares DDR3-2133, Creative SB Z, OCZ Vertex 460 240 GB SSD, 2x 1TB WD Black HDD, Windows 10 Pro
 
JustAnEngineer
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Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:10 pm

Even cheaper:
Refurbished Radeon X1950Pro AGP for $125.
1: i7-9700K, NH-D15, Z390M Pro4, 32GiB, RX Vega64, ½TB 960Pro +2TB MX500, Define Mini-C, SSR-850PX, LG 32UD99 + UltraSharp U2410, RK9000V2-BR
2: R5-3600X, Wraith Spire, B450M Steel Legend, 32GiB, RX5500XT, 2TB SX8200Pro, P160, SS-660XP2, TV, G610

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