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Thread: Time to upgrade!

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    Time to upgrade!

    It's about time I upgraded my PC. My XP-m 2500+ based machine has served me well, but since both of my graphics cards have recently died on me and are out of warranty now I might as well bite the bullet and move up to S939 and PCI-Express.

    The new system I want will pretty much be used for gaming, little bit of home cinema usage, and to dabble in video creation. I'm not scared about over-clocking to get the full potential out of my system so can get a few cheaper parts here and there if need be, but I don't wanna fork out on additional cooling or have a system that sounds like a Harrier on take off.

    So, I need some help with a few things. I know I want a S939 A64, but which of the many varieties there is I don't know. A64, AM2, Single or Duel core, Newcastle/Winchester/Venice/SanDiego all me! Hmm, I guess I don't really wanna spend much more than about £150-200 on a CPU, what would be your choice? (the cheaper the better though)

    I will then need some more RAM, something with a little bit more "oomph" than my current 2x512MB of Crucial PC3200. DDR or DDR2? 1GB or 2GB? I suppose the more the merrier is the case here. Again, about £150-200 max if 2GB is needed.

    The current status of the graphic card market is a bit of a minefield to me at the moment, I just dunno what's good and what isn't. Any advice on a graphics card would be nice. I don't think I will need a top of the range, uber over-clockable card, but something to handle an output of 1600x1200 (or 1920x1200 if I get that lovely 24" widescreen Dell I've had me eyes on). Not fussed about it being ATi or NVIDIA, just as long as it isn't over about £200-250. SLi or CrossFire can be used later on to upgrade if need be.

    The last item I need advice on is the most important one, a motherboard to hold all of the above. Again, not fussed about manufacturer, just one that will handle everything, be fast and overclock easily and well if need be. Will £100 be enough?

    I already have SATA drives (is SATA II worth going for?), DVD-RW, Soundcard, case (Antec P120 which I might replace with something better), nice 19" CRT monitor and the usual peripherals.

    Any help/advice on this lot would be greatly appreciated!

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    • vaio's system
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    Given recent price reductions I think an X2 3800+ would be an ideal system base.
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    I've just upgraded my machine and I can strongly recommend Intel's Pentium D 805 - it cost me £85 - less than half the price of an X2 3800+. It comes clocked at 2.66GHz but I'm running completely stable at 3.66GHz on air (using a Zalman 9500CU, but the stock cooling is good and would cope, just louder).

    I'd never considered buying an Intel CPU before seeing a duallie for less than £100 and I've got no regrets whatsoever, even having been a die-hard AMD user for the past ten years!

    I would suggest 2Gb of DDR-2 (667 probably) coupled with a 7900GT for that money. I'm personally running an Asus P5ND2-SLi with 2Gb of DDR-2 and a 7800GT and it's very quick.

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    avoid clawhammers, newcastles and winchesters as they cant do sse3 instructions which can handicap them, venice or san diego is the way to go for something cheap but theyre only single cores

    dual cores are toledo (1024k/core) and manchester (512k/core) and theyre identical apart from the cache, no probs with either and some 3800+ chips are very good overclockers

    if you want the best chips you should look at the low end opterons (fast ones wont clock as well as the slow) as they are potentially the fastest commercial chip (same or better than the old xp-m was)

    there are some socket 940 opterons, these are obviously not the right socket and were either early ones (142,144) or multiprocessor designs with extra links (2xx,8xx)

    the ones you want are the 939 1xx series, these are
    single cores: 144 (1.8), 146 (2.0), 148 (2.2)... ... ... ... 154(2.8)
    dual cores: 165 (2x1.8), 170 (2x2.0)... ... ... ... 185 (2x2.6)
    the best are generally the 146 and 170 but all of the first 5 are potentially as good as each other, 146 costs £150 and 170 costs £240 but youll have to buy on ebay where you can pick your stepping

    as for whether you want actually want a 939:
    if you get a 939 setup youll be using a mature platform that will definitely work but you will be stuck with the chip forever as there wont be anything else coming out, then again they are very fast if you overclock properly

    am2 is about to be sold as we speak and it will let you upgrade to anything until maybe january '07 when am3 comes out

    on the intel front the d805 is a bargain and will clock high and they also have the new conroe core which is set to become the leader of the pack in the next few months (augustish i think)

    but conversely that means that you can get cheap opteron stuff now as theres been a big drop in demand, given your budgets that seems to fit in nicely

    btw for graphics cards get an x1800XT 512mb or 7900gt, they are the best for not much more than £200 and you can add another later (must have an sli/xfire board and matching cards)

    and remember to factor in a new power supply as youll need a 24-pin one and an 8-pin eps12v connector is needed on dfi boards

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • Intel® Core™ i5-6600K @ 3.5GHz
      • Memory:
      • Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 2x8GB
      • Storage:
      • 256GB Samsung 960 PRO + 512GB Samsung 960 Evo
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
      • PSU:
      • XFX P1-650X-NLG9 XXX 650W Modular
      • Case:
      • Fractal Design Node 804
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
      • Monitor(s):
      • 27" BenQ XL2730Z + 23" Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
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    OK, so what would you think of this setup:

    AMD Opteron 64 148 Socket939 , Venus Core, 2.2GHz , 1MB Cache, Retail - £170.63

    or

    AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core 3800 + Socket 939 , Manchester Core, 2x 2.0GHz , 1MB Cache, Retail - £191.97

    ASUS A8N-SLi Deluxe NF4 SLI, S939, PCI-E (x16), DDR 400, SATA I / II, SATA/IDE RAID, ATX - £93.99

    2GB (2X1GB) Corsair TwinX DDR, PC3200 (400), 184 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 2-3-3-6 - £136.83

    256MB XFX 7900GT Extreme, Mem 1500 MHz, GPU 520 MHz, 24 Pipes, Dual DVI-I HDTV - £217.25

    500W Enermax Liberty Modular Series - ELT500AWT - £68.14

    All within budget. Also, what do you think of the Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro? I heard it's very good, so for £16.39 I think I would get that too.

    Any more thoughts from anyone else? Can I get some cheaper compenents maybe and overclock them to be better than the above for cheaper?

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    Senior Member Dark Horse's Avatar
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    Sounds good, Freezer 64 is a nice choice.

    As you have said, overclock cheaper parts will be much more useful. Save the money and use it to get a nice monitor/keyboard/mouse etc.

    Personally I would go for the x2 3800+, I moved from an Opteron 144 and I would not look back. Almost everything is much smoother and more and more games will taking advantage of it soon. Think they can be found for £170-£180 retail on good days.

    If you do go single core I would get a 146, save the pennies as the extra overclock really won't be worth it.

    Same with the Ram, corsair VS on a divider and it will perform exactly the same but for £30 less.

    7900GT is good value although you can find them for ~£200 these days.

    Psu I don't think it matters too much as long as you buy from a reputable brand which Enermax is. 500w is the bare minimum to get though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen
    2GB (2X1GB) Corsair TwinX DDR, PC3200 (400), 184 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 2-3-3-6 - £136.83
    256MB XFX 7900GT Extreme, Mem 1500 MHz, GPU 520 MHz, 24 Pipes, Dual DVI-I HDTV - £217.25
    All within budget. Also, what do you think of the Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro? I heard it's very good, so for £16.39 I think I would get that too.
    all fine, the cooler is a bargain, the only other option would be a tuniq tower120 from germany for about £38 delivered if youre willing to spend that much to get a better cooler

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen
    AMD Opteron 64 148 Socket939 , Venus Core, 2.2GHz , 1MB Cache, Retail - £170.63
    or
    AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core 3800 + Socket 939 , Manchester Core, 2x 2.0GHz , 1MB Cache, Retail - £191.97

    ASUS A8N-SLi Deluxe NF4 SLI, S939, PCI-E (x16), DDR 400, SATA I / II, SATA/IDE RAID, ATX - £93.99
    500W Enermax Liberty Modular Series - ELT500AWT - £68.14
    imo theres no alternative but to get the chip from somewhere that specifies the steppings (i.e ebay unless anyone knows somewhere else), e.g a bad 148 will hit a wall at 2.4ghz and put out lots of heat but a good one will do 3.1 on air, the same is very true for the 3800+ chips, if you want i can post again with a brief run through of them (opteron singles and duals, i dont know anything about 3800+ steppings)

    the board is good... you could probably get a better clock with a DFI but they are £130-170 for sli/xfire... for your budget you could maybe get a NF4 Ultra-D which would clock better but has no SLI/Xfire... having said that you would have to get a bigger psu if you wanted to run 2 7900GTs together so its no big loss... if you do want the option of sli later you might want to consider the silverstone strider st60f which is a major bargain for £90 at scan and should even power dual 7900GTXs and x1900XTXs

    the hardest part is the chip then, i'd agree that a dual core is best so that narrows it down... the important thing is not the model but the stepping, all 144/146/148s are basically the same at heart, as are the 165/170s, it all comes down to stepping... the other thing that IS important is the multi, unless you have a top end board

    if you do get a single core with a good stepping (i.e 2.9-3.1ghz clockers), a 146 would be best value, the 144 only has a 9x multi so assuming youre unlucky with the board you could get stuck at 2.7 or even 2.6ghz, the 148 conversely should be overkill as you are likely to be limited by chip speed or heat before 3.0ghz, in which case it's irrelevent whether you have a 10x or 11x multi... having said that you can always drop the multi if the chip and board are both working really well

    for dual cores you are looking at 2.5-2.8ghz from a 3800+ and 2.7-3.0ghz from an opteron, the same applies so with a 165 at 9x you might get stuck at the lower end of the scale although its still a fair clock given that its a dual core, the 3800+ and 170 will both hit or come close to their limits with the board so the only difference then is cost, and remember the 3800+ only has 2x512kb cache so it will be a bit slower at a given speed that an opteron with 2x1024kb (but not too much)

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen
    Any more thoughts from anyone else? Can I get some cheaper compenents maybe and overclock them to be better than the above for cheaper?
    only a venice single core can compete, you can expect maybe 2.5-2.8ghz for around £90
    Last edited by -ChEM-; 24-05-2006 at 12:38 PM.

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    • Allen's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus MAXIMUS VIII GENE
      • CPU:
      • Intel® Core™ i5-6600K @ 3.5GHz
      • Memory:
      • Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 2x8GB
      • Storage:
      • 256GB Samsung 960 PRO + 512GB Samsung 960 Evo
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
      • PSU:
      • XFX P1-650X-NLG9 XXX 650W Modular
      • Case:
      • Fractal Design Node 804
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
      • Monitor(s):
      • 27" BenQ XL2730Z + 23" Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 200Mbps
    Dark Horse, are your prices excluding VAT, coz I listed mine with VAT and am having trouble finding them much cheaper, so the only thing I can think of is that you're listing them without VAT.
    Last edited by Allen; 24-05-2006 at 12:41 PM.

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    HEXUS.social member Allen's Avatar
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    • Allen's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus MAXIMUS VIII GENE
      • CPU:
      • Intel® Core™ i5-6600K @ 3.5GHz
      • Memory:
      • Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 2x8GB
      • Storage:
      • 256GB Samsung 960 PRO + 512GB Samsung 960 Evo
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
      • PSU:
      • XFX P1-650X-NLG9 XXX 650W Modular
      • Case:
      • Fractal Design Node 804
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
      • Monitor(s):
      • 27" BenQ XL2730Z + 23" Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 200Mbps
    Well, I think it'll be a Dual Core chip for me then. I can't afford an Opteron64 Dual Core, so will have to get an Athlon64 Dual Core, probably the 3800+ since even that at it's cheapest is around £200.

    So, do I really have to get one from fleaBay? What's the best overclock I could get from a 3800+ that doesn't have a "godly" stepping? And what are the best/worst steppings out there? I remember when I bought my XP-m 2500+ I was able to specify the stepping I wanted when I ordered from CPU City... do they not still do that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen
    Well, I think it'll be a Dual Core chip for me then. I can't afford an Opteron64 Dual Core, so will have to get an Athlon64 Dual Core, probably the 3800+ since even that at it's cheapest is around £200.
    http://www.lowestonweb.com/Products/...CBC7C038F&td=1
    (note that it's OEM, so you'll need to buy a cooler, something you'd probably do anyway).

    Courtesy of Carlm here

    A limited overclock isn't necessarily that bad. The difference between an A64 overclocked to 2.4GHz and a one at 2.8 isn't really going to be noticable in the real world.

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    Can I just say great thread everyone, really useful info - I am in exactly the same position with my current setup and this will help me walk through the minefield of upgrading!

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    the early ones were crap, there was a good batch after that and current ones i dont know, as for the actual dates i am even more clueless but im sure you can find lists

    this is how the dual opterons work, the X2s are basically the same but with different numbers:

    e.g CCB1E 0609FPAW
    CCB1E - memory controller revision, this is the most important part and there are only 3 revisions... CCB1E are very fast and expensive to get hold of, all of them are good for 2.9ghz usually higher, the same but less so goes for CCBBE, then finally theres CCBWE which is where all the bad ones fall, so all CCB1E and CCBBE are good but only a few CCBWE are good

    0609FPAW - this is the production week and packaging code (like the old bartons)... think of this as describing the actual core

    so if you have CCB1E+crap batch you can expect maybe 2.8, whereas a CCBWE+same crap batch will not make 2.5, and a CCBWE+good batch will make 2.8-3.0 whereas the same CCB1E will make 3.1ghz+

    thats how it breaks down, i dont know much about X2s as you might have already gathered but there are CCBWE flavours of those which can be good... as a guess id say you will probably get around 2.3-2.4 with a random x2 3800+ but it depends how good the latest ones are as theyll be the ones getting sent out

    bear in mind youll be paying £190 and you can get a chip that guarantees 2.7ghz from ebay for £230

    i was going to buy my 170 from this guy as he lives near me in north london and id seen him selling chips for weeks and weeks (requires ebay login)
    http://search-completed.ebay.co.uk/s...&so=Show+Items

    those ccbwe 0609fpaw chips are good to at least 2.7, usually more and he said i could go to his place and pick one up, im sure hed sell one off ebay for maybe 220 although thats only really an option if you can collect it

    in the end i got an identical one for £215 + P&P from someone else, it was 2nd hand but as its from week 0609 it was only made at the start of march 2006, include shipping from factory to distributor, distributor to retailer, retailer to bloke, bloke installs it, the time it was in use cant have been long (he said 2 weeks, not that that means much)

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dark Horse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen
    Dark Horse, are your prices excluding VAT, coz I listed mine with VAT and am having trouble finding them much cheaper, so the only thing I can think of is that you're listing them without VAT.
    Nope, they were not excluding vat.

    Either lowestonweb for the cpu or scan todayonly at the weekends.

    Aria are doing a 7900gt for £175+del today.

    Buying from ebay is utterly pointless. Almost all chips will clock well out of the box and you're just throwing away money and are comparatively putting yourself at a lot of risk buying from ebay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by this_is_gav
    The difference between an A64 overclocked to 2.4GHz and a one at 2.8 isn't really going to be noticable in the real world.
    x2 3800+ @2.4 == 4600+ (£360)
    opteron @2.8 == FX-62 (thats the £700+ flagship chip that hasnt even been released yet)

    double the price obviously isnt going to equate to double the performance but i dont think amd would try charging that if there wasnt some kind of benefit

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    • this_is_gav's system
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    Quote Originally Posted by -ChEM-
    x2 3800+ @2.4 == 4600+ (£360)
    opteron @2.8 == FX-62 (thats the £700+ flagship chip that hasnt even been released yet)

    double the price obviously isnt going to equate to double the performance but i dont think amd would try charging that if there wasnt some kind of benefit
    AMD charge so much for the FX's because the multiplyer is unlocked both ways. Obviously it's a hefty chip out of the box, but you always pay a premium for the top product.

    I've had 4 A64 chips now, and of course there are differences, but without benching you're hard pushed to see all that much difference. Remember most games are GPU limited.

    All I'm trying to say is that even if you get a relatively low clocker, you're still getting a chip that will deal with everything you throw at it, and at not much slower. A 2.4 is still 2 cores running at FX53 speeds (minus the extra cache of course)...
    Last edited by this_is_gav; 24-05-2006 at 02:52 PM.

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    for xfx 7900gt 190 inc
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