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  • AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

    I'm looking at spending around $180-$200 on an upgrade, and switching back to to AMD in the process. The CPU is almost definitely going to be an Athlon II X3 445, with the intent of trying to unlock the fourth core. HOWEVER. I have 6GB of DDR2-800 RAM that I don't have the money to replace at this time. My understanding of the situation is as follows:

    The Athlon II X3 is an AM3 chip, but will function in an AM2+ socket. There are (supposedly) AM3-specific boards out there that have DDR2 memory sockets, or a combination of DDR2 and DDR3 ones.


    So the question is, what board should I go for (and why)? I want something that can take both DDR2 and DDR3, so that I can upgrade the RAM/CPU in the future without having to replace the board. I suspect that may mean having to go down to two DDR2 slots and losing 2GB of my memory, but I can live with that.

    (there was an announcement from MSI about the 790GX-8D, but I can find no evidence of an actual *product*. Supposedly, a picture of said board)

    I'm not particularly interested in microATX, unless you feel there's a compelling reason I should opt for that, instead of ATX.

    The machine as it is:

    Intel Core 2 E4400, OCed to 2.66GHz
    Asus P5K SE board
    6GB DDR2 RAM (two OCZ2N800SR2G 2GB DDR2-800 5-6-6-18 sticks, two OCZ2P800R21G 1GB DDR2-800 5-5-5-15 sticks)
    ATI Radeon 4850 HD video

    OCZ Vertex 64GB SSD boot/primary drive
    Seagate ST3400833AS 400GB SATA300 drive
    Seagate ST3250824A 250GB ATA100 drive (I know, I know...)




    Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
    --BlackMirror
    <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
    Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
    --Blackraven93

  • #2
    Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

    Although AM3 chips will fit in AM2+ boards, those chips will only work if the BIOS supports the specific AM3 chip. It's sort of a hit-or-miss and depends mostly on the manufacturer updating their BIOS for older boards so users can use the new chips.

    With that said, I've got three budget boards picked out from my lists of potential builds:

    ASRock: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157202
    Gigabyte: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128424
    ASUS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131613

    All three are under $50. All three use DDR2 RAM and will take Phenom IIs or Ahtlon IIs. And all three are AM3/AM2+/AM2 boards. :) (Loving AMD's socket life...)
    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
    Former 9th & 13th

    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

    TG Primer and Rules

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

      Thanks, Acreo. I take it you are also not aware of any boards that support both DDR3 and DDR2 RAM? (all the ones linked are DDR2 only)




      Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
      --BlackMirror
      <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
      Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
      --Blackraven93

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

        Originally posted by Cheburash View Post
        Thanks, Acreo. I take it you are also not aware of any boards that support both DDR3 and DDR2 RAM? (all the ones linked are DDR2 only)
        The days when consumer boards had support for current gen and last gen RAM are long gone. You can probably still find that kind of support on a server board, but even then your chances are very slim.

        In short, I've have looked far-and-wide and haven't seen any consumer boards that have both DDR2 and DDR3 sockets. Probably not cost effective.

        I've only owned one dual-generation RAM mobo. My first (custom) computer had a budget ECS board that took both PC-133 and DDR333 RAM. Thought that was kind of cool, but never got to use the PC-133 RAM slots.
        Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 07-28-2010, 12:52 AM.
        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
        Former 9th & 13th

        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

        TG Primer and Rules

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

          *sigh*
          This upgrade just got noticeably more expensive... 4GB of DDR3 looks to be $80-100 at the low end (and not going with unknowns like GEIL for memory brands).

          I had a dual-gen board that was a generation past yours, I believe: DDR and DDR2, though of course only one at a time. Also an ECS.

          Can you offer board suggestions for AM3/DDR3?




          Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
          --BlackMirror
          <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
          Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
          --Blackraven93

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

            Yep.

            MSI: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130288
            ASUS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131626
            ASRock: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157176

            Why not stick with one of the above DDR2 boards for the time being until you build a new rig? You still have 2x2GB DIMMs in your current rig you could reuse.

            Ack...just noticed I typed "first computer". It was the first computer I built myself. My first desktop was much older beige box with a old Pentium I MMX 233 MHz with a 6 GB Quantum Bigfoot HDD (crash and burn!).
            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
            Former 9th & 13th

            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

            TG Primer and Rules

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

              Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
              Why not stick with one of the above DDR2 boards for the time being until you build a new rig? You still have 2x2GB DIMMs in your current rig you could reuse.
              So the two options are:

              1) Replace CPU, board, and RAM right now
              2) replace CPU and board right now, and then replace board and RAM at some later point.

              Option 2 bothers me because it's more wasteful, both financially and environmentally -- I doubt I'll ever find another use for the AM2 board I swap out.

              In terms of money, I'm looking at:
              Option 1: $85 for CPU, $50 for mobo, $70 after rebate for 2X2GB OCZ Gold DDR3-1333 RAM, and $5 for a tube of thermal grease (I'm out), for a total of $210 before shipping
              Option 2: $85 fpr CPU, $50 for mobo now, $50 more for replacement, and $70 for whatever DDR3 is at the right price point when I get around to buying it, for a total of $140 immediately and $125 at a later date. (buying thermal grease twice for $5).


              Forgot to add: My intended upgrade path from option 1 is to get whatever is in the middle of the pack for the chipset in about 18-24 months. Something like the Phenom II X6 1090T, maybe? We'll see how far it drops in price from its current $300 tag.




              Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
              --BlackMirror
              <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
              Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
              --Blackraven93

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                Originally posted by Cheburash View Post
                So the two options are:

                1) Replace CPU, board, and RAM right now
                2) replace CPU and board right now, and then replace board and RAM at some later point.

                Option 2 bothers me because it's more wasteful, both financially and environmentally -- I doubt I'll ever find another use for the AM2 board I swap out.

                In terms of money, I'm looking at:
                Option 1: $85 for CPU, $50 for mobo, $70 after rebate for 2X2GB OCZ Gold DDR3-1333 RAM, and $5 for a tube of thermal grease (I'm out), for a total of $210 before shipping
                Option 2: $85 fpr CPU, $50 for mobo now, $50 more for replacement, and $70 for whatever DDR3 is at the right price point when I get around to buying it, for a total of $140 immediately and $125 at a later date. (buying thermal grease twice for $5).


                Forgot to add: My intended upgrade path from option 1 is to get whatever is in the middle of the pack for the chipset in about 18-24 months. Something like the Phenom II X6 1090T, maybe? We'll see how far it drops in price from its current $300 tag.
                Ah, in that case, go with option #1. As for chips, by this time next year, Bulldozer should be out and those Phenom II X6s should drop quite a bit in price (maybe even to between the Athlon II X4s and the Phenom II X4s).

                Though I'd stick with a PHII X4 instead of a X6 unless you do a lot of video encoding/transcoding and/or you're a modeler/animator and you render a lot of action scenes or stills.
                |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                Former 9th & 13th

                Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                TG Primer and Rules

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                  Noted on the x4 over x6 (whenever either actually falls within my budget!).

                  That said, RAM recommendations? Looking at 2x2GB pretty much exclusively, I think.
                  I'm seeing two new entrants into the market: G.SKILL and GeIL, neither of which I know a single thing about. From the more familiar names, there's

                  this OCZ Gold PC3 10666 (OCZ3G1333LV4GK.NE) for $70 after MIR, 42% 5-star reviews
                  Or this OCZ Special Ops PC3 12800 (OCZ3SOE1600LV4GK) for $85 after MIR, 53% 5-star reviews
                  Or Here's a Patriot G Series Sector 5 PC3 10666 (PGV34G1333ELK), $85 after MIR, with a review record OCZ would kill for, 82% 5-star.
                  There's also
                  this Corsair PC3-1333 (CMV4GX3M2A1333C9) for $93, with a 77% 5-star rating and a reported success of OCing it to 1600MHz.

                  Finally, there's a pair of identically priced Crucial options:
                  This one of PC3 10600 (CT2KIT25664BA1339) for $94 and with a 75% 5-star rating, and
                  this one, which is PC3 8500 (!) (CT2KIT25664BA1067), also for $94 and with an 88% 5-star rating.

                  Finally (getting tired of the linking) there's
                  Mushkin Enhanced Silverline PC3 10666 (model no. 996585) for $88 after MIR, and with an 81% 5-star rating. I've heard excellent things about Mushkin before.
                  Last edited by Cheburash; 07-28-2010, 01:19 PM. Reason: new and improved formatting!




                  Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
                  --BlackMirror
                  <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
                  Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
                  --Blackraven93

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                    RAM brand doesn't matter much. Performance difference is tiny and reliability should be fairly high on them all. If you are really interested I'd figure out who actually manufactures the chips on the RAM and see if they are putting out above average ones at the moment.

                    The only RAM I bought recently that had issues was some Crucial DDR2 800, but it was well documented and identifiable(single sided LED design chips had stability issues running at rated speed/timings/voltage).

                    I suggest you buy whatever is cheapest.
                    |TG-12th| Namebot

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                      As Nmaebot said, it doesn't matter. I wouldn't spend the money on high-performance (anything beyond 1333) RAM unless you were planning do some crazy high overclocking. Other than that, it's a waste of money.

                      As for Geil and G.Skill, they've been around for about the past 4-5 years. They're both reliable now, but that wasn't the case when they first started out.
                      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                      TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                      Former 9th & 13th

                      Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                      Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                      SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                      TG Primer and Rules

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                        Thank you both. One last question before I hit the "process" button. I'm looking at this board, for the purposes of trying to unlock the fourth core on the chip, and possibly for OCing it (likely going to do one or the other, not both at this stage). Yea or nay?

                        Specific concern is the 95W TDP limitation on the board: Am I going to run into issues with a 95W TDP rated tri-core when the fourth core is unlocked? A performance-wise similar chip (Athlon II X4 620) also lists a 95W TDP, so I may just be confused.




                        Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
                        --BlackMirror
                        <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
                        Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
                        --Blackraven93

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                          And pulled the trigger on the order. Thanks for all your advice, folks!


                          (updates to come when the hardware shows up)




                          Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
                          --BlackMirror
                          <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
                          Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
                          --Blackraven93

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                            Originally posted by Cheburash View Post
                            Specific concern is the 95W TDP limitation on the board: Am I going to run into issues with a 95W TDP rated tri-core when the fourth core is unlocked? A performance-wise similar chip (Athlon II X4 620) also lists a 95W TDP, so I may just be confused.
                            More than likely, that is a yes. The unlocked core will obvious eat power and thus raising the wattage TDP of your processor. It's a gamble whether or not the system will still boot after unlocking that 4th core. It all depends on the mobo. Some are finicky and shut down, others continue POSTing as if nothing changed.

                            As it stands, even with 3 cores, the PHII X3s are impressive CPUs. Having one more core than 2 makes a big difference in threaded applications.
                            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                            Former 9th & 13th

                            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                            TG Primer and Rules

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: AMD Upgrade: Sanity check needed

                              Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
                              More than likely, that is a yes.
                              Good thing I ended up not buying it then :) (went with an open-box MSI 870A-G54, with support for 140W TDP)




                              Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
                              --BlackMirror
                              <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
                              Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
                              --Blackraven93

                              Comment

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