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Old 08-10-06, 10:56 PM   #1
gattm99
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calling all geeks

Hey I'm thinking about doing some computer upgrades, this is pretty terrible since it will inevitably lead to me spending a bunch of money. I've currently got a Athlon XP 2500 Barton, 512MB of Ram.

Here's what I am thinking about doing, getting two 512 sticks of PC3200 and just being happy with more RAM.

I also was checking out the Athlon X2 3800+ for like 150, of course that would mean a MOBO upgrade, and RAM.

I don't really know if I need the extra power, I do game every now and then but I am not hard core. I've a got a 6600GT video card which i think outclasses the rest of my hardware. Of course its AGP which would probably be a problem if I went with a new MOBO. I've recently gotten a video cam and have been doing some stuff with that, which leads to my computer being tied up some for video processing and what not.

My brain says just buy RAM, but my heart says why stop there.
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Old 08-11-06, 03:51 AM   #2
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Unless you have oogotz disposable income to spend, then just go for the ram. Then you could buy your upgraded piecemeal as funds allow. when you have everything you need for the upgrade, do it.

Oh and you can send you 'OLD' mobo, processor and RAM to....
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Old 08-11-06, 03:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gattm99
Hey I'm thinking about doing some computer upgrades, this is pretty terrible since it will inevitably lead to me spending a bunch of money. I've currently got a Athlon XP 2500 Barton, 512MB of Ram.

Here's what I am thinking about doing, getting two 512 sticks of PC3200 and just being happy with more RAM.

I also was checking out the Athlon X2 3800+ for like 150, of course that would mean a MOBO upgrade, and RAM.

I don't really know if I need the extra power, I do game every now and then but I am not hard core. I've a got a 6600GT video card which i think outclasses the rest of my hardware. Of course its AGP which would probably be a problem if I went with a new MOBO. I've recently gotten a video cam and have been doing some stuff with that, which leads to my computer being tied up some for video processing and what not.

My brain says just buy RAM, but my heart says why stop there.
Agreed with Stacey, upgrade the RAM First, see if that solves your issues for new...RAM is cheap as air right now.
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Old 08-11-06, 04:54 AM   #4
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+ram
one more thing, if you can bump the fsb to 200mhz, get a better HS/fan and you can have an instant 3200+.

Last edited by lyeinyoureye; 08-11-06 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:03 AM   #5
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Ram is the way to go, check to see what the amx your pc can take and put it in.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:13 AM   #6
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+1 on just RAM here too.


See how happy you are with it first.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:45 AM   #7
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RAM will do you right, so will a faster CPU. Is that the 2500 barton? Bartons had significantly more L2 cache than previous gen athlon XPs. That translated to a pretty nice performance gain.


If you really want to drop cash, I reccomend a full upgrade, and not keeping your motherboard.

Upgrading your current machine:
(see if you can support DDR 400)
1gb of ram
athlon xp3200+


If you want to upgrade it all:
NForce3 SLI motherboard
athlon 64 4000 (single core offers better performance in games, go dual core if you have programs made for multiple processors, or you run around a dozen or so apps at once)
1GB ram (2GB preferred)
Geforce 7800GT videocard.

Yeah it's not bargain, but it will give you a very potent machine, more than capable of taking anything you can throw at it....actually, it would have a better CPU than my computer if you got the 4000...I run a 3500.

The specs I gave for your current machine was base on my previous build.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:12 AM   #8
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"What result are you looking to achieve that you don't have right now?"

Hmm excellent question, there are only two things I can think of, current generation games don't seem to perform as well as I would expect and I think it relates more to my processor then my GPU,

secondly my system gets bogged down sometimes especially when I have multiple apps running, and I do love to multitask.

Anyway considering your excellent advise I think my brain has won. If I buy ram, now I can increase the performance of my current system, and then use it in a new Motherboard at a latter date.

I do have a Barton core and the excellent A7N8X but I haven't had much luck overclocking, I also haven't tried much either. I have a solid copper heatsink and a thermaltake silent boost fan, but my CPU seems pretty hot.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:20 AM   #9
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I overclocked my 2500+ to 3200+ for the last two years, and it's been fine. The key is, check what the highest permissable temp is according to AMD, and make sure your mobo alarm is set to a bit below that temp. The only times I ever had trouble with the processor hitting those temps were when it was almost 100 indoors (no AC) and there was a nice thick coating of dust in the case (horses=sand). If that was a problem, I just cleaned out the case, reapplied thermal paste, and it was usually good until next summer. If you're bogging down with lots of apps, you probably need more ram... The little windows resource manager thingy should tell you if you're using swap space.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyeinyoureye
I overclocked my 2500+ to 3200+ for the last two years, and it's been fine.
That's what they all say, until.........
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Old 08-11-06, 06:40 AM   #11
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Don't overclock. You'll shoot yer eye out!

Seriously, upgrading computer hardware that's already meeting your needs is like throwing money at wallpaper glue. In the end, it might be cool to say "hey look, I wallpapered my bedroom with benjamins" but all you really have is some sticky mess, when the paint that was there was doing fine anyways. And hey, I LIKED that paint.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:57 AM   #12
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I'm a fan of 100% system stability, therefore I do not overclock. Every tower I build can be used in a 24/7 environment for years on end without any concerns of it crashing. Those are my gamerigs. Instability is the sign of a bad design, and keep in mind some of the lower speed chips may be chips that failed tests for certification at a higher speed.

I can overclock with the best of them, but I learned to do that back when $200 for a CPU meant I would have to eat Ramen for nearly an entire month. I couldn't afford not to at that time. Now OCing is a "holdover" to get some extra performance if I am holding out on upgrading for some reason.

Games are pretty much demanding on the entire system.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:59 AM   #13
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Every tower I build can be used in a 24/7 environment for years on end without any concerns of it crashing.
So you're a Linux user, huh?
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Old 08-11-06, 07:17 AM   #14
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So you're a Linux user, huh?
Win2000. The secret is proper OS maintenance, and keeping the count of "background" applications as low as possible.

My old gamrig back in Indiana was also a NAT server, and it's record was just over a year of solid uptime. I had to down it for half an hour to replace a PSU fan that was finally acting up. Then at that point it ran for another 3 months crash free, before I had to pack it up to move to california.

My next best was 10 months....went down due to california rolling blackouts.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:24 AM   #15
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Win2000. The secret is proper OS maintenance, and keeping the count of "background" applications as low as possible.
+100000
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Old 08-11-06, 07:32 AM   #16
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Or you could just run *nix/bsd.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:41 AM   #17
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I run Win2000 and Xp and haven't any problems to speak of... WinME on the otherhand...
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Old 08-11-06, 03:43 PM   #18
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Yea... I tried overclocking my 2.8ghz up with the motherboard I got a few months ago that has all the bells and whistles. Now I just run it at 2.8, and it never overheats. My system is rock solid, I've not restarted for weeks. I've got one stick of 512 400mhz ram, and thinking about buying another stick of the same. RAM is the best upgrade you can make
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Old 08-11-06, 03:45 PM   #19
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Linux seems to solve hardware problems . Windows XP stopped installing on my computer. I had an issue with it at first, was told it was a virus. So I reinstall, problem is still here. I do all the reformatting and it did not go away. Fedora worked right off. Then I tried installing XP a few months later with a different disc for a dual boot, it would not even get past the first screen. Oh well
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Old 08-11-06, 04:32 PM   #20
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The X2 3800+ is a very good pick for video editing/processing and multitasking, as I've found from firsthand experience (check out this workload! And it handles this smoothly, not to mention fast.). The X2 is far better for multitasking than a single-core Athlon64, far better than an AthlonXP. And... (this is your last chance to escape with your wallet intact)... it could be done without giving up your AGP video card right away if you like. Behold:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157081


ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 motherboard with both AGP 8x and PCI-Express x16 video slots. Inexpensive, versatile, inexpensive, reliable and inexpensive. Plus, it's inexpensive too!

For what you're doing, two matching vanilla 512MB PC3200 modules from a reliable maker would be a good idea, and you can still add another pair later. Example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146577
Make sure you pick a Socket939 Athlon64 X2 if you're getting the ASRock board above, rather than a Socket AM2 model.

The A64 X2 will definitely romp all over your 2500+ in straight-on gaming performance, too, as long as it's not your video card that's the bottleneck. Today's upper-end games can easily max out a 6600GT (in fact, with all the eye candy turned on, they can max out dual 7900GTX's if the resolution is high enough). Some of today's games, and more of the future games, will benefit from dual-core, and dual-core multitasks wonderfully, so that's what I'd do if it were me. Especially now that the price is $150 instead of $300.

Last edited by mechBgon; 08-11-06 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 08-11-06, 04:39 PM   #21
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RAM, RAM, and more RAM! The prices on all the 64-bit components have started to come down, but not enough yet. Wait until next year for the hardware upgrade.

Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe MBB, AthlonXP 2600+, 1 GB PC 2700 RAM, XPPro
Asus P4S800D, P4 2.53GB, 1 GB PC2700 RAM, Win2K

Both are rock solid. Even though I'm a mad scientist, I can't justifying fixing what ain't broke.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:12 PM   #22
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OK one more question, do I need to consider that if I buy regular DDR now, I'll be wanting DDR2 later?
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Old 08-11-06, 05:21 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gattm99
OK one more question, do I need to consider that if I buy regular DDR now, I'll be wanting DDR2 later?
DDR2 is not a big deal. More bandwidth, but more latency to cancel out the benefit. It's the same story as the move from SDR to DDR a few years back... my real-world comparison tests on a motherboard that handles both types (ECS K7S5A) showed performance improvements of 0% to 10%, mostly closer to 0%. AnandTech just did an article on DDR v. DDR2 on Socket775 processors, too: http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2810 Same result.

The right way to look at it is this: you can sell the whole kaboodle later, including the DDR memory, if you decide you want something that only works with DDR2 Also, if you get that ASRock, you do have the option to use its CPU-upgrade slot, which takes a daughterboard that has the CPU socket AND the memory sockets IIRC. So it could potentially run a Socket AM2 processor and DDR2. But I'd just bail the whole thing onto the used market if it were me.

If you're planning to use Windows with a dual-core CPU, WindowsXP is the best pick since it understands simultaneous-multithreading (SMT) processors' thread scheduling, whereas Win2000 Pro will try to treat it like a true SMP setup when it really isn't. If you need to buy a new WinXP license, then at this stage of the game I recommend WindowsXP Professional rather than Home, since Home's support life will end in 2 years and a few months, while WinXP Pro's support life ends way out in ~2013. There are other benefits to WinXP Pro if you're geeky enough to want to use the extra goodies.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:52 PM   #24
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I wouldn't bother upgrading the rig you have now. Anything you change now requires a new mobo. Your graphics card ain't that hot so I wouldn't bother swapping that because that would also require a new mobo. AGP cards are end of the line.

Start with a brand new system pcie system and keep the one you have now or give it to your mom. That being said, upgrading ram will probably do nothing. But you will be able to use it on a new computer.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:52 PM   #25
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I'm running XP Pro allready and I don't need to buy a license. Thanks for the ASROck, that looks like a good way to go to. I don't game enough to justify a high end graphics card now, but I'll probably want one in the future and it will definitly be PCI-E.

ONE MORE QUESTION. i promise last one.

What got me on this whole path of thinking upgrade was installing speedfan, little hardware monitoring ap, and looking at my temperatures. My CPU temp was an astounding 70 degrees at idle. I rebooted and checked the BIOS, it reported 67-68 degrees.
I removed the heatsink and cleaned both its surface and the die surface and reinstalled with arctic silver, I also swept out the dust. I got no change in temps. I noticed that one of the temps that speedfan is reporting is -1C. Is it possible these readings are in error.
While encoding a AVI to DVD the reading went over 90C which I would think would burn up the CPU at least. if not start melting things together.

I just did a little experiment in which I set my CPU at 166X12 for a small overclock. So far its been stable, but reporting in at 80C. I don't see how that could be right.
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