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Should I replace current cpu or just buy a new desktop?

by MisterSteve124 / July 3, 2009 12:42 PM PDT

I was looking at buying a new computer because our current one is getting outdated. I was looking at some of the AMD Phenom Quad Core processors, and I think I'd like to go for getting a quad core machine. After looking into it a little more I thought, why not just buy a new cpu and motherboard and install that in the current computer? My question is, which should I do? Just buy a new desktop, or save a few hundred dollars and get the power I still want. Now I've never built a computer, but I am pretty tech savy and have replaced video cards, installed RAM and stuff like that. Do you think I should go for buying a new cpu and motherboard? Or would that be too complicated and should I just buy a desktop? Thanks for all your help. Here's the specs on our current computer:

AMD Athlon 64 3400+ Processor
2.20 GHz
L2 Cache 512 KB
2000 MHz System Bus
1 GB DDR SDRAM expandable to 4GB
200GB 7200RPM Serial ATA Hard Drive
Integrated ATI Radeon XPRESS 200 Graphics with 256MB Shared Video Memory

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I have something similar.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 3, 2009 12:47 PM PDT

But that amd 3700+ cpu. I read your post twice and without a make, model number of the machine or if something you built a little more detail about the case, power supply and make, model of the motherboard I can't share what I did to mine to get by for this year.

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by MisterSteve124 / July 3, 2009 3:46 PM PDT
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XP, 1GB RAM is pretty good.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 4, 2009 12:28 AM PDT
In reply to: response

I'd skip on RAM upgrades and think about the usual cleanup of my general Windows. You might have installed Adaware and Spybot but these can lead to slow systems today. There are long discussions about that.

But as to the hardware, finding socket 939 CPUs is getting too hard so try to cheapest PCIe card from this list ->,2323-2.html

For 50 bucks get the Nvidia 9500 GT and steer clear of the ATI models since we have a single core CPU.

This will put the zip back into the display without much effort or cost.

Frankly this is the only thing I would do to a socket 939 machine. And I have one. My socket 939 is a slower 1.8GHz AMD albeit with more RAM and I did try both ATI and Nvidia models and never found a solution to ATI's driver causing the CPU to run at 100% under some games. I also did not upgrade my stock power supply because the entire machine is on my Watt Meter and while the game is running I measure 88 Watts for the total machine.

While you have the machine open, do this too -> Watch

Hope this helps.

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(NT) What are you using the PC for ?
by VAPCMD / July 3, 2009 1:03 PM PDT
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I'm using it for
by MisterSteve124 / July 3, 2009 3:47 PM PDT

It will mostly be used for internet browsing and word processing. Some games, but nothing that's too demanding. But we usually have a few programs open at once and I don't like my computers slow Happy

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by Phil Crase / July 3, 2009 10:56 PM PDT
In reply to: I'm using it for

Rather than trying to pump up the system that you have, you'd be better off building yourself a new one from the motherboard up. The problem with MOST new ready made systems is that they are capable of many and MOST things, with some exceptions. The exceptions would me mainly gaming and graphics work which require increased vid ram/power capability. Yes you can pump up the ready made systems to a point and fairly well but when you do the first thing you do is to get rid of the whimpy power supply (which likely voids the warranty) so that you can stick in an adequate Video card to run real games. To build a decent system plan on 700.00 and up, not counting software, that is a rough estimate.

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For the uses indicated...I'd consider adding a PCIe video
by VAPCMD / July 4, 2009 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: I'm using it for

card (GPU) to improve the gaming experience and perhaps another GB of RAM. The uses as described just don't really require biggest, badest, latest, greatest.

Here's a great place to start looking at info on video cards for various use...including gaming.,1/Graphics-Cards,4/

If you want a little more performance ...another GB of RAM wouldn't hurt either. For that I'd take a look over at

Keep in mind whatever you spend on the video card could be moved to a newer system if you decide to build your own later.


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I want to replace the cpu
by MisterSteve124 / July 4, 2009 8:05 AM PDT

I am familiar with upgrading graphics cards and adding more ram. That's not what I'm looking for. I either want a new processor or a new computer.

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What do you find especially slow?
by Kees Bakker / July 4, 2009 8:14 AM PDT

That is, slow enough to warrant spending money to make it faster?

Word processing?

And what is your average CPU use during these activities? If it's 20%, replacing the CPU by one that's twice as fast will bring it back to 10%. You will note some difference. But adding RAM or replacing the videocard might be a better investment of your money.


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About the CPU.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 4, 2009 8:39 AM PDT

Sorry but go look for 939 socket CPUs and you should find older single core models that are slower than what you have. This is why I offered what I did to give my old 939 it's last upgrade.

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About the GPU I noted.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 4, 2009 11:44 PM PDT
In reply to: About the CPU.

It's not just for gaming. You should see a boost in everyday applications as the windows open faster. It added some zip that helped me keep this one around until 2010.

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Unless you extend use to something materially
by VAPCMD / July 4, 2009 11:00 AM PDT

more demanding, whatever you spend to add other than a decent video card for gaming and a maybe a little more RAM will be for bragging rights...not performance. Five times zero (nothing) is zero (nothing). On the other hand a separate video card will give you a nice bump now for games.

Upgrade existing system:
New MB $100
New CPU $75
New RAM $50
New PSU $75
New GPU $100
New OS $100
$500 to upgrade

My recommendation still stands, add a GPU to give you a gaming boost now and when you reach a point you need more ...then upgrade to something better.


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New is way to go!
by Chuck43 / July 5, 2009 8:00 AM PDT

Bare-bones the computer!. case,power supply,CPU and motherboard. damn good deals on price watch. but be very buyer aware read all reviews from those that purchased. starting base is very good for what your thinking research the motherboards and pay attention to what you order print all ads and before invoice order and after invoice order. just buying a new CPU to update what you have is not going to cut it all the ram specs have changed the video cards and drives have changed to new spec's I.E. sata,sata2,sata3,PCIe and ddr2 is on it's last legs and ddr3 is being slowly introduced and will be the new standard for ram for times to come. oh I forgot but not sure I think esata maybe replacing USB in the near future.
In short pay attention to which motherboard they are offering they do offer different boards in the configures they use (drop down box) that lists the extra cost for there other boards by make and brand.

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