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Lessons learned -> Upgrading system

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by theeldest, May 9, 2008.

  1. theeldest

    theeldest

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    My current rig is a couple years and a half old now. I built this baby from scratch, learning a few things along the way.

    CPU - Athlon64 3200+ (Venice Core, Socket 939, 512k L2 cache, 2.0 GHz)
    RAM - G.Skill 2x512 DDR400 (2-2-2-5-1t)
    GPU - Nvidia 7600GT
    MoBo - Asus A8N5X
    HDD - (4x SATA: 2x250GB, 1x 100GB, 1x400GB)
    Case - Antec Sonata II (With Smart Power 450w PSU)

    This system overclocked well. The processor reached 2.5 GHz and was prime stable. The RAM hit DDR500 and was MemTest stable. (All this on a non-enthusiast Motherboard).

    After a few months (and a few builds for friends), I found that I should have chosen a processor with 1mb L2 cache. Benchmarks don't show much of what this does for you; but real world experience says much--more L2 cache is a good thing. I won't make this mistake again.

    Also, 1 GB of memory is not enough. I thought at the time that it was. I was wrong. At one point I added a couple more sticks of 512mb that I had lying around, bringing the total to 2gb, but my system was slower (the additional RAM was Corsair ValueSelect 2.5-4-4-something large).


    Well, now I'm upgrading my system. I think I've done well, I've paid attention to the lessons learned. RAM and L2 cache are good.

    MotherBoard - DFI Lanparty 790FX M2RS
    Memory - 2x2GB G.Skill DDR2 1000 (5-5-5-15)
    Processor - AMD Opteron 1220 (AM2, 2x1mb L2, 2.8Ghz, Santa Ana core)

    The processor was a toughy to pick. I needed something that my current power supply can handle (the Opteron is only 103w whereas the non-overclocked Athlon64 is 67w) while still being quick.

    I recognize the differences between the Windsor cores and the SantaAnas. I don't know that I made the right choice, but the choice is made. (Brisbane was not a contendor with only 2x512k L2 cache. Also, the advantages to QuadCore are too minute to make me get one.)

    I do not do a lot of gaming (some. Oblivion and BF2). The games I play are 'older' and I've been happy with the graphics, just not performance. I'm not going to upgrade the video card (I've no reason to).

    I run WindowsXP pro (32bit). I'm not upgrading this. I'm in the process of switching to using a Linux distro as my primary boot system, using Windows for iTunes, Games and JMP.



    Knowing all of this, what do you think of my choices?




    I plan on overclocking and posting results here (It is ****ed hard to find OC results for the 1220).

    Almost forgot. My choices for motherboard were the one I chose and the MSI K9A2 Platinum. But the DFI has a much better rating on NewEgg (5 eggs) whereas many people complain about the OCing properties of the MSI board (3 eggs).

    Lastly, many of my choices were predicated by price. I already spent more than I planned. So if you have a suggestion that would have cost me more, just don't make it please.


    TheEldest




    UPDATE:
    I've had the new parts for more than a month now.

    OCing did not go well (but I think I know why).

    I cannot get an ounce over 3GHz out of the processor. If I up the volts, it just doesn't work. I never get to a point where I fail Prime or SuperPi, the computer just won't boot up. It restarts.

    The temps never get high. From past experience, you can see the temps rise drastically as you get closer to the maximum overclock. I don't see that, it just stays at the same temps. (54 at load, 34 at Idle (It's warm in this Texas Apartment)).

    I think the problem is the power supply. It's an Antec SmartPower 450W. It's about 2.5 years old.

    I have 4 HDDs, 2 Optical Drives, a 7600GT and the new processor and MB (4GB RAM; Opteron 1220). The old processor was rated around 67Watts, the new one is 103Watts.

    Anyone care to agree or disagree with my prognosis?

    As an aside: Assuming it's the PSU, I don't really care. It does fine at 3GHz. I plan on replacing it in the future, just not right now. (I really want the new Antec Lifestyle Sonata III, I have the II)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  2. panchoman

    panchoman Sold my stars!

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    are you planning on using the same video card?

    also, what are you going to be doing for cpu cooling?
  3. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    good rig thats what alot of us srived fomr when we came here...i came here with a ram problem than i looked at some of the programs..got into overclocking..than i needed better stuf..than i needed better stuff that OC'd than i needed frame rates..than a 3dmark score now im hooked and spending thousands a year on something i run a game on 5 hours a week and bench the rest of the time.....all i ever wanted was a system that did what i wanted it to.....but i guess it depends what i want this rig to do it doesnt yet so i guess its all eprspective...but you have a good rig for sure..i wanted a santaanna opteron myself...im sure they OC decent to 3ghz you should elt us know sometime if you can find resaults than im sure we cant...and this would be a good place to post them.
  4. theeldest

    theeldest

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    Yes, same video card. I've got nothing left in my budget and my games performance is fine. It's the multitasking that I really need a boost in.

    I was planning on doing the Stock HSF with AS5. If I feel that I can get better numbers, and that only heat is holding me back, I might upgrade to an after market HSF. But not immediately.
  5. panchoman

    panchoman Sold my stars!

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    you seem to have picked some preety excellent parts, and made wise choices, not much i can really critique.
  6. theeldest

    theeldest

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    Ok. Critique this:

    Do you think that the power supply will handle everything? (4 SATA drives not really listed in Original Post)

    This is what I used for reference: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page1.html

    Along with experience, of course. ;)
  7. panchoman

    panchoman Sold my stars!

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    how does the psu perform on your current rig? what is the 12v lead during normal operation?
  8. theeldest

    theeldest

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    It performs well now.

    When I first set everything up a couple years ago, it overclocked well. I ran it at about 30% of it's max OC on a daily basis, every so often, trying to see how high it would overclock.

    It doesn't overclock so well anymore. (Part of it is that I moved about 1000 miles south, and even with AC, it's still about 10-15 deg F warmer in the apartment).

    If I were putting these parts in a new case with the same PSU, I'd have no doubts. The thing that I worry about is the loss that a PSU suffers after 2.5 years of hard use.
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  9. PuMA

    PuMA New Member

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    if ure changing motherboard u might aswell go for INTEL then.
  10. a111087

    a111087

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    haha, I had to learn things like that as well
  11. theeldest

    theeldest

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    My reason to not switch to intel.

    I know Nothing about Intel sockets & processors. I don't really care to learn. It's worth the extra price for something that I'm comfortable with.

    Otherwise I might as well get a Mac, right? (At least, that's what my wife thinks ;) ).

    I am not of the opinion that AMD is better than Intel, I realize that Intel wins most everything right now. But I've had AMD for the past 10 years, and I think I'll stick to what I know.
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  12. theeldest

    theeldest

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    As an aside: does anyone here know how to properly use their shift keys and various punctuation?

    ;)
  13. mrhuggles

    mrhuggles

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    I'l tell you everything you need to know about intel, core2duos are much faster, and much cheaper, and much more fun in general. check out my system stats, that is a pretty cheap rig.
  14. PuMA

    PuMA New Member

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    u can get much better INTEL system at roughly the same amount of money if u were to spend it on AMD, and i´ll bet u will like much better than AMD. THERES tons of guys who will help u get ur INTEL rig up and running

    (switched from AMD 4000+ to intel C2D and have newer been happier)
  15. jonmcc33

    jonmcc33 New Member

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    The Asus A8N5X might not have bells and whistles but it's still an nForce4 chipset and can still overclocks like any other nForce4 board. You expected less for some reason?

    My Abit IP35-E cost me $65 after MIR and overclocked easily to 1600FSB for me. Many have taken it to 2000FSB with better cooling.

    No, more L2 cache doesn't always translate to much of anything to be honest. My Opteron 165 has 1MB L2 cache per core but compares to the Athlon X2 3800 in overall speed, which has 200MHz higher clock speed but 512K L2 cache per core.

    More cache helps but it's not going to help by leaps and bounds and nothing you'd notice outside of a small percentage from a benchmark.

    Lesson learned? Avoid AMD if you want to overclock at this point. Get a motherboard with an Intel P35 chipset and an Intel Core 2 Duo. You'll get far more from your money with a setup like that.
  16. Darknova

    Darknova

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    Bah, ignore the people bashing AMD, they're still good.

    I would however suggest updating your GPU, even if it's just to something like a 1950XT, you will see a huge performance jump, and in games, it will be a bigger jump than a brand new CPU/mobo/RAM.

    :)
  17. PuMA

    PuMA New Member

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    like he said hes not interested in games that much, he just enjoys tweaking hes system, and so honestly INTEL is teh way to go.
  18. fullinfusion

    fullinfusion 1.21 Gigawatts

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    Thought Solarus was o/c'n the 6400 Black?
    You give up on the Amd System?
  19. candle_86 New Member

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    not bad but why the opteron, the x2 6000 is the same price with 2x1mb L2 yet its also faster. If ya really wanna swing a GPU though im tring to sell my 7950GT its a good step up from what you have.


    I wish like some of these guys i could say i came here to learn about a problem, truth is i came here to debate hardware cause i spend my free time untill wow at least reading anything and everything hardware related
  20. theeldest

    theeldest

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    The x2 6000 iirc, is a 125w CPU where the 1220 is a 103w cpu.

    That actually is important to me. I want an efficient system.

    Reiteration: I'm not switching to Intel. I'm sure many people here would love to help me, but I've had it for 10 years. AMD's been good to me, the least I can do is be good to them when they need it. They're processors aren't bad in any sense of the word, they're just not the best anymore.

    And I know the comparisons between clocks and L2, but I built two rigs (mine and another) that were the same except for the processor. Mine was a 3200 with 512, the other was a 3700 with 1mb. Even when OCing mine heavily to be 200-400Mhz faster than the 3700, the 3700 was more responsive.

    Everything else was the same.

    As I said, my experience doesn't translate well in benchmarks, but I've learned from that. A little more L2 can go a long way.
  21. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    i owned that rig for 3 days..i had alrady ordered my core2.
  22. theeldest

    theeldest

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    I don't think you realize just how slow an older system can run games. My bottleneck right now is cpu and ram. But finding a CPU for s939 at a good price is difficult to say the least (I'm not dealing with ebay or Craigslist). Also, DDR is quite a bit more expensive than DDR2 right now.


    Also, I don't really have time to invest in games right now. I work all the time for little pay (don't we all ;) ). When I am in a different place (good pay, not working All the Time), then I'll be able to play games, and I'll be able to easily afford a new GPU.


    But that's not now.
  23. Darknova

    Darknova

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    I do, look at my second rig specs in my sig. That was my previous platform before going C2D.

    It did have a 1950XT in it though, but even so it did pretty damn well for it's age. That was only...6-8 months ago.
  24. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    thats a shame - you can find many bargains on ebay - some 'shops' on ebay even have brand new boxed 939's. I myself a 939 user have occassionaly had a look on ebay to find out what they had on auction & also prices.

    but i understand that you've probably heard about people getting scammed every now & again so avoid using it. its not as bad as people say it is & is actually quite safe. just remember, if somebody asks you to send money or items to nigeria - dont lol

    there are some great deals to be had on ebay. & you shouldnt be put off
  25. theeldest

    theeldest

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    It's through personal experience. I've had a few auctions (I was the seller) ruined by people that bid it up outrageously then asked me to send the item somewhere in Africa (no joke).

    I like dealing with a retailer that, if something goes wrong, gives me a phone number to call. It's a big deal to me. Part of it is that I work in retail (managing a small electronics store), and I have people that come in with problems because they bought something somewhere else, and they won't help their customer.

    I have yet to have a bad experience as a purchaser when getting stuff from online stores (and I've done the ebay scene before), but I've decided that when that bad experience comes, I'll have a number to call.


    And as to s939 prices at online retailers. A X2 4400+ goes for ~$200. Ouch!

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