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post #1 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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When steam big picture came out I had the Beta the first day. That same day I decided that it was too painful to play games on a 5570 so I swapped my htpc with my desktop. This htpc is really too slow for me to enjoy using it as a desktop so I'm trying to decide whether to upgrade my new htpc(move parts over) or upgrade my old htpc.

Both systems have SSD's and secondary hdd's so that is not a current concern.

new htpc:
phenom 2 x4 955
Radeon 5870
4GB ddr2(I know ancient)

old htpc:
athlon 2 x2 245
Radeon 5570(will be upgraded later)
2GB ddr2

Both motherboards will support up to a Phenom 2 x6 1100t.

My htpc is only used for gaming and xbmc. My desktop is used for basically everything but multithreaded performance is more important.

What do you guys think:

Upgrade new htpc and move the 955 over? Upgrade ideas <$200?

Upgrade the old htpc and save some money?

Just live with it?
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 02:23 PM
 
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You are in a similar situation to where I was on my main PC six months ago. I really wanted more than 6GB of ram with my Phenom II X4, but DDR2 prices are obnoxious. What I ended up doing was getting a new AM3 board for my Phenom II, transplanting the CPU, dumping a bunch of DDR3 in there, then upgrading the CPU to a FX-8350 (also AM3) later. It let me do it in stages and left me with parts to put together a Steam box.

Games still want three to four cores. The Phenom II X6 is a waste. Throwing any additional resources at a DDR2 motherboard is also a waste. Here's what I'd do:

If you want to spend the cash all at once, then get a $120 Intel board, a $215 i5 3570, and $80 of 16GB of DDR3. Drop that in to your HTPC and move the Phenom II X4 back to the desktop. Combine what is hopefully 2x1GB and 2x2GB for 6GB of DDR2 on the Phenom II, or dump the DDR2 board and grab an $80 AM3 board and another 16GB of ram for $80 to go with that Phenom II X4.

-or-

If you want to do this in stages, then dump each board when you can. Grab a pair of AM3 boards with 16GB of DDR3 each. Then upgrade the Athlon II X2 to an FX-8350 for use in the HTPC. Keep the Phenom II X4 in the desktop. Yes, I just said games only want four cores and a six-core Phenom II is a waste, but the eight-core FX-8xxx is the only way to get four FPUs on the new architecture. The FX-8xxx is the direct replacement for the Phenom II X4, not the FX-4xxx series.

In either case worry about the video cards later, and go Nvidia next time to get drivers that aren't crap.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I was hoping someone would have an idea I didn't think of for a cheap upgrade for the 955. Getting the 980 doesn't look worthwhile and like you said the 1100t is even less worthwhile.

I haven't moved the "new" desktop to the ssd yet so that mixed with limited memory might be my issue. Guess I'll do that overclock and deal.

I don't buy Nvidia, btw. Poor warranty support screwed me out of $400.

I have to wonder if you have VRM cooling issues from the crap thermal pad drying out. You have probably already checked this though, DLJ.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 06:21 PM
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One of my gaming computers uses a 965 BE OC'd to 4Ghz. Very capable(and cheap) processor for gaming imo.
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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He's already running a 955, yo. He knows what a Phenom II X4 does. Do you have any actual data to add to the thread?


"I don't buy Nvidia, btw. Poor warranty support screwed me out of $400."

Unless there's some special case I'm not aware of, Nvidia doesn't sell things to end users, so they have nothing to warranty. If XFX or someone screwed you on a warranty, then they would have done the same thing with an AMD card that they built and sold as well...

That's like saying "I don't buy Intel because HP sold me a crappy laptop."


"I have to wonder if you have VRM cooling issues from the crap thermal pad drying out. You have probably already checked this though, DLJ."

Overheating ram would cause pixel sparkles far earlier than it would cause crap support for Skyrim, universal and well documented driver bugs that have gone uncorrected for years, or a lack of adaptive vsync.


"I was hoping someone would have an idea I didn't think of for a cheap upgrade for the 955"

The cheapest you can reasonably do is compromise a bit and drop a $50 880G board in there with a $40 1x8GB stick of DDR3 for a total of $90 now. Then another $40 stick of DDR3 next payday. Then biting the bullet and dropping in an FX8320 for $170 and try your hand at attempting 4.5ghz off it if you want to play with overclocking.

Really though, the system is just old enough that you are screwed in the ram department, but just new enough that current CPUs aren't that much faster. I'd say that more ram is going to go a long way toward better usability though. On your 4GB system you are running as much ram as I was running back in 2006. Seven years ago. Luckily for you, Phenom IIs have both a DDR2 and DDR3 controller on board.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 08:16 PM
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Only mentioned it as it would be a cheap upgrade if his 955 isn't performing.

Is it just a regular 955?
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-31-2013, 10:37 PM
 
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200mhz isn't an upgrade. Even at best with a 4ghz overclock instead of the roughly 3.6ghz he could do right now with even a locked 955, 15% clockspeed is barely passed the point of human perception. If he's here complaining that his systems are painful to use, "slightly less painful" is not a solution and certainly not for $100.

RAM though? Windows wants 4GB to boot. 2-4GB is painful to use. The only reason to really drop a FX-83x0 in there is to get rid of the slow, already low-end, dual-core CPU. Even my girl's "iTunes and Interwebs" machine is running the fastest X3.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-01-2013, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
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The 955 performance is great. When I first got it I could overclock to 3.7GHz but it is old now and doesn't do very well at overclocking. 4GB of ram is limiting sometimes.

You are completely right that I can't completely blame Nvidia. The gpu is what failed on 2 different cards that I bought within 6 months of each other from 2 different vendors. Not Nvidia's fault that they wouldn't warranty the cards but it is Nvidia's fault that they didn't recall there gpu's at a time when they were having extremely high failure rates(think 8xxx series days).

^^^Saying this I would buy an Nvidia card at the right price. Nvidia and AMD both build good cards and I will buy based on price and performance.

DLJ the only reason I mentioned the VRM cooling is that Skyrim(all games actually) was playing horrible on my old 4870 until I pulled it out and replaced the vrm heating pad. Thing was all shriveled and cracked. The other possibility why I don't see these horrible issues reported in multiple places is that I'm using older drivers.

I agree that more memory is the best upgrade that most people can do to there computer. I might just do the mobo/memory upgrade.
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-01-2013, 02:11 PM
 
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130637

I dropped in this AMD 970 board for $80. The only sacrifice you make on this over the 990s is good Crossfire support, which I don't care about in the slightest.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128565

You could save a bit of cash by grabbing a 760G based board for $65 with a $10 MIR. The only real sacrifice dropping to the 760G is SATA3 instead of SATA6. You can now saturate SATA3 bandwidth with brand new SSDs, but not by enough to effect the user experience.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148661

Pair it up with a $42 stick of CAS9 DDR3 1600 8GB, with another stick in a month. 8GB will get you to the bare minimum amount for ram today, then moving to 16GB will let your system stretch it's legs a bit and be lazy on how quickly it needs to dump stuff back out to cash.


$107 right now, $10 rebate brings it down to $97, then back up to $140 with more ram? Solid upgrade on the cheap.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-02-2013, 04:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I found out what was wrong and why the athlon 2 x2 245 felt soo slow.

I install Windows 8. It is extremely slow.

Add 1GB of memory(2GB total). Better but still slow.

Run initial Windows update. Runs how an athlon 2 x2 245 should.

Re-install Windows 8 on SSD(2GB memory still). Slow.

Run Windows update. Runs fairly good now.

I will note that I have Windows 8 installed on 3 other computers and none of them had this issue. 2 computers with 4GB and 1 with 2GB ram.

I don't have a good answer as to why this is. It seems like there is a memory management issue within Windows 8 that is fixed in the first round of updates. I guess the memory controller on the Athlon 2 must be slightly modified from the Phenom 2. Either that or there was a compatibility issue with the ddr2 modules I'm using on this computer.

I think I have lost my excuse to upgrade now. I acquired more ram 2GB but it is clocked at 533 so I'm debating if I should put this in my htpc or desktop. The current memory in both is ddr2 800. My thought is to put it in the desktop. What do you think desktop or htpc?
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post #11 of 11 Old 02-02-2013, 12:08 PM
 
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You'll notice the move from 2 to 4gb in the desktop more than 4 to 6gb in the HTPC.
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