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Old February 6, 2010, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Question Cheap mobo/CPU upgrade

Hey guys!

I'm looking to upgrade my PC, was initially thinking of just the video card, but a mate suggested that's not the problem. He thinks a mobo/CPU upgrade is what's necessary.

My box is primarily an everyday e-mail and internet machine. However, I'm quite passioniate and committed to a SimBin racing sim known as GTR2. I race weekly in a league, and these guys are hard core.

Currently, GTR2 runs at about 50fps at the best of times, though I've seen it drop to about 12fps at times, slide show speed, unplayable. I don't go crazy with the eye candy, the detail slider is set at 75%. I'm looking to get the frame rate up around 100fps. A member of the league suggested I go with a motherboard/processor upgrade, as opposed to upgrading the video card. According to him, a hot video card will simply allow higher graphics settings within the game, but won't help frame rate. The mobo/CPU is the bottleneck, says he.

I'm looking to spend around $200CAD. I'm in Canada, the GTA area, so will likely buy from Canada Computers or Tiger Direct.

I don't have a particular brand preferences, but the dude with whom I've spoken recommends an AMD processor.

Again, this is just an upgrade, not an entirely new build. I plan to reuse the RAM, video card, sound card, hard drives, PSU, etc.

Here's the scoop on the current system:

Asus P5L-MX mobo
Pentuim D 805 2.66GHz Dual Core
3GB ram
XFX GeForce 8600GT PCI-E x16 256mb
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE
generic 420W power supply
Windows XP Home SP3 32 bit
DirectX 9.0c

The desktop is run at 1680 x 1050, likewise for GTR2.

Some specific info on the memory:

Here's what processors have been suggested:

AMD Athlon II X2 250 (65W) Dual-Core Socket AM3, 3.0GHz
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz

Or, another fellow likes these quads:

AMD Athlon II X4 620 (95W) Quad Core Socket AM3 , 2.6GHz
AMD Athlon II X4 630 (95W) Quad Core Socket AM3 , 2.8GHz

Mother board:

Asus M4A785-M
Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H

I don't suffer from a lot of Windows rot right now, and am a lazy guy by nature, so I'd prefer to not reinstall Windows, but of course will reformat if absolutely necessary.

Any opinions and advice are surely appreciated.

I'm hardly a techie, so you dudes will have to go easy on me, please.


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Old February 6, 2010, 01:34 PM
Raserei408's Avatar
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Location: South of the border
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I'd say the PII x2 and 770T. If you can also get one, pick up a Hyper 212 Plus, and you'll likely be able to unlock the cores (and/or OC to 3.8-3.9 or so).
"If dancing is sure to result in failure then you must dance anyway."
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Old February 6, 2010, 07:21 PM
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My System Specs


Good thinking by adding the cpuz screens. At this point, I don't think a $200 upgrade would work for you. It may give you a small boost in performance, but it will not give you the framerate you are looking to achieve. I would suggest a mb/cpu/ram upgrade. That 2GB 333mhz ram will hold you back with a cpu/mb upgrade.

You would be better off looking on ebay or the b/s/t forum here for second hand parts. The sellers here are reputable as I was able to get the cpu and mb in my sig for close to $350 quite awhile ago. The prices have dropped even more since then.

I would suggest a core2 duo or quad, 4GB PC-6400 (DDR2 800Mhz) and a matx motherboard without all the bells and whistles. I used an asus P5KPL-CM for a short time as a temporary board. It will support any S775 cpu and your current sound and video cards. I pais $75 new for that board about a year ago.

This is what I found for you at Canada Computers. I shop there as well.

Canada Computers - Memory > Desktop Memory > DDR2 800 PC2-6400+ : A-Data DDR2 800 240pin 2GB Kit (2x1GB) Unbuffered-DIMM Non-ECC Memory (w/ Heatsink).

Canada Computers - Motherboards > Socket LGA775/T : Asus P5KPL-AM EPU Socket 775 Intel G31 + ICH7 Chipset Intel GMA 3100 Graphics Dual Channel DDR2 1066(O.C.)/800/667 MHz 6-Ch HD Audio Gb LAN 8x USB 2.0 4x SATA Micro ATX.

Canada Computers - CPU > Desktop Intel Processors : Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400 Socket LGA775, 2.7 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 2MB L2 Cache, 45nm (Retail Box) (BX80571E5400).

The total comes to about $220 tax included. Add $50 for 4GB of ram instead of 2GB.

This is an Intel setup but I'm sure amd has something similar. I have very little knowledge of their products but I'm sure someone here can help.

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Old February 6, 2010, 07:28 PM
Bond007's Avatar
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My System Specs


If you only really care about gaming, go for the phenom II. If you do anything cpu intensive then go for one of the athlon quads. The L3 cache of the phenoms make them better for gaming then the athlons (though any of those cpu's will be an upgrade for you).
Desktop: Arc Midi R2, Z77-D3H, 3570K 1.09v/4.1ghz with Zalman Optima Cooler, Corsair Vengeance 2x4gb@1866mhz, XFX R9 280X DD, Bitfenix Fury 750w, WD Black 1TB, Intel 530 120GB
Away from home light Gamer: Acer Aspire 15.6", A8-3500m undervolt and OC to 2Ghz, 2x4gb Corsair Vengeance, Crucial M500 240gb
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Old February 6, 2010, 08:53 PM
Silvgearx's Avatar
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Posts: 2,101

Well since you only want to spend within $200 and currently using window xp home.

I recommend buying a 9800gt or a 4850($100) and a 400W-500W PSU($40-$60).

As for your friend's recommendation its useless unless your welling to build a new system and spend $400-$500
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