New computer purchase, processor question

I should preface this with I haven’t known jack about computer hardware since the Voodoo3 was a big deal. I’m planning on getting a new computer in the next week or two, I’ve got a grand or so (CDN) to spend, and I’m wondering, my current processor is a AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+, is it worth salvaging, and spending my money on the rest of the computer, or should I replace it too?

What motherboard and how much RAM do you have? More importantly, what will you be doing with the PC (any video editing, serious multitasking)? What type of games do you like, and what’s the resolution of your monitor?

You’ll find that simple CPU replacement is not often worth it, especially if this is an AM2 board, as the incremental improvement is not cost-effective. But to buy a CPU + board + new RAM cuts into video card and monitor money.

On the other hand, 1000CDN will buy a lot :-)

What are the rest of the specs? Case, PSU, mobo? Is your Windows license unobtainable?

If you’re willing to put in the time, you can save a lot just buying what you need. 500W PSU, 4770, and a Duo/Quad core with combo motherboard, and RAM.

I can’t seem to find the name for my motherboard, AIDA32 couldn’t either. The rest of the specs are junk, a whopping 128megs of ram, no video card (it’s a long story).

Oh, and for now, I’m probably sticking with my crappy monitor, so that’s not a factor price wise.

If you have that little RAM and are using integrated video, just replace everything and find an alternative use for that box. It’ll be easier and more productive than reusing those parts imo.

If you plan to keep your crappy monitor (how crappy?) you could go Intel i5 + a nice video card + power supply, RAM, case etc and still stay under budget at That’s assuming you plan to upgrade your monitor later, since it’s overkill if you pair a super-fast video card at 1280x1024.

But there are a lot of alternative scenarios too, including Dell if you really haven’t looked at PCs much since the Voodoo3 days.

The 3800X2 is socket-939 / DDR. This summer, I had that in my main machine. I upgraded my video card to an Ati 4770, and ran some benchmarks on Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, and Prince of Persia (the new one). It appeared that my framerates in FC2 and FO3 were limited to around 20, regardless of graphical resolution. See this thread for more details, and for a similar discussion.

I decided that it wasn’t worth salvaging, and spent less than €250 on 4GB of DDR2 memory, a new motherboard and a Phenom X2 550. This doubled processor performance, and made my gaming graphics-limited again.

So your processor will be a bottleneck in recent games and in everything that relies on CPU power. Unless your main concern is watching video, upgrading your CPU + motherboard is absolutely worth it.

If you’ve got up to a grand to spend, I would just start from scratch. Whether you roll your own or buy from a vendor like Dell, you ought to be able to afford a Core i5/i7 with at least 4GB of RAM and a decent video card (HD 5770 or better).

Thanks very much for the advice. Gonna go with a whole new system.

Absolutely absolutely absolutely go with a new system. Socket 939 is old news, upgrading DDR ram is VERY expensive and not worth it. I have the same proc that you do and something you could get for sub $100 prices would BLOW it out of the water.

DDR2 doubled in price this fall so it seems like DDR3-based systems is the way to go.