I want to upgrade my RAM and CPU.

Discussion in 'Computers' started by pro2A, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    After much research and figuring out what my motherboard can handle, I want to upgrade my CPU and RAM to take my PC basically to the max of what it can handle short of replacing the motherboard. I really don't want to get into messing with BIOS and the OS that comes with replacing the motherboard.

    I have a dual boot of XP and Vista 32 Bit. My motherboard is an Asus M2N68-AM.

    First off this is what my MoBo can handle (copied from my MoBo manual):
    CPU: AMD Socket AM2+ / AM2 for AMD Phenom FX / Phenom Athlon / Semperton processors.
    AMD Cool n Quiet Tech
    AMD 64 enables both 32 bit and 64 bit OS.

    Memory: Dual-Channel Memory
    2 x 240 pin DIMM slots support unbuffered ECC and non ECC DDR2 1066/800/667MHz modules.
    Only supports up to 4GB system memory.
    *DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+ CPU only.

    I figure 4GB's of DDR2 1066 is the 'fastest' RAM I can get that my MoBo will still support. I found this on Newegg and it looks compatible with my MoBo specs.
    Newegg.com - OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P10664GK

    In addition it looks if I get the RAM I want I have to upgrade my CPU as well to a AM2+ (which my motherboard also supports). I was looking at this quad core which has no fan, but my current system fan says it can be used to cool an AMD Phenom quad-core. This particular quad core is the fastest that my motherboard can support per the Asus website:
    Newegg.com - AMD Phenom 9850 2.5GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor HD985ZXAJ4BGH - Processors - Desktops

    My current setup is 4GB of DDR2 667 RAM and a AMD Dual Core AM2 64 X2 5000+ (2.6GHz) processor. If I get the phenom quad core 2.5Ghz, will I be back tracking with the speed, or will the quad still out perform the dual core even though my dual core is 2.6Ghz?

    With the specs that I have given I'm sure all will be well with my MoBo supporting it... my only concern is if there will be a noticeable difference in performance with these upgrades, or am I basically pissing in the wind here?

    Other factors that may matter are my PSU which I just upgraded to an Antec 550W. The biggest power hog I have is my video card which only draws a wimpy 70W... It's a 1GB ZOTAC GeForce GT 240. I don't believe power will be an issue with the other upgrades.

    So what do you think? Does it look like everything will work before I dive in and buy it all? Thanks for the help ;)
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010

  2. Arathald

    Arathald Registered Member

    First of all, good job on selecting the RAM -- a dual-channel kit will actually give you the best performance for your system.

    You selected a 64-bit processor, which is necessary to be able to use the full 4GB of ram. You also want to make sure you use a 64-bit operating system, or your available RAM will be capped at about 3.5GB.

    Check on the power requirements for the processor to be able to tell about your PSU, but 550W should be plenty.

    going from a 2.6 to 2.5 per core, you wouldn't notice any difference even if you were running a single core. My 2.16Ghz dual core probably outperforms your 2.5 single core; more cores is much more important than clock speed. Computer manufacturers have realized that increasing the clock speed won't do nearly as much as adding more cores and improving the architecture. In fact, a modern 2Ghz+ single core will still probably outperform an older 2.5Ghz, because of optimizations and pipelining developed in the past several years.

    It all looks pretty good, just double check that your motherboard can handle the processor (just because it uses the same socket doesn't mean they will play well together).
  3. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    I think in XP I will be OK, but I primarily use Vista which on my PC is only 32 bit. I may not get the full potential out of the RAM, but I really don't like messing with the OS.

    It says it uses 125W. I don't have much else that draws a lot of power except my GPU which draws 70W. My PSU has four 12V rails which I can draw from which is a nice feature of my PSU. I can give my new CPU it's own rail to draw from for added safety.

    So in short if I got the quad core 2.5Ghz it will out preform my current dual core 2.6GHz? Do you believe that increase be noticeable?

    Yes it does. The one I linked on Newegg is the max I can get that my MoBo will support.

    ASUSTeK Computer Inc. - Motherboards - M2N68-AM

    If you look in the 'CPU support list' tab, towards the bottom at the end of the Phenom X4's you will see the one I want to buy (the Phenom X4 9850).

    Thanks again for your help!

    I do have one more question... I know the RAM is plug and play, but I thought I heard that I have to tinker with BIOS when installing the CPU, something about flashing BIOS. What is that?
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  4. Arathald

    Arathald Registered Member

    I would suggest Windows Vista or later. Although there is a 64-bit edition of XP, it is not a true 64-bit operating system, but rather a 32-bit OS with 64-bit extensions. Because of the timing of the release of Windows Vista, it didn't make sense for Microsoft to work on constructing an all new 64-bit version of XP. I would suggest Windows 7, since it uses less memory and performs better than Vista, and even though I think Vista was rather unfairly criticized, there *were* some problems with it that were fixed in 7. Also keep in mind that Windows XP is now rather outdated and has some inherent security flaws that don't exist in Vista/7.

    Using modern, properly-written software, yes, you should notice a significant performance increase from a 2.6GHz dual core to a 2.5GHz quad core.

    You shouldn't have to do anything with the BIOS, that is only necessary if you want to do more advanced things like overclocking the CPU. If you are at all concerned about there being problems, don't worry -- at very least, your CPU will run, just at lower performance, and in that case, just let me know and I'll help you fix that, or find someone else knowledgeable about such things (I don't anticipate you having any problem at all, though).
  5. Eragon0605

    Eragon0605 Registered Member

    A quad 2.5 GHz wil blow a dual-core 2.6 GHz out of the water. Remember, the GHz you see is per core (at least for intel CPUs it is). If you do any CPU overclocking at all, trash that ram and get something more stable, but if you don't that should be fine. As for the OS, I'ts worth the extra dough to get a 64-bit Windows 7. I'm using it and it is fantastic.

    Anyways, I really don't think it's worth it getting an AM2+ CPU. You do get a little more MHz, but an AM2+ won't really be able to harness that extra power anyways. I say, dump that CPU and get an Athlon II X4 635 Propus (can't post links yet). Your RAM will be a little slower, but you will get a much bigger performance boost this way.

    Another thing, your mobo is seriously slowing you down. You will only be able to get about half the power any quad-core can offer. If you have a little extra cash available, I'd reccomend an Asus M4A78L-M, in which case you could get the 1066 MHz RAM with the AMD3 CPU.
  6. Arathald

    Arathald Registered Member

    It's a little misleading to say the the GHz is 'per core'. The GHz is not a measure of how powerful the processor is, or even (despite common belief) how many calculations it can perform in a given amount of time. It is simply the number of times a second that the internal clock switches from 0 to 1. This means that the actual performance of the processor is much more dependent on other factors like pipelining, and just how many transistors can be squeezed onto a single chip. So, 2.5GHz per core for 4 cores doesn't mean you're running at 10GHz, nor does it mean your computer would have equivalent performance to a single 10Ghz machine. It just doesn't work like that. This means that in every processor architecture, saying that the clock speed is 'per core' or 'shared across all cores' doesn't really make a difference (these do technically mean different things -- one hardware clock per processor vs one shared clock, but if the engineers can figure out how to do both of those, then they're pretty much exactly equivalent, since a clock can be used for as many devices as you want, and sharing it doesn't hurt its performance).

    In a simplified processor model, 4 cores can theoretically perform twice as many operations as 2 cores running at the same clock speed, assuming all the cores are identical. Now, real life doesn't work *quite* like that, but it's a good way of estimating.

    (Note: Eragon0605, I know you probably know the technical details of this as well as I do, I'm posting this for the benefit of others who might not know what the 'speed' rating of a processor refers to.)

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