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Old 10-10-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
redrumloa
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Default A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

You guys are always good for some quick advice, so I hope you don't mind another few questions. My youngest 2 sons share a computer which is a hand-me-down from me. It is simply not quite up to par for Dead Rising 2 (legal, store bought) and some other new games, so I am looking to upgrade it within budget. Here are the current specs.

A8S-X
AMD Athlon 64 3800 (2Ghz)
Geforce 8400 gs
2GB PC2700 DDR
Windows XP 32bit (legal, registered)

I'm guessing the the #1 performance upgrade will be the video card. There is a birthday in Nov, I am thinking a video card upgrade for the birthday and maybe a CPU upgrade for X-mas.

So, what are the suggestions? I am asking because as years pass, I am falling further and further behind the times on system building.

It has a PCI Express x16 video slot and the current video card is weak. What is the best value card that will play recent games and won't have exploding capacitors? What is the best CPU this board will use? I assume it is an Athlon FX? I am not very familiar with this CPU.

Finally, the ram is 2GB of PC2700. Should I look at upgrading this to PC3200 and higher than 2GB? Budget is a definite issue this year, but I want them to be able to play modern games.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 10-10-2010, 04:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

If the motherboard supports PC3200, I'd definitely go for that. Maybe a faster hard drive, as well? (7200.12 Seagates work well for me) As for video cards, I've bought about 15 of the ATI (Sapphire) 4650's over the past year or so, with no failures. Definitely ATI has seemed stronger recently, over Nvidia, but you know how it goes - ask a hundred different people, you'll get a hundred different answers on all these subjects. ;-)

Also price out a system from the Dell factory outlet. Certified refurbished Optiplex systems with the same warranty as new, for 1/2 the price. Honestly, if price of upgrading a used computer exceeds $300-$400, I just recommend purchasing a new one.
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Old 10-10-2010, 05:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

If you're looking for the best value video card for your system, I'd recommend this : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814131360 $45 after rebate and free shipping.

You're going to have a hard time finding a new CPU for that motherboard. Probably have to get one from e-Bay.

I wouldn't bother with the memory. 2 GB is enough for XP and faster memory won't make enough difference to notice.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

I'd recommend the ATI 4650 they are only $85 have DirectX 10, buy the Sapphire brand one they are trouble free. If you want a Directx11 card check out the ATI 5750 (just a few more shaders etc. than the 4650). They are currently around $160, but they may drop more in price with the 6000 due out soon.
Faster memory won't do anything noticeable except for a handful of software.
Most games are still only work on a single core so an extra +600mhz or more CPU would make a difference, but it depends if the game is CPU intensive.
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

GFx card wise the 768meg nvidia gtx460 is absolutely the best value for money card around. Performance wise it's more or less on par with the radeon 5850, but for a little under $200 (5850 is about 330ish). Further down the track youre probably better off with a nvidia gtx450, which can be picked up for about $130, and comfortably outperforms the radeon 5750, which is closer to its price point, and trades blows with the 5770 (ie. theyre both faster for different software), but the latter is more expensive. Until the last month or 2 ATI was definately the way to go, but with the introduction of the nvidia gf 104/106 gpus the balance has shifted. As for the cpu, it depends on the socket. Id guess its either a socket 754 or 939 cpu (otherwise it'd most likely be using ddr2). Unfortunately the faster speed socket 939 cpu's have held thier value a little, so wont be the best value around, but you should be able to pick up a 2.6ghz athlon x2 5200+ for about $50 Id imagine. Speed of RAM will also have more of an impact than going beyond 2gig, but obviously additional ram never hurts either. DDR1 is comparitively pricey now though, so buying 2 gig ddr400 isnt too much more expensive than a new socket 775 mobo+2 gig ddr3 1333.
All in all something like an e5400+cheap mobo+2 gig ddr2/3 (or athlon2 250/am2+/3 for amd) wont be much less than buying new ram and cpu for your current system so I guess it depends on exactly how closely youre watching your wallet. Personally I'd probably just sell the current ram+mobo+cpu and fork out the difference for cheap new mobo/cpu/ram. Cheap these days doesnt mean bad, generally just stripped down feature wise compared to the fully fledged older borthers (and even then not necessarily stuff everyone would notice). Overclocking will also usually reap better results on a more expensive board.
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

What a nightmare this has become! I bought THIS gfx card for them for Christmas, installed it, and was stuck with 100% CPU load on one of the two cores. I checked bios, latest update. I used the latest Nvidia driver, no help. The card worked fine in my main PC for testing, so the MB must not like it right? I assumed it was failing to DMA to the card.

I returned that card and bought THIS one, hoping the issue would not be present with a Radeon. I have the same problem, actually worse as the system is unstable.

As stated before, this motherboard is a A8S-X which has a PCI Express x16 slot. It is not a 2.0 compliant slot, but both video cards say requirements are only a PCI Express x16 slot.

I really hate to return yet another video card. Please tell me there is something stupid I am missing
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

Decided to re-install XP AGAIN. During the install, everything was fine UNTIL I installed SP3. As soon as SP3 was installed, CPU load went to 50% on one of the cores. Since this appears to be specifically a SP3 issue, I may simply upgrade to Win7 on this system...

Anyone here experience this odd issue?
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Old 12-26-2010, 06:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

Process Explorer shows the problem to be Interrupts.. How to fix...
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

Hmm - PCIe 1.0 vs 2.0 usually is no problem, but my nForce570 based M2N-E didn't particularly like an HD5750 Radeon either...

Any shared interrupts with non-onboard HW? Any additional PCI/e cards?
Latest BIOS?
Tried MemTest86? Sometimes it's the obvious...
Have you tried deactivating SoundMax audio? I've had my share of fun with those...

btw: the HD5670 is a far superior card to the GT430, see here and here for comparison. RAM Bandwidth should be at least 40 GB/s with 300-400 GFLOPS. The 8400GS is a very poor performer...

Last edited by Zac67; 12-27-2010 at 03:25 AM..
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

Hate to say this Red, next time buy one out of the box, there less hassle and throw away. It current crop of good boards/chipsets/graphics cards are all designed for overclockers/gamers. Anything less that SOA is china oem crap and more trouble than they are worth.

The market really has split into three. Commodity and SOA Custom and Ready 2 go, the commodity market is 4 jerks like CUSA etc. The self-build with commodity parts isn't worth it. For the same price you get a Dell/HP or other brand tower ready to go for the same price of the parts with an OS e.t.c.

I just can't be ar*ed these days with build pc's with parts that are nearly a thousand pounds to get a stable system, when the same can be had for half the price ready to go + GPU for just over half the price. Who cares that it doesn't play whatever game across 4 screens and has less latency over the network.

Lets look at the evidence.

Fair/Good PSU - DarkPower/OCZ etc 100 quid
Fair/Good processor - e/q8400 - 130
Fair/Good GPU - ATI 57xx - 150
3-4gb mem - 100 quid
Hard disk - 60 quid
Case - 50 quid
OS legal - 80 quid
BDRom - 80 quid
whoops edit: Mobo 80-130quid good one

Plus Postage + Time + Effort and Disappointment.

Chuck a decent GPU and a BDrom below....its just aint worth the hassle.

* AMD Athlon II X4 630 (2.80GHz, 512kx4, 4C)
* Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
* 4096MB Dual Channel DDR3 1333MHz [4x1024] Memory
* 750GB (7200rpm) SATA Hard Drive
* 16X DVD+/- RW Optical Drive (DVD & CD read and write)
* Integrated ATI Radeon HD4200 Graphics
* 19-in-1 Media Card reader

Price From £429

Job done
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Last edited by Boudicca; 12-27-2010 at 03:38 AM..
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

@Boudicca
Integrated 4200 is decent for IGP but nothing compared to the 5750 above - which can be had for 90€. OOTBs are usually underpowered or ridiculously overpowered GPU-wise and expensive. Somewhat decent game machines are cheaper DIY. And starting with left over HW saves lots of bucks.

Just built an SL machine for my girlfriend:
Asus M4A785D-M PRO - 57,40€
A64x2 2.2 GHz - from scratch (2.9 GHz 51€ new)
case - from scratch (25€ new)
2 GB RAM - 34€
PSU BeQuiet 350W - 31,50€
HDD 160 GB - from scratch (31€ new)
Gfx 7800GT - 10€ ebay (HD5750 90€ new)
DVD+-RW LG - 17,70€
KB - 10€
Mouse - 6€
Total: 166,60€ (354€ new parts)

Last edited by Zac67; 12-27-2010 at 04:40 AM..
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zac67 View Post
@Boudicca
Just built an SL machine for my girlfriend:
How long did it take you 8 hours ? 5 ? 12 ?

I count my life as worth something and not spending it on building formatting installing and finally fixing a PC that someone else is going to use. I haven't touch my mums laptop in two years. Priceless.

(Prolly something to do with I spend 8 hours a day dealing with PC/Server IT s*it so I don't want it at home.) Fire and Forget !, cost is not an object. Otherwise I would have no time to sit here
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: A8S-X based PC upgrade advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zac67 View Post
Hmm - PCIe 1.0 vs 2.0 usually is no problem, but my nForce570 based M2N-E didn't particularly like an HD5750 Radeon either...

Any shared interrupts with non-onboard HW? Any additional PCI/e cards?
Latest BIOS?
Tried MemTest86? Sometimes it's the obvious...
Have you tried deactivating SoundMax audio? I've had my share of fun with those...
Latest Bios, no additional PCI/e cards or other PCI cards. Built in sound disabled. Hardware a-ok. I'm going to start a new thread to give this one more shot...
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