Question about Upgrading CPU and Motherboard

Hi All,
I'm looking at upgrading my good old AMD CPU and Motherboard which has served me well, but cannot keep up with the demands anymore (thanks specially to Chrome).

Current Specs:
CPU: AMD Phenom II 550 (DualCore 3.1GHz 7MB CACHE 80W)
Mother Board: Gigabyte GA-880GM-USB3
Also have: 128GB SSD, 6GB(3X2GB) DDR3-1333MHZ RAM, Thermaltake V3 case with 550W PSU

I mainly use my desktop for heavy browsing, streaming videos, office tasks and very little gaming (mainly FIFA).
I don't have any dedicated graphics card as the built-in GPU with the motherboard is sufficient.

Could you please suggest any decent CPU+MoBo combo that I can utilize on my current build?
(Assuming I could use the 1333MHz RAMs' in the current gen MoBos')

Preferring AMD due to cheaper cost, but if I can find better Intel deals then will switch to Intel.
Total Budget ~ $200

I have already checked Whirlpool PC Suggestion guide but I'm now more confused…

So any suggestion would be appreciated.
Thanks.

Comments

  • +1 vote

    If you buy a new motherboard there's a chance you may need to get Windows as well. That's extra $$$.

    Why not just upgrade the processor to something better?

    •  

      I already have the Windows 7 installation disk which I could use to re-install.

      However the idea of re-using my MoBo sounds even better… could you please suggest any suitable CPU?

      MoBo spec link: http://www.gigabyte.com.au/products/product-page.aspx?pid=34...

      • +1 vote

        I already have the Windows 7 installation disk which I could use to re-install.

        Is this an OEM license or a retail off the key license? For windows 7 OEM, once installed on a particular computer the license stays tied to that specific motherboard. However there are workaround to this — for me I just rang Microsoft and said I got the motherboard repaired, and they re-activated the license through the phone.

        But you don't need Mobo upgrade yet — just stick to your current platform. AM3+ is a good socket.

        I'd get the AMD FX 6300 processor. It retails for $155 AUD. Cheap and under your budget.

        •  

          Thanks, will look into upgrading the CPU only then.

          PS: Not 100% sure about the Windows disc, I received the License from TechNet mebership, then burn the relevant Windows ISO file somewhere from the Internet that I can't even remember anymore, but I still have the Disc.

        • +1 vote

          @Bappy:

          The media installation disc is not the relevant part, the license is. Use software called produkey or enchanted product key finder and find out what your product key is, then write it down on the CD. You need it to activate windows.

        •  

          @scrimshaw:

          Thanks for the tips, I probably gonna need it as it seems the MoBo won't gonna support the Fx-6300, the only AM3+ CPU it would support is FX-4130, see:

          http://www.gigabyte.us/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.a...

          (Found out this link is for rev 1 only, I will double check if I have the rev 3.1 instead)

  • +1 vote

    I think you have been sorted out in terms of how to proceed. Just taking a closer look at your motherboard it appears that there are two sub variants, Rev 1.X and Rev 3.1, it appears that you cannot use the newer AM3+ socket processors (which rules out the FX series chips) unless it is the later Rev 3.1. Make sure you check the motherboard before you run out to buy a AM3+ socket processor. The revision is usually printed on the board itself, and if you are like me have used the motherboard box as storage for the setup cd's etc it will be on the label.

    IF you do find yourself with a REV 1.X then I would be considering a switch to intel (it pains me to say this, im a long time AMD user and still run a Phenom II X4 965BE + Asus M4A89GTD Pro USB3).

    •  

      Thanks for your info, Just reached home with a high hope - unfortunately its a rev 1.0 :(

  • +1 vote

    Just out of curiosity, wouldn't more RAM and a low-end GPU do the trick?

    Based on what the OP has stated for his use of the PC, heavy browsing and streaming of video, more RAM might help with that already. I've also noticed that a discrete GPU helps with streaming abit as well. This experience is based on my Laptop, when I turn off my discrete GPU, the streaming of videos stutters and lags however, when the GPU is turned on, there are no such issues.

    As to the gaming part, I think a low-end GPU should be enough to push FIFA at 1080 with low quality settings at the very least.

    I'm not sure if the CPU and mobo is the issue here in this scenario.

    •  

      Thanks for your input, I thought about upgrading RAM, but as per the task manager, the CPU utilization is keep hitting 100% (as soon as I have multiple tabs open in Chrome) , the RAM utilization seems fine.

      Regarding GPU, Lets just say I don't have times for playing games anymore :) so I will skip the GPU update for now

      • +1 vote

        Projectzero has a point. Increasing the RAM and getting a graphics card will give you better results. The computer's CPU is bogged down with graphics. A dedicated GPU will free up the CPU.

  •  

    Hi All,
    Thanks heaps for all your tips so far.
    As per scrimshaw and aim54x, I have checked the MoBo model variant - unfortunately its rev1.0, so it won't support any AM3+ CPUs' (except FX-4130).

    So I am back to square one - I guess I have the following options:

    1. Upgrade both CPU + MoBo: I would like to consider Fx-6300 (price approx $155), so adding the MoBo price will blow out the budget. How much extra I'm looking at for a decent MoBo? Is there any other good alternatives (incl. Intel) with the similar price range?

    2. Trex and ProjectZero recommended upgrading RAM and GPU might be a better way to tackle the situation. Your thoughts? What GPU can I buy that will suite my 9 years old CPU+MoBo?

    3. How about unlocking the CPU cores (well my CPU have this options AFAIK) - will it be a significant change or there are risks involved?

    Sorry if I'm asking noob questions… always appreciate your feedbacks

    • +1 vote

      You can try the second hand parts market. There are numerous sources — try the OCAU forums to see if anybody is unloading CPU and mobo parts.

      Just so you know, I have a system that is even older than yours! Its an E8500 Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM, DDR2 800mhz memory and a low end GT430 graphics card. It doesn't lag at all despite being a old 2 core processor with DDR2 memory. I use it with Firefox (a lot of addons), media server software and it runs Windows 10 Pro. Also has Crucial M4 SSD.

      Here's the comparison of my E8500 against the Phenom 2
      http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/2963622?ba...

      As you can see, they are about neck in neck in terms of performance.

      So you're definitely not lacking in CPU performance.

      I would probably try putting in a GPU. Any GPU is fine, the make or model doesn't matter.

      •  

        Thanks again for your constant help… will look into updating GPU and also clean re-install Windows

        I have found two GPU from my "collection" - Nvidia Quadro P538 (256MB) and GeForce 8600GT (256MB GDDR3)

        Will give them a shot…

        • +1 vote

          Good luck with the gpu, try the quarry first, they are the workstation units and will hopefully be a bit better built and therefore more likely to have survived the time in storagexand wear and tear a bit better.

          Failing that consider a GTX750 or 750 Ti, they offer good bang for buck and are less demanding on power.

        •  

          @aim54x:

          No luck with the 8600GT, its keep failing - seems like faulty circuit or something to do with hardware.
          I'm not going to bother with the P538.

          Could you recommend any decent ATI GPUs under $100?
          I have found Radeon 5450 but its out of stock at most of the places… Radeon R7 240/250 series are any good?

        • +1 vote

          @aim54x: I suspect a GT 730 might do the trick, as OP said he doesn't need the GPU power for gaming as often. The GT 730 is around the $70 mark, add 8GB of RAM (possibly) for another 100 and it would be within the OP's budget.

          Just for reference, check here and here.

        • +1 vote

          @Bappy:try the Quadro P538, it only costs you time. With 6gb of RAM and already seeing 100% CPU but not maxing the RAM I'm probably going to say go through and do a fresh install or do a cleanup (uninstall any software you don't use and then use ccleaner to clean and fix your registry). I'm not convinced that more RAM is going to help. Check how many processes are running, and which are using up your CPU.

          Yes a R7 240/250 will probably do the trick as well, cheaper than a GTX750 but still an improvement on your on board graphics.

        • +1 vote

          @ProjectZero: reading this again I'm not 100% convinced RAM is the issue. The OP already has a SSD and 6Gb of RAM…. Starting to think it may be stuff running in the background or even malware.

        • +1 vote

          @aim54x:

          Starting to think it may be stuff running in the background or even malware.

          That could be possible, a fresh install would do the trick to fix malware… OP perhaps see if there are any startup processes you can turn off? I use CCleaner because to handle startup processes, you can do the same with "msconfig" but I jsut perfer CCleaner.

        •  

          @aim54x and @ProjectZero

          Thanks for your valuable feedback - much appreciated.

          Regarding Malware, at least MalwareBytes and Bitdefender cannot find anything.
          I am probably going to format my SSD, clean install Win7 and then upgrade it to Win10.

          Not sure if its a silly idea but I found Radeon 5450 (1GB DDR3) as cheap as $29 at MSY - thinking about trying this out instead.

          I'm also considering RAM upgrade, I currently have 3 X 2GB DDR3 1333MHz (Kingston), should I get another 2GB (same 1333MHz - so all could act as Dual channels) or just pick the newer 4GB 1600MHz?

          Cheers.

        • +1 vote

          @Bappy:

          I'm also considering RAM upgrade, I currently have 3 X 2GB DDR3 1333MHz (Kingston), should I get another 2GB (same 1333MHz - so all could act as Dual channels) or just pick the newer 4GB 1600MHz?

          I think you would be better off just buy a dual channel kit and replacing you three sticks.

          http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&c...

          1600Mhz
          8GB
          dual channel kit

        • +1 vote

          @Bappy:

          I was wondering about your current RAM configuration, 3x2Gb does mean you are stuck in single channel, if you were to upgrade I would go a 2x4gb set up. With the Phenom series processors you will probably not be able to go faster than than 1600mHz.

          As for the HD5450 it is pretty basic but almost double the performance as the HD4250 that is built into your motherboard. However I am hesitant to recommend spending money (on a GPU or RAM) yet, you have highlighted the fact that you are on a strict budget so I would definitely exhaust your other options first. At the end of the day buying a HD5450 is buying a heavily outdated GPU, another peice that you wont be bringing to a new build. Buying DDR3 RAM is less worrying, as you may still want to bring it to your next build, but you must also keep in mind the proliferation of DDR4 in the coming years. You have mentioned that you have had this PC for many years (the processor was released in 2009), at some point you will have to make a larger upgrade.

          Great to hear that MalwareBytes and BitDefender have found nothing. Still use CCleaner's "cleaner" and "registry" functions and see what else gets flushed out.

  • +1 vote

    So it seems that your main issue is to do with browsing within Chrome.
    What exactly are you doing within multiple tabs? Do you have a lot of add-ons installed?
    Have you tried using other browsers/reinstalling chrome?

    •  

      Just browsing various sites or watching YouTube videos (have multiple tabs open). I only have Add blocker on Chrome. I tried Firefox and its similar… CPU usage is keep hitting 100%

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