CPU or memory upgrade?

By mithrandir
Apr 17, 2007
  1. I wanted to find out whether I should upgrade my current CPU (to a dual core) or the memory or not bother at all?

    My current specs are:

    AMD 3700+ with AC freezer 64pro (stock)
    2gb DDR400 ram (4*512mb stocks)
    X1900 CF edition (basically X1900XT)
    Asrock 939DualSata 2

    I'll be using the rig for gaming mainly.

    I had in mind:

    CPU - AMD X2 4200 (S939)
    RAM: Ballistix 2gb (2*1gb PC4000)

    Or shall I save my money instead if they is little performance boost??

    Many thanks
  2. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

  3. JimShady23

    JimShady23 TS Maniac Posts: 373


    You mainly have about the most usable amount of memory in a 32-bit OS. So unless you have XP x64 or Vista 64-bit or plan on it soon then a cpu upgrade is your best bet.

    Plus a upgrade to dual core will help a bit in general multi-tasking. However dont expect much FPS improovment with a x2 4200 over your 3700. They both operate at the same speed and since most games are still single threaded (only use one core) your not going to notice any big performance increase. However if your gamming and your AV starts scanning your computer your not going to lag out like you would with the 3700.

    But all in all CPU over memory in your case.
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    What gaming software do you enjoy? For most gaming, I think you will be disappointed with the results when compared to the money you spend. It will make a barely noticeable difference on most games.
  5. mithrandir

    mithrandir TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks guys,

    I forgot to add mmy memory is running at 2T rather than 1T (using 4 sticks rather than 2)

    I was thinking whether my CPU was on par with the dual core due to a 1mb L2 cache than the 2x512mb cache.

    Lastly, the games I play include: Oblivion, C&C3, Quake 4, Doom3, Prey, Age of Empires 3, STALKER, etc.

    I notice my CPU is maxed out in games such as Oblivion and Tiberium Wars when I run a graph.
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    More RAM usually helps in loading areas in games faster, since instead of being loaded from the HDD when the RAM is full, more RAM allows the game to load almost all the textures into the RAM, which lessens the frequency of the game going to swap-file on the HDD. But overall, a dual-core CPU will not only be future-proof, since future apps and games will be able to take advantage of multi-core CPUs, it will provide better multitasking performance too.
  7. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    I know its already been said, but a CPU upgrade is the best choice. 2GB of memory is great, I wish I had another 1GB. Oh well my system is perfectly mid-range.
  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you don't need any more ram. 2gb is plenty (actually overkill)
    cpu upgrade is better.
  9. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Welcome to TechSpot :wave: ! I would also have to say the only thing "bogging" you down with your computer right now would be the CPU. 2Gb is a good amound, and your video card is fine for now. I think that you will see a boost in performance going from a 3700+ to an X2 4200+. It's all up to you (and your wallet ;) ). Good luck :wave: !
  10. mithrandir

    mithrandir TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks guys.

    In the end I bought 2x1gb of crucial ram (as I needed the current ram in another system)

    However, I saw 4200x2 at a decent price but trying to clarify whether they are the Toledo cores rather than Manchester, but the (respected) retailer insists it's the Manchester (as they have 2x512mb L2 - don't both 4200x2 have this?)
    I thought E4 stepping is Manchester and E6 Toledo...
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