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Computer upgrade (socket AM3)

By Schmutz · 12 replies
Feb 22, 2011
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  1. I am helping my brother upgrade his aging PC! I have not been on the hunt for new components for some time so I would like some help :D
    current hardware


    ASRock N68C-S UCC (see link for compatibility)

    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?model=n68c-s ucc


    AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3.0ghz)


    2GB DDR2 633mhz
    (2x 1gb)


    Nvidia 7900GS (256mb)

    ... Arctic 600W PSU

    Will mainly be used for games, his budget is around £500 (can probably get away with spending a lot less). Ideally if it can tear through anything on maximum settings (at 1280x1024) then it's good enough
    I think the most necessary upgrades will be a new GPU and faster memory (at least 4gb).
    The ATI 6870 seems like an excellent contender: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/247611

    I'm just considering whether the AMD 6000+ dual core processor will bottleneck the performance of this graphics card. Also the £40 Arctic 600W PSU does not have 2x 6pin connectors, so I'm not sure if it's cut out to power this type of GPU.

    For a RAM upgrade, I don't know where to start. Whatever offers the price/performance ratio will be suitable I'm sure. I'm not sure about triple channel configurations (back when I last upgraded dual channel was new tech!). I assume 4GB or more will be best. Anything less and running new games in the background will start to choke the computer.
    Just to note, the motherboard was bought as a temporary solution a few months back for around £40. It appears to have all the socket's required for this upgrade but if it would be better to invest in something more expensive then please explain why :suspiciou

    Thank you for any suggestions
  2. nissanman

    nissanman TS Maniac Posts: 247

    Firstly, if you want to get the 6870, it might pay to get a better CPU. the 6000+ will definitely bottleneck that card. I recommend the Phenom II x4 955 CPU.

    Next, The memory should be upgraded to atleast 4GB of DDR2 800. Though that motherboard also supports up to 1600 DDR3, so i would recommend that.

    Now, for the 6870, i would recommend getting a better PSU. Though it shouldnt be necessary, "Arctic" isnt a brand of PSU ive ever heard of and the quality might not be so great. I highly recommend a Corsair unit. The TX650W is an excellent choice for that video card.

    If you dont plan to get two 6870's, then that motherboard should be fine. Also, im not sure about how well that motherboard overclocks, so if your brother wishes to do some overclocking, i would make sure the board can OC first. If he wont be overclocking, that board should be fine. You cannot go triple channel with that motherboard as it only has two DDR3 and two DDR2 slots. So dual channel is your only option. All dual channel motherboards dont support triple channel anyway.




    All those parts are excellent choices. I have 4GB of Kingston HyperX ram in my system and it is awesome ram.

    But, if you do decide to upgrade your motherboard, then this one is very good. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128435&Tpk=890gpa

    That board is great, i havnt had a single issue with it. and it overclocks extremely nicely.
  3. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Just a clarification on that. You have to get the type of ram that the motherboard you have or are getting supports, its not an either/or. DDR2 and DDR3 have the same pin count, but are NOT interchangeable.
  4. nissanman

    nissanman TS Maniac Posts: 247

    red1776. thats correct, but that motherboard has both DDR2 and DDR3 ram slots. So it supports both. But its unlikely it will support both DDR2 and DDR3 ram running at the same time.
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    right, don't buy a 8Gb 4 x 2Gb ram set, they are independent of each other.
  6. nissanman

    nissanman TS Maniac Posts: 247

    buy the ram i linked you to. It is a 4gb 2x2gb set and is very good, fast ram. Its also very affordable. Highly recommended.
  7. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    @nissanman @red thank you for the suggestions.


    I'm surprised to read the AMD 6000+ will be bottlenecking the GPU in games. I didn't know games taxed processors that much. Although it is a lot newer tech my Q6600 is barely put to use on most games but for Video editing/music software it stands out. Well how about the AMD Phenom II X6 1055T then? From the research I've done it seems to offer a lot of performance for the price. Will it be a better choice than the Phenom II x4 955 CPU? If the only advantages will be for video editing and the like then the answer is no. Otherwise, if it will provide significantly more lifespan AND a good performance boost oer the 955 then it seems like a good decision.


    new PSU was a good idea then :grinthumb. The Corsair 650W TX seems good. As I am in the UK I will most likely get the one below:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/135514 Corsair 650W TX - £63.78


    How much performance does triple channel memory offer in games over dual channel? I didnt think the £40 motherboard would make the cut but it seems good enough to support all this newer hardware

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/239260 4GB (2x2GB kit by Kingston) £37 on ebuyer - I had no idea RAM was so cheap these days. What is the difference between that and this corsair kit,

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173122 (£43.89)

    It might seem naive but the fact that the corsair kit has a lot more product reviews makes me wonder :suspiciou

    Comfortably below budget, £170 GPU, £140 1055T processor, £40 memory, £60 PSU ~£410.

    Is the 6870 GPU the best price performance on the market at the moment? Are there better options? Smooth performance on upcoming Battlefield 3, Crysis 2 and current games like GTA 4 is the target. With my own computer (running an 275GTX/Q6600 @ 3ghz) I'll get great performance in 99% of games. Full quality settings @ 1920x1200 will stress it a little on games like GTA and Crysis. It appears the 6870/1055T will outperform my computer by a significant amount though :)
  8. nissanman

    nissanman TS Maniac Posts: 247

    Your x2 6000+ CPU is a little slow, it will bottleneck the 6870, meaning to 6870 wont be able to perform as well as it should. You could go with the 1055T, but make sure your bios on the motherboard is up to date. Just because the website says it x6 ready, doesnt mean your particular board is. If you dont want to update the bios, i would just stay with the 955 as the 1055 isnt really much faster anyway.

    Im not too sure how much performance triple channel has in gaming as opposed to dual channel, but you cant go triple channel anyway as the motherboard only has two ddr3 slots. I have read loads of reviews about Kingston HyperX memory, all praise how fast it is and apparently performs a little faster then Corsair memory. its less expensive aswell. It is very good memory.

    And finally, the 6870 should perform very well in the games you listed. If you want to keep prices low, i would recommend staying with that. The Nvidia equivilant is usually more expensive.
  9. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126


    Alright thanks. I also read some 955 vs 1055 comparisons and the 955 seems like a better deal. I also read some 955 vs 965 comparisons. The 965 is another £20 or so. The performance gain seems insignificant and the processor runs at a higher voltage which would probably stress the £40 motherboard I've got.


    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/239260 - Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Blu Memory Kit CL9 1.65V

    Is it ddr3 or ddr2? The specification says DDR3 but the image shows DDR2 sticks. It looks like they have made a mistake.

    Video Card:

    There really doesn't seem to be any competition in this department ATI 6870 seems like the obvious one to get


    Corsair 650W TX? I'm wondering whether a modular PSU might be more versatile for future upgrades. Is 650W going to be the "standard" for non-dual GPU builds in a few years? I don't want to overlook the PSU :suspiciou
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Just wondering, but if you're upgrading so many components you might as well pick a better motherboard. It will open up further upgrade options for the future.

    You won't necessarily require a modular PSU. 650W is not going to be the "standard" for single GPUs. Power consumptions of cards are coming down. The 650TX can comfortably handle most dual GPU setups.
  11. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    That is of course something to consider, but if I were to upgrade the motherboard now then I should also consider all intel options/triple channel DDR3 and the like. As the current motherboard will be able to support the 6870/AMD 955/4gb DDR3 without (apparently) impairing the performance to a significant degree, I feel I would be better off upgrading the motherboard at a later point. It'll also be cheaper by then as well!

    I'll probably stick with that Corsair 650W TX PSU though for this build.
  12. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    AMD does not support triple channel memory. Intel has tri channel memory architecture on its high end MB chipsets (x58)
  13. nissanman

    nissanman TS Maniac Posts: 247

    It is DDR3. Most of the time, the images are just for reference only.

    Also, if you want a modular PSU, you could spend an extra 20 or so dollars and get the Corsair HX650W. If you wanted to get a new motherboard and a second 6870 in the future, you would need to get atleast the HX anyway, as the TX only has 2 PCIE 6+2pin connectors. But if you are going to stick with the one card, then id stay with the TX.

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