Thinking about upgrading

By ¼ of a hotdog · 10 replies
Oct 4, 2009
  1. I got a lot of money for my birthday this year, 370$, and I want to get some smaller upgrades and use the rest for games and other things. I have been looking into the new graphics cards a lot and I refuse to get a new one until they sell cheap motherboards with Lucid's Hydra 200 chipsets or at least until the gt300 series comes out and drives prices down.

    My current specs are

    PSU: bfg tech ls-550 80+ certified (when rage had that list in his signature it ether said it had a 49 or 46 amp combined 12v rail output or something like that)

    Motherboard: gigabyte M57SLI-s4 V2.0 (gigabyte's site says its compatible with phenom 2 and 1 on am3 or am2+ but
    so I'm not sure if that will effect performance.

    RAM: Read carefully I have 4GB total but because Wintec sells Aeneon memory as if it was there own (as in its got the same model number on newegg and has the same heatspreader) I have ended up with 2gb of authentic wintec memory and 2gb of aeneon with wintec heatspreaders and they don't like to be overclocked together. When I overclock my current 5600+ windsoar (not a black edition) with the FSB clock to much, 2 sticks get ignored but still show up in programs like CPU-Z. Unless this is a problem with my ancient motherboard ignoring 2 ram slots, I will not be able to overclock by changing the FSB clock by more than 16 mhz!

    Hard drives: One excellstor 160gb hdd (Cheap brand its loud but not sure about reliability) and one western digital blue 16mb cache (Very quite)

    Video card: XFX 4850 512mb with an accelero s1 rev 2 and zalman copper ram heatsinks all with arctic silver 5 (All temps stay lower than 55c after well over an hour of constant 95%-100% usage but overclocks worse than... anything I know of)

    CPU: AMD athlon 5600+ windsoar 2mb l2 cache at 3ghz with a zigmatec hdt-S1283 (speedfan and coretemp seem to show weird temps like 38c idle and 45c with 100% usage but easytune and my bios seem to show temps below 30c at idle so I'm not sure which to trust.)

    Sound card: (Go ahead and laugh) A creative soundblaster audigy SE

    Case: Thermaltake armor JR.

    I am trying to keep the price below 200 but I can go over that, I am almost out of space on both of my hard drives so I want to get a new one but I could just stop copying entire game installations to mod them completely. Its for gaming I dont do much media editing though I do like to throw hundreds of objects around in the cryengine 2 sandbox 2 editor and I do mod real time strategies so they have almost no unit cap so I would think the extra processing power would help.

    My proposed upgrade is based on the theory that a phenom 2 720 would overclock and work well with my motherboard.(Tell me if there is a better route.)

    Phenom 2 720

    Western digital caviar green 500gb 32mb cache

    Fan to keep hard drive cage cooler

    Please forgive my horrible spelling, sentence structure and grammar.

    PS if you have had your head buried in sand here is a link about the truly amazing Lucid Hydra 200 chips.
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    I would recommend this hard drive instead.

    It seems that the Hydra 200s will feature only on Intel boards for a while to come. So if you don't really need the performance boost right now don't buy a new AMD CPU as you'll eventually change to the Intel platform. However, if you are decided on a new CPU then the X3 720 is a great buy.
  3. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    i second the x3 720 and WD 640 drive great combo.
  4. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Thanks for the recommendations.

    Will putting the 720 on my motherboard cause a noticeable bottleneck? Would it still run normally? Would I still be able to overclock it decently?

    When I mentioned Hydra I meant I wanted to see how it would do and weather ATI or Nvidia would do something to make it less effective when you mix the two together. If they did and then lower end hydra motherboards came out it could influence my next graphics card choice more then anything else unless the gt300 series is insane and affordable. When I read some interview that had lucids CEO talking he had said they wanted to start with high end products and work there way down to lower end things over time.
  5. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    imo hydra is kinda iffy i wouldnt use it in my personal opinion also the 720 might bottle neck slightly but i dont think the hypertransport will make a big impact on performance and yes it should still overclock nicely and will be alot faster than your current processor.
  6. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Ah excellent, thanks for the help! Ive always found the people on this forum to be very helpful. So I will get the 640gb WD hard drive the 720 and a 120mm fan, which I can never have enough of.
  7. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    the x3 720 will not bottleneck at all, i have it holding down 3x4850's and it does wonderfully, gets better FPS than an i7/GTX295 system.
  8. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    So do you mean the 720 wont be bottlenecked by my motherboard of ancient design or something else?
  9. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    Depending on what version your current motherboard BIOS is, you may have to update the BIOS to support the newer X3 720 processor. According to Gigabyte's website, the motherboard supports the X3 720 processor with the proper BIOS version. If the motherboard supports the 720, it won't bottleneck it.
  10. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Thank you mailpup that is very nice to know!

    Thanks, everyone here has always been very helpful!
  11. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Alright everything is on its way, thanks again for all your help everyone! Now all I have to worry about is weather or not a disgruntled employee filled the box with angry bees!
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