Upgrade Recommendations - Athlon 64 3500+ / GeForce 6600 GT

By DFAlpha ยท 10 replies
Feb 25, 2008
  1. Hey all,

    I'm looking for a bit of advice. My current system is a couple of years old, and I'd like to upgrade the video card to something a little more modern. Here's the important specs...

    -ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe 939
    -AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939
    -2 GB DDR400 Memory
    -NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB

    It's a decent machine, but is falling out of the loop for games. I'm on a fairly tight budget, and looking for an upgrade that isn't going to require replacing the entire system. I don't need Crysis running at 60 FPS or anything, but something a little more modern would be good (I'd like to be able to run Flight Simulator X at more then 5 FPS at 1280x1024)

    I'm currently running Windows Server as my primary OS, but will dual-boot into Windows Vista to take advantage of DX10 games.

    I'm considering upgrading the video card first. The two options are an NVIDIA 8800 GT or the recently relased 9600 GT. Both are around the same price point, with similar performance.

    The only problem is, at this point with such a powerful graphics card at my disposal, my CPU becomes the limiting factor. As it's a Socket 939 board with DDR-1 memory, anything higher then an AMD X2 4200+ Socket 939 dual-core would require a new motherboard AND memory, and that's an expense I just can't justify at this point (I might as well replace the entire system at that point).

    So, I guess my questions are (1) is it worth upgrading only the video card - will I see an significant performance increase as this is a fairly speedy processor and meets all of my other requirements outside the gaming world, and (2) would I see a significant performance increase going from a Athlon 64 3500+ 939 to an Athlon X2 4200+ dual-core 939 (assuming I can even get my hands on one at this point).

  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Well, I suppose it all depends but I'd say it's safe to assume the following:

    Upgrading your VPU will definitely provide an improvement in performance regardless of whether or not your upgrade your CPU. How much of an improvment depends on how you tax the system.

    You should see a significant performance increase with an X2 4200+, it's worth the upgrade if you aren't willing to replace your motherboard.
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The graphics card is more important than the CPU, which'd only give a substantial performance increase in some CPU-dependant games but the increase will be most noticeable in application performance and multitasking. Most games are GPU-dependent so upgrade to a 9600GT now and then later to a newer CPU and motherboard. If you're willing to specify a budget, we might be able to provide you with a couple of suggestions for a good CPU, mobo and RAM kit. Lastly, make sure you have a powerful enough PSU to power your new card and\or components.
  4. DFAlpha

    DFAlpha TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the speedy replies. That's good advice, I'm thinking a high end 8800 GT or GTS, at around $300, but if I take the 9600 route there's better opportunity down the road to go SLI and still be able to find that model.

    I have a 600W PSU, which will be sufficient for one video card and the upgraded setup.

    I'd say right now my overall budget is 450 or so, within the next year or so I'll replace the motherboard and CPU. I've always been pretty happy with ASUS boards, so I can imagine I'd probably stick with them. In terms of CPU down the road, it's a split gaming/work machine, development, and Photoshop batching, so I'm not sure whether to go Intel or AMD next round.

    With that said, if I decided to take the intermediate step and get a 4200+ 939, any ideas where I'd find one? I've called all the local shops and nadda. Started looking online without much luck too.

  5. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

  6. DFAlpha

    DFAlpha TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey Zenosincks,

    Unfortunately that Athlon 64 is the AM2 socket, I need the 939 :(.

    That's a good price for the 8800 though :)
  7. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

  8. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    that 8800GT that Zenosinicks gave u a link to is a good one and at a good price.
  9. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Yep, they're dropping in price by the second because of the GeForce 9 series.
  10. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    $450 is sufficient for a new video card, CPU, motherboard and RAM. Check these out:
    Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 Allendale 2.2GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail - $119.66
    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - Retail - $89.99 + $5.84 shipping
    EVGA 512-P3-N862-AR Superclocked GeForce 9600GT Superclocked 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail - $179.99 + $5.84 shipping

    CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    - $33.00 after $30 rebate + free shipping

    Grand Total = $434.32 including rebates and shipping
    You'd have a much more powerful PC with all these parts. It'd also leave you with an option to upgrade the CPU to a 45nm one later in the future if you want to.
    Good luck and I hope I helped. :)
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