CPU upgrade question

Discussion in 'hardware' started by BoerenkoolMetWorst, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    I want to blow some new life into an old Dell desktop. It has a dual core Pentium D 925 3GHz, socket 775 LGA.
    I was first looking at getting better CPU from that model line or one newer, but it turns out the performance increase is to little to justify getting a new CPU. Will searching around however, it seems the Core 2 processors are also compatible, including the Q6600, which would be a huge performance upgrade. I would first like to confirm that this is actually going to work. It's a Dimension E520 with a Dell 0WG964 motherboard and Intel P965/G965 chipset.
    I also came across a post about someone doing a similar upgrade, but the new CPU had a bus speed of 1066MHz, though the system supported only 800, resulting in a 25% lower clock speed, so then it's probably faster to get a 800MHz bus CPU.
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    According to this, that chipset does support 1066MHz. And according to the datasheet (page 17), it supports "a single Intel® Core™2 Duo desktop processor, Intel® Pentium® 4 processor, or Intel® Pentium® D processor."

    That said, typically, you get more bang for your money by adding RAM (depending on your starting point) and upgrading your graphics solution before upgrading your processors. How much RAM do you have installed now? And are you using a 64-bit OS?

    The downside to upgrading the graphics is it some times requires a larger power supply to support it. Adding RAM does not.
     
  3. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    Thanks for the help :)
    Originally it had 1 GB RAM, but that has already been upgraded to 2 in the past. 32-bit OS. It has a dedicated graphics card but it is only a GeForce 7300 LE.
    It will not be used for really resource intensive tasks or gaming. Just average user stuff.
    The reason for wanting to upgrade is that even average usage is slow and it is not able to fluently play 1080p videos or even 720p videos if they have a high bitrate.
    Upgrading to a newer graphics solution with support for hardware acceleration would probably also fix the video issues but that wouldn't help much with general usage.
    Two other machines here with both slower CPU's(both mobile: one old T7300 and one less older but budget i3) are both able to play 1080p videos even with a bitrate of 30 Mbps flawlessly, so it shouldn't be a problem after a CPU upgrade.
     
  4. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    That would all be throwing good money after bad. That system is ancient enough that any upgrade would still fall short of adequately performing the tasks you mention.

    I do deal with refurbishing old hardware pretty regularly (especially for responsible non-profits); I just had a similar situation with an old Dell Optiplex GX60, Celeron(!) and 512MB RAM(!). Any upgrade would cost more than what the computer is worth; hence, reinstalled xp, optimised it, put SumatraPDF on it and mounted it on the ceiling with a projector and it serves its purpose just fine (PDF, PowerPoint, occasional browsing and video). I can forget 1080p because the on-board graphics are pitiful and the display is only 800x600 anyway. Everybody's happy since the job is getting done effectively with zero cost.

    If the requirements increase (which they may as soon as capabilities are increased and potential is realised by the users), then new hardware would be in order and the case for committing fiduciary resources can be then made. Either way, they got what they needed at the best cost.
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    You must remember that even general usage today is pretty graphics oriented so a better card will help with Internet surfing and the like - but I still say RAM is your better option.

    I do agree with Rolo and would not throw much money into this. Having a dedicated graphics card is good because with its own RAM on the card, it is not stealing any of your system RAM. But 2Gb is still not very much for Windows, your security and then any apps on top of that. So if a new computer is not in the card, then I am back to my original recommendation and suggest you add another 2Gb for 4Gb total. Being 32-bit, you cannot utilize the full 4Gb for your programs - you will see somewhere around 3.4Gb and Windows will use the rest for hardware mapping. But also, with the extra RAM, the page file on the sloooowww hard drive will not be hit so much either - a good thing.

    Adding RAM in your case definitely would give you the best bang for your money. A new CPU will be bottlenecked by your RAM, just as the current CPU probably is. While you most likely will not be able to use the new RAM on a new computer, you won't be able to use a new CPU either. And a new CPU costs more than new RAM.
     
  6. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    Thanks.
    Replacing the machine is not feasible in the near future. It has currently 2x 1 GB RAM (note that Gb actually stands for Gigabit), out of four slots. Unfortunately I can't find similar RAM from the same manufacturer, so I guess it might better to replace the old RAM? Secondly the current RAM is only 533MHz but it should support up to 800. 4x 1GB 800MHz or 2x2GB would cost about €50 new, which I find quite a lot for that old type of RAM.
    I actually found a lot of compatible used CPU's on Ebay for not much money, I've ordered a Core 2 Duo E6700 for only about €15 now, so not much is lost if it doesn't match expectations.

    UPDATE: Now doing some more searching on used RAM and now I'm finding better prices than earlier when I looked for used RAM. I'm considering buying that as well know, but though according to the chipset specs it should support 800MHz, the Crucial product advisor shows only 667MHz RAM as being compatible.
    UPDATE2:
    Kingstons Memory Finder also doesn't show 800MHz RAM. Is it possible for 800MHz RAM to run at 667MHz?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    You are right. A common mistake by many I should try to set right by example. Thanks.
    By the same maker is typically recommended (especially with older motherboards) but technically, it should not be necessary because regardless the brand name, the RAM should be made to published industry standard specs. Sticking to brand names can help with that matter, but if me, I would try to just replace it all at once. Note that retiring old, obsolete RAM before it dies is just a fact of life. And trying to buy RAM no longer in production is commonly an expensive ordeal.

    As for eBay - you really take your chances with honesty - especially with used electronics. It is not something I recommend.
    In theory, faster RAM will toggle down in speed so yes, it should, and normally does work just fine. And the good thing about Crucial is if you buy from them, it is guaranteed to be compatible.
     
  8. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Registered Member

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    You're really deciding which is faster: a slug or a snail; the truth is, they are both slow and there isn't anything you can do about it.
    It's funny, I'm building an E6700-based machine as we speak.

    First, it all depends on what applications are being run and on the user. If the machine is being used for office-y-type stuff, don't drop a cent in it; it won't matter.

    Having said that, the biggest jump in performance (and, arguably, the only noticeable difference) would be going from single-core to multiple-core CPU.
    The next biggest jump would be RAM if you're dealing with 512MB or maybe even 1GB, depending on the OS and if it is optimised (no bloat).

    Your 2GB RAM is plenty, especially with a 32-bit OS, which you'd only get 3GB out of even if you installed 4GB.
    You won't have a perceptible performance increase between 533- and 800- (or even 1000-MHz) RAM. Older RAM typically goes up in price rather than down.
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I personally would characterize 2GB as only "adequate" to support most needs, with the help of the page file. Having a dedicated graphics card helps too. But as noted above, with 4GB installed you will have around 3.4GB for your programs. That does not in any way suggest the rest is wasted because Windows is still using it for hardware mapping. It just means your applications will not have access to it. I note while just sitting idle, my 32-bit W10 notebook with only Windows, the built in Windows Defender and Windows Firewall, and Task Manager running, the notebook has 1.8GB of RAM in use, and 1.9 committed. On this computer, I also have MBAM Premium, WinPatrol, MailWasher Pro, and this browser session running, but except for my typing this, all is else is idle and I currently have 3.2GB in use with 4.2GB of RAM committed. And W10 is better at memory management than previous versions of Windows.

    I do agree 100% that speed differences will not be noticeable as more RAM typically trumps faster RAM.
     
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