Need advice on upgrading a CPU

JohnnyB_82

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I have an old PC which I'm refurbing to run Windows XP Pro x64 and some older XP software that I still like using. It runs a bit slow and I'm wondering if replacing the CPU would be worth the cost or effort.

I don't know a whole lot about comparing processor performance and I'm wondering how the one I have compares to others on the list of supported CPUs, or if it would be worth the money to get a different one.

Most of the old programs are likely single thread and don't need multi core CPUs. Things like Paint Shop Pro 5 and Print Shop Ensemble III. The most CPU intensive would probably be and old version of Punch Pro Home Design, but some extra speed in rendering would make them much nicer to use, as well as more speed in saving and transferring large numbers of backup files from drive to drive.

The motherboard is a Biostar MCP6PB M2+ 6.0, with a pair of 4GB, G.Skill DDR2-PC2-6400 Ram sticks (Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ)

http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en/mb/introduction.php?S_ID=387#cpusupport

The current CPU is an AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual 4400+ (2.31 GHz)

Can anyone tell me if there are others on the list that would be significantly better. I looked on NewEgg and found prices on some of them in the $25 - $50 range (several are "refurbished" though)

So, any advice would be very helpful and very much appreciated.

Thanks,
John
 

spdragoo

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Yes, if you're only going to run single-threaded applications, & only running 1 at a time, then single-thread benchmarks will give you an idea of how they will compare.

For your system, that Athlon may be slightly better than the Phenom II, but it's going to be awfully close (its edge on the single-thread Passmark test is maybe 7.5%, despite being 10% faster per core). I suspect that the Phenom's L3 cache helps it stay within reach of the Athlon. So, for this system, I'd say go for whichever one a) is cheaper & b) is available.
 
site you linked have the all the data.
tyour CPU:
AM2 AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4400+ ADO4400IAA6CS 2200Mhz 2000Mhz 65W

any of AM3 CPU's have a lot more juice. you search for TDP of 95W for most horsepower example good choice:
AM3 AMD Phenom™ II X3 z740 HDZ740WFK3DGI 3000Mhz 4000Mhz 95W

I see used around me for ~10$
 

spdragoo

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https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/AMD-Phenom-II-X4-945-vs-AMD-Athlon-64-X2-Dual-Core-4400+/7vs80

Not necessarily a 100% reliable reference, but basically the Phenom II X4 945 comes out on top not only because of its higher clock speeds over that Athlon 64, but also because it has more cache (L2 is a toss-up, with the Athlon having more per-core cache but both having the same total amount, but the Phenom II has additional L3 cache that the Athlon doesn't). Plus, even if an application can't take advantage of more cores/threads, Windows can take advantage of it to have more apps running simultaneously; going from the 2C/2T Athlon 64 to the 4C/4T Phenom II would be a decent boost -- & you'd move up from an 11th-tier CPU to a 5th-tier CPU (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-hierarchy,4312.html).
 

JohnnyB_82

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I did a little reading up on this. Am I correct in that, when working with single thread software that don't utilize multi core processing, is it mostly just the CPU's MHz frequency, clock speed, and cache size that make the difference?

For comparison, here are links with the specs of the CPU I currently have and another on the compatible list.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=9SIA6393SB4101&ignorebbr=1&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleMKP-PC-_-pla-_-Processors%20-%20Desktops-_-9SIA6393SB4101&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgb3uhLqy2gIVkAOGCh0wPwO6EAYYASABEgLqV_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&RandomID=20725504815820220180411074612

https://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=9SIA6393S22307&cm_re=amd_athlon_ii_265_processor-_-9SIA6393S22307-_-Product&RandomID=76670504815820220180411074618

The first, which is what I have, shows:

Frequency 4400+ (rated) 2300 MHz (real)
Bus speed One 1000 MHz 16-bit HyperTransport link (2 GT/s)
Clock multiplier 11.5
Level 1 cache size 2 x 64 KB 2-way set associative instruction caches
2 x 64 KB 2-way set associative data caches
Level 2 cache size 2 x 512 KB exclusive 16-way set associative caches


The second shows:

Frequency 3300 MHz
Bus speed 533 MHz Memory controller
One 2000 MHz 16-bit HyperTransport link
Clock multiplier 16.5
Level 1 cache size 2 x 64 KB 2-way set associative instruction caches
2 x 64 KB 2-way set associative data caches
Level 2 cache size 2 x 1 MB 16-way set associative caches


What's the difference between "Rated" and "Real" frequency?
Is it the Clock Multiplier speed (11.5 vs. 16.5) and the secondary cache size (2 x 512K vs. 2 x 1MB) that make the big difference here, or are there other, more important, factors to look at?
 

JohnnyB_82

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Thanks, spdragoo,

That makes a lot of sense. I saw a few of the one you suggested on Amazon, used for around $45. Still deciding if it's worth the cost or not. I saw a few others in the $15 - $20 range but they didn't test out much higher than what I have now. The one Rdslw recommended is on eBay for about $38



 

spdragoo

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Both chips are based on HyperTransport specification. Both of them use a "base" figure of 200MHz, so the listed multipliers give you the core frequencies (200MHz x 11.5 = 2300MHz = 2.3GHz; 200MHz x 16.5 = 3300MHz = 3.3GHz). I don't know why Newegg is differentiating between "rated" & "real", so I wouldn't worry too much about that.
 

Karadjgne

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It's turbo. Base speed for all the cores is 2.3GHz. If you enable turbo (it's default : on) then 1 core usage can hit 4.4GHz, 2x cores might be 4.3GHz 3x cores might be 4.2GHz and all 4 cores at 4.0GHz. Gives maximum effort at minimal usage but cuts the speeds to lower temps at higher vcore amounts with higher core usage.

More cores = better rendering times. Rendering anything on a 2core/2thread cpu is miserable. Same with compression apps like win zip. With bandwidth already used by windows and the host program, moving from 2c/2t to 4c/4t is a huge jump in time saved.
 
If you're going to use Win XP and old software it's highly unlikely that more than one core is needed. Yes, you want the fastest clock speed. Your current CPU is barely over 2ghz, get something up around 3ghz or more.

On the CPU support list there's an Athlon II X2 at 3.2ghz, that's the one to get for your use. The Phenom IIs are better CPUs but not in a way that's going to matter to you. That high clockspeed will matter though.
 

JohnnyB_82

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Okay, that makes sense too. It's not likely that I'll be running several applications at once, so a quad core probably isn't going to make much difference. The bench test single thread rating between the Phenom II X4 925 and the Athlon II X2 was 1039 and 1116, respectively. So, yes, the Athlon II was actually faster.

Also, NewEgg has the Athlon for $25 vs. $51 for the Phenom. Saw one on eBay for $15 but it's coming from China (2 weeks)

Thanks for the help.



 

JohnnyB_82

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So, is what 'dontlistentome' said correct, in that, a single thread application won't really benefit from a multi core CPU, and it's a higher single thread rating that will make those programs run faster?

I'm not really going to be running multiple apps at the same time, so I'm really just looking for what will make the software itself run faster. The only real intensive "image rendering" I'd be doing is the Home Design 3D "fly through" with does get a bit bogged down with the current processor.

It's single thread rating is only 692, while the Phenom II X4 945 you suggested is 1039. But the Athlon II X2 265, for example is rated at 1116. Am I understanding all this correctly, or am I on the wrong track here? Is it still better to go with the quad core even if the single thread rating is lower? I'm not opposed to spending a few extra bucks if there's a good benefit.

Thanks again for your advice. Everyone.

 

spdragoo

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Yes, if you're only going to run single-threaded applications, & only running 1 at a time, then single-thread benchmarks will give you an idea of how they will compare.

For your system, that Athlon may be slightly better than the Phenom II, but it's going to be awfully close (its edge on the single-thread Passmark test is maybe 7.5%, despite being 10% faster per core). I suspect that the Phenom's L3 cache helps it stay within reach of the Athlon. So, for this system, I'd say go for whichever one a) is cheaper & b) is available.
 

JohnnyB_82

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Okay, awesome. Yes, they're both available. NewEgg has the Phenom II at $51 and the Athlon II at $25 (both used) I also found both on ebay in the $25 range but they're weeks out, shipping from China.
 

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