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Question Phenom II X6 as an upgrade option

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
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Hello, dark practitioners of computercrafts.

I am here to seek your peerless wisdom regarding the following matter:

I have an old computer that has served me well over the years and it still continues to do so. It functions completely fine for my work in Microsoft Office and for general Internet usage and Youtube. The thing is, I like to play an occasional game on it. Vast majority of things I like to play on it works just fine.
However, there are some more modern (though, certainly not the latest) games I would like to enjoy. I am also away from home for most of the year and use my laptop for my work and Internet access and don't really game except for an odd DOS title here and there to pass the free time.

For a while now, I have been thinking of upgrading my old computer back home so that I could unwind when in my natural habitat. I have been thinking about buying a new computer but it just doesn't make sense for me since it won't be really used much of the time and I am perennially behind the times anyway, meaning that playing something modernish such as Fallout 4 for example at 720p without any stutter is fine by me. And I also don't want to retire my old machine, especially since it works fine otherwise.

Now with my motivations out of the way, I would like your opinion on whether buying a ten year old Phenom II X6 1055T 2,8 Ghz 95w version to replace my venerable Athlon II X2 250 3Ghz is a good move that will yield some palpable performance increase or is it completely unintelligent to even consider it. I am aware that AM3 socket and the associated processors are obsolete.

Phenom II X6 is still holding some value though, at least where I live, and I was able to find the above mentioned example for a price equivalent to around $60. Is this to much to pay?

Here are the rest of my specifications:

MSI 400W Power supply unit
M4N68T LE V2
Athlon II X2 250 3.0 Ghz
8 Gigabytes of RAM DDR3
ASUS R7 250 1GB GDDR5

Thank you for any and all advice you can spare for this brutish heathen who stumbled upon your hallowed digital ground.
 
Reactions: SamirD

mitch074

Distinguished
From 2 to 6 cores is a definitive upgrade, and so is its L3 cache. With a proper cooler and a mild overclock, it would help with games up to 2017. But, it also lacks SSE4 - meaning that a lot of current and future software will plain not run.
As such, I would recommend you still consider a platform upgrade.
 

RodroX

Respectable
Aug 4, 2019
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If you ask me, and not knowing how tight or not your budget is, I would said that if you can run everything you need to work and play games on Windows 10 its about time to think about a platform upgrade.

You already have lots of options, and soon (a month or so away) there will be even more.

For instance you could buy an inexpensive B450 Motherboard + a cheap Ryzen 3100 with 4 cores + 8 threads (or a more powerfull but still cheap Ryzen 3 3300X) + 2x4Gb of DDR4 3200 MHz (unless you want 2x8GB for a grand total of 16GB of RAM).
With those entry level components, you will have a new platform that should be many times as powerfull than your current one + the benefit of faster USB ports and faster SATA3 ports and NVME slots.

And ti should be more than enough cPU powerfull for Fallout 4.

Cheers!
 
Unfortunately, these old phenoms are overvalued, and i would never pay $60. I have a 1055t and it is fine for basic usage, but it really struggles for games.


You could get an I5 3rd gen and oem motherboard used for less money and get more performance
 
Reactions: RodroX

Tigerhawk30

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Dec 16, 2015
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Riding on Mitch's answer, I'd say that it really depends on what you want to game on. Like he said, if it's a modern title, the coding won't allow the Phenom to run a good number of modern titles. If they're older, it shouldn't be much of an issue. I did enjoy it when I had my PhenomII X6 1035T back some years ago and it lasted me a few years faithfully. But the coding in that CPU is going to make all the difference in depending on what age of software you want to run.

I'm assuming that you'd just swap the Athlon out for the Phenom? Cheap and immediately noticeable upgrade if that's the case, assuming all other parts remain intact in the case.

Good luck!
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
15
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Yes,

I suppose I had my suspicions about the whole affair. And I agree that these cpu-s are quite costly considering their age.

Perhaps I will still purchase one if I am able to find it at a significantly lower price as a simple replacement for Athlon, but lack of proper instruction does kill the mood.

Regardless,

thank you all for your honest answers and for helping me put things into perspective.

Kind regards,

Noobie_One_Kenoobie
 
Reactions: Tigerhawk30
I have several older systems of various vintages going back to even the 1990s. I think the most important part about what you have posted is that it works fine for everything but some games. Since your system isn't maxed out, there definitely is room to upgrade.

Your motherboard has good cpu support and even an upgrade to an x4 will be a huge upgrade, and should be much more affordable:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/AMD-Athlon-II-X2-250-vs-AMD-Phenom-II-X6-1055T-vs-AMD-Phenom-II-X4-955/136vs390vs368

You should also look into upgrading your gpu as even the mildest upgrade should double your video performance. Not only that, the gpu upgrade can even be carried over to a new system if you end up building one.

Great running hardware deserves to keep running--thank you for that!
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
15
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SamirD,

thank you for your suggestion, I will most certainly explore that option.

In fact, I have already found some candidates, such as $35 Phenom II X4 955 95w version and $30 Phenom II X6 1055T 125w version.

The high TDP I find troubling since I have no experience with processors rated that high, especially if paired with my old PSU.

I am not in a hurry, however.

And one thing I am acutely aware of is the "mission creep", where one goal necessitates the fulfilment of another. Really, it is just the CPU that I am interested at the moment with everything else remaining in place.

I also agree with you on the GPU, but I will leave that possible upgrade for some later date.

I share your sentiment about working hardware, and thank you for pointing it out!

Kind Regards,

Noobie_One_Kenoobie
 
You're welcome. :)

Your power supply shouldn't be an issue when moving from 95w to 125w as much as your cpu cooler will be as it will need to be able to handle the additional heat.

Yes, mission creep is a huge problem with upgrades. A cpu upgrade can turn into building a whole new system!

The gpu upgrade might even be worth doing first, although it is even more expensive and you would have 'capped' performance with the current cpu (which would probably also happen with a faster cpu as well, just not as badly).

Glad to see someone else on the same page. :) Keep on computing!
 

Jeff Strong

Distinguished
Jan 15, 2009
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You're welcome. :)

Your power supply shouldn't be an issue when moving from 95w to 125w as much as your cpu cooler will be as it will need to be able to handle the additional heat.

Yes, mission creep is a huge problem with upgrades. A cpu upgrade can turn into building a whole new system!

The gpu upgrade might even be worth doing first, although it is even more expensive and you would have 'capped' performance with the current cpu (which would probably also happen with a faster cpu as well, just not as badly).

Glad to see someone else on the same page. :) Keep on computing!
I've been researching the Alvorix board that I 'bricked' by mistakenly trying to burn the 6.11 bios while 'mistakenly' inside Win10! Before, its AMD Athlon II 640 ran fairly well for a 2010 machine/16g/SSD for Win10pro64x/1gNvidiaGeforce/4x20"LED monitors/2tb+HDDs! (ONLY 2 of its3 PCIe slots are filled!) 420 watt PSU

I bought an inexpensive replacement Alvorix board with a Phenom II x6 1045T coming tomorrow... Too many memories over the last 8+ yrs?
 
I've been researching the Alvorix board that I 'bricked' by mistakenly trying to burn the 6.11 bios while 'mistakenly' inside Win10! Before, its AMD Athlon II 640 ran fairly well for a 2010 machine/16g/SSD for Win10pro64x/1gNvidiaGeforce/4x20"LED monitors/2tb+HDDs! (ONLY 2 of its3 PCIe slots are filled!) 420 watt PSU

I bought an inexpensive replacement Alvorix board with a Phenom II x6 1045T coming tomorrow... Too many memories over the last 8+ yrs?
Sucks that you bricked it. :( This is why bios updates are dangerous outside of a floppy/usb/cd boot. I'd never even try a bios update under windows. :eek:

Great replacement for sure. :) Quick and easy swap and upgrade too. :)
 
Jun 13, 2020
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As others have said the main problem is the lack of the SSE 4.1 instruction set. Ubisoft has a list of which AMD CPUs do and don't support SSE 4.1 if you want to take a look.
.

I would recommend an Intel i5-3570k. I recently upgraded from an i5-3570k and honestly it still ran all new games I threw at it just fine. Taking a quick look at Ebay it seems they can be had for around $40-$50, so even cheaper than the X6 you were looking at and far more powerful and compatible. An LGA1155 motherboard can be had for around $50 or less depending on the model and brand. LGA1155 boards use DDR3 ram so your current ram should be compatible. Then you've already got a PSU and case. So for around $100 you can get a pretty capable gaming machine.

You'll also want to upgrade the R7 250 and unfortunately that will be the most expensive part. I had an R9 290X in my 3570k system. It was a great card but is power hungry,hot and loud. Your 400w PSU wouldn't be enough. I looked through a few cards around the same range as the 290x and found that the GTX 1060 recommends a 350w-400w PSU. 400w is cutting it close but you may be able to run the 1060. You'd want the 6GB edition which can be had for around $150. So that would be the total to around $250 and I think you would be very happy with the performance.

If you have the money I'd recommend upgrading the PSU. Your 400W power supply MAY be ok with the components I listed but it would be pushing it. I'd advise getting a 500-550w one. For my latest build I get a 530W power supply for $50. So adding that to the total price would bring it to around $300. That really isn't bad for the performance you'd be getting. The only component I recommended that I haven't personally used is the GTX 1060. But I did have the R9 290x and it was still plenty good for gaming at 1080p and the GTX 1060 is more powerful than the 290x.

If you have $300 to spend that is my recommendation. It will run pretty much all new games at 1080p with at least medium settings and should last you for several years in my opinion. Hope you found this information helpful!
 
Here is a list of processors supported by your motherboard:

Some current games will not run at all on less than 4 threads. So for them, you can look at a X4 or X6 upgrade.
To see what you get, look at the passmark ratings.
For example, your X2-250 has 2 threads and a rating of 1081. That is when both cores are fully utilized.
The single thread rating is 1122. That is most important for games.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+II+X2+250&id=136

Your $35 upgrade options are reasonable.
The X6-1055T has 6 threads and a rating of 3198/1322
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Phenom+II+X6+1055T&id=390
The X4 955 has 4 threads and a rating of2409/1302.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Phenom+II+X4+955&id=368

What is the make/model of your psu?
400w is more than enough if it is a quality unit.

If your games have any fast action at all, a graphics card upgrade is in order.
Passmark ratings apply here also.
Your r7-250 rates as 1160.
A GTX750ti, for example sells for $70 and has a rating of 3864.
One good thing about a graphics upgrade is that it can be carried forward if you change your cpu/mobo/ram.

How much space is used on your windows C drive?
Have you considered a ssd?
It makes everything you do seem much quicker.
You can buy a 240gb samsung 860 evo new for $60.
 
Jun 13, 2020
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The problem with getting a Phenom CPU is the lack of the SSE 4.1/4.2 instruction set. More and more new games require it and will not run at all on a Phenom regardless of speed or number of cores.

I completely understand wanting to upgrade an old system to get some more life out of it, I've been there. But sometimes you just have to give in and get a *new system.

If you just absolutly don't have the money to buy a new system then I'd reccomend the Phenom II X4 955. They can be had for $20-$30 and can overclock to 3.6-3.8 on stock voltage and up to 4.2 with a voltage increase. It is a good processor if you are ok with not being able to play the newest games due to the lack of SSE 4.1/4.2
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
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Oh my,

I apologize to you all for not participating in my own thread while all of you tried to help me with your advice. The last time I 'visited' here was well over a month. Thank you all for your suggestions, but I have already found something I am happy with.

I bought a Phenom II X4 965 BE 125w. It is not a six core cpu, but it still represents a significant performance update over my Athlon in terms of games. When I said I am more interested in modern but not exactly 'current' games I, well, I actually meant it.

This phenom enables me to play Fallout 4 with no stutter, or maybe less, at any rate I don't notice it. R7 250 1gb is also quite good for me. It works. I guess it is just my personal idiosyncrasy, but I simply don't want to buy a whole new computer just to satisfy an occasional sweet tooth so to say.

I like eye candy just like the next guy, but I also don't mind at all playing something at 25 fps on low details as long as the game itself is actually engaging. And when you have a bar that low, (and some indomitable people go even lower) even an R7 250 can sometimes surprise you pleasantly.

I am blind to the details of the big picture I suppose, haha. But it just works for me.

And most importantly I haven't spent the type of money that I would deeply regret.

Another major plus for me is that I finally got to change the cpu on the motherboard. It sounds strange, I know, but I always wanted to learn how to do that and this entire operation enabled me to do just that. It makes me feel accomplished, I guess. It is a small thing, but it made me feel good. :)


After, all, my computer is just fine, and I only wanted to give it some more horsepower for a few games from a few years back that I wanted to try out.
I won't get rid of my Athlon either, that little guy special place in my heart. And will most likely find some excuse one way or another to put it back into operation anyway.

I am sorry for the preachy diatribe here, I don't mean to impose any worldviews or anything and I am very grateful that you all helped me with some insightful advice.

The only thing that I should perhaps be worried about, which I suspected beforehand but then decided 'nah it will be fine' is the fact that I am running a 125 w Phenom black edition with its original heatsink and fan in the middle of a hellish heatwave where I live. Temperatures have proved... interesting.

But that is the choice I made, and now I have something more to fiddle with.

Thank you all for your advice and I apologize for not answering in a timely manner. I wish you all the best.


P.S. You probably haven't seen the last of me, as there is always another problem or a 'problem' that I will post in search of answers.
 
Jun 13, 2020
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Glad to hear you the upgrade is working out for you. The X4 965 should work out good for you for games that don't require the SSE 4.1 instruction set. I recently upgraded a family member's PC from an Athlon 64 X2 5400+ BE to an X4 955 BE. It was only $20 and is a good CPU for the price. Are you into overclocking at all? You should be able to easily get 4ghz+ out of it. But since you mentioned your temps being high I suppose you wouldn't want to generate any more heat. What kind of temps are you getting? These Phenom II X4 processors are quite different than modern ones when it comes to temperature limits. The listed max temp for the 965 is 144F(62C)

You could also try undervolting it to decrease the temps if you don't want to get a better heatsink. I was able to decrease the voltage but quite a bit on the 955 and still keep the stock speed of 3.2ghz. The 965 is 3.4ghz stock but you still can probably lower it a little bit to help with temps.

Hopefully you can find a better heatsink at some point so you can crank it up to 4ghz and beyond! On my X4 955 I was able to get it up to 4.33ghz and achieve a score of 916 in CinebenchR20 which imo is pretty awesome for a decade old chip! I would never run it at the speed for daily use though. 4ghz-4.2ghz should be fairly easily achievable for daily use.

One more important thing I forgot to mention about the temps is that you should be running AMD Cool N Quiet. This is most likely already enabled. What it does is lowers the CPU speed and voltage when it is idle or doing something that doesn't require full speed.

If you ever need any help you are welcome to ask me any time. I enjoy messing with older hardware like this probably more than I do the new stuff.
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
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Hello Calavera87,

yes I am really happy with the performance in a few games I've been trying out.

The temperatures at idle are 37°C and when I tried out a Prime 95 program to completely load all cores the temperatures reached and hovered around 65-66°C during a 10 minute test.

I used a program called Speccy to read the temperature. Also, when playing a game temperatures ran around 57-58°C, just below the 62°C threshold.

It occured to me that this might be actually in line for the original HSF, especially given the environmental conditions.

Or maybe I made a mistake when installing the CPU and applying the thermal paste.

Cool and Quiet is enabled, and the cpu idles somewhere in the region of 800-900 Mhz.

And I am glad that you mentioned undervolting, because I stumbled upon that term when searching the Internet and decided to give it a go, especially since it is supposedly very safe to do as there is not much to go wrong.

Alas, I don't know how to proceed in my BIOS to lower the cpu voltage. In fact, I posted a question here on the subject as I got stuck:


I did this just before I saw that this one was still active, so I realize now that I probably made a mistake.

Anyway, the gist of it is that I can't seem to find the cpu voltage option. I did find a CPU Over Voltage option under the JumperFree Configuration but it shows a strange number, something like 1.0500 or something like that. And there is an option there to increase or decrease the value of this in increments of 0.00625V. The change, however, can only go upwards, +0.00625V, of the default value and it cannot go below it.

I just returned everything to 'Auto' as it was since I didn't really understand what was going on.

I would still like to try undervolting though, because people say even a slight undervolting lowers the temperature a few degrees, which I would be exceedingly happy with.

CPU - Z shows my core voltage as 1,332V, while in BIOS, under the main menu heading 'Power', vcore temperature is shown as 1,344V.

As far as overclocking goes, I am ok with stock. Maybe in the future if I feel more confident doing this I will proceed with it. It is a black edition, so I guess the process should be even simpler. But right now, I am far more curious about the possibilities of undervolting.
 
Jun 13, 2020
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Do you know the model of your motherboard? If I have the model I might be able to look up the manual and see where the voltage controls are in the bios.

I can't remember exactly how low I was able to have the voltage at stock speeds. I want to say it was below 1.20 but that was with the 955 at 3.2ghz where the 965 is 3.4ghz. Still you should be able to lower it a good amount from the stock setting. Your reading of 1.34 sounds about right. On my 955 the default voltage was 1.36 which seems high considering I was able to get 3.8ghz without even raising the voltage from stock.

If you can get the motherboard model number let me know and I'll look into it. You should see a decent drop in temps with undervolting.
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
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My motherboard is a M4N68T LE V2 model.

If there is any other identifier than this, please let me know so I can provide a more complete information.

Part of my confusion is that on the Internet when people overclock their cpus, there usually is a control option clearly labeled as 'cpu voltage' or something similar. I cannot seem to find that in my bios, but I understand that there are a lot of different bios variants around.

I actually have a physical copy of 'M4N68T V2 User Guide' which I have perused a bit, but I am ashamed to say that I do not really grasp the finer points of CPU voltage manipulation.

Obviously, this is uncharted waters for me, so I am a bit excited.

Thank you for sparing your time to help me.
 

martik777tw

Honorable
Apr 2, 2015
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I'm actually downgrading from a X6 1100t to an X4 955 because the 1100t's are going for up to $195USD on ebay and the X4 I purchased was $20. My system has 16GB and multiple SSD's and performs just fine.

If you do not already have an SSD, get one, as this is one of the most noticeable upgrades you can make for not much money.
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
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Indeed, Phenom II X6 processors seem to cost quite a bit more than four core Phenoms, regardless of their age. For me, that was also one of the main reasons for going with Phenom II X4 instead.


I agree that SSD is an excellent idea, and will surely consider it at some point.

Also, I am glad that you are still happy with your machine and that it still serves you well.
 

noobie_one_kenoobie

Commendable
Jan 9, 2018
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Hello there,

I am sorry for the delay in answering. I did not overclock, I simply run the
cpu at stock speed of 3.4.

I haven't underclocked either, since I am still unsure how to proceed in my particular version of bios. Nevertheles, at gaming loads, when it sounds like it is doing a preflight check it hovers around 57-58 °C which I made peace with since it is still under maximum of 62°C.

I don't run the PC all day anyway, just for a few hours in the evenings when I feel like playing something. All in all, I suppose the issue at hand is an acceptable tradeoff for performance in my particular case and I am satisfied with the few games I wanted to play in the first place.

So, thank you all once again for your suggestions and advice.
 

martik777tw

Honorable
Apr 2, 2015
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I got my x4 955 last week and since replacing the x6 1100t I have not noticed any difference in performance. Idles at 31C and never goes above 44C even when stress testing. I have the cooler master 212.
 

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