[SOLVED] Upgrading VERY OLD PC. Looking for AM3 CPU under 65W

GabeBB

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Hi all, I'm trying to make a 10 yr old computer a little bit faster by adding a new (actually a used) CPU and GPU (thinking 730 or 750 which believe it or not is a significant upgrade since it has no GPU). I'm thinking of spending no more than $60 on all of it since it will be second hand. I do plan to build on AM4 eventually but still want to upgrade this one.

Mobo: https://www.game-debate.com/motherboard/index.php?mot_id=3589&motherboard=eMachines EL1352-07E Mainboard

So right now its running on Athlon ii x2 220 and I was told this mobo will probably not take a processor over 65W. The 270 and 280 are 65W. Should I go for one of these or try a low power Athlon x4? Is something like the Phenom II X4 905e worth it over the newer and faster 280?

All I want is to be able to run Roblox and some other low end games.

Also, I saw a great deal on the Athlon 270. It was under $10! The 280 is over twice. Is the price difference worth it for the performance or should I just go for the 270 (or something else)?
 
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My first Athlon II was 270 and it would overclock like crazy, all the way to 4GHz. It was on Asus m3a78-cm motherboard.
I also had Phenom II BE x2 on it with all cores unlocked for a short time before I gave it away, I believe it's still running. I also glued some small heat sinks on VRM, possibly a reason it lasted so long.
That MB.... I seriously think it's too low powered for any better CPU.
 
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GabeBB

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Hi CountMike, thanks for your reply! Yeah I'm liking the idea of a 270 for super cheap. Sounds like a nice upgrade from a 220.

So you don't think the 65W Phenom X4 would work on this mobo? I'm kind of clueless about this stuff so trying to make sure I get something compatible lol.

Do you know if a 1030 would work with this mobo? I want to think a 730 would be OK but not sure about the newer 1030. I do have a spare 500W PSU.
 

mitch074

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Hi CountMike, thanks for your reply! Yeah I'm liking the idea of a 270 for super cheap. Sounds like a nice upgrade from a 220.

So you don't think the 65W Phenom X4 would work on this mobo? I'm kind of clueless about this stuff so trying to make sure I get something compatible lol.

Do you know if a 1030 would work with this mobo? I want to think a 730 would be OK but not sure about the newer 1030. I do have a spare 500W PSU.
You could try using an Athlon II X4 chip and undervold and undeclock it - that's what I did on mine to make it into a media center PC. I can still play games like Bioshock Infinite fairly nicely on it with the CPU clock lowered all the way down to 2.0 GHz and voltage lowered by 0.125V - way lower than the theoretical 95W this chip is supposed to use, and probably closer to 50W. The absence of L3 cache makes it a bit less powerful than a Phenom, but cache also uses power.
 

jason201

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Generally speaking, before even considering a CPU upgrade, one should check the motherboard's manufacturer site for a list of supported CPUs. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find such for your particular board (and I'm not sure how reliable the list on the provided site is). Due to this, there's a 50/50 chance that upgrading the CPU would work (so in my opinion, it'd be a waste of time), Now, regardless of CPU compatibility with the said board, why are you trying to hold on to a junk? I'd say it's time to get something new.
 

GabeBB

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You could try using an Athlon II X4 chip and undervold and undeclock it - that's what I did on mine to make it into a media center PC. I can still play games like Bioshock Infinite fairly nicely on it with the CPU clock lowered all the way down to 2.0 GHz and voltage lowered by 0.125V - way lower than the theoretical 95W this chip is supposed to use, and probably closer to 50W. The absence of L3 cache makes it a bit less powerful than a Phenom, but cache also uses power.
Thanks so much for the suggestion.Will see what I can find under Athlon X4. Even if I get a low power quad core, do I still need to undervolt? I mean if it's one of those quadcores that's 65W?


Generally speaking, before even considering a CPU upgrade, one should check the motherboard's manufacturer site for a list of supported CPUs. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find such for your particular board (and I'm not sure how reliable the list on the provided site is). Due to this, there's a 50/50 chance that upgrading the CPU would work (so in my opinion, it'd be a waste of time), Now, regardless of CPU compatibility with the said board, why are you trying to hold on to a junk? I'd say it's time to get something new.
Haha I know. I actually have a 6600k build but it's my son's Steam computer and I have a little girl that wants to play Roblox in this. It's a great little computer, never broke down. It can play old Tomb Raider titles and other simple stuff. Figured I'd be able to upgrade it for near $50 (recently saw a gt 730 4gb for $20-ish, and a 280 CPU for about the same). Will probably donate it once I'm ready to build on AM4 (or whatever's next). Thinking my next build will be a small ITX or mATX AMD APU PC for my daughter.
 

mitch074

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Thanks so much for the suggestion.Will see what I can find under Athlon X4. Even if I get a low power quad core, do I still need to undervolt? I mean if it's one of those quadcores that's 65W?


Haha I know. I actually have a 6600k build but it's my son's Steam computer and I have a little girl that wants to play Roblox in this. It's a great little computer, never broke down. It can play old Tomb Raider titles and other simple stuff. Figured I'd be able to upgrade it for near $50 (recently saw a gt 730 4gb for $20-ish, and a 280 CPU for about the same). Will probably donate it once I'm ready to build on AM4 (or whatever's next). Thinking my next build will be a small ITX or mATX AMD APU PC for my daughter.
No need to undervolt then, but it doesn't hurt (less noise, less wear on the motherboard's capacitors).

I recommend getting a gt 750 instead of the 730, or on the AMD side a 2Gb 7770 - both are nice cards that fit well with this CPU while still being modern enough that you can get updated drivers, and are powerful enough to run not-too-old games in potato mode. The 750 at least sips power, the 7770 has support for recent APIs like Vulkan and DX12.
 
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GabeBB

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Thanks Mitch074 :) will look for one of those GPU's. Will probably get whatever's cheaper. Would the r7 250 or 260 be an option too?

Anyways, I'm still kind of stuck on the CPU decision. Will games run much better on the Athlon 620e vs the 280 which is faster?
 

mitch074

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Thanks Mitch074 :) will look for one of those GPU's. Will probably get whatever's cheaper. Would the r7 250 or 260 be an option too?

Anyways, I'm still kind of stuck on the CPU decision. Will games run much better on the Athlon 620e vs the 280 which is faster?
r7 250(X) are rebadged 7750/7770, so yeah; 260 is a rebadged 7790, which is slightly more modern (it supports FreeSync, if I'm not mistaken) so if you can find the latter for cheap, go for it.

A 620e will run most games properly - games that use more threads will run better on the 620, games that like frequency will like the 280 more. It really depends on what games you're looking at - anything from 2006 to 2010 will run great on either, Crysis would run best on a 280 but Far Cry or Bioshock Infinite will be much smoother on a 620.

Note that if push comes to shove, you can also shut down 2 cores on a 620 and overclock it to almost the same frequency as a 280, but in some cases you can also unlock 2 disabled cores on a 280 and then reduce its clock speed and voltage to stay under 65W.

Coin toss - personally I'd go the 620e way if I didn't have one already, but the 280 is compelling too.
 

GabeBB

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Here's an update. So I ended up getting a quad core (635) because someone was offering it for just $10, will undervolt and see if it works, or disable 2 cores if I need to. Also got the 250 for $20ish. Since I already have an intel gaming build, I think this will be enough to play Roblox and other low end stuff at 720p on this AM3 PC. Thanks so much for the advice :)
 

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