back to article Wanted: AMD Athlon upgrade advice

My old Althlon XP 3200+ and GeForce 680 GT are beginning to struggle a bit - understandable, they're dinosaurs by today's standards. I want to build a new machine, mainly for gaming. But - big but - here's a list of rules: NO SLI/Crossfire and NO serious overclocking. I was thinking an E8400, 2GB DDR 2 - or DDR 3, if there's a …


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All sounds fine to me.

This is very similar to the spec I run (apart from my CPU is an AMD 4200+ X2 and my RAM is standard DDR).

I'd definitly suggest the 8800GT over the GTS (much better bang for your buck).

As to the motherboard - Most good quality boards which are any good for gaming come with SLI or Crossfire anyway (you don't have to use it after all), but I would always recommend ASUS. I've had a couple (amongst many others) and they are excellent performers and very reliable. I'd suggest one of the nvidia nForce based chipset boards, such as the P5N32-E SLI which is basically the intel CPU version the motherboard I have.

My spec is as follows and runs Crysis fine in 1280x1024 all on ultra high quality (used a small hack to enable the so called 'DX10 only' graphical features).

CPU: AMD Athlon X2 4200+

RAM: 2GB DDR 3200 (in 512MB pairs)

HDD: 2 x 250GB 7200rpm Maxtor


PSU: OCZ 600W StealthExtreme

(And a bunch of other gubbins)

The only thing I'd suggest is that you make sure that you PSU is upto the job - 600W is easily enough (if that is what it actually provides!), but its all about the stability and oomph of the 12V rail(s) when dealing with powerful gfx cards. I'd always suggest a PSU with more than 1 12V rail (ideally 3 or 4) with at least 15+ Amps per rail.

Hope that helped.


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Phenom 780G motherboard

Hi, great gaming system cheap!

Phenom 9500 quad core, ECG A780GMA motherboard with HD3200 graphics, spider enabled, with HD3450 video in hybrid crossfire mode. Great cheap gaming system with 2G of DDR2 1066MHz memory! Can be had for under $400!



8800GT is a cracking card, superb for games and I can see it lasting a good long while for you.

I agree with Simon to a point - my rig is overclocked X2 4200 @ 2.75Ghz, 2Gb DDR 400, 2 hard disks and an 8800GT - running on a 350 watt PSU with 17 amps on a single 12V rail - rock solid stable. The PSU you have should be totally fine.

Cant see a reason for DDR3 in your main rig at the moment due to cost, get 2Gb or 4Gb of good quality DDR 2 for a lot less cash.

As for the Intel 8400, for a lot less money you can get a 8200, which gives 90% the performance and wont hold your GFx back, and costs around £80 less.

As for boards, I cant really advise - other than stick with a main brand name from a supplier you know has a decent RMA process, just incase anything does pack up on you. Have fun upgrading!


My rig

No clocking, air cooled:

MoBo: Gigabyte N650SLI-DS4

Chip: Intel Core2Quad E6600

RAM: 4 x Geil 1GB DDR2

GFX: XFX GeForce 8800GTX 768MB

PSU: Tagan TG-800 (800W)

Only the graphics card was top of the line when I bought it; the rest was pretty much bargain basement stuff. Will run Crysis on 24" widescreen monitor 1920x1200 (16:10 native aspect) without any slowdown on highest settings (DX9, but getting "DX10" fix to see what it's like).

BFG do lifetime warranty on graphics cards, GEIL and Kingston on memory, and I think you get extended warranty on Intel retail chips, but OEM come cheaper (and without an HSF).



Nice card but be aware that these cards are long, about 9 inches and they have a power connector to go on the end too. So I should make sure you have enough space for card and power connection to fit.

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