• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Upgrade from athlon x2 215 to Phenom x4 960t black

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
hi all

i have decided to low budget customize a 2009 business desktop that my old boss gave me a few years back. this will be my initial foray into building/customizing computers, so i have limited knowledge and experience. i don't want to replace mobo yet because right now that is out of my comfort zone. after some research, i think i want to put a Phenom x4 960t in it. the current board supports am2+/am3 cpus at 95w max. i will get latest bios when i am ready to install. i am curious about overclocking (i do understand not all boards will allow unlocking add'l cores). after the cpu is installed and i reboot, will i get a screen with options to customize clock settings and try to unlock cores?

next, i understand core voltage and temperatures are important. with stock cpu fan, is 1.45 core voltage and around 50C adequate? this will be a 24hr computer. i read that cpu multipliers can be around 17-19 (3.8ghz) safely and nb multiplier at 13 (2.4ghz). i am not sure what any of this means. the integrated graphics were replaced years ago with an Asus 8400gs. i will putting in a sapphire hd7750 soon and utilize the hdmi port. it is compatible with the current board and doesn't require separate power supply.

as it stands, the computer runs really well and is very stable even when i have Word Perfect, Word, Adobe Pro and numerous google tabs open. i can play star wars old republic with no problems.

i want to know if after i upgrade the cpu and install the 7750, will i be considerably faster than i am now and will i be able to play most games (even if not on highest settings? i have seen videos of an hd7750 playing witcher 3 at 32fps and rainbow seige at 42fps. these are pretty decent numbers for a card that is almost 4yrs old and doesnt use a separate power supply.

this is my first attempt at customizing and this is more for experimental purposes than for practical purposes.


Compaq 505b microtower
Nvidia nforce 430 chipset
3gb ddr3 ram, 1600
Asus 8400gs
 

Mr.Scott

Beamed Me Up!
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
While I appreciate your enthusiasm, you might be in a little over your ski's.
Allow me to elaborate a little.
On your OEM motherboard you will not be able to overclock or unlock cores.
Chances are it won't support a 960 anyways. Greatest support listed is for a 620 quadcore.
Even with that and a 7750, you will be lucky to play current games at a non-painful framerate with everything turned down.
Now that I've essentially crushed your dream, is there anything else I can help you with?
 
OP
dopemoney

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
thank you, mr. scott, for the prompt reply. i need to hear from people smarter than me in this arena. the reason i chose the 960t was because i was under the impression that all AM3 cpus fit all AM3 motherboards. i have looked at the athlon x4 620. it still seems to be quite an improvement over the x2 215. the few benchmarks i read and tomshardware forums indicate that it performs rather well. might it bottleneck an hd7750? is bottlenecking when one component's output does not match equally that of another component's output and thereby causing lag or instability? what i may do is look around and come back with new ideas for you to crush. :D
 

Mr.Scott

Beamed Me Up!
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
It wasn't my intention to crush, just to educate. :)
No, the 620 will not bottleneck that 7750.
As far as CPU's go, yes, any am3 will physically fit in the socket but the board and it's bios need the proper components and coding to allow support.
Welcome to the forum BTW. :):)
 
OP
dopemoney

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
thanks. i need the education. where do i go to determine if a certain board will accept certain components? for my current build, HP's site is only so helpful. i do not know what component support websites are available to me or which ones are reputable.
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
dopemoney, If you're willing to replace the processor, changing the motherboard isn't a huge task. If you really want to build a rig I feel you will be better served by at least upgrading the board to a non OEM one. There are plenty of people here more then willing to help you through the process of upgrading the rig if you want.

Scotty I LOLed at this
Now that I've essentially crushed your dream, is there anything else I can help you with?
:D
 
OP
dopemoney

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
i will take that advice. let me look into some low-end boards that will fit micro-atx. what is it that i need to be looking for compatibility wise? remember, this is a low-budget project. :)
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
i will take that advice. let me look into some low-end boards that will fit micro-atx. what is it that i need to be looking for compatibility wise? remember, this is a low-budget project. :)
Well before you buy anything let us know what it is, no reason to go and buy a POS board even if it's on a budget.
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
I would search for a 790 chipset in mATX format. Get something with a heatsink around the CPU
 
OP
dopemoney

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
ok, here is what i found. this price is as high as i would be willing to go for a mobo right now. i would appreciate a suggestion of better board for same or less. from here, should i look at gpus next or cpus?

Asrock 970M Pro3 AM3+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157582

crap. if i get a board like this, will i have to get a new drive? current drive is 232gb Seagate ST325031 8AS. not sure but i think it is 7200rpm.
 
Last edited:

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
If that's the most amount of money you want to spend, then that board will be fine. You're not going to get some monster Oc out of the board but it should be a nice upgrade. I would look for a Phenom II 955 Be chip for it, they are pretty easy to find and are a lot of fun to Oc if you find the need. A 960T as you mentioned previously may be tougher to find but if you can get one for about the same price as a 955, no reason not to. As far as the Hard drive, the one you have is a Sata II drive and will work. Though you will likely want to do a clean Os install for the new board.
 
OP
dopemoney

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
ok i am changing gears just a bit since i do agree that upgrading the mobo is a great idea. i read that a fx6300 way outperforms the 955be and the 960t, and a new one in the box is only $89. would this be a good direction and also, is it ever ok to purchase a used processor?

secondly, since i am going a little above my budget already, i like the gt730 card now. *there are 2 models i am interested in: 2gb ddr3 and the 1gb ddr5. same cuda cores, same everything really only memory is different. i read that for today's games one should never go with a 1gig card regardless of ddr type. thoughts?

btw - i am very glad i choose this site over overclock.net, you guys are awesome and i appreciate the help

*never-mind, i found a gt730 2gb ddr5 model available new for $68.33.
 
Last edited:

zPacKRat

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2000
the sketchy thing is that the quick specs state phenom II dual and quad core cpus at the very top, however below it omits them.
Also be careful that you spec an appropriate PSU for the newer build, considering the OEM is a 300 Watt and also may not include all the power connectors needed for a newer board such as an 8 pin for the CPU or a 6/8 pin for higher draw video cards.
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
The Fx 6300 is a good Cpu problem is they are pretty demanding on the motherboard. Yes that Asrock board will support it but whether it will run well on it I'm not certain. If you plan on staying at stock it should be fine. Used processors are always a roll of the dice, if you find a reputable seller on Ebay for instance chances are you'll be fine.

One more issue you may want to address is the Psu, with the new components you may not want to use an old power supply. OEM units aren't all that great to begin with, over time the capacitors can fail and if they do the Psu could take the new components with it. I know you're on a budget, but it would really stick if you built this rig and had a Psu failure that ruined all the new parts. Something like this would fit the bill

As far as the Gpu goes, modern games are using more and more Vram so yes you will be better off with the 2g version.
 

Mr.Scott

Beamed Me Up!
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
If you want to dabble, why not just get that board and dump your 215 in it and OC the snot out of it. You already have it so it's no cost. You can upgrade later after you figure out what you're doing and what you want. They OC pretty good. Here's mine for example. I ran this 24/7 on a single fan 212+. Rock stable.

1416794.jpg
 

PetrolHead

Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Before you get this board, consider these:

-Remember to check the memory support list. Your old RAM modules may or may not work, and you probably don't want to take any risks if you need to buy new ones.
-Some CPUs demand a top-down blowing CPU cooler with this board, and even though the FX-6300 doesn't need it according to ASRock, it might still be worth getting one (the stock cooler probably is, actually). My Phenom II X6 doesn't require one either, but without one the socket runs quite hot under stress testing. Also, the power phase design is of the board 4+1, so VRMs may be running quite hot as well. Of course, the FX-6300 is rated only at 95W TDP and my Phenom II X6 is rated at 125W TDP, so you might have a comfortable amount of headroom to run that CPU on stock speeds at least.
-The chipset doesn't support HTLink speed above 2.4 GHz. The stock value for FX-8xxx and FX-63xx CPUs (at least) is 2.6 GHz. Even though the impact on performance is pretty much negligible, it feels like false advertising to claim the board is compatible with these CPUs.
-The motherboard only has 1 CPU Fan Connector (4-pin), 1 Chassis Fan Connector (4-pin) and 1 Power Fan Connector (3-pin). This limits your ability to solve any possible heat issues with the processor of you choice by adding spot fans or improving case cooling.
(-My SSD is not reaching it's advertised speeds on this board. Not even close. Whether this is due to the board, the SSD, the AMD chipset, my software or all of these, I'm not sure. I just thought I'd mention this in case it's motherboard related.)

Not that I haven't been mostly happy with mine. My RAM modules work fine although they're not officially supported, the BIOS/UEFI makes overclocking pretty easy on a BE processor and my CPU hasn't caused any issues (at least, not yet). I wouldn't be afraid of pairing this board with an FX-6300. You just need to be aware of the limitations a motherboard of this size and price has.

Regarding the GPU, that GeForce GT 730 will probably not run modern games smoothly on any resolution and setting that would actually require more than 1 GB of VRAM. Also notice there are two 1 GB versions and one 2 GB version of this GPU, and there are differences in memory bandwidth as well as the base clock and the amount of CUDA cores:

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gt-730/specifications

I'm not sure there's a huge difference in actual performance, but again you should be aware of what you're possibly buying. Personally I'd try to see what sort of GPUs I could find for roughly the same price. Even a GTX 650 or a Radeon R7 250 will perform better than a GT 730. The downside is that they have a higher TDP and require more from the PSU, but as Mandrake4565 already said, it might be a good idea to upgrade that anyway, if you're upgrading the motherboard. In any case, before deciding on a GPU, look at Futuremark scores, reviews and gameplay videos from YouTube. That'll help you decide what you need and if something is worth paying extra for or not.

Edit: Also, remember to make sure that the GPU you decide on fits inside your case.
 
Last edited:
OP
dopemoney

dopemoney

Registered
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
petrol head, that all sounds pretty awesome, but i am afraid 1/2 of it was lost on me. this is my first customization. i am afraid the "budget" part of my plan is losing its light. the point of this venture was not to build the best gaming rig. when it is time for me to be serious, later, i will be serious...with a much larger budget. my plan was to customize my current rig with a budget of $150.00. nothing fancy, just a new cpu and a new gpu. this was my challenge, to make the best cheap desktop with a low budget. if i just dismiss the budget then it is no longer as much of a challenge. there are enough knowledgeable people here that with a $1000 budget i could probably build a world-class gaming rig. as it is, the new asrock board ($56), the gt730 ($68), and fx6300 ($89)are going to run me $213.00. i want to try to run my original 300w psu because i simply do not want to spend more than i have to (and no i do not want to burn up the new board or any other components, but i will risk it for my learning experience).

my ram should be fine in the asrock. of course, down the road i may want to purchase a couple of 8gb sticks, but for now i want to roll with 3 to see how it works with my new build.

i imagine that if my cpu burns up with the stock fan, they will be happy to replace it, right? we are not talking about running a power plant and my case is vented on both sides.

the gtx 650 and the r7 250 are $89 - $100, respectively. they appear to be good cards but they are not really roughly in the range of $68. i am very open to a better gpu in the range of $60-70. i will confirm that the gpu fits, good call on that.

vram is certainly an interesting topic that i know nothing about. it appears that some say it is meaningless, and some say it is absolutely vital to playing newer games in 1080p. weird that there would be two schools of thought here. should be that it is either important or it isnt. again though, i am not trying to play games in 4k with this build. (sarcasm)

what is 4+1?
what is vrm?
what is htlink speed?
what is "dimm?"

notes from asrock regarding my board:
Note5: The mainboard supports DDR3-2000 MHz DIMMs only when you install a 6-core cpu to the mainboard.
Note6: When overclocking, some AMD CPU models may not support DDR3 1600 MHz or higher frequency DIMMs.
Note7: Due to CPU spec, AMD 100 and 200 series CPUs support up to DDR3 1066 MHz. With ASRock design, this motherboard can support DDR3 1333 MHz.

my ram:
crucial technology, 2gb, ddr3, pc3-10700(667mhz)
samsung, 1gb, ddr3, pc3-10700(667mhz)

neither of these is on the supported memory list, but chances are good that they will work...i hope.

mr. scott: it is impressive that you overclocked the 215 from 2.7 to 3.8. that is impressive, but i want substantial differences and i would worry that with the board only upgrade and an overclocked 215, my changes would be less than moderate.
 

PetrolHead

Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
i am afraid the "budget" part of my plan is losing its light.

I hear you. It's just that without knowing the exact model of that PSU, it's hard to guarantee it'll have the required connectors or enough ooomph to run your new parts reliably. If you're okay with the risk, then just check your PSU's connector status before buying anything.

By the way, if you have friends who've built their own rigs, you shoul ask them if they have some extra parts. When I was building my current rig, I was initially thinking about getting a GT 730 and an FX-6350, but then a friend of mine was getting rid of his old GTX 650 and another guy I knew had a Phenom II X6 he didn't need anymore, so I got those instead and ended up saving a lot of money.

i imagine that if my cpu burns up with the stock fan, they will be happy to replace it, right? we are not talking about running a power plant and my case is vented on both sides.

If you're not planning to overclock the processor above stock voltages, the stock cooler should be fine.

vram is certainly an interesting topic that i know nothing about. it appears that some say it is meaningless, and some say it is absolutely vital to playing newer games in 1080p. weird that there would be two schools of thought here. should be that it is either important or it isnt. again though, i am not trying to play games in 4k with this build. (sarcasm)

It may also depend on the game. Personally I don't think it matters much on a GT 730, as it won't allow you to play the newest games in 1080p and using the highest settings (unless you're fine with low framerates). I was going to get the 1 GB GDDR5 version because of the faster memory, but I don't think you'll be very disappointed with either of the two better versions. I'd say get the one you can get cheaper. Just don't get the 1 GB DDR3 version with a lower base clock and fewer CUDA cores. It also has a highest TDP of the three, which means it runs the hottest. A GT 620 would probably be better value than that version of the GT 730.

what is 4+1?
what is vrm

First off, a disclaimer: I'm pretty noob at these details myself. However, the 4+1 is the amount of channels in the VRM and the VRM (voltage regulator module) is a collection of parts that converts the voltage that's available from the PSU to a voltage that's suitable for the CPU. The more channels you have, the less each individual channel is stressed, which means that each channel runs cooler and the stability of the voltage may also be better. Generally, more is often considered better, especially if you're going to overclock the CPU or are running a power hungry CPU. Of course, what sort of heat sink is used to cool the VRM and the quality of the components matter as well.

I think 4+1 is the lowest amount of channels you can find these days, which basically means this motherboard is not the best choice for power hungry CPUs. The cooling capacity of the heat sink and the quality of the components are a bit of a question mark, but may compensate the low amount of channels to some extent. I have come across a case where the VRM actually caught fire in a system with an FX-8320 a CPU cooler that didn't cool the VRMs, but of course the board itself may have been defective. In any case, with the parts you're planning on getting, I don't think you need to worry.

what is htlink speed?

HT Link is the HyperTransport Link and it connects the CPU to the NorthBridge (NB for short, not the same thing as CPU-NB). Its speed affects (at least in theory) the speed at which the CPU communicates with PCIe devices (at least). Here's what AMD's own tuning guide has to say:

"HyperTransport Link frequency will determine the available bandwidth between the CPU and the NorthBridge Chipset (such as AMD 990FX). In most single CPU socket configurations the default 2.6GHz HT Link value offers sufficient amount of bandwidth even for multi-GPU configurations."

And before you ask, here's the same guide's description for CPU-NB:

"CPU NB: CPU NorthBridge (should not be confused with NorthBridge chipset, such as the AMD 990FX chipset) – part of the CPU that has its own clock domain and voltage plane. CPU NB clock frequency determines the Memory controller and L3 cache speed. CPU NB has a notable impact on overall system performance."

what is "dimm?"

DIMM stands for Dual In-line Memory Module. So basically a DIMM is just a stick of RAM.

neither of these is on the supported memory list, but chances are good that they will work...i hope.

Fingers crossed... The fact that you have two different memory modules may also cause problems, so if using both does not work out, you should try each one separately.