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CPU upgrade recommendation.

esabet asked
Last Modified: 2013-12-09

We are upgrading one of the desktops in the office.  It is currently running Windows Vista x32 but we intend to upgrade to Windows 7 Pro x64.

We are also contemplating upgrading the CPU installed on the motherboard.

The motherboard is MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum (MS-7100-020) Socket 939.  The CPU that is currently installed is AMD Athlon 3500+.

Here is a chart of the compatible CPUs for the motherboard: http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=prodcpusupport&maincat_no=1&cat2_no=171&cat3_no=6&prod_no=169

The desktop is mostly used for Internet, various office applications, and occasionally to run some CAD (Architectural) applications.

Which of the CPU upgrades would you recommend that would result in noticeable performance improvement?

Thank you.
Watch Question

For the CAD application, and general all around performance, you will want one of the dual core models.

I would think in this case, it's more a matter of what you want to spend, otherwise I would suggest the highest model of Opteron that it supports..

However, for a balance of great performance boost and great price, I would suggest the Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4800+.

Hope this helps!

In general, I would recommend the fastest with the most cache and a multicore chip.  The Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4800+ (E6 version)  or AMD Opteron 180 (E6 version).  

A couple of comments though, the motherboard appears to be from around 2005 or so.  Finding a processor for this board may be difficult - Newegg and MWave doesn't have the socket 939 processors listed for sale or the AMD processors in the list.  

I recently built two new computers from scratch with Vista64 and we use it for Civil3d (Autocad).  The I7 processor has been fantastic for this appliction.


I now see the real problem.
I was unable tolocate the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+.  I only found used items on ebay for crazy prices (+$350).
But I was able to locate both AMD Opteron 180 and AMD Opteron 175 Retail Box.
The Opteron 180 costs $215.00 (includes shipping) and the Opteron 175 costs $179.00 (includes shipping).
What do you recommend?
Top Expert 2012

Socket 939 cpus are not very common anymore, so I don't think it is worth the premium you will have to pay to get a compatible cpu that is only slightly faster.  You could get a noticeable improvement by upgrading both the motherboard and cpu, such as an Athlon II X2 245 for $66 and a compatible motherboard like the Gigabyte MA770-UD3 for $65 (at newegg).  The Athlon II X2 245 has a passmark score of 1670, while the Athlon 3500+ has a score of 530.  You will probably need new RAM as well, but that adds a small additional cost.  Since you would be changing the motherboard, a repair install or clean install would be necessary.

For significant performance improvement, the new Intel i5 750 offers a passmark score of 4176 for $200, and you will need a P55 motherboard and new RAM.  For office apps, this would probably be overkill.


Hey, a little more research and I found the Opteron 180 for $185.00 (Including Shipping)!
I guess the question now is if it is worth the upgrade?
This one is on us!
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This one is on us!
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Thank you very much for your inputs.
I have gone ahead and ordered the CPU. As I mentioned, I got the Retail Box which comes with 3 Year Warrenty.  Had I gone with OEM I could have saved an additional $15.00.  But I think $7.50/yr for insurance is well worth it!
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