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My Old Computer Vs. New Computer


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#1 lohryx5

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 11:44 AM

Hello all. I was hoping you could help me with some (probably ridiculous) questions. I just bought a new computer cause I think my old one was dying on me.

My old computer is a:
14-month old HP Pavilion a1730n AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4600+ (operates at 2.4 GHz)
Ordering P/N (Tray) ADA4600IAA5CU
Ordering P/N (PIB) ADA4600CUBOX
Operating Mode 32/64
Stepping F2
Frequency 2400Mhz
HT Speed 2000
Voltage 1.30V/1.35V
Max Temp 55-70°C
Thermal Power 89W
L1 Cache 128KB x2
L2 Cache 1MB
CMOS Technology 90nm SOI
Socket Socket AM2
Vista Home Premium
2 GB RAM
Integrated 1650LE for graphics.
Installed a PNY Tech nVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT (512 MB DDR2) and was able to play COD4 great.

Recently, however, the computer wouldn't boot up all the way. The screen would just black out and then nothing. I safe booted in, tried system repair, system recovery, and eventually a full reformat. The screen would still black out or it would come up with vertical bars of yellow lines. Thinking I was part way there, I tried to re-install the GeForce 8500 GT but still had the black out or yellow lines problems. The wife took the computer to have it scanned and they found nothing. I had truly intended that I would build my next computer but wasn't quite prepared when the HP started flaking out so soon. Again, it was only 14 months old. Not to mention, I just got hit with orders to deploy soon...so I haven't had time to research component compatability to build my own before I leave. With my luck, I just knew I'd get an MB that wouldn't play well with a GPU or some other component. So I opted for the pre-built for now just so the wife and kids had something they could use and play games on. COD4 and WOW are the big ones the boys play.

Anyway, yesterday we just bought a ($700):
Gateway GT5676 AMD Phenom Processor 9600 Quad Core (operates at 2.3 GHz, 2 MB L3 Cache, 3600 MHz system bus)

Clock Frequency 2.3GHz (11.5x multiplier)
L1 Cache Size 128KB per core, split into 64KB data cache and 64KB instruction cache
L2 Cache Size 512KB per core (2MB total)
L3 Cache Size 2MB Shared
Memory Controller 128-bit wide integrated on-die
Memory Controller Clock Up to 1.8GHz
Memory Support Up to DDR2-1066
HyperTransport 3.0 Link One 16-big, full duplex, up to 3600MHz effective
Transistor Count 450 Million
Process Technology 65nm SOI
Die Size 285mm^2
Nominal Voltage 1.1 - 1.25V
Rated TDP 95W
Vista Home Premium
It also has 4 GB DDR2 Dual-Channel memory and
onboard ATI Radeon HD3200 (up to 256 MB shared video memory).

I know pre-builts usually have the bottom end of what's current in the market of computer components...so we went with one of the better towers they had...hoping to compensate. And maybe I'm behind in the times, but I thought AMD was actually in the lead between the Intel vs. AMD battle.

(From Extremetech - AMD Phenom 9600 Vs. Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600: Fight! - PC Gaming Benchmarks - The Core 2 Duo redefined what users expected from a CPU for games. Previously, AMD had ruled the roost in PC Gaming. In fact, you could argue that gaming was AMD's strongest suit, though the Athlon 64 X2 line of CPUs generally outpaced Intel in the majority of other benchmarks prior to the release of Core 2 Duo.)

Of course, now that I've checked some benchmark sites (like extremetech and others)...it looks like between two fairly comparable chips...Intel wins overall.


And since I was deployed before when dual and quad-cores first came out...I'm still a bit confused about comparing them. Everyone I talked to said a quad 2.3 GHz was way better than a dual 2.4 GHz. I didn't realize, however, that the games might not necessarily work off the quad better...rendering it nothing more than a slower dual as you mentioned. Could having the computer set up as a 64-bit be making it even worse since there isn't much out there for 64-bit at this time? I thought 64-bit was the way to go for gaming.

I powered up and setup up the computer as a 64-Bit machine, downloaded and installed all updated drivers, and then decided to see if the new computer could play COD4 as it was out of the box so I went to www(dot)canirunit(dot)com and did a scan.

It said I passed all of the Minimum Requirements...even said I had 1.9 GB of video memory. Is this because it's borrowing from my 4 GB RAM? Everything else checked fine.

I then checked the Recommended Tab where it said I failed the recommended 2.4 GHz of CPU Speed as it was only reading 2.3 GHz?? Is a dual-core 2.4 GHz that's a year old actually better than a qual-core 2.3 GHz?? Odd thing is, I then installed the GeForce 8500 GT and it started doing the same thing as my old computer. Guess I have a card that's going bad...and it's only 6 months old...so I took it back out.

I tried running COD4 (single and multi-player) on the Gateway as it was out of the box and it was pretty choppy. Is it because of the CPU speed (which I supposedly passed for minimum but failed for recommended) or is the ATI Radeon HD3200 not strong enough? Or, does COD4 have any known issues being run on a 64-bit machine? Any recommendations? Is there anything I can do in order to play COD4 for now with the new computer as it is? In the meantime, I think I'm going to replace the GeForce 8500 GT since it's still under manufacturer's warranty. I was just confused as to why canirunit said the out of the box video capability far exceeded the minimum requirements. Anyway, once I get a replacement 8500 (or maybe upgrade to an 8800)...do you think the current CPU will be okay? Or should I really just take the whole darn thing back and go with a dual core for the time being?

Sorry if these questions seem a bit noobish, but I've been out of the country for most of the past two years and really don't know much about comparing dual and quad cores to the even older Pentium 4 with Windows XP that I had before. Appreciate everyone's help in advance.

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#2 Sterling14

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 02:03 PM

The HD 3200 is integrated graphics. They are the best integrated graphics, but still not good enough to run modern games smoothly. You'll need to get a graphics card.

About your processor, it is better than a dual-core, but you probably won't notice a difference while playing games. When you multi-tasking though, it will run better. Also, newer programs are starting to take advantage of using multiple cores to process a single application. So a quad-core is more future-proof than a dual-core.

If you'd like to get a new graphics card and don't know what to get, we'll gladly help you find a good one. Just give us a price range and let us know what games you play, and if you plan on playing newer ones.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#3 lohryx5

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:49 PM

Thanks a lot Sterling14...that's kinda what I was thinking about the HD 3200 since it was integrated. I have an nVidia GeForce 8500 GT in my old computer, but I think it's bad. Since it was only 6 months old, the wife took it back and they gave her a GeForce 8600 GT...but that requires a minimum of 350 Watt power supply. The new computer only came with a standard 300 W. So I figured I'd upgrade that as well. I've never had to replace a power supply as none of mine have ever gone bad, but it's a pretty straight forward install, right? Not like there are any drivers or anything so I'd like to find a decent one around the 600 W range. Can you recommend any? Thanks again for all your help.

#4 Sterling14

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 05:19 PM

I personally believe a 300-watt would be fine. Those companies such as hp, Dell, Compaq, etc. under-rate their power supplies. On the other side, graphics card makers over rate the requirements for their cards. I'd still recommend getting a new power supply, but your current one should be alright temporarily.

Also, don't waste the money on a 600-watt power supply. You could probably just get a high quality 350-400 Watt. Just don't go cheap.

A real quick edit: Here is a benchmark of all the recent graphics cards out power consumption. To note, this is the power consumption of the whole system, not just the graphics card. These are all high-end cards also, so yours uses less power. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon...70,1964-15.html .

Edited by Sterling14, 07 July 2008 - 05:25 PM.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#5 raw

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:10 PM

Sorry Sterling14, but I have to disagree. With dual or quad core and an
8600GT I would recommend min 430 up to 550. 460 or 500 is what I would
get - "if it were my system"

From Overclockers.net, recommended PSU's

Dual or Quad Core CPU with single Highend GPU, Highend Business/Gaming PC.
Antec Neo HE 500W: http://www.antec.com/specs/NeoHE500_spe.html

Dual or Quad Core CPU with single midrange GPU, Midrange PC.

Antec NeoHE 430W: http://www.antec.com/specs/NeoHE430_spe.html

Antec Trio TP3 430W: http://www.antec.com/specs/TP3_430_spe.html

XCLIO GOODPOWER 500W: http://www.xclio.com/htm/products-PSU-Goodpower500w.htm

Enhance ENP-5150GH 500W: http://www.enhanceusa.com/series.php?series_id=4#115

VANTEC ION 2 VAN-460N 460W: http://www.vantecusa.com/p_ion2460.html

Sunbeam NUUO 550W: http://www.sunbeamtech.com/PRODUCTS/...O/nuuo-550.htm


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#6 Sterling14

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 07:31 PM

I don't believe it is necessary though. The powers not going to waste, but no sense of paying more for unused watts when you can spend that money on higher quality. I know I keep using tomshardware articles, but I believe they are very reliable. In this article for instance, they created a build just under $1,000 and used two 8800GT's in SLI. The thing is, they only used a good 400-watt psu, and everything worked out. I know they are only using a dual-core, but you have to take in consideration that they have two graphics cards.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#7 raw

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 10:16 PM

I didn't see a 400W PSU, but on page 5 "The Card, The Test"
they list the system specs. It lists an 850W Cooler Master Real Power Pro.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon...870,1964-5.html
On a normal (what i consider normal) system with dual core, two hard drives
(maybe just one, but drives are cheap), a higher end video card, 2 optical drives
(most have 2 for copying), and a few (more then 2) fans I just can't recommend
less then 400W. I do agree that you can "get by" with the 300W, but why not spend
a few extra bucks now and when the upgrade day comes you have one less part to replace. :thumbsup:

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#8 dc3

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 04:16 AM

I have to agree with raw, it's worth spending the extra money to have the wattage to allow for future additions.

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#9 lohryx5

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 07:41 AM

Thanks a ton for all the help. The recommended power supplies all look pretty good. One question, however, the VANTEC Ion seems to stand out more for it's +12V current of 30A, and the +3.3 and +5 was generally better than the others as well. I hear that this is something that one should look for, but does that necessarily make this a better choice? I've also seen on various online sites that Antec are usually pretty good sellers.

Another question...this time regarding the AMD Phenom 9600+ Quad-Core Processor (operates at 2.3 GHz, 2 MB L3 Cache, 3600 MHz system bus) in the new computer. Other responses from various people have stated that, since most games/apps currently can not really use the quad-core technology, the new computer will only act as a dual-core. In a sense, it would be .1 GHz slower than my older dual-core. I had assumed, perhaps erroneously, that it would be much better than my older dual-core. So what am I really getting here with the quad? www(dot)canirunit(dot)com said I met all minimum requirements but failed me for the CPU on the Recommended Requirements tab because it only saw a 2.3GHz CPU. COD4 only requires a Pentium 4 at 1.8GHz with a recommended 2.4GHz. My old dual-core 2.4GHz worked fine...it's the new quad 2.3GHz that has me baffled. I was deployed both times when the duals and quads came out so I have no idea how to truly compare them to the older Pentiums. Also, I guess AMD's just don't do games as well as they used to, or as well as Intel's do now?

I've also been told that for the $700 I spent, I could have built a much better computer for less. Granted, that may be true, but with another upcoming deployment, I just didn't have time to research component compatibilities, shipment, and any problems that may have popped up during the build. Also, I have no idea how I could have built it for cheaper...Vista alone costs $200...so I'm assuming I would have had to use a cheaply bought copy of XP. Perhaps reusing the old case as well? Any thoughts on this. I just need something they can use easily once I leave.

Bare in mind, my sons and I are not hardcore gamers by any stretch of the imagination (perhaps I don't know the true definition of a hardcore gamer). We hold our own online in multi-player COD4 (generally in the top 3 on most servers) and they both love playing WOW. So if the new computer is at least better than the older one, I'll get a new PSU, and then install the new 8600GT. Otherwise, should I just take it back and start over? Thanks again.

#10 Sterling14

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 01:53 PM

You'll want around 30a's on the +12V rail(s).

Your quad-core is still better. I hate that system requirements program. It told me on my old computer that I could play any game because I had a pentium 4 that was 3.0ghz and a crappy graphics card with 256mb. It told me I met the recommended requirements, yet I still couldn't play most of the games without lagging.

A quad-core or a dual-core at 2.3ghz, is generally much faster than any single core. Even single cores clocked up beyond 3.0ghz. The frequency isn't the biggest factor determining the speed of a processor. The newer processors are made with better designs to work much more efficiently. There's a lot as to why a processor is better than another, but the best thing I like to do, is look at benchmarks. This will show how processors perform in real life examples.

I had my 3.0ghz pentium 4 processor, and I use to lag in newer games. I then bought a core 2 duo 2.0ghz processor, and my games were getting two to three times as many frames in games. Plus, things started loading faster.

Your new processor is better than your old, it's just your graphics making it seem crummy while gaming.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#11 lohryx5

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 05:14 PM

I've confirmed my 8500 GT was what went bad. Took it back and they gave me an 8600 GT. I'll just need a stronger PSU and found an Antec earthwatts EA500 (500 W) on Newegg for $55. I think I'll install both in my older computer, take back the Gateway, and then build a new one in the meantime. I was surprised to find that I actually could build a better machine for about the same cost. Thanks for all the help.

#12 Sterling14

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:27 PM

Those earthwatts are very good psu's.

We are glad to help anytime :thumbsup:

Edited by Sterling14, 08 July 2008 - 06:27 PM.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#13 raw

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:49 PM

Antec has been very good to me. Good price on that one.
PriceGrabber shows newegg to be the cheapest. :thumbsup:

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#14 silverpl105

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 09:48 PM

Yes I remembered that newegg, has very good price for that computer case.




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