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Windows 7: Upgrade CPU or Motherboard Asus M2V Socket AM2 AMD Athlon 64 3500+

02 Oct 2014   #1

Window7 Home Premium 64bit
Upgrade CPU or Motherboard Asus M2V Socket AM2 AMD Athlon 64 3500+


I want to increase the speed of my machine. I'm not sure whether to upgrade just the cpu or the motherboard.

Current SPec
Motherboard: Asus M2V Socket AM2
CPU AMD Athlon 64 3500+
RAM 2GB (toal slots 4, 1 free. Slot 1 & 2 have 512MB each, Slot 3 has 1024MB)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce210

The PC is used mainly for office work, watching video YouTube etc, music mp3 and some online games.

I believe the AM2 socket is no longer supported but their are faste CPU's available such as the AMD 64 x2 6000+ or the AMD 64 x2 5600+.

I am not sure how to check for compatible motherboard upgrades e.g. to AM3. Can you get the motherboard complete with CPU or do you have buy them separately?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

I'm comfortable swapping either the cpu or motherboard myself.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2014   #2

Window7 Home Premium 64bit

Would anyone like to offer any advice please?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2014   #3
Lava King

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

The absolute cheapest way to speed up what you have is with an Athlon 64 x2 CPU.

I wouldn't spend any more money than the cost of a used CPU on that system. If the specs that I found for your board are correct then it uses DDR2 ram which is now expensive (if you can find it), obsolete, and much slower than DDR3. Your current ram modules are mis-matched so your system is not running in dual channel mode.

Motherboards and CPUs are purchased separately but the board must support the chosen CPU. You probably won't find any new boards that will take DDR2 ram, so a new board will also need new ram.

So my advice is either replace the CPU with a faster, compatible one; or replace the motherboard, CPU and ram all at once.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Oct 2014   #4

Window7 Home Premium 64bit

Thanks for the reply Lava King
Your current ram modules are mis-matched so your system is not running in dual channel mode.
Can you please explain what you mean here. I can replace the RAM modules. What total capacity would you recommend (4GB possibly?)

There are plenty of used CPU's out there. Should I go for the fastest one available in the Athlon x64 x2 range?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2014   #5
Lava King

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Yes, your best option is to get the fastest Athlon 64 x2 that you can find. Even then, you may not notice a huge increase in speed in your average day-to-day activities. What part of the PC operation seems slow to you? to explain Dual Channel ram without using my hands...

Just a note here, the speed difference between Single Channel and Dual Channel operation is marginal, but every little bit helps.

Your board has 4 ram sockets, in 2 groups of 2. They may be differentiated by color and will be labeled something like Channel A and Channel B. To be able to utilize Dual Channel, there must be identical ram modules in each Channel.
For example: if Channel A socket 1 has a 512MB module, then Channel B socket 1 must have a 512MB module. If Channel A socket 2 is empty, then Channel B socket 2 must be empty.

You currently have 2 x 512MB modules in one channel and a single 1GB module in the other; therefore the ram controller will operate in single channel mode.

If you can manage a total of 4GB of matching modules, that would be nearly ideal, but 2GB will work (as you already know).

I hope this helps, and I'll be glad to answer any other questions that you have.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2014   #6

Window7 Home Premium 64bit

What part of the PC operation seems slow to you?
Web browsing is often slow and playing videos (Utube etc). It's the PC because I have another PC (better spec) running on the same network that doesn't have any problems.

RAM Configuration
Slot A1 - 512MB
Slot B1 - 512MB
Slot A2 - 1024MB
Slot B2 - empty

I believe this is correct for 2 channel setup?

As far a RAM upgrade goes - replace 2x 512MB with 2x 2GB or remove 1024MB and put 2x 2GB in slots A2 and B2?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2014   #7

Windows 7 Profession 64-bit

Your biggest bang for your money will surely be by adding RAM. According to your motherboard specs, your board supports up to 4 x 2Gb for a max. of 8GB, DDR2 800/ 667/ 533, ECC, non-ECC, un-buffered memory.

Since you are running 64-Bit Windows, you will see very significant performance gains quadrupling your RAM from 2Gb to 8Gb.

IMO, the performance gains between single and dual are more than "marginal" - in most, but not all scenarios. Several years ago when dual channel was first "marketed", the suggestion was it nearly doubled the performance. That proved false with early benchmarking often posting just 5% gains, at best - clearly in the "marginal" arena.

The problem with early benchmarking programs is they did a poor job of reflecting what happens in real-world scenarios. But testing procedures and benchmarking programs have evolved since then. So if you research current comparisons, you will see more accurate results. For example, this 2014 GamersNexus comparison shows more realistic results, from 0% gains with dual channel for some tasks, up to more than 30% gains in others - with most around 20%.

But ultimately, the results showed that "It's density and frequency that matters, not channeling". That is, the amount of RAM matters most, then the speed of that RAM, then the number of channels.

But the reality for you is, it does not matter if you replace all your RAM with 4 x 2Gb as that will automatically enable dual-channel. And you can replace all your RAM for about $130.

After you replace your RAM, I would look to upgrade your graphics solution. Just be sure your PSU can support a bigger card as graphics cards are often the most power demanding components in our systems. Remember, the more capable the graphics solution, the more tasks it can perform more quickly, and it takes very little CPU resources to hand off tasks.

After RAM and graphics, if still not satisfied with performance, then look at your CPU.

I do not recommend replacing the motherboard because in terms of software licenses, a new motherboard is considered a new computer. It is most likely you have an OEM Windows license, the terms of which require it stays with the "original equipment". This means you will likely need to buy a new Windows license if you upgrade your board. It would be illegal otherwise and note we agree to abide by the terms of the license agreement when first decide to continue to use the software on the first machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Upgrade CPU or Motherboard Asus M2V Socket AM2 AMD Athlon 64 3500+

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