Recent Upgrade (AMD Dragon Platform)

Posted: August 12, 2009 in Hardware
Tags: ,

Finally, can’t resist anymore.

Last 2 years, I spend approximately RM1k for low cost pc upgrade, to upgrade my very old (2003 pc). The upgrade detail as below :

  • AMD Athlon 2500+ (always OC to 3200+)  –> Pentium Dual Core 1.8 GHz
  • 2×256 MB Corsair TwinX DDR400 –> Kingston Value RAM DDRII 667 2x1GB (max slot occupied)
  • Abit NF2 Ultra mobo –> Gigabyte 945 mobo.
  • GeCube ATI Radeon 9600XT –>XFX 8600GT
  • Acbel 350W PSU –> iCute 450W PSU (have to buy this since new mobo got 4pin atx socket..damn)
  • Cost : RM270+150+190+500+90 = RM1200

Yes, I know, it is low budget ugprade. Had to constrain my upgrade budget since need to buy so many stuff at the same time since my old platform already absolete. Furthermore, I firmly believe that Pentium Dual Core 1.8 GHz (able to be overclocked with stock cooler without additional voltage to 2.4GHz) is more than enough for my 8600GT.

Result 3DMark06 : 1.6k –> 3.8k (about 3 fold gaming performance improvement)


Jan 2009, I bought Gigabyte (Zalman) ATI Radeon 4850 @ RM580.00 to replace my 8600GT because I felt that current game (at that moment) can’t be played optimally with that card.

Result 3DMark06 : 3.8k –> 8.5k (almost 2 fold gaming performance upgrade, sweet)


Win7 Peformance Index also shown that my CPU and RAM are the culprit.


Last month, I start to believe that my CPU (Pentium Dual Core) is my current system bottleneck. Everytime I play 2009 games at high or ultra high setting, I notice that CPU run at 100% and game sometime lag pretty badly. Time to upgrade my processor but..but…. the mobo also almost obsolete. Sigh. So, need to do major upgrade again.

So, I bought :

  • AMD Phenom II 955 Black Edition
  • Cosair TwinX 2×2048 DDR3 1333Mhz
  • Tagan 600W 80+ PSU
  • Asus M4A78T-E (AMD 790GX + 750SB) mobo
  • Cost : RM 1777.00

Result 3DMark06 : 8.5k –> 15k (almost double). It is hard to believe how much my old cpu drag my graphic card down before.

Win7 Result now (almost balance, except hdd) :


CPU 7.4, Ram 7.5, graphic card 7.3, hdd 5.9 (duh)


Some of my friend ask : Why AMD not Intel?

Budget. i7 defenitely the ideal choice but i7 system frankly beyond my reach. C2D (or intel quad core) already start to become an obsolete platform. At least, AM3 is current AMD platform and AMD has good history with backward compatibility. Furthermore, after do some exhaustive homework, AMD win my performance / money ratio, based on my budget (not exceed RM1500 initially).

  1. Weinter says:

    If I am not wrong some of the AMD CPUS can unlock 4 Core from 2.
    If I were you I will buy a Dual Core to unlock all 4 Cores.
    Buy 1 get 1 free Buy 2 get 2 free.

  2. WeiJoon says:

    As far as I know, that’s some kind of BIOS exploit for end user to unlock the BIOS locked dual core to quad core. The news is quite some time now, not sure if AMD still manufacturing those BIOS locked Dual Core as it can be a huge impact to it’s quad core marketing and profits, at least I dun think that AMD is stupid enough to keep those processors in manufacturing lines… Futhermore, there’s only certain MOBO can unlock the bonus 2 cores as I read from the webs or forums… Regards.

  3. expertester says:

    Yes, correct. With south bridge 750SB (ACC features on), third and forth core may be unlocked by user. But, we have to remember that the success rate is totally uncertain. It’s kind of gamble. If you want 4 core processor but buy 2 core with high hope to unlock another 2 core, you might be totally disappointed if your budget is just enough.

    Furthermore, AMD lock those cores for reason. Mainly, those core on Phenom II CPU that can’t perform as good as manufacturer expected will be locked. If this core is unlocked, the stability of CPU will be jeopardized. However, if AMD lock those cores for marketing reason and you able to unlock it.. hallelujah.

  4. Weinter says:

    Not really either way you get your money worth.
    Remember you only paid for 2 Cores.
    Plus the Processors are good for overclocking.
    Actually I don’t really believe they sold Dual Core because their cores are damaged.
    Testing require resources and dual core has to meet market demand supply.
    Triple Cores maybe but definitely not dual Cores.

  5. expertester says:

    Yeah, I definitely agree with you.

    Temptation to buy x2 or x3 actually really hit my mind, but at the very last minute, I decide to buy 4 core because I want 4 core and nothing less. Furthermore, last week, 955BE price drop from RM790 to RM680. The only reason why i buy x4 because I strictly want 4 core, not 3 or 2.

    For my case, if i buy x2, and try to unlock it but fail, I might disappointed because I badly need 4 core for my work. In other word, I need to sell that chip to interested party at lower price and buy a x4 cpu. So…to make it short, fork out more money and buy x4 instead.

    But, for more adventurous guys, buying x3 and x2 and super bargain price and able to unlock it to x4 core without any stability problem is… HEAVEN 🙂

    Guess, perhaps I already too old for this adventure life LMAO.

    • john says:

      i have prob .please help me..always blue screen appeared after 30 secs..thank a lot.when install corsair 2gb ganing ramm.

  6. travolta says:

    john, if you need ppl to help you, you need to provide more detail regarding your pc setup.

    What operating system (32 or 64)
    what motherboard
    what cpu
    stuff like that..

    base on your info alone, what I can advice, try to test your system with different ram. If you dont have any BSOD, big chance your corsair ram is the culprit. Or have you you change the timing of your gaming ram too tight in bios?

  7. Weinter says:

    Any results from running Memtest86?

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