Squeeze more out of 955BE?

htpc_user

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I have a 955BE and 8gb of RAM, and I know that I'm in need of an upgrade. But it seems every time I get serious about pulling the trigger something comes up that keeps me from doing it. I wanted to do the Windows 10 upgrade but I'm not sure if I want to "waste" my Windows 7 key and tie the Windows 10 to this ECS motherboard/955BE/8gb combo.

I also wanted to upgrade my 4890 video card before Star Wars Battlefront. Can I squeeze a little more out of my 955BE (currently running stock, by the way) and just upgrade the video card? The only thing I do on the PC is game, but I don't play a lot of different stuff. I play TF2, BF4, and plan on getting Star Wars Battlefront and maybe The Division when it comes out.
 

rhansen5_99

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A couple of questions for you:
1. What motherboard do you have / will it support the fx chips?
2. Have you tried overclocking?
3. What kind of budget are you looking at?

With that being said your chip is within range of a 2500k sandybridge (like 70%) so are you running into problems with specific games? As for your videocard there is a ton of bang for the buck if you were to invest there.

What games and resolution are you wanting to play? I think a 750ti or 280 would be a pretty healthy upgrade. I think if you go past mid range like that you may saturate the cpu depending on the game.
 

atp1916

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Well now, let's see. All may not be lost here.

Here is an Anandtech bench of a 980BE (3.7ghz) vs a 2600K. I am not sure which card they are using to bench, but if you get your 955BE up to 3.7-4.0 and drop some $$$ on a decent graphics card you should definitely be in business at 1680x1050 and/or 1920x1080 even.

All this is predicated on your OC to near 4ghz, so you'll need some good cooling to pull this off.
 

htpc_user

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My other option is to go with an FM2+ motherboard and cpu. I recently bought a motherboard and A8 7600 for my HTPC. But now I want to go even lower power usage and put a quad core Kabini system in my family room as my HTPC. I know the A8 7600 isn't the most ideal cpu for gaming system but it might give me more of an upgrade path in the long run with DDR3 and other FM2+ processors?

The bottom line is, I don't really like any of the current AMD options and Intel is pricey. All I'm seeing and hearing is that AMD is stagnant. AM3+ seems to be dead man walking, but at the same time it seems that most people prefer it to the FM2+ stuff. Am I wrong about this?
 

Tsumi

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Use CPU-Z and find out what stepping you have. If it's the C2 stepping, you're probably not going to be able to get it near 4 ghz without really good cooling. If it's C3, 3.8 I believe was fairly standard for that stepping on air.

FM2+ doesn't have the high number of cores that AM3+ has. The IPC improvements Steamroller and Excavator brought haven't been mindblowing, and generally have also overclocked worse.
 

Darksword

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At the very least, overclock your CPU and upgrade that video card to something modern.

Word on the street is the GTX 950 Ti is coming out in a few weeks. That would be a terrific upgrade over your 4890. It should cost about $150.00.
 

KazeoHin

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The Phenom II architecture cant really go higher than 4.2Ghz, and even that is sketchy. The 955 is fine for medium-level gaming, I use a Phenom II in my living room machine, but I highly doubt it will work well for something as intense as SW:BF2. Oc'ing is a good start, but I would suggest grabbing a new chip, possibly a new board.

If your mind is set on AMD (and good on you if it is: Fight the power!) then the best use of money for gaming is grabbing one of these:

Athlon 860K

and OCing it with a decent enough board and cooler.
 

Waveforme

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I have a spare rig with 965BE @3.9Ghz on a Gigabyte 790FX board, with 8 gigs of ram and a 6950. it's still a fairly competent rig. It's not going to run the newest, latest, best at high resolutions. But, it does fine with most older titles on a 22" monitor.

Depending on chip-set, your board is going to limit your overclocking. And yes, you will need better cooling.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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I have a 955BE and 8gb of RAM, and I know that I'm in need of an upgrade. But it seems every time I get serious about pulling the trigger something comes up that keeps me from doing it. I wanted to do the Windows 10 upgrade but I'm not sure if I want to "waste" my Windows 7 key and tie the Windows 10 to this ECS motherboard/955BE/8gb combo.

I also wanted to upgrade my 4890 video card before Star Wars Battlefront. Can I squeeze a little more out of my 955BE (currently running stock, by the way) and just upgrade the video card? The only thing I do on the PC is game, but I don't play a lot of different stuff. I play TF2, BF4, and plan on getting Star Wars Battlefront and maybe The Division when it comes out.
Trust me when I say UPGRADE NOW. Upgrade everything. When BF3 came out in 2011, I was running a 9850BE at around 3GHZ with a 4870. I barely broke 40-45FPS on low settings. Went to a 2600k and a 560ti in 2012 and immediately went to 80-90 fps at medium high settings and 1080p. Sure, a 955BE at around 4GHZ will make an order of magnitude of difference, but anything newer than that will be yet another order of magnitude better than the 955BE at any speed. That 955BE will also likely bottleneck all but the lowest end video cards. I'm currently gaming on my same 2600k and a 760 GTX and can manage 80-90 fps on a mix of high-ultra settings in BF4 at 1080p. Battlefront is looking like an even bigger graphical upgrade than BF4 was, and its the same game engine. So upgrade to anything else, AMD FX or Intel i5 or better. it won't matter. Trust me.
 

grausch

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I have a 955BE and 8gb of RAM, and I know that I'm in need of an upgrade. But it seems every time I get serious about pulling the trigger something comes up that keeps me from doing it. I wanted to do the Windows 10 upgrade but I'm not sure if I want to "waste" my Windows 7 key and tie the Windows 10 to this ECS motherboard/955BE/8gb combo.

I also wanted to upgrade my 4890 video card before Star Wars Battlefront. Can I squeeze a little more out of my 955BE (currently running stock, by the way) and just upgrade the video card? The only thing I do on the PC is game, but I don't play a lot of different stuff. I play TF2, BF4, and plan on getting Star Wars Battlefront and maybe The Division when it comes out.

My at-home desktop is a 955BE with 8GB of RAM and a GTX680. Primary laptop is a i7-4800mq with 16GB of RAM. Work laptop is a i5-3230M with 3.2 GB of RAM - yeah I know, our IT dept should be shot. Work desktop is a i5-4570 with 4GB of RAM.

When it comes to work usage, i.e. running large excel spreadsheets, with macros and DDE links, you won't be able to tell the difference between any of them until the work pcs run out of RAM. At that point the 955BE is miles ahead of the i5-4570.

Newest game I played was Deus Ex:HR, and the 955BE with GTX 680 is buttery smooth with all settings maxed. In your shoes, I would first upgrade the GPU to something newer - GTX 970 seems like a really sweet deal - and then decide whether you wish to upgrade the rest of the rig.
 

daglesj

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Have a look on Ebay for the prices of your current parts sold separate.

You may be surprised.
 

Kueller

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Have a look on Ebay for the prices of your current parts sold separate.

You may be surprised.
I like this idea.

Op should be able to sell his current setup for about what it would cost to get a G3258+Mobo+Heatsink. OC that sucker to the moon and throw in a used graphics card he can afford (7970 for $110-$125 or 290 for $160-$180 would be my value picks), should be in business.
 

rhansen5_99

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If you have a Microcenter around they have a pretty decent deal for a 8320e and mobo for around $120 AR, or if you wanted to go G3258 they have those for about $50. I personally like the quad core Kaveri chips, like the 7700k ($89 + free mobo), but as suggested earlier they are a ton weaker ipc than the bulldozer or haswell cores. (FYI I think your current chip is stronger than or close to the Kaveri IPC)
In "theory" however dx12, much like Mantle will shift the gaming bottleneck off of the cpu and more into the gpu assuming games are coded correctly or so the marketing suggests.
 

Tsumi

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I like this idea.

Op should be able to sell his current setup for about what it would cost to get a G3258+Mobo+Heatsink. OC that sucker to the moon and throw in a used graphics card he can afford (7970 for $110-$125 or 290 for $160-$180 would be my value picks), should be in business.

I would say the two additional cores of the 955 will outweigh any single threaded performance benefit of the G3258 in modern games. Except for RTS games and a select few that are heavily dependent on a single thread.
 

MrCaffeineX

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I like this idea.

Op should be able to sell his current setup for about what it would cost to get a G3258+Mobo+Heatsink. OC that sucker to the moon and throw in a used graphics card he can afford (7970 for $110-$125 or 290 for $160-$180 would be my value picks), should be in business.

Is the G3258 going to run SW:BF smoothly?

I have noticed that it hurts my performance on a couple newer titles including BF4 and GTA V. I suspected that the limit of two cores might hurt in situations where the game engine can utilize multiple threads for background processes, AI, physics, etc. The difference between that and the i3-4130T is noticeable on those two games specifically, with all of the other components being the same.

I would think that at minimum someone would need to be looking at an i3 from team blue or an FX from team red. The 860K is great for the price, but I think it might feel like more of a sidegrade from a mildly OC'd 955BE than a true upgrade, whereas a current FX with a similarly mild OC should outperform the 955BE by enough to potentially be noticeable.

Also, for a bit more elaboration on the G3258, I have been running it at 4 GHz at stock voltage with 8 GB of DDR3-1600 and the R9 290 in my sig. I'm reasonably certain that I am hitting a CPU wall and not a GPU wall. When paired up with my GTX 750 Ti there doesn't seem to be as much of an obvious performance gap between the i3 and Pentium. My average framerate is decent either way, but there are noticeable hiccups with the Pentium that I don't experience with the i3.
 

htpc_user

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A couple of questions for you:
1. What motherboard do you have / will it support the fx chips?
2. Have you tried overclocking?
3. What kind of budget are you looking at?

With that being said your chip is within range of a 2500k sandybridge (like 70%) so are you running into problems with specific games? As for your videocard there is a ton of bang for the buck if you were to invest there.

What games and resolution are you wanting to play? I think a 750ti or 280 would be a pretty healthy upgrade. I think if you go past mid range like that you may saturate the cpu depending on the game.

Sorry, somehow when I read the replies the other day I missed your post.

1.) I have an ECS A780GM-A motherboard. It doesn't have any advanced overclocking features. It looks like the "best" cpu it supports is a 1090T.

2.) I just tried overclocking a few days ago just to see if it would go up any. I was able to get it to 3.4. I tried 3.5, and when I went to play Battlefield 4 after getting into a server and playing for about 10 seconds, if that, I had a BSOD. It could've just been coincidence but I figured since I had just overclocked it that that was the problem. So I took it down a notch.

3.) Not sure about budget. Maybe around $250 for motherboard, RAM, and cpu not counting video card. I'm probably going to spend $250 ~ $300 for a new video card soon.

I play at 1920 x 1080, and I play Battlefied 4 and Team Fortress 2 mainly. Next game will be Star Wars Battlefront and then The Division after that.

The 955BE is a C2.
 

htpc_user

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I took a look on ebay at prices for a 955BE. It looks like most listings are from China and they range around $50 ~ $60 for Buy It Now. There was one listing for an actual bidding auction, and it was at $40 with 4 bids and 12 hours to go.

Couldn't find a listing for my motherboard, but I'd probably be lucky to get $20 ~ $25 for it.

I would think that my RAM would be worth the most given the outrageous prices people want to sell their DDR2 RAM for, and I have 4 x 2gb. But if I remember correctly the last time I looked a few weeks ago the RAM wasn't going for that much unless you were looking for 4gb DDR2 sticks.
 

daglesj

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I took a look on ebay at prices for a 955BE. It looks like most listings are from China and they range around $50 ~ $60 for Buy It Now. There was one listing for an actual bidding auction, and it was at $40 with 4 bids and 12 hours to go.

Couldn't find a listing for my motherboard, but I'd probably be lucky to get $20 ~ $25 for it.

I would think that my RAM would be worth the most given the outrageous prices people want to sell their DDR2 RAM for, and I have 4 x 2gb. But if I remember correctly the last time I looked a few weeks ago the RAM wasn't going for that much unless you were looking for 4gb DDR2 sticks.

To be honest I'd save up some cash for a few months then sell the lot. I have a great old SKT775 box with a decent C2Q, full feature m-ATX board and 4x2 1066DDR2 ram in it. Also has Windows 8.1 Pro.

If I sold it as a whole box I might get £80 for it. If I sold it for parts I'd probably get that for the ram alone.

I sold my old Opteron 180/DFI-Ultra/DDR500/7900GTX box back in late 2008/early 2009 for parts and raised enough to buy a whole new 4GB Phenom II box with a HD5770.
 

NaroonGTX

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Isn't Battlefront gonna have Mantle support? Or has EA ended that initiative (they said all their upcoming games on the Frostbite 3 or 4 engine would have it a while back)? If it does, then you can OC that Phenom and just get a better GPU and you'd be good.

edit: Did a quick check and this is one article that backs up my memory: http://techreport.com/news/25651/ma...ite-games-dice-calls-for-multi-vendor-support

However it's from late 2013 so I'm not sure if plans changed or anything.

edit2: I'm hearing that Battlefront will support DX12 at launch which would give you a higher degree of GPU options. Still can't find a confirmation from DICE/EA themselves though.
 
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Soarin

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Just to help, I have a 955BE also, with a 270 OC and 12gb ram, I know my cpu is bottle necking also, I say upgrade when you can.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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Isn't Battlefront gonna have Mantle support? Or has EA ended that initiative (they said all their upcoming games on the Frostbite 3 or 4 engine would have it a while back)? If it does, then you can OC that Phenom and just get a better GPU and you'd be good.

edit: Did a quick check and this is one article that backs up my memory: http://techreport.com/news/25651/ma...ite-games-dice-calls-for-multi-vendor-support

However it's from late 2013 so I'm not sure if plans changed or anything.

edit2: I'm hearing that Battlefront will support DX12 at launch which would give you a higher degree of GPU options. Still can't find a confirmation from DICE/EA themselves though.
He still needs to upgrade his CPU. The Frostbite game engine used in BF3, BF4, numerous other EA titles, and the upcoming Battlefront game can already leverage 4 CPU cores. Tossing DX12 (which loves using as many cores as possible) will not help him get more out of a quad core 955BE. He might have a chance if he at least had an overclocked Thuban X6.

He needs an upgrade. Simple as that. Preferably an FX-6xxx, FX-8xxx or any Intel i5 or better from the past few years.
 

NaroonGTX

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He can use an upgrade, but those new APIs aren't just about using more cores. DX11 and its predecessors and OpenGL all just had one single submission queue for the GPU, which was a huge bottleneck and is why even engines like Frostbite 3, that could use 8 cores, still weren't using all the hardware nearly as efficiently as it could.

It's been shown countless times already that with Mantle and DX12, older CPU's do just fine if they have three or four cores because much of the unnecessary bloat that was previously placed on the CPU is removed, and the GPU's can be fed much more properly and thus become the bottleneck easier. DX12 tests have shown that 4 cores is basically the sweet spot, with more than that being applicable for use, but not really necessary.

There was a guy on this very forum a while back who posted screens of his BF4 experience in MP (which historically was a lot more CPU-demanding than SP was for BF3 as well); he had an old Core 2 Quad with some 7000-series Radeon. Under DX11 he was getting like ~35 fps or so, under Mantle he was getting 80+ on the same map with a lot of players. Not to mention the much-increased minimums.

That being said he'd see a much more significant upgrade with the GPU than a CPU, but both would help. I'm sure that even an old Phenom II would properly feed a modern decent GPU under Mantle/DX12.
 

defaultluser

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Yeah, upgrade the GPU today, and then upgrade your CPU when you can afford at least a core i5.

Don't rush things. But I agree with NaroonGTX that you will get more performance out of a new video card than a new CPU TODAY. And it's fairly easy to check if your CPU is limiting you - just play the game at lower resolutions and see if your framerate stays the same.

Also, I highly encourage you to buy an Nvidia GPU, because the Nvidia drivers are far more optimized for the existing DX11 games you will be playing for years:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9483/intel-skylake-review-6700k-6600k-ddr4-ddr3-ipc-6th-generation/21

Take a close look at that list. There are some games where the AMD card is slower by half on the slower quad cores, but most it's closer to 20% slower in most games. Still, that may buy you enough time to save up for a solid upgrade.

Or you could go AMD if your game selection is Mantle-heavy. But otherwise I wouldn't. Both companies will have solid support for DX12 once it starts getting used,
 
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NaroonGTX

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Yes, proliferation of Mantle is pretty much halted or significantly lowered since Mantle got repurposed into the foundation of DX12 and Vulkan (which honestly is a good thing since it's now vendor-agnostic.) If you go Nvidia, make sure you get a Maxwell v2 GPU at least (GTX 900 series) since Nvidia has gimped Kepler performance on some games thanks to their amazing drivers, lol.
 

MacLeod

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With a really good GPU you can still squeeze out some life from that thing. My boy's rig has a X6 1090 with a slight overclock at 3.6 and running a GTX 670 FTW at stock speeds and it's plenty capable at 1080. I agree you do need a CPU upgrade but as long as you're not after 1440+ resolutions and max settings on the most demanding games you can still have a good performing rig.
 

craz0

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My boy has a 955be and a r9 280 gaming at 1080p and defiantly capable of handling it, if I was you i'd do the GPU first and save till you hit another wall then upgrade the CPU and MB.
 

tangoseal

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Go big... used 3930k and gtx 980ti baby! Run all games at 100+fps 1080p lol

Ok ok fine my friend just bought a gtx960 w 4gb ram and LOVES IT! I think adding a new $200 gpu is your answer or get the fastest AMD apu and load it up with a bunch of ram and dedicate a lot to the apu gpu and youd be surprised at how powerful they are for the money.

At microcenter in store you can get an apu and I think even a free mobo and be under 200 bux. So you get a much faster CPU and much faster GPU.
 

FlawleZ

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If money isn't a problem why even bother with the post in the first place? Just buy a new system. If you ARE working with a budget, the recommendation will vary. Yes, your system is dated and will probably struggle to run at higher settings for newer games. I can say though, your Phenom II could still push more GPU power. The 4890 is a bigger bottleneck than the CPU. And that 955 BE should be able to do 3.4 or 3.5Ghz even with nothing but a 2 second multiplier change.

I ran a 980 BE as low as 4Ghz and had 0 bottlenecking on my HD7950.
 
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