2 Replies Latest reply: Feb 21, 2011 11:54 AM by parsec RSS

    Help choosing best compatiable CPU & GPU


      I was recently given an older computer (2006) and would like advice on choosing best CPU and GPU to improve performance for gaming purposes.  Though I know a bit about computers, this over load of information is confounding me.  Any input you people may have would be greatly appreciated.  My system is:



      OS:MS Windows XP Professional 32-bit SP3
      Installation Date: 20 February 2006, 16:19


      CPU:Intel Pentium 4 521
          Cores    1
          Threads    1
          Name    Intel Pentium 4 521
          Code Name    Prescott
          Package    Socket 775 LGA
          Technology    90nm
          Specification    Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz
          Family    F
          Extended family    F
          Model    4
          Extended model    4
          Stepping    9
          Revision    G1
          Instructions    MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, EM64T
          Bus speed    199.5 MHz
          Rated Bus speed    798.1 MHz
          Stock core speed    2800 MHz
          Stock bus speed    200 MHz
                  L1 data cache size    16 KBytes
                  L1 trace cache    12 Kuops
                  L2 unified cache size    1024 KBytes
              Core 0
                  Core speed    2793.0 MHz
                  Multiplier    x 14.0
                  Bus speed    199.5 MHz
                  Rated Bus speed    798.1 MHz
                      Thread 1
                          APIC ID    0


      Motherboard:Manufacturer    Dell Inc.
      Model    0MH415
      Chipset vendor    Intel
      Chipset model    i945P/PL/G/GZ
      Chipset revision    A2
      Southbridge vendor    Intel
      Southbridge model    82801GB (ICH7/R)
      Southbridge revision    A1
              Brand    Dell Inc.
              Version    A11
              Date    11/30/2006


          Type    DDR2
          Size    1024 MBytes
          Channels #    Dual
          DRAM frequency    266.0 MHz
          CAS# Latency (CL)    4 clocks
          RAS# to CAS# delay (tRCD)    4 clocks
          RAS# precharge (tRP)    4 clocks
          Cycle time (tRAS)    12 clocks
          Bank cycle time (tRС)    16 clocks
          Number of SPD modules    2
              Slot #1
                  Type    DDR2
                  Size    512 MBytes
                  Manufacturer    Hyundai Electronics
                  Max bandwidth    PC2-5300 (333 MHz)
                  Part number    HYMP564U64BP8-Y5 
                  Serial number    00001024
                  Week/year    43 / 06
                  SPD Ext.    EPP
                      JEDEC #3
                          Frequency    333.3 MHz
                          CAS# latency    5.0
                          RAS# to CAS#    6
                          RAS# Precharge    6
                          tRAS    16
                          tRC    21
                          Voltage    1.800 V
                      JEDEC #2
                          Frequency    266.7 MHz
                          CAS# latency    4.0
                          RAS# to CAS#    4
                          RAS# Precharge    4
                          tRAS    12
                          tRC    16
                          Voltage    1.800 V
                      JEDEC #1

        • 1. Re: Help choosing best compatiable CPU & GPU

          Check your mobo docs to see max cpu frequency.

          If you have the lga 775 socket I'd suggest a core 2 quad like this $150 one:



          If you have the money go for the $280 one:



          If you want only the best, go for this $340 one:




          For graphics card I prefer radeon hd over any other.

          A good one would be this $175 one:



          Best of the best would be this $277 one:


          They sell em more expensive, if you prefer overclocking.


          You most likely will need to buy a new PSU, or at least have a 450W for the entry models, and at least a 550-600W supply for the best card and cpu.

          • 2. Re: Help choosing best compatiable CPU & GPU

            Hi SungOdra,  As Prodigit suggested, your basic pool of CPUs are socket 775 processors.  There are many of them to choose from, although Intel has started to discontinue some of them as their new models are introduced.  Of course they can still be found at retailers and there is nothing wrong with them.


            The main factor that may limit your choice is your mother board.  Pentium 4 CPUs are among the first ones that use the socket 775 platform, so the later models such as the Core 2 Duo and Quad series may not be compatible with that mother board, or more correctly it's BIOS.  If you can still find documentation for that PC, you may be able to find which CPUs were available as options for it, since manufactures sometimes offer upgrade options to their basic PC platforms.  If for example Core 2 CPUs were offered as upgrades, then it is more likely that any CPUs of that kind will work with that mother board.


            Another possible limiting factor of that mother board is it's Front Side Bus (FSB) speed, which from the specs you posted, seems to be 800MHz.  Many of the Core 2 CPUs can run at FSB speeds of 1066 or 1366 MHz.  I think that those CPUs can be used at your 800MHz FSB speed, but the overall performance of that combination will be lower than those CPUs are capable of.  The FSB speed of 800MHz will be a "bottleneck" that may limit the overall performance that could have been gained with a high performance socket 775 CPU.  Therefore you may not achieve any more performance from the very best CPUs compared to ones that are somewhat below them in potential performance.


            As modern GPUs/video cards function more independently from the CPU and mother board system than in the past, there is less concern with their interaction.  What is most important regarding video cards is what interface your mother board has for them.  Being from 2006, it might have the AGP interface, rather than the PCI-E interface used exclusively today.  I cannot tell from the specs you posted which interface your mother board has.  That will be a major factor determining which video cards you can use.  You should find out what that interface is, and post that information for us, as that is likely more important to overall gaming performance than the CPU.