upgrading motherboard, and questions on processors

Hello, everyone. I ask your opinions/guidance on upgrading my wife’s computer – specifically as to motherboard and processor choice.

Currently she has an MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum board with an AMD ADA3200DAA4BP Athlon 64 processor and 2 GB of Corsair TWINX2048-3200PT memory. The form factor is ATX.

In addition to the usual stuff everyone does with computers she would also like to be able to work with home videos. She’d probably prefer to stay with AMD processors (though not an absolute requirement). We’re thinking of moving up from a single processor board, so here are my questions.

  1. What significant differences would there be with dual processors as opposed to a single dual-core processor? Is there a reason to go one way or the other? (A significant cost difference would be a consideration.)

  2. Based on question number 1, can you recommend a motherboard? Please note that we must keep the ATX form factor (want to use the same case).

  3. Then based on both questions #1 and 2, can you recommend either a single core processor (and I’ll buy two of them) or, alternatively, a dual-core processor?

  4. Finally, for either two processors or one dual-core processor would you think 2 GB of memory will be sufficient or would she really need 4 GB to get performance from such processor(s)?

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions and anything else you might comment. :slight_smile:


A cheap option if it’s socket 939, see if you can pickup a X2
processor assuming that board supports it?

I would imagine that upgrading the motherboard to a dual/quad core
would also mean upgrading you power supply and possibly your video card
as well as ram. Probably would be cheaper to look for a prebuilt

I do simple video processing here and find the dual core with 2GB runs
fine using handbrake to convert to mp4.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel
up 1 day 17:44, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.02, 0.00
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - CUDA Driver Version: 190.18

a single dual core or quad core is going to be cheaper and simpler to setup. most of the dual cpu motherboards out there are either high-end workstation or server motherboards (expensive), or very outdated, so just finding a dual cpu motherboard for a single core processor might be a problem. malcolmlewis has the right idea for you. just get a prebuilt from one of the big OEM’s $400-$500 for a modern machine as apposed to $200-$250 for a mb cpu combo + $50-$75 for a powersupply + another $75-$100 for a new video card, $30-$50 for memory that’s $350-$375 min. and you have to put it together, clean and inspect the reused parts. so for $50-$150 more it’s assembled, has a warranty (I don’t know about you but my wife likes that word), looks brand new, and with probably include things like a bigger hard drive then you have now, a new dvd player/writer, a new keyboard and mouse and little things like that.

Thanks to Malcolm and Tom for these very helpful suggestions. Any other considerations from anyone?


found this
PCLinuxOS Intel Systems
Intel Dual Core E5200 Processor
MSI Intel Chipset Motherboard
2 GB DDR2 Kingston Memory
Keyboard/Optical Mouse
2 Piece Black Speaker Set
400W Silver/Black Case

comes with PCLinuxOS pre-installed for $359us
or this

PCLinuxOS pre-installed
ATX mid tower 400w
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
NVIDIA nforce w/GF 6100 gpu
250GB SATA2 7200rpm

With 2GB memory for just $319.00us

Thanks! We’ll check out these two you found. Appreciate the information.


Gurus (especially hardware gurus…)

Has anyone purchased from this company or know anyone who has?

They offer the following which looked quite interesting to my wife:


  • This system includes…
  • PCLinuxOS 2009.2 pre-installed
  • Compu Case 400w ATX Full Tower
  • AMD Phenom X3 8450+ CPU (3x2.1Ghz)
  • MSI K9N2GM mATX 6XSATA Chipset
    NVIDIA® GeForce 8200
  • 4G 800MHZ DDR2 NON-ECC
  • 320G SATA-300 7200RPM


We already have two 1.5 TB external hard-drives that we could connect, so the small HD that comes with this box is not an issue.

She’d strip off the OS loaded on the box and install SuSE 11.1.

Any thoughts on this hardware? Do you see positive or negative issues with anything in this system?

Thanks, gurus! :slight_smile:

That still seems a little pricey, I would suggest looking at this site for good deals. I have used them in the past and they seem to have good deals and free shipping if your in the US.

3B Tech - Buy computer parts, notebooks, desktops, electronics and more!

Now if you feel up to it I would say build your own, as most cheap systems come with sub par power supplies and memory that is generic. If you don’t need a monitor you should be able to build your system for well under your cost with good parts that will last many years. But if your doing the TCO nothing can beat the cost of a OEM system even with cheap parts the price point can’t be beat if you really want the best price.

I guess it depends on your budget, it will get to a point that getting
the parts and upgrading your system may be a cheaper option as pointed
out in rthoreau’s post.

I wonder if you might consider getting a raptor 10K drive which will
add some performance benefits but only 150GB since you have external

I use 2x36GB raptors that have been running for just over 34000
Power On Hours now.

Not sure about a 400W supply, it may be a bit light, would suggest
checking some of the online power supply calculators.

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel
up 4 days 17:45, 2 users, load average: 0.10, 0.27, 0.25
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - CUDA Driver Version: 190.18

Tom, Malcolm, rthoreau (and others!),

I went to the site referenced above and spoke with the sales folks. Here is a possibility. I ask your thoughts on:

  1. value for the $$
  2. expectations that SuSE 11.1 and afterwards will play nice with it.

Midtower case with Viotek 600W power supply
Biostar GF8100 M2+TE motherboard
AMD Phenom II Quad Core 920 – 2.8 Ghz
4GB DDR2-6400 RAM (likely to be generic brand)
500 GB SATA hard drive
18X dual layer DVD-RW/CD-RW
2 extra 80mm case fans

Note: this system as priced would rely on the motherboard’s video and 5.1 audio chips as well as 10/100 network connection.

$455.98 including shipping

So, gurus…

  1. Is this good value for the price?
  2. Are the components good, bad, indifferent?

For example, is generic memory something to be avoided? Should I instead go for Corsair or Kingston or some other name brand?

Is the memory board and processor combination something at the tail end of current, mid-level technology, or is this pretty good stuff?

We fully expect that adding dedicated sound and video cards might (will?) be necessary. But for the price, is this a good deal? Again, my wife wants to be able to capture, composite, and edit audio and video with programs such as Cinelerra.

Thanks for your wisdom! :slight_smile:

This is a nice PC, by my old PC standards. Still, if she has heavy video processing to do, I can understand the desire to update.

I can’t answer your specific questions - so someone else can answer those.

What I can note is a quick surf indicated this PC has a nVidia GeForce 8100 grahics, and for audio an ALC662 hardware audio codec.

Searching the alsa web site for the ALC662 I note: Search results - AlsaProject - ALC662 so its possible you may find openSUSE-11.2 (which will come with 1.0.21 of alsa in the kernel) will work well for you. If using openSUSE-11.1 you may want to update the alsa driver, dependant on the behaviour you experience. No worries in either case.

I note a nVidia GeForce 8100, and for video work, the first question I asked myself is does the GeForce 8100 with a proprietary nVidia graphic driver support vdpau. … Some info on vdpau here: Video editing/avchd - openSUSE I could not find much. I note this: VDPAU - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia where it states for the GeForce 8100 some 8100 IGPs possibly only support VP1. Is that important? Probably not.

I use vdpau for playback of custom home recorded videos from my AVCHD camcorder at its highest bitrate/resolution (a Canon HF S10) on my older 32-bit single core PC. Linux software for video editing does not at this time take advantage of vdpau (and its not clear if it ever will) so not having a vdpau capability should not be a major loss. An AMD Phenom II Quad Core 920 – 2.8 Ghz should be able to handle an AVCHD video without having to resort to vdpau.

So I think that motherboard/graphic card combination should be able to handle video editing ok, … albeit thats based on my limited experience in moving up from a 32-bit athlon-2800 w/GeForce FX5200 to a 64-bit intel core i7 920 (which has 4 cores (8 virtual)).

Have fun shopping. :slight_smile:

Thank you, oldcpu. Your feedback is very helpful. :slight_smile:


That is interesting, that they would match that processor with that motherboard

according to biostar maximum CPU TDP (Thermal Design Power) is only 95W

but the 920 cpu is rated at 125W, and the processor will not boot on that board, the AMD Phenom II X4 925 will work also quad core @ 2.8Ghz

I guess I should throw in my $0.02 - I’ve upgraded my motherboard several times (I’ve stuck with Athalons) - and it’s always been a really simple process until the last time I upgraded to an Asus motherboard. The system wouldn’t boot due to the fact that OpenSuSE has adopted HAL (hardware abstraction layer). I had to reinstall OpenSuSE. Nowadays, with HAL, OpenSuSE will care about your chipset. So it’s likely you will want to stick with the same motherboard manufacturer you have now. That should be easy - they’re all making dual/quad core motherboards now. A hardware Guru (or Wizard) should jump in here, but I think AMD’s have now gone to on-CPU “chipsets” so you may have to reinstall OpenSuSE with almost any AMD upgrade you do.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Mostly, you need separate “/home” and “/” partitions. Then, if you do need to reinstall OpenSuSE because of HAL, it will detect a preexisting /home partition and ask if you want to use it during the installation. That way all your setups (except most installed software) will be preserved.

Comments, OpenSuSE experts?


Tom, a technical matter of this sort is over my head. Are you saying that this MB and processor combination can’t or won’t work properly and is to be avoided? My admittedly naive assumption would have been that since the processor was one choice on a drop-down (upgrade) options list on the computer retailer’s website it’s been pre-tested and determined to work with the MB.

Now I am concerned.


that processor WILL NOT work on that motherboard. it was designed for a 95w TDP processor. you will get a warning on the bios post screen saying “The max power of the CPU is over 95w, prepare for shutdown…”

Thank you for this unequivocal warning. :wink: