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Looking for drop-in replacement to Sempron 140 AM3

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have a machine with a Sempron 140 (socket AM3) in a MSI 790FX GD70 motherboard. I need more processing power. Sketchup has been pegging the CPU at 100% on some models with lots of geometry for hours on end. Resizing my last "complex" model took about five hours. Ouch.

The Sargas is overclocked to 3.7 ghz for such applications, but still, it is a weak processor, and it's a C2 chip at that. Btw, the only reason why I have a Sempron 140 in such a motherboard is that it is a replacement for the old processor which I killed in a humiliating fashion years ago.

So, anyway, I'm looking for a drop-in replacement. The board's BIOS is old enough that it does not support E0-stepping chips (Zosma, Thuban). I *could* flash it, but I've already bricked one GD70 in the past and I'm not all that interested in doing that again; furthermore, getting a Thuban or Zosma for a reasonable price seems difficult. These 4-5 year old chips are still running $100 and higher on eBay, which is absurd. I think I saw a 1035T at around $80 the other day . . .

So, in your opinion(s), what chip should I be putting in here? I am comfortable with L3-less processors for a variety of reasons. The best deal I've been able to hunt down so far is an Athlon II x2 210e on eBay for $50 shipped that (allegedly) unlocked to an x4 610e quad. But, dammit it's another C2 chip. I guess at this stage, it doesn't really matter, but I would much rather get a C3.

Personally, I am looking for a way to get into an Athlon x4 or Phenom x4 (preferably C3) at about the same price-point that my Sempron 140 was in when I bought it ($30-$50). I am not above doing an unlock, though I know that unproven chips are a bit of a lottery. The prices I've seen on the straight-up quads have been . . . higher than expected. Also, were there any E0 stepping x2-x4 procs aside from Zosma for AM3? I'm not seeing any on the old lists.

Thanks!

edit: Anyone remember which x2/x3 steppings are good for unlocking? x2s with CADAC were supposed to be unlockable, but I don't remember the others.
Edited by drmrlordx - 4/6/14 at 6:43am
post #2 of 20
a Phenom II X 4 (Deneb) will be a huge upgrade or even an Athlon II X 4 (Propus).
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post #3 of 20
Definitely opt for an Athlon II X4 or Deneb/Thuban of some kind.

I am not sure how many phases that GD70 has so overclocking wise I'd be weary.

That said a 1035T isn't shabby (I have one now) and it's going to be an upgrade either way due to the additional cores. Thuban still has strong IPC. A 1035T could be somewhat easy to bring up to at least 3.0Ghz base clock (230 x 13x @ stock volts) so that would put it right against the 1075T's base clock.

A Sempron 140 is essentially a cut down Athlon but Athlon II X4s should be very easy to find and probably just as cheap. Definitely don't place your bets on unlocking, it isn't worth it.


Going for a Deneb/Thuban you'll just be left licking your fingers. An Athlon II X4 is already going to feel great over your current single core smile.gif so basically it's a win/win for you.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
The 790FX-GD70 is a good overclocker. Not the best, but one of the better ones. It hasn't given me any vdroop problems in the past, and I always blow a desk fan (a Honeywell stator-vane fan, actually) into the side of the case anyway for motherboard/DIMM cooling. It has hosted an Athlon II x4 635 (C2) chip in the past, which I flogged quite mightily back in the day. And, unlike the 890FX-GD70, it doesn't have VRMs that go "boom".

I killed that poor Propus when lapping it to remove an application of CL Ultra which, as it turned out, was unnecessary. gah. The Sargas is its replacement.

As much as I want a Thuban (or a Zosma unlock), I would have to flash my board, and I'm leery of doing that. What I really want is a chip in the $30-$50 range, but for some silly reason, the old quads are running $80 or (much) higher. Those old AM2+/AM3 chips are holding their value like Hondas. So far it's been eBay, amazon, google shopping, and pricewatch.

And yeah, I know the unlocks are risky. My Sargas goes into a reboot loop if I unlock the second core.

Looks like the Athlon II x3 445 may be my target. It only has two steppings (CACAC is a Deneb, NADHC is an Propus), and both have unlock potential. Without unlock, it's still a tri-core.
post #5 of 20
Bios flash is simple and more options.
post #6 of 20
Sent you a PM about an Athlon II X3 450 that I could part with.... thumb.gif
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post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
It's supposed to be simple, but I've bricked a GD70 once before doing it (ironically, this was in preparation for an x6 which I never bought 'cause the RMA replacement had an old BIOS on it, grr). There are some pretty good deals on x6 chips out there as compared to x4s. It's just that you won't get any x6 chips at the $50 mark, and if I can avoid messing with my BIOS, all the better.

Believe me, if a 1055T 95W were in the cards and in my budget, I'd be all over one of the OEM chips selling on eBay for $120 shipped. It just isn't. Or, at least, I don't think it is anyway . . .

edit: got PM, sent reply. Also, I may have to flash anyway. Most of the more interesting unlockable CPUs require a BIOS newer than what I have. Mine appears to be 1.A (reads as 1.10 at startup).
Edited by drmrlordx - 4/6/14 at 11:14am
post #8 of 20
Idk if it is an option for you but if you are near a microcenter you can get your hands on an fx 6300 for $109.99 and it comes with a free gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P. Not much of an OC board but that X6 even at stock will be MUCH faster than your current sempy.

**I know you specified a drop in replacement and I don't mean to seem like I didn't read your post I am just proposing the option biggrin.gif
Edited by CMI86 - 4/6/14 at 7:13pm
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post #9 of 20
Sketchup is a single threaded application. A thuban would be mostly wasted if this is the application that you are concerned with.

To improve performance in sketchup, make sure that you....

A: Have enough system memory to handle the models you are working on. Virtual memory is less than 1% of the speed of RAM. Large projects will require large amounts of memory. If you're tapping into virtual memory, seconds will become minutes and hours. Skeptchup recommends 8GB+
B: Have a decent discrete GPU with at least 1GB of VRAM (more is better for this type of work) and ensure that OpenGL acceleration is enabled in preferences. Something like an HD4750 / GTS250 or better.
C: Have a fast dual core (so that the program can get the full attention of a core). More cores will just sit idle. I think that the L3 cache of Phenom II is likely to have a positive effect here.

I recommend a phenom II X2, and overclock it as far as you can, but be careful, weird performance "hangs" and "delays" can actually be caused by stability problems. A high overclock will be counterproductive if it generates errors.


If you're going to switch to a new platform (like CMI86 is suggesting) the FX-6300 may not be a bad choice as they tend to be strong overclockers. I would however suggest spending the $50 for the combo with the UD3P instead as is much overclocking friendly. Otherwise I would recommend the Pentium G3420 on a ~$75 B85 board. The Pentium will perform the same in sketchup as the FX-6300 clocked to 5ghz.
Edited by mdocod - 4/6/14 at 7:48pm
     
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post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Interesting feedback. Sketchup 2014 is single-threaded? Oh the humanity. FWIW Resource Monitor shows it as spawning 9-10 threads, not that that necessarily means anything. But, if that's true, the best chip for Sketchup would be one of those late-gen Athlon II x2s with 1 mb L2 cache per core like the 270.

During operation, memory utilization rarely goes over 50%, and I don't get much disk activity except during save/load operations. Oh, my GPU is an old GeForce 8800 GTX Ultra. It doesn't seem to get much use since the GPU temps barely budge

As far as instability goes, I recently re-did my Sempron's overclock, and it should be more stable now. I may re-do one of the sluggish 5+ hour operations just to see if it behaves any better than previously. I would have expected crashes rather than slow performance, but if it keeps repeating the same operation over and over again to correct errors, then that would be possible. My 3.7 ghz overclock was only marginally unstable.

I'll probably not switch platforms. Sketchup is the only thing that taxes the poor old Sempron right now.
Edited by drmrlordx - 4/7/14 at 7:37am
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