Athlon X2 3800 or Opteron 165 for s939 upgrade?

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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I've prowled around a little on here and people seem to love the Opteron 165 if you're still on socket 939. But I did a little comparision shopping on Newegg, and the X2 3800 is faster at stock speed and a lot cheaper.

x2 3800 (oem) 2.0ghz $64
Opteron 165 (retail) 1.8ghz $96

Obviously there's going to be some overclocking going on, but it'll be with a stock cooler. I am currently running an Asrock 939 Dual with an Opteron 144 oc to 2.4ghz @ 1.25V. I got up to 2.7, but for everyday use I leave it at 2.4 since I can undervolt it and keep it under 40c with the retail heatsink.

I primarily play games and do officework + folding, so I'm probably not even a good candidate for a dual core... it just is really tempting with the x2 3800 @ $64.

So the question is this : x2 3800 vs Opty 165, which is the better overclocker under normal cooling conditions?

With Fry's selling x2 5600 AM2 combo's for $149 and 2gb ddr kits in the $50 range, it's hard to swallow spending $96 on a slower (albeit dual core) cpu.

I welcome any thoughts and opinions.

EDIT - I also see the x2 4200 s939 (oem) 2.2ghz for $84, thats 400mhz faster at stock than the Opty 165 and 12 bucks cheaper to boot.... anyone have any x2 4200 OC experience?
 

GeezerMan

Platinum Member
Jan 28, 2005
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The opty has a bigger L2 cache, but that means a very little performance difference. The Opty comes with a heatpipe HSF, that is good for about a 2.7 GHz overclock, maybe a bit more. The stock 3800+ X2 HSF, that does not come with the OEM Newegg version, is not as good as the heatpipe version HSF. I have been involved with overclocking 3 of the Newegg Toledo 3800+ X2, all have been excellent at over 2.6GHz, but run a bit warm. I'm not sure I would run them overclocked on the plain jane HSF

I personally own a Opty 165 that overclocks easily to 2.6GHz on the heatpipe HSF.

 

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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Is the 165's heatsink worth $32? I had planned on using my stock 144's heatsink on the x2 3800, at least for a while until I built another cheap system for it.

My case is a Sonata, which is not really known for great airflow anyway. But with ambient air temp around 80f I clock temps from 40c idle to 50ish at load. Assuming speedfan is accurate anyway.
 

GeezerMan

Platinum Member
Jan 28, 2005
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It's a nice HSF that you can get for about 20.00 delivered.
Mid 50s with dual orthos is what I have seen with my Opty with the heatpipe HSF, as well as the 3800+ X2 at 2.6GHz. Air temp about 80ish. Check the Frosty Tech reviews for the temp difference between the standard and heatpipe HSF.
Some say the better memory controller makes the Opty worth it over the X2. If I was deciding between the two, and both overclocked about the same, I would go Opty. The L2 cache being bigger in the Opty may be noticed a little bit in games.
The CPU multiplier is easier to work with the 3800+ X2 though.
 

Amaroque

Platinum Member
Jan 2, 2005
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The mem controller in the opty is exacly the same as the X2.

Some ppl say they are tested more rigorusly, which I belive, being a server CPU.
 

GeezerMan

Platinum Member
Jan 28, 2005
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Yeah, I heard that both ways about the memory controllers. I have read that the Optys are tested more, but then I read that they are made on the same assembly line and that there is no difference between the Optys and the X2, just some models of each have larger L2 caches. I was kinda surprised to see such late production of the 3800+ X2 Toledo cores. I thought they had stopped making them in the 3800+ X2 variety, for the cheaper Manchester core. Perhaps the late Toledos are just ones that have half of their L2 cache defective, and they made them into 3800+ X2.
Oh well, they are both good chips.
 

Rhoxed

Golden Member
Jun 23, 2007
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my friend has an Opty 165 that tops out at about 2.6ghz, i have a 3800+ x2 Toledo that cranks 2.85ghz @ 1.5 (with zalman 9700 cooler)
 

Comdrpopnfresh

Golden Member
Jul 25, 2006
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I don't know why you even have to upgrade. I personally think you'd be better off getting a good 3rd-party heatsink (thermalright anyone?) for you current chip, then overclock it more. 939 is dead, and at this point it'd be better to wait for am3 or the next iteration of 775 for nethleham. The heatsink will work now, as well as on your next board. However, a new processor will only make the current one you have useless, as well as, lose all of its own value when you upgrade anyhow. I'm in the same position and have settled on that route if I do get anything. I have an X2 3800+ manchester on an asus a8n32-sli deluxe in an antec sonata II. Also, if by sonata you meant sonata II, I'd get a good 120mm fan for the harddrive slot if you already don't have something populating that. Once again, it can be used now, and put into the next computer you have (if you're gonna go core or w/ amd's next offering I don't think the sonata can handle the thermals of those systems. I would go about this upgrade with the aim to increase the system you have without sinking more money into the sinking 939.

::EDIT::
The toledo core x2s are downgraded versions of higher-end chips that had defective cache (or not- doesn't matter- they're laser cut, so the reason why does not matter). Toledoes run hotter than the machester core. This is mainly because the large L2 cache on the die makes the execution cores more off-center on the IHS compared to the manchester core (this is what was explained to me by others). So with the heat-source offset, the heat does not disperse to heatsinks as efficiently.
It seems that you have said you don't really need dual-core, then why get it now? And if you did, the main argument between the two is the heatsink (ties in with my original suggestion). You will see no benefit from the opty's extra cache. The purpose of cache is to mask the performance hit of a slow bus or mechanism (why there is more cache in intel chips with no on-chip controller, and why there is cache on a hdd with a mechanically slow spindle). You don't need a dualcore, and the HT bus is not going to be filled ever by your uses. The only thing I can think of is that your folding scores may be a bit higher. whoopie!

if you don't care about your current heatsink or cpu (which apparently you don't give the upgrade paths of either a new heatsink, or a new cpu/hsf) is to lap both of them. This'll give you a good overclock headroom given the case you have, keep temps lower, and then you can maybe achieve the same overclocks on less voltage too. I didn't expect much, but after doing it, my cpu could then stably overclock from 2 to 2.7 (up from 2.6 as the previous max), with minimal voltage change (1.429 max now vs 1.55), and a cooler case temp. now. There is an excellent threat ont he subject, and all it takes is some time (don't forget to take a picture of the cpu info first....)
 

bryanW1995

Lifer
May 22, 2007
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it's not a bad stop gap to upgrade your processor now imho. It will give you another year or two to tide you over until nehalem/fusion come out.

I have an opteron 180 stock hsf that is currently a paper weight on my desk. You can have it cheap if you want it.
 
Jan 12, 2006
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I am in the same boat... I am running an Athlon 3500+ (single core) and would like to upgrade to dual core.. The cost of a complete rebuild is prohibitive, as I just can't afford it now. I am just not sure wether to go with an Opteron 165 or an X2 model. I haven't seen any benchmarks between the 2.
 

bryanW1995

Lifer
May 22, 2007
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Ok, I need to update my fs/ft list. I have an fx55 and an opteron 180 and I need to sell one of them.
 

duragezic

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
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A X2 3800 (2.0ghz) would probably be a tad faster overall than a 165 (1.8ghz). The extra L2 cache only makes a small difference in some applications. I think it is something like, given two X2s with identical clock speeds but one with 1MB L2 and the other with 512KB L2 (one of the X2 4xxx models was like this), the one with the extra L2 cache would be rated by AMD by 100 or 200 more. i.e. 2.0ghz 512KB might be 3800, but 2.0ghz 1MB might be 4000.

And I don't know what applications really matter (I don't think a whole lot of them do, maybe server-oriented ones use it more), so the extra cache is a bonus but isn't all that of a big deal. Otherwise, with the L2 cache out of the equation (even if in it barely makes a difference), the chips (X2 and Opteron) perform EXACTLY the same.

I had to decide the same thing. I had a 146 @ 2.4-2.5ghz but wanted a dual core at > my current single core. I knew a 165 had a better chance of clocking higher than my 146, and back then (a month ago), the price difference was only about $20. My 165 does 2.7ghz with the stock cooler, and might be able to go higher if ambient wasn't so high or if I had a better cooler. The X2 3800 doesn't include the heatpipe HSF, which means if you don't already have a good HSF, plan on spending $15-25 to get a HSF equal to or better than the heatpipe one that comes with all dual core Opterons and the higher end dual core X2s.

And although Opterons are known to overclock better, that isn't for sure, and a X2 3800 might just as well hit 2.6-2.8ghz or so, which is what most 165s without expensive cooling tend to hit.

Also, if your motherboard can not run at 300mhz HTT or so, then forget the 165 and the 9x multiplier as you won't be able to hit 2.7ghz, whether the chip can or not. The X2 3800 has a 10x multiplier, as does the Opteron 170, but at the 170s price, the price difference gets kind of large.

Also, as a gamer (primary motivation for upgading), going from a single core 939 @ 2.4ghz to a dual core 939 @ 2.7ghz, I've noticed very little difference. I knew this ahead of time. I was just happy to get a cheap dual core upgrade (plan to sell my 146) at a slightly faster clock, for future games. Almost all upcoming games I plan to buy like Crysis, HL2 Ep2, UT3, etc will utilize both cores well.
 

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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The last couple of posts have hit the nail on the head, I just want something to stopgap me for another year or so. I can live with $65, and I'll find a bargain 939 mlb for the "old" opty 144 and replace one of my crappier mlb's with that. I can't sell the 144 for more than 10 bucks anyway so might as well keep it.

Going AM2 now means new mlb + cpu obviously, but new ram, new hard drive, and probably a new power supply = more $ than I have right now. Plus the OS rebuild and the hassle of all that. The x2 3800 (or the opty 165 if I decide to pony up the extra $22) is a drop in replacement, and I already checked my HAL to make sure it will change to ACPI multi without reloading.

And while I do play games, I often pop in and out of games like Civ 4 to web browse or work, and I think a dual core could really help out here because alt-tabbing out of an app like that and trying to do something like burn a cd, VPN to work, etc is just painful. So yeah, I don't expect my FEAR fps to go up, but I want overall chugging between apps to go away.

I thought about just cranking the 144 as far as it will go, but even at 2.7 it did not "feel" any better, especially switching apps. Plus as far as FPS games go I'm gpu limited, my once mighty 7800 GT feels kind of puny now.

So I think I'll settle on the x2 3800 and take the $22 price difference from the opty 165 and buy another 512 ddr stick.

Thanks to all who have offered advice, and once I get the thing plugged in we'll see how well it oc's on my old heatsink.
 

SickBeast

Lifer
Jul 21, 2000
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I would go with the Opteron 165 if I were you.

They generally overclock better, and the extra cache is worth about 200mhz in and of itself.
 

CurseTheSky

Diamond Member
Oct 21, 2006
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For overclocking, definately the 165.

For general use and no overclocking, I'd probably go with the 3800+.

Both should still handle anything you throw at it. It's a shame 939 died away so quickly, that was the generation that really got me into computer building and customization.
 
Jan 12, 2006
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Thanks Burticus for the thread, and everyone else for the input... I too will be looking into an Opteron 165... once the funds materialize..... :(
 

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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Just a side note, I was watching an auction for an opty 144 with the heatsink, ended for $21.... so maybe it is worth the effort to sell on fleabay. I'm bidding on some XP-90s and watching some other heatsinks as well... some guy is selling a new opty 175 heatpipe heatsink for $6 ($13.50 shipped).... might go that route. Dropping $30+ for big boys like the Big Typhoon or XP-120 is just...wrong. All the decent Zalmans are high too.
 

GeezerMan

Platinum Member
Jan 28, 2005
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The AMD heatpipe is very good. I use one myself. I short out the thermistor in order to run up the fan higher when needed. I control it with speedfan. Check out the reviews on Frosty Tech for the heatpipe. They do come in several versions though, but performance is very similar
 

GeezerMan

Platinum Member
Jan 28, 2005
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There are different designs. The ones with the tiny little circuit board, you just use a #2 pencil and connect the bridge. Some have a green blob of thermally reactive compound that completes the circuit between the two wires underneath when hot enough. Just connect the 2 wires at the base, and that does the trick. I think Frosty Tech and Madshrimps talk about shorting the thermistor to get 100% fan use during their testing. But I will tell you right now, it gets loud in the upper range.



This review is NOT for the better heatpipe HSF, but it does cover the thermistor on the fan

Here you go: Thermistor Link
 

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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CPU came in yesterday, I ordered a new Opty 175 heat pipe heatsink from fleabay and it arrived today ($7 + shipping). This is much beefier than the opty 144 heatsink, thanks much to GeezerMan for the recomendation.

Flashed up to the latest OCW Beta Bios 8 for the Asrock Dual Sata 939. (I noticed on the Asrock site the current bios is 2.30, but the last couple notes are vidcard and am2 expansion related. If I follow the OCW versions right this would based off 1.8, I was running OCW beta 4 on my opty144).

CPU is LCBQE X2 3800 oem s939 Toledo from Newegg, cost me $65, plus the opty 175 heatsink (total shipped $78).

Plugged in and played for a bit, the Asrock board has always had trouble above 270fsb but right now I'm at 2.8 (10x280). 2.85 reboots during windoze xp login. Max volt on this board is 1.4 (default voltage for the x2 3800), I think if I had a better board and could increase voltage a bit I could easily hit 2.85+. There IS a volt mod for this one, but I'd rather not mess with the soldering. Today anyway.

Throttled back to 2.8 and actually undervolted a notch to 1.35v (1.30v rebooted during windoze load). Running 44c idle now as I type this. My case is a gen 1 Antec Sonata, even with an extra 120mm fan these are not known for their cooling ability. Plus it is crammed under my desk with poor airflow, ambient temp is about 80f.

I totally feel like if my board had more voltage options this could hit 3ghz.

Have a cpuz snapshot but can't seem to plug it in here and I don't have offsite photo storage handy. Hmmm.

So far I am happy as a freaking clam, $78 got me a 2.8 dual core, easy as pie.

Question - if I run orthos at any speed I get an immediate hardware fault alarm.... I did load the AMD drivers, is that the problem?
 

myocardia

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2003
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Originally posted by: Burticus
Question - if I run orthos at any speed I get an immediate hardware fault alarm.... I did load the AMD drivers, is that the problem?

Does Orthos error at default speed? If not, it's erroring because you aren't giving your cpu enough vcore, or you are running your RAM too fast for the timings you have it at.
 

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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My ram is running pretty slow right now @ 187 because I left it all on Auto.. I'll tweak my memory when I have more time. It's not great stuff anyway, Patriot ddr 3200 something.

Which test to run? The small FFTs stress cpu test bombs right away.
 

Burticus

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Apr 28, 2000
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Been playing hard for a bit, sitting at 46c but the fan has kicked up in speed... I can hear it. It's not terrible, but I was very much spoiled by absolute silence from the opty 144 / amd oem fan.

I imagine one of these plus a monster heatsink like a Big Typhoon or Xp-120 would rock. I lost those auctions on ebay however, and settled for the opty 175 heatsink. $7 vs $30+. so one can imagine there might be a little difference.

HEY! I just checked Newegg and the cpu has gone down to $63.99 free shipping! Crazy!

There should be some kind of global alert for s939 users to buy this chip ASAP before s939 dies off altogether. I am telling all my friends with s939 to get on the ball before it is too late.