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Upgrading CPU and new graphics card for aging computer

I have a very old HP Pavilion a6400z with an AMD Sempron x2 1.8 ghz processor. At this point, I'm no longer using it. It is too slow and obsolete. However, I do want to bring it to life so I can give it to a family member (very light computer user), so I was wondering what upgrades were possible and reasonable. A lot of simple upgrades are really cheap because of how old the parts are. At this point, I don't care about the used parts failing because of how old this computer is to begin with.

This is the computers spec page:
https://support.hp.com/za-en/document/c01409428

This is the spec page for the motherboard:
https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01237548

What I'm confused by is that the motherboard page says that the highest Athlon 64 x2 processor that can be used is a x2 4800+. However on the product page, it says the computer could be configured with an AMD Athlon 64 x2 (W) 5000+ CPU. By the way, what does the (W) represent? I'm assuming that the page for the motherboard wasn't updated after this computer came out? The 5000+ is a 65 W processor so I would assume it would work. I don't want to risk buying it and it not working, so should I just stick with the 4800+? Anyone experienced with this particular motherboard, could you chime in? The processors are cheap, but I'd rather not have to buy two.

Another question, what graphics card should I put in? Keep in mind that the most graphics intensive thing the user will do is watch 1080p videos. Current integrated graphics is nVidia GeForce 6150SE. I was thinking of getting a low-profile HD6450 because of how cheap they are right now on ebay. Will I have any issue with installing this card? I believe the current power supply is 300 W. I hope that should be sufficient was a very low end graphics card like that.
Reply to coolkul
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  1. Best answer
    You can go ahead and buy the AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+ processor it will work. It has the same socket as 4800+ and has the same TDP you are right that they might have not updated the page overall. As for buying the graphic card HD 6450 will do just fine playing 1080p videos is not gonna be a problem for the card it will be when you start gaming and it can do that too but not the latest games. And power is not gonna be an issue since 6450 does not require external psu connection.
    Reply to goku1234567890
  2. I'd assume the (W) and (B) on the list refers to the "Windsor" or "Brisbane" revision of such CPU:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athlon_64_X2

    And because these OEM MBs are notoriously difficult about compatibility, I will tell you that it's probably more trouble than it's worth trying to upgrade it. You'd do much better both in term of more performance and less headache with either new parts Kabylake G4560 or 2nd hand Ivy Bridge custom build.

    Hell, you can just look at the supposedly DRAM option in the PC page which says: 4GB (4x1GB) vs the MB picture with only two DIMM slots to see how much trust can you put into these documents before spending your money on upgrade/replacement parts.

    If you're still set on upgrading/replacing here are some info which you may find useful:

    I used to have a Core 2 Duo E6320 1.86Ghz which Passmark score of 1193 and it would have trouble playing 1080p H264 8bit (YT/ etc... are mainly running on this codec) and H264 10bit contents, and struggle with even 720p H265 (the codec adopted to be the standard for HTML5 video). Upgraded that system from XP to W8 somewhat solve the first part (the E6320 still have trouble with high bit rate 1080p contents and dropping frames in H265 video).

    The Sempron DC 2100 have Passmark score of 869 so it's gonna struggle with 1080p video regardless of codec.

    In term of RAM, said C2D E6320 were passable for web browsing with 2GB DDR2 667 (it had a dedicated GT 220 1GB DDR2 GPU, so the 2GB DDR2 system memory weren't shared to any IGP); if the HP has less, you're looking at further replacement cost. With 2GB RAM and a number of tabs opened, Firefox could either outright crash or hang, image larger than 10 MB will not load; performance of Chromium based browser will plummet if there are more than a few tabs.

    The MB of that HP computer only support 10-Base-T i.e. a theoretical maximum LAN connection bandwidth of 10 Megabit/s or ~1.2MB, and realistically way less than that.

    So I'd say you're looking at a CPU replacement, maybe a graphic card addition (for hardware video decode and free up system memory from the IGP) and likely a PCI LAN card (since the PCIe x1 is too close to the x16 slot for the graphic card) to get speed better than dial-up/ADSL.
    Reply to FD2Raptor
  3. goku1234567890 said:
    You can go ahead and buy the AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+ processor it will work. It has the same socket as 4800+ and has the same TDP you are right that they might have not updated the page overall. As for buying the graphic card HD 6450 will do just fine playing 1080p videos is not gonna be a problem for the card it will be when you start gaming and it can do that too but not the latest games. And power is not gonna be an issue since 6450 does not require external psu connection.


    Thank you. Will any other processor with the same TDP and a higher clock speed work like the 5200+ or 5400+?
    Reply to coolkul
  4. They should work given the BIOS is updated enough to support the newer processors. What is your current version of BIOS?
    Reply to goku1234567890
  5. goku1234567890 said:
    They should work given the BIOS is updated enough to support the newer processors. What is your current version of BIOS?


    I have version 5.13, I think. I don't have access to the computer right now, so I'll have to check. The latest BIOS version is 5.14. I haven't been able to find information about what processors are supported by the BIOS version. Where can I find this? HP only has updates for Vista. I currently have 32-bit Vista on this computer, but I'm planning on installing Windows 10 64-bit. Will I have any issues with updating the BIOS with the 32-bit Vista installation, then upgrading to Windows 10?

    I looked at reviews of the 65 W 5600+ on ebay and I read a couple of people with Compaq computers with the same motherboard that said it works. I've ordered that CPU as it's the highest one I think I can get at a TDP of 65 W with an AM2 socket.

    Here's the link for the reviews (last two on that page):
    https://www.ebay.com/urw/AMD-Athlon-64-X2-5600-2-9-GHz-Dual-Core-ADO5600IAA5DO-Processor/product-reviews/74038814?_itm=182578791339
    Reply to coolkul
  6. So i read that review and i think this processor should work very well as long as the TDP and socket is correct. And no you shouldn't have any problem updating the BIOS in vista but i would advice you to be very through and be cautious while reading the instructions as if the BIOS update is done wrong it can ruin the whole board.
    Reply to goku1234567890
  7. Just wanted to give an update about what happened in case someone else is in the same situation, which is unlikely, but who knows. I installed the 5600+ processor and it worked fine without updating my BIOS. An initial issue I had was that device manager would not recognize the new processor, but I could see that it was updated under system information. I just had to uninstall the drivers within device manager and restart the computer. The 5600+ showed up. With the graphics card and the new (old) CPU, the computer is much faster. Start-up is much faster. Multi-tasking is much better. 1080p videos are playable now. Obviously the computer is significantly slower than anything you can buy nowadays or even something 4-5 years ago, but at least it's usable. It's enough to work as a basic computer now. I'm going to install Windows 10 32-bit on it and see how that goes, might run into drivers issues because of how old the hardware is. For now, I think it was worth upgrading the computer considering the total cost (~$16).
    Reply to coolkul
  8. Really glad you got it to work! Have a nice one mate!
    Reply to goku1234567890
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