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Any love for AM2?

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First post, by Almoststew1990

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XP PCs around here seem to always be Socket 775 based C2D or C2Q systems, when they're not modern over powered systems!

No one seems to build AM2 / Athlon X2 or AM2+ / Athlon Phenom II X2 X3 x4 builds much. Why is that? I know they were generally not as good as Intel's competition at this late 2000s time but I can't remember reading any builds really....

Maybe I will make a stupid and oddball XP build with an Athlon II X3, 5GB of RAM and an xfire ATI 4830s or something...

Ryzen 3700X 4.4-ish GHz | 16GB DDR4 3600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB NVMe
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Reply 1 of 39, by imi

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yes please :3

I switched from a S754 Athlon 64 to S775 back in the day, but I had a AM2 with a low power X2 3800+ EE SFF as HTPC (still have the CPU but have since sold the board)

but I do plan to build a AM2 XP machine some time, even got a AM2NF3-VSTA to make it an oddball build, AM2 with AGP ^^

Reply 2 of 39, by PTherapist

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Personally I think Socket 775 & AM2/Am3 (and + variants) builds are still quite capable low end machines for modern day light usage running Windows 10. Max the RAM and throw in an SSD and so long as you don't want modern gaming, they're pretty good for most general day to day activities.

With specific regards to AM2/AM3 builds, I still have 6 of them of which 3 are in general usage and used daily. 1 is a home Server, the other is a Media Server and the other a HTPC. Also have 3 Socket 775 systems running for general usage & HTPC duties. Back at the time when I would build those AMD systems, it was because they were cheap and I never intended for any of them to play games. If it was games I was after or simply better performance, I'd have gone for Socket 775 & Intel, so the thinking is probably pretty much the same now.

I should note that none of my home 775/AM2/AM3 builds ever ran Windows XP. The only AM2 builds I did running XP were for small offices with compatibility requirements or people who specifically requested XP over the bloated Vista at the time.

Reply 3 of 39, by The Serpent Rider

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AM2 is fun, if you have Athlon 64 6400+ or CPU which can handle overclocking to 3200-3400Mhz. In that state, it's roughly on par with Conroe clocked at 2500Mhz.

All the other kids, with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my blaster

Reply 4 of 39, by Vynix

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Glad to know that I'm not the only one who seem to enjoy AM2 boards 🤣!

Ahem jokes aside... I have a Asus M2N-MX ticking away with a Athlon 64 X2 5200+, that board has drivers that go as far as Windows Me or Windows 98... In theory I could make a multi-Windows system with it... Or not.

Proud owner of a Shuttle HOT-555A 430VX motherboard and two wonderful retro laptops, namely a Compaq Armada 1700 [nonfunctional] and a HP Omnibook XE3-GC [fully working :p]

Reply 5 of 39, by BinaryDemon

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Part of it is probably market saturation. It’s easy to pickup a used 775 based C2D/C2Q for $20, they clog your eBay searches obscuring all the interesting AM2 options.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 6 of 39, by dionb

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I have an Asrock AM2NF3 board with Phenom2 x4 CPU on it. I run Linux on it and use it as general purpose desktop/HDD test machine in my retro area. Not entirely happy with it - it's a bit slow/unresponsive for modern stuff, but at the same time the FDC only supports a single drive. I'm going to move the whole build into a Coolermaster Stacker one of these days (the current beige AOpen bigtower case is nice, but I need more 5.25" bays) and might go for a different system - but anything with dual floppy support undoubtedly will be so slow I can't use it as desktop. So who knows, I might just be using this one for a bit longer yet.

Reply 7 of 39, by aaronkatrini

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I don't have much experience with the Am2 platform, but I think the 775 is very good. It can be found for cheap, excellent compatibility and excellent performance.
The only thing I don't like are the motherboards, you can find cheap ones but they often break easily. Good 775 motherboards still cost a lot though...

Reply 8 of 39, by Baoran

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I just can't think as new computers as those to be retro. I built an athlon64 socket 939 with FX-60 but I have not used even that much for any retro stuff. So I have not built anything newer.
I just seem to be playing mostly with 386 and 486 stuff and my Pentium 3 for 3dfx stuff in dos and win9x.

Reply 9 of 39, by BSA Starfire

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I use a HP proliant ML-115 Opteron 1354 (4 core, 2.2 GHz), as one of my two daily drivers, 8GB ram and SSD with Linux and it works a treat, absolutely solid as a rock too, never given the least problem. It's got a corsair psu , ancient geforce 6800 video card and even older sound blaster live! It's a solid workhorse, my most used machine by far.

286 20MHz,1MB RAM,Trident 8900B 512K, Conner CFA-170A
386SX 33MHz,ULSI 387,4MB Ram,ALi M1217,OAK OTI077 1MB. Seagate ST1144A. Soundblaster 1350B.
Amstrad PC 9486i, DX/2 66(WB), 16 MB RAM, Cirrus SVGA, Win 95.
Cyrix MII 333, Rage Pro Turbo 8mb, SB16, WinME

Reply 10 of 39, by douglar

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I had a very nice Opteron 175 on a high end Asus motherboard that was my top end system for years & yeas. SLI. Dual Lan. Sata Raid. Had memtest in the bios. Had a freakin' TDR into the bios for checking your network cables. Rock solid. Performed great. Overclocked in tiny grains like a scientist. Used my existing DDR1. Outlived many a hard drive and video card. Actually I still have that board because its resale value took a dip when lighting blew out one of the Lan ports. Youngest kid was still using it until 2018 when he got upgraded to a Ryzen 2200G. Anyway ... AM2 was a missed platform for me. It was a victim of socket 939's success and DDR2 ram costs. By the time I felt that I had to upgrade in 2009, AM2 was no longer a compelling buy, and AM3 was pretty much lacking everywhere (except for heat) compared to a Wolfdale E8400 with DDR3 & USB3 on the mobo.

Since then, I did acquire a cast off AM2 mini ITX board with a 4800+. Last time I used it, Windows 10 & Chrome installed without complaint. If that happens, it's not a retro system as far as I'm concerned.

My Opteron 175? Windows 8.1 complained about "CPU not supported", so that's getting there, but last time it booted, it still ran Windows 7 with recent Chrome pretty well thanks to a fast cheap SSD. So as long as it can run a recent browser build with the latest ciphers and crypto protocols, it's not yet retro in my book.

Reply 11 of 39, by Unknown_K

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Year ago when I started collecting more modern PC boards I concentrated on Athlon XP/754/AM2 boards because people were dumping them for nothing on ebay (granted some boards needed a recap). Core2 pretty much killed gamers interest in AMD except for the cheapest buyers. It wasn't until the last few years that I started getting Core2 boards because they were so old nobody wanted them anymore (Asus gaming boards and such not the super common DELL machines found all over).

I have been using AMD for my main machines for a long time currently using 2 Opteron 6 cores and 64GB of DDR2 RAM.

Collector of old computers, hardware, and software

Reply 12 of 39, by jtchip

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Until about 14 months ago, an AM2+-based system was my primary desktop (I don't do heavy stuff like photo/video editing or build large programs) with 4GB RAM and a Phenom II X2 550, running Fedora and XP (rarely, just for the odd game). Since upgrading to a Ryzen, I still boot the AM2 (now downgraded back to its original Athlon 64 X2 5000+, the Phenom II went to a relative) occasionally to use the PCI DVB-S2 card as it's the only system I have that's 64-bit and has a legacy PCI slot.

Last edited by jtchip on 2020-02-13, 23:06. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 13 of 39, by swaaye

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I maintain 3 AM2 machines. One at work, two with coworkers. All are Phenom II X2 or X4 based now.

I'd steer clear of AMD AM2 chipsets. I find them to be a touch flaky. The IGPs seem to bring in the occasional BSOD and the southbridge disk controller seems questionable. Reading the release notes of their long since last updated AHCI drivers is... interesting. Like you just know it probably needs some new workarounds for newer drives and Win8/10.

The GeForce 8x00 chipsets are my fav.

Something else that comes to mind is many boards from those times had barely adequate chipset cooling. Like idling at 80 C or more. It's a good idea to use a cpu cooler that blows some air at the chipset heatsink.

Reply 14 of 39, by gex85

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I built an AM2 system using the Asus M3A some time around 2007 or 2008 and used it as a daily driver until ~2012. (It was then replaced with a Thinkpad X201 + Ultrabase, which is still in use today.)
The M3A is still in storage, but I don't feel the desire to build a system around it (yet). The whole platform somehow felt inferior to Intel's offerings at that time, and I only went for AM2 because I was on a tight budget. So no, not too much love for AM2 from my side 😉

1992 - i486DX2-66 // 1997 - P1-233 MMX // 1998 - P2-350 // 2000 - P3-650 // 2001 - Athlon 1400 // 2003 - Athlon XP 3200+ // 2008 - Xeon E5450 // 2015 - Xeon E3-1240v5

Reply 15 of 39, by feipoa

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I currently use an AMD FX-60 (same as Opteron 185) as my main system running at 2.8 GHz. The motherboard, an Asrock 939dual-Sata2, also contains an AM2 upgrade slot. I used the upgrade slot and adapter with an AM2 for about 8 months. It worked great and felt a bit snappier. However, after those 8 months, the system would BSOD all the time, even though the caps were all replaced previously. I don't know what the issue was, but I had to go back to the FX-60. I don't find the system slow at all, I suppose because its the fastest Windows system I have. Its running XP POS2009 with a "hybrid" type Sata2 hard drive.

Ultimate 486 Benchmark | Ultimate 686 Benchmark | Cyrix 5x86 Enhancements | 486 Overkill Graphics | Worlds Fastest 486

Reply 16 of 39, by Blurredman

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I upgraded my main desktop PC early 2018.

Until that time I had been using an Athlon x2 4200 AM2, only somewhat overclocked. I was still on XP too. I only really upgraded because it was getting kinda long in the tooth to cope with what I wanted (to keep up with game releases!).
I used that PC since 2008 with only a graphics card upgrade (8600gt to gtx216). For some reason I never bothered upgrading from 2gb ram.

Anyway. I enjoyed that PC. I recall at the time I was in awe of my father's recent 1.8ghz Sempron 754 build and was considering getting the same. I am glad I didn't, because the athlon x2 4200 lasted long enough for my needs! The sempron would not have gone so far at all with the gaming..... Indeed, I believe my father only had that machine 4 years before he felt the need to upgrade..

Interestingly, I did decide to play some Mass Effect on that old PC (owing to the 3DNow Mass Effect bug on Peak15- which is fairly well documented), on my most recent play through of the series.

I had the Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 - Which was great for my needs! It has SLI if needed, looks nice, larger form factor- also had IDE channel for my cd drives (i carried them over from my Socket A at the time) and also a floppy disc drive header... The board also supported dual floppy drives, the 2nd being 5.25" which was very handy for me... Something I could find handy even now, instead I have to 'share' floppy drives from my server. 🙁

Last edited by Blurredman on 2020-02-14, 08:16. Edited 2 times in total.

http://blurredmanswebsite.ddns.net/ 😊

Reply 17 of 39, by wiretap

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Here's my only AM2 board, an Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe WiFi. Owned it since brand new, have all accessories in the original box. It served me well with an AMD X2 5000+ for several years until I upgraded to an X58 platform.

The board still works great and I plan on putting it in a spare Lian Li that I have in storage.

WPUf47T.jpg

Circuit Board Repair Manuals
Turbo Display Project
Dual Socket 8 Project

Reply 18 of 39, by Vynix

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Nice board, I have its maybe older/newer relative, the M2N-SLI Deluxe, which I used with a Athlon II X2 until the PSU quit working... It's one of my favorite motherboards

Proud owner of a Shuttle HOT-555A 430VX motherboard and two wonderful retro laptops, namely a Compaq Armada 1700 [nonfunctional] and a HP Omnibook XE3-GC [fully working :p]

Reply 19 of 39, by RoberMC

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IMHO, i prefer a fast Core 2 Duo.

Windows XP games do not benefit from multiple cores, and a fast C2D runs pretty cold and overclock like crazy, a 3,3 Ghz easily to over 4 Ghz with default voltage, while still running cool and silent. It beats even any Core 2 Quad for WinXP gaming because of the lower clocks and more heat of the C2Q. It is also a cheap and stable platform with a lot of mainboard choices in all kind of form factors, chipsets, colors, and memory types (I like Micro-ATX boards the most for all my retro systems).

AM2 is just not as fast in general, not as efficient, noisier, fast processors are harder to find, not so many choices, some say drivers are not as stable, but anyway, still valid and fun to play with.