Upgrade guide for your computer to Athlon 64 for as little as 440 shipped


Jun 1, 2004
I thought I would share my upgrade guide with you guys. A few of my friends and I have personally used this to upgrade with. The goal in mind was to get the most bang for the buck in Athlon 64 systems. This upgrade is for people upgrading their guts (including video card). I am assuming you already have a case/hard drive/psu/cd-rom/etc that you can still use. All of this is MY OPINION, you may disagree with some of the following and I do respect that but please do not flame. I will try to explain each part I use.
I decided to go with socket 754 for the price difference. If you are a gamer, dual-channel memory isnt that big of a deal for you.

$440 Athlon 64 Rig
Chaintech VNF3-250 $84
Best bang for the buck IMO. Great overclocker board without all the extra features that I hardly use. The only problem I don't like with chaintech is their updates. They have yet to release an official bios update for this board either. I also hear that some people have problem with raid configurations.

Athlon 64 2800 $141
C0 revision, good for mild overclock. The stock cooler is pretty good too.

Kingmax 512 PC3200 $76
I know most of you are going to say disagree with this but Kingmax memory is great for the value. Most people on newegg who have bought this agree too.

Not too bad of a card, can play Doom 3 at medium settings. Great value.

If you overclock, expect a 200-300mhz overclock with this rig. Plays Doom 3 well, runs great.

$574 shipped, faster but more expensive
Chaintech VNF3-250 $84
No need to change this :)

Athlon 64 3000 OEM $165
CG revision, better overclocker and slightly faster than C0 revision. I choose the 3000 over the 2800 due to the multiplier being at 10x on 3000, rather than 9x on the 2800.

Kingmax 512 pc3500 $82
Slighty faster than the above configuration. You willl most likely be running your memory out of spec in this config.

Thermaltake SLK948U $35 Great cooling for a decent price.

Thermalright Smartfan $11
You can use what ever fan you want on your slk, but this is what I prefere.

You might get lucky and get a r360 core which can be flashed to a XT, either way this card is still good and has double the pipelines of the 9600xt. However I would recommend you wait for the average sale that comes along now and then when these cards go down $20 or so.

I was able to get a 500mhz overclock out of this setup, which I personally use and I think that this system has been worth every penny. My 3dmark2k1: 20,699 and 3dmark2k3: 6602. Plays Doom 3 and Far Cry great. I do want a 6800gt but Im not going to spend that much on a videocard.

Hope this can help someone :)

edit- fixed the price :p I knew i would mess it up


Dec 5, 2001
i originally thought it said 40 bucks....but if i was in the market to upgrade this would be helpful
Aug 24, 2004
Good advice I think, I'm looking to upgrade pretty soon and I find it helpful to hear what has worked for others doing the same thing. However, this guide is very similar to the Q3-Q4 guide posted on the main [H]ardocp page.

Thanks though. ;)


Oct 22, 2003
Either way get at least the 9800 pro if you plan on gaming.

I would say to definately get a better brand of mem. I just bought a gig of Kingston Hyper X pc3200 (2-2-2-6 stock timings) off of the site www.compuvest.com for $200

If you have the money, get a Clawhammer core instead of the Newcastle. The extra 512k in the LVL2 cache will make that baby perform like an FX series.

BTW, the reviews on Newegg are censored by the Newegg staff. It wouldn't sell product if everyone was on there writing bad reviews. Plus, do you really want to trust someone you have never met when they say it is the best, or worst thing ever?