Hi, I have an E521 that I am in the process of upgrading. It currently has an Athlon 64 3200+ (Orleans), 90nm and 2 GHz.
I'd like to upgrade that rather sorry single core, and have read that the best the motherboard will accept is an Athlon 64 x2.
The E521 seems to only officially support the older Windsor (90nm) series of Athlon 64 x2's, which are no longer produced and have since been replaced by the Brisbane (65 nm) series. The only Windsors I have been able to find are quite expensive ($100 to $300, considering this is only dual core) and are either used or sold by suspicious vendors. In comparison, a Brisbane 5000+ goes for $55.
I've read just about every forum post on this topic that I could find, and the general impression seemed to be that the E521 BIOS would not recognize a Brisbane CPU, and that anyone looking to upgrade their E521 CPU was essentially out of luck.
However, feedback on the old newegg page for the discontinued Brisbane 5000+, for example, shows several people reporting perfect compatibility with their E521.
I believe the reasoning that it wouldn't work was based on the fact that the latest E521 BIOS revision is dated at 9/4/2007, while the more advanced Brisbanes (5400+ to 6000+, most of the threads I've seen were aiming at those) were only introduced in 2008, so the BIOS wouldn't recognize them.
The 5000+ has two editions one from 2006 ( ADO5000IAA5DD) and one from 2007, after the BIOS update (ADO5000IAA5DO).
The version on the newegg page I linked seems to be the newer one...
Would the Athlon 64 x2 5000+ work in my E521? Is any sort of issue probable?
Thanks for any replies.
Thank you for your prompt reply, however those two threads are about people with low to mid end x2's looking to upgrade to a high end x2.
I am wondering about upgrading to a 5000 or so, and whether or not the mid-end Brisbanes will work.
The problem with Brisbanes and E521 computers is the BIOS. Brisbanes came out long after the last BIOS update for an E521 and therefore not programmed correctly. Some E521 owners have gotten them to work, but find that the processor settings like speed is incorrect. For others their computer wouldn't even boot. It just boils down to the E521 just wasn't designed to run Brisbane processors.
Thank you, but some of the Brisbanes
were actually released prior to the latest BIOS, such as the first revisions of the 4000+, 4400+, 4800+, and 5000+. Coupled with testimonies of it working with e521's
What you said seems to be the general consensus among internet support forums, but it would appear that the middle-of-the-line Brisbanes do indeed work...
That is true, but most people are looking for a substantial improvement therefore the reason they are going for the high-end processors. If you are currently using a Sempron processor then the 5000+ dual core would be an improvement, but if you already have a low-end dual core it would be a waste of money.
I am currently using a single core (Athlon 64 3200+ at 2.0 GHz), I believe this upgrade should bring noticeable improvement.
Thank you for your time.
I purchased the AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+ 2.6GHz (ADO5000IAA5DO) for my e521 from the link below for $56 including shipping (they're sold out now, you can find it elsewhere).
It is in fact a Brisbane, not the Windsor (discontinued). And, contrary to the prediction of every support thread I've read, it worked.
I removed the old heatsink (push the metal toward the fan to break the bond with the processor), then the old processor. After scraping the old thermal compound off of the heatsink, I placed the new CPU in place and a pea-sized amount of Arctic Silver paste on in (spread it with the side of a toothpick), then reapplied the heatsink and screwed it in. The following link should be helpful...
After booting into Windows, it only recognized as a single core until the "found new hardware" popup appeared and I then restarted, and it now seems to be working perfectly. Obviously I haven't had this for long, but it seems to be good. I noticed a significant improvement when starting up, as the tray icons loaded quite quickly. If you have a low end dual core in your e521, this probably isn't worth the money, but if you have a single core in an old e521, this CPU upgrade coupled with a RAM upgrade will breath new life into your system for roughly $100. I bought 2GB RAM from newegg, below:
Just a couple notes, I doubt the high end Brisbanes work, as they are a later addition to the line. If you have the latest BIOS (update from Dell website before upgrading), the mid range should work (at least the 5000+ does). Also, if you upgrade RAM to two sticks of higher speed of RAM (has to be DDR2, mine was 800MHz RAM) than the original RAM (I had a single stick of 512Mb at 533MHz), remove the slow stick and place the two new sticks in the same-colored sockets. That way, you'll be able to use the full speed, and enable Dual Channel.
As for gaming, I have not tried anything yet, but with my single core and the EVGA Geforce 9500 GT I got on sale for around $55, I was able to run source games perfectly and newer games at low-middle quality. The e521 is clearly not a gaming rig, but if you plan to spend under $200 on upgrades it can become an acceptable one. If you plan on spending more than $200, I would recommend starting from scratch. The e521 has so limited upgrade paths that there is little more I can do to mine, and the games of the near future are probably out of question.
If you are reading this, I hope it will be helpful. Good luck, human.