Im giving AMD shot with a gaming system I am curently trying to put together...someone sug. starting out with a Athlon 3700+...With all this talk of price drops should I be looking into another type of AMD CPU..and even if it DOES NOT happen should I be looking into something other then staring out with a 3700+...I can't go top of the line but I want to get as close as pos. Im just not to familiar with AMD...can someone give me a jist of what CPU or even what AMD platform I should go should start out with...I Play F.E.A.R.,oblivion,Doom 3, M.O.H etc....
It seems the more research I do...the more confused I get..could someone give me a good choice or choices that I might be better starting off with...Now Im not even sure if I should go Sli or not ...at this point and I dont want to do any overclocking if necessary
For the moment, AMD is the best choice for a gaming rig since they general perform better than Intel's CPUs.
I would choose the 3500+ over the 3700+. The difference is a larger cache, but for some reason AMD thinks an additional 512K equates to a boost of 200 in model number. While increased cache can improve performance it's the MHz that really counts. Thus, if it is within your budget I would go for the 3800+.
Even if you do not OC the 3500+ it should not be much of a bottleneck even if you hve a X1900XT Crossfire setup. This brings us to where a single GPU or dual GPU solution is best. Basically, if you are going to be gaming at 1600x1200 resolution or higher then absolutely go for Crossfire or SLI. At 1280x1024 or less simply stick to just one. The grey area is between those two thresholds. If you got the money then go for it, if not you should still be okay.
There are a couple of exceptions; Oblivion and F.E.A.R. (to a lesser extent). Oblivion definitely marks a new watershed in terms of GPU demand. I would say that if you really want good frame rates at 1280x1024 with all the eye candy on, then get a X1900XT Crossfire setup.
The real FPS killer in Oblivion (in my experience) is the grass, so if you turn that down (or, as in my case, off) your FPS should be pretty decent with the 7900 and an Athlon 3500 (in my case - with a slower cpu/gpu - I get around 15-25 fps with all eye candy at max, except grass - which I turned off - 4xAA, no HDR, at 1280x1024). If you want AA and HDR at the same time, the only option is ATI cards currently, though it probably cripples single gpu rigs to do so.
As far as skt 939 vs AM2, it really depends on when you think you will upgrade next, and whether or not you plan on replacing the MB (and possibly ram) at that time. Skt 939 is going to phase out pretty quickly (I'd venture to say that AMD is probably going to move all of their production lines over to AM2 as fast as they can, meaning that once skt 939 inventories are gone, that's it for platform) so there is little to no upgrade room in the mid to long term. If you want to be able to just drop in a new cpu next year (and maybe the year afer that), then you'll have to go with skt AM2. If you are planning on replacing CPU and MB next time, then go with whatever socket is cheapest (keeping in mind that if you go with skt 939 now, you will have to upgrade ram as well on your next upgrade - which you may have to do anyway, even if you go with skt AM2 if your next upgrade doesn't support DDR2 ram).
Was that confusing enough for you? I can edit this post to make it worse if you need me to >;o)
If you want, I can take you through a yes/no Q&A session to determine a starting configuration for you.