Please recommend a < $300 CPU

OK. I am just about done gathering the parts to complete systems with all the older parts I have hanging around.
Now on to the real deal. I would like to build a new system with new parts.
I do NOT want the absolute budget-is-no-concern-top-of-the-line system, but I do want something that is the absolute top of the mid-range.
So, please recommend the best performing CPU that is around $300 (I do not mind submitting for a rebate somewhere to bring the cost in around $300).
What are my options? And which would you recommend and why?
(I'll also need a suggestion for a heat sink/fan set up).

Please also feel free to suggest a motherboard. Would again like to be at the top of the mid-range. Maybe in the $200 zone (could go a little higher if required).

And please also suggest memory. I would like to get 2X 2GB (for a total of 4GB). Do I go with DDR2 or DDR3? Is DDR3 too pricey for me at this point?

I already have hard drives, DVD, and power supply.
13 answers Last reply
More about please recommend
  1. you could something from INTEL or AMD both offer very good options.

    For INTEL
    core 2 quad Q6600
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

    core2 quad 9400
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115131

    core2 duo E8400
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037

    for AMD

    Athlon X2 5400
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103235

    Phenom 9950BE
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103273

    those i would recommend since they're both awesome.

    For motherboards with the AM2+ sockets, make sure you're getting the 750 SB or is it the 780SB because of the better overclocking features and so on.

    and motherboards wise for the intel LGA775 socket
    i really dont know. im not very good with motherboards, so wait for someone else who knows more then i do to help you with the MB department.

    as for RAM.
    get DDR2 because the timings are ALOT lower then that of ddr3 and its cheaper.

    you'd like those the best. they're all under 300 respectivly and perform VERY well
  2. Personally id go with an Intel system...so...

    I feel your aim is a bit high, for mid range $200 is more than enough for CPU

    you get go
    Q6600 for $189
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

    or e8500 $189
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115036

    Match this with a motherboard (i like ASUS) something like this.

    Asus P5Q-e $159
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131296

    Board takes DDR2 (DDR3 doesnt have any real world gains currently)

    Mushkin 2x2gb DDR2 800 at CAS 5 $68 after rebate.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731

    Put a nice HD4850 or HD4870 with it and you got a nice gaming machine.
  3. The Q9450 is a great option that is only slightly above that, as is the Q9550. Alternatively, the Q6600 is a good choice for quite a bit less. It's slower, but it's probably a better bargain.
  4. Seriously Q6600 or an e8500 is the highest you really want to go on a CPU for mid-range performance. They overclock so well after all...

    Don't bother with Q9xxx series put your money on one of these puppies (or a litter even!!)...
    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=24212 :sol:
    Boot Windoz off that and you'll be rocking!! Buy 2x and RAID-0 (stripe) them!!

    Add in a 4850, 4870 or 4870 X2 ( :sol: !!) to taste and you've got a beast of setup.

    Remember a decent PSU. Antec, Corsair (budget) or Ultra X3, PC Power & Cooling (high-end), etc.:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088
    Sorry see you already have a PSU (must pay attention!!) Just make sure isn't some crappy crap job...

    Bob
  5. I definitely want to stay with Intel for this one (although I have been an AMD fan since about 2003).


    Physicz said:
    you could something from INTEL or AMD both offer very good options.

    For INTEL
    core 2 quad Q6600
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

    core2 quad 9400
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115131

    core2 duo E8400
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037

    for AMD

    Athlon X2 5400
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103235

    Phenom 9950BE
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103273

    those i would recommend since they're both awesome.

    For motherboards with the AM2+ sockets, make sure you're getting the 750 SB or is it the 780SB because of the better overclocking features and so on.

    and motherboards wise for the intel LGA775 socket
    i really dont know. im not very good with motherboards, so wait for someone else who knows more then i do to help you with the MB department.

    as for RAM.
    get DDR2 because the timings are ALOT lower then that of ddr3 and its cheaper.

    you'd like those the best. they're all under 300 respectivly and perform VERY well
  6. I agree with the chookman
  7. Ok. You caught me. This will not be all new. I have 2 WD 740 raptors that I am going to use in some kinda RAID configuration (along with a Seagate SATA 500GB).
    My power supply is an Antec TruePower 850.

    I am not a mega-huge gamer so I am not really considering a x2 video card set up. But was definitely considering a single 4850. Was kinda also considering a http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814134035 as I really really like the idea of a SILENT card.


    bobwya said:
    Seriously Q6600 or an e8500 is the highest you really want to go on a CPU for mid-range performance. They overclock so well after all...

    Don't bother with Q9xxx series put your money on one of these puppies (or a litter even!!)...
    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=24212 :sol:
    Boot Windoz off that and you'll be rocking!! Buy 2x and RAID-0 (stripe) them!!

    Add in a 4850, 4870 or 4870 X2 ( :sol: !!) to taste and you've got a beast of setup.

    Remember a decent PSU. Antec, Corsair (budget) or Ultra X3, PC Power & Cooling (high-end), etc.:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088
    Sorry see you already have a PSU (must pay attention!!) Just make sure isn't some crappy crap job...

    Bob
  8. roamdog said:
    Ok. You caught me. This will not be all new. I have 2 WD 740 raptors that I am going to use in some kinda RAID configuration (along with a Seagate SATA 500GB).
    My power supply is an Antec TruePower 850.

    I am not a mega-huge gamer so I am not really considering a x2 video card set up. But was definitely considering a single 4850. Was kinda also considering a http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814134035 as I really really like the idea of a SILENT card.


    Silent GPU = watercooling


    Bob
  9. That silent card is deactivated on newegg.

    You could go with a Thermalright HR-03 i think its been modified to fit on 9800's dont know about HD48xx series though and it will be enough for fanless operation as long as you have good air flow and dont OC

    EDIT: After checking Thermalright's website, the HR-03GT supports 9800's and the HD48xx series.
  10. Definitely do NOT want to get into watercooling. If that is the only way to get a silent card, I will need your recommendation on the quietest fan instead.


    bobwya said:
    Silent GPU = watercooling


    Bob
  11. The cooler on that 8800 GT is the Arctic Cooling AccelS1 RV2:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186016

    This thing will fit on a 4850 with no problems, it fits exactly the same as the 3850 in the manual. It is also COMPLETELY silent, as in NO FANS! Make sure your case has good airflow, and preferably negative air pressure for maximum performance. Please post your case. As in CPU, get the Q6600 or the E8500, it is that simple. For the motherboard go and get this, it will perform very well and is cheap cheap cheap! (in price, not quality)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128337

    That's a lot of saved money so go get yourself some truly kick ass RAM!:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227278

    All that + 4850 = one kick ass computer!
  12. roamdog said:
    Definitely do NOT want to get into watercooling. If that is the only way to get a silent card, I will need your recommendation on the quietest fan instead.


    OK that was a bit of windup!! But a would probably go with the Artic Cooling Accelero S1 as has been stated already:
    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=196&products_id=23079
    Perhaps with:
    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=196&products_id=22249
    Be aware this design is a very efficient heat-exhanger so you have good exhaust on capability on your case (120mm fan).
    I would think fitting one of these modules would be good for resale value later on?? But only if you fit it to a decent card like the 4850/70!! The 8800GT is dead...

    This range of fans is real nice:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010110573+50002107name=ARCTIC+COOLING :sol:
    The ...PWM models support PWM control from modern motherboards as well. Good airflow and longest lifespan rating of any fan out there...

    The open frame models (for exhaust or blowing into heatsinks are particularly quiet).

    Bob
  13. Thanks to all that have made suggestions.
    Am transferring the discussion to http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252133-30-please-recommend-mobo-e8500
    since the CPU question has been answered.
    Please feel free to jump over and continue to provide your input.
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