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What is best cpu + mobo for under $400 for gaming

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January 16, 2009 4:24:59 PM

I am looking to what advice people would give on to what motherboard plus CPU to get. I will purchase an after market cooler with a different budget and plan to overclock the cpu a small amount. What would you recomend? I would like under $300 or a little over. I am open to Icore7 but everyone tells me that it is not worth the money for gaming.

More about : cpu mobo 400 gaming

January 16, 2009 5:16:30 PM

in order to help you, I would need to knwo what games you intend on playing... there are some pretty cheap c2d now that run around 100-150$ and you can snag a decent evga board for around 150. Without knowing what games you're going to be playing, I would go with the following..


e7300
This can easily be oc'd to 3.5 with an after market cooler. 120%

and for a mobo

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188033
while not the best, it will still allow you to run in sli mode. 130$

gets you in around 270 with shipping.
January 16, 2009 5:31:24 PM

I am thinking about going with a one video card solution such as the 4870 or 4870x2 mabey the x295. SLI or Crossfire is not worth the money. I play games such as wow, warhammer, supreme commander, sins of a solar empire. Plan on picking up starcraft 2. (also like to run 2 or 3 copys of wow at a time to level up alts). I was looking at the E8500 as well?
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January 16, 2009 5:35:49 PM

I'd shy away from nvidia chipsets; most do not overclock as well and aren't as stable as intel chipsets. The 790i seems like a pretty solid board but it's pricy and if you're spending that much on a board you might as well go x58 & i7.

With $300 to spend on a motherboard and processor I'd go for a P45 board and either a Q6600, an E8400, or a E7300 depending on what games you play.
January 16, 2009 5:49:43 PM

Oops you replied while I was posting.

I'd go for a Q6600 ($189.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And a P45 board like the Asus P5Q SE PLUS ($96.99 - $15MIR = $81.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or if you want raid you could go for either the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R or the Asus P5Q Pro - both the same price... ($119.99 - $15MIR = $104.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Finally, if you want raid and a 2nd PCIe slot you could go for a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P ($134.99 - $20MIR = $114.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



January 16, 2009 5:54:49 PM

Why Q6600? Would it be worth upgrading to the Q9950?
January 16, 2009 6:13:45 PM

The Q6600 is the best performing quad core processor for under $200 if you plan on overclocking.

You mentioned $300 in your first post but you put $400 in the title of the thread so I was trying to come in under the lower amount. The Q9550 would be a great choice but it costs $310. There are rumors of an Intel price drop coming soon so you may want to wait to see if it does happen. The Q9550 is a great processor.

If the Q9550 is too expensive then one step down would be either the Q9400 for $270 or the Phenom II 940 which goes for $275. I don't have much experience with the 790fx/gx chipsets so someone more familiar could probably give a motherboard recommendation if you wanted to go with the Phenom II.
January 16, 2009 6:18:49 PM

I was putting $300 because I am trying to keep this system under $1500 overall. I have 2 months before I need to buy parts so obviously prices will drop but I do not see any new versions of the chips coming out so I can start to plan what I want to purchase.

Getting a 300 gig velociraptor , 640 gig wd hdd, 8 gigs of ram (?1066) (5-5-5-15 probably), 700W ocz power supply (got it for $50 on newegg with 40 mailin and 60 instant off), 4870 1 gig vid card probably, 2 generic dvd burner, debating on case selection still. So I do have a bit of room to work with on the processor and mobo.
January 16, 2009 6:59:47 PM

+1 on Uguv Q6600 and P45 mobo

I would get the asus board as it has crossfire on there. so if youever wanted to try it you could.

i would get the Asus P5Q Pro + Q6600 and overclock the Q6600 to about 3.2 and that should last for you for a while
January 16, 2009 7:29:01 PM

The velociraptor's are way overrated, 2 x western digital caviar black's will outperform it for less... Save your money!

Get either the Q6600 and P45 or PhII940
a b à CPUs
a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
January 17, 2009 2:51:58 AM

If you just wanted a really good P45 board with a single slot then you should think about going with this board

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3LR $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Personally I would go with a board that had dual PCI-E graphic slots to increase its upgrade potential as you can add a second 4870 down the road, but that's just me. As for the CPU you should go with the Q9550 as that's the cheapest model with 12MB of cache

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 $294.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the Hard Drive I would go with a fast 1TB drive such as the Western Digital Cavalier Black.
January 17, 2009 12:01:14 PM

if you wanted to go with Phenom.

$109.99 Biostar 790GX motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138130

Phenom II 920 which still can overclock just as good as the 940
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103472

But I would go with the Intel's. Also the P2 are a little bit better for performance than the Q6600. But if you were going intel Quad-Core solution get the Q9x50 series as it has 12MB L2 cache and the P2 dose not do as well.
January 17, 2009 1:17:22 PM

+1 q9550 + p45, it will stretch your budget.
January 17, 2009 1:31:30 PM

+1 Q9x50 + P45, It will fit in that price easily.

I too am getting either the Q6600 or Q9x50 (Still undecided) and a P45 Chipset (Probably P5Q Pro) to go with it over the coming weeks/month and either way it will be a HUGE upgrade for me as i am still using (Socket A) :pt1cable: 

As far as i am concerned the most important part is the motherboard + chipset, once you have that figured out you can go from there...
January 17, 2009 2:09:16 PM

Combo deal on Newegg:

AMD Phenom II 940 = 275
Sapphire Radeon 4870X2 = $449 - $50 MIR
Asus M3A-78T 790GX MB = $138.99

Combo Deal: -$40

Grand Total: $772.99

---or---

AMD Phenom II 940 = 275
Biostar TForce TA790GX A2+ = 99.99 - $10 MIR

Combo Deal: -$40

Grand Total: $324.99

http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-phenom-ii-x4-920-and-...

The Phenom II 940 is a very good gaming chip.
January 17, 2009 3:15:44 PM

You can also get $15 off either Phenom II if you use these codes. Unfortunately I bought mine before this promotion.

EMCABBEBG for 920
EMCABBEBH for 940
a c 331 à CPUs
a b 4 Gaming
a c 252 V Motherboard
January 17, 2009 6:26:21 PM

What components does your $1500 budget need to cover?

I think you are in the i7 range. Supreme commander is one of the relatively few games that will benefit from multiple cores. Heavy multitasking also suggests a quad cpu. Otherwise, I would suggest a higher clocked duo like the E8500.

Here is what I would expect:
E8500 or Q6600 <$200
P45 mobo $100
8gb ram <$100 ---------------------total $400
----------------alternately-------------
i7 920 <$300(about the same as a q9550
X58 mobo like asus p6t $250
6gb DDR3 ram <$150----------------total $700 or +$300 (Cooler optional, to be named later)

Quality 600-750w psu $100
Top vga card 4870X2 $450 alternately GTX285 $380, or GTX295 $500
Case antec 300 $50.
Vista home premium-64 $100 If you are a student, you can get it for much less.
dvd burner $30
hard drive 1tb drive $100. I love the velociraptor, but for gaming it is a place you can cut.
24" monitor $250-$300.
These common parts add up to about $1100.
Add in the $400 for a c2d cpu and you get about your $1500 budget.
Still, for $300 more, I can't help but feel that you will be happier for longer with the i7.

---good luck---
January 17, 2009 10:20:05 PM

This is the system parts I was looking at, I finally picked up my case ($150 and power $50).
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

I have been hearing that I-core 7 is not really giving a boost to gaming and is giving a boost to non gaming functions like encoding.

Just fyi on the psu and tower (had $100 off this psu, and $60 off case and free shipping on both)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Can anyone link Phenom performance reviews so I can see how it is performing vs the quad core in gaming?
January 17, 2009 11:14:30 PM

geofelt said:

Vista home premium-64 $100 If you are a student, you can get it for much less.


Where can you get this student discount? I have looked and can find discounts for MS office but not for vista.

runmymouth said:


Can anyone link Phenom performance reviews so I can see how it is performing vs the quad core in gaming?


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-940,2114....
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-phenom-ii...
http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3492

there are more, just do a google search for them
a c 331 à CPUs
a b 4 Gaming
a c 252 V Motherboard
January 18, 2009 12:19:12 AM

runmymouth said:
This is the system parts I was looking at, I finally picked up my case ($150 and power $50).
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

I have been hearing that I-core 7 is not really giving a boost to gaming and is giving a boost to non gaming functions like encoding.

Just fyi on the psu and tower (had $100 off this psu, and $60 off case and free shipping on both)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Can anyone link Phenom performance reviews so I can see how it is performing vs the quad core in gaming?


Your list is good, and a good buy on the case and psu.
At the level of the E8500 or Q9550, the vga card is much more important for gaming than the cpu.
At that over3.0, overclocking is good for bragging, but it will not net you as much increase
in FPS as a better vga card will. Today, very few games can make use of more than two cores.
Flight simulator X and supreme commander are exceptions. It is not a trivial matter to code multi threaded programs,
and game vendors will not sell too many games that require quads to run.
I don't see this changing in the next couple of years.

Net: E8500 for the increased clock speed instead of the quad. Spend the savings on a GTX285, 4870X2, or GTX295.
Look at the corsair 4gb kits, they are almost giving them away at $25:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Core 2 cpu's are not very sensitive to ram speeds.
If you look at real application and game benchmarks(vs. synthetic tests),
you will see negligible difference in performance between the slowest and fastest ram.
Perhaps 1-2%. Not worth it to me.
Don't pay extra for faster ram or better timings unless you are a maximum overclocker.

On the Vista for students, search for "vist academic". There is a legitimate procedure to install an upgrade version if that is cheaper than oem or retail.


January 18, 2009 1:34:58 AM

A q6600 and gigabyte p34-d3sl should fit the bill
August 12, 2009 10:20:07 AM

E7400, OC to 4Ghz's + with a good cooler (I recommend Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro) Also don't get any other E7*** series CPU, as they are all the same, with only about a 10Mhz clock speed increase and +$20 between each one.

Asus P5Q SE Plus: great overclocker and value

$212, get yourself a great graphics card like the EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 SSC ($210) that $410 for CPU, motherboard, and graphics card.
!