Best bang for the buck?

It's time to upgrade my system but in the past couple years I've lost touch with all the CPU / Mobo models and specs. It's really mind-boggling when you try jumping back in with both feet to learn what's what!

What is a good Mobo / CPU combo for a solid system that will not be overclocked? My budget is around $200 but I'll push it to $300 if it makes a significant difference.

I prefer AMD and plan to use a BFG GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB for occasional gaming. I'm also partial to Asus Mobos but it isn't a necessity.

Any input appreciated, thanks!
14 answers Last reply
More about best bang buck
  1. Lets see what I can do.

    MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131340
    $80 ASUS M3A78 (ATI 770 chipset)(supports Phenom II 920, and 940's with a BIOS update)
    CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300
    $67 AMD X2 7750 BE
    RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227362
    $51 OCZ DDR2 1066 2x2GB

    Total: $198 + S&H

    Don't bother with the 9800's
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102770
    $145 ATI 4850 (Sapphire) trounces the 9 series, even more so for the 4870, and 4870 x2's

    *EDIT* this can be OC'ed very well, for an added performance boost. Or spend $60 more for a 9650 quad core.
  2. Not sure what kind of system you're coming from but the x2 7750 is a decent choice but I wouldnt get it.

    I would get the AMD Phenom II X3 710 for $130. And any mobo that fits your needs that falls into budget like the one IH8U suggested. If your building a new AMD system I strong suggest the 45nm Phenom II based x4s,x3s
  3. IH8U... wow, thanks! That's pretty cheap for all that gear. Is an $80 Mobo really going to perform? I don't mind spending a bit more if I can build a better machine. After all these years I've learned the value of quality components.

    someguy7, good point. Right now I'm running the following...

    Athlon 3700+
    Asus A8N Deluxe Mobo
    Corsair XMS DDR (2 x 512mb)
    GeForce Ti4200 (I know, but my "good" card took a dump a while back)
    Enermax 465W PSU (Being replaced by 625W SeaSonic next week)
  4. A $80 dollar mobo from asus with a solid chipset is fine. Better then a more expensive board from a crappy vendor.

    Right now IMO the x3 720 BE is the best bang for buck for AMD and basically period. Get a board that supports it and has the a chipset you want. Maybe a sb750 for the oc'rs. Or one with a solid IGP or both.. 4GB or more of ram with vista64 or a linux64 system and you got one hell of bang for buck system.
  5. In short Mav yes, of course you have to look at the manufacturer of the board (ASUS, and Gigabyte are among the best). I suggested the 7750 as a temp solution till the price of the AM2+ Phenom II's goes down (would have recommended the 5000+ BE, and an Arctic Cooling 64 but those have been out of stock for a while). I chose the ASUS 770 because it is listed as compatible with the Phenom II's (940, and 920), after a BIOS update (this has gotten much easier I assure you). I tend to avoid MSI, Foxconn, ECS, ASRock, and Zotac for my own builds (Foxconn, and ECS are great for low budget builds tho).
  6. FWIW, I am running Win XP 32-bit. Not sure if that changes anything, as I'm not really up to date on the 64-bit stuff. Gawd I feel like such a noob all of a sudden! :/

    I wonder if XP will reinstall on a whole new system or will MS make me buy a new disc. Hope not.
  7. Quote:
    I wonder if XP will reinstall on a whole new system or will MS make me buy a new disc. Hope not.


    I think that depends on how much of your system you are replacing and what license you have for XP.

    If you have a full version of XP, i.e. you bought it in a retail store, then you can theoretically put it on a new computer as long as it is still not running on the old one. You might have to call MS and tell them what the circumstances are. (I just built a new machine and used my XP license from an old defunct machine, but I haven't tried to validate it yet.) OTOH if you have a system builder version of the OS, meaning it came from Dell or HP or whoever, even newegg, then it is only good for one system period. That system dies, it takes the OS license with it. The trick is that if you are upgrading only the mobo in that system, then you tell MS that the old mobo died and you had to install a new one and you are legal to keep your OS license going with that machine.
  8. Thanks Cadder. I did buy an OEM copy from Newegg so I guess I'll just hope for the best.

    Based on everyone's input and what I've learned reading through the forums, I think I've decided on the following. Please speak up if I'm making a mistake!

    ASUS M3A78 Mobo
    AMD Phenom II X3 710
    CORSAIR Dominator 4GB (2 x 2GB) 2 DDR2 1066
    Video Card undecided, may have to cut the budget here and go down to a $90 Radeon 4830.

    The CPU is AM3 but it seems to be backwards compatible with the AM2 Mobo.

    QUESTION: I read that the AM2 socket will not support DDR1066 in dual-channel. Any truth to that?
  9. i like it all but would grab the x3 720. a little more $ and have the higher speed and unlocked multiplier.
  10. Mavicator said:
    Thanks Cadder. I did buy an OEM copy from Newegg so I guess I'll just hope for the best.

    Based on everyone's input and what I've learned reading through the forums, I think I've decided on the following. Please speak up if I'm making a mistake!

    ASUS M3A78 Mobo
    AMD Phenom II X3 710
    CORSAIR Dominator 4GB (2 x 2GB) 2 DDR2 1066
    Video Card undecided, may have to cut the budget here and go down to a $90 Radeon 4830.

    The CPU is AM3 but it seems to be backwards compatible with the AM2 Mobo.

    QUESTION: I read that the AM2 socket will not support DDR1066 in dual-channel. Any truth to that?


    That may be true for the original AM2 socket, but the AM2+ socket supports dual-channel DDRII 1066. Runs fine for me in a 2 x 2Gb set at those speeds.
  11. Thanks loneninja, that's what I was hoping to hear!

    roofus, thanks for the thought. Since the CPU speed increase is minimal and I don't plan to overclock this machine, I'm thinking the 710 might be a better purchase. Of course I've been wrong before... once. ;)
  12. @mavicator

    I have a PII X4 940 running. I was gonna overclock it like everybody else at around 3.7-4ghz with a nice cooler. Apparently i can run it at 3.5ghz with every setting stay at default (stock cooler), except the multiplier (default is 3ghz) - at with no heat issue.

    With all the reading, it seems that people need to tweak the voltage quite a bit and only for a little extra speed. Having said that, I decided to keep my stock cooler and be happy with my 3.5ghz o/c.

    X3 720 is similar chip as mine (unlock multi). If I were you I would get it over the x3 710. Overclock it as high as possible at default setting... to the point where the stock cooler is enough, save you the cash for better vcard or something. Fyi, the stock cooler is pretty good build.
  13. first off grab a Q6600 to start things off right. Then just get any mobo that has what you need for your price. Since you won't be overclocking you won't have to worry nearly as much as an overclocker would.
  14. Q6600 deserved its praise, but its way past its prime.

    PII X3 720 will not disappoint you. It's ridiculously easy to OC.
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