Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

AMD Phenom II budget build. Yay or nay?

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 16, 2009 7:22:14 PM

Hey yall!

Im on somewhat of a tight budget, and I wanted to get some feedback on my proposed system build.


Purchasing:
Mobo: ASUS M3A78-T AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Already have:
Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: XFX PVT98GYDLU GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Now given, I know that the 9800GT is a dying breed of card, but I'm frankly happy with it at the moment, so I figured it's not too vital for immidate replacement. Hell, Im getting 60fps at 1680x1050 on my current rig, which only has a 2.0Ghz AMD 64 x2 with 2gigs of memory.

I'm looking at the 1Gig Radeon 4870 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) for a few weeks from now.

Also, I dont think that I need to really explain this further, but by just now purchasing the Memory, MoBo, and CPU, I'm considering this a "budget" build. Therefore... with the parts laid out here for purchase, should I go with those, or should I look at something else?

-
_horse


Oh and its gonna run me about $430 with shipping for those three... So theres the budget.

EDIT: Oh and this is going to be a Vista x64 build.
February 16, 2009 7:35:12 PM

On an older board like that you better be prepared to use another AM2 processor to updated the BIOS to what ever version is required to run the 940.
February 16, 2009 7:37:24 PM

stoner133 said:
On an older board like that you better be prepared to use another AM2 processor to updated the BIOS to what ever version is required to run the 940.


Well if that's a older board, what should I go with so that I dont have to go through all the extra trouble?
Related resources
a b À AMD
February 16, 2009 7:45:49 PM

Any AM3 ready mobo, I'm sure you can find that yourself.

Personally I would skip the soundblaster and go for the 1TB black hdd.
February 16, 2009 7:47:15 PM

Well for an Asus board your gonna need a M4A79 Deluxe in order to be sure you can just drop in the 940 and have it boot, it's the first Asus board to fully support the 940 out of the box. Even the M3A79T-Deluxe may require a BIOS flash depending on how long its been setting on the retailers shelf.

The M4A79 Deluxe will run you around $200

There is also a M4A79T-Deluxe but its a TRUE AM3 board so don't get the two confused.
February 16, 2009 7:53:14 PM

Don't get confused with the AM3 Ready listings on many boards, you see that with most AM2+ boards these days. But most are only AM3 ready once you update the BIOS to accept it. Plus you can't just by an AM3 board because if its a TRUE AM3 board the 940 isn't even going to work, it won't fit in the socket on a TRUE AM3 board. But when you see the AM3 ready listing the AM3 CPU's are backwards compatable with AM3 Ready boards as long as the BIOS accepts it.

Bet I have your head spinning now!
February 16, 2009 7:54:48 PM

buzznut said:
Any AM3 ready mobo, I'm sure you can find that yourself.

Personally I would skip the soundblaster and go for the 1TB black hdd.


I already have that in my current computer, so it will just be switched over to the new one.
February 16, 2009 7:56:15 PM

stoner133 said:
Don't get confused with the AM3 Ready listings on many boards, you see that with most AM2+ boards these days. But most are only AM3 ready once you update the BIOS to accept it. Plus you can't just by an AM3 board because if its a TRUE AM3 board the 940 isn't even going to work, it won't fit in the socket on a TRUE AM3 board. But when you see the AM3 ready listing the AM3 CPU's are backwards compatable with AM3 Ready boards as long as the BIOS accepts it.

Bet I have your head spinning now!


Yeah, you got that right. Any flat out reccomendations? A few reccomendations?
February 16, 2009 7:56:15 PM

LOL i say end the confusion and go for an intel CPU and mobo combo
February 16, 2009 7:57:47 PM

captaincharisma said:
LOL i say end the confusion and go for an intel CPU and mobo combo


Dont want to spend/have the extra coin to spend on an Intel system.

Dont get me wrong, I've considered it, and greatly at that! It's just not cost effective enough for me right now.
February 16, 2009 9:16:02 PM

Budget? Dont' need Crossfire of SLI?
Picked up at Frys last week.
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H- Ultra Durable 3 AM3 ready board- $84
Phenom II 920 $180
2x2/4 gig Crucial 7-7-7-24 1066 memory kit guarenteed to run at 1200 $49

Simple board, nothing really fancy, booted right up and recognized the Processor and memory @1066. Running perfectly immediately after first boot.
Tossed out my X-Fi sound card, using the on-board which I think is actually better than the piece of **** Creative card I had. That was one of the worse hardware purchases I ever made. What a piece of junk.

Installed XP and Windows 7, dual booting. I have Vista, but I am not going to bother with it. Going to run the dual boot until the official release of 7.

Really happy with it for the money.
Overclocked to 3.2ghz by simply raising the buss, nothing else.
With a BFG 8800GTS 512 OC hits well over 15,000 in 3D Mark 06.
February 17, 2009 12:35:25 AM

Don't buy just yet. For $1 more on your motherboard you can get a true AM3 board if you don't plan to do X-fire.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128378


But if you make that choice, you'll have to get some DDR3 ram instead. So it'll increase your budget a little more, but it'll be more future proof.

edit:

looks like this one is is x-fire ready.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131366

oh sorry, you'll only have these choices on the processor if you go with an AM3 board. I guess newegg doesn't have many AM3 processors out ATM.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=50001028%2040000343%201051746439&name=Socket%20AM3
February 17, 2009 2:09:11 AM

Well crap, Im did this whole thing ass backwards... I didn't notice that the Phenom II that I want is socket AM2+.

Are there really any similarities between the AM2+ CPUs and the AM3s?
a b À AMD
February 17, 2009 2:10:09 AM

Bottomline is that AM3 isnt faster than AM2 . In another year or two if DDR3 latencies drop and clock speeds go higher that may reverse but today its a dead issue since DDR2 does the same job cheaper .

Theres a great article at anandtech

The Phenom II X4 810 & X3 720: AMD Gets DDR3 But Doesn't Need It
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=351...


Look on Newegg for combo deals . There are a few for P ll940/ mb/RAM
a b À AMD
February 17, 2009 2:12:19 AM

_horse said:
Well crap, Im did this whole thing ass backwards... I didn't notice that the Phenom II that I want is socket AM2+.

Are there really any similarities between the AM2+ CPUs and the AM3s?



AM2 and AM3 are identical except for the part of the cpu that interfaces with memory
February 17, 2009 2:16:55 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Bottomline is that AM3 isnt faster than AM2 . In another year or two if DDR3 latencies drop and clock speeds go higher that may reverse but today its a dead issue since DDR2 does the same job cheaper .

Theres a great article at anandtech

The Phenom II X4 810 & X3 720: AMD Gets DDR3 But Doesn't Need It
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=351...


Look on Newegg for combo deals . There are a few for P ll940/ mb/RAM


Ill take a few looks around for them. I'm just worried about buying a combo deal that sticks me with a really sub-par motherboard.
February 17, 2009 6:00:13 AM

From what I'm seeing, it's only this first round of AM3 CPUs that are slow. The next round of AM3 Slated for Q2 2009 has a higher wattage req so I'm guessing it will be as fast or faster than current PII X4s.


February 17, 2009 6:04:34 AM

A good future proof (or as future proof as one can get, anyways) would be to run an AM3 DDR3 board with, say, a Phenom II X3 720 BE (which apparently can be overclocked to near 4Ghz) which leaves you in a good position to upgrade to a high-end AM3 CPU when they come out.
February 17, 2009 8:49:15 AM

Hmm dunno if this helps but this was what i configured for a dude looking for a $7xx AMD rig with LCD in (OS reactivate) :p 
February 17, 2009 12:23:49 PM

First of all, If I were you, and this is what i'm doing actually, I would wait until the true AM3 processors and motherboards hit scene.

I don't think they're gonna be at the outrageous prices that the i7 Cores are going for and the people who are spending those kinds of dollars either have way too much free money on their hands. IMHO

Secondly, your running a 9800GT, when you say a dieing breed, are you speaking about the 9800 series or nvidia cards all together because i'm running 2x 8800GTs(9800GTs) and they're very fast and i see no reason to upgrade anytime soon. I use to be an ATI guy but after crossing the fence over the nvidia, i see no reason to ever go back anytime soon. Besides, the last i knew, the ATI drivers were always very buggy.

Anyways, good luck, whatever decision you make will obviously be the decision you make but i would wait till true AM3 hits the market and keep an eye on the benchmarks.

AJ
February 17, 2009 4:52:18 PM

ajcroteau said:
First of all, If I were you, and this is what i'm doing actually, I would wait until the true AM3 processors and motherboards hit scene.

I don't think they're gonna be at the outrageous prices that the i7 Cores are going for and the people who are spending those kinds of dollars either have way too much free money on their hands. IMHO

Secondly, your running a 9800GT, when you say a dieing breed, are you speaking about the 9800 series or nvidia cards all together because i'm running 2x 8800GTs(9800GTs) and they're very fast and i see no reason to upgrade anytime soon. I use to be an ATI guy but after crossing the fence over the nvidia, i see no reason to ever go back anytime soon. Besides, the last i knew, the ATI drivers were always very buggy.

Anyways, good luck, whatever decision you make will obviously be the decision you make but i would wait till true AM3 hits the market and keep an eye on the benchmarks.

AJ



Well the inital reason for chosing the Phenom II now is because my current 2.0 64 x2 is on the edge of going out on me. Its been in for 2 years, and for some reason refuses to overclock any higher with an ASUS M2N4-SLI board. On top of that, these things are dirt cheap compared to a 3.0 Quad from Intel. Yeah now that Im able to ask questions, it does look better to wait, but I dont really think I have the time left, and Im frankly getting tired of the bottleneck.

With my current setup, I can get really decent frames on WoW at 1680*1050 on medium-high settings in windowed mode, and very playable frames in CoD4 on high at 1680*1050.

That setup is a 2.0 AMD Dual Core that wont overclock without refusing to boot to windows. 2Gigs of ram, about 1TB of storage space, the sound card in my opening post, and that XFX 9800GT.

The reason I say that the 9800GT is a dying breed of card is that I constantly see their models from different companies being taken off the shelves in place of the ATI 4xxx class and the nVidia 2xx class of cards. I mean, hell, Im already looking at the 1g Saphire ATI 4780 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) to replace the 9800GT soon enough.


I guess my main issue is now, what motherboard (exactly) should I bother to get that will support the Phenom II, and possibly (not a total necessity) be able to handle the AM3 chips if I feel like switching later?
February 17, 2009 5:06:11 PM

_horse said:
Well the inital reason for chosing the Phenom II now is because my current 2.0 64 x2 is on the edge of going out on me. Its been in for 2 years, and for some reason refuses to overclock any higher with an ASUS M2N4-SLI board. On top of that, these things are dirt cheap compared to a 3.0 Quad from Intel. Yeah now that Im able to ask questions, it does look better to wait, but I dont really think I have the time left, and Im frankly getting tired of the bottleneck.

With my current setup, I can get really decent frames on WoW at 1680*1050 on medium-high settings in windowed mode, and very playable frames in CoD4 on high at 1680*1050.

That setup is a 2.0 AMD Dual Core that wont overclock without refusing to boot to windows. 2Gigs of ram, about 1TB of storage space, the sound card in my opening post, and that XFX 9800GT.

The reason I say that the 9800GT is a dying breed of card is that I constantly see their models from different companies being taken off the shelves in place of the ATI 4xxx class and the nVidia 2xx class of cards. I mean, hell, Im already looking at the 1g Saphire ATI 4780 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) to replace the 9800GT soon enough.


I guess my main issue is now, what motherboard (exactly) should I bother to get that will support the Phenom II, and possibly (not a total necessity) be able to handle the AM3 chips if I feel like switching later?


I know your pain. I upgraded from 5600+ 64 x2 to the Phenom x4 2.5. my 5600+ was nice, but just wasn't cutting the mustard.

If you are looking for an alternative, then compromise? for $79, get you this?
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor Model ADV6000DOBOX - Retail
That would get you by...upgrade your speed...and keep the system alive while you get the things together for the real upgrade.

Just an alternative. No matter what though, good luck with that. I hope that it goes well for you!

(P.S.- I'm waiting for AM3 too to build my next gaming rig :D  )
February 17, 2009 5:09:45 PM

jcknouse said:
I know your pain. I upgraded from 5600+ 64 x2 to the Phenom x4 2.5. my 5600+ was nice, but just wasn't cutting the mustard.

If you are looking for an alternative, then compromise? for $79, get you this?
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor Model ADV6000DOBOX - Retail
That would get you by...upgrade your speed...and keep the system alive while you get the things together for the real upgrade.

Just an alternative. No matter what though, good luck with that. I hope that it goes well for you!

(P.S.- I'm waiting for AM3 too to build my next gaming rig :D  )


I hear that. Id like a new mobo too. Any recommendations?

Better yet. Are there any recommendations for boards that I can use now for a dual core that would be upgrade ready when the good AM3s come out?
February 17, 2009 5:35:49 PM

_horse said:
Dont want to spend/have the extra coin to spend on an Intel system.

Dont get me wrong, I've considered it, and greatly at that! It's just not cost effective enough for me right now.


yea was just joking around anyway. when i built my last system the quad cores were just coming out and had the same situation with bios updates too
a b À AMD
February 17, 2009 5:38:34 PM

maybe a way to get going is to buy an AM3 board and ram and use a midrange cpu for now .

Im not 100% sure of compatibility but maybe a 7750 till the AM3 quads are released . Upfront you save a fair bit , but you have to buy the processor in 3-4 months

EDIT: this doesnt work. Sorry. too early in the morning and no coffee when i wrote it
February 17, 2009 5:44:00 PM

_horse said:
I hear that. Id like a new mobo too. Any recommendations?

Better yet. Are there any recommendations for boards that I can use now for a dual core that would be upgrade ready when the good AM3s come out?


To be honest: I would not upgrade your mobo til you go AM3. If the mobo still works fine and the CPU is the only thing glitching, then just get a cheap CPU...then save up for the AM3 rig.

And from what I understand on AM3 compatibility: the AM3 fits in an AM2+ mobo, but doesn't have the benefit of the use or control of DDR3 ram. You would be using an AM3 CPU essentially AM2+ mode (from what I gather) at DDR2 RAM Speeds. And, I have seen a couple boards that take DDR2 and DDR3 RAM, but they only have 2 DDR3 sockets. the AM3 boards should be all (4?) sockets AM3. my preference is to get an AM3 only mobo, and get as much ram as I can at a reasonable price for the AM3 CPU to use.

When I build a new rig (prob around Nov...pre-Christmas sale time?), I'm gonna build an AM3 w/8GB DDR3-1600 or DDR3-2000 RAM and (hopefully if prices come down far enough by then) SSD boot/OS drive with 2-3 150GB Velociraptors in RAID 0 and a 500GB external drive to do a complete machine backup, and get me a couple smokin video cards so I can play some cooler games.

But, I'd say stick with the M2N-SLI board. Asus is a good board. You might not be able to overclock well with it...who knows. But if it's just a temporary stop before you upgrade to AM3...take the easy path, I say...get a new, faster proc for the AM2 board...and then be ok with that til you get the new rig together. :) 
February 17, 2009 5:49:20 PM

BTW, Horse...did not see it mentioned when glancing at the posts...

What PSU do you have currently?

Might look at getting a better PSU if the one you have seems iffy.

I messed around earlier and configed a cheapo system for $600 - rebates + s/h. I am getting ansy to build a new rig. :lol: 
February 17, 2009 5:53:16 PM

jcknouse said:
BTW, Horse...did not see it mentioned when glancing at the posts...

What PSU do you have currently?

Might look at getting a better PSU if the one you have seems iffy.

I messed around earlier and configed a cheapo system for $600 - rebates + s/h. I am getting ansy to build a new rig. :lol: 


I currently have a 575Watt Rosewill. Im looking at getting a modular PSU when I buy the (currently) non-essential parts.
February 17, 2009 7:20:48 PM

_horse said:
I currently have a 575Watt Rosewill. Im looking at getting a modular PSU when I buy the (currently) non-essential parts.


Yeah, there are some good deals on 600-700W PSUs. They can start getting pricey above 700W.

Just watch NewEgg. I got my Tagan 1100W supply $100 (33%) off when I got it and free shipping. Sometimes you find REALLY good deals on there. Keep an eye open every day. It does pay off. :) 
February 17, 2009 11:53:29 PM

stoner133 said:
On an older board like that you better be prepared to use another AM2 processor to updated the BIOS to what ever version is required to run the 940.


I believe your wrong. If you look at the reviews for the board he chose as i will quote you can notice it will boot up.


"Other Thoughts: bios came with older 0302.. AMD Phenom II 940 still booted up successfully albeit very slow (bios did not fully recognize cpu, but again, i am glad it booted). Managed to use the onboard flash utility to update bios to latest directly from my USB flash drive.. (nice plus) I didn't expect that but it sure was nice! considering navigating the bios or booting up with older bios was painfully slow!"

Basically that means he can get it. may have a little trouble in the beginning but he will be able to do it without an AM2 CPU.
February 18, 2009 10:46:43 AM

perez8434 said:
I believe your wrong. If you look at the reviews for the board he chose as i will quote you can notice it will boot up.


"Other Thoughts: bios came with older 0302.. AMD Phenom II 940 still booted up successfully albeit very slow (bios did not fully recognize cpu, but again, i am glad it booted). Managed to use the onboard flash utility to update bios to latest directly from my USB flash drive.. (nice plus) I didn't expect that but it sure was nice! considering navigating the bios or booting up with older bios was painfully slow!"

Basically that means he can get it. may have a little trouble in the beginning but he will be able to do it without an AM2 CPU.


Either way, if I do decide to go that route, I do have that AM2 Athlon 64 x2 2.0Ghz laying around, so its not really an issue to begin with.
February 18, 2009 5:53:34 PM

Yeah i ordered this week a P2 940. Definitely a good buy. GO for it. I got a GTX 260 216 core on sale for 199.99 on newegg if ur interested.
February 19, 2009 10:53:42 AM

Well at this point due to budget, I think what Ill do is buy a new dual core and a better mobo for a socket AM2 chip since they're under 100$ now (like that 3.1 jcknouse was suggesting).

And as far as that crappy old M2N4-SLI board goes, Im looking to ditch it. It's not even PCIe 2.0, and from what I hear, that may hinder what my computer can push out.

So I guess now Im looking for a solid AM2/AM2+ board. Any suggestions?
February 19, 2009 2:21:55 PM

_horse said:
Well at this point due to budget, I think what Ill do is buy a new dual core and a better mobo for a socket AM2 chip since they're under 100$ now (like that 3.1 jcknouse was suggesting).

And as far as that crappy old M2N4-SLI board goes, Im looking to ditch it. It's not even PCIe 2.0, and from what I hear, that may hinder what my computer can push out.

So I guess now Im looking for a solid AM2/AM2+ board. Any suggestions?


Erm...of all the boards out there, I really wouldn't know. I paid quite a bit for my ASUS M2N32-SLi Deluxe Wireless edition AM2 mobo when I got it ($200), and it still works fine with the dual core. It was one of the first 590 boards with full 2 slot 16x PCI-E 2.0

I got an ASRock mobo for my Phenom 9850 build, and I've had no issues with it and their little OC tool is nice, although the readings do go haywire on the OC tool when you mess with them too much. :lol:  but, that's a $160 mobo. you could get one like this for the time being:

ASRock A780GXE/128M AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

$80 +s/h and has 2 PCI-E 2.0 slots

!