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Please critique this Phenom II 720 Build

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February 23, 2009 2:02:06 AM

Longtime lurker posting for the first time. I'm looking to purchase the components to put together my first build in several years. Outside of basic everyday office use I also work within Photoshop and Dreamweaver and do the occasional video ripping and processing audio and will also fire up Civ 4 or similar games - albeit rarely. I'll be using dual monitors if that matters.

All advice appreciated - I would love to be able to reduce the overall cost if there is anywhere I can scale back or where there is an obvious choice for a better component.

I chose to work from the Phenom II 720 because I would like to overclock the processor conservatively.

  • CPU AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black
  • Mobo GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4
  • Ram G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
  • Video Card SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready
  • PSU Antec earthwatts EA430 430W ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
  • Rom LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM
  • Case COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel
  • Grease Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
  • Cooling ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail

    Price in cart $561.91

    Axed from build
  • Mobo ASUS M4A78 PRO AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
  • Ram OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR10664GK - Retail
  • Video Card HIS Hightech H465FS512P Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail
  • Case Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail


  • Thank you in advance - I'll update this post as choices change.
    February 23, 2009 2:22:56 AM

    Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    As for the MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    i think that would be a little better IMO.
    As for the video card, I think you would want something a little higher end. Not sure what your budget is, but especially for dual monitors and some video work you might want something with a little more horsepower behind it. I would like to say a 4850, but i recently saw a 4870 on newegg for 145 after MIR.

    EDIT: here it is: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Woops, didnt see your power supply choice, NVM about the 4870. Would need something with like 550W for the 4870.
    February 23, 2009 2:37:41 AM

    the last resort said:
    As for the MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    i think that would be a little better IMO.

    Thank you for the reply.

    I ask this question because I genuinely don't know the answer - would I still be able to use DDR2 ram with that motherboard? From what I've read I won't get any bang for my buck with DDR3 ram and so I'd like to save money there - unless that motherboard can handle both.

    In regards to the video card - I don't consider myself a power user (photoshop work is frequent but not heavy production and the video work is about the same) but I will up the components if necessary. Ideally I'd like to keep the cost of the build around where it is ($500) which does not include the OS or a couple of hard drives which I already have. I also want something that will last though.
    Related resources
    February 23, 2009 2:43:57 AM

    you have a very good point: the DDR3 board will not run DDR2, making it more expensive. You might see a slight increase in performance by going to DDR3, but not much, if any.

    As for the video card, the 4650 should do OK, although dont expect insane performance. Since you have a slightly tighter budget than i thought, you really cant change a whole lot.
    February 23, 2009 2:57:03 AM

    the last resort said:
    As for the video card, the 4650 should do OK, although dont expect insane performance. Since you have a slightly tighter budget than i thought, you really cant change a whole lot.

    What if I moved somewhere closer to the middle like a 4830 for around $100? Would that move make any sense?

    My budget is somewhat tight as I'm still adding the second monitor into this purchase but even if its just a product swap at the same price point - I want to make sure I'm not missing a better choice.
    February 23, 2009 3:50:28 AM

    You said you would only be gaming rarely, does that include more recent games as well?

    If you're not going to be doing gaming, especially if you're not playing more recent games, I would recommend going with a 4830 and the 940 X4 BE.

    The 940 overclocks pretty well and you would see more performance for the money going w/ a quad core over the tricore which will help with your editing, ripping etc...
    February 23, 2009 4:45:46 AM

    you dont need the 790 series board for your usage and you dont need a 4870 . gaming power just adds heat and noise and power consumption .

    None of which are desirable fore your intended usage .
    Your original build is fine .

    The 780 g will have the exact same performance but you cant install two gfx cards [ which you dont want anyway ] , and has the huge advantage of the integrated gfx . I would consider building without any gfx card at first and seeing if it will handle the games you wish to play .
    if not, then add a card later .
    February 23, 2009 7:04:45 AM

    Well since u stated you would like to scale back and i agree with Outlander: think stick to the IGP 1st hehe So my suggested config:

    Checked the Foxconn 780G 2.0 - it has been tested and passed with even the 125W TDP 940be ^^ If you need a discrete go for the HD4670 rather than 4650
    February 23, 2009 7:11:43 AM

    batuchka said:
    Well since u stated you would like to scale back and i agree with Outlander: think stick to the IGP 1st hehe So my suggested config:
    http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q205/batuchka/443P2X3.jpg
    Checked the Foxconn 780G 2.0 - it has been tested and passed with even the 125W TDP 940be ^^ If you need a discrete go for the HD4670 rather than 4650


    does it have a pci-e x16 slot that runs at x16?
    many of the HDMI equipped boards have the x 16 slot limited to x4 because they are only intended for home theater use
    February 23, 2009 7:57:29 AM

    Haha i know what u mean - to date none of the 780G mobos in rigs i do up for peeps have less than x16 but yes the G45 Gigabyte is one such example of x4 actually
    February 23, 2009 1:28:59 PM

    randrp said:

    In regards to the video card - I don't consider myself a power user (photoshop work is frequent but not heavy production and the video work is about the same) but I will up the components if necessary. Ideally I'd like to keep the cost of the build around where it is ($500) which does not include the OS or a couple of hard drives which I already have. I also want something that will last though.


    If you want to keep the Earthwatts 430, I recommend a 4830 for your graphics card. If you aren't mainly playing newer games then either will be fine for Photoshop, video editing, Blu-ray playback and light gaming.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    That's quite a step up from a 4670 for not much more money. I would not upgrade higher than a 4850 for your purposes.

    If you followed other people's advice and went up to a 4870, then you'll need a much better PSU. I have an Antec Neo 650 and I just got a Corsair TX650W for my wife's new build. With a 4870, you should have at least a 550 watt PSU, and don't skimp on an off brand. PSU's are very important to stability. When a cheap one goes, it can take components out with it.

    Edited to add; I originally thought he got a 790 board, but misread the model name. Phenom II's are best with SB750 because of overclockability, but he's obviously not considering that.
    February 23, 2009 4:18:24 PM

    Thank you all for the replies.

    To the suggestion of integrated graphics - I am certainly not opposed to the idea except that going to dual 22" LCDs at 1680x1050 is the biggest reason I've decided to upgrade. Obviously I want both using a digital connection - would it be wise to use an HDMI to DVI conversion and run two monitors off integrated graphics? I was mainly looking at add-on graphics because of the dual monitors.

    yipsl said:
    Edited to add; I originally thought he got a 790 board, but misread the model name. Phenom II's are best with SB750 because of overclockability, but he's obviously not considering that.


    I do want to do light overclocking with this processor and mainly picked the 780g board because of the combo pricing deal on newegg. With that in mind it sounds like I should swap out the mobo - yes? Otherwise I'd probably step down to the Phenom II 710 if I skip the overclocking.
    February 25, 2009 4:01:36 AM

    I have updated the original post to reflect changes to my cart based on existing feedback.

    Please critique with the following questions in mind...

  • Is this overkill for my needs? I will rarely ever use this for gaming and when I do it will be for something like Civ 4
  • I've added this motherboard and aftermarket cooling with moderate overclocking in mind. Is this wise for my needs?
  • Could I run dual monitors at 1680x1050 on a board with integrated graphics using the onboard DVI and HDMI ports?
  • Did I make any poor choices in components?

    Thanks all!
    February 25, 2009 4:13:45 AM

    Integrated gfx give you options that a mb without them doesnt have . Like when you gfx card burns out unexpectedly ....

    You will have to read the manual of any mb you are considering to see if dual monitor support is possible via dvi and hdmi . I have a feeling its one or the other on most mb's .
    The 4830 is the answer , since it will have two dvi outputs

    February 25, 2009 4:56:57 AM

    Outlander_04 said:
    Integrated gfx give you options that a mb without them doesnt have . Like when you gfx card burns out unexpectedly ....

    hmm excellent point that I was clearly overlooking with the mobo I swapped in here.

    Is it that the 780 chipset should not be overclocked with? Or that the 790 chipset is just significantly better if I want to overclock?

    I don't foresee myself ever using crossfire obviously.
    February 25, 2009 6:36:50 AM

    The main difference between the two is the number of Pci-e lanes they can address .

    a 780 can only supply enough pci-e x1 lanes for a single gfx slot , and the 790 can supply enough for a second gfx slot which gives you the option of crossfire .
    Im not a big fan of either sli or crossfire . Two cards never equals twice the performance and by the time most people would add a second card its usually cheaper to buy a new single card from the newer generation which would give better performance anyway .
    There are exceptions , but that seems to be usually true.

    AMD motherboards with 750 series South Bridge chips overclock much better than 700 series chips .

    !