Newb question: help please?

I am working on my 2nd DIY rig, and I keep getting confused about compatibility and I note how it all seems to hinge on the MOBO.

I was looking at a Phenom II X3 CPU and want to make use of DDR3 RAM. It'd be nice to have a MOBO that will allow me to upgrade to a X4 CPU at some point, but that i snot a necessity now.

I have been looking at the info here:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-269162_13_0.html
at the budget build (with upgraded GPU), but this uses DDR2.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a MOBO that is not as expensive or extensive as the one noted in the 'gamer' build? Can I even get what I want, or do I have to either settle for DDR2 or get a MOBO that closes in on $200? (I was hoping to get a MOBO for around $125.) Is DDR3 significantly 'better' than DDR2?

Thanks!
6 answers Last reply
More about newb question please
  1. Any motherboard labelled solely as "AM3" will support an AM3 Phenom II and DDR3 memory. Motherboards labelled as "AM2/AM2+/AM3" do NOT support DDR3 memory.

    Therefore, if you want DDR3 memory and future upgrade options to a quad-core, any one of these motherboards will work for you:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010200022%201070946178&name=AM3

    Just make sure you buy an AM3 Phenom II, and not an earlier AM2+ Phenom II. Any of these will work:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010340343%201051746439&name=Socket%20AM3

    Note, DDR3 is faster than DDR2 and uses less power (although for most applications, the faster speed isn't too noticeable). DDR3 will be easier to upgrade or replace in the future as DDR2 will slowly be phased out and DDR3 will be around longer. With the price of DDR3 now at reasonable levels, there's no real reason to stick with DDR2 unless you already have some extra DDR2 lying around.
  2. mitofi said:


    Yeah, that would work.
  3. hellwig said:
    Any motherboard labelled solely as "AM3" will support an AM3 Phenom II and DDR3 memory. Motherboards labelled as "AM2/AM2+/AM3" do NOT support DDR3 memory.

    Therefore, if you want DDR3 memory and future upgrade options to a quad-core, any one of these motherboards will work for you:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010200022%201070946178&name=AM3

    Just make sure you buy an AM3 Phenom II, and not an earlier AM2+ Phenom II. Any of these will work:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010340343%201051746439&name=Socket%20AM3

    Note, DDR3 is faster than DDR2 and uses less power (although for most applications, the faster speed isn't too noticeable). DDR3 will be easier to upgrade or replace in the future as DDR2 will slowly be phased out and DDR3 will be around longer. With the price of DDR3 now at reasonable levels, there's no real reason to stick with DDR2 unless you already have some extra DDR2 lying around.

    I also see differing northbridges, like 790X and 790GX. Are there significant differences? (Thanks for the newegg search results. For some reason, I don't think to use them for searching.)
  4. mitofi said:
    I also see differing northbridges, like 790X and 790GX. Are there significant differences? (Thanks for the newegg search results. For some reason, I don't think to use them for searching.)

    I did a search and found a forum entry here about the differences between those specific ones.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/260690-28-chipsets-790x-790gx

    Any of the AMD 770, 780 or 790 chipsets will be pretty good. For instance, I think the 780GX and 785GX are pretty good all-around chipsets.

    The G in GX means they come with on-board graphics, which are fine if you do word processing, internet browsing, and very-light gaming. Otherwise, you'll want an add-in graphics card for more power. If you plan to do Crossfire (two Radeons), you'll want a 790-series.

    There are also some considerations for things like RAID (if you want to RAID harddrives, you need a chipset with the proper southbridge).

    If you don't plan on RAID or crossfire, then any of the AMD chipset combos will work for you, and I'd go with whatever motherboard matches your price and has good features.
  5. Thanks, headwig - great explanation!

    I don't plan on any sort of raid setup, but crossfire is a possibility in the future, so I will shoot for 790X.

    I also plan to have GPU separate.
Ask a new question

Read More

Motherboards Do It Yourself Product