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Best bang for the buck

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Last response: in CPUs
July 31, 2009 7:06:12 PM

Hey guys,

I'm looking to get a new AMD Phenom II Quad core for my new gaming/ home theater rig and I was wondering which motherboard and processor would be the best bang for the buck? This is what I have narrowed it down to so far:


AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

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

AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail


MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

ASUS M4A79 Deluxe AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

So which combo do you guys think would give me the best performance/price for the money? And what advantages does the black edition for the 955 and the 940 give over the other processors. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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August 1, 2009 6:15:29 AM

Sadly you just missed out on the recent huge combo deals over at newegg about a week ago.Most of the big deals were with the Phenom II X4 955 or 945 with a motherboard and about $70 to $85 off in price.However check again every week over at newegg because those deals could happen again and perhaps might be likely since Intel's Core i5 platform will be coming out soon.I was planning on building a more powerful Intel Core i7 920 system but once I saw those combo deals I could not pass them up.

Myself I would go with a AM3 motherboard rather than a AM2+ one because they are more future proof in case you desire to upgrade the CPU in the future with a faster one.The MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard is a good choice especially with the Phenom II X4 955 because it's fairly low cost,feature rich,ease of use and has good crossfire (ATI graphics card) performance.Also MSI has a good record on new BIOS updates when new (faster) CPU's are released.The Black Edition CPU's mean that the processors multipliers are not locked and are designed with overclocking in mind.However you can still overclock the non black edition ones.The Phenom II X4 940 was designed specifically for the older AM2+ motherboards so you can't use it in the newer AM3 motherboards.
AM2+ motherboards use the older and slower DDR2 memory which are a little bit less expensive and AM3 motherboards use the new faster (not by much though) DDR3 type of memory.You can still use the AM3 type Phenom II's in AM2+ based motherboards if there is a BIOS update that supports the new CPU however there will be a slight performance hit by anywhere from a few percent to as much as 5% in using a AM2+ motherboard with DDR2 memory.
The Phenom II X4 945 has a good price over at newegg so it's a good choice too if you want to save a few bucks.
I'm not saying avoid the Phenom II X4 940 but it is really a better choice if someone already has a AM2+ motherboard with a BIOS update for it and DDR2 memory as an upgrade CPU to beef up an older AM2+ system.
August 1, 2009 3:50:52 PM

well i use the GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P and i can say that it really is a solid mobo.
Prices of DDR3 are falling though. As for the mobos the chipsets are from the same family on the am2+ and AM3 mobo's you've specked out and you probably would not see any real world performance gain from ddr3, however if you ever decide to upgrade the mobo to a new chipset that is am3 only you can take your ram and cpu with you.

my 2 cents,

if you plan on building and never upgrading it, just a full replacement way down the road, you can get away with am2+ and ddr2 still.

If you want that door left open for you though go am3 it will most likely save money down the road, at a rather small premium now.

just remember am3 cpu's work in am2+ mobo's, but am2+ cpu's don't work in am3 mobos
August 2, 2009 8:14:42 PM

Heard nothing but good thing's about this one if you are willing to spend $200 on a MB

ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail [...] 6813131392