Advise for AMD P2 system?

Hi all,

I am trying to upgrade my PC. I am inching towards using an AMD P2 system. My main purpose for my PC is Bittorrent, surfing and watching HD movie files (720p and 1080p).

I have the following stuff already, 3 monitors (19"+22"+19") + LCD TV (32" Full HD), HDDs

Please advise on how I should built my system, my budget is flexible for around US$700 for:

CPU (which AMD P2 is good for me)
MoBo (Do I need AM3? and which Mobo?)
Ram (DDR2 or DDR3)
Gfx Cards (I prefer ATI, I need 2 cards for 4 monitors)

Thanks
17 answers Last reply
More about advise system
  1. for your use you dont really need that powerful a processor . One of the lowest specced quads might be your best choice

    Preferably in an AM3 mb with DDR 3
  2. Basically all I want is smooth HD movie playback, and I don't do much gaming!

    Please specify a particular CPU and Mobo and Gfx cards for me, as I am clueless on that.
  3. I recently bought a Phenom II system with similar intent, so I can at least tell you what I suggest from the research I did for my system.

    As far as memory, I would suggest going for 4GB of DDR3 nowadays. It's reached price parity with DDR2 and in the future DDR3 will get cheaper while DDR2 will increase in price by the time you want to do a memory upgrade, Buy 4GB of DDR3-1333 as it's about the same price as DDR3-1066 anyways.

    I definitely suggest Radeon 4XXX cards simply because of the 7.1 LPCM that you can use with an HDTV or a receiver if you have one or plan to get one in the future. AS far as what exact models, you probably have DVI monitors which eliminates most of ATI's low end 43XX and 45XX cards which only have 1 DVI and 1 VGA output. Therefore, two Radeon 4670's would be what I would suggest.

    I would definitely recommend an AMD 790X or 790FX chipset as you already have the two graphics cards so if you ever need the 3D power you can use CrossfireX. The 790X will only give x8 bandwidth to your graphics cards compared to x16 with the 790FX, but it won't matter if you don't do much gaming. I have good luck with gigabyte boards, so I would recommend the 790X-UD4P, but it's really a personal choice.

    For CPU's, any AM3 Phenom II should suit your tasks. I recommend the X4 945 as it seem to fit within your budget, but the X3 720 is also a great choice.

    As far as case and power supply, I bought the Antec NSK6580B and would recommend it to others. It comes with a 430W power supply which should be more than enough for your needs as well.

    From what I found on Newegg, this comes about $640 before three $10 rebates, leaving room for additional upgrades if you want more memory of other items. Good luck with your purchase!

    My current system (purchased before AM3s came out):

    Phenom II 920
    Gigabyte 790X-UD3
    2 x ATI 4350s (for 3 VGA monitors)
    4GB OCZ DDR2-1066
    Antec EarthWatts 430W PSU
    Antec NSK6580B Case
    6x Seagate 500GB 7200.11 RAID 5
  4. AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 4MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103650
    $170

    ASRock M3A790GXH/128M AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157152
    $115

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231180

    Thats the core of a system that will multitask well and have more than enough power for your usage .

    I am unsure of your gfx cards because I have never set up a system with 3 monitors . You wont need hugely powerful gaming cards
  5. Thanks

    This has narrowed down to either AMD P2 810 or 955 BE, seems like 810 is the more logical choice?

    I am thinking of purchasing 2 x ATI 4770 Gfx cards but some questions for CrossFire:

    1. After bridging the 2 Gfx Cards, I can still extend display on all 4 monitors?
    2. Can I enable crossfire (for the best graphics) in Windows whenever I am playing 3D games in 1 monitor?

    Thanks
    2.
  6. With crossfire, you can't use more than two monitors at once. Therefore, you'll have to enable it when you want to have the improved performance and disable it when you want to use 4 monitors. Fortunately, this is done in software so you don't have to change any bridges when you want to change from crossfire to 4 monitors.
  7. Thanks

    Finally, for video playback:

    1. Just want to know that it should not be a problem to playback video files smoothly on any of my 4 monitors at the same time?
  8. It shouldn't be a problem. A 1080P video on my system is fluid, even if it is spanned on more than one monitor. Your system should be more than capable of fluid video.
  9. This is what I have in mind now:

    AMD P2 810
    Gigabyte GA MA790FXT-UD5P
    (2 x 2Gb) DDR3 1333
    2 x ATI 4770

    Any comments?
  10. Do you already have a power supply and case?
  11. case, HDD all okay

    Maybe I need to check with the PSU, because the 4770s need its own power.
    I shall also get a BD-rom.

    By the way, did you (Von_Matrices) OC your system? Also what HSF are you using?
  12. I have not overclocked my system - I don't want to risk stability and it's more than good enough at its stock speed for what I need it anyway. I'm just using the stock AMD HSF, and it's quiet when it's set to auto fan speed.
  13. Haha i am surprised nobody noticed Tom's actually set up a quad monitor set up on far humbler hardware in the past!
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-780g-chipset,1785-6.html
    So my suggestion:

    Helluvalot less power draw too!
  14. Actually AMD X3 720 BE seems good value / performance.

    Should I go for DDR3, if not, everything is so much cheaper?
  15. Well i highlighted minimum P2X3 set up if you dun mind splashing more +1 on 720BE hehe
  16. Just checked the price (I live in HK):

    AMD Phenom 2 X3 720 BE ~ US$142
    Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P ~ US$183
    OCZ-Platinum 7-7-7-20 (2x2Gb) PC 1333 ~ US$72
    2 x ATI 4770 ~ US$200

    Any Comments?
  17. Why do you want to go with 2 ATI 4770? They're mainly gamers cards, pretty useless to you, stick with something simpler, like the 3450... You just HybridCrossFire this card with the board's card and you get: 3xDVI, VGA, HDMI, S-Video...
    Also stick with G.Skill ram, its' cheaper and better than the OCZ you've found.
    The 790FX chipset in your case is overkill, at 180$ this board is too much for you, get a simpler (look at mATX too) 790g chipset board like the Asus M3a78-em.
    About RAM there's not much reasons to go with DDR3, except future upgrade, but this system will serve you well for the next 2 years at least using it as you've pointed out.
    For the CPU I would say don't go BE if don't plan massive overclocking (and if you don't forget getting a HFS, I recommend Zalman's CNPS9900; awesome performance). I would go for a 710, usually cheaper and the differences in performances are near 0% without overclock.
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