Okayyyy, before we start.
I used to be into the components scene, but that was back in the day of Core Duo just being released and it was the bees knees! It looks like things have changed a lot since then.
What's Phenom? heh. Is it any good?
What kind of motherboards am I meant to be looking at to go with the specific CPUs? What's all this I hear about Dragons and AM3, and nVidia motherboard chips!? Eeek.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: I can wait, but i'm thinking it's a present to myself for graduating from University. If there's a huge technological advance round the corner I don't know about by all means tell me!
BUDGET RANGE: Probably about $900-1,200. That's about £600-800.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: World of Warcraft, Warhammer online, and the occasional chart game such as Mass Effect, CoD, Fear, Crysis etc. Mostly gaming, with some music playing. I doubt there'll be much else.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Maybe a mouse.. although a new one would be sweet.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Ebuyer.com and Dabs.com. Other trustworthy places considered.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Not fussed.
OVERCLOCKING: I don't want to cause my new computer to die early. So probably not?
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I have no idea, sorry. If 2 of a certain graphics card beats out a certain single one then sure. Whatever you recommend for good price/performance.
That Black Edition thing looks pretty sweet, I thought AMD was having a lot of trouble competing with C2D though?
Also, any ideas what type of memory people are using these days? Is it DDR3 now?
Yes, in 2006 and 2007 and even a bit of 2008 AMD was way behind. However, now they are very competitive in the budget segment. As in, CPUs under $200 or whatever. Intel is still the leader, i.e. it has the fastest CPUs, but those cost a lot and require expensive X58 motherboards.
DDR3 is now almost as cheap as DDR2, so it's becoming popular. Anyway, you need to pick a CPU first, then a MB that works with it, then your choice of DDR2 or DDR3 is dictated by the MB. There's very little difference in performance anyway.
Also, if you hadn't noticed and you did mention you didn't know the new phenom chips.
AM3 x3 720 is running with a AM2+ motherboard. Why? well, amd made it capable for consumers to buy a cheaper board and a more up-to-date cpu for there budget help. Well it was like that before, now, you'll see am3 motherboards dropping in price aswell. But, anyways, it helped out people with not enough money for ddr3 and am3 motherboards to be able to upgrade down the road on just those main parts.
You'll now see ddr3 for $59.99 and am3 boards under $140. Which is wild seeing the LGA 775 UD3P is still $134.99, because, LGA 775 sockets will not be making cpu's anymore. IMO they should lower it really low since they are going out of business .
Edit: and then on later pages you see the E8400 coming ahead again in Photoshop. That's obviously because Photoshop used only one or two cores there. The right choice depends on what applications you run most. Still, they're close enough so don't worry too much about it.
Ah I see [:
But that power will make all the difference with new games in high res maybe?
I think you're right though the money saved on the Phenom can just go to a graphics card.
Fullmetall, can you explain what the upgrade path 'was' or 'is' for these two cpus please? I've read something about AM2 or AM3 and so forth but not quite sure what my roadmap looks like for the future.
You could also get a Corsair 550W. It's not modular, but you save 7 pounds and get 1A more (41 instead of 40). I've read a very detailed article once comparing the 520HX with the 550VX and they were identical for all practical purposes, except for the modular part. Modular means you can detach unused cables and put them away. It's nice, but how many times will you get your hands inside the PC and benefit from this...