New $700-$850 budget system, hows my setup look?


BUDGET RANGE: $700-$850

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Gaming, watching movies, browsing the net)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, optical drive



CPU Mobo :
- Phenom 2 x3 720be + GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X - $219.00

Case and PS:


-G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 - $60

Graphics Card
-HIS Hightech H487FN1GP Radeon HD 4870 1GB (w/ Stalker Clear Sky Game) - $175

Hard Drive

-Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB - $75



MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)


1. -My main concern here is bang for buck and future upgradability. I have settled on Phen2 x3 720BE for the cpu but am having trouble picking out a motherboard.

2. -I know I want to be able to buy a second 4870 later for xfire

3. -It seems like Am2+ motherboards can do all things that am3 can except for use ddr3 memory? Am I wrong on this? Should I get an am3 board or am2?

4. -Does the motherboard I listed be upgradable to future AMD processors?

5. -Are there any better deals that you all know of that are on par or better than what I already listed?

6. -Looking for a 24+ inch monitor for under $250

Thanks for the help!
7 answers Last reply
More about budget system hows setup look
  1. I would take a look at proximon's list and see if that PSU is recommended - coolermaster PSU's are generally not.

    1. check out this article:

    2. buying a second 4870 might not be good value - depends on how soon you want to upgrade. For example if you bought a 3870 in late 2007 - there would have been no point in upgrading to 2 x 3870 in late 2008 - a 4870 beats it by far and uses less power. So really only plan on this if you plan on upgrading soon (less than 6 months) and even then it might not be the best value. (right now the best bang for the buck at 1920 x 1200 is 2 x 4770's in CF)

    3. AM2+ is fine - no need for AM3 it is getting dropped in a year anyways for triple channel architecture, so either way it will be outdated within a year most likely.

    4. Yes and No, it is as upgradable as they get nowdays and a very good choice.

    5. Not really - it would depend on how much money you want to spend and what performance you need.

    6. Um, shouldn't be impossible to find.
    I think this probably good - better to get a second opinion on it as well though - I don't have a 24 inch and ASUS monitors aren't as cheap in the UK - Benq is good here.

    Hope this helps

    Otherwise the build is good in general - you can get kingston hyper-X 1066Mhz (PC8500 memory) for only $55 at the egg now - that is a good deal I would check out. The 720 should suite your gaming needs very well. If you are going to OC it I recommend an aftermarket cooler - the Xigmatek: is a great cooler - but there are lots of other good ones so take a check - I wouldn't spend more than $50 on one though - it would be overkill.
  2. Change the PSU to Corsair 750TX. Same price, even with the combo discount you're giving up, but a much better product. It also has 60A instead of 50A. That's big difference when it comes to Crossfire.

    Add a Scythe Mugen 2 cooler to the list.

    1. the MB you found is just fine
    2. yes
    3..5 AM3 is nice to have. AM3 doesn't necessarily mean DDR3.
    Yes that MB will support future AM3 CPUs. If you can afford $325 instead of $219 you can get the same MB with a Phenom II 955, and you won't need a CPU upgrade for the next 5 years.
  3. There is hardly any difference between the 940 and 955 - so what is this thing about it ensuring that you won't need an upgrade in the next 5 years? That is completely relative - it will depend completely on what madman needs a CPU for 5 years from now and how much the CPU has evolved. I think it is a bit silly to make such a sweeping statement. 5 years ago it was the spring of 2004 - and believe me, even the best CPU then, the Prescott 3.2 Ghz P4 was worth upgrading long before now. heck you could get an E6600 and OC it easy in 2007 - and the improvement would be dramatic, dual cores and higher clocks - with less heat. It would sure be better for home apps and even in games in 2007 - so saying that you won't need an upgrade for 5 years is misleading, if not bogus. Its even more bogus when you consider that the DDR2 AM2+ 940 BE will offer the same performance when overclocked - for a lot less money. Otherwise there is of course nothing wrong with AM3 and the 955 - its just that this guy is concerned with value and I don't think the bang for the buck is as good.
  4. ^agree 100%
  5. ROFL, silly misleading bogus, huh? Did I kick your dog or something? Sorry...

    You're confusing "need to upgrade" with "want to upgrade". Do you seriously expect there will be a game in the next 5 years that cannot be played reasonably well on a quad core at 3.2 GHz, maybe overclocked to 3.6, whatever.

    Phenom II 940 ??? Who mentioned that one?

    The upgrade I was suggesting was from X3 720 BE ($219 with the Gigabyte MB) to Phenom II 955 ($325 with the same Gigabyte MB). I would pay an extra $106 to get 4 cores at 3.2 GHz instead of 3 cores at 2.8 Ghz. But the OP's needs may differ. Right now, for gaming, even the 3-core is overkill.

    As for value, let's examine two scenarios:

    1. buy the Phenom II 955 now for $245 and keep it for 5 years

    2. buy the X3 720 now for $140 and replace it in two years with a new $140 CPU and keep that one for three years

    (a) Total cost: $35 less with (1)
    (b)Performance during the first two years: better with (1)
    (c)Hassles about replacing the CPU in 2011: none with (1)
    (d) Performance in the 3rd, 4th and 5th year: I don't know.

    You are GUESSING that (d) will make up for (a), (b) and (c) and even more. Now that's wrong. You can't possibly guarantee that. That's a bigger guess than mine with the 5 years.

    Yes, Core 2 humiliated the P4. But, the P4 had a horrible Netburst architecture. Also, the jump from one core to two cores was trivial to exploit in software.
    Now you're assuming AMD will invent a new architecture very soon that will humiliate its current architecture. I doubt they're even working on such a thing yet. AFAIK they're going after integration with the GPU next. Also, a future CPU with 6 or 8 or 12 cores will still not humiliate a quad core because software will not be able to use all those cores. Not gaming software, anyway.
  6. I don't know if there will be a game that can't play on a 3.6 OC'ed 955 and AM3 board in 5 years - yes that is right, but I am pretty sure that if that is the case, then all the games will also be playable on a 3.6 Ghz Oc'ed 940 and AM2+ board as well - which is cheaper. As for whether or not AMD will come out with a new architecture - I think they probably will - the bigger question is whether or not that archetecture will be significantly better than the Phenom II - for which no one can really answer. The thing is that for the next year or 2 the 720 or 940 will probably be more than good enough - and after that it is very likely that the Core I5 or new AMD budget systems will beat the 955 and the rest by a significant margin. I think my comparison for budgets - listed previously - shows that a lot can happen. Even the venerable $300 E6600 could 2 years later be replaced for a faster performing $100 E7400 - so it really is impossible to tell.

    My main point is that it is better to spend less and assume the future is unpredictable, rather than spend more and try to "future proof". The 940 is roughly the same as the 955 - especially when overclocked and the combo deal for the 920 and the 790X is only $270 - that's only $30 more than the 955 alone - and that is why I think the 940 is the better 4 core deal.
  7. Thanks for all the feedback, hearing some other people thoughts really helped.

    Right now, I save $100 if i go with a phenom x3 720 instead of a x4 955. That $100 allows me to buy a 4870 1 GB, which will benefit gaming much more than an extra core would. Also it leaves me room to buy a decent CPU cooler for overclocking. That why I still will probably stick with the x3 720 :)

    So let me get this straight, the only reason they came out with am3 was for ddr3 compatability? It seems from what Ive read that ANY am3 cpu can go in am2+ motherboards, you just wont be able to use ddr3.....So What at all is the point in going with an am3 setup? ddr3 wont make that much of a difference.... Am I missing something?

    Also, the current board I have selected says am3/am2+, does that mean itll be compatable with all future am3 Cpus?

    Confusing stuff, for me I guess.
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