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AMD x3 720 gaming build ($700-800)

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Last response: in Systems
June 12, 2009 8:00:16 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: End of June or beginning of July

BUDGET RANGE: $700-800 (lower if possible)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: MMO gaming (WoW, WAR, and future titles), Sims 3, Fallout 3, and other game titles (I don't play shooters except--very rarely--Left4Dead or Unreal Tourn. 3) that I haven't been able to play due to my old 2.2 GHz Athlon 64 & 7800 GTX PC. I browse the internet a lot while I'm gaming. I sometimes use Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Macromedia applications. I occasionally watch DVD/AVI movies. No video editing or burning.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I don't need a monitor, sound card, DVD writer/reader, keyboard, mouse, or speakers. As for the OS, I hope to install Windows 7 (can I install Windows 7 via my USB external hard drive?). As for Windows 7, are most games and office applications that are compatible for Windows XP 32-bit work for Windows 7 64-bit?

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Tiger Direct, Micro Center (in-store)

1. I'm interested in the AMD x3 720 build with an AM3 mobo due to its overclock-ability and value.
2. I'm not sure if I 'need' DDR3 or DDR2 memory. I guess that depends if its AM2 or AM3 motherboard?
3. I do plan on OC'ing the CPU, but I have never done so before.
4. I may OC the GPU and memory, but again, never done it before.
5. My monitor resolution is 1440x900 (and I don't plan on upgrading anytime soon), but I'm looking into the nVIDIA GTX 260 w/ 216 cores, ATI 4850, or 1GB 4870 just because they are in my price range. I want to make sure the graphics card will last me for several years, fits in the case, and running cool.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900 (19" Samsung SyncMaster 932 BW Plus - 2 ms - 8000 :: 1 contrast). Will not upgrade until it actually breaks for some reason. :p 

- I want this new PC build to be stable so it can last me 3-5 years down the road since my current "old" PC has lasted me since January 2005. It still hasn't pooped on me yet, but I feel that it's getting old and slow when I have to have the lowest video settings in order to play my games.
- I want my PC to run cool and stable. I don't mind noise since I'm used to it anyway. No other blings, just stability and performance are plus. I have never overclocked anything before, so I need guidance or articles to show me how to do that!
- I don't want to spend more money on different versions or brands of parts that will only give me a small % of increased performance. I want value for my money over the long-run.



Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power Combo Price $104.94

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Combo Price $258.09 (- $15.00 MIR)

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA $74.99

As mentioned above, I'm open for suggestions, and I'm willing to 'downgrade' for something cheaper that would give me minimal difference in terms of performance. I will not change the AMD x3 720 and WD 640 GB hard drive that I picked just because I know they are good value for my money and use.

Again, I want this build to last 3-5 years where I won't need to upgrade any part. :) 

Thank you for your help, I appreciate your time for reading/helping!

More about : amd 720 gaming build 700 800

June 12, 2009 8:49:01 AM

^ Hi...nice choices...but I feel for that price range, you can consider the AMD X4 955...As you wont be crossfiring, you wont need that mobo...

Here are some suggestions that you can look into...

CPU - X4 955



Case + PSU


CPU Cooler - Only required if you want to overclock high

Graphics card - 4870 1GB

Total - $754...

But if you want to stick with the X3, you would save upto $100 on the CPU alone...
June 12, 2009 9:04:54 AM

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June 12, 2009 9:09:28 AM

Thanks for the quick response, Gkay! I'm excited that you found me a cheaper mobo!

Just out of curiosity, what's the difference between the 770 that you picked and the 790GX? Can the 790GX overlock "better" than the 770, or does it matter?

And as for the graphics card, I realize that the GTX 260 w/ 216 cores slightly performs better in most of the high-end games than the ATI 4870 according to my research. Now that the prices are competitive, would you still pick the 1GB 4870 over the 260 w/ 216 cores? If so, what are your reasons?

Or are you picking the 4870 because it 'excels' better on an AMD mobo?

Hehe, sorry for being noobish. ;)  I still can't figure out which would be the better performer with the AMD parts that I picked. For example, someone using AMD parts with an nVIDIA graphics card versus an ATI graphics card. Does it matter if you don't plan on doing crossfire/SLI or is it all personal preference?
June 12, 2009 9:11:14 AM

sharken said:

:heink:  :pt1cable: 
June 12, 2009 9:32:59 AM

That mobo that I have picked up has a newer revision of the south bridge - SB710...
And with the latest AMD CPUs, you can easily overclock them even on these mobos very well...say easily 400MHz overclock with a good CPU cooler, without having to increase the CPU voltage...And is a very stable board...

And there is no problem going with the GTX260...
But the deal on the 4870 was very good so I had suggested that...But even the GTX 260 core 216 is a good choice...
And the graphics card would depend more on the game that you play...Some games play better on ATI and some on see which card plays your favourite game better, get that card...
June 12, 2009 5:51:41 PM

SB710 is not a new revision. It's in between the SB700 and SB750 for features. The ASUS is a better motherboard, but it is more expensive.

Here's a link:

According to that, the only thing that the 710 is lacking is RAID5 support.

With any of the competitive video cards (4850 vs GTS250, 4870 vs GTX260, 4890 vs GTX275), it's all about future upgrade paths and the games you play. You're getting a motherboard with CrossFire support, so getting an ATI card allows you to add another card in later. If you don't plan on adding another card, then it depends more on the games. Some (GRID, Fallout 3) work better on ATI architecture, some (Crysis, Call of Duty) on Nvidia. It's up to you to do some research and find out what works best for yours.
June 14, 2009 3:45:19 AM

I just built a X3 720 with the Asrock 780G motherboard
used Windows 7 RC 64 bit loaded from a DVD. Just burn it slowly, i used 1x with Imgburn. Most the drivers loaded with no problem, used the Vista 64 bit drivers off the Asrock disc (used browse). I did have a bit of trouble with the VIA Audio chipset, but it's working. Their AOD doesn't work with Windows7 yet.
Don't pay much attention to Sharken, nobody else does.
June 14, 2009 4:44:12 AM

if you go with AMD, here is what my next PC upgrade will be for gaming,
and hope to have everything by the middle of August, and will cost around $605.00

Video Card, a 4850 or a 4870
Hard Drive

from this list I have the motherboard,Ram,and CPU so far.

not including the OS,dvd drive,and PC case, that I already have.
June 16, 2009 2:56:00 AM

Just found out this awesome combo today:

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard + AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3

Compared to the previous combo offer that I posted, it's now about $34 less!!

Sooo tempted to order them right now. :bounce: 

Since I want to OC the x3 720, what thermal paste would you guys recommend?
June 16, 2009 3:10:24 AM

That is a sweet deal, just remember that they may only last a few days. I use Tuniq tx-2 or arctic cooling mx-2