Budget Build: How much CPU do I need?

I've been doing some research on CPU's and I'm still lost. I can't figure out how much CPU I need. The last time I built a computer single cores were all there was. I'm trying to keep this cheap but I don't want to build something that will be obsolete in the next year.

I'm not into gaming much(although I might get coerced into playing Star Wars Old Republic), I'll be using it mostly for playing music and videos, surfing the net; I also will be using it for audio recording and editing which I guess would be the most taxing thing I do. I want to make sure it will run Windows 7 well... I figure if I can't then there's no reason for me to upgrade from my 2.4 Pentium running XP.

Here's what I'm thinking about:

AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core
+
ASUS M4A78 PRO AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

or

AMD Phenom 8750 Toliman 2.4GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Triple-Core
+
ASUS M3N78-VM AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Ram: Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

PSU: Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified


Please let me know what you think about this setup or recommend a CPU and MOBO around the same price. Does that power supply have enough juice? I'll be hooking up a Delta 44 PCI audio interface and maybe down the road a video card if I need it.

Jeremy
13 answers Last reply
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  1. Not sure what you mean by "how much CPU" but the first build with the PII x3 710 with a cheap graphics card would make a good build. Why not pop something cheap like this card in there 4670... It will help make your system a little more balanced. Hope this helps!
  2. Phenom X3 710 triple core processor $99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103648


    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128392


    2 x 2 gig of Gskill memory $67
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231200


    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB hard drive $50
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136074


    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W $39
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817341016


    COOLER MASTER Elite RC-331-KKN1-GP Black Mid Tower Computer Case $44
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811119188


    Graphix card is hard to choose without knowing the size and resolution of your monitor but this should be ok even if you have a 1680 x 1050 22 inch LCD . Its also lower power consumption and quiet which most gaming cards arent


    BIOSTAR VA4775ND51 Radeon HD 4770 512MB $110
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814141098

    Its all the latest AM3 platform , with DDR3 RAM . I suggested this build to another poster yesterday so the deals are probably still active .
    The case I chose for free shipping and not much else .


    Total $489
  3. I like outlanders build, one thing i might do is replace the MA770T motherboard , which doesn't have integrated graphics, with this AM3 780G which does for an extra $10. If you're not using it for gaming you can probably just go with integrated graphics and save a chunk of money.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157161
  4. dirtmountain said:
    I like outlanders build, one thing i might do is replace the MA770T motherboard , which doesn't have integrated graphics, with this AM3 780G which does for an extra $10. If you're not using it for gaming you can probably just go with integrated graphics and save a chunk of money.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157161


    That makes a lot of sense dirtmountain .

    The 780g mb's all have integrated gfx that will play games reasonably well . Its worth a shot to try dirtmountains motherboard suggestion , and see if it will run the game . If it doesnt you can always buy a graphics card later , but upfront you save about a $100 on not getting the 4770
  5. Thanks for the suggestions. It looks like I can go with DDR3 cheaper than the DDR2 setup I was looking at. Outlander those links don't work for me. Most of them I could find in new egg but not the exact memory you were talking about. Do you have a part number or something?

    jbakerlent, I just meant I don't know how processing power I need.

    I already have a LCD monitor, it's 19" I believe. I also already have a case that should work.
  6. This RAM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231200

    Another good point about the AM3 / DDR3 build is future upgradeability. While AMD is still providing DDR2 and DDR3 controllers in their new CPUs, at some time in the future they'll probably just have a DDR3 controller.
  7. jnasty said:
    Thanks for the suggestions. It looks like I can go with DDR3 cheaper than the DDR2 setup I was looking at. Outlander those links don't work for me. Most of them I could find in new egg but not the exact memory you were talking about. Do you have a part number or something?

    jbakerlent, I just meant I don't know how processing power I need.

    I already have a LCD monitor, it's 19" I believe. I also already have a case that should work.


    I see... yeah the 710 or the 550 would probably both work great for you...
  8. jnasty said:
    Thanks for the suggestions. It looks like I can go with DDR3 cheaper than the DDR2 setup I was looking at. Outlander those links don't work for me. Most of them I could find in new egg but not the exact memory you were talking about. Do you have a part number or something?

    jbakerlent, I just meant I don't know how processing power I need.

    I already have a LCD monitor, it's 19" I believe. I also already have a case that should work.


    Im not sure why the links are broken , but
    this
    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231200

    should work

    hopefully

    EDIT: the links seem to be broken because I cut and pasted it , but hopefully you found the rest of it .
    The original thread i posted the build in is
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/268304-31-advice-work-gaming-system-budget
    and they are clickable from there
  9. Thanks, I got the link this time. Btw, 'PC3 10666' stands for bus speed I think but how do you know which to get? I didn't see anything in the Mobo specs that said so.

    Also, any comments on well this setup will run Windows 7?
  10. jnasty said:
    Thanks, I got the link this time. Btw, 'PC3 10666' stands for bus speed I think but how do you know which to get? I didn't see anything in the Mobo specs that said so.

    Also, any comments on well this setup will run Windows 7?



    Ram is rated with MHz 1333MHz
    or bandwidth 10666 which no one understands even though its the spec

    and then a series of numbers indicating latency
    The ram I linked to is 7-7-7-18

    Think of these as like city , street, house number address and the final figure is how long the round trip takes to find an retrieve data on the ram chip
    LOWER is better

    Many 1600MHz ram chips are identical to 1333 Mhz ram chips but they make the timings 9-9-9-24 or similar so it can run at the higher MHz speed , but it wont actually do more work because the latencies are higher . Sometimes the ram is run at higher voltages too so that helps it run faster

    7-7-7-18 is good , and even better still it runs at the stock DDR3 voltage of 1.5 - 1.6 volts
  11. Yes, it will run windows7. You may have a little trouble finding Windows7 specific drivers, if you do just use the Vista drivers. I expect you are using the 64 bit version of either.
  12. Definitely go with the PII x3 710
  13. Thanks guys, you've been very helpful. I might go ahead and place my order with new egg today.
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