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Help with an AMD budget build

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July 28, 2009 11:46:27 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week.

BUDGET RANGE: $700

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: BR movies, Homework, Surfing, Streaming Video, CoH

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard,Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, CPU

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, frys.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Have an AMD Penom II 550 BE (batch 0924BPMW)
http://www.frys.com/product/5942364?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...
looking at an AM3 Gigabyte Mobo
pref ATI GPU
pref Antec PSU but will consider others
1 TB SATA HDD
4 GB min RAM

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, will try unlocking cores though

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 (46" Samsung HDTV, LN46B540)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Haven't done a build in a while and giving my parents my old one. Can't reuse parts as they will need them or are too old to work for me (ie. it has a BFG 7950GT 256MB video card). I have a license free version of Windows XP Pro.... but it isn't 64. I am thinking of installing the free beta of Windows 7 to putoff the cost of an OS for a year or going Linux 64. This build will be part of my entertainment center (read HTPC).

More about : amd budget build

July 28, 2009 12:57:33 PM
July 28, 2009 1:01:09 PM

You really need that blu-ray drive? It costs you $100 extra, and it cannot burn blu-ray.

Its also not important, IMO, since blu-ray is old compared to the storage capacities of other media, you pay alot for relatively few capacity. And they are not durable at all, so unusable as backup solution. In short, i don't think the optical drive has that much future, its mechanical in nature like HDDs and it hasn't evolved quickly enough to compete with other alternatives that are much more reliable and durable.
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July 28, 2009 1:16:25 PM

I am using it to watch blu-ray movies on my HDTV. I think it makes more sense to buy a multi use blu-ray player/DVD burner for my computer at $100 than to buy a standalone player for $150+. I have 2 DVD burners on my old comp where I coud easily scavenge one and replace it with an old DVD-ROM drive. But then I couldn't watch HD movies.
When I build, I try to buld with an eye to the future, thus the AM3 socket and DDR3 memory in the MOBO and a only slightly old GPU. In all honesty, I could grab that blu-ray player and a new graphics card and use my existing build. It is still decent. But my folks need an upgrade and so does my uncle. If I build a new one for me, my old one goes to my parents and thiers goes to my uncle.
July 28, 2009 1:33:47 PM

If you pick a motherboard with nVidia Geforce GPU, like GeForce 8200/8300 for AMD-platform, you can use this onboard GPU to accelerate some HD-codecs. They often come in Micro-ATX size so have only one PCI-express x16 slot, but hey do you need crossfile/SLI at all?

It would shave off some 180 dollars of your build price. Using DDR2 memory will decrease price now. But i suggest you buy enough memory if going for DDR2 as prices will only increase. Note its probably faster than the DDR3 memory you picked, as DDR3 has a higher latency is needs more MHz to compensate. So only the fastest DDR3 is faster than DDR2. And by a small margin. So look at capacity and price, as they are more important. Also i prefer to buy 1.8V (stock voltage) memory, instead of memory that's running "overclocked" at factory settings.
July 28, 2009 1:45:28 PM

I chose that Gigabyte board because it has the highest success rate with unlocking the 550's cores from my batch. $130 for MOBO isn't bad but it comes down to do I want to unlock the cores or go cheaper.......
As for Xfire or SLI.... nope. I have no interest as the only game I play on PC is CoH. My old 7950 GT worked fine for that, even the newest one.

Best solution

July 28, 2009 2:49:19 PM
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Here's some ways to shave some $ off the price without sacrificing any performance:

Save $35 on the HD and get the faster Black model.

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $94.99

Save $23 and get the EA650 since it's currently the same price as the EA500.

Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $76.99

Save $50 on the motherboard since you aren't interested in crossfire and this board also has a good reputation for unlocking CPU cores.

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

You should really use $18 of that savings on a better RAM kit. DDR3 1333 CAS 9 is pretty slow. This RAM kit is much faster at DDR3 1600 CAS 7.

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P16004GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $75.99

If you're still looking to save a little $ you could save another $30 by going with this Blu-Ray drive.

ASUS Black 6X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal 6X Blu-Ray DVD Combo Model BC-06B1ST - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99
July 28, 2009 3:21:26 PM

Thanks for the HDD.

Thanks for the tip. on the PSU. I need to look at that, I forgot to account for the cost to ship it. I may hit FRYs if it is cheap enough.

The 770T-UD3P was 1 I was looking at but no one tried to unlock the cores with it that I have read. Not saying no one has tried but I haven't read of one yet.

Thanks for the tip on the memory. I will look around some. Evidently the Gigabyte boards don't have much room for RAM and the heat spreaders can get in the way.

found this at FRYs
http://www.frys.com/product/5635661?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...
July 28, 2009 3:34:43 PM

Xbitlabs did a nice review on the GA-MA770T-UD3P. They were able to unlock CPU cores with the board.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/gig...

Here's a couple quotes from the review:

"And despite AMD’s objections against the use of this function, Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P allows unlocking processor cores, that is why there is EC Firmware Selection function in its BIOS. By setting it to Hybrid, you can enable the old CPU firmware version allowing the use of ACC for unlocking the disabled cores."

"Unlocking disabled cores also didn’t cause any problems. When the EC Firmware Selection is set to Hybrid and you enable ACC technology in the mainboard BIOS Setup, the dual-core Phenom II X2 magically turns into a quad-core CPU. And this processor works flawlessly not only in nominal mode but also during overclocking."

"...during our test session, we didn’t reveal any serious issues that could give anyone the reason to underestimate Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P. Especially, since it performs and overclocks just as good as Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P, for instance, that belongs to a much higher price range."
July 28, 2009 4:28:37 PM

so...

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

VisionTek 900244 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CoolerMaster Centurion 590 Black ATX Mid Tower
$30
http://www.frys.com/product/5534250?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
$77
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P16004GK - Retail
$76
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
$95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG BLU-RAY BD-R GBC-H20L INTERNAL (6x BD-R) SUPER MULTI BLUE BLU-RAY DISC DRIVE
$100
http://www.frys.com/product/5635661?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

That's $598+104 (PCU) = $704 total.

Thanks everyone!!!!!!
July 28, 2009 4:31:21 PM

Looks good! Let us know how it goes.
July 28, 2009 9:06:36 PM

just to add my 2 cents

last time I looked on newegg they were selling the 710 x3 for $99

These OC well too
July 28, 2009 9:10:12 PM

Outlander_04 said:
just to add my 2 cents

last time I looked on newegg they were selling the 710 x3 for $99

These OC well too

That's a good deal, but the OP already bought his CPU. He's just trying to build a system around it now.
July 28, 2009 9:24:33 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
That's a good deal, but the OP already bought his CPU. He's just trying to build a system around it now.


see! , I told you my opinion was only worth 2 cents .........
:-(
July 30, 2009 12:38:51 PM

ok. got the PSU, MOBO, HDD, Patriot RAM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and a cooler master 690 case.

will try putting it together soon and see what happens. IMO not worth hanging onto the CPU if the cores won't unlock. I mean I could trade it in for the 250 @ 3.0 Ghz that has been known to OC higher than the 550 (3.9 vs 3.8 stable). And the 250 is like $25-$30 less.

Wouldn't you know it, the graphics card is sold out on the egg. Hope they get some more before the sale ends. good card for the price.
August 12, 2009 8:08:56 AM

so everything is here and put together. grrrrrrr.... not unlocking cores. this pisses me off!!!! everything else is fine though. I am gonna post on the cpu are about my 550.... see what hints they can give.
!