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AMD Non-Gaming, Cheap with Virtual Machine Ooomph

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August 31, 2009 7:53:40 PM

I tried to be a good citizen and copy/paste the "How To Ask for Help" template, but nothing gets put into my clipboard!
Planning to purchase: next 2 weeks
Budget: under $550
Parts not required: all periphals (KB, mouse, monitor)
Preferred website for parts: Newegg
Parts Preference: AMD CPU for lower cost, lower power consumption
Overclocking: No
SLI/Crossfire: No
Monitor Res: 1920x1080 (have Samsung 24")
Other: quiet, low power, small size would all be nice
Experience Level: built all my own from 1975 to 2003, then bought brand-name systems.

I have added some possible parts to my wish list, here it is: basic AMD system

Motherboard, CPU, RAM and case are my outstanding questions. DVD is only a question if the case requires thin form factor. HD choice is done.

I prefer a mobo with onboard video. Of course dedicated RAM is best. And 1920x1080 is a requirement.

Micro ATX sounds nice for the smaller case, but this will go into my computer office, so if you think larger boards/cases are desired, I'll go with that.

I want a case with external room for multi-slot camera flash reader.

In the future I may be running maybe 3 VM on this, so I am thinking of Phenom x4. However, overall CPU speed is not a huge issue - should I perhaps just go with Phenom x2?

How about RAM? Should I consider DDR3, or is DDR2 good enough for AMD?

There are just too many choices for me to make sense of it all.

TIA.
Glenn in Santa Cruz
August 31, 2009 8:21:28 PM

You need to put a description into your link for it to work, but newegg wishlists don't work well anyway.

MicroATX is fine.

Here is my preferred case:
CM Elite 341
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
Asus 780G AM2+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
X3 720
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3 cores makes a good compromise. It's fast too.

RAM:
G.Skill 1066 DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There is no advantage to DDR3 except for upgrade potential. At your budget I don't think it's needed.

PSU:
Corsair 400CX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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

August 31, 2009 9:10:12 PM

glenn_n said:

In the future I may be running maybe 3 VM on this, so I am thinking of Phenom x4. However, overall CPU speed is not a huge issue - should I perhaps just go with Phenom x2?


May I ask what you plan on doing with 3 running VMs? I mean, Proximon's suggestions should be fine for a build that can run 3 VMs in text mode to test network communication or something non-demanding. But for development or such (say you want to be able to quickly switch between the host OS and any of the three VMs, each running a full-blown graphical desktop environment) I don't think such a build will have the Ooomph you ask for.
Related resources
August 31, 2009 9:50:30 PM

The VMs will likely be Linux. LDAP, database, web servers, pretty simple stuff. However, for development simplicity, they probably will run full desktop env. If you think the system won't have enough oomph, what does it need? I would think that more RAM would do the job.
August 31, 2009 11:10:53 PM

glenn_n said:
The VMs will likely be Linux. LDAP, database, web servers, pretty simple stuff. However, for development simplicity, they probably will run full desktop env. If you think the system won't have enough oomph, what does it need? I would think that more RAM would do the job.


Right...my limited experience--using VMWare Workstation with Linux x86-64 host and various guests--agrees that RAM matters a lot. 4GB (minus whatever your integrated graphics takes away) with 3 guests is about the absolute minimum I'd go with. It's gonna work but I'd expect occasional swapping and lower system responsiveness. More RAM is better. Also, I think I would go for an X3 or X4, not a dual core. On my core i7 920@stock, I'm rarely at full CPU load except when the guests boot. BUT: i think things would be different with just a dual core.
September 1, 2009 3:31:16 AM

I don't think you need a X4. If I were you, I would go with the Phenom II X2 550. I was running way more resourceful application and I did it with a mere E6400.

4 GB is a must, but for the rest, you can order the cheapest stuff and it will be ok. If you can grab an cheaper Antec Power supply, just do it. An Earth Watt 380 will be way enough for your need especially if you take the onboard graphic interface.

I know that a lot of AM3 motherboard got this nice feature, just be sure to find one with a single PCIe slot.
September 1, 2009 4:24:03 AM

Thanks to all - I'm just about ready to go ahead and order.
What do you think of this micro-ATX, GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H?
Gigabyte has HD4200, the previously mentioned ASUS has HD3400. Gigabyte also has more glowing reviews from users. It seems like either is a good choice.
September 1, 2009 4:25:53 AM

Ya good choice i like its connectivity too with the esata and 1394 ^^
September 1, 2009 6:28:45 AM

Yes that would be a good pick. Should be a bit more compatible with future CPUs as well.
!