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CPU, Mobo, RAM for under $250 please! AMD or Intel

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September 27, 2009 3:27:06 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Anytime within the next week or two.

BUDGET RANGE: $200 - $250

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: I'm the type to run one or two dozen tabs in Firefox with about ten extensions. I have email, Trillian, Skype, backup, several open source apps and/or services, HD video (possible transcoding on the fly), and misc other programs that may be run all at the same time. I don't plan on doing much gaming on this PC since it's so expensive; however, I would like to have the possible ability to run Starcraft II when it comes out, even if it is on a lo-fi setting.

PARTS REQUIRED: I'm basically just wanting to upgrade CPU, mobo and RAM--the three that HAVE to be done. I'd like to re-use my PSU for the time being. If you would, let me know the wattage I'd need.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg but TigerDirect's good, too.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like a quad-core; however, the Phenom II's X3 is something I could definitely live with. I'm neither an Intel or AMD fanboy. I go with whatever gets me the best bang for the buck. For the mobo, I do need onboard video. I would like to upgrade the video card someday, but I'm mainly using this for things other than gaming. I can settle for 2GB of RAM right now. But I'm definitely interested in upgrading to 4GB soon.

OVERCLOCKING: Interested but not a deal-breaker.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not required.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900, but possibly higher in the future but this definitely suffices right now.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: If there's any other info you need, please let me know! If I've been a complete dunce and left something out, remind me please!

Muchos gracias!

More about : cpu mobo ram 250 amd intel

September 27, 2009 3:55:17 AM

Depending on just how strict your budget is, this is the lowest you'll get a quad and 4gb of ram. If you waited and only started with 2, you could get a quad core with more cache than the first quad core listed.

AMD 620x4 $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Jetway 790GX $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gskill 4gig 1333 cas 9 ram $71
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $250 delivered

If you can flex a touch on the budget, you can get this CPU/Ram combo for $12 more

AMD 810x4 (more cache, will help with the intensive programs)
OCZ 2gb DDR3 (yep, down to two gigs for the CPU)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I'm not super familar with jetway either. They are well financially backed from what I've read, so they have the potential to be good quality from the start. But you're not going to find a DDR3 mobo much cheaper and the graphics for the 790GX are pretty good. The 785g has a newer chip, but its not clocked as high so doesn't run quite as well.
September 27, 2009 4:01:30 AM

if you already had a gfx card you could use
GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I have seen jetway and I have seen a few problems with their motherboards not lasting so well .

other than that its about as good as you can get for your purpose at that price
Related resources
September 27, 2009 4:24:44 AM

On the AMD builds above, this mobo is $5 more, but from Asrock, which is a baby brother of Asus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want 4gb of ram and a better quad than the 620x4, you can do this intel system. BUT, there is no upgrade path. If you need more power, you have to do a full platform upgrade, or spend money on another CPU that still can't go anywhere. You can add a GPU if you need. The IGP on the intel system is far inferior to the AMD system.

Intel Q8200 and 4 gb DDR2 800 ram $201 after shipping and handling
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Biostar G41 mobo $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total delivered $256

I think the 810x4 system is a better option if you can live with just 2 gigs of ram.
September 27, 2009 6:20:10 AM

Thanks SO much for the quick replies, guys! Can anyone tell me about the durability of the Asrock mobo's? Will they last as long as a typical Asus?

I'd like to go ahead with the X4 810. Are the Phenom II quads more powerful than the Core 2 Quads?
September 27, 2009 9:51:17 AM

Actually, I guess the biggest question right now is the difference in DDR3 and DDR2. I've seen that DDR3 is not much different right now--except maybe on the high-end memory--but has the potential to be a lot better in the future. Just why do there have to be so many mobo choices? :-)

One more thing: can anyone tell me what the Radeon 4200 compares to in the GeForce onboard world? Thanks again, guys!
September 27, 2009 2:09:39 PM

Asrock is fine for durability. For me, the main difference is the expected max OC. So it will only do 3.6 instead of 3.7. Not going to notice that much most of the time.

The question of the Phenom IIs vs C2Qs has more to do with price and upgradability and not performance. This shows the Q8400 vs the 810x4. The C2Q takes more wins than the AMD, but they are generally pretty close and both have their victories. Price wise, the AMD is only $145 and the Intel is $170. That $25, especially on your budget, is huge. Where upgradability comes in, Intel has already given up on the Socket 775. There won't be any next generation CPUs to put in a C2D/Q mobo that you buy. AMD just started with the Phenom IIs, so if you want their next line of CPUs after they go to 32nm technology, you can.

The DDR2 vs DDR3 is along the same lines with price and upgradability. DDR2 prices are rising, and as economies of scale kick in, DDR3 prices should come down. There was a time I bought 2gbs of DDR2 for $10 amir. Not the crap stuff, but high performance stuff. I'd love to see DDR3 come down that low. I'd get the DDR3 now though, because theres nothing to say AMD will save some money and stop offering CPUs with both DDR2 and DDR3 controllers on them and just use the DDR3. Performance wise, there's not much difference when the speeds are the same. But DDR3 can naturally go to 1333mhz+ and DDR2 has trouble above 1200mhz.

If you think there's a lot of mobos out, try weeding out the lower model PSUs without any guidence. You'll give up on computers and start using an abacus. Mobos all have the basic spots for stuff. CPU, Ram, GPU, an expansion card or two. Then they start adding extras like connectivity ports, parts that are super durable to overclocking for those using water systems that really push a system hard, spots for a second, third, or even fourth GPU. They all add cost, but most of the time, the entry level boards or next up will do the same job for most users as the more expensive boards. Pay for what you need and that's it.

This will compare the general aspects of the IGPs:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-785g-chipset,23...

This will compare the Blu ray abilities and HTPC audio:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/avivo-purevideo-cle...
!