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Sub $500 micro atx am3 GAMING build

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October 12, 2009 1:05:39 AM

I have a micro atx case, power supply, dvd drive, and hard drive.
I need a micro atx am 3 motherboard (preferably crossfire capable)
I need 4 gigs of ddr3(maybe2) ram
I need amd phenom II x3 unless there is better value somewhere else ?

Here is what I have picked out so far.

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

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

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

I really have no idea what the best value/performance would be for the ram i would like to keep the price of the ram under 101 dollars unless there is significant performance to be gained.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ~ 1 month
BUDGET RANGE: ~$500 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming gaming gaming . . .

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: moniter keyboard mouse, hard drive, dvd drive, power supply.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Cheap and legit newegg.

PARTS PREFERENCES: ATI and AMD

OVERCLOCKING: Yes
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

Thanks alot
October 12, 2009 1:53:52 AM

No comments on what ram to choose ? :( 
Related resources
October 12, 2009 6:11:53 AM

tecmo34 said:
I recommend you pick up this G.SKILL DDR3 1600 4GB (2x2GB) memory.



Thats is similar to what i was looking at.
Do you see anything wrong with anything else i have suggested , or have any other ideas?
October 12, 2009 8:14:01 AM

why not i5 750? way better performance just cost a little more.
i5 750 dominates EVERY AMD processor.

i5 750 + MOBO micro atx (can crossfire) Combo Price: $294.98

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

option 1: 4870 1GB + RAM Combo Price: $229.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

option 2: 4870 512mb $124.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

option 2: RAM $94.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total option 1: $524.96 (1gb video card, I WOULD PAY 10 dollars more if i were you)
total option 2: $514.96 (512mb video card)

what power supply are you going to use?

do you need operating system?
October 12, 2009 1:39:31 PM

overshocks said:
why not i5 750? way better performance just cost a little more.
i5 750 dominates EVERY AMD processor.

i5 750 + MOBO micro atx (can crossfire) Combo Price: $294.98

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

option 1: 4870 1GB + RAM Combo Price: $229.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

option 2: 4870 512mb $124.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

option 2: RAM $94.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total option 1: $524.96 (1gb video card, I WOULD PAY 10 dollars more if i were you)
total option 2: $514.96 (512mb video card)

what power supply are you going to use?

do you need operating system?


Interesting, i will have to look into this

I have windows7, vista, and xp
and im not sure on the power supply, i just know its a thermaltake ~500 watter
I would look up the exacts on the power supply, but it at my home 2 hours away :( 
October 12, 2009 5:01:43 PM

laweinhander said:
Also
what about this ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I believe its what tom's used to build its ~$1250 gaming system



Hey, make sure to check your PSU because you don't want a crappy PSU to ruin your whole I'd say expensive system?

Also, that RAM you suggested is not as GOOD as mine because mines 1600mhz 7-7-7-24 (2 dollars more ) and yours 1333mhz 7-7-7-20 (1.7 VOLTAGE, it exceeds the 1.65V limit = SO BIG NO)

Great to hear you have the O.S, or else the budget will not work :D 
If you figured your PSU is crappy, I suggest you getting a new one.
You'll need 2 x 6pins connectors for running the 4870 I suggested.
October 12, 2009 8:57:20 PM

overshocks said:
why not i5 750? way better performance just cost a little more.
i5 750 dominates EVERY AMD processor.

i5 750 + MOBO micro atx (can crossfire) Combo Price: $294.98

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

option 1: 4870 1GB + RAM Combo Price: $229.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

option 2: 4870 512mb $124.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

option 2: RAM $94.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total option 1: $524.96 (1gb video card, I WOULD PAY 10 dollars more if i were you)
total option 2: $514.96 (512mb video card)

what power supply are you going to use?

do you need operating system?


Ive looked over this some more. I do realize that the i5 will outclass all but the best AMD processors in synthetics and other programming benchmarks, but what about just plain old gaming. I don't need it to be faster if i wont realize the speed outside of games.
All I do is internet and games, will the i5 show real improvements in gaming over the x3 or x4 phenoms?
Can someone link me to some benchmarks, I haven't really been able to see a comparsion of i5 systems and amd systems in just gaming situations.


Also about the power supply, does thermaltake make crappy psu's i assumed that all of their products would be of reasonable quality.
Lastly, those 4870 come with adapters to convert regular power wires to pci 6 pin connectors
is it not a good idea to use those?
October 12, 2009 8:57:34 PM

dirtmountain said:
BTW the MSI P55M-GD45 is not a gaming (8x/8x) crossfire capable motherboard, it's 16x/4x.
http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=prodmbspec&maincat_no...

The Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 is the cheapest gaming crossfire capable mATX motherboard available at $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Yes, I know that already. The x16 x4 may take a performance hit with the 4850s(that's if he'll crossfire in the future, but one 4850 he'll be fine). But my i5 build is GREAT for the price, and kills all amd cpus.
October 12, 2009 9:06:42 PM

overshocks said:
Yes, I know that already. The x16 x4 may take a performance hit with the 4850s(that's if he'll crossfire in the future, but one 4850 he'll be fine). But my i5 build is GREAT for the price, and kills all amd cpus.


Like i said i realize that the i5 is better in synthetic benchmarks, but all i care about is gaming, with the price of your build, i could build mine and crossfire 4870's

that will more than make up for any deficit in performance derived from a slower amd x3 processor.
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2009 9:09:36 PM

laweinhander said:
Ive looked over this some more. I do realize that the i5 will outclass all but the best AMD processors in synthetics and other programming benchmarks, but what about just plain old gaming. I don't need it to be faster if i wont realize the speed outside of games.
All I do is internet and games, will the i5 show real improvements in gaming over the x3 or x4 phenoms?
Can someone link me to some benchmarks, I haven't really been able to see a comparsion of i5 systems and amd systems in just gaming situations.


Also about the power supply, does thermaltake make crappy psu's i assumed that all of their products would be of reasonable quality.
Lastly, those 4870 come with adapters to convert regular power wires to pci 6 pin connectors
is it not a good idea to use those?

Here is a comparison on the i5 and x3... http://anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=83&p2=109
Here is a comparison on the i5 and x4... http://anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=88&p2=109

The i5 is pretty much head in all gaming benchmarks... The X4 955 is closer than the X3 720... I still think for your budget and usage, the X3 720 will server your needs just fine!

Thermaltake makes okay powersupplies. I would trust one of them over a Raidmax or even Cooler Master, so I think you'll be safe. It is okay to use the adapters. It is just better if you have the required PCI-e power connectors already on your PSU.
October 12, 2009 9:31:09 PM

laweinhander said:
Like i said i realize that the i5 is better in synthetic benchmarks, but all i care about is gaming, with the price of your build, i could build mine and crossfire 4870's

that will more than make up for any deficit in performance derived from a slower amd x3 processor.


You are wrong, the i5 beats all amd cpus overall in games, synthetic benchmarks, you name it. when using the same GPU of course and same amount of RAM. different mobos of course.

you're right here..with the budget thing
"with the price of your build, i could build mine and crossfire 4870's"
but your cpu might bottleneck the gpus, thus you may need to overclock it
October 12, 2009 9:37:56 PM

tecmo34 said:
Here is a comparison on the i5 and x3... http://anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=83&p2=109
Here is a comparison on the i5 and x4... http://anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=88&p2=109

The i5 is pretty much head in all gaming benchmarks... The X4 955 is closer than the X3 720... I still think for your budget and usage, the X3 720 will server your needs just fine!

Thermaltake makes okay powersupplies. I would trust one of them over a Raidmax or even Cooler Master, so I think you'll be safe. It is okay to use the adapters. It is just better if you have the required PCI-e power connectors already on your PSU.



Ok thats good to know , and thanks for that link , i didnt realize that anandtech provided such awsome data

This is my build as of now , can anyone make it any cheaper with reducing the performance, for example at 1680 x 1050 would a single 4870 be enough , or maybe 2 4850's ?

This is my build right now
Please list improvements keeping in mind GAMES>everything else

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total
$558.96
October 12, 2009 9:40:10 PM

overshocks said:
You are wrong, the i5 beats all amd cpus overall in games, synthetic benchmarks, you name it. when using the same GPU of course and same amount of RAM. different mobos of course.

you're right here..with the budget thing
"with the price of your build, i could build mine and crossfire 4870's"
but your cpu might bottleneck the gpus, thus you may need to overclock it



remember 1680 x 1050 is all i would be running my computer at , i see no reason to get a new monitor in the near future
maybe you are right in getting the i5 because at a lower resolution (1680 x 1050 ) duel 4870's would be a waste (possibly?)
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2009 9:52:25 PM
October 12, 2009 10:01:39 PM




if duel 4870's are a waste would the 5850 not be ?
the 5850 would allow for future upgradability though if i were to get a second one and crossfire
that would give me good gameplay at even 1900 by 1200 right?
October 12, 2009 10:04:52 PM

a single 4870 will be able to run any game with all setting maxed including AA and the like at 1680 x 1050 ?
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2009 10:12:33 PM

laweinhander said:
if duel 4870's are a waste would the 5850 not be ?
the 5850 would allow for future upgradability though if i were to get a second one and crossfire
that would give me good gameplay at even 1900 by 1200 right?

Yes, the 5850 is overkill but if you are going to buy two 4870's, why not spend $10 more for a single card that equals the performance of the two cards. CF 5850 will play 1920x1200 with no problem. Your CPU will become a bottleneck at that point though.
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2009 10:31:56 PM

laweinhander said:
a single 4870 will be able to run any game with all setting maxed including AA and the like at 1680 x 1050 ?

Here is a chart for Left4Dead at 1680x1050 max settings... http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...

You are getting over 80 FPS, which is good. I cannot say all games but a lot of games you'll be good to go :D 
October 12, 2009 10:41:59 PM

Well i guess i wasn't being honest lol
I wouldnt actually buy the 2 4870's at once i would just buy one, and get another one in the future maybe.

Thats why im not really considering the 5850, plus I don't really want to pay the premium for a new graphics card if i don't have too

Maybe just getting 1 4850 is the way to go, and then upgrade to 5850 when prices drop ?
October 12, 2009 11:48:08 PM

laweinhander said:
if duel 4870's are a waste would the 5850 not be ?
the 5850 would allow for future upgradability though if i were to get a second one and crossfire
that would give me good gameplay at even 1900 by 1200 right?


one 5850 will give you DECENT gameplay at 1900x1200.
October 12, 2009 11:48:33 PM

tecmo34 said:
Yes, the 5850 is overkill but if you are going to buy two 4870's, why not spend $10 more for a single card that equals the performance of the two cards. CF 5850 will play 1920x1200 with no problem. Your CPU will become a bottleneck at that point though.


Totally agree with you here.
October 12, 2009 11:49:14 PM

tecmo34 said:
Here is a chart for Left4Dead at 1680x1050 max settings... http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...

You are getting over 80 FPS, which is good. I cannot say all games but a lot of games you'll be good to go :D 


Lead 4 Dead is not a good example because it's less demanding than most other games like Far Cry 2, World in conflict..etc
October 13, 2009 12:11:08 AM

laweinhander said:
Well i guess i wasn't being honest lol
I wouldnt actually buy the 2 4870's at once i would just buy one, and get another one in the future maybe.

Thats why im not really considering the 5850, plus I don't really want to pay the premium for a new graphics card if i don't have too

Maybe just getting 1 4850 is the way to go, and then upgrade to 5850 when prices drop ?



well... remember the 5850 cant crossfire with 4850 if that's what your thinking
so get the 4850 now. and get another down the road.
or
get 4870 now..and get another one when you need it 1920x1080 or +
October 13, 2009 12:15:04 AM

dirtmountain said:
The motherboard you had listed the GIGABYTE GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H AM3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
is not a crossfire capable motherboard. If you want an AM3 mATX motherboard then this is basically your only choice. The DFI 790GX mATX at $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That makes me feel dumb lol, i thought i had checked that. Ok so it pretty much has to be the DFI board.
Now the tricky part is deciding between an AM3 solution with more graphics and less cpu
or a i5 solution with more cpu and less graphics

Im thinking that the AM3 socket would have more choices to upgrade in the future, which would be good, but the i5 socket might as well too.
I can't really decide which one to get, but i think lowering my budget too ~400 (closer to the amount i actually want to spend) and adding in my slight bias for amd (all my desktops have been amd) i will probably go with this

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

total $ 328.98
video card ~ $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Grand total $428.97

This way down the road i have a cheap upgrade option of adding another 4850 which i will probably do
and at the same time my (core --> motherboard and ram) should last for quite some time allowing me to upgrade the cpu and video cards at a latter date possibly.

Any other suggestions?
October 13, 2009 12:20:05 AM

well if you willing to spend 50 dollars more.just get a 4870 1GB instead of 4850 512MB. saves time and money to upgrade will last you longer.
seeing you playing at 1680x1050. can max out on most games.
October 13, 2009 12:34:17 AM

overshocks said:
well if you willing to spend 50 dollars more.just get a 4870 1GB instead of 4850 512MB. saves time and money to upgrade will last you longer.
seeing you playing at 1680x1050. can max out on most games.


This is the hard part, i cant decide if it is worth it to go the extra 50 , i probably will though lol
October 13, 2009 12:39:21 AM

laweinhander said:
This is the hard part, i cant decide if it is worth it to go the extra 50 , i probably will though lol


well i can help you decide.
do you care about graphics? max settings with AA-AF..or near to max..
October 13, 2009 1:54:06 AM

I am pretty much doing the exact same thing as you :)  Except Im starting from scratch.

Here is the build for my portable gaming system...

I just purchased today:

ASUS EAH5850/G/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI ... - Retail(they have it in stock!)

APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case - Retail (Case with great feedback)

DFI LP JR 790GX-M3H5 AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail(I went with this board because it can support 2 PCI-E cards 8x/8x...the difference from a 16x/16x crossover is very minimal and it uses DDR3)

GELID Solutions FN-SX09-15 92mm Case Fan - Retail

GELID Solutions FN-TX12-15 120mm Case Fan with Superior Temperature Control - Retail

Im going to pre build this part to find out what kind of CPU cooler will fit properly, probably buy it from a local store so I can visually see it fit.
Next week Im going to finish it out by purchasing:

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail(This is a great PSU that can support 2 of the newer crossfireX cards.. enough Amps and Watts)

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDZ550WFGIBOX - Retail(Buy this! You can unlock the 2 other cores to make it a x4 very easily!)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - OEM

i-rocks RF-6572-BK Piano Black 2.4 GHz RF Wireless Slim Keyboard/Mouse Combo w/ Travel Pouch - Retail

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model GH22NP20 - OEM


I have been researching this for a few weeks and after doing allot of thinking(weighing my options of going cheaper on certain items) have come to this as being my final revision. I do not plan on overclocking the system other than unlocking the other 2 cores from the Phenom X2 so it shouldn't run hot. If necessary I will buy a third fan to place on the side. Later next year, im going to buy another 5850 and crossfire it and maybe bump up the memory to 8gb.
October 13, 2009 2:09:55 AM

overshocks said:
well i can help you decide.
do you care about graphics? max settings with AA-AF..or near to max..


I want everything max at my resolution
but its ok if i dont get that off my initial purchase (Which is why im thinking about getting a single 4850 for now and then another one down the road when they are even cheaper, unless they wont get cheaper?
October 13, 2009 2:12:37 AM

mrneil001 said:
good idea.. gonna post it :) 


link me to it after, so i could help you out.
October 13, 2009 6:49:21 AM

Coming in right at $500 plus $11 shipping (to me).
Crossfire capable DFI 790GX/SB750 mATX board, PhenomIIx3 720, 92mm cooler (should fit in your mATX case) HD5770 graphic card and the G.Skill 2x2 GB DDR3 1600 RAM 7-7-7-24.

CPU/Cooler combo - $131
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Motherboard - $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphic card - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b 4 Gaming
October 13, 2009 9:56:58 PM

It is good RAM but for $5 ($10 with your code) more you get DDR3 1600 (CAS 7) versus DDR3 1333 (CAS 7). I would just stick with the G.SKILL myself...
October 13, 2009 10:12:09 PM

How do you figure out how fast the ram actually is.
you have to account for the speed and the cas latency right

is there some type of equation to figure out if cas 9 2000 speed ddr3 is faster than cas 7 1600 speed ddr3 or vice versa?
October 13, 2009 11:42:34 PM

Tell me if im wrong, but i read somewhere that the AM3 max its memory speed at 1333 so wouldnt getting 1600 be redundant? I just wanna make sure for myself as well since Im getting memory for the same board next week.
October 14, 2009 2:31:40 AM

Good question
We need to know !
October 14, 2009 3:31:46 AM

tecmo34 said:
It is good RAM but for $5 ($10 with your code) more you get DDR3 1600 (CAS 7) versus DDR3 1333 (CAS 7). I would just stick with the G.SKILL myself...


You are incorrect, that's is the crappiest RAM ever. Rated 1.7-1.8V? You kidding me it's good RAM? It's over the recommended voltage.

Newegg specs

"Voltage 1.7V - 1.8V"
October 14, 2009 3:33:11 AM

mrneil001 said:
Tell me if im wrong, but i read somewhere that the AM3 max its memory speed at 1333 so wouldnt getting 1600 be redundant? I just wanna make sure for myself as well since Im getting memory for the same board next week.


That's what a specific mobo is rated max at (officially), obviously you can go higher. By the way, there's motherboards officially supporting at around 2000. So you did read wrong.
Anything higher than 1600mhz is a waste because latencies get higher and the performance will be very similar.
October 14, 2009 3:58:04 AM

overshocks said:
That's what a specific mobo is rated max at (officially), obviously you can go higher. By the way, there's motherboards officially supporting at around 2000. So you did read wrong.
Anything higher than 1600mhz is a waste because latencies get higher and the performance will be very similar.


Thanks for the info!
a b 4 Gaming
October 14, 2009 5:03:40 AM

overshocks said:
You are incorrect, that's is the crappiest RAM ever. Rated 1.7-1.8V? You kidding me it's good RAM? It's over the recommended voltage.

Newegg specs

"Voltage 1.7V - 1.8V"

You have me confussed here. The voltage is over who's recommend voltage? The OP is building an AM3 build, not an Intel Core i5/i7 or i7 build, which requires 1.65v or less. An AM3 build will be fine with 1.8v, unless I'm totally missing something here, which I could be :) 
October 15, 2009 1:33:23 AM

Isn't it true that in gaming the phenom will show basically the same performance as the i-5
and how long with will the AM3 socket last compared to the i-5 socket , and guestimates?
!