Need advice on first inexpensive gaming system.

Hello All!
This is my first "Tom's Hardware" forum post and it is for my "Maximum PC" inspired sub-$650 gaming rig. Being newly Married and newly mortgaged, I am trying to build an inexpensive rig so I can get out from under the miserable performance of a Dell XPS with a Pentium D, Nvidia 8500 GT and a measly 2 GB of Memory.

I have slowly amassed the following components, but I am still hung-up on what motherboard to purchase.

-AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz

-POWERCOLOR AX5670 1GBD5-H Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 1GB

-PQI TURBO 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

-Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Case

-COOLMAX CXI-600B 600W ATX12V Power Supply

-Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

So basically I am asking for advice on what sub $100 AM2+ Motherboard I should go for. I don't play the latest and greatest games and this will actually be a general purpose PC with gaming potential. If there is a specific motherboard that will allow me to attempt to unlock other cores on the Proc, that would be great too.

I have looked at these two MBs:

ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G


MSI 790XT-G45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X

Any thoughts?
5 answers Last reply
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  1. Hello and welcome to the forums :)
    The main difference is that the MSI one supports CrossFire whereas the ASUS model doesn't.
    So if you don't want to use 2 cards,then go with the ASUS one
  2. Well, considering that it only needs some gaming potential, you'd be better off with the ASUS motherboard, it's cheaper. However, if you think you might add another card in later, you should get the MSI motherboard.
  3. Return it if you can, but replace the POS Chokemax PSU with a 380W Antec Earthwatts.

    As to the mobo, you do not say how big your case is. I've had good results from ASRock, and this one might do: especially if your case only accepts a mATX board. It supports up to 125W CPUs, including the new 6-core Thubans.
  4. I doubt I'm going to attempt Crossfire with a 5670. When its time to get more video, I'll look at the next-gen card. Is anyone aware if either of these boards is capable of unlocking any possible extra cores on my Phenom II X2 550?

    Thanks for the responses.
  5. Well, I suggest you get the ASUS board to save on $. It should be able to unlock cores - it has the SB710 southbridge.
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