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CPU/mobo/RAM upgrade for budget gaming

Last response: in Systems
November 25, 2009 5:22:17 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This fortnight probably
BUDGET: £100 ($165)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (but titles from a couple years back, not the latest), surfing the net, music.
PARTS REQUIRED: CPU, motherboard and RAM.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, ebay or any others you could recommend.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Considering my budget I think I should stick with AMD, going by what I've read.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe but unlikely.

Alright folks. My motherboard died nearly two months ago. I don't know why. The mourning process has been long and hard, as I needed to save some money. I have decided to take this opportunity to upgrade not just my motherboard, but also my CPU and RAM. The reason for this is because my old motherboard (and I do mean old) was a socket 754 with a pretty below par Athlon 64 3200 processor and a craptacular 2x256mb amount of RAM.

Unfortunately, money is a real issue for me at the moment, so I'm trying to strike a balance between making the upgrade worthwhile and having money to live in real life. After abit of research this is what I've come up with, what do you think? My knowledge of components nowadays is pretty poor.

Option 1
Athlon II X2 Socket AM3 250 - £51
MSI K9N6PGM2-V Socket AM2+ - £32
1x2GB DDR2 667Mhz RAM - £26
Total - £109 ($180)

Option 2
Athlon II X3 Socket AM3 425 CPU - £58
MSI 770-C45 AM3 motherboard - £51
1x2GB DDR3 1066Mhz RAM - £26
Total - £135 ($223)

The second option is £35 more than I was originally willing to spend, how worth it is it in the long run?

As for my graphics card, it's very bad (NVidia 8500 GT series) but upgrading this now would spread the money I have too thinly, so I'm waiting till Feb next year. Right decision? At least I will know for sure where the bottleneck is!
a c 93 V Motherboard
November 25, 2009 6:54:28 AM

The second one can be upgraded in a couple of years , the first one probably cant because ddr2 ram will become scarce .

Dont listen to the people who will tell you to use 4 gig of ram . You just dont need it for xp
a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2009 9:51:08 AM

Negative on Option #1 - reason
1. Not true AM2+ :
HyperTransport 3.0 supporting speed up to 1000MT/s - AM2+ up to 2.6k
2. PCIex16 gen 1.0 not 2.0
3. Utterly trashy IGP
785G/790GX murders this mobo!
4. 2 SATA zzzz....

Go with Option #2
Related resources
November 25, 2009 11:00:04 AM

Option two.. but if it's me my setup is
Phenom 2 x2 550 be
ASRock M3A785GXH/128M
V-GEN 1Gb PC 10600 / 1333

it cost little more from your option 2 budget but it's worth it. I sacrifice the rams because you can add more ram easily in the future.
a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2009 11:15:49 AM

I disagree on the phenom IIx2 being worth it. For the same price, the Athlon IIx4 offers lower clock speeds and no L3 cache but sports 4 cores, which would be more of an investment in the future... That is, if you are willing to spend that much over your budget. Dual cores are going the way of single cores. Even games are being more and more optimized for multi-core.

And indeed. I have also noticed that (besides newer or intensive games) windows xp won't see much of a performance difference past 1GB of ram.

I also agree, go with an AM3 board.

If for whatever reason you decide to go with option one anyway, get the Athlon IIx2 240. It's 0.2GHz lower in clock speed but a quick overclock will bring it up to 3GHz and save you some money.
a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2009 12:27:08 PM

Well the choice for budget AM3 chips the way i see it is as follows:

1. Enthusiast/Adventurous
No 2 ways about - correct stepping of chip, right board with right BIOS = unlocked/OCed 550BE

2. Sure-fire/midway
A2X3 4xx series - cheap, shines for almost every desktop apps w.r.t dualcore and surprisingly excellent clocker in hardware that snobbish "1st Tier only" peeps won't use as a door stop lol


Test hardware

AMD Athlon II X3 425 @ X4 B25 3.6GHz + Big Typhoon
Asrock M3A785GMH/128M
2x1GB Super Talent DDR3 1800 CL7

Unlocked + OC!

3. A2X4 6xx
If one needs as much processing power possibly due to intensity of task i.e for CPU intensive as opposed to GPU

4. Lastly peeps alien to AMD gawk that non BEs can clock sometimes as good as BEs LOL It's all skill and a wee bit o luck at times As always in OC YMMV

Hope i helped ^^

November 25, 2009 8:45:33 PM

I have definitely made up my mind and I'm going for option 2. It is VERY tempting to go for some of the slightly better components you've suggested, but I have a budget and I'm already over it. I think I'm happy with what I've got. I may even sacrifice a 1gb of memory for now and pick some more up later.

Thanks very much to all of you who replied, I really appreciate the advice.
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2009 2:19:16 AM

You are welcomed and happy building :p