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Upgrade 939 3700+ Budget $300~$350

Last response: in Systems
January 4, 2010 10:34:38 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Here's my situation, I'm deployed to Afghanistan so this could be a topic of conversation more than actually coming to pruition, however this is for my wife :love:  and if she thinks that messing with computer parts for a few days or whatever will help the time go by faster for her, even if only for a few days, then I will probably buy the parts in the next couple of days.

She is always complaining about her computer, which is my old hand me down. Her primary usage is social websites and managing/uploading videos of our daughter from our video camera. She plays Plants VS Zombies a little, that's about it for games.

Current computer specs are:

AMD Socket 939 3700+ with 2GB of DDR400 and an X800XL AGP video card.

BUDGET RANGE: $300~$350

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Most important is going to be general web surfing and uploading of movies, however... this also includes having a million things open at once as my wife loves her baby center app thingy, and aim, and myspace messenger, and msn, and yahoo, and some coupon thing, and steam, and who knows what else running all at the same time... Which is mostly why her computer runs as slow as it does)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Power supply (have a Corsair 550 that's about 18 months old in there now), Hard drive, Mouse, Monitor, Operating System.


PARTS PREFERENCES: Really anything that's within budget and good quality. In this case I would prefer quality over skimping on price and better performance.

OVERCLOCKING: No Overclocking of this computer, I have my own for that SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not for now, potentially crossfire with onboard GPU later.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Depends on the monitor I put on it but it will be either 1280x1024 or 1440x900.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm just looking for opinions as to what could be better for my budget... keeping quality in mind. I usually make computers last 5+ years but as this is an upgrade to a computer that's already 5 years old I'm thinking 2 years for the parts and I'd like to re-use the case down the road, or 2 years until another parts upgrade.

Basically I need the following:


So here's what I was looking at.

Mostly for the onboard video. I was also considering a Gigabyte board (that's my prefered brand) but I didn't like it's layout. On the Gigabyte board, also mATX, if I were to add a video card later it would cover up half of the SATA ports.

An AM3 quad is only $40 more but I'm not sure my wife needs it. Thoughts?

Ok so I'm slightly brand loyal to Corsair and Kingston in the memory Dept. It seems as though the cheapest 4GB (2x2) of DDR3 I can get is only $10 less anyway.

Ok so this case doesn't support ATX, only mATX... but really this is better left for my wife anyway. I haven't really asked her what she thinks is "cute" or what she prefers as far as having a door or not having a door or whatever. My opinion until I get to talk to her later today is that she prefers something that's smaller, as girly as a decent case can get, and looks "tidy". I personally prefer big and beefy... but that's what my computer is for and not hers.

This item will actually be for me, and she's going to get my hand me down. Her's right now is just horrible though, it's been a primary keyboard since 2002 :o  I don't really need anything fancy and I wouldn't ever remember to use the easy access buttons or whatever. My only real requirement here is decent, black, and USB.

So another thing to consider is would I be able to get more for my money with an i3 setup? Hmm, I guess those don't release for a few days yet. It would be smart to wait and see and do a comparison of a P55 motherboard and an i3 processor. It's been a few years since I've been into building hardware so I'm a little out of the loop. So I have a question... Would an i3 around the same price point (if one exists upon release for that matter) outperform this AM3 dual core I have my eye on right now?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2010 2:35:28 PM

For under $1000, the best route would be AM3. You got that right. However, seeing that your wife multitasks quite a bit, you might wanna consider a multi core cpu such as the budget X3 from AMD. The game has extremely low system requirements. It will run fine on IGP (integrated graphics).

I'd switch out 2 things for the X3 & cheaper memory:

quantity of item 1

Antec Mini P180 White Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case

Antec Mini P180 White Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129044
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy

-$30.00 Instant
$15.00 Mail-in Rebate11-129-044


select item 2 quantity of item 2

ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131609
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy


select item 3 quantity of item 3

Logitech Deluxe 250 Black USB Wired Standard Keyboard

Logitech Deluxe 250 Black USB Wired Standard Keyboard - OEM
Item #: N82E16823126013
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy


select item 4 quantity of item 4

OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK

OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227346
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

-$12.00 Instant


select item 5 quantity of item 5

AMD Athlon II X3 425 Rana 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX425WFGIBOX

AMD Athlon II X3 425 Rana 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX425WFGIBOX - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103726
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy


Subtotal: $323.96

With your Corsair PSU and the Antec case, it is a quality build. I wouldn't bother with i3 which is low-end. P55 mobo is $100+. It'll probably be over budget. Also, i3 is dual core. I doubt it will beat out the X3. The IGP in i3 is retarded. You can't output video without a proper connection. The mobo MUST have a video out and it will probably has another IGP for compability sake (If the mobo doesn't have IGP, then it works with only i3, then the profits will be minimized. That's not what mobo makers want). It's only useful for smaller form factors like laptops, netbooks & mini-ITX.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2010 7:31:43 PM

I agree with the x3 recommendation. I would, however, stay away from OCZ DDR3 RAM.
Related resources
January 5, 2010 9:27:58 AM

rolli59 said:
For your budget you could pick something like this combo and ad your Case

That's actually a good price but I think it will be more than what I intend to spend given that this combo includes a video card and a hard drive... but good find for sure.
January 5, 2010 9:33:31 AM

I'm looking for X3's now but net is SSSLLLLLOOOOOWWWWW today.
January 5, 2010 9:53:49 AM

This processor seems to be the lowest cost X3

It's about $6 over my "set" budget. Which wasn't a financial limitation so much as a limit of money to invest in this older computer so I'm not gonna sweat it, specially if it is well worth the added $10 ish.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2010 6:28:03 PM

Totally worth it.
January 6, 2010 3:22:11 AM

DUH you know what I just realized... this case is white, I'm going to have to find new bezels for my optical drives or get new drives. Maybe I'll look into the black P180
January 6, 2010 2:16:27 PM

man, all you need is some new chrome shinny stuff......and not a gtx 295.
January 8, 2010 5:39:44 AM

The wife has put her foot down, either some cheap crappy pink case or the white P180, so off I go to try and procure a DVD burner with a white face plate. Thanks for the input! It looks solid.