AMB motherboard suggestions - ~$800 Gaming System

A friend is long overdue for a new system, but money is tight.

Her budget is ~$800. Rather than see her spend that for a store-bought system, I offered to build her a better system for price of components. I'm looking for some tips on making her the best all-around system I can for <$800.

Monitor - Samsung 22" LCD @ 1680x1050
Klipsch 2.1 Speakers

This will be her main home computer - so a mix of internet / e-mail / gaming use.

No first person shooters, but she does like RPG's like WoWarcraft, Mass Effect, Oblivion. I want to give her something that does well on those, and sequels to come in the next 3+ years at 1680x1050.

Need to keep in mind that she's not a "computer person". So once I deliver this, case probably won't get opened again for a VERY long time. This needs to be a solid, reliable system that can run for years without any *tinkering* required inside by her.

Since I'm trying to get most value for the money here, I'm going with an AMD system.

Radeon HD 5770 looks like the sweet spot for me in terms of performance for price.

Since this will be her main computer for several years, I do NOT want to aggressively overclock. Willing to give up overclock potential to ensure the system runs reliably for long-term.

This system will NOT ever be a Crossfire/SLI system - so no need for motherboard / case / power supply to support that. (and would rather that money be spent on best CPU & single vid card her budget affords).


Case: Antec Three Hundred $62
Power Supply:Corsair 450VX $70
Motherboard:ASRock 770 $60
CPU:Phenom II X4 955 $161
Vid Card:Radeon HD 5770 $160
RAM:Corsair 4 GB (2x2) 1333 MHz $105
Plus typical HDD, Media Reader, DVD+/-RW, models TBD and Win7. ~$200

Total cost = $818

Aside from maybe filling the last 2 RAM slots someday, very unlikely that anything else will be added to this system. So - number of upgrade slots/ports isn't a big deal.

Is there anything I described that should be leading me toward a higher end motherboard than a 770 chipset?
I've never built an AMD system before, so not familar with the mobo tiers.

From the reviews I've read here at Tom's, it seems that most of the "features" of the 785G and 790 series boards center around multiple vid card configurations, and overclocking potential.

Since I'm planning on running a single PCIEx16 card and minimal overclocking, does that make the cheaper 770 chipsets the best bargain for this system?

Please let me know if I'm missing anything here.
Or if there is any other benefit to those higher end motherboards that could make better use of the X4 CPU, and 5770 GPU.
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  1. I'd suggest if budget allows going up to:

    as it is a higher quality board and should last her a good long time. I have two of this board and really like it. It is $15 more, but well worth it in my opinion.

    As to the choice of 770 in general I think you are 100% correct. The 785/790 add onboard graphics which you have no need of if you are getting a 5770. The only limitation of the 770 chipset is one GPU, which is no problem if you have no intentions of crossfiring.

    The case is an excellent choice, it will be very cool and quiet. In fact, you will probably hear the CPU/GPU fan over those case fans (set them all to the lowest level, they will still cool great but be silent!).
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