Which AMD CPU Around $100?

I have been looking at CPUs, as of 8/2010 and there seems to be quite a few...
I have been replacing parts on my home built PC. I run some games, digital photo editors (including Photoshop CS4), and other general applications, media applications and utilities. I am replacing my AMD CPU, the original was an AMD X3 720 BE. I see that AMD has the II modifications out, but there are so many around the $100 price point that I really can't figure them out. From Athelon II, X2, X3 and X4 through Phenom II X2 (555BE), X3(720BE) and maybe X4 if I stretch it. And lets not forget the latest --5 upgrades released this year. I have read the statistics and can keep up with L3 cache sizes and testing info, but what does it really mean in my world?

I would like both an understanding of why there are so many CPUs within $40 of each other, what it means in practicallity - are the Athelon II's only meant for notebook use? And advice as to which ones to seriously look at.

My Mother Board is an MSI DKA790GX Platinum, which can use AMD3 processors.
My Graphics card is a Gigabyte HD4850, 1mb, with built in fan.
A Razer Sound card.
A OCZ GameXStreme 850 watt PSU (hey, it was significantly under a $100 on clearance!), so I have more than enough power.

I will be running Windows 7, 64 bit Pro

Thanks for your help.
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  1. Hello Rick_S;

    You really don't want to replace your Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz. You're in excellent shape.
  2. Have you tested your MSI DKA790GX Platinum's core unlock option?

    How about a little overclocking?

    It looks like you have some nice options on your motherboard: MSI's DKA790GX Platinum motherboard: A Swiss army knife for Phenom II
  3. If you cannot afford the Phenom II X6 1055T as of now, then i'd suggest you to rest the idea for upgrading as it'd be more of a parallel purchase giving you little to no benefits over your current CPU..
  4. Your X3 720BE is the Phenom II X3 720BE, AMD has never released another processor of that name. Athlon II would be a downgrade, or side grade if you got an X4. Phenom II, your only upgrade route would be an X4 or
    X6, but dependingn what you do with your computer they're very small upgrades.
  5. Thank you all for your advice. I am even more impressed with my 720 than I was before. I knew that I had made a good choice, but.. However, either the memory or the cpu is not working. My system won't boot up at all, and there is no screen picture. I have tried all 4 of my memory sticks individually, and no change, so it is a good chance that it is the cpu. If I could figure out how to test it... Based on this additional information, that I need to replace it (or magically test it), what is the advice.
    Thanks again.
  6. It might not be the CPU.

    Have you tried booting without the video card installed?

    What happens when you put the power on?
  7. And you shouldn't need the sound card to get booted either.

    I'm not sure if you'd need to make any BIOS changes to use the motherboard's Radeon HD 3300 graphics
  8. While I think others have hit this on the head already in suggesting that there isn't enough of an "upgrade" waiting there at the $100 mark, I still think that some discussion about all of the AMD options around $100 is perfectly valid and worth a look.

    I'm also finding myself wondering what is really the best way to go in this price range for a new build. There's just a bunch of tradeoffs: Cores vs Clock speed vs L3 cache. I've personally decided to go for 4 cores and drop the L3. 2.9GHZ propus is about $99 right now. I think for my uses (I'm a heavy multi-app user) it should work out best. However, for folks intending on primarily gaming (depending on the games), I'd lean towards more clock and fewer cores, any thoughts? Then of course, there are cores to be unlocked on many units from what I understand, so I wonder if there really could be cake and eating at the same time for those who want to "live on the edge" and hack some cores into running.

  9. Two comments, Thank you for suggesting that I check my graphics and sound card. It winds up that my HD is starting after all. It is just much quieter than in my last case and motherboard. So now, I will be looking at other possible answers to my problems. Both the video card and the sound card are getting power. The lights and fan work on the video card, and there is sound out of the sound card, so I get to wrestle with these changed parameters a while. I did try an older x1900 video card that I had, so...

    Mcdocd, thank you for your comments about choices and usages. That was an important part of my question as well. Benchmarks do not tell the whole story for actual usage.
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