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Seriously at a loss for an AMD Mobo!

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May 24, 2011 5:54:36 AM

Hi guys,

I posted a thread a while ago about picking a motherboard for my Phenom II X6 1090t build. I was set on the Asrock 870 Extreme 3, but plans have sort of changed, and I'm unsure if it's still the best choice.

Info:
8gb 1600 DDR3 RAM
750W Corsair
Single ATI HD6950
Corsair CPU Liquid cooler
Crucial M4 + WD Caviar Black

Now, I would like to OC to run the RAM at its rated speeds. What is a good motherboard that would support a moderate overclock, SATA 6gb/sec, USB3.0, and single graphics card?

I'd like to stay under $150 USD or so, but I could stretch that a little if need be.

Would an AMD 870, 880, or 890 suit my needs? And which specific brands/models should I consider?

More about : loss amd mobo

a b V Motherboard
May 24, 2011 6:47:55 AM

Why the X6? Also, although there's nothing inherently wrong with it, you barely need 550W, much less 750.

In the mean time here's one. 870 is a basic board with one PCI-e x16 slot, 880G adds IGP, 890 adds another x16 slot at half bandwidth for GX and full for FX.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 24, 2011 7:08:44 AM

Guess I should add what parts I already have. I already bought the X6, have the RAM, PSU, hard drives, etc. I've been watching sales like a hawk, so I just found a bunch of good deals which is why I have the parts I have.

Would the 870 withstand some overclocking? I'm just nervous about getting a board that isn't very stable overclocked with the rest of my parts.

Is there much of a difference between the Asus you linked and the M4A87TD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)? Would a board like the MSI 870A-G54 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) be a good bet?

I could stretch my budget to an 890, but do they have other features I'd want?
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May 24, 2011 10:26:30 PM

I don't think I'll really have a use for Crossfire, so I think the 890 might be overkill. Would an 870 overclock my RAM just fine too? And are they stable with an overclocked X6?

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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 1:06:08 AM

1600 Mhz is technically an overclock but it's pretty much a standard speed. Almost everyone is running at that or above, so you should be able to run your RAM at its rated speed and timings, no problem. If you were counting on RAM rated for 2133/CAS 7 you would probably be disappointed, but 1600 will be just fine.
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 1:28:17 AM

Just get a cheap Asus, Gigabyte, ASRock, or MSI. I doubt you'll notice a difference. I'd go for the ASRock 870 Extreme 3 though.
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May 25, 2011 1:57:06 AM

So would a board like the MSI 870A-G54 or Asus M5A87 work just fine for me?

I'm a little nervous about Asrock, but at least Asus and MSI are a little more reputable.
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May 25, 2011 2:10:18 AM

I would go for an 890 board, i have both an 870 and an 890. The 890 board is better in every way, for about 20 bucks more. Dont cheap out for 20 bucks, you will regret it!
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May 25, 2011 2:37:07 AM

MSI 890FXA-GD65 it is! It's about $40 more than the 870, but I can spare the cash. Might as well spend a little extra so that it will (hopefully) be a little more durable. My dad has a couple older MSI boards (6 and 12 years), so they seem durable enough!

Thanks for the help guys!
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 3:35:20 AM

How's he gonna regret going $20 cheaper? I don't get the impression he's a hardcore overclocker, so 200MHz off the max OC won't matter. PCI-e lanes don't matter to him, so he should go cheapest.

I highly doubt you'll see any improvement over the ASRock 870. But I can guarantee you that if you spent the same amount on graphics you'd see an improvement.
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May 25, 2011 3:39:57 AM

Would an 890 just be more durable in general than an 870 though? If the 890s are just higher quality in general, would that be worthwhile?

Good thing I haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet!

If I went for either, would an MSI be the best bet?

EDIT: Okay I'll try to be more clear. If I were to overclock my RAM and slightly overclock my CPU, would an 870 be perfectly fine?
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 3:55:18 AM

Yep, an 870 can handle overclocking without a problem. An 890 might be more likely to hit a slightly higher max overclock. But I don't think you're going to be a hardcore overclocker, just a light one. So whether you hit 4.0GHz w/ 1600 8-8-8 or 4.2GHz w/ 1600 7-8-7 probably won't matter to you. And, chances are, the difference won't be that great on the RAM since it's the CPU with the DDR3 controller, not the mobo.

EDIT: The difference will be with the specific motherboard on overclocking potential, more than the chipset. USB ports depend on the motherboard. The chipsets are differentiated by feature sets: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_800_chipset_series#870

If you look at that, you'll see that all 890's can do at least 8x/8x in crossfire, where as all 870's say 16x/4x except for the ASRock 870 Extreme 3 that claims 8x/8x. Also, 890's have native SATA III support, I think. Hybrid CrossfireX is only involving integrated.
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May 25, 2011 5:31:11 AM

I'd probably never go over 4.0GHz, but I may hit that mark at some point, and I don't really have any reason to crossfire two cards, since I'm content with one.

Would an 870 be just fine if I'm using a Corsair liquid cooler with my overclocking (CPU and RAM) in mind?

With regards to SATA III, what do you mean by "native"? All of the boards do support SATA.

Sorry for the questions! Mobo noob trying to not make a bad choice :) 
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 6:15:44 AM

The ASRock 870 Extreme 3 is definitely not a bad choice and is the one I've seen most recommended on this forum...an AM3 CPU at this juncture in time might be, but we're past that now...

SATA II is on all boards, not all have SATA III and when they do, it's usually limited in ports. The ASRock 870 Extreme 3 has 5 SATA III ports though. What I was mentioning in terms of chipset features was mostly that I was unclear what the wikipedia article says (still unclear), but I assumed that all 890's have SATA III and the other chipsets may or may not, so you'll need to look at motherboard features.

SATA III only matters for new Solid State Drives (SSDs). Since you'll probably get one in the next two years, it's worth considering.
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May 25, 2011 6:23:05 AM

How about MSI? I see a pretty good deal on the 870A-G54, and they seem more well-known than Asrock. But would any of the 870s work just fine with my overclocking (RAM, 4.0GHz max CPU) with liquid cooling?

At this point, I could shell out the cash for an 890 still, or I could go for an 870 if the 890 has more features than I need.
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 7:19:36 AM

ASRock is very well regarded among computer enthusiasts. That's why I ranked them right behind Gigabyte.

Liquid cooling or Corsair H50? I know it's "technically" liquid cooling, but liquid cooling often requires a lot of fancy stuff like a whole through the motherboard panel of the case. The H50 should fit any modern socket (not ones released since your purchase). Doesn't it come with attachments for all of them?
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May 25, 2011 7:29:33 AM

It's the Corsair H60. I'm fairly certain it fits the AM3 and the 1155/1156 sockets.

Would an Asrock 870 be a good choice for a few years? I do want a computer I will be able to use for upwards of three years.

If the Asrock is a good 870 choice, what would be a good 890 if I decided to grab one of those? I'm still torn between the two. Do you have a strong inclination towards either of them?
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 11:50:48 PM

Here's a simple rule: AMD is only worth it right now if you go cheap--preferably really cheap. Otherwise, you'll get more bang for your buck with Intel.

This is because AMD's 2009 processors just don't really keep up with Intel's 2011 processors. AMD is getting in the game with Llano for typical consumer desktop usage and Bulldozer for enthusiasts. But right now, they've got slim pickings for enthusiasts that are generally considered poor choices. If you can't return your 1090T though, it's still worth it to build around.

So the 870 is cheaper and I'd go with it.

You can build a computer and use it for 10 years. It won't be good, because new computers get faster. This is obvious, of course, but my point is that only you can really decide if you can use it in 3 years. It won't seem fast, but it will do everything a general home user needs.

If I wanted a computer that seemed solid in three years, I'd build with an i5-2500K or spend $350 total and just rebuild a new machine in three years. I'm sorry my recommendations sound negative, but I can't recommend AMD for an enthusiast build today. AMD Llano's good for mainstream though.
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May 26, 2011 1:02:31 AM

I was fine until you made the assumption I'm a mainstream user. I've been researching my choices for months, and like I said, I've gotten good deals on the parts I have so far. I picked up my Crucial SSD for about 35% off, X6 for $170. Yes, this is intended to be a budget build, but not mainstream.

I went for the 890 simply because it has more potential and capabilities for the future. I want the basics of this build to be good for a few years. Heck, I'd be fine keeping it for at least five years. I've been getting by on a cheap, mediocre laptop for a couple years now, and it's fine.

I decided I wanted to get a little more into gaming, and I don't need a super computer that will run video editing 24/7 while I'm playing Crysis 2 at 2500x1600 or whatever. I just want a quick system, which is what I've spent months researching. You can laugh at me for getting an AMD system, but in the end it will run just what I need it to do, at a decent price.

Also, if I were in the market for a great 2011 system, I'd do so. That's just not what I need yet, and I'll still get plenty of use out of this build. I've been planning for a while, and if I revise my rig every time something better comes out, I'll never build.
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a b V Motherboard
May 26, 2011 2:24:52 AM

Sorry if I was confusing. I never assumed you were a mainstream user. I assumed you were an enthusiast, which is why I cannot recommend AMD at this time because it is not cost efficient (actually, $100 Phenom II x4 955BE's are cost efficient).

If you spend the exact same amount of cash on an Intel build, it will be better in most ways--that's all I was saying and I'm sorry I offended you with that fact. I'm not talking about a super computer, but a $450 computer. You will have more clear upgrade paths in the future and you will have a better system for longer.

I've spent a lot more than a couple months researching, btw.


With new $100 955BE prices though, it does open up this path for a cheap solid build:

CPU: $100 PII x4 955BE

Mobo: $90 ASRock 870 ExtremE 3

RAM: $29 4GB (2x2GB) PNY 1600CL8 DDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: $35 Thermaltake V3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: $35 WD5000AAKX w/ code MEMORIALWKND
or $55 Samsung Spinpont F3 1TB whenever it goes on sale

PSU:$40 CX500 V2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
No great deals here right now. The Corsair TX series had some great deals last week.

DVD: $21

TOTAL w/o graphcis: $350

Graphics are a whole other discussion--in fact, they're the reason I'd get the i3-2100 w/ H61 combo for $190 instead for the same price. Because then I could pick up a $190 GTX 560Ti and plan for SLI down the road: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The $100 Radeon 5830 is solid too, which I'd get for a $450 build.

Or...if you spent $130 for a Gigabyte Z68 motherboard to go with an i3/i5 (same price or cheaper than all decent 890 motherboards): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The only difference in price from an awesome i5-2500K build and the AMD build would be the processor price. $100 955BE to $225 i5-2500K, I'll take the 955BE. $170 Phenom II x6 to $225 i5-2500K, I'll take the i5. See gaming performance differences: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

Sorry if this is convoluted. I just wanted to show why it was imperative that any AMD build go cheap to be cost efficient.
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May 26, 2011 3:02:10 AM

I would expect a veteran on this site would have lots more experience researching parts than me, as this is my first build. That said, I feel that I've spent enough time researching to make adequate decisions about my build.

I feel that the system I put together does beat the 955BE system you just mentioned, and it is not significantly more expensive. I realize that there are numerous other configurations that would have worked just fine. But in the whole scheme of things, I fail to see how there would be many significant differences between the systems in my price range. I'm comfortable with what I've put together.

I appreciate the fact that you put together that list for me. But I do think that my build will surpass the 955BE build, and be current for longer. I'll admit there are some changes to my build that would have made sense, but that will always be the case.

I've seen plenty of people who are perfectly happy with their AMD setups, and I'm sure I will be too.
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a b V Motherboard
May 26, 2011 3:11:36 AM

You'll be happy with it. Enjoy.
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June 4, 2011 3:47:09 AM

Best answer selected by RogueHermit.
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