Seeking parts advice: AM3 Mobo and RAM for Phenom II x4 945 and HD5770

Title gives the tl/dr. I'm trying to find those parts for around $250, with a little flexibility.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice.

I'd like the mobo to have decent CrossFire support. Speaking of CrossFire, how much performance is lost by having x8/x8 or x16/x4 instead of x16/x16 support? I want the option of dropping another 5770 into my box in a couple months. I am considering ASUS M4A79XTD and would like to hear your thoughts on it's value and features.

I am seriously considering the Crucial 4GB CT2KIT25664BA1339 labeled "Best of Tom's 2009." However, at this time, the price is about $20 higher than it was when that award was given for it's awesome value. I'm wondering if there is a cheaper option, or something with a similar price with better bang per buck. I see the G. Skill Ripjaws recommended elsewhere on this forum at a similar price point.

It would be very nice to replace my ancient WD Caviar Blue 160GB. Can probably eBay a HDD for $30ish.

If needed to open up some budge in the budget, I can go with a cheaper CPU. From what I've read of the "best CPUs for the dollar" articles here on Tom's, it's hard to beat the value and price point of what I have selected. I can probably open up another $50 or so by holding off another week.

I am an experienced system builder, and will have no trouble with assembly and getting it to run. I've been putting boxes together out of spare parts and chicken wire for 15 years now. Just out of touch with what's available, and looking to maximize my future options. I've done most of my buying in recent years on, but I'm willing to hit eBay looking for deals and to consider alternate vendors for better values.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 stock cooler
GPU: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 GV-R577UD-1GD stock cooler

Want to replace if possible:
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB

PSU: Sunbeam PSU-HUSH680-US 680W ATX 12V 2.0
Case: Rosewill R214P-P-BK Black SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower
Optical: LG DVD Burner
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  1. well it is more than $210... but not by much....

    1... SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822152181
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy


    2....GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

    3... Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop

    -$15.00 Combo


    Subtotal: $235.97
  2. My concern with the Motherboard you suggest is that, despite being a newer chipset, it offers x16/x4 Crossfire support. From what I'm reading here on Tom's, x8/x8 is much better, which the older Mobo I was looking at offers for $18 less after rebate. The ASUS also has dedicated PCI-E 1.0 slots (the Gigabyte loses them if you use CrossFire) which will be important if I want to get a quality sound card later on. I do sacrifice Sata 6.0gbs and USB3.0 using the older board. The real question, though, is in the CrossFire.

    Any particular reason you recommend the Mushkin memory over anything else that is available? I found some OCZ DDR3 1600 for $65 after rebate, would this be a good bet?

    I should probably rename the thread. I realized while writing the initial post that I'm not going to get a quality Mobo, quality RAM, and a HDD for $210 pre-rebates.
  3. I decided to take a bit of a risk and eBayed my way to a cheap HDD, a Phenom II x4 955 Black Edition, and an ASUS M4A89GTD Pro 890gx. Now I just need to figure out what RAM to get.
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