Best upgradeable budget motherboard/cpu/ram combo?


i am interested in building a computer first and foremost for a cheap price. i was thinking of spending no more than $250 on a processor, motherboard, and ram. i have case, adequate power supply, pci-e 16x video card, hard drive, dvd-rw, wireless pci card, etc.

what i would like advice on is what motherboard i could buy now and which cpu and ram i could put in it now for a budget, but then be able to replace the cpu and add more ram in the future. i realize things are always becoming obsolete and it's impossible to totally future-proof a computer.

i was thinking either a socket 775 or 1156 intel board, or an amd am2/am2+/am3 board. i was thinking i could get one of the cheapest cpus that would fit in the board now, and maybe find one with 4 ram slots and put one 2gb or 4gb stick in and hopefully allow it to upgrade to 16gb sometime down the line. i would then also like to have a fast processor option. it seems like some high end 1156 or am3 chips might still be a good upgrade in a year or two if all i'm doing is web browsing and other miscellaneous non-cpu-intensive, non-gaming tasks.

so... is this possible? maybe a board with...

4 ram slots (2gb or 4gb now, maybe 16gb max ram in the future)
socket for a cheap processor today
socket that allows one of today's expensive processors in the future
ideally it would have IDE/PATA support (most ive looked at seem to have this available, but it's not mandatory)

i guess my question boils down to wondering which of today's sockets has the widest range of processors. is it intel with a really slow/cheap 775 and some recent 775 that's still priced at a few hundred bucks or more? an 1156 with an i3 today and maybe get an i7 when i can afford it? am2 today and am3 quad next year?

thank you!
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More about best upgradeable budget motherboard combo
  1. CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz (79$)
    MOBO: MSI 890GXM-G65 AM3 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 (119$ after MIR)
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (49$)
  2. that RAM looks great. would a single stick work in today's motherboards, or does it usually have to be purchased in pairs?

    what can you tell me about why you chose that CPU and Motherboard?

    as far as a motherboard, i was looking at this:

    it's only $60 but can't overclock the RAM, and is Sata 3GB instead of 6GB. it also doesn't have onboard video, but i don't need that since i have a video card already. the only possible concern is that it can only support 95W CPUs, which seems to mean it can't handle most quad core and all six core AM3 CPUs?

    the CPU looks good too, and is 95W which would work in the cheaper motherboard above. it looks like a lot of people are unlocking a 4th core in it. would that be possible with your motherboard suggestion but not mine? both motherboards? neither?

    why are the CPUs on newegg priced at $83.99 for a 3.0GHz, $78.99 for a 3.1GHz (cheaper than 3.0GHz?), and then $79.00 for the 3.2GHz (only a penny more than the 3.1GHz?)

    ...who would ever get the 3.0 or 3.1?

    your combo would be right at $250 for what i asked for, which is great - thank you. mine would be $190 with 4GB of ram or $240 with 8GB. i'm not trying to be critical at all, since you guided me toward the AM3 and that RAM, but what are your thoughts about my combo (including the questions above)?

    thanks for your help and time.
  3. ^^
    1x4 stick = more room for upgrade
    2x2 = faster memory, but less total memory.

    Look into these threads.

    Mobo selection was based on the better and newer AMD 890 chipset which also includes usb 3.0 and option for adding another GPU in future. Sata II/III dont matter much as mechanical hard drives are not reaching even the speed of a Sata II. If you want cheaper board with only 1 x PCI-E slot then u might get some cheap models of AMD 870 or 880 based boards at the range of 80$.

    At CPU pricing, well its better for u aint it, i cant give any reason for newegg pricing on these models.
  4. Hmm from your comments i take it that USB/SATA 3.0 is not a requirement for ya but i do say that since your budget allows it, stay away from 95W TDP limited boards as it may come back to haunt ya in future hehe Either way if you live near a Microcenter

    640 + MSI 785G-E53 $106
    2 X 2 DDR3 1600 $48 Free Ship

    Actually that Biostar 770 has 2 versions: socket AM2+ and AM3 - the latter is good for 125W TDP chips - could be Egg did a typo hehe
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