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Which motherboard for new AM3 setup?

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January 25, 2011 3:12:29 PM

Hi guys. I'm a little stuck on which MOBO would be the best choice for a 965BE AM3 upgrade, using micro center's current AMD deals http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl... (unless a better option is available on newegg).

I am a gamer, I want something that can put out good video performance, but I've never tried SLI/XFire. I game at 1920x1080 as of recently, just upgraded my monitor a couple months ago. Single card performance has always been good enough for me. I currently have a Radeon HD 5750 in my old AMD 64 X2 4200+ 2.2GHz dual core. I feel like my processor is holding me back from achieving a better framerates with this excellent video card. The performance is good but it's not great.

I am also considering if upgrading is not a cost efficient choice considering that the better procesors ("bulldozer" I hear?) will be coming out soon? I will need to upgrade my memory, too. Looking at http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/592/AMD_Athlon_64_X2_4...(ADA4200DAA5CD)_vs_AMD_Phenom_II_X4_965_(140W__BE).html , it doesn't seem like the difference justifies $250?

Taking everything I've said into consideration, I would appreciate your opinions on if I should even upgrade.

If upgrading is the right decision... Looking only at the mobos under the "Phenom II X4 965 BE" column, what are the best 2-3 choices of motherboards and why?

More about : motherboard am3 setup

January 25, 2011 7:34:37 PM

First ... Just so it gets mentionned, AMD chipsets DO support crossfire BUT ...
... AMD Chipsets DO NOT support (nVidia) SLI ... NO BIG DEAL ... but keep in mind.

Single card solutions are adequate such that dual card configs might only be attempted in "special circumstances" ... There are SOME situations where two nVidia cards (in SLI) scale more economically ... but it would be a rare exception to find any benefit in Crossfire, as an initial config ... more of an "upgrade later" thing.

... I'll go back to reading your original post, and (hopefully), make some helpful recommendations.

Later
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January 25, 2011 7:45:47 PM

Second ... Let me just say that an Athlon II x4, running (OC) at a conservative 3.6GHz, will NOT bottleneck your GPU and will STILL give you four fast cores and lower power consumption, at $60 less than a 965BE ... and is PLENTY (see the bench comparison tool, at anandtech) ... Get a propus x4 and a Hyper 212+ cooler!

... 4GB (2x2) of ~$45 1333c8 (or c9) generic DDR3 is also plenty and fast enough.

... PS ... The AM3/890 full ATX mobos will all support Athlon-II, Phenom, and HEX.

... Add a 2nd 5750 to one of the (two or three) mobos, that I recommend ...

More, Later.
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January 25, 2011 8:04:15 PM

Alvin,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear that Crossfire isn't a must. I've always had pretty impressive performance from single cards.

Well, the II X4 is certainly something to consider... but is it that much of an upgrade from my X2 4200? If I'm buying a new processor, mobo and memory, it needs to significantly justify its cost. Know what I mean?

Not looking to dual card at this time, though. Probably not later, either - the benefits of it are minimal at best, it definitely doesn't 'double' gpu output... so I'm not spending double :p 
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January 25, 2011 8:10:47 PM

its a huge improvement from an X2 4200.

Bulldozer is coming in 2 months or so, however
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January 25, 2011 8:16:49 PM

Screwy: Okay. Had to make sure. Yes, bulldozer is on its way, but I won't be buying it for at least a year until prices come down to what processors are at now. I know how prices tend to be sky-high around a product's release.

So if I'm understanding correctly... the II X4 640 Propus OC'd can perform at a level comparable to the 965? That gets my attention. Alvin, I'd like to see your mobo recommendations for that chip - it is also a part of the AMD bundle from MicroCenter that I linked above.

Thanks for your help so far guys. :) 
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January 25, 2011 8:18:09 PM

This is my first/best pick ... I own it (and an athlon-II x4) ... It is your best option.


GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard.
~$135 USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2nd Choice ...

ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
~$138 USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BOTH OF THESE BOARDS WOULD RUN TWO 5750s (CrossFire) in 8x8 (no bottle-necks).

... Afew other choices, that will work ... TWO 890FX enthusiast options (MSI/ASUS)

These Two Mobos are MUCH more expensive but allow twice the PCI lanes, per GPU (x16+x16) ... this would only matter IF you decide to crossfire two 5800 series GPU cards (or higher). ... I would recommend the cheaper boards (definately).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


FINALLY ... Here is a budget 8x8 (pretty much just like the first two) ... cheap but good.

ASRock 890GX Extreme3 AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
~$118 USD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You will very likely need a new PSU to support ... This is the only one I recommend, for your stated config ... as per quality of power and rating and required features.

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
Average Rating

5/5(2,075 reviews)

Voted best power supply manufacturer 2010

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...





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January 25, 2011 8:22:32 PM

if you're going for the Microcenter bundle, the free 785 mobo is just fine, and will do everything you need except USB 3.0 (Sata 3 is a bit pointless if you're using a mechanical drive).

If you plan to crossfire, the best mobo is the AS Rock 870 Extreme 3, but thats not available in a microcenter bundle.
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January 25, 2011 8:28:08 PM

Actually ... A 2nd 5750 would be advisable, if you already have one !!!

If you would rather do a more powerful single GPU, that would complicate your config (actually) and increase your cost (because you would prolly want a bigger PSU and x16+x16 gpu lanes.

FOR THE RECORD ... Ther may be half a dozen games, out there, that can even use 3 cores, much less 4 cores ... There might be two games that can utilize 6 cores (ask a hard-core gamer ... I am a graphics ws specialist).

What 90+% of all games NEED/WANT is TWO VERY FAST CORES ... No more than 4GB DRAM ... And the biotchenist GPU you can afford (below the highest tier).

Unless you are tryin' to get "just plain freaky", or are earning your living thru gaming tournaments ... Just know that any fast x4 core, and a 5870, or above, should be radically sufficient, for most gamer's expectations of experience.

... If you are into status and bragging rights ??? ... Then ... just go and get silly !!


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January 25, 2011 8:34:38 PM

Alvin: Haha, good to hear the practical facts reinforced as I understand them from someone in the industry. I don't plan to SLI though, so why get the GIGABYTE mobo as your #1 choice with 2 PCI 2.0 x16 slots when its lower counterpart is available with 1 slot for $50 less?

Screwy: Dang. MC is sold out of all the boards that support DDR3 and are a good combo deal. The only ones left are DDR2 boards, except the Biostar board supports up to DDR3 1333, but I see the others go up to DDR3 1800 and above... wouldn't want to short change myself on memory capabilities. Guess I will wait a bit.

It's good to know I can still push the old X4 Propus to do what I want, which is make my gaming fun and most importantly, max settings. :p  I will be investing in one next time I find a good deal (come on MC, get more of those combo deal mobos in stock!)

Thanks again, guys. :) 
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January 25, 2011 8:36:00 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
if you're going for the Microcenter bundle, the free 785 mobo is just fine, and will do everything you need except USB 3.0 (Sata 3 is a bit pointless if you're using a mechanical drive).

If you plan to crossfire, the best mobo is the AS Rock 870 Extreme 3, but thats not available in a microcenter bundle.



Squirrelly ain't wrong ... but ... I reserve the 785 recommendations for Micro-ATX builds on EXTREME BUDGET constraints ... really just fine and will serve 90+% of "sane" configs ...

... But ... The Full-ATX 890GX/890FX boards are NOT that much more and WILL provide better expansion capabilities and DO have (either) 4250 or 4290 Integrated Graphics (the latest) ...
... You would be completely ignoring the onboard graphics, for the time being ... but the UD3H mobo is SO GOOD that you will likely re-task it as an HTPC or Media-Server, in it's "next life" ... Or use it as a DAW, etc. In which case, you will certainly appreciate the better IGP.

If you have (younger) siblings ... do them a flavor and get a more righteous "hand-me-down" ...
... I believe one can even play the latest WoW, on this IGP, with excellent quality ... right? ... guys?


The ASROCK might actually be the best compromise !

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January 25, 2011 8:43:20 PM

So ... For a SINGLE GPU BUDGET (throw away) rig ...

You *CAN* get a 785G Micro-ATX mobo and throw that into a mini-tower (CM Centurion), along with a "normal sized" full-ATX PSU ... And down your power to 650Watts ... AND ...4GB DDR2@1600c8 would be PUH-LENTY fast ! (& way cheap).
... An Antec Earthwatts would be my pick, for micro-ATX PSU .

>>>>>>> O R <<<<<<<

Go with the 890FX (950Watt) and an Antec300 Illusion case ... and be loaded for bear (x16+x16) .... but with no swell IGP.


Again ... If you already own a 5750 ... A 2nd one would NOT be a bad idea, at this point (8x8 wont drag).


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January 25, 2011 9:04:22 PM

jrim said:
So if I'm understanding correctly... the II X4 640 Propus OC'd can perform at a level comparable to the 965? That gets my attention. )


Scroll way down and look at the comparison ...

Altho WE are currently discussing the Propus 940 vs. the 965BE .... I have chosen to benchmark the Propus 945 against the 955 (because the NON OC'd Timings are MUCH MORE INDICATIVE of the true (OC results) ...
... FYI ... The 955 clocks just as well (identically) to the 965, using the Hyper-212+ (vast majority of individual cases) ... Likewise ... A propus 640 should clock to ~3.6GHz (stable) ... Higher than a stock 645) ... And a 635 would even be fine, but the 640 is guaranteed @3GHz, on standard clock/cooling, which would be enough (by it's self) for a decent fps frame rate. (at only $99).

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/188?vs=88


Here is the chip I am recommending ...


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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January 25, 2011 9:11:53 PM

jrim said:
Screwy: Okay. Had to make sure. Yes, bulldozer is on its way, but I won't be buying it for at least a year until prices come down to what processors are at now. I know how prices tend to be sky-high around a product's release.

So if I'm understanding correctly... the II X4 640 Propus OC'd can perform at a level comparable to the 965? That gets my attention. Alvin, I'd like to see your mobo recommendations for that chip - it is also a part of the AMD bundle from MicroCenter that I linked above.

Thanks for your help so far guys. :) 


Honestly, If you are going to upgrade then upgrade to the II x4 965BE. I blows the II x4 640 out of the water. Since you plan on upgrading in a year or so I would go with these 2 for starters.

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not cheaper than Microcenter combos. But if I had to choose from the MicroCenter combo I would go with the ASUS M4A87TD EVO AM3 AMD 870 w/ II x4 965E.
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January 25, 2011 9:16:25 PM

cthunder067 said:
Honestly, If you are going to upgrade then upgrade to the II x4 965BE. I blows the II x4 640 out of the water.



Why go with the X4 965? The AandTech page that Alvin linked even shows how close the two (that compared to the X4 645) are in performance. Where do you get that it blows it out of the water?
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January 25, 2011 9:42:54 PM

First off, If you are going to upgrade then you should upgrade with the very best. And this is by far the best processor before you venture into X6 Processors.

2nd, The X4 Propus is limited because it's not a Black Edition. You can Read up on the 2 for yourself.

AMD X4 Propus
http://www.overclock.net/hardware/showproduct.php?produ...

Amd X4 965
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1037/1/
http://www.techspot.com/review/185-amd-phenom2-x4-965

So basically a athlon II x4 would be as good as a core2 quad and a phenom II x4 would be as good as a intel I5 750 so there is a noticeable difference in performance. Go with the best :bounce: 

Edited: Sorry forgot the Propus link :D 
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January 25, 2011 10:12:02 PM

cthunder067 said:
First off, If you are going to upgrade then you should upgrade with the very best. And this is by far the best processor before you venture into X6 Processors.

2nd, The X4 Propus is limited because it's not a Black Edition. You can Read up on the 2 for yourself.

AMD X4 Propus
http://www.overclock.net/hardware/showproduct.php?produ...

Amd X4 965
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1037/1/
http://www.techspot.com/review/185-amd-phenom2-x4-965

So basically a athlon II x4 would be as good as a core2 quad and a phenom II x4 would be as good as a intel I5 750 so there is a noticeable difference in performance. Go with the best :bounce: 

Edited: Sorry forgot the Propus link :D 


Pulled this from the first article:

There are minor loses in gaming performance along the lines of a 1-10FPS drop compared to the Phenom IIs and other quads with larger cache sizes but at the same clocks in many well threaded programs such as Handbrake the Athlon IIs should be equal their more expensive Phenom brothers.

1 to 10 variable FPS for another $60? I dunno man... Just doesn't seem like a big deal to me. For 5 FPS, I would rather wait till I upgrade to the next processor generation. Besides, I'm building this for RIFT mostly (MMORPG) - I think it is a well threaded program?
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January 25, 2011 10:31:55 PM

jrim said:
Pulled this from the first article:

There are minor loses in gaming performance along the lines of a 1-10FPS drop compared to the Phenom IIs and other quads with larger cache sizes but at the same clocks in many well threaded programs such as Handbrake the Athlon IIs should be equal their more expensive Phenom brothers.

1 to 10 variable FPS for another $60? I dunno man... Just doesn't seem like a big deal to me. For 5 FPS, I would rather wait till I upgrade to the next processor generation. Besides, I'm building this for RIFT mostly (MMORPG) - I think it is a well threaded program?


I feel ya, I just make the suggestions, you have to go with what makes you happy.
Good luck on your new build :) 
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January 26, 2011 1:32:36 AM

Yeah ... And ... your suggestions are full of carp !!! (Thunder) ...

... You are not informed ... you are simply spouting what seems logical, to you.

... I posted the benches, before you even started running your mouth.

Anyway ... I'm sure you meant well ... Always ask if you can quote a scientific and authoritative source . ... And actually read the stuff you are referencing.

I'm not saying this (chastising you) just to be harsh ... I'm saying it because it's not your money.

Go back and look at the benches ... Plus ... The "BE" does not get you much, in terms of any fps/OC potential.

.

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January 26, 2011 1:37:03 AM

In fact ... you could even drop down to an X3 core Athlon-II or that super-fast gamer's dual core Athlon-II and prolly would never know the diff ...

... But I spec'd an x4 core, just because it was only a few bucks more and that 4th core WILL help with media (mp3, etc) transcodes ... rips-n-burns, etc ... so [shrug].

And ... most games will be using 4 cores within another year, or two.

(but most games still are 32bit and address only two threads and cant use more than 4GB DRAM).

... Most games want two (REALLY) fast cores and (about) the equiv of a single 5870 (currently).

And ... yes ... there ARE several "top-slot" games that can fully leverage an X58 with dual 570s.

... But ... you are talking about how dirty the bricks look or how shiney the water looks and at frame rates that far exceed the (ONLY!) 30 FPS that "decent play" requires ... the same interlaced frame rate as your TV (i.e. 1080/60i or 720/30p) ... full motion. ... 120FPS with dirtier bricks? ... get real !!! for another $1,000 ?!



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January 26, 2011 2:20:29 AM

Alvin Smith said:
Yeah ... And ... your suggestions are full of carp !!! (Thunder) ...

... You are not informed ... you are simply spouting what seems logical, to you.

... I posted the benches, before you even started running your mouth.

Anyway ... I'm sure you meant well ... Always ask if you can quote a scientific and authoritative source . ... And actually read the stuff you are referencing.

I'm not saying this (chastising you) just to be harsh ... I'm saying it because it's not your money.

Go back and look at the benches ... Plus ... The "BE" does not get you much, in terms of any fps/OC potential.

.


Alvin, Don't worry bro I am not offended. :D 
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January 26, 2011 10:22:56 AM

cthunder067 said:
Alvin, Do worry bro I am not offended. :D 



Good ... Because "roughing you up" is not my aim ...


.... I get "slapped down" FREQUENTLY .... I *LOVE* IT !!

I don't want to spread bad dope ... and WE do not "up-sell" without just cause. (based on user's stated reqs) ... We might try to get the OP to "re-define" their reqs, tho.

Thanks (SO MUCH!) for not getting "bent".



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January 27, 2011 7:05:07 AM

just published:

Best Gaming CPU: Under $110

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

Best Gaming CPU for $100: None
Honorable Mention:
Athlon II X4 635
Codename: Propus
Process: 45 nm
CPU Cores: 4
Clock Speed: 2.9 GHz
Socket: AM3
L1 Cache: 4 x 128 KB
L2 Cache: 4 x 512 KB
HyperTransport: 4000 MT/s
Thermal Envelope:
95 W

Athlon II X4 635 2.90...
Newegg.com $97.99

There are a few gaming titles out there that will take advantage of a fourth CPU core---real-time strategy games, mostly--making the Athlon II X4 a potentially attractive choice to enthusiasts who multitask while they play, and are willing to overclock this processor. Moreover, as a general-purpose CPU (during the hours you don't spend gaming), the quad-core solution is going to be superior. Now found as low as $100, this CPU is well within the grasp of the budget-oriented gamer.


Read our review of the Athlon II X4, right here.

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