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Phenom ii X4

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April 14, 2011 3:39:32 AM

So I was upgrading a Dell pre-built to make it a workable, upgradable gaming rig and the project has turned into a new build (scavenging HD, CD/DVD drives only from the Dell). Purchased a Black Widow 850W PS, ASUS Directcu Radeon HD 6850 video card, and the monster 4 fan case available from best buy (probably the weakest return for $ of the three purchases). The existing case won't accomodate the new components without significant "alterations" that I don't want to try.

As Dell sucks and manufactures their mobo backwards, I have to get a new mobo at a min for the new build in the new case. As I have a 1st gen core 2 duo, getting a new mobo for that that also supports the video card seems like not much of an option. So I'm looking at the AMD Phenom ii X4 955 black. I don't know, however, what a good mobo is for it. Newegg has the following combo:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Is this the best bang for the buck, while trying to build a decent upgradable rig at low cost? Also, is there any reason I should pursue a sandy bridge intel processor instead of the phenom? I intent to OC the phenom and 6850 to maximize the power of the new gaming rig. Thanks for any advice.

More about : phenom

April 14, 2011 4:13:39 AM

A 6850 would be a good match for that CPU, though since you are going to overclock it may as well step up to a 6870 if you can ^_^. As for the motherboard I'd rather take this board

ASRock 870 EXTREME3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and combo it with Win7. You can combo the Phenom with a decent heatsink because the stock cooler is not going to do it for overclocking. As for the case get something with good airflow. I recommend the Antec 300 that's currently only $59.95

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 14, 2011 4:20:58 AM

The I3-2100 compares well to the x4 955 and is a little less expensive. Intel won that price segment in the Tom's 'Best Gaming CPU for the money' ranking. But I think the AMD chip starts to close the gap with any decent overclock.
So it's not a runaway win either way, I'd say you should price out CPU + motherboard on each and see which you prefer.
In the end I think a lot of people go AMD in this price range just because they can't shake the feeling that Intel hamstrings you by restricting overclocking too much here.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
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April 14, 2011 4:53:47 AM

EDraven said:
As I have a 1st gen core 2 duo, getting a new mobo for that that also supports the video card seems like not much of an option.


Why? Wasn't 1st gen Core2 duo LGA 775 and I'm sure there are LGA 775 boards with PCIe x16 and DDR3.

I dunno the original posters link doesn't sound like that great of a deal. For about the same price you can get a i5-2400 + H61 board or for maybe $20-30 more you can get a H67/P67 board with i5-2400. I'd also favor a 3.4Ghz i5-2400 over a 3.8Ghz 955 but not by that much. Any AM3 board with multiple GPU support is good for future upgrading. But if you are planning on upgrading via the AMD path later on I might suggest the 555 as it is like $40 cheaper and it kinda sucks to blow $150 on a CPU and replace it. Heck, if you get a mobo that does it you can unlock and 555 to make it a 955.
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April 14, 2011 5:07:10 AM

If you're looking at motherboards for the Phenom I thought I could throw this in for you to consider, since you did say you're looking for upgradability, this one from Asrock has one of those black sockets that supports AM3+ if you ever wanted to upgrade down the road to Bulldozer. Though it's relatively new and not many reviews on in it and it only supports 16x 4x crossfire, but I think it's at a good price for $99.99.

Just something for you to consider.

ASRock 880G PRO3
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April 14, 2011 11:28:43 PM

budget is as cheap as I can go with the best bang for the $$, not to exceed $300 for the cpu, mbo, ram, shipping, + tax. I can grab a huge fan (forget the name) that is for the AMD chip off a friend for nothing. Apparently the fan new is $30-$40 and very good per a couple friends that build systems all the time. What's Bulldozer? Not familiar with that. Based on reviews and posts I've read, 16x/4x crossfire set-ups only cause ~2% performance loss on the second card.

I'm open for anything, but I do admit I don't like the idea of not being able to OC the cpu in the case of the intel chips. Thre's also thefree fan if I go AMD. The rig is for heavy 3d gaming, 1st person shooters and things like, at the moment, shogun 2 total war. Based on that I don't think multi core chips will help out with the framerates so much as just more speed. The case I purchased at BB was the Antec nine hundred two. figure it should help things run cool and give me a lot of room to work and upgrade.
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April 14, 2011 11:59:28 PM

Dyers Eve said:
Why? Wasn't 1st gen Core2 duo LGA 775 and I'm sure there are LGA 775 boards with PCIe x16 and DDR3.

I dunno the original posters link doesn't sound like that great of a deal. For about the same price you can get a i5-2400 + H61 board or for maybe $20-30 more you can get a H67/P67 board with i5-2400. I'd also favor a 3.4Ghz i5-2400 over a 3.8Ghz 955 but not by that much. Any AM3 board with multiple GPU support is good for future upgrading. But if you are planning on upgrading via the AMD path later on I might suggest the 555 as it is like $40 cheaper and it kinda sucks to blow $150 on a CPU and replace it. Heck, if you get a mobo that does it you can unlock and 555 to make it a 955.


Looked at the 555 and man is that intriuging. Looks like the Gigabyte GA-MA78GMT is the board of choice for potentially unlocking the 3rd and 4th cores. For gaming the multicore in't a huge issue, so a dual core with a gamble for a quad is probably worth it, so long as the dual can still be overclocked to a high speed along with memory, etc. Is there a GA-MA78GMT equivalent board that supports crossfire with 2 pci-e x16 slots and can unlock the cores? Also can't tell how many cores the board would support. I assume I want a board that can support 6 or 8 cores for upgradability purposes, even if i'm only looking at a dual or quad core right now? Also looks like AMD was going to tr to stop the unlocking... anything happen with that rendering this approach futile?
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April 15, 2011 1:04:44 AM

Bulldozer is the name of the new series of CPUs AMD is set to release later this year that will be made available in quad core, hexa core, and octo core options that will use AM3+ as the socket type, though there have been various manufacturers that will supposedly offer support for them via a BIOS update on AM3 socket based motherboards. And currently there are a couple of motherboards for sale that have the black AM3+ socket that already come with support for Bulldozer, as well as AM3 based Phenom your looking at getting, like the Asrock one I linked too, but you can also find others by MSI and Gigabyte.

Hope that clears up some info on Bulldozer.
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April 15, 2011 1:51:27 AM

Yeah I read the same information as Reki but I am still a bit confused about the black socket thing. Gigabyte uses a blue socket for every mobo and MSI uses black for every mobo. I have heard from some companies like Asus that they will support Bulldozer for AM3 boards so I think you are fine.

As for Edraven's question above, well the extra cores on a 555 are just icing on the cake, gaming doesn't really need anymore than 2 cores and it took games forever to adopt 2 cores, I mean Dragon Age and L4D2 both said they could run one one core and that was late 2009.

All boards can support 6 to 8 cores nowadays so don't worry about that. I haven't heard anything about AMD locking their CPUs like Intel is doing but I cannot fathom why AMD would do so. The only reason people are buying AMD chips still are because of OC, could you imagine if AMD locked all chips except one of two for the Phenom series?
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