I have suffered with an e5200 for some time now. It's not the worst processor in the world, but every time I seem to get an ounce more juice out of it, my computer becomes temperamental. This dual-core dinosaur clocks in at 3.3 GHZ right now, but it still lacks the performance I need. I decided there was only one choice: send this monster to the morgue and upgrade!
So my options were laid out: AMD Phenom X4 965 BE or a Core i3 2100.
Excluding Microcenter's "dump unpopular overstock mobos" package deals, similar motherboards came out to about the same price, with maybe a +/- $10 difference. There was less and less value to be had with the Phenom II. Overclock potential was definitely there, but that would mean adding a CPU cooler, which would inflate my budget, and possibly, my ego. Letting loose with that puppy was playing with fire, and I had already walked that treacherous path before. Having to reset your CMOS repeatedly after Dr. Frankenstein-esque experimentation becomes tiresome. Also, with Bulldozer coming out (an apt name if there ever was one! steamroll the old platform, recent adopters of the AM3 platform, AND Intel fanboys all in one swift stroke!), my mobo and fan most likely wouldn't be ready for the next generation.
So, Intel it is. I can imagine now what life was like in the USSR - everyone on a computer forum is a comrade in arms, but none of you have any power to resist the evil empire that is CPU manufacturers. You have two choices - EVVVVVVVILLLLL, or slightly less EVIL. Do you think when Orwell wrote 1984 he knew that in the future, even capitalist pigs would be doled out locked processors, a metaphor if there ever was one, for how the PC industry viewed the human spirit?
Well enough with the ramblings. You've heard enough of what happens when you don't have proper EM shielding around your head.
So my build is as follows:
note: actual in-store prices were slightly lower than online
PSU: Antec EarthWatts 650W Continuous Power Power Supply $60 (this actually came from my current build, but I bought it with the foresight that in the future my power needs would increase, so I've decided to include the price I paid for it several months ago.
Case: time to recycle an old generic mid-tower! I added a cheap fan ($10!) for cooling. You'd think a monstrosity like this that previously housed the much-reviled P4 would have better internal cooling.
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 PRO 64-bit: $30 with MS Student pricing!
I suppose it's cheating, since I already have a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and HDD, and a Radeon 5770, but I do have to say, that is one damn fine cheapo build if I say so myself.
Now for the next big debate: CF my 5770, or ditch it for the 5850, only to have everyone derail the discussion into the merits of upgrading to the 68xx line.
I was definitely thinking about waiting, but I could probably only save maybe $10-20. I can't imagine saving much more on a mobo than I have already, and Microcenter has a really good price for the i3 2100.