System Usage from Most to Least Important: moderate gaming, surfing the internet, watching online videos, music, photo editing
Parts Not Required: XFX GeForce 9600GT graphics card, Corsair VX450W PSU, keyboard, mouse, 22" widescreen monitor, speakers, Antec Sonata case w/ one 120mm fan, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Leaning towards AMD AM3 cpu's, but willing to look at Intel. Prefer quality, but affordable mobo - Asus, MSi, Gigabyte. No preference for memory as long as they're from a reputable make and at least 2GB.
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050
Additional Comments: My old Chaintech VNF4/Ultra mobo died and I'm looking to salvage what I can for as little as possible. Would like to see some improvement from my AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+ and 2GB DDR SDRAM. I'd prefer to have a flexible upgrade path within reason for the life of the mobo - at least one CPU replacement, adding memory, and replacing the gpu. Also, would like to make it a reasonably quiet pc. Games I play: C&C3, Silent Hunter 4, Company of Heroes. Hope I'm not asking for too much!
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Thanks for your suggestions. Yeah, I think I have to go with AM3+ from the perspective of value and upgradeability. I'm unfamiliar with motherboards these days and feeling a little burned by choosing Chaintech all those years ago - it was a good board, but the support and manual sucked and the company got out of the mobo business! So, how would you rate or rank mobo manufacturers today?
I'm definitely going with the Athlon II x3 450, especially with that $10 rebate!
I'm still going back and forth on mobo, though. I was zeroing in on a 970 chipset board, like the Asus M5A97 or the Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3, but I'm having second thoughts. I'm trying to figure out if there's a chance that I'll eventually upgrade the CPU to a Bulldozer in this mobo's lifetime. I mean, there's plenty of power in a high-end quad-core Phenom II, right? Money is really tight now, so that's why I'm waffling.
If I decide to go with an AM3 socket, then I'm considering the ASRock M3A770DE for only $59.99 plus $4.99 shipping. I've read that ASRock used to be owned by Asus and has a pretty good reputation. What do you guys think? I just want to avoid another Chaintech - i.e. failed business. Does ASRock make good quality boards that are reliable?
OK, I've decided to narrow my choice to an AM3 board due to serious budgetary constraints. Besides, I think I still have a decent upgrade path for my needs. Anyway, I'm seriously looking at ASRock M3A770DE or ASUS M4A87T. Does anyone know if both have solid-state capacitors or is that no longer a worry?
AS Rock uses solid caps on 'mission critical' parts, and less fancy caps elsewhere as a cost savings. It tends to translate to solid caps where the most stress would be, and where they standard caps are, the lower stress doesn't worry the lower-quality caps.