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Thinking about upgrading Mobo/PSU (Intel or AMD??)

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January 11, 2012 12:48:09 AM

My current build:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 3.5GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor (1 yr old)
MOBO: ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD (1 yr old)
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (1 yr old)
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular High Performance Power Supply (2 months old)
GPU: EVGA 9800 GTX+ 512MB (2 years old)
Case: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black 0.8 mm SECC (2 months old)
OS: Windows 7 64-bit (6 months old)

The reason I'm thinking about upgrading is because I've been having issues with either my memory or motherboard, and at this point I'm convinced its my Mobo. I posted here a couple days ago about it: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/331892-31-system-boot... I messed around with the memory, switching it in and out in different slots to no success. After reading some comments on Newegg about my motherboard I learned that many people had similar problems associated with it. Apparently my mobo is known to have problems reading memory among other things.

Now, I come to the forums to get some input on whether its worth replacing my ASUS M4A78T-E with another AMD motherboard. I've heard a lot of great stuff about Sandybridge and I also read about AMD kind of backing away from competing with Intel in 2012: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AMD-APU-Z-Series-ARM-T... Now, thinking long term I wonder if its worth investing in another AMD moboard/cpu. I figure I could sell my Phenom II X4 970 on ebay for $100 or so, and I could put that towards a new Intel CPU/Mobo combo.

I mainly use my computer for gaming, school work, etc.

What do you guys think? Is Intel king nowadays?


P.S. I realize upgrading my videocard is also a priority at its age too
January 11, 2012 1:18:49 AM

I looked at your original thread. Did you try running memtest86 on your RAM? I don't want to re-open your old wound or anything, but you might have a bad stick. Just booting up doesn't mean the RAM is good. Run memtest86.

Regarding Intel vs. AMD. If you are building a higher-end system then Intel's sandy-bridge chips (specifically the 2500k for gaming) is the way to go. For the lower-end systems they trade blows.

If you are sure about replacing your motherboard then I like your idea about selling the phenom and going with an i5-2500k. Pair it with a great cooler and a P67 (or z68 if you want SSD caching) board and OC it easily over 4ghz. That will last you for a long time. Of course it is overkill for a 9800gtx, you'll probably want to upgrade that soon too but hey, overkill is good!
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January 11, 2012 1:19:53 AM

Intel is king, no doubt about it. The question becomes, assuming you are able to sell your CPU for $100, do you go:
1. New quality AM3 (+ optional) mobo for <= $100, or
2. New quality Z68 mobo and Intel i5 for $110+$220-$100=$230 ?

That's not a huge difference; OTOH it is over twice the price. If you have the money, go Intel. You'll have a stronger, more capable system now, and for some time to come. If you don't though, I find it highly unlikely that any game targeted to a broad audience will not run well on a CPU as good as the X4 970BE, for many years also.
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January 11, 2012 1:30:25 AM

larkspur said:
I looked at your original thread. Did you try running memtest86 on your RAM? I don't want to re-open your old wound or anything, but you might have a bad stick. Just booting up doesn't mean the RAM is good. Run memtest86.


I did run memtest. There was no problem on either of the sticks individually. It was when I put them in dual channel that they went berserk with errors. I read a bunch of comments from people with the same problem with my motherboard. *EDIT* Oh and when I ran my system with just 1 stick in, it still BSOD's and freezes.

I guess that settles it, I'm gonna have to go with Intel. I have enough money to go for the higher end, as long as I can get a decent price on my Phenom. Gonna have to wait on upgrading that video card though

So there's the i5-2500k: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $220
What quality mobo would you suggest?
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January 11, 2012 1:40:10 AM

lome said:
I did run memtest.

I guess that settles it, I'm gonna have to go with Intel. I have enough money to go for the higher end, as long as I can get a decent price on my Phenom. Gonna have to wait on upgrading that video card though


Cool. Jtt made a great point above that if you don't really have the money, going with your 970 isn't going to hurt you. You could buy an AM3 mobo and use the money you would've spent on the new CPU for a new GPU (combined with some additional money) and still get great performance. It's too bad your mobo kicked and is forcing you to make these decisions : ]
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January 11, 2012 1:49:25 AM

^That's a good point. If staying with AMD lets you afford a GPU upgrade, then overall that will give you the best gaming performance. Getting a HD6850 to go with a new AMD mobo would do very well.
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January 11, 2012 2:18:54 AM

lome said:
What quality mobo would you suggest?


Haha, I would suggest an Asus motherboard but I'll bet you are probably done with them!

You want either a z68 chipset or a P67 chipset as those are the only two chipsets that will allow you to overclock your 2500k. P67 is probably cheaper. The only real feature difference between z68 and p67 is that z68 has support for Intel SSD caching. Just make sure the board has the features you desire like SATA 6gb and USB 3.0. If you want to SLI/XFire at some point make sure you get a board that supports it. I go with Asus, but have built systems with MSI, Gigabyte and Intel branded boards. I had trouble with two different Intel brand boards in the past (similar to your current bad board) so I don't go with them anymore but others swear by them.
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January 11, 2012 8:49:18 AM

I've had good results with ASRock, and would probably choose that or Asus.
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