Recommended CPU/Mobo for a gaming PC?


I've been lurking the forums for a while and now I've finally decided to post a topic for my case.

I already had some parts for my build, but I'm not sure of which CPU/Mobo setup buy to pair them nicely.

Here's what I got so far:

- Amd Radeon HD 6950
- Antec Earthwatts 650W PSU
- 8GB DD3 RAM memory
- 2 WD 1tb hard drives

Some considerations:
- Budget: about $350, but I don't mind saving some more it will really make a difference.
- I don't intend to Crossfire.
- Preferably no OCing.
- Resolution: 1920x1080.
- I don't live in the USA, so I can't take advantage of sales or discounts from sites like Newegg.
- PC uses, from most important to least important:
Heavy gaming and Web design, Graphic design using the Adobe Suite CS4, personal computer, watching movies, might try some 3d modeling later on but it's not a priority at all.

Thanks!! :)
6 answers Last reply
More about recommended mobo gaming
  1. My advice would be to consider an i5-3450 and pair it with a good quality H77 motherboard if you're not into overclocking for your budget. An i7 might be a little better for the 3d modeling and graphic design, but the 3450 should be good enough to do this.
  2. I'll agree, I5/I7 and Z77 mobo
  3. I see, thanks for your suggestions. I'm looking further into the i5 3450 and it seems great. Just a side question though, if I were to try OCing, what pieces would you recommend? Would a mild, prolly medium OC be considerably more powerful than the i5 3450? Thanks in advance!
  4. You should never try to overclock on a non-K Sandy/Ivy Bridge CPU. There are 2 ways to overclock a CPU, at the reference clock and the multiplier. The K at the end of the model number on Intel CPUs denotes an unlocked multiplier. Without getting too techinical, Sandy/Ivy bridge CPUs have almost no tolerance for overclocking at the reference clock, doing so will net you very little gains at the risk of system instability.

    As such, my advice is if you want to overclock you should look at Intel i5 2500K or 3570K CPUs. A Z77 or Z68 motherboard is ideal for overclocking. Any Chipset with an H does not support overclocking.

    Now to the specific parts:




    Yes, of course a mild overclock would make these CPUs perform better, the question that comes into play is, do I need that extra power? In most cases probably not. Even so, overclocking is definitely a fun hobby. I would consider 4.0GHZ to be a pretty respectable daily overclock on either CPU. Yes they probably could go higher.
  5. Yep, I'm aware OCing means getting a K (unlocked multiplier) CPU and a OC compatible mobo as well. I've never tried it so I'm a bit uncofident about it and thus asked about a non OCing piece... but OCing certainly looks interesting and is something I've been wanting to try for quite a while. I probably don't even need such power though, but as a hobby/computer enthusiasm/gamer greedyness it'd be great.

    To OC or not to OC...

    I guess I'll have to keep researching and decide whether to do it or not so I can choose the parts accordingly. If I chose not to, I'm pretty much set on the i5 3450/h77 mobo.

    Thanks for the info, you've given me a nice starting point to keep researching :)

    EDIT: New thought. It looks like the i5 2500k is comparable if not even slightly superior to the i5 3450 at stock clocks. If I went down that line, not only I have about the same performance, but I have the OCing possibility open for me. That plus a Z77 or Z68 mobo and a nice cooler shouldn't get too far from my budget and I could try OCing. I'm starting to like this idea! Giving it some more research :)

    I'm not too interested in the 3750k because here in my country there's a huge price gap between it and the 2500k, so it's not really worth it.
  6. Well, the nice thing about getting a K CPU is it keeps your options open should you ever change your mind. I figured when I bought my Phenom II build that I'd wouldn't overclock it until I actually had a reason to, that quickly changed after a couple months when I decided to do it just "because I can". Overclocking really isn't that dangerous or difficult anymore.. Its not like in the early 90s when you built a computer you had to manually set everything.

    To overclock pretty much any CPU these days with the multiplier its just a matter of changing the setting, and running a test to make sure its stable. Thats all there is to it. If you're concerned about frying your CPU, you'd have to work pretty hard at it. If you want to be really conservative, that Asus Board I recommended has a simple one click setting in BIOS that overclocks the CPU for you. I don't know what it sets Intel CPUs by default, but when I hit it on my Phenom II it overclocked it from 3.6 stock to 3.9ghz. Its the "Extreme button" on the right side.

    Heres a guide to start with, although its more complicated than it need be.
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