Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

First-time build: AM3+ or FM2 based processor?

Last response: in CPUs
Share
November 27, 2012 6:36:00 AM

Howdy,

I am a first-time PC builder and would like some advice regarding which AMD socket/processor I should build my system around. I have decided to choose from AMD hardware over Intel due to my $600 budget, not including case. This budget is intended to create a functional foundation to add to in the future, and not necessarily be a 100% finished system.

Looks like the two most recent AMD sockets are AM3+ and FM2. I'm leaning more towards FM2 because I've read that it is supposed to be supported at least up to Excavator (2014/2015), and it's always good to future-proof when you can. However, in looking at some of the motherboards available, it looks like a lot of the FM2 boards are either Micro-ATX or on the low end of features/prices. This makes me suspicious that FM2 isn't really designed for serious performance, when/if needed.

Speaking of performance, here are some of my expectations for my new build:
1) Due to being stuck in 2005-tech for years because my laptop has never died, I am still satisfied by "older" games like Age of Empires II, Need for Speed Underground (and earlier), and online flash/emulator games. Though I currently play most video games on a separate console it would be nice to be able to play some newer games (auto racing/flight sim) with no lag, though I don't plan on playing anything nearly as intensive as Skyrim or a FPS.
2) My daily tasks are primarily using Microsoft Office and internet browser (Chrome). One thing that my current computer sucks at is having lots of internet tabs open at the same time. I'd also like to have seamless performance when viewing online videos on YouTube, ESPN, etc.
3) While I don't use them now, I have used programs like Google SketchUp 7 and PrintMusic 2004 (haha, 2004) in the past and would like to have better performance in the new system than what my laptop can do (which was passable but nothing great). I'm an engineering student and it would be nice to have some decent CAD ability on my new build so I would have the option of using it if I want to.

I am aware that APUs are designed with a GPU inside as well as a CPU. Whether I choose an APU or CPU I will likely want to also use a discrete graphics card as the idea of Crossfire sounds nice (at least in theory). I see that Gigabyte has a Radeon HD 6670 GPU for $67.30 on Amazon that is capable of Crossfire. I haven't done serious research in this area, yet, but mentally I've been thinking CPU+(1 or 2)cheap GPUs to crossfire vs APU+1 cheap GPU to crossfire. Keep in mind my reference point is a Toshiba A75 laptop with only onboard video power! (Also 1.5 GB max RAM!!!!)

Starting out with the AM3+:
I've read really awesome things about the Phenom II X4 955 BE... but those comments were from 2011. Is it still a relevant CPU by today's standards? I noticed that the 965 is about the same price ($94)... is there any difference? I'm thinking all Vishera processors are out of my budget right now, but if I ended up using an AM3+ mobo I could always upgrade the CPU later on.

Now the FM2:
My first option here is a Trinity APU like the A10-5800K. It's starting to approach the top of my price range at ~$140, so I may want to consider the A8, which is around the same price range as the Phenom 955 BE. How much difference is there between the A10 and A8? I know there are hardware comparisons out there but a multitude of bar charts usually doesn't do much for me.

Finally, are there real differences in heat and power consumption between AM3+ and FM2? I will buy a full ATX motherboard which will will go in an Antec 300. I haven't bought the power supply, as I will spec that after the other components, but I of course want to save on the energy bill (within reason, not at the expense of a well-operating system). I also have had not so pleasant (hot) experiences with the Pentium 4 in my laptop and plan on filling all 5 case fan positions and buying a CPU cooler. Speaking of fans, I'll be looking for a mobo that can easily control most/all my fans through the system rather than setting them at a certain speed and closing the case.

So, which should I pick? Phenom II X4 955 BE, A10/A8, or something else?

Once I decide for sure which CPU I'm going with I will start narrowing down my options for motherboards, which will likely result in a post in that forum. :D 
November 27, 2012 6:51:20 AM

Oops, well, it looks like A8 is FM1-based. Well I guess that's one option down! I guess now it's primarily Phenom II X4 955 BE vs A10-5800K, though I'm certainly open to other suggestions. Which is the smarter idea for the future?
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
November 27, 2012 7:06:05 AM

The FM sockets are for apu builds which aren't as fast as the Fx cpus.
The draw of the apu is having integrated graphics. If you plan on having a discrete card for graphics the apu wont do you any good.
m
0
l
Related resources
a c 471 à CPUs
November 27, 2012 1:35:25 PM

Generally speaking if you want performance, then you go with socket AM3+. Their APU are good for a budget / mainstream PC if you are not looking for premium features in a motherboard or the best AMD CPU performance.
m
0
l

Best solution

a b à CPUs
November 27, 2012 2:20:49 PM

Quite the novel! Try to keep it short and to the point on forums for better responses.

FM2 - good for low-mid systems, but there are no high end processors for this socket. If you start out A8 or A10, there's not going to be any upgrade path. Of course most people never upgrade anyway, so it may or may not matter.

AM3+ Has a range of processors starting about where FM2 leaves off. If you need to go lower end, there are older Phenom and Athlon processors. General no graphics built in (or non worth using). Plan on discrete card.

Just skimming your requirements there in the middle, I'd say you would be very happy with an A10 based build for both CPU and graphics needs. If you think you want room to grow, maybe go with something like an FX6300 and a Radeon 7750 or 7770

Share
a b à CPUs
November 27, 2012 2:42:08 PM

I would probably go with the APU at this point. Performance is not up to par with their FX Vishera brethren but with the way AMD is going at the moment, company-wise with restructuring and so forth. There is a good chance their FX line might be ditched in favor of going with APU's in the future. As they should IMO.

That being said. Considering what you want out of your next rig the APU would be able to do everything that you want out of it general performance-wise. Even if you decided to play games like Skyrim, it is not like you would be playing a slide show if you tried to play it with a modest selection of graphic settings.

Power consumption seems to be about par with the previous FX series when overclocking and such. But of course keep in mind that it has an iGPU.

Pick up some 1866+ RAM and check out toms latest piece for motherboards suggestions.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-fm2-motherbo...

My 2 cents and good luck!
m
0
l
November 29, 2012 6:58:00 PM

Okay, thanks for all the input everyone! Sorry I have been so slow to respond.

Based on your comments, I have decided to go with socket AM3+. It seems that socket FM2 with an A10 APU would fit my current needs, but if I end up needing to work from home for some reason in an engineering role in the future, I'd like my computer to be able to upgrade to the highest tier of AMD performance. Here is my planned rig at the moment:

David's AM3+ for light gaming and future upgrades
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition - $93.55 (Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3 - $119.99 (NewEgg)
RAM: 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (Not sure which particular brand/model) - ~$40 (NewEgg/Amazon)
Graphics Card: XFX AMD Radeon HD 7750 - $88.49 (after rebate, Amazon)
Hard Drive: Have a 500GB HDD that my wife got rid of when she upgraded to a SSD. It was too noisy for her but it will work for me.
Case: Antec Three Hundred - $54.99 (Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder Series CX500 80 PLUS Power Supply - $49.99 (Amazon)
Cooling: Case comes with two exhaust fans, but I'm adding these to the front: NZXT 120mm Orange LED Fans - $14.99 x2 (Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - $29.98 (Amazon)
DVD Burner: I have an external CD reader (via USB) and will just go with that for a while.

Potential upgrades include:
1) Replacing the CPU after the last socket AM3+ processor has been on the market for a year or two (2016+?), to drop the price.
2) Add another 8GB of RAM. I'm going to go read up on RAM to make sure I select the right one, btw.
3) Adding a second HD 7750 or HD 7770 to run Crossfire. Some sites say this works, others don't. So I need to double-check this.
4) Getting a small SSD for myself to run alongside the 500GB HDD.
5) The power supply *might* need to be upgraded if I do crossfire in the future. I could just stick my 500w unit on the wife's machine at the point because it would be an upgrade for her. In the meanwhile I would've saved some utility $$$ by not using a 600-750w PSU.
6) I'll probably add a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever burner and/or a floppy drive at some point but don't care about it at the moment. Mostly use flashdrives anyway.

UPDATE:
Just looked on NewEgg and found a AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor for $84.99 (free shipping)!!! I don't think I'm going to find a better deal for what I'm looking for! Now I just need to finalize the other details. Feel free to point out flaws in my build if you see them, particularly the PSU. I calculated I'd need less than 400w continuous using an online calculator, and the GPU recommends at least 450w.
m
0
l
November 29, 2012 8:04:23 PM

Best answer selected by trumpmech.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
November 29, 2012 8:23:13 PM

Your builds good, and the 965 is a great processor. Nice build.

I'd throw in a soundcard, but...Eh. Only if the budget allows.
m
0
l
November 29, 2012 8:40:48 PM

MajinCry said:
Your builds good, and the 965 is a great processor. Nice build.

I'd throw in a soundcard, but...Eh. Only if the budget allows.


Thanks! I'm really looking forward to putting it all together!

I have to admit that I know next to nothing about audio hardware. I have (a pair of speakers) + (a pair of speakers and a sub) daisy-chained together so that they receive signal from a 3.5mm cable coming from my laptop. What would you recommend regarding a soundcard, and will it go into a PCI-E slot or elsewhere?

I have a 19" TV/computer monitor (Philips 19PFL3504D/F7 19-Inch 720p LCD HDTV) that I'm already using as a second screen for my laptop. I'm planning on using it as my only screen for my new desktop build until I can get another to supplement it. I was thinking I'd run an HDMI cable from the GPU to this screen, and connect my current speaker setup to that via 3.5mm out. I'm sure this setup is painful for audiophiles to read, lol. Does HDMI from a GPU even support audio, or does it just transfer the video component?
m
0
l
February 28, 2013 10:01:44 PM

trumpmech said:
Thanks! I'm really looking forward to putting it all together!

I have to admit that I know next to nothing about audio hardware. I have (a pair of speakers) + (a pair of speakers and a sub) daisy-chained together so that they receive signal from a 3.5mm cable coming from my laptop. What would you recommend regarding a soundcard, and will it go into a PCI-E slot or elsewhere?

I have a 19" TV/computer monitor (Philips 19PFL3504D/F7 19-Inch 720p LCD HDTV) that I'm already using as a second screen for my laptop. I'm planning on using it as my only screen for my new desktop build until I can get another to supplement it. I was thinking I'd run an HDMI cable from the GPU to this screen, and connect my current speaker setup to that via 3.5mm out. I'm sure this setup is painful for audiophiles to read, lol. Does HDMI from a GPU even support audio, or does it just transfer the video component?




You're on the right track and you're right about HDMI--the standard actually supports passing both digital video and digital audio through that HDMI cable! (The video card manufacturers growled when they found out that they had to support audio as well as video--they achieved this end, though!) Thus, it's definitely possible to get sound through your TV as well as through your separate speakers! Configure your sound by choosing whether to use the HDMI system (which outputs digital to the TV and it's internal speakers) or your onboard sound circuitry (which outputs analog through the 3.5mm cable to your speakers)!

As for soundcards, if you desire SPDIF (digital coax or optical connection) and Dolby with more than stereo (two channels), you'll need to have a soundcard that has that license from Dolby (Creative/Soundblaster). Many of these soundcards do work with PCI-E boards in this era. Thus, gamers often prefer better Soundblaster cards.

Frankly, many will disagree, but onboard sound can prove quite good--depending upon your board and the sys. (Crosstalk from nearby circuits may interfere with sound quality.) Some boards are better than others at this. Many better boards even offer digital coax and/or optical outputs.

HDMI fitted video cards, mainboard video ports (and, other devices (say camcorders, laptops, and tablets) with HDMI ports) offer such sound pass through as well, DVI to HDMI converters and cables only pass digital video, though--to pass both signals, a true HDMI cable is necessary in this case....

Competitors to Creative include C-Media, ASUS/Xonar, and others. I think that C-Media's Windows software offers cool sound effects, but those often are included in the Windows software associated with onboard chip sound, as well. The basic C-Media chip is the 8738. Upgrade chips include the 8768 and 8788, among others. C-Media and Realtek both are heavily involved in onboard sound. VIA (a competitor in Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets to nVidia and AMD) offers an interesting sound chip, as well, and VIA chips often too are onboard, as well as in cards. VIA's Windows software interface isn't as advanced as the others, though.

Computer speakers are quite convenient, and even sometimes quite good. Naturally, though, HD audio has induced so many sound-fanciers to consider PCs nowadays as a potent content creation and listening tool. Naturally, a great many have taken to inputting PC sound signals--digital and analog--into receivers and fancy consumer audio equipment--and even into sophisticated musical instrument equipment--amplifiers and PA systems.

Actually, you may connect, with a 3.5mm jack to stereo RCA "Y" output cable, practically any PC or laptop (or even a Droid or Iphone) to a simple "old school" stereo receiver feeding into better speakers. CDs, MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, WMA or AAC (Ipod/Iphone) provide the digital content to feed such digital devices easily. (The latter formats all are "compressed" to save space, but they provide much in the way of differing multimedia info as well as sound.)

Thus, you aren't required to obtain speakers or sound systems intended merely for the PC. Of course, today's better audio equipment includes coax, optical, and/or HDMI digital inputs--digital connectivity and quality improves greatly over the years. Your imagination and resources prove the main limits. You may have a connected receiver on your table or desk, next to your monitor or TV, feeding into any speakers or speaker system you desire--there's nothing at all "wrong" with that....

As for PC related speakers and speaker systems, the better ones may offer digital connections as well as analog. The most common connection is the 3.5mm stereo jack. Well regarded brands include Altec Lansing, Cambridge Soundworks (the makers of Soundblaster), Bose, and Logitech.

As for less ambitious systems, some use a USB connection. These may be powered through that cable or they may be powered externally. The USB connection codec is a completely separate software sound manager from that associated with a soundcard or onboard sound--ordinary PC software sound controls associated with soundcards or onboard sound can't manage such devices. USB speakers often prove surprisingly good, considering their simpleton natures. They're smaller and quite simple and convenient: They often are used for laptops, tablets, or phones.

The USB codec often is used also for sophisticated musical creation interfaces for computers and Apple Macs. Basically, the analog sound from the musical instrument or microphone is converted, as well as possible or practical, into digital output--some format suitable for manipulation (editing) or storage via a PC or laptop (into compressed formats or "burning" CDs, DVDs, or Blu-Rays).

As in computer gaming, PC latency is a potent enemy. Thus, firewire (or likely now, USB3.0) may be used instead of USB 2.0 to improve performance and signal. Traditionally, Apple Macs, and Mac laptops, have been the preferred computer animal in this arena--they've proven better intended for such tasks--although PCs often are better suited to the tasks than they were in the past. Workstations (used for special effects in movies) are advanced far above ordinary Macs and PCs, though.

Ordinary laptops generally are intended for business people--unfortunately, the average laptop is intended to be the "jack of all trades and master of none." Too often, the video circuitry is far inferior to the better video cards in PCs and Macs (or, Mac laptop video circuitry)--usually, this is a fatal bottleneck that can't be corrected. Too often, people try to get into this arena (video and audio creation and editing) with such laptops--it's a painful, expensive lesson. Nevertheless, as with desktops, Macs, and their components--laptops continually get better over the years and may even prove more suitable (depending upon the purpose desired). Needless to say, at this level you're better off with a Mac or your own self-build PC--you may modify or upgrade it as needed: Stay on this track! I just prefer desktops, anyway!: Laptops are for coffee-shops!

Welcome to this rewarding journey! 'The most valuable commodity is information!' Well, you're looking at it! Look at all the people willing and eager to help and all the resources available with a few clicks! These are interesting times, aren't they?! :hello: 
m
0
l
August 8, 2013 10:39:13 AM

FlintIronStagg said:
The FM sockets are for apu builds which aren't as fast as the Fx cpus.
The draw of the apu is having integrated graphics. If you plan on having a discrete card for graphics the apu wont do you any good.


Technically not true, if you consider AMD's Dual-GPU technology.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
August 8, 2013 1:08:14 PM

chrisw63 said:
FlintIronStagg said:
The FM sockets are for apu builds which aren't as fast as the Fx cpus.
The draw of the apu is having integrated graphics. If you plan on having a discrete card for graphics the apu wont do you any good.


Technically not true, if you consider AMD's Dual-GPU technology.


The A10 integrated GPU isn't going to work with any card better than the 7750.
m
0
l
a b à CPUs
August 10, 2013 8:53:13 AM

chrisw63 said:
FlintIronStagg said:
The FM sockets are for apu builds which aren't as fast as the Fx cpus.
The draw of the apu is having integrated graphics. If you plan on having a discrete card for graphics the apu wont do you any good.


Technically not true, if you consider AMD's Dual-GPU technology.


Thanks for dragging this thread up months after it died...
Considering AMD's dual GPU technology, i would still go with am3+ for a discrete card build.
It just wouldnt make sense to get an apu if the intended use is for gaming.
m
0
l
August 15, 2013 9:54:10 AM

I would go with the am3, I did myself a budget build about 8 months ago and got the a10 5800k black edition.

I also purchased a graphics card with the intention of crossfire. As it turns out my £60 graphics card overclocked is leaps and bounds better than crossfire.

Therefore I would personally get the FX8 and a cheap £60-100 graphics card, then when you want to upgrade you can buy a £200+ graphics card in the future amd sell your old one on Ebay! The inbuilt gpu on my apu has simply gone to waste because it quite frankly sucks.

Plus who wants 4 cores when you can have 8 :) 
m
0
l
a c 210 à CPUs
August 15, 2013 10:54:18 AM

Original post 27 Nov 2012, 150 day Necro on 28 Feb 2013, followed by 180 Day Necro on 13 Aug 2013....

LOL...Terribad abounds in this thread...
m
0
l
October 16, 2013 8:13:25 AM

I JUST SOLD MY 965 AND AN asus 890gx MOBO FOR 140 DOLLARS ON CRAIGSLIST
m
0
l
January 5, 2014 1:12:09 AM

I think the FM-2 APU's are a serious joke. His A8 couldn't keep up with my 955 clocked to his cpu speed. He had to buy the best A10 apu he could get his hands on and he feels so satisfied.

I can wait to pick up that FX-8120. Then I might pee myself laughing.
m
0
l
April 26, 2014 8:05:37 AM

trumpmech said:
Howdy,

I am a first-time PC builder and would like some advice regarding which AMD socket/processor I should build my system around. I have decided to choose from AMD hardware over Intel due to my $600 budget, not including case. This budget is intended to create a functional foundation to add to in the future, and not necessarily be a 100% finished system.

Looks like the two most recent AMD sockets are AM3+ and FM2. I'm leaning more towards FM2 because I've read that it is supposed to be supported at least up to Excavator (2014/2015), and it's always good to future-proof when you can. However, in looking at some of the motherboards available, it looks like a lot of the FM2 boards are either Micro-ATX or on the low end of features/prices. This makes me suspicious that FM2 isn't really designed for serious performance, when/if needed.

Speaking of performance, here are some of my expectations for my new build:
1) Due to being stuck in 2005-tech for years because my laptop has never died, I am still satisfied by "older" games like Age of Empires II, Need for Speed Underground (and earlier), and online flash/emulator games. Though I currently play most video games on a separate console it would be nice to be able to play some newer games (auto racing/flight sim) with no lag, though I don't plan on playing anything nearly as intensive as Skyrim or a FPS.
2) My daily tasks are primarily using Microsoft Office and internet browser (Chrome). One thing that my current computer sucks at is having lots of internet tabs open at the same time. I'd also like to have seamless performance when viewing online videos on YouTube, ESPN, etc.
3) While I don't use them now, I have used programs like Google SketchUp 7 and PrintMusic 2004 (haha, 2004) in the past and would like to have better performance in the new system than what my laptop can do (which was passable but nothing great). I'm an engineering student and it would be nice to have some decent CAD ability on my new build so I would have the option of using it if I want to.

I am aware that APUs are designed with a GPU inside as well as a CPU. Whether I choose an APU or CPU I will likely want to also use a discrete graphics card as the idea of Crossfire sounds nice (at least in theory). I see that Gigabyte has a Radeon HD 6670 GPU for $67.30 on Amazon that is capable of Crossfire. I haven't done serious research in this area, yet, but mentally I've been thinking CPU+(1 or 2)cheap GPUs to crossfire vs APU+1 cheap GPU to crossfire. Keep in mind my reference point is a Toshiba A75 laptop with only onboard video power! (Also 1.5 GB max RAM!!!!)

Starting out with the AM3+:
I've read really awesome things about the Phenom II X4 955 BE... but those comments were from 2011. Is it still a relevant CPU by today's standards? I noticed that the 965 is about the same price ($94)... is there any difference? I'm thinking all Vishera processors are out of my budget right now, but if I ended up using an AM3+ mobo I could always upgrade the CPU later on.

Now the FM2:
My first option here is a Trinity APU like the A10-5800K. It's starting to approach the top of my price range at ~$140, so I may want to consider the A8, which is around the same price range as the Phenom 955 BE. How much difference is there between the A10 and A8? I know there are hardware comparisons out there but a multitude of bar charts usually doesn't do much for me.

Finally, are there real differences in heat and power consumption between AM3+ and FM2? I will buy a full ATX motherboard which will will go in an Antec 300. I haven't bought the power supply, as I will spec that after the other components, but I of course want to save on the energy bill (within reason, not at the expense of a well-operating system). I also have had not so pleasant (hot) experiences with the Pentium 4 in my laptop and plan on filling all 5 case fan positions and buying a CPU cooler. Speaking of fans, I'll be looking for a mobo that can easily control most/all my fans through the system rather than setting them at a certain speed and closing the case.

So, which should I pick? Phenom II X4 955 BE, A10/A8, or something else?

Once I decide for sure which CPU I'm going with I will start narrowing down my options for motherboards, which will likely result in a post in that forum. :D 

first of all thers only two boards Asus and Msi there the BEST I prefer Asus they run anyone will tell you that iam currently running the Phenon llx4 965 my system is little over a year old and its FAST and flawless if you use asus and now how to build a comp amd and Asus hardware is the way to go,go for broke check the asus a88m pro mobo along with the A-10 FM+ 7850 thats a kick ass start
m
0
l
!