Remember, if you upgrade your motherboard and CPU, you will also have to upgrade your RAM and reinstall Windows. You will also probably need a 64-bit version of the OS. Whether or not to do such an overhaul depends on what you use your PC for. If you are simply doing general internet tasks, what you've got would be plenty, but gaming would be another story entirely. The Athlon X2 is an older AMD CPU which as been replaced first by the Phenom and then by the Phenom II architecture. Anyway here is some ideas, though you probably will not get this for $130.
Motherboard: ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
- This is an inexpensive, though highly rated, motherboard. It has all the features of an AM3 platform, such as support for that CPU socket and DDR3, and will suit you well. However, this board is inexpensive because it uses an older AMD 770 chipset. If you're a hardcore gamer who uses Crossfire or SLI, remember, with all AMD chipsets Crossfire, not SLI, is supported, you may want to consider a higher class of motherboard such as the ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870
or the ASRock 890FX DELUXE3 AM3 AMD 890FX
. The new AMD 8xx series of motherboard chipsets have USB 3 and SATA 6 built-in whereas the 7xx series does not. Other good manufacturers to consider are Gigabyte, XFX, eVGA, and Asus. $59
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz
- This is the dual core version of the Phenom II CPU and is superior to what you already have. If you downclocked this CPU to your current CPU's level's, this would still win in terms of performance due to the architecture. A dual core CPU is usually more than enough for most people. If you're a gamer, most games out today cannot take advantage of more than two cores, yet. If you develop content or use software than can use four or more cores, you may want to consider a quad core CPU such as the AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Deneb 3.0GHz
. All Black Edition CPU's from AMD have their multipliers unlocked for easy overclocking. Currently, AMD has Athlon II's out, these are the more mainstream CPU's which lack L3 cache and have a limited amount of L2 cache. These Athlon II's are great if you are running old games or a basic home PC. People who need more performance usually go for the Phenom II line of processors. $99
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
- The 770 motherboard I suggested requires DDR3-1600 RAM and all other models I listed will take it. If you want to use 4GB or more of RAM, you need a 64-bit OS. Other RAM manufacturers to consider are OCZ, Corsair, Crucial, Mushkin, and Kingston. $109
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Home users should not be using Ultimate unless it was a freebie as it has features they will not use. Anyway, if you are using an OEM version, the license is paired to your motherboard. Therefore, if you change your motherboard, you change PC's thus you need a new licensed copy. However, there is no technical reason you cannot reuse your old copy and go through telephone activation, just make sure that whichever you choose, you use 64-bit. $99
Edited by DJBPace07, 27 May 2010 - 11:46 PM.