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Need help picking out a mobo


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#1 Ryuen76

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 04:06 AM

Hey guys, Im looking to build a new computer which I will be using mostly for web browsing and gaming (Starcraft 2). I decided to opt for AMD as I am on a budget. I have never really pieced a build together and therefore I dont have much knowledge when it comes to building a budget gaming rig. I decided to go with the AMD Phenom™ II X4 965 Black Edition. Micro center has some pretty good bundle deals with mobo's and I'm unsure which one to buy. I ideally would like to spend no more than $230 for the cpu and mobo combo therefore excluding the last mobo option (M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 890) unless that mobo is far much superior then the others and then ill try consider it. Also if there is a particular RAM that would go well with this build. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!


Here is the link to all the combos: http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promot...undlePROMO.html

Parts I currently bought:
Antec Three Hundred Illusion
Antec BP 550 Modular PSU
WD Caviar Blue 500GB
512MB Video Card (My friend is providing me with a free one. Forgot the brand. Im willing to use this for now as I can upgrade this later)

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:54 PM

There are other retailers you can consider, such as Newegg and TigerDirect. I prefer Newegg as it is not quite as cluttered. Don't forget, you also need DDR3-1333 RAM and an Operating System. If you want to stick with MicroCenter, the M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 870 with a Phenom II X4 965 is a good value. Note that the M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 890 is not the high end 890FX chipset but the one just below that.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870 - This is a basic motherboard. It uses the new AMD 8-series chipset which allows for USB 3.0 and SATA 6. The motherboard takes AM3 CPU's, DDR3 RAM, and will allow for CrossfireX with two AMD graphics cards. I don't suggest going to a higher end chipset, such as the 890FX unless you are a hardcore gamer who will use CrossfireX and wants to squeeze every last frame per second out of the game. $98

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz - The Phenom II X4 965 CPU is identical to this with the exception of the slightly increased clock speed and price. Since this is a Black Edition CPU, you can easily send this CPU past the performance of the 965 at stock settings by tweaking the multiplier in the BIOS. If you are really counting pennies, you can also get the AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz which is not Black Edition but is slightly cheaper. The Phenom II's have an edge, performance wise, over the Athlon II's, but if you don't mind a slight performance hit, the AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz is a very nice CPU, though it is locked and more difficult to overclock. $149

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - This is more than enough for most users. You need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $89

Given the savings you are getting at MicroCenter if you go for my suggested pairing above, it would be silly to go to Newegg.

Edited by DJBPace07, 16 September 2010 - 05:55 PM.

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#3 Ryuen76

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:22 PM

I will have XP installed on this computer in the meantime until I am able to get the upgradable Windows 7 version at school (I forgot my username and password in order to log into the school CSI dept to dl Windows 7 for free).

What is SATA 6 and USB 3.0? Is that something I will need or good to have in the future? If not, I see the MSI 785G-E53 AM3 for a lot cheaper. Because of the great combo deals micro center is offering, I think its best I pick from their combos since its cheaper than the alternatives you suggested while still getting a faster processor. I do like newegg and I actually bought all my parts from there, but its hard to buy from them when micro center is offering such a deal.

As for the RAM, I noticed the M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 870 supports DDR3-2000 (O.C.), DDR3-1600, DDR3-1333, DDR3-1066. What does "O.C." stand for? Overclocking? And would it be wise for me to opt for a DDR3-1600 instead of the DDR3-1333 you suggest since its faster?

I also found this moniter on newegg and wanted your input on it as well. It seems like a good deal to me esp with no MIR, but then again I really have no knowledge of moniters. :/ ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx..._-24009252-L08A )

Thanks again for all your help

EDIT:
Edited to enable link ~tg

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:48 PM

I strongly suggest not going with XP if you can avoid it. Chances are, you will not be able to use all 4GB of RAM and frankly, that operating system is a dinosaur. I would either hold off until I could get Windows 7 or put XP on it and almost nothing else since you will delete XP when you install 7. Remember, if you are using an OEM/System Builders copy of Windows, you cannot transfer the license to another computer. There is nothing technically barring you from simply installing it on another PC, only a legal issue. You do not want the MSI 785G as it is an older motherboard and does not include USB 3.0, SATA 6, and CrossfireX. In other words, it doesn't have as many features and is thus not a good choice for the long run. Micro Center is probably marking it down more becuase the AMD 7 series chipsets are being replaced and they are trying to clear stock. SATA refers to the interface between the hard drive and the motherboard, the faster the interface, the faster the data transfer. Currently we are on SATA 3 and most drives still are, however, SATA 6 is much faster than SATA 3 and will replace it eventually. USB 3.0 is the successor to USB 2.0 which is what most devices, such as external hard drives, MP3 players, printers, etc., use to connect to the computer. Like SATA 6, USB 3.0 is a faster version of USB and is slowly making its way into consumer electronics. Both SATA 6 and USB 3 are backwards compatible with earlier forms of those technologies and are included with most AMD 8 series motherboards. With the RAM, the O.C. refers to overclocking. There really isn't a difference in speed between DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1333 and the DDR3-1333 will be fast enough unless you are a hardcore gamer who pushes the system to the limit to get that one last frame per second. Finally, the monitor is decent, but for a near 24-inch model, it really should have HDMI. I'm also a bit partial to LED backlit monitors as they use less power and have much better contrast than traditional monitors. For LED monitors, of varying sizes and price points, I suggest the following:

Asus VE228H 21.5" 1920x1080 Full HD LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers - Asus makes great monitors, this one comes with HDMI and speakers, though, speakers on a monitor should only be used while waiting on real speakers to arrive. $169

ASUS MS238H Glossy Black 23" - This is one of the most stylish monitors I've seen in a long time. It's an LED monitor with HDMI. $199

Asus LS248H 23.6" 1920X1080 2ms Full HD LED - This is mostly identical to the previous Asus monitor, only an inch larger and more expensive. I personally don't think the extra inch is worth the price increase. Here's it's website. $299

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#5 Ryuen76

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 02:07 AM

Wow thank you again for all your help. Unfortunately I will need to install XP first because the school is only offering students Win 7 upgrade only. If this is a upgrade only, when I do download Win 7 from the schools web-page, will everything be wiped out that I previously had on there with XP?

So you do agree that its best for me to buy the combo deal with mobo M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 870 from micro center as to buying an alternative at newegg correct?

Edited by Ryuen76, 17 September 2010 - 04:03 AM.


#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 11:59 PM

When installing over an old OS using upgrade media, it is always best to do a clean install if it is available. If you are going to 64-bit Windows 7, which you really should, you are required to do a clean install. Going from 32-bit XP to 64-bit 7 is relatively easy, you just boot the PC with the Windows 7 64-bit disc in the drive. On screen prompts should guide you the rest of the way. I assume you are going to be installing XP on the drive and then immediately installing Windows 7 without installing any applications or anything. This would be the best, and fastest, way of doing an upgrade install. I do suggest that motherboard paired with the quad core Phenom II X4 CPU.

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#7 Ryuen76

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 12:40 PM

Yes I will be getting the 64 bit from my school. I have two options though, downloading it from the schools website which is completely free or having the media mailed to me which is $23. Should I get the copied mailed to me just in case later down the road I may need to reinstall win 7 on my comp? Is it possible to "reuse" it again on a upgrade only version?

#8 DJBPace07

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 09:26 PM

To use the download option, you probably need an ISO burner such as ISO Recorder to make a bootable DVD of the disc. You will also have the product key emailed to you. I imagine the process is similar to buying software directly from Microsoft and having it digitally delivered to you over the net. The product key is the unique identifier, if you have to reinstall, you will not be able to use Internet activation as your product key is already in use, instead, you have to use a telephone activation system. This would be the same regardless of whether or not you have a digital "burn it yourself" copy of Windows or a boxed version. You can reuse the copy of the software in this sense, if you want to upgrade a second PC to 7, you can simply buy a new license (Product key) for an upgrade version and reuse the same disc but use the new product key instead.

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#9 Ryuen76

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 03:48 PM

Thanks again for all your help!




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