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indecisive on build plan - phenom ii x3 720 be vs. a-series

post #1 of 21
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I'm doing an extreme budget build - really an upgrade since I'll use my old case and hard drive, but everything else goes. Mobo, CPU, cooler, PSU, memory, and video card all have to come in under $300, so I've been doing a LOT of online research and compromising.

I should give a little background first. I typically don't game much, but once in a blue moon I will. I've been playing Lego HP, and I've got a star wars game someone gave me for my birthday (can't remember the name of it but you can play as a clone wars era storm trooper in battle situations). Anywho, I'd probably play more, but I'm really cheap, so I buy older stuff. Also, because I'm cheap, I usually keep a computer as long as I can - five or six years - before I finally upgrade or replace it. By the end of it, I'll be kicking it to keep it going - the whole while it's crying for me to let it die. So, my focus really, is reliability and "good-enough" performance, and I was thinking I'd try some overclocking for the first time (hence posting here).

Thing is, I had pretty much everything planned:

mobo: ASRock 880GM-LE
PSU: Corsair CX500 V2
CPU: Phenom II x3 720 BE
mem: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB
CPU fan: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
video card: integrated

I might install a discreet video card (<= $100) at some point, but there's no guarantee of that. All but one thing on that list has fantastic reviews. The one thing that's got me going back and forth is the motherboard. Originally, I'd planned to go with a Biostar, then I read somewhere it has trouble with unlocked cores. I know getting a good fourth core is no guarantee, but I figured for just a few bucks more, it'd be worth a shot. Then I read the ASRock has a low quality voltage regulator (or some such thing) - so back to the drawing board. Feature creep started coming into play, and I found myself looking at more and more expensive boards, then I thought, "for these prices, I might as well see if an A-series build is less expensive". I'd read that a Phenom II build with a discreet graphics card is superior, but there's two issues that may negate that. 1) as I mentioned before, there's no guarantee if/when I'll add a discreet graphics card and 2) the benchmarks I've seen seem to focus on the lower clocked APUs and/or the higher clocked Phenom IIs. It could be that the much higher clock speeds of the current APUs will just plain overwhelm the performance of the Phenom II x3 720 BE by brute force.

So, given my background and $300 (shipped) to upgrade these six components, what in my build plan would you change, and why?
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JOATMON 2012 Q1
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post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evrplan View Post

I'm doing an extreme budget build - really an upgrade since I'll use my old case and hard drive, but everything else goes. Mobo, CPU, cooler, PSU, memory, and video card all have to come in under $300, so I've been doing a LOT of online research and compromising.
I should give a little background first. I typically don't game much, but once in a blue moon I will. I've been playing Lego HP, and I've got a star wars game someone gave me for my birthday (can't remember the name of it but you can play as a clone wars era storm trooper in battle situations). Anywho, I'd probably play more, but I'm really cheap, so I buy older stuff. Also, because I'm cheap, I usually keep a computer as long as I can - five or six years - before I finally upgrade or replace it. By the end of it, I'll be kicking it to keep it going - the whole while it's crying for me to let it die. So, my focus really, is reliability and "good-enough" performance, and I was thinking I'd try some overclocking for the first time (hence posting here).
Thing is, I had pretty much everything planned:
mobo: ASRock 880GM-LE
PSU: Corsair CX500 V2
CPU: Phenom II x3 720 BE
mem: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB
CPU fan: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
video card: integrated
I might install a discreet video card (<= $100) at some point, but there's no guarantee of that. All but one thing on that list has fantastic reviews. The one thing that's got me going back and forth is the motherboard. Originally, I'd planned to go with a Biostar, then I read somewhere it has trouble with unlocked cores. I know getting a good fourth core is no guarantee, but I figured for just a few bucks more, it'd be worth a shot. Then I read the ASRock has a low quality voltage regulator (or some such thing) - so back to the drawing board. Feature creep started coming into play, and I found myself looking at more and more expensive boards, then I thought, "for these prices, I might as well see if an A-series build is less expensive". I'd read that a Phenom II build with a discreet graphics card is superior, but there's two issues that may negate that. 1) as I mentioned before, there's no guarantee if/when I'll add a discreet graphics card and 2) the benchmarks I've seen seem to focus on the lower clocked APUs and/or the higher clocked Phenom IIs. It could be that the much higher clock speeds of the current APUs will just plain overwhelm the performance of the Phenom II x3 720 BE by brute force.
So, given my background and $300 (shipped) to upgrade these six components, what in my build plan would you change, and why?

Since you aren't into gaming much, i'd suggest going in for a Llano-based APU, as it would serve your current needs the best. The integrated Radeon graphics will pull through older games without breaking a sweat. However, keep in mind that a Phenom-based system with an AM3+ board would last longer at handling future applications, where brute force is concerened(which entry-level APUs lack) and open up CPU upgrade options for the future.
Edited by PunkX 1 - 12/15/11 at 10:40am
Kukumonster
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Kukumonster
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A pleasant surprise :)
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post #3 of 21
If I were you, I wouldn't go with either and instead go with an intel build instead. Superior perfomance/$$.

Suggested build:

Mobo: BIOSTAR TZ68A+ LGA 1155 $95
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116409 $51
Memory: GeIL Enhance CORSA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $24
PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 $27 shipped after $20 mir.
GPU: XFX 5770 $80

Total = $277 shipped. Not much overclocking ability with the Celeron hence no heatsink, but with a Z series board, you could add a 2500k in the future and have a very powerful little rig.
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It's so little!
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post #4 of 21
I'm curious about a few things, what are your current specs- Like you mentioned you are playing Lego HP, what's the current videocard? Just want to make sure integrated isnt a step down for you. Any chance you have a Microcenter nearby? They usually have some really good bundle deals on CPUs/Motherboards. I think AM3 or AM3+ is the way to go, I'm betting with deal hunting you can find a way to fit a discreet into that $300 budget as well.
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post #5 of 21
Here's a MUCH better build within the same budget. This is assuming that you want to last the parts as long as possible and are planning on adding discrete graphics fairly soon. The board ensures a CPU upgrade path since it's AM3+ based and has quality heatsinked 4+1 phases.

Board - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280

CPU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103652

Cooler - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027

Memory - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277

Total - 285$
Kukumonster
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A pleasant surprise :)
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Kukumonster
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A pleasant surprise :)
Cooler Master USP 100 Black Edition
Value redefined.
Amd Athlon II X3 435
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2320 Intel DH67BL Sapphire R9 285 Corsair 8GB (4x2)  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB  WD Blue 1TB Seagate Barracuda 500GB Noctua NH-C14S 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua NF-A140*2 Windows 10 Pro (TP) LG 22" 1080p  Seasonic G-550 F3 550W 
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Cooler Master USP100 Black Edition 
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post #6 of 21
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post #7 of 21
what PunkX 1 said. a phenom 2 based system with an AM3+ board will easily leave you wide open for upgrades, however the llano based chips with their onboard radeon graphics should do exactly what you need. the llano socket is fm1 i believe, but i havent done a ton of research on it.
take a look at thishttps://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=17984005
 
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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dt_Freak1 View Post

what PunkX 1 said. a phenom 2 based system with an AM3+ board will easily leave you wide open for upgrades, however the llano based chips with their onboard radeon graphics should do exactly what you need. the llano socket is fm1 i believe, but i havent done a ton of research on it.
take a look at thishttps://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=17984005

Yeah, llano APUs are based on socket FM1. However, that restricts future upgrades as the upcoming "Trinity" line will be socket FM2.
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Kukumonster
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A pleasant surprise :)
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post #9 of 21
yea. i just wanted to get him a triple core llano that was within his specified $300 pricetag and i suceeded!
 
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Beautiful HoRyzen
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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkX 1 View Post

Here's a MUCH better build within the same budget. This is assuming that you want to last the parts as long as possible and are planning on adding discrete graphics fairly soon. The board ensures a CPU upgrade path since it's AM3+ based and has quality heatsinked 4+1 phases.
Board - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280
CPU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103652
Cooler - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027
Memory - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277
Total - 285$

like, sort of? good, but no major oc's no more than 4ghz on all 4 cores.

Ii dumped 200$ on a sempron rig and I OC'ed the 145 to 4ghz.
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Computer
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