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Kindly advice on my upgrade options

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Basically I currently have:
- AMD Phenom II x3 720 Black Edition (2.8GHz)
- Asus M4A785-M DDR2 mATX
- Team Elite 2x2GB DDR2 RAM
- GTX 260

Right now i'm planning to:
- Upgrade memory to 8GB DDR3
- Get USB 3.0

Situation:
- Current mobo doesn't support DDR3, and i don't want to buy DDR2 RAMs anymore due to several reasons. For one, DDR3 is way cheaper here in my country. (I already bought an 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw)
- It's about time I upgrade my motherboard anyway. USB 3.0 ports are a huge welcome.
- I initially wanted to go Intel, but from threads and replies I read, AMD still packs a punch.


I'd appreciate any advice on this:
- Is it wise if I just choose to go for a AM3+ DDR3 mobo, and retain my current processor? Possibly overclock it, and wait for steamroller to be released.
- Or is it better if I extend my budget a little further and go AM3+ and change to an FX series proc like 8350?
- I am going for a budget of $200.

I mainly use my PC for:
- Gaming (Anno 2070, Diablo 3, GW2, LoL, HoN, TF2 etc)
- Photo & video editing

Additional:
- Planning to go multiple monitor setup in the future


Thanks in advance guys! smile.gif
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post #2 of 19
I would say extend you budget for both CPU and mobo upgrade. If you want you can start with the mobo then the CPU.

Mobo

AsRock Extreme 4 990FX
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5

CPU
Either FX-8320 or FX-8350
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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dixson01974 View Post

I would say extend you budget for both CPU and mobo upgrade. If you want you can start with the mobo then the CPU.
Mobo
AsRock Extreme 4 990FX
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5
CPU
Either FX-8320 or FX-8350

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll make sure to put them on my list.

By any chance, do you know if any of these mobo unlock the fourth core of my x3?
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post #4 of 19
AsRock Extreme 4 990FX?
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX?
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX?
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5?

All these expensive boards are only necessary if you are looking to overclock the max out of the chip or thinking about crossfire.

If you want a moderate overclock and don't plan on crossfire the 990FX chips are necessary really. SR will be compatible with AM3+ and as long as the board has good VRMs you will be fine.

The only real difference between 970 and 990FX chipsets are the SB/NB to support multiple PCI-E x16 lanes.

I have a M5A97 PRO, 6+2 board and it does fine at overclocking, I don't crossfire so its happy days for me tongue.gif

But in terms of an upgrade, go for the reliable makes such as Gigabyte and ASUS.

Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 is a good board and plenty for overclocking.
ASUS M5A99X EVO is a good board and fine for overclocking
ASrock 990FX Extreme 4 BECAUSE of its phases, the 970 chipsets only have 4+1 phase thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif

In terms of performance, the FX-8320 is not much more than the FX-6300, so that is a good choice. if that is absolutely too much to spend on a CPU I would go at lowest the FX-6300. Don't bother with the FX-4300, its only slightly cheaper and quite a bit behind.

You may be able to unlock that extra core, but again thats chance? If you are definitely going for AM3+ buy one and see if it unlocks, if it doesn't then you can sell it? tongue.gif

Also I wouldn't personally bother with the FX-8350, overpriced when it can be easily clocked to the same speeds.

But from what you will be doing the 8-core is your best bet. As I said I think the lowest is the FX-6300 and definitely overclock it.



If you do plan on crossfire in the future definitely go for 990FX, but if you don't I wouldn't bother with the very expensive boards. Latest hardware is pricey but dropping, either way you will want an AM3+ board in the future so may as well upgrade to one now tongue.gif
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeo01 View Post

ASrock 990FX Extreme 4 BECAUSE of its phases, the 970 chipsets only have 4+1 phase thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
AsRock has great quality 4+1 phase power. A friend of mine has an AsRock 970 Extreme 3 with a 8150 @ 4.3ghz and it is running just fine.
Edited by dixson01974 - 11/15/12 at 11:16am
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post #6 of 19
Yeah it may be good quality but it's half as effective or efficient as a 6+2 phase. You are more likely to fry a 4+1 phase than you are to fry a 8+2 phase tongue.gif it has to output twice the amount of current than a 6+2 would have to.

You could overclock on it but it'll probably not last as long, or it may be much hotter than a 8+2 phase would.
post #7 of 19
Correct on the 970 vs. the 990FX. The 970 is functionally the same chipset, except that it's not optimized for running multiple GPU's. You can SLI or Crossfire on a 970, but the second card will be limited to PCIe 4X speeds and there's a 5-10 percent performance hit because of that. So if you're looking to use dual video cards, the 990FX is what you want.

As far as the VRM's go, the M5A97 Pro with the 6+2 phase power is an excellent board, on par with any of the 8+2 offerings. There are some good 4+1 boards that can handle overclocking, and at one time, I had no problem recommending the AsRock 970 Extreme 3, but I've heard reports of problems with it in the last few months, and I wonder if the QC is slipping. As 970 boards with a 4+1 power phase go, I can certainly recommend the one I'm using, the Biostar TA970XE. I can't complain about a GHz overclock on a crappy 1035T. But on the whole, there's no reason not to opt for a board with more power phases if everything else is equal.

I think the Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 is the best of the 970 boards; high build quality and an 8+2 phase VRM. After that, the M5A97 EVO or PRO would be next, then the regular M5A97 or the LE version, which are 4+2 boards. After that, the Biostar TA970XE. I've also heard good things about the AsRock Extreme4 970, but I don't know enough about it to judge for myself.
     
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post #8 of 19
not sure if this is an issue but amd doesnt support pci-e 3.0 on 9 series all the way up to the 970 fx intel does just a thought if thats any concern
post #9 of 19
Yeah I assume AMD will incorporate that on their 1070/1090FX chipsets along with AM4 motherboards. For now were at PCI-E 2.0 with AMD.

970 = x4 lane for crossfire/sli
990X = x8
990fx = x16

So as jsc1973 said the 990FX is what you really want if you are going to be crossfire, otherwise you would see a hit at x4.

But from experience with the ASUS M5A97 PRO board, it does give a very nice stable current, so your voltages won't fluctuate like mad. I have found using their Digi + VRM features you can get a pretty much perfect stable current, so in terms of providing voltage its stable.

The Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 is a solid choice, I personally wouldn't recommend lower than a 6+2 phase though just because FX chips do require a lot of power and can easily damage a lower phase. They are power hungry chips tongue.gif
But overall usually more phases = higher chance of bigger overclock
post #10 of 19
The PCI-e 3.0 issue isn't really that important right now, and won't be unless you plan on not upgrading again for a long time. Even the fastest cards on the market right now are not bandwidth-limited by the PCIe bus, and there's no performance difference between 3.0 and 2.0 on them.

By the time we get to Steamroller and Haswell, there will also presumably be another generation of GPU's on the market, and that may change everything. But right now, it doesn't make a difference.

It is interesting that AMD markets its latest GPU's as PCIe 3.0, yet doesn't offer support for that standard on current motherboards for AMD processors. That's almost a concession on their part that Intel has the enthusiast/gamers market at the moment.
     
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