What Motherboard and CPU to buy?

By deeps1987 · 52 replies
Mar 14, 2007
  1. hi, im looking to upgrade my current system, i currently have a
    AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4200+
    ASUS A8N-SLI PCI-Express Mainboard

    any suggestions on what i should go for? im mainly going to be using it for gaming, and id like the motherboard to have either crossfire or sli, which is best out of the two?

    basically, the best motherboard and CPU money can buy? i have no budget (thank you student loan :D) lol

  2. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    You're looking at the core2duo, and SLI 8800gtx, although thats such an overkill its just not funny.

    Never say you don't have any budget, cos you can run a PC build over 10k easy.
  3. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    Why upgrade that computer. Its perfectly fine as it is.

    I would love to have that rig!

    Any way go for an eVGA nForce 680i SLi PGA 775 Intel Motherboard.

    And an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or above.

    For Video go with an eVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB x2

    Oh yeah because you'll need a hefty PSU go with an OCZ GameXStream 850W PSU

    Buy all this stuff off of newegg.com
  4. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    With no budget, you'd be going highest end on everything, QX6800, and an 850W won't be good enough really, you'd be looking at something rated 1kW...

    You'd also watercool the thing, cos 2x8800gtx will not only heat up your case, but the whole room. Not that watercooling will not heat up your room with these in the loop... Swiftech Apex Ultra+ is probably the best you can get at the moment (even though its a set bundle). Or maybe the TEC version of that.

    And of course, the most expensive case you can buy... maybe this, although I'm sure there are better ones. http://www.pccasegear.com/prod3567.htm
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The Athlon X2 is fine IMO. Just get an 8800GTS. As for SLI and Crossfire, they're basically the same technology, just that one is patented by NVIDIA and the other by AMD\ATi. But support for each of them is inbuilt into the mobo separately, so for Crossfire you would need a new mobo. You already have an SLI ready board, so don't worry about that. Just make sure you have at least 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended) and at least a 700W good-quality PSU like the OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU. You could also throw in a new hard disk if you want.
  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Lol, he said no budget, which is why this isn't really going anywhere :p

    For value for money upgrade, I would just upgrade RAM and Graphics. Bump RAM to 2gb, and get one of those 8800GTX, and you should be fine.
  7. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Keep the CPU, and the mobo. Socket 939, while now replaced, is by no means obsolete OR slow. Socket 939 still has the Opteron 165 ;) And your motherboard (along with the Nforce4 chipset series) is one of the best there is for Socket 939, and Nforce4 is still thought by some to be the best overall Nforce chipset to date.

    Don't get a G80. Just get a 7600GT for the moment, and save about $700 for May. In May, ATi/AMD's competiton to the G80/90 will be released, and if the paper specs are at all accurate, it should totally slaughter the G80, and then some.

    Get a temporary mid range video card for the next 2 months, then grab an X2900XTX. You'll be glad you did.

    However, if you really want to go no budget, and get everything now, skip Core 2 and get a quad-xeon based on the Core architecture, 4GB PC2-10000, a 680i mobo, dual 8800GTXs (save money for a 3rd when tri-SLI works), get a 1000W or more PSU, 4 Blu-Ray drives, 2 150GB Raptors in RAID0, 4 750GB Seagates, and an ATX full tower. Oh, and throw in some phase change cooling.
  8. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

    lol thanks guys, the reason i said i had no budget is because right now all i wanted to do was to update the motherboard (but according to MetalX its not slow or obsolete, which is why i wanted to change it all in the first place because i thought the new AM2 motherboards were going to be far superior. hmmm, if my motherboard is ok for now, i may just stick with it and the cpu, i did just upgrade my RAM to 2GB X2 Corsair Twinx1024 R-3200C2.
    Arnt ATI graphics cards better? because iv seen on some sites, that Nvidia graphics cards leave jagged edges on the images, where as ATi's dont, their image rendering leave smooth lines. Thats why i was unsure whether to stay with my SLi mobo, or change to a crossfire one.
    My current graphics card is a ATI Radeon x1600pro, it came with the pc (built from MES*)
    My monitor only goes to 1440 x 900 res.
    So while playing games with that graphics card i.e quake 4, it wont let me up the screen res to 1280x768 or have full anti-analysing which is why i wanted to upgrade something, but im not sure what, cause im more of a ATi fan, so i guess ill have to wait till they release their new Direct X10 cards?

    So basically i thought my mobo was crap because AM2 has been around for several month (i think) and im not a fan of Nvidia (thus sli), so that gave me two reasons to upgrade my mobo.

    I like the current CPU but it wont fit onto a AM2 board.....will it?

    Arnt AMD processors better than Core 2 duo ones for gaming purposes?

    Iv tried overclocking the GPU but didnt get much out of it.

    The CPU has been overclocked to run at 5.0ghz stable (its a AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200 btw) i havent touched the voltages, just messed around with the FSB etc, with standard cooling, as in i havent touched the cooling, just left what came with the pc.
    Before the CPU was overclocked it was running at 34*c now overclocked its running at 36*c so i figure my current cooling is sufficent...or am i wrong?

    I got a standard PSU with the PC, its a 550watt, if you want more specs, let me know, and ill find out.

    So out of all of that, what do you recommend i do? Where is the weakness in my system?

    Thanks guys
  9. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403

    I agree. Why upgrade that system, even the mobo. It's a good system, and upgrading from your present system is just plain overkill. I've found two groups of people in the world who upgrade; those that have to because their system is out of date, and those with money to burn who upgrade "just because they can".
  10. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Currently, Nvidia has better GPUs than ATi/AMD.

    Core 2s are far better in every possible way (even power consumption) than Athlon 64s.

    You overclocked your CPU to 5.0 GHz? I find that hard to believe considering it's stock 2.2 I believe.

    Socket 939 CPUs will not fit on AM2 boards.

    If you don't want to spend so much on the videocard, get a X1950XT, or a 7950GT. If you can spend a hell load on the videocard, get a 8000 series.

    And that RAM you picked is fine.
  11. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109



    dont believe me, have a look at the pics iv attached, and thats stable, i got it upto 5.2 stable, but after that it became unstable.
    5ghz is enough for me

    What is Nvidia's texture rendering like compared with ATi's?

    should i just wait for ATi's Direct X10 cards?
  12. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Posts: 575

    Ah, I see now. Your actual overclock was from 2.2 to 2.5 (300mhz) per core. That is a decent overclock but I have seen them go higher. I agree with MetalX's last post, look into a 1950 or a 7950, they are cheaper and will not fluctuate as much in price.

    Uh oh, only 4 more posts until the dreaded '666'!:eek:
  13. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

    oooh, how high can they go? just curious, because this was the first time id ever overclocked, and going from 4.2 to 5 was like a massive jump to me.

    so i should just upgrade my graphics card, but not to 8800 yet, when will the Direct X10 cards start to come down to reasonable prices?
  14. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Posts: 575

    You could probably push it higher, though that does depend on more than just your cpu and mobo. You need to have good, overclockable memory also (which you seem to have). Truth be told you probably won't notice a big difference in performance when you overclock.

    You would be better off eliminating any bottlenecks, like you video card. Right now I don't think the 8800's are worth the price. The 1950 series should be more than you need right now. Your powersupply does worry me. Can you open the case and find us the following info? Need brand, watts, and the amps on the 12+volt line(s). Anything under 26 amps and you will run into trouble.
  15. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

    i'll get the specs on my PSU, but firstly, your opinions, should i get a

    ATI Club 3D X1950PRO 512MB
    MSI NX7900GTO 512MB
    Connect3D Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB

    let me know :)

    ill post my specs on the next reply, cant right now, dad is on the pc

    ill get the graphics card, and if needed, ill upgrade the PSU no probs
  16. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I'd get the 7900 GTO and unlock some pipes (if possible) :D

    Your PSU would be fine if you're not running SLI/Crossfire.

    The 8800 series, especially the 8800gts 320mb is actually pretty good value IMO. Check out the charts at tomshardware. The X1950pro 512 performs roughly half as good, and costs a little less than half. Which means its just a slight premium (like all high end stuff).

    As far as overclocking goes, you should be able to push that chip a little furthur with better cooling solutions. Personally don't see the point, unless you need that computing power.

    Unless you want to run the 8800gtx, you shouldn't be in a hurry to upgrade your CPU, its fine the way it is. However, if you can sell it off and recoup close to current RRP, by all means, go ahead and upgrade.
  17. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

    Thats a pic of my PSU, is it any good,or do i need to upgrade it?

    A question for CMH, how would i unlock the extra pipes? (you talking about overclocking? i thought that only changed the GPU frquency, not add more pipes)

    Nah, iv never seen my CPU load go over 80% even when not overclocked, i did it just for fun, and to see how far i could push it.

    Ill get the 7900 GTO for now, as a temp, till ATi brings out their new range of cards.
  18. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Posts: 575

    I've never heard of the brand but you have 35 amps on the 12 volt lines, so you are good in that department!
  19. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

    do i even need to consider upgrading it? will it take SLi if needed?

    and you got the dreaded 666 posts, lets change that now lol
  20. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Posts: 575

    Yeah, I want to get away from the 'devil's number'! Um, I'm not sure if your psu is SLI capable. It should say if it is somehwhere on it or in its manual.
  21. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    If you decide to go with a next gen card (like the geforce 8800 or radeon X2900) or an sli setup you will need to upgrade the PSU. That being said it should be ok for now. While HEC is by no means the worst PSU manufacture they are not the best either. When you replace it look for a PSU from onr of the following; Antec(avoid smart power 2.0 series), Enermax, FSP, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic.

    Here are some recomendations:

    systems with next gen non sli cards:

    Recomendations for a system whit two next gen video cards (sli or crossfire[crossfire would require a new motherboard]):

    the high end next generation cards (8800GTX and X2900XTX) suck down about 300w each so If you have two of them you will need alot of power (remember you need enough left over to power your other system devices aswell).
  22. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

    hey thanks for that list, im gonna just upgrade my graphics card to a temp for now, and ill upgrade my Mobo, CPU,PSU and Graphics card later this year :)

    im going for a BFG 7950 GT OC as a temp, do you recommend i take of the fan that comes with it, and change it to something better? becuase iv read on a review, the standard fan on that card is loud, all though my whole pc is loud, so doubt it'll make much of a difference.
  23. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,485   +45

    I'm running a 7950 gt oc, hate to think. I'm running a temp. Not gonna but g80 gtx, especially when 9 series cards are in the making
  24. deeps1987

    deeps1987 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 109

  25. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Option 1 will do the trick. But you will also need to download the .NET Framework package from here. Also, have you bought a new PSU as well? That will be needed for the card.
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