$150US Budget - Which CPU/Mobo/IGP-GPU?

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Meato
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$150US Budget - Which CPU/Mobo/IGP-GPU?

Post by Meato » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:10 pm

I'm looking to replace my kids hand-me-down Dell box. I'd like to bring it more in-line with the other two computers in the house. Money is tight right now, but the daily frustration has a price. The budget is ~$150US.

Dell box: 2.4ghz (P4 era) Celeron, 1.25gb RAM, 100GB HDD, Intel IGP (82845G), WinXP 32bit

PC 2: Intel E2200, Gigabyte G965, 3GB DDR2-667, 320GB HDD, Radeon 4670 512mb, WinXP 32bit

PC 3: Intel E7300, Asus P45, 8GB DDR2-800, 320GB HDD, Radeon 4770 512mb, WinVista 64bit

The kids box will be used for OpenOffice, email, Youtube, flash-based web games, some older RTS and RPG games. Possibly Starcraft II and Diablo III in the near future.

I'm looking at Intel and AMD options. Ram flavor doesn't matter. Would like to upgrade all 3 boxes to Win7-64bit. Looking for mATX size boards.

AMD: ASRock A785GMH/128M, Athlon II X2 245
785G IGP with sideport memory, dual-core CPU

Intel: MSI G41M-E43, Pentium E6500
G41 IGP, dual-core CPU, LGA 775 is dead

Any thoughts? Athlon X3 vs. X2? Better mobo + discrete card within my budget? What about the AMD 8XXG mATX boards?

Thanks. Happy quiet computing.

ilovejedd
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Post by ilovejedd » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:59 am

At that budget, AMD definitely. While it's possible to play SC2 with integrated graphics, you'd probably want to buy a budget discrete video card when you do play. AM3 is pretty much dead, too. From reports, you'd need AM3+ for Bulldozer. On the upside, though, you've got a lot of inexpensive upgrade options for AM3 compared to LGA-775.

880G brings you SATA3 (not sure about USB3). Not much else besides that. If you can find a motherboard for around the same price as older 785G boards though, I don't see why not.

Hmm, didn't notice the budget was for CPU+MB only. Thought it also covered RAM. In that case, I suggest checking out Newegg's CPU+MB combos. I've actually seen some Core i3+H55 combos in that price range. The Athlon II X4 might be another option.

maalitehdas
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Post by maalitehdas » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:06 pm

How about investing 50$ more and get it soon back in electricity bills?
Your kids ears would probably appreciate this solution too:
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/asus-at3i ... rd-review/

Meato
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Post by Meato » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:52 pm

maalitehdas wrote:How about investing 50$ more and get it soon back in electricity bills?
Your kids ears would probably appreciate this solution too:
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/asus-at3i ... rd-review/
Anyway, at stock clock, the Atom 330 scored 2.30. That puts it in the realm of the AMD Athlon 64 3200, a single core Socket 939 processor. The cutting edge technology of five years ago.
I just don't think the Atom 330 is enough horsepower for 2-3 years down the road. It would probably be fine for today's use, but its a smaller upgrade in PC than I was wanting to buy, especially at that $200 price. Thank you for that suggestion and link though.

maalitehdas
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Post by maalitehdas » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:57 pm

The kids box will be used for OpenOffice, email, Youtube, flash-based web games, some older RTS and RPG games. Possibly Starcraft II and Diablo III in the near future.
For that purpose I suggested such a low power device, if you're looking for something that is up to date after 2-3 years I think you have too little budget. How about building a system with today's high-end parts after that couple of years?

loimlo
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Post by loimlo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:55 am

Even though AMD budget dual-core is not that powerful by enthusiast's standard, ATOM is still too weak for decent gaming. With a good GPU, AMD X2 245 can still give you most bang for the bucks if you'd like to tune down game setting to medium. That said, despite ATOM's energy-efficiency, integrated ION/9400M is too powerful and a waste to be paired with ATOM, let alone any discrete graphics card. Horribly low fps (below 10) in Starcraft II or Diablo III will be the outcome if you choose ATOM.

Btw, I'd like to share my netbook experience with you. ATOM is good for my dad who would like to single-task at a time. You'd open one or two tabs in Firefox, and don't run many programs in background. Otherwise, you will be pretty fast hitting the ceiling of ATOM -- lack of ability to handle many things concurrently. ION can help offload flash to some degree, but Google's JAVA programs like Gmail/GMap/Google street are still a pain during web surfings. I feel ATOM is too slow for my web usage NOW, not to mention 2 to 3 years down the road. Just my two cents.

speedkar9
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Post by speedkar9 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:34 am

AMD FTW :D .

AMD X2 245 + Asus 785G board & 2GB RAM will give you the best performance increase for ~$153. You can always add in a 5670 if the games are too slow on the 785G or when the cash rolls in later.

Remember you can't reuse a non-ATX Dell PSU and case with a new motherboard. The old 100GB IDE drive will be the bottleneck of this machine.

Fëanor
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Post by Fëanor » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:56 pm

If you want your kid to have fun playing Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3, spring for a graphics card. Your kid will not enjoy lag or poor-quality graphics very much.

My 256MB 8600GTS is barely enough for SC2.

Meato
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Post by Meato » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:42 am

Thanks for the recommendations. I have set my sights on either; Asus H55 + Core i3-530 or Asus 785G + Athlon II X2 245 + Sapphire Radeon HD 5670.

The two options come to around $175 each. I will just have to watch Newegg and my funds closely and catch them when there is a price drop or discount code.

jackoakwood
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Post by jackoakwood » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:46 am

That 5670 is pretty nice bang for the buck. It will definitely keep your kid in Starcraft. The trick for what you're trying to do is get as much GPU as you can afford, and deprioritize the CPU/Mobo. Which I think you've done pretty well with that AMD board.

ilovejedd
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Post by ilovejedd » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:19 pm

jackoakwood wrote:That 5670 is pretty nice bang for the buck. It will definitely keep your kid in Starcraft. The trick for what you're trying to do is get as much GPU as you can afford, and deprioritize the CPU/Mobo. Which I think you've done pretty well with that AMD board.
Unfortunately, that's not exactly true for SC2. While going for low end CPU and high end GPU works for most FPS games, SC2 is pretty reliant on CPU power. In the OP's case, though, I think the Athlon II X2 245 + HD 5670 would do quite nicely. Certainly better than using the i3-530's GPU when it comes to graphics quality. Albeit with both set to low, I reckon the i3-530 will be able to push higher frame rates.

maalitehdas
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Post by maalitehdas » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:55 am

loimlo wrote:...ION can help offload flash to some degree, but Google's JAVA programs like Gmail/GMap/Google street are still a pain during web surfings. I feel ATOM is too slow for my web usage NOW, not to mention 2 to 3 years down the road. Just my two cents.
Browsers able to use hardware acceleration might solve that problem. Firefox4 BETA is already at its 5th version and it could set a slow CPU free from too much graphic-related work. While hardware acceleration is taking its steps, combos with slower CPU and better IGPU are not bad at all.
Meato wrote:Asus H55 + Core i3-530 or Asus 785G + Athlon II X2 245 + Sapphire Radeon HD 5670.
Go for AMD solution if these two are the options. Take the passively cooled version of the card if you can find it. Put a nice heatsink on top of precosser too. Combination produces a lot of heat anyway, so find a nice case fan too.

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:16 am

please dont be a sucker for intel at this low level. Anything lower than a 930 is waste of time knowing that AMD exists.

When you are ready later on, you can always get for 160 dollars a 3.4ghz Black edition Quad core from amd, the 965. That will roast for gaming. Upgrades on AMD exist, for intel, they dont.

I wouldnt even get the graphics card yet. I would use 4250 or 4290 AMD boards with "side port" memory. I would hold off and get a 5770 when it comes time to actually game. The difference is obvious at 1920x1200.

Even a 5750 is like $105 at newegg right now. that's cheap enough. A 5670 is slower than a 4770. That sucks for SCII and really bad for DIII.
5750 will be medium settings and fluid. YOu could also overclock it on the fly 20% without a change in voltage or much difference in wattage.

this whole 5670 thing annoys me. You cant play a game with dx11 settings actually on. Either you game... or you dont.

Check this Graph out, says it all:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/rad ... 33-15.html

ilovejedd
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Post by ilovejedd » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:55 am

~El~Jefe~ wrote:Even a 5750 is like $105 at newegg right now. that's cheap enough.
Not when your budget is limited to $150 total for MB/CPU/GPU.

Bulldozer's going to be AM3+ so AMD's pretty much the same as Intel right now obsolescence-wise. Highest upgrade available for AMD is Thuban. Sure, it works pretty nicely for the few multi-threaded tasks that can actually make use of more than 4 cores. Unfortunately, those applications aren't plentiful and I think it'll be a while before they become mainstream. By that time, going with a new platform will probably be more cost-effective.

~El~Jefe~
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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:09 pm

for that much cash you need to not get a graphics card yet and just go on board for the meanwhile.

The guy Meato is saying he is goign to get cpu, mobo, and gpu for more than 150 now.

I mean the cpu and the 5670 would be 180 dollars alone without a motherboard!

My thuban is fully ass kicking anything I throw at it. 260 dollars of insanity. If you get one, the narrow view of max/min benchmarks just dont do it justice. When I have a multithreaded thing like video or audio compression, it takes seconds vs. 4-5 mins on my older machine, but I can also fully web browse and do whatever I want with fluidity.

Also note, if you increase northbridge clocks, an AMD can break like 20% speed increases for not cpu clock speed or voltage increases. People are neglecting this, what holds a thuban back from going nuts is a strangely low set nothrbridge clock speed. that's just an aside though as most on here dont touch such things.

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Post by CA_Steve » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:47 am

$150 is a tough price point even is all you need is cpu/mobo/RAM. Also, be very aware that your Dell may have a custom PSU and the cabling might not work with a new mobo.

The 785G is a nice mobo, but getting long in the tooth. For a few bucks more, you can get the 880G (~80 to 85).

AMD Regor CPU is a good fit ($50-70). Starcraft 2 is heavily CPU dependant. So, faster cpu is better.

4GB of RAM will cost you $70+ unless you happen to catch a sale somewhere.

You'll need a copy of Windows as your Dell version won't work in a rebuild.
(= large bucks)

PSU if your dell psu is a custom build: Nexus Value 430W ($80).

GPU: the 785g or 880g is good enough for browsing, video, flash games. For SC 2 you'll need to get a video card. ($100-200).

See how it adds up?

Honestly, you might consider just buying another OEM box on sale. It won't be $150...but it'll be cheaper than trying to build one at a low price point when you have to buy a windows license.

loimlo
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Post by loimlo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:02 am

maalitehdas wrote:
loimlo wrote:...ION can help offload flash to some degree, but Google's JAVA programs like Gmail/GMap/Google street are still a pain during web surfings. I feel ATOM is too slow for my web usage NOW, not to mention 2 to 3 years down the road. Just my two cents.
Browsers able to use hardware acceleration might solve that problem. Firefox4 BETA is already at its 5th version and it could set a slow CPU free from too much graphic-related work. While hardware acceleration is taking its steps, combos with slower CPU and better IGPU are not bad at all.
IE, Firefox, Chrome in the near future will offload web layout to GPU, so web layout might not be a serious problem for ATOM in the future. That said, unless JAVA/Javascript could be decoded by GPU, script-heavy websites like Facebook, Google map will continue to bring ATOM to its knees going forward.

Well, I'm fine with slower CPU and better GPU combo. But ATOM is not slower, it's the SLOWEST CPU in the marketplace. In my opinion, slower cpus are something like Intel E6500, AMD X2 245 ............. it doesn't cost an arm and a leg while providing best bang for the buck.

protellect
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Post by protellect » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:51 am

This seems challenging, I like that.

As for advice, I'd say Athlon X3 is better/cheaper than X2. You might read up a bit on unlocking cores, sometimes you can get lucky and unlock extra cores in the X3 processor lines.

Just poking around the egg site, I'd say this might be something to think about, too. You can usually overclock these in a simple manner by taking the FSB and pump it up from 800mhz to 1066mhz.

CPU: $52 E3300
MOBO: $44Foxconn G41S-K
Memory: Recycle 4GB from your PC3. Unless you're doing VM work, 8GB is probably overkill.
CASE: Recycle Dell. It will probably work.
PSU: $25 - [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182006]Upgrade to decently reviewed 350W Rosewill


And from there you should probably upgrade the HDD as well, since your old one is likely PATA.
HDD: $39 160GB Seagate .12

And when you're ready, pick up a budget gaming Card like a GDDR3 ATI 4650 or if you can, a GDDR5 5670 or GTS240.

closersource
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Post by closersource » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:45 pm

I would say if you really are on a budget and things are tight then do not go the AMD or the post Intel 775 route. What if something breaks down? If you have another 775 system it's just a simple swap and not a giant panic. This is especially true for recovering a operating system. You can't just put your old setup in the AMD new machine and expect it to work.

Let's not forget going I3 means you need DDR3 which itself would set you back at the very least $50. I would say cheap quality motherboard, cheap or reuse DDR2 RAM, cheap dual core Pentium E or Celeron E and a used 4670 could be done well within $150 and be more than sufficient for some old games.

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