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Old 08-11-2009, 06:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default AM3/AM2+ motherboards

I'm upgrading my gramp's comp for him while I'm on holiday, just need some help with a mobo; I'm going with AMD Phenom II X2 545 (the most taxing thing he uses his comp for is Civ IV, otherwise just email+browsing), but motherboards really isn't my specialty.

Mobo requirements: AM3-compatible, a PCI-E slot, preferably uATX to make sure it fits in his current case. Oh, and a decent brand of course. And all that included, cheap as possible.

Integrated NOT required, going with probably a 9500GT (he currently plays Civ IV on five-year-old integrated ).

I'm wanting to go with this mobo, however I can't get my head around which chipsets support AM3 and which don't, etc. etc.:
Sapphire 52025-00-40R, AMD 780V, AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066, SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, uATX, VGA - Scan.co.uk
I know AM3 CPUs can go in AM2+ slots, but I know there are other factors involved which I'm not familiar with. Will that board suffice?

If not, I was looking at this, which specifically states it supports AM3, and is the cheapest one which does so:
Asus M4A78-EM, AMD 780G, SAM2/AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 x16, DDR2 1066, SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, uATX, VGA, HDMI - Scan.co.uk
Or if not that, any recommendations?

Thanks,
Yami

Edit: Oh, and one last question; if the motherboard does end up having integrated (and assuming it's ATI), would he be better off graphically going with a cheap ATI (4350 perhaps) and doing Hybrid crossfire, rather than having a nVidia GPU and the integrated disabled? How much difference would the integrated actually make?
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM3/AM2+ motherboards

AM3 chips will work in AM2 motherboards only if they state they support them. Usually the mobo is backward compatible, not the other way. In other words you can get an AM3 board, but still use a AM2/+ chip. Also, many AM3 boards only support DDR3, so make sure you get one compatible with DDR2 (if that's what you plan on using). I'll look around for a couple boards for you and post back.

EDIT:
These are the boards I found on that site that would work (again, assuming you want DDR2. If you want DDR3 then there are many more available)
Asus M4A785D-M PRO, AMD 785G, AM3/2+/2, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 1200/1066/800, SATA 3Gb/s RAID, uATX, VGA - Scan.co.uk
Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-UD2H, AMD 785G, AM3, DDR2 800/1066/1200, SATA 3Gb/s RAID, Micro ATX, VGA - Scan.co.uk
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM3/AM2+ motherboards

Quote:
In other words you can get an AM3 board, but still use a AM2/+ chip.
No, AM2/+ CPUs definitely do not work in AM3 boards.
According to Wikipedia, anyway: Socket AM3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway thanks, I'll look into either of those mobos
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM3/AM2+ motherboards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamikotai View Post
No, AM2/+ CPUs definitely do not work in AM3 boards.
According to Wikipedia, anyway: Socket AM3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway thanks, I'll look into either of those mobos
Correct, because AM3 as 2 pinouts missing that AM2/AM2+ processors need. They're (as in AM3) actually 938Pin, instead of 940.

Using hybrid crossfire with my 3450 showed a very minimal performance increase, but then again it's only a 760 and a 3450... I've actually wanted to out the 785G chipset. I want to find out if the 4200 graphics are good or not.
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM3/AM2+ motherboards

Yea, I guess I wasn't specific enough. If it's strictly an AM3 board then the AM2/+ chips wouldn't work because of the pin issues you've described. But some boards are compatible with all sockets, which allows for the backward compatibility.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM3/AM2+ motherboards

AM2+ boards support AM3. AM3 boards do not support AM2+

This is because AM3 chips have a DDR3 and DDR2 compatible memory controller. AM2+ chips have a memory controller compatible with DDR2 only.

AM3 exists purely to use DDR3 instead of DDR2.


Anyway, I'd go with the Asus 785G board.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: AM3/AM2+ motherboards

Thanks for the clarification

I went for the Asus 780G in my first post.

Thanks for all the advice!

Can close this thread now.
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