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Old 08-27-2011, 01:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Best CPU and MB for the buck?

It's been a while since I've built any systems and I'm trying to get up to speed again with components. Right now I'm trying to get the best components I can for an affordable price. I do some gaming, but I'm just looking for a nice upgrade. I've been piecing together parts and really just need a CPU and Motherboard now. I was looking at the Phenom ii X4 970. I know Intel is ahead in performance, but they're also ahead in price. I couldn't find anything from Intel that came close to this CPU's performance for around that price. Am I missing anything? What would you suggest?

Also, any suggestions for a motherboard would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to keep it around $250 total.

Thanks!
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

I believe the Phenom II x4 BE series are all the same processor, just with varying degrees of factory overclock.
You can snag the 965 and only lose 0.1GHz for $10, easy enough to OC that 0.1 back in, or higher.

For Motherboards its all about what features you need. I would suggest looking at AM3+ sockets so you can upgrade later to the newer processors.
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

Thanks! I did some reading and you're exactly right, they're basically the exact same thing.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

Wow, I'm looking through the Anandtechs cpu comparison, and at stock, a 965 is barely winning and loosing alot against an i3 2100.
AnandTech - Bench - CPU

You can get a i5 2300 which kills a x4 for 179.99, and pick up a msi mobo for 89.99... yha bit over $250 but destroys the x4.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

Wow. Yeah, after looking at the benchmarks I think I'm going with an i5 2400 and an Asrock U3S3. Any thoughts on a case? I have an older NZXT Guardian case (not the new style) and loved the way things fit, it's a real nice case, but my wife hates the way it looks, so I guess I'm looking for something a little more plain - but still quality like the NZXT. Maybe the $40-$50 price point? Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

As you have found out, its purely your taste that overall matters.

I always say, post up a bunch of cases you like, we can tell you cons/pros
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

Yeah, so here are a few I was considering:

Antec 300 illusion

NZXT Beta EVO

Rosewill CHALLENGER

Thermaltake V4


Anything here that stands out as good or bad beyond the aesthetics?

Thanks again
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

For me, between those choices, it would come down to the NZXT Beta EVO and the Rosewill Challenger.
Both have painted black interior, and cable management holes inside so you can route them behind the motherboard tray.
I'd lean toward the Challenger just because it comes with 3 fans (2x 120mm + 1x 140mm) versus the Beta EVO's 1x 120mm.
Granted the EVO has more optional fan mounts (by 1), but even if you buy enough to match the Challenger, its already more expensive.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

The Antec is the best case out of them all. IMO.. Best cooling, with 4 fans, and great quality. BUT they are a pain to wire up. And no cpu cut out.

THe other best is the rosewill. It has good cooling, and seems to have meh wiring ability. Nice blackened interior and a cpu cut out.

The nzxt is i ntresting as it can hold a 240 Rad..
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Best CPU and MB for the buck?

I have the 300 Illusion, great case. Like patonb said it is not much for wire management (no cut-outs or other helpful stuff for that). However, the PSU sits on the bottom of the case so you have some dead space in front of it to put your wires (no side window so no one will see them).

The fan setup in the case is great. I added a 120mm fan in the spot on the case door to make sure my graphics card had plenty of cool air.

The NZXT is the only one of those four with any wire management features that I can see but it only comes with a single fan and looks rather flimsy overall.
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