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Help finding the perfect PIIX6 mobo for under $100

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elzafir

New Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2010
Hey guys, I am really stumped on this "finding the correct mobo" deal. I am building a new computer with no "left-overs" from previous PC.
Basically, what I need is this:

  • Socket AM2+/AM3 with support for Phenom II X6 (Prefer AM3)
  • DDR2/DDR3 support up to 16GB/32GB (prefer DDR3)
  • CrossFireX 16x/16x or 16x/8x or 8x/8x (Prefer 16x/16x or 16x/8x)

all for under $100.

The closest that I can find is: Biostar TA790GX A3+ Ver. 5.x (AM3, DDR3 16GB, CrossFireX 8x/8x), but the website shows only support for up to Phenom II X4 (no 6-core). Biostar-SME website DOES have a BIOS upgrade to support X6 (link), but I don't know if its reliable.

Also, the mobo doesn't seem to be marketed in my country (Indonesia), as I could only find Biostar TA790GX 128M which is an AM2+ board and goes with DDR2 and CrossFireX 8x/8x, but doesn't support Thuban X6 (even on Biostar-SME, I can't find a BIOS update for it),

and Biostar TA790GXE 128M, which support X6 based on Biostar-SME (but not on biostar.com.tw), DDR2 and CrossFireX 8x/8x, BUT sports only AM2+ socket. (which would be OK, if Bulldozer don't support AM3, which I'm still unsure if it ever will).

The upgrade plan:
I am planning to use Athlon II X3 440 for the CPU, as it is enough for me right now. I will do some OC, to push the X3 to its limit with stock/cheap (~$20) cooler. And would like to unlock the 4th core (if I'm lucky and get a working core).

My plan is to upgrade next year to Phenom II X6 1055T/1090TBE with better after market cooler, or even Bulldozer (if AMD releases an AM3 version).

The questions are:
  1. Do you guys know any other/better alternatives for under $100?
  2. Will Bulldozer ever support AM3 socket?
  3. Do I need DDR3 if AM2+/AM3 will only support up to Phenom II X6? (because I'm planning to max out the RAM next year, therefore no need for future proofing).
  4. Is CrossFireX 8x/8x good enough for two ATI Radeon HD 5770? Because I heard 16x/4x will only results in 25% less performance vs 16x/16x. No idea for 8x/8x.
  5. Will the BIOS' of the boards mentioned above/the alternatives support OC-ing the Athlon II X3 440 CPU (including ACC/Advanced Clock Calibration) and unlocking the 4th core?
  6. What is the difference between GX and GXE on said Biostar boards?
  7. Is it true that Biostar TA790GX A3+ and TA790GXE 128M will support Phenom II X6 with a BIOS update from Biostar-SME and the TA790GX 128M won't?
  8. Say the Bulldozer CPUs won't support AM3, would AM2+ boards be good enough for Phenom II X6? What are the disadvantages of using AM2+ for X6 instead of AM3?

Thanks for taking the time to view this thread and pardon the bad english :).
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
You cannot find a "Socket AM3" board with "DDR2/DDR3" support. Socket AM3 boards only take DDR3 ram. Socket AM3 CPUs however, will work fine in a socket AM2+ board. The socket AM3 CPUs are downwardly compatible but the AM3 boards are not; they will not take socket AM2/AM2+ CPUs or DDR2 ram. Neither will socket AM2/AM2+ boards take DDR3 ram, even though they will take AM3 CPUs. The key is realizing that the AM3 CPUs have a built in memory controller that is both DDR2 and DDR3 compatible.
 
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OP
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elzafir

New Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2010
You cannot find a "Socket AM3" board with "DDR2/DDR3" support. Socket AM3 boards only take DDR3 ram. Socket AM3 CPUs however, will work fine in a socket AM2+ board. The socket AM3 CPUs are downwardly compatible but the AM3 boards are not; they will not take socket AM2/AM2+ CPUs or DDR2 ram. Neither will socket AM2/AM2+ boards take DDR3 ram, even though they will take AM3 CPUs. The key is realizing that the AM3 CPUs have a built in memory controller that is both DDR2 and DDR3 compatible.

Thank you for your reply.

Maybe I should edit my post.
What I meant by DDR2/DDR3 support is that a motherboard, wheter its AM2+ or AM3. I forgot to add the "AM2+" beside AM3. I fixed it.

As for my question, would you be so kind to answer it?

Thank you very much.
 
OP
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elzafir

New Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2010
The ASRock 870 Extreme3 motherboard at newegg.com should fit the bill.

Thank you for your reply.
I've looked at the board, and it is completely what I am looking for. Unfortunately, I can't get this exact board in my country, as the closest I can find is ASRock 870G Extreme3 that retails for $105 here. That's a bit over my budget, I know its only $25 different, but still...thats the money I don't have. And I really don't wanna spend to much on motherboard, because this will be my "transition" PC, as I would like to upgrade to Thuban to max out the upgrade next year, and build a completely new system by 2012.

I really need these question answered:
1. Will Bulldozer ever support AM3 socket?
2. Is there no other advantage of AM3 besides DDR3?
3. Low end DD3 vs Higher end DDR2 at same price, which should I choose?
4. CrossFireX 8x/8x good enough? How many performance deficit from the second card to be expected?

Thanks guys.
 

xoke

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
I really need these question answered:

1. Will Bulldozer ever support AM3 socket?
2. Is there no other advantage of AM3 besides DDR3?
3. Low end DD3 vs Higher end DDR2 at same price, which should I choose?
4. CrossFireX 8x/8x good enough? How many performance deficit from the second card to be expected?

Thanks guys.

#1, We have no idea...if you find out let me know. :D

#2 The main advantage of AM3 is DDr3, that and new chipsets (8XX) and slightly more futureproof....we think. When in doubt, get the new stuff.

#3 DDr3, it is cheaper than DDr2, and again, think about the future, get it.

#4 8x/8x will get the job done, I'd like to see 16x/8x or 16x/16x...but I know that cost money. I would stay away from anything 4x if possible. :thup:

My advice, if your thinking about going Thuban for any period of time, get the absolute best 890fx motherboard you can afford. The one I'm using can be had for $139...$110 open box.