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 Post subject: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:27 am 
Coppermine
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So I'm building this computer for the primary reasons below:
*Enjoy building and want to see how AMD performs
*Have a Fractal 1000 case that intend to use for the build
*I would like to try Overclocking (I've never done it before)
*Want to test Windows 8 Release Candidate
*Ultimately, the computer will be given to a family member or donated to a church
*Want to keep costs at a minimum

With the Fractal 1000 case, I'm limited to a Micro ATX (mATX) motherboard. And as mentioned previously, I would like to see how the AMD CPUs perform, so I'm debating between the following (These are in order of preference):
FX 6200 (3.8GHz) $160
A8 3870k (3.0) $120
A6 3670k (2.7) $105
FX 8120 (3.1) $170

So my questions are:
*Has anyone had experience with any of these and do they have any thoughts?
*What motherboard would you recommend (I need mATX and don't forget to tell me which CPU)?
*Keeping the case in mind, should I go with the stock cooler or get a custom CPU cooler? And which one? (The case is 6.89" wide, so I'm guessing I have ~4-5" of room for the cooler - again, just guessing)

I appreciate any comments.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:32 am 
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Let me start off by saying that I would definitely recommend an aftermarket cooler for any of these CPU's, but especially the A8-3870K. I wouldn't mind giving this one a try... Scythe SCKC-2000 140mm Grand Kama Cross only $38 shipped & comes with a 140mm fan for low noise & good airflow, but not sure it will fit in that case - Dimensions: 6.97x5.51x5.39 in I know the 6.97in is the width, & based on the pic's I'd guess that 5.51in is the height but don't know if that includes the fan or not. If it is with fan, no problem, but if that's without fan included, then the fan would be very close to, if not just touching the side of the case as it's 0.98" tall.

If you're going to give it away after your finished, I would definitely consider the A8-3870K it's a fairly powerful CPU & GPU, and it's very efficient, maxing out at just 150Watts at stock 3.0GHz in my final configuration.

I just built my mom an A8-3870K based system for Mothers Day. You can read about it here. Very nice system, the built in GPU can handle games fairly well. I played the Diablo III BETA at 1280x1024 with maxed graphics with only a couple of slowdowns. With medium level in-game graphics options selected no slow downs. Of course it's not going to handle top tier games very well, especially at resolutions over 1280x1024, but the on chip graphics is currently the best option on the market without installing a video card.

Overclocking, I was able to increase the multiplier to 35 and boot into Windows 8 at 3.5GHz, however, that was with the retail cooler installed & temps quickly surpassed 60C & I shut it down right away as I don't ever like to see temps over 55C on a CPU.

For overclocking, your best choices are the "K"s & the 8120, they're all unlocked, meaning the core multiplier is unlocked and can be increased or decreased, where-as with a locked CPU, you can only decrease the multiplier. Out of the 3 the 8120 would likely be the most overclockable which is aparently able to reach 5GHz while playing Just Cause 2 with just a Corsair H100 CPU cooler... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrvyvBJkl-c Don't know if that was faked or not, but if it's real, I'm friggin impressed.

Just in case you or anyone else reading is lost, On the A8-3870K for example, the CPU operates at 3GHz by default. This is achieved by a multiplier & a front side bus(FSB) speed. On this CPU the multiplier is 30 and the FSB is 100MHz - 30 times 100Mhz = 3,000MHz or 3GHz. I mentioned that I increased the multiplier to 35 to get 3.5GHz, with a "Locked" CPU you would have to increase the FSB to 117 to reach 3.5GHz (30x117 = 3,510MHz) which may not be possible with some motherboards.

EDIT: oh, and if you do go with an FM1 processor, I really like the Gigabyte GA-A75M-D2H that I used for mom's computer... but the ASUS F1 offerings have a "GPU Boost" built in that they claim can increase the APU's graphics performance by up to 23%. If graphics performance was a consideration than you might consider the ASUS F1A75-M PRO/CSM


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:44 pm 
Coppermine
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Thanks, Chaos.

I have to admit, I originally discounted the FM series because of the lower CPU speeds, but after reading your post and looking at some of the reviews, I'm now leaning towards the A8 3870K. It's price is decent, there seem to be plenty of mATX mobos available, and the embedded GPU seems to be powerful enough that a discrete GPU wouldn't be required. Plus, if I can get it to ~3.5GHz - how awesome would that be!

I do have a question about the CPU cooler - I did some searching at newegg and noticed that the specs don't often state whether a CPU cooler is compatible with sockets FM1 and AM3+: If the CPU cooler is compatible with AM3, will it be compatible with the other two?

So, here's my game plan:
I have the case, an old 250GB SATA HDD, and an OEM Win 7 Home Premium (I will first test Win 8 but when I give it away, I'm not giving them an RC OS).

So, I need:
CPU
Mobo
RAM
DVD
PSU
CPU Cooler

I'd like to spend about $400 (I also have an old discrete GPU to put in if I don't go with an APU). I think it's doable, but if anyone has some recommendations on builds, I'm definitely open to them.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:03 pm 
Smithfield
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What's the GPU?

So here's what I came up with and do note I was trying to go for price on some of these parts, whether or not they actually meet what you want...

PSU: Antec BP550 550W 80PLUS ($55)
Case: Cooler Master HAF912 ($60)
RAM: Patriot Gamer Series 2 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-1333 ($26)
DVD: Samsung 22x DVD burner ($15)
Subtotal: $156

Now then...
CPU: Intel Pentium G870 ($100)
Mobo: ASRock H61M-DGS LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX ($50)
Subtotal: $150

Or...
CPU: AMD A8-3870K Unlocked Llano 3.0GHz ($120)
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-A55M-DS2 FM1 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) Micro ATX ($50)
Subtotal: $170

So anywhere from $306 or $326. You could spend more on the motherboard or processor here.

I didn't include a CPU cooler because at this tier it's unnecessary. But you can throw in $30 for a decent one.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:24 pm 
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LatiosXT wrote:
I didn't include a CPU cooler because at this tier it's unnecessary. But you can throw in $30 for a decent one.


Not true, at least no with the A8-3870K, the included cooler won't even let you browse the internet without temps running past 60C. If you'll go back & re-read the OP, he mentions he'd like to try overclocking & his last post above mentions getting the A8-3870K to 3.5GHz. Overclocked to 3.5GHz within a 5 seconds of Windows starting up, the one in the PC I bought with the retail cooler installed shot up over 60C with nothing running, 60C at idle... even at stock speed with the computer idle temps were over 50C, open Internet Explorer & instantly shoots up over 60C.

btdog, 3.5 is do-able with the 3870K, just need a decent board & a good cooler. RE: compatibility, AM3 & AM3+ are 100% identical, and I'm 99% sure that FM1 is also identical only I can't seem to find the plastic top pieces for my AM3 board to verify that fact. Any AM3 HSF that replaces the top plastic mounts with their own thing will work on all 3 as the back piece and mounting holes in the motherboard is identical on all 3.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:57 pm 
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BTW... here's a pic of the retail cooler that comes with the A8-3870K...
Image

Here's a pic of the retail cooler with an AM2 processor (same package size as FM1) on top of it
Image

This thing uses a 70mm fan... no way it should ever have been picked to be included with a quad-core APU.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:16 pm 
Coppermine
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Thank you, gents!

So, I went ahead and bought the following:
* A8 3870 $120
* Biostar TA75M $70
* Corsair 430W PSU $41
* Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 $52
* Artic Cooling Alpine 64 $16
* ASUS DVDRW $17

Minus Instant Discounts and $20 Promo Card = $296.

If I'm lucky, I'll get a chance to start assembling it this weekend. If so, I'll keep you posted. Who knows...you may see a post in the OCing forum from me!

Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:15 pm 
Coppermine
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Hey, just wanted to update everybody (and I've never uploaded a file before), so here's a picture of the components I purchased:

Image

Here's a side view of the case:

Image

What's weird (if you can see) is that there is only one "post" to mount the HDDs (it's right below the DVD cage, but you'll notice there isn't one on the other side). Also, it detaches so larger video cards can be put in the case. Obviously, I can put one HDD in with the DVD, but I was hoping to use both HDDs (250GB apiece) and RAID 0 them together.

If this works, I'll update with more pictures. :D


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:57 am 
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With that case, it's designed to mount your two 3.5" HDD's stood up end to end. There should be eight rubber grommets along with those 8 large holes in the mounting plate. You lay the HDD's down on the mounting plate & secure them through the rubber grommets.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:16 pm 
Coppermine
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Chaos wrote:
With that case, it's designed to mount your two 3.5" HDD's stood up end to end. There should be eight rubber grommets along with those 8 large holes in the mounting plate. You lay the HDD's down on the mounting plate & secure them through the rubber grommets.

Chaos is right on!

Image

Actually, I had already figured it out when I posted the picture above - the computer is assembled, but I will admit I was stumped at first - in fact, I wasn't even sure there were holes on the bottom of the HDDs until I looked.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:52 pm 
Coppermine
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So here's the final build:

* Fractal 1000 $33
* A8 3870 $120
* Biostar TA75M $70
* Corsair 430W PSU $41
* Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 $52 (I had 4x2GB sticks of OCZ 1600 RAM in my personal build that I switched with this Corsair)
* Artic Cooling Alpine 64 $16
* ASUS DVDRW $17
* Win7 Home Premium 64 bit $80 (on sale)
*Cisco Valet Connector $15
* 2x Hitachi SATA 250GB in RAID 0 (these were from a previous build)
* 1 92mm TriCool Fan (adjustable speed); 1 120 Green LED Fan $8

Total = $452

Few things:

*I got lucky with the CPU cooler - I didn't realize it was ONLY compatible with AMD motherboards, but it was definitely worth it (here's a comparison between the Artic and the stock cooler):

Image

Here's the motherboard prepped and ready to go into the case:

Image

As you noticed from the previous pictures of the case, cable management was going to be rough. Here's the final build (internal, closed, and on):

Image

Image

Image

I could've flipped the HDDs to conceal the cables more, but I wanted easy access in case I had to troubleshoot so that's why it looks the way it does. Overall, the cables aren't all over the place like I feared. As for airflow, I think it will do well.

I'm a little upset with the Green LED fan - not quite what I envisioned, but I still think it adds a little flare.

Unfortunately, Windows 8 is consistently crashing, so I'm going to have to give up on that and install Win 7. And because of the consistent crashing, I haven't been able to do any OCing - but that will come.

As for my checklist, I've accomplished much of it...and added setting up RAID 0 to the mix. At $452 for a complete build, I'm calling it a win for keeping the cost to a minimum.

Thanks everyone for letting me share.


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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:22 am 
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**UPDATE**

Well...long story short, there must have been a problem with either the APU or the mobo because I could never get a stable system. I RMA'd each (separately) and never could figure out which was the culprit.

Good news is that I was able to replace both with different CPUs/Mobo, so here's the finally tally:

* Fractal 1000 $33
* AMD FX 4170 $119
* ASRock 960GM $45
* Corsair 430W PSU $41
* Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 (I had 4x2GB sticks of OCZ 1600 RAM in my personal build that I switched with this Corsair, but I only could use 2 sticks for 4GB in the build) $30
* nVidia 9600 GS (from a previous build) $20
* Artic Cooling Alpine 64 $16
* ASUS DVDRW $17
* Win7 Home Premium 64 bit $80 (on sale)
* Rosewill USB Wireless adapter $15
* 2x Hitachi SATA 250GB in RAID 1 (these were from a previous build) $80
* 1 92mm TriCool Fan (adjustable speed); 1 120 Green LED Fan $8

I lost a $20 Giftcard code in the process which brings the total to $524.

Few notes:
* I was able to get a stable OC of 4.5 GHz just using the bclock
* The boot times are slow - partially because of the RAID, partially because these are older HDDs. ASRock does have some software that speeds up the boot by "prepping" the computer into a "sleep" or "hibernate" mode. Not my favorite methods of starting a computer, but it does help.
* I did originally run the HDDs in a RAID 0, but since I intend on donating to family or a charity I figured data security was more important than speed.
** FFR: Win 7's backup feature works fine provided you restore onto an equal or LARGER HDD. Because I went from 500GB (in RAID 0) to 250GB (in RAID 1), the backup/restore function wouldn't work.
* WEI is 5.8 with graphics being the weakest link and hard drives showing a 5.9. The CPU does show a respectable 7.3.
* This case was pretty nice to work in - especially since the unique HDD setup allowed for more room while I was assembling. My biggest gripe is that the rear exhaust can only handle a 92mm fan; I would've liked to use a closed-loop water cooler for the CPU (like a Corsair H60), but I never found one with a 92mm fan/radiator.

I re-arranged the HDDs (from the previous pictures) to hide the cables a little better. Here is an in-case shot and the final build.

Image

Image

Thanks, everyone, for all your help.


Last edited by btdog on Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AMD Build - Advice on CPU, Mobo and Cooler
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:11 pm 
Klamath
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I didn't help you at all, but thanks for the pics and updates :mrgreen:


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