Pls review choice, Fry's combo, < US$90


Jan 28, 2009
Maybe a tireless TH reader will spot something I've missed. :)

Initial usage will be small 3d modeling (better than sketchup). OpenGL. Medium rendering. No games. Any vid edits will be slow ("3d slideshow", for now).
After a few years the PC will become a normal home PC.

From basic collected info:
Prefer AMD because I won't OC, and the mobos in fry's combos are better for the same price than fry's combos with Intel cpu.
If choose AMD X2 rather than X3, I suspect I'll never upgrade cpu.
If DirectX is only DX9, then the OpenGL version is likely older, too. ECS doesn't give OpenGL info.

Cheap combos (mobo & cpu) from Fry's.
Of top 4 choices, these 2 look best:
[1st choice? Popular? A lot of A740GM posts in ECS threads here on TH. No Phenom on ecsusa page, but other Fry's ad have A740GM-M with X3, or X4 Quad 9750]
Athlon X2 5600+ & ECS A740GM-M $79.99
DVI (though i'll use the vga+crt for a while)
16gb dual channel 800/667/533/400
740G ati/amd graphics. OK?
[google doesn't find obvious OpenGL info]

[2nd choice? Can cpu upgrade to X4? X3? ecsusa says tops is X2, but fry's other combo cpu is X4 Phenom 9750]
Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+ & ECS GeForce7050M-M2 $89.99
[Sometimes in Fry's ad, "GeForce7050M-M2". Actually name is GeForce7050M-M (V2.0)]
16gb dual channel 800/667/533/400
7050PV/nForce 630a .. MCP68PVNT
[google doesn't find obvious OpenGL info]

A quick google suggests RAID10 is better than RAID0+1 and RAID5.
Question: For backup or speed benefit, how do these types of RAID compare?

Both mobos (and 2 reject mobos) have these:
2dimm ddr2
RAID0,RAID1, pata,sata
vga. pci,pcie x1,x16. usb2.0, ps/2
PSU ATX 24pin+4pin, MicroATX
dx9 [according to ECS]

The other critical parts:
I've assumed combo comes w/ cpu fan & "paste".
Used (gateway) Newton Power 250atx (20pin+4pin+6pin. Is it compatible with 2008 era mobo?)
matx case from Athlon 2000+.
Is case fan needed? (reuse fan from dead psu as case fan?)
My 120gb IDE HD
Crucial 4gb pc6400 $20

For reference, the 2 reject combos:
[3rd choice? Older gf6100 cripples Phenom 8450? RAID0+1, RAID5.]
Phenom X3 Triple Core 8450 & GeForce6100PM-M2 $79.99
16gb dual channel 800/667/533/400
older nvidia gfx
[google finds... DirectX 10, Shader Model 4.0 and OpenGL 2.1]

[4th choice? Mobo "cripples" cpu? Slower max ddr2 and is Single-channel. Max ram only 8gb. Doubt I'll OC the cpu.]
Dual Core E5200 & ECS GF7050VT-M $79.99
8gb single channel 667/533/400
GeForce 7050/610I MCP73V
[google shows better dx... DirectX 10. OpenGL 2.0]


Jan 28, 2009

After brain-numbing hours further "research" into complications, I'll try to synopsize concisely. (My next post is the summary that may help anyone seeking similar info, but first...)

PSU is my big remaining question.
I think my Gateway 250w psu isn't usable.
Antec has a copy of that common psu-sizer form.
For my choices, the form gave 450w, but is any of this realistic?

2 ddr2 dimms [12w. Eventually 4 dimms only if I cheapout at 800MHz]
1 pciex1, 1 pciex4
1 firewire [10w if fw "power from sys." though that's unlikely]
1 Nvidia 7600gt [~40-45w. My wild guess.. 7600gt's watts is typical of most future nongaming gfx card?]
2 ide 7200, 1 sata [1 ide hd 25w]
1 80mm fan
1 dvd rw, 1 floppy
capacitor aging 35% (35% is higher than default, since computer runs many hrs/day)

Some different watts for different choices:
X3 8750 2400 MHz Toliman vcore 1.2
X4 9450e 2100MHz Agena vcore 1.1

Athlon X2 BE-2300 1900 MHz Brisbane vcore 1.2
256w if remove 7600gt, firewire, and 1 ide hd

What "Capacitor aging" is reasonable?
If increase capacitor aging 45%, no OC, add 7.5% to X3 386w, would give
415W [4 dimms X3 398w, add 7.5% 428W]

So 450w PSU looks safe.

Or unlikely scenario, OC the X3 8750:
OC 2400MHz to 3200MHz and 1.2vcore to 1.5vcore[wild guess] Antec Calc button says: 198w
504w[OC added 106w to this total]
If increase capacitor aging to 45% [35 to 45%],
542w [adds 38w, =7.5% of 504w]

and i guess i have other costs.
heatsink paste (will NE charge separate shipping even if orderd with mobo and cpu?)

Reuse old AT tower case is not worthwhile? Instead find combo psu+case+fans?


Jan 28, 2009
It looks like the mobo you suggest ECS A780GM-A is the best. :)

NE (newegg) doesn't google well, and NE's own searches are inconsistent (searching 32gb didn't find a geforce 8100 mobo with max 32gb, although it was an NE "rebate" search link found via google. It's $10 less, but i decided the amd chipset is worth $10 more)

Both mobos limited to cpu max 95w "tdp". quick look at amd cpu list suggests that if i swap to x4 when they've become cheap, I should find a rather fast x4 that's 95w or less.

Also, 32gb mobo is important (older computers usually suffer lack of RAM), and 32gb cheaper mobos are rare.

"Memory QVL"
4 slots also important because of an amd cpu weakness, that requires installing 1066 as only 2 dimms (1 each channel, IIRC) to function at 1066. Right now that X2 you suggest and ddr2 800 (X2's speed, IIRC) is cheapest.

ECS A780GM-A discrepancy:
NE says it has 1 esata, but ECS A780GM-A on ecsusa shows no esata. However, esata doesn't seem huge lack, since (currrent) esata is only 2x speed of usb 2.0 (I skimmed that info somewhere?)

Quick recheck for intel mobos:
on NE, for same price, intel mobos tend to have weaker chipsets (and fry's combos pairs quadcore with ich7... which seems an extreme mismatch. E5200 + ICH7 mobo $99, compares to their X2+740g combos) And I don't expect to OC, so AMD)