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Windows 7: Simple build - is it all compatible etc.?

19 Mar 2011   #1
michael123

Windows 7 x64
 
 
Simple build - is it all compatible etc.?

Hi all.

I'm building a cheap PC for a friend who just needs email/internet/word and that's about it. I know how to build it, but I've been out of the market for a while, so I'm not entirely hot on what socket is compatible with what etc.

If someone could check if these central components should work together (and possibly suggest alternatives with better reliability/value?), I'd be very grateful:


Biostar Motherboard N68S AMD Socket AM2 DDR2 mATX with 2 years manufacturer's warranty- microdirect.co.uk

AMD CPU AM2+ 7850 Black Edition Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core OEM- microdirect.co.uk - I presume this comes with a heatsink?

Kingston memory 2GB Value RAM DDR2 800MHz- microdirect.co.uk


Plus a spare 7200RPM HDD I have lying around, and an old DVD drive, PSU, and case.

Wondering about any comments regarding Celeron Dual Core CPUs, how they compare to this AMD in speed and so on, because if I recall they tended to be fairly rubbish - but they may have updated architecture and stuff since I last looked (I bought my last set of components in 2009).

Would an old PSU putting out about 350W power all this quite happily (I know I'd have to find an adaptor for hard drive power)?

Unfortunately, as I live in the UK, I don't have access to Newegg. I think microdirect is about as cheap as it gets - for new components - over here.

Cheers all, Michael.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Mar 2011   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

The PSU is plenty if it is in good shape and reliable. A base machine and low level video card is likely to use well under 200 watts.

I don't know anything about AMD other than that they are still supposed to be quite competitive under $100 US, which is where your budget is--so I'd guess that is OK and may well be better than Intel at that price point.

Re Biostar. I've never used budget boards, but I'm sure you can find a horror story on any brand or model. There is a lot of luck involved.

Kingston is a good brand generally, but I did not check compatibility.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #3
michael123

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Thanks for the comments; I might try looking for the cheapest Gigabyte board available, or another well-known manufacturer.

Any other thoughts? Anyone know if AM3 sockets can hold AM2+ chips? And also whether DDR2 can go in a DDR3 slot?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Mar 2011   #4
michael123

Windows 7 x64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I can't find that exact model at Gigabyte. It may no longer be supported??

Take a look at Gigabyte site for AMD socket AM3 boards.

Re memory: even if DDR2 and DDR3 might "fit" in the same slot, it's a major no-no. Go with whatever the board needs, including voltage. Don't get high speed or fancy RAM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Here it is: It's a micro ATX board

GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket AM3 - GA-M68MT-S2 (rev. 1.3)

1. 2 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8GB of system memory (Note 1)
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 1333+/1066/800 MHz memory modules


1. Realtek ALC888B codec
2. High Definition Audio
3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel (Note 2)


1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16
2. 2 x PCI Express x1 slot
3. 1 x PCI slot


1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
3. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
4. 1 x CPU fan header
5. 1 x system fan header
6. 1 x front panel header
7. 1 x front panel audio header
8. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
9. 1 x parallel port connector
10. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper


Here are the downloads:


GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket AM3 - GA-M68MT-S2 (rev. 1.3)

You need to confirm it will take a standard ATX PSU. It very likely will, but I don't see it mentioned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2011   #7
bobkn

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

The GA-M68MT-S2 uses the old nForce 630a chipset. Looks like it's basically am AM2+ chipset.

GA-M68MT-S2 (rev. 1.3) - GIGABYTE - Product - Motherboard - Specification

Note, in particular,

* If you install AMD AM3 CPU on this motherboard, the system bus speed will downgrade from HT3.0 (5200MT/s) to HT1.0 (2000 MT/s) spec; however, the frequency of AM3 CPU will not be impacted. Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.

I have no idea how much that would affect performance, if at all. My personal preference would be to go with a board with an AMD AM3 chipset, like:

Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-S2 (rev. 1.0) - Motherboard - micro ATX - AMD 760G - Socket AM3 - UDMA133, SATA-300 (RAID) - Gigabit Ethernet - video - HD Audio (8-channel): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

It's about 20 more expensive, unfortunately.

As regards your other questions that may no longer be relevant:

I don't think that you can use an AM2 CPU on an AM3 board, because its memory controller (on chip) does not support DDR3. An AM3 CPU will work in some AM2+ systems, I think. Its controller supports DDR3 and DDR2. Corrections cheerfully accepted if I'm mistaken. (Haven't bought an AMD CPU since Socket 939.)

You cannot put DDR2 RAM in a DDR3 slot. They have the same number of pins (240), but they are notched differently. (That's because they are electrically incompatible.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Mar 2011   #8
michael123

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Cheers again for the responses.

Didn't realise you couldn't put DDR2 in a DDR3 slot, thanks.

Following the advice on the motherboard, I'm tempted just to revert to a completely budget board like this:

Biostar Motherboard N68S3B AMD Socket AM3 DDR3 mATX with 2 years manufacturer's warranty- microdirect.co.uk

and here's the manufacturer's page:

BIOSTAR :: N68S3B :: Specification

or this:

Asrock motherboard N68-S3-UCC AMD AM3 DDR3 mATX- microdirect.co.uk

manufacturer's page:

ASRock > Products > N68-S3 UCC

Having looked through the specs, there seems to be very little in it. Has one manufacturer got a better rep than the other? (both budget, I know).

Thanks again.

EDIT: Having looked more thoroughly, I think the Asrock one uses the same chipset you mentioned the Gigabyte above has. The Biostar, I think, has the NVIDIA MCP68S. Better? Or are they the same?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Mar 2011   #9
bobkn

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by michael123 View Post
EDIT: Having looked more thoroughly, I think the Asrock one uses the same chipset you mentioned the Gigabyte above has. The Biostar, I think, has the NVIDIA MCP68S. Better? Or are they the same?
I'm not familiar with it, but apparently MCP68S = 630a/7025. They're the same.

Asrock and Biostar both have positive reputations, from what I've seen online over the past few years. (Asrock is sort of a budget spin-off off Asus, but they seem to be aspiring to the enthusiast market now.)

The firms that invited suspicion have traditionally been the Chinese generics, like PC Chips, Amptron, Fugu, etc. I don't know which of them still exist. They tended to show up in systems from the sleazier white box shops.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Mar 2011   #10
michael123

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Thanks again for replies.

I think I'm going with the Corsair RAM, Biostar AM3 MB, and Athlon II X2 255.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Simple build - is it all compatible etc.?




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