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Thread: AM3+ boards, chipset options

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    AM3+ boards, chipset options

    Hi,

    I was looking at some of the cheaper AM3+ boards and having trouble deciding between the 760g an 880g chipsets. Other options look a bit limited atm.

    With the 760g I was looking at pairing with an Athlon II (X2 or X3) and a sub £100 gfx. Alternatively, a Phenom II X2 looked like an attracive option with the 880g, initially using the onboard and perhaps unlocking additional cores.

    The finished build will replace an aging workhorse of a machine and will mostly be used for general purpose stuff with a bit of video and occasional gaming.

    Overall budget is tbc but reasonably flexible - I am more interested in something that will give a couple of years of good service and maybe a bit more with a little tweaking.

    Thanks,
    TB
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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    I wouldn't try gaming on an 880g. Even the SB and Llano integrated GPUs aren't wonderful for games, yet they are the best "integrated" GPUs by a mile.

    Sub £100 for a gfx card is still a lot of grunt. You can even occasionally pick up GTX460s for ~£90 new.

    Alternatively, you can get a 6770 in that price range...or shop around for a bit for a 6850/6870 deal that might sway you.
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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    When you say video do you mean watching video or encoding??

    What kind of games do you intend to play??

    The Llano A4 dual cores have an IGP which will be slightly slower than an HD6450 DDR3.

    The Llano A8 quad cores have an IGP which is slightly better than an HD5550 DDR3 and probably around the same level as an HD4650 DDR3.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 02-09-2011 at 06:21 PM.


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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    Thanks for the swift responses.

    Gaming will only likely to be occasional as kids are still more into their various consoles, even then it would likely be older games (civ? Perhaps I'll start a separate thread on 'older games for budget PCs'?)

    I am quite prepared to put discrete gfx in with an 880g chipset if the situation changes (i.e. kids get bored with consoles?)

    The video stuff is usually re-encoding from .ts into DVD and the various formats that will play on the array of mobile devices that seem to be proliferating in my house.

    I have to admit that I haven't properly considered Llano as I always thought I would bolt on extra gfx capability as and when required . I suppose I was thinking more about upgrade paths wrt processors.
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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    The onboard on an 880G will be adequate for casual & older games at reduce resolutions and image quality (it's the same as the GPU in the 785G that I use, which lets me play casual games, Torchlight, Neverwinter Nights, etc. with no issue). I only have a single core Sempron, too

    The 760g has basically the same GPU, but clocked lower and with a couple of features removed - as a result it's not as good for gaming or home theatre purposes. I'd go for the 880G if the budget will stretch to it.

    For video transcoding generally more cores is better than faster cores, so really you'll be better off with either an Athlon II X3 450 @ £55, or a Phenom II X4 840 (this has no L3 cache so is basically an Athlon II X4) @ £73, rather than the Phenom II X2.

    If you want the best graphical bang for buck available at below £100, my personal opinion is that you can't really do much better than the Radeon 6750 512MB @ £72.

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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    The Llano CPUs have around the same IPC as a Phenom II.

    What video encoding software are you using??

    In HandBrake a Llano A8 does reasonably well:

    http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...ded-power.html



    Also,Llano has decent idle power consumption too and for normal usage is reasonably frugal. If you do stress the CPU section power consumption does rise but still tends to be lower than an Athlon II X4.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 02-09-2011 at 06:12 PM.


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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    yes but Llano is still quite expensive comparatively.

    What I would go with is, Wait
    With bulldozer coming very shortly amd cpu prices should drop, also it opens up a new option.
    an 880g AM3+ motherboard http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigab...raphics-on-boa that allows for ether a current athlonII or phenomII or a new bulldozer cpu.
    Then on cpu depending on the prices probably an athlon x3 or PhenomII x4 if the prices drop or possible a low end bulldozer
    2x4gb ddr3 1600mhz

    graphics card can be done later, if required.

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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    There are a new tranche of Llano CPUs being released next week AFAIK and the A8-3870K(?) which has an unlocked multiplier will be available this month or next month.

    The A8-3850 has around the same IPC as a Phenom II X4 and tends to be quicker in most applications than a Phenom II X4 840(this is basically a 3.2GHZ Athlon II X4).

    The Phenom II X4 840 is around £74 meaning your are getting an HD5550 DDR3 or HD4650 DDR3 level graphics card for around £26.

    The A75 FM1 motherboards also seem to have dropped in price too:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/274047-asrock-...board-a75m-hvs

    http://www.ebuyer.com/275727-msi-a75...udes-a75ma-g55

    The AM3+ motherboards not using the 900 series chipsets have seem to have gone up in price. The cheaper 700 and 800 series AM3+ motherboard either seem to use the SB710 southbridge or seem to have lost two RAM slots and a few other features.

    For instance the Gigabyte 880G motherboard Pob255 suggested still uses the ancient SB710 southbridge:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigab...raphics-on-boa

    I would spend a few more quid and get this Gigabyte 880G motherboard:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigab...-graphics-on-b

    You need to spend at least £70 on an 800 series AM3+ motherboard which is OTT especially considering the price of the 900 series. AFAIK,the 980G should be released this year.

    The main difference between the 800 series and 900 series is the latter is meant to fully support the more complex Bulldozer voltage regulation mechanisms.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 02-09-2011 at 06:18 PM.


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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    If your going to get an 880 based board I'd get the Asus m5a88 as it has SATA III.

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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

    I do use Handbrake along with various other apps for getting things into the right format. Maybe I'll have a go at the Handbrake chart with my 940BE when I get a spare moment (or even with the old XP2400 if I have a couple more).

    I have had another look at Llano and it seems like an ideal mobile solution although I am not sure whether it will offer the same flexibility down the line (2/3 years?) for this desktop. I see there are options for Hybrid CrossfireX and overclocking but this is perhaps starting to get complicated.

    The combination of AM3+ 880g with an Athlon II X3 does seem to offer a balance of affordability, decent everyday performance and a pretty good upgrade path. Indeed I can foresee a minor splurge on a 6750 (or similar) in the not too distant future. Admittedly to get the full benefit of 6Gb/s sata and USB3 the board will cost a bit more (~£70).

    Does anyone know to what extent a future BD cpu will be held back by an 880g chipset? Is it likely to be only for the more extreme overclocks?
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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    Quote Originally Posted by Time Bandit View Post
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

    I do use Handbrake along with various other apps for getting things into the right format. Maybe I'll have a go at the Handbrake chart with my 940BE when I get a spare moment (or even with the old XP2400 if I have a couple more).

    I have had another look at Llano and it seems like an ideal mobile solution although I am not sure whether it will offer the same flexibility down the line (2/3 years?) for this desktop. I see there are options for Hybrid CrossfireX and overclocking but this is perhaps starting to get complicated.

    The combination of AM3+ 880g with an Athlon II X3 does seem to offer a balance of affordability, decent everyday performance and a pretty good upgrade path. Indeed I can foresee a minor splurge on a 6750 (or similar) in the not too distant future. Admittedly to get the full benefit of 6Gb/s sata and USB3 the board will cost a bit more (~£70).

    Does anyone know to what extent a future BD cpu will be held back by an 880g chipset? Is it likely to be only for the more extreme overclocks?
    Even AM3+ has only been confirmed to last for the current version of Bulldozer. The same goes with FM1 and the current Llano CPUs and it might get the Piledriver based CPUs next year. However,there has been noise about an LGA based FM2 socket replacing AM3+ and FM1.

    Also,according to what has been reported the VRM sections of the 900 series motherboards are meant to be more complex to support the enhanced power regulation mechanisms which Bulldozer supports. TBH,I wouldn't touch the SB710 based AM3+ motherboards. These tend to be much older motherboards tarted up with an AM3+ socket.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 02-09-2011 at 07:46 PM.


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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    I missed that that was the sb710 version and that the FM1 boards had come down so much, they where around the £100 mark.

    The sb850 would be better with a greater possible upgrade scope, but cost more, the main thing here really is the low cost athlonII cpu's
    With an FM1 board at £67 http://www.ebuyer.com/275727-msi-a75...udes-a75ma-g55 and a A6-3650 at £90 http://www.ebuyer.com/272285-amd-lla...-ad3650wngxbox
    £157ish

    vs
    880g+710 £68 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigab...raphics-on-boa + Athlon II X3 455 £58 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a...mhz-95w-retail
    for £126
    Slower but cheaper, it really depends on what the budget is
    If you really wanted to drop the budget then you could get this http://www.ebuyer.com/269070-asus-m5...rd-m5a78l-m-lx for £36
    760g +710sb not going to be good for overclocking, onboard gpu is weak but it's cheap match that with an althonII cpu and you've got a viable under £100 option.


    Also when you consider the A6-3650 is slower as a pure cpu than the AthlonII x4 645, which is slightly slower than the PhenomII x4 840 http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=31325&page=4 the Llano option is not looking quite so good. (I'm not sure how well it can use it's APU to accelerate some functions, but that could well push it over the performance of the athlonII x4)

    Yes it's got a better built in graphics than the old 880g but if a 6750 is added that goes out the window anyway.

    Although I do agree with you that it's a viable option, esp as the motherboards have come down.

    It's all going to be down to the budget.

    I still say Wait for bulldozer before making any choice.

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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    I take it this machine isn't replacing the one in your "My System" box, but a different machine? Perhaps if you let us know what you're going to replace we can give a better idea of the performance increase you'd see from the various options?

    Don't forget that if you get an AM3+ motherboard now then bulldozer turns out to be no better, in either performance or value, than Sandy Bridge, you'll be stuck with either a complete rebuild or a less desirable upgrade path...

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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    The A8-3850 is around £100 from Scan. The CPU is faster than a Phenom II X4 840 in most cases.

    However,the A6-3650 at around £90 is overpriced. For another £10 more you get a CPU clocked 300MHZ higher and a GPU around 26% faster:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4667/a...er-than-a63650

    However,this is mainly down to the fact that the Llano A6 has 320 shaders clocked at 443MHZ as opposed to 400 shaders clocked at 600MHZ for the Llano A8. I suspect,if the Llano A6 had its shaders at the same clockspeed as the Llano A8 the difference wouldn't be that as big. I am not such a fan of the Llano A6 as the CPU is clocked too low and the GPU is significantly slower than the Llano A8. AMD,should have reduced the number of shaders to 160 and kept the same clockspeed as the Llano A8.

    The cheapest discrete card to outpace the HD6550D in the Llano A8 is probably this one for around £42:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/255465-xfx-hd-...d-hd-567x-zaf3

    The 65W 2.7GHZ A4-3400 dual core looks a reasonable deal for around £60 to £65. CPU performance should be similar to a 2.7GHZ Phenom II X2 or Athlon II X2 and the IGP should be close in performance to an HD6450 DDR3.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 03-09-2011 at 12:44 AM.


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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    i would grab the 880g boards the 700 series boards are just a little cheep imo

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    Re: AM3+ boards, chipset options

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    ... let us know what you're going to replace ...
    ahem... no sniggering... but its the old XP2400+ which I hinted at earlier so even any cheap dual core and a skt775 mb would represent a significant step up!

    Its a bit of a 'cooking' computer that I've been avoiding doing anything with for some time, but the family still get some use out of it so it hasn't been properly retired yet. It kind of sits there, not taking up too much room, and still gets used but it takes so long to boot and perform routine tasks now that I thought they deserved something (a little) better.

    Even Mrs Bandit (techno-sceptic) has acknowledged that it is a bit slow, so it must be bad!
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