AM3+ Mobos - chipsets and what you really need?
I need to source a board for an FX build (either a 4170, 4300 or 6300, not sure yet) and I see there's the usual dizzying range of options from bargain boards (760G) through midrange (970) and higher-end (990).
From what Google can tell me, 760G is a bodged older chipset and should be avoided unless money is super-tight (and it sort-of is).
It seems 990 really only offers benefits for high-end builds with multiple GPUs (not interesting in that) - £110+ for a mobo is a scary prospect really.
There seems to be a lot of negativity towards Gigabyte, Biostar (generally) and Asrock boards when it comes to overclocking due to lack of cooling/power issues - and people seem to think that overclocking these chips is pretty much a no-brainer so you should get a board which supports it?
Any recommendations or tips or debunks for that lot?
Also - is there really any reason to get a 6/8 core chip if all you're doing is general desktop work and some gaming?]
Lesser Hivemind Node
990's too unspecific since there is more than one chipset with that number in it.
You'd generally want to go with a 900-series chipset. Earlier chipsets should work, if the motherboard vendor has updated the BIOS, but it's older stuff that was released with Phenom IIs and such in mind. You'll also want to pay attention to the CPU TDP supported, and perhaps the number of VRMs and what sort of heatsink they're cooled by.
A 6-core chip may make sense for gaming. A few games are beginning to take advantage of more than 4 cores... only gradually though. But the price gap from 4 to 6 cores is pretty small.
It's tiny - <£25 in some cases - tho I don't know if the extra cores are traded-off against each core being less powerful!?
All the 'cheap' bundles and PCs seem to use 760G boards but the price diff. to a 970 board isn't huge so if it offers anything I'd go for it. All this stuff about VRMs and power phases makes my eyes throb tho, everyone seems to think that board X is crap and board Y is good them someone turns that around 2 posts later!
People then talk of OCing just some cores (presumably to keep the heat down?) and I've long since nodded off - I'm tempted just to get either a Asrock (I've had good experiences despite their cheapness) or MSI (same) and hang-the-sense of it.
Most people seem to say Asus make the best boards tho - new territory for me that.
Bottom line - won't be my PC so something which needs loads of cooling and tweaking will be a pain-in-the-arse - tempted to just to stick a 6-core in and leave it stock or just mildly OCed frankly.
p.s. A quick peek at Scan and Overclockers OCed bundles (I figure if they pre-overclock and need to support that they should be using a reliable combo) shows that Scan put the 4300 into an older Gigabyte 760G board but the 6300 into an Asus 990X board - wheras Overclockers use a Gigabyte 970 board for the 4300 (and a Sabertooth 990X for the 6300)
That's for chips pre-OCed to 4.4ghz which is a decent step-up?
Lesser Hivemind Node
Nope. A core is a core, as long as it's from the same generation and running at similar clocks (and, with overclocking in the picture, stock clocks become meaningless).
Originally Posted by trjp
A mild overclock is often enough. There are diminishing returns anyway. Plus it's easy to overclock a little but difficult to overclock right to the limit.
4.4 GHz is pretty good, you'd usually only be getting a little bit more than that.
I'd say get the cheapest 9-series motherboard you can find. If you have specific needs in connection types like X many SATA ports or something, then get the variant closest to your needs.
Unless you want to overclock, then check reviews of that particular board and what they say about overclocking ability.
And I say 9-series mostly because then you'd most likely have a board being compatible with stuff for longer compared to 7-series.