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arod0405
April 12th, 2010, 05:48 PM
I'm going to replace my parent's PC with some new desktop.
It's primary use is surfing the web and playing standard multimedia stuff.

These are the requirements:
* cheap, my parents are not hard-core gamers :)
* decent cpu
* decent video performance for watching Internet videos
* DVD player/burner
* possibly silent and small
* should not become obsolete too fast
* linux compatibility, of course!

Since I've got a dell mini9 - boy, it's slow! - I'm rather skeptical about atom cpus and old intel chipsets used on nettops.
I'm more looking for something like the dell zino or asus barebones and such. Of course a regular desktop (acer? fujitsu?) would do.

I bought my desktop three years ago and I'm not up to date right now, so could you give me some advice or point me to some cheap-linux-box buying guide?

Thanks!

cascade9
April 12th, 2010, 06:37 PM
I've never seen a decent linux computer buying guide. I'm probably overly picky though....

To cut a long story short, with intel the old core2duo/quads wont have any problems. The newer i3/i5/i7s can have some issues, but they will dissapear as newer kernels come into use (some of the features for the newer 'iX' intels are not in the older kernels).

All the current AMD chipsets/chips work fine.

The main place where people have problems is with wireless.

conradin
April 12th, 2010, 06:41 PM
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5651067&CatId=336

I have installed karmic on this computer and its just fine.

cascade9
April 12th, 2010, 07:04 PM
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5651067&CatId=336

I have installed karmic on this computer and its just fine.

Breaks 1, possibly 2 requirements from the OP though-

"decent cpu" (sorry, a celeron E3300 isnt that decent)
"decent video performance" while the GMA 3100 should work for internet videos, they arent the best graphics 'solution' around.

It is cheap, but $500 or so should get a much nicer computer ;)

arod0405
April 12th, 2010, 10:47 PM
Well, it's rather confusing... too many CPUs out there!
I guess any Intel core 2 duo would be fine - my desktop PC has a E6300. I was wondering what was in the same range from AMD right now or if I should search for something maybe cheaper and more efficient and invest more on the video GPU.
I've seen a lot of Pentium dual core CPUs (E5400 for example) in low end desktops. How does that compare to a core 2 duo? What about an AMD counterpart?

Regarding GPUs: I focused in Intel because they're cheap, efficient and usually well supported in linux. But they lack HD playback (not required now) and hardware decoding of Internet video streams (h264 and similar) and this could be an issue in the future. How is X4500 doing in linux? Should I buy a non-free-good-working-low-end nVidia card instead? Is ATI support as bad as it was a couple of years ago?

Finally: I've been having some bad experience with VIA KT600 in the past. is there some particular motherboard/chipset I should avoid?

To summarize:
CPU hint?
GPU hint?
chipset hint?

Thanks!

cascade9
April 13th, 2010, 10:48 AM
Well, it's rather confusing... too many CPUs out there!
I guess any Intel core 2 duo would be fine - my desktop PC has a E6300. I was wondering what was in the same range from AMD right now or if I should search for something maybe cheaper and more efficient and invest more on the video GPU.

I wouldnt spend much on a video card. Afairly low-end nVidia card, like a GT220 would be perfect IMO- not that expensive, good hardware video decoding. Gettign much more than a GT220 is only really worth it for gamers.


I've seen a lot of Pentium dual core CPUs (E5400 for example) in low end desktops. How does that compare to a core 2 duo? What about an AMD counterpart?

Depends on what you mean by 'counterpart'. AMD is still making dual-core CPUs like the E5400s, but they tend to be faster than the Intels.

In general, AMD is faster for the cheaper end of computers.



Regarding GPUs: I focused in Intel because they're cheap, efficient and usually well supported in linux. But they lack HD playback (not required now) and hardware decoding of Internet video streams (h264 and similar) and this could be an issue in the future. How is X4500 doing in linux? Should I buy a non-free-good-working-low-end nVidia card instead? Is ATI support as bad as it was a couple of years ago?

I'd get an nVidia myself. ATI is gettign better, but nVidia is easier, and still has better drivers.



Finally: I've been having some bad experience with VIA KT600 in the past. is there some particular motherboard/chipset I should avoid?

To summarize:
CPU hint?
GPU hint?
chipset hint?

Thanks!

Budget?

Not trying to get away from your question, but sometimes is easier to ask yourself these questions-

1- What choices do I have? Where will I get the machine?
2- Do I feel up to building my own computer from parts, or do I want ready built?
3- If ready built only, am I going to get it from some nasty corporate computer brand (dell, compaq, etc) or from a builder of 'white boxes'?

Depending on your answers you might have lots of choices- eg 1- I'm in the US, I can get whatever from wherever, 2- yes, I can do that, building comptuers is easy- this gives you lots of options. Or you might have very few eg 1- I'm in mongolia 2- No. 3- Corporate only, thanks.

BTW, for hints, for AMD, try this (very cheap build, you might want to spend a bit more and get something better)-

AMD Atlhon II 245/250
nVidia 8100/8200/8300 (intergrated in the chipset onboard video)

arod0405
April 13th, 2010, 02:14 PM
I wouldnt spend much on a video card. Afairly low-end nVidia card, like a GT220 would be perfect IMO- not that expensive, good hardware video decoding. Gettign much more than a GT220 is only really worth it for gamers.

What about an integrated graphic solution with some high-end Intel or nVidia chipset? If it's not good enough I could still buy a video card later.


Depends on what you mean by 'counterpart'. AMD is still making dual-core CPUs like the E5400s, but they tend to be faster than the Intels.

In general, AMD is faster for the cheaper end of computers.

good to know.


I'd get an nVidia myself. ATI is gettign better, but nVidia is easier, and still has better drivers.

Never had any issue with nVidia in years, indeed.


Budget?

< 500$ or < 400€ (I'm from Italy)


Not trying to get away from your question, but sometimes is easier to ask yourself these questions-

1- What choices do I have? Where will I get the machine?
2- Do I feel up to building my own computer from parts, or do I want ready built?
3- If ready built only, am I going to get it from some nasty corporate computer brand (dell, compaq, etc) or from a builder of 'white boxes'?

Depending on your answers you might have lots of choices- eg 1- I'm in the US, I can get whatever from wherever, 2- yes, I can do that, building comptuers is easy- this gives you lots of options. Or you might have very few eg 1- I'm in mongolia 2- No. 3- Corporate only, thanks.

I usually buy parts online and I can assemble myself. I'm considering "evil corporations" ready built as well 'cause it sometimes can be a safer, easier, time-saving, cheaper solution.


BTW, for hints, for AMD, try this (very cheap build, you might want to spend a bit more and get something better)-

AMD Atlhon II 245/250
nVidia 8100/8200/8300 (intergrated in the chipset onboard video)

That's a good starting point. Thanks!

mastablasta
April 13th, 2010, 03:10 PM
does budget include monitor or only computer?

There are descent & cheap Gigabyte motherboards with AMD chip and intergrated Nvidia graphics card.
Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2P

Or with ATI cards such as Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H

Also Asrock has some good options. There are also some good ones quite cheap yet without integrated graphics. Maybe it would be good to take one of thoise and just add the cheapest grpahics card to it. I don't recomend Foxconn despite it's low price.

AMD CPU is cheap yet good enough. I bought a single core and with enough ram and good graphics card i can run Oblivion, STALKER full effect (well as far as DX9.0 goes). Since you wont' be needing this kind of power obviously you can get it all even cheaper.

What decides the speed apaprt from CPU is ofcourse RAM. More is good. And more ram is even more important than GPU. For watching HD movies integrated cards are ok as long as they are not from old intel series (new ones such as X4500 seem to be quite ok). For example as comparison integrated ATI HD 3200 can run Oblivion on medium i believe. Way too powerfull if you only do office, watch occasional movie, read e-mail and surf the web.

So go cheap a durable (check the reviews) and compatible. Older Nvidia models go for 25 EUR. Also a bit older ATI are ok. I think i have ATI Radeon HD 4350, 512MB sold for about 35EUR here and worked well with Karmic Live CD.

I have Ubuntu installed on maschine with ATI Rage 16MB, I have Radeon 9200 128MB on another XP computer. None of these has issues wathing internet video. If you don't use/need a lot of graphics power why spend money on it, right? :)

I think you should be able to put together a good desktop computer for about 250-300EUR (no monitor). Then for monitor i dont' know how big you need. but for arround 110 EUR you should get a descent 19" monitor.

arod0405
April 13th, 2010, 04:46 PM
does budget include monitor or only computer?

PC only. I've got monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers. I could even reuse an old case with power supply.


There are descent & cheap Gigabyte motherboards with AMD chip and intergrated Nvidia graphics card.
Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2P

Or with ATI cards such as Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H

Also Asrock has some good options. There are also some good ones quite cheap yet without integrated graphics. Maybe it would be good to take one of thoise and just add the cheapest grpahics card to it. I don't recomend Foxconn despite it's low price.

That's what I was looking for at first. This PC is for my parents, so no gaming or CPU intensive stuff... just office, web surfing and videos.
I'm not quite sold on ATI - though never had one - because of drivers. AFAIK there are three different drivers, some issues and in general linux support is worse than nVidia.


AMD CPU is cheap yet good enough. I bought a single core and with enough ram and good graphics card i can run Oblivion, STALKER full effect (well as far as DX9.0 goes). Since you wont' be needing this kind of power obviously you can get it all even cheaper.

As I said before no gaming involved. All I need is a snappy user experience and a durable system. Possibly efficient and quiet too.
I browsed for low-end CPU prices (Italy, random store) and found:
- Pentium E5400: 55€, same price as Athlon X2 250
- core 2 duo E7500: 100€
- i3: 110€ with GPU (need recent kernel, bad support I guess)
- Phenom II X2 545: 75€

Which one is best suited?


What decides the speed apaprt from CPU is ofcourse RAM. More is good. And more ram is even more important than GPU. For watching HD movies integrated cards are ok as long as they are not from old intel series (new ones such as X4500 seem to be quite ok). For example as comparison integrated ATI HD 3200 can run Oblivion on medium i believe. Way too powerfull if you only do office, watch occasional movie, read e-mail and surf the web.

I'm planning to start with a single 2Gb DDR2 (3?) module.


So go cheap a durable (check the reviews) and compatible. Older Nvidia models go for 25 EUR. Also a bit older ATI are ok. I think i have ATI Radeon HD 4350, 512MB sold for about 35EUR here and worked well with Karmic Live CD.

These ATI are said to be a really good value but having no hassles is more important to me.


I have Ubuntu installed on maschine with ATI Rage 16MB, I have Radeon 9200 128MB on another XP computer. None of these has issues wathing internet video. If you don't use/need a lot of graphics power why spend money on it, right? :)

mythtv working fine on a 1999 athlon 800Mhz and nVidia mx4000 here :)


I think you should be able to put together a good desktop computer for about 250-300EUR (no monitor). Then for monitor i dont' know how big you need. but for arround 110 EUR you should get a descent 19" monitor.

That's a good price point. In case I can spend a little more.

Thanks!

cascade9
April 13th, 2010, 05:20 PM
What about an integrated graphic solution with some high-end Intel or nVidia chipset? If it's not good enough I could still buy a video card later.


Well, apart from 'high end intel graphics' (such a thing does not exist, intel graphics are never high end) its possible. I prefer to get motherboards without intergrated graphics myself, its not that much more expensive to get a board with no video and a video card.

For something without intergrated video for AMD, get a 770 chipset board (790X is good as well, but more expensive- 790FX is far too expensive). With video, the AMD 785/790GX or a nVidia 8100/8200 will work well- warning though, I'm yet to see an nVidia 8100/8200 that is socket AM3, and they all run DDR2 (which is a lot of places is more expensive than DDR3 now). AM2/AM2+ will run AM3 chips (in most cases) but it could make upgrading later harder.


As I said before no gaming involved. All I need is a snappy user experience and a durable system. Possibly efficient and quiet too.
I browsed for low-end CPU prices (Italy, random store) and found:
- Pentium E5400: 55€, same price as Athlon X2 250
- core 2 duo E7500: 100€
- i3: 110€ with GPU (need recent kernel, bad support I guess)
- Phenom II X2 545: 75€

Which one is best suited?

The Athlon X2 250 would be more than enough IMO. BTW, if you can find one (some places have them, others dont) a 235e/245e/250e is agood choice as well- same speed as the normal models but use less power (normal athlon II X2- 65watts, 'e' models- 45watts)



I'm planning to start with a single 2Gb DDR2 (3?) module.


Better to have 2x modules, virtually everything is dual-channel RAM these days.

eddietours
April 13th, 2010, 05:23 PM
why not a System76 Desktop

arod0405
April 13th, 2010, 05:39 PM
why not a System76 Desktop

1. Not that cheap
2. They don't ship in Europe

arod0405
April 13th, 2010, 05:48 PM
Well, apart from 'high end intel graphics' (such a thing does not exist, intel graphics are never high end) its possible. I prefer to get motherboards without intergrated graphics myself, its not that much more expensive to get a board with no video and a video card.

I meant high end on the Intel range. For my use I'm fine with the crappy X3100 that comes with G965. I was thinking about X4500-something or newer i3/i5 though I don't know how good is linux support for these options.


For something without intergrated video for AMD, get a 770 chipset board (790X is good as well, but more expensive- 790FX is far too expensive). With video, the AMD 785/790GX or a nVidia 8100/8200 will work well- warning though, I'm yet to see an nVidia 8100/8200 that is socket AM3, and they all run DDR2 (which is a lot of places is more expensive than DDR3 now). AM2/AM2+ will run AM3 chips (in most cases) but it could make upgrading later harder.

The Athlon X2 250 would be more than enough IMO. BTW, if you can find one (some places have them, others dont) a 235e/245e/250e is agood choice as well- same speed as the normal models but use less power (normal athlon II X2- 65watts, 'e' models- 45watts)

That's the kind of information I was looking for on motherboards and CPUs. Thanks.


Better to have 2x modules, virtually everything is dual-channel RAM these days.

oops! forgot about that :)

mastablasta
April 14th, 2010, 08:43 AM
ATI has linux support. It also has open source drtivers available. Problem can be (as i read) when you go gaming with them.

BTW what part of Italy are you from? If you are close to Slovenia you migh try some webshops. i know a few very good ones (good cusotmer support etc.). In austria you might get even cheaper hitngs.

The thing is if you choose Athlon the motherboard with AMD chipset will also be cheaper than Intel.

Seems to me you have plenty of things already at hand for the build.

So you need
- motherboard for about 55 EUR,
- processor for about 40-45 EUR (Sempron might also be good for this kind of work they sell it for 37 here)
- DVD drive for 20 EUR
- graphics card (if it's not integrated) for 30-35EUR
- 2x 1GB ram modules (you can find offers for 2 module packages maybe) for about 50 EUR
- HDD - i think oyu can safely just take the cheapest 80 or 160 GB drive whatever they offer these days. for about 50-70 EUR. As these are really easy to upgrade later in case you need more space.
----
total: about 220+graphics card if necessary.
-
Sometimes here motherboards are cheaper even if they have integrated graphics. Integrated graphics can easilly be disabled later in BIOS.

arod0405
April 14th, 2010, 09:21 AM
ATI has linux support. It also has open source drtivers available. Problem can be (as i read) when you go gaming with them.
My main concern is video playback performance... a working tv-out is not required but welcome (had bad experiences with Intel and good with Nvidia in the past).


BTW what part of Italy are you from? If you are close to Slovenia you migh try some webshops. i know a few very good ones (good cusotmer support etc.). In austria you might get even cheaper hitngs.
I'n not near to Slovenia. Parts are sometimes cheaper abroad but shipping rates are higher so it's usually not worth it.


The thing is if you choose Athlon the motherboard with AMD chipset will also be cheaper than Intel.

On integrated graphics: how does AMD+ATI and AMD+NVIDIA compare?

cascade9
April 14th, 2010, 10:15 AM
- processor for about 40-45 EUR (Sempron might also be good for this kind of work they sell it for 37 here)


I really wouldnt get a sempron. Not that they are bad CPUs, but dual-core does feel lot faster in general, especially for multitasking.


On integrated graphics: how does AMD+ATI and AMD+NVIDIA compare?

Not that much different really.......but for your uses I would get an nVidia chipset for intergrated video (or an AMD non-video chipset and a nVidia card). nVidia hardware video decoding is up and running, ATIs hardware vdieo decoing is still, well, buggy and prone to be changed.

mastablasta
April 15th, 2010, 09:43 AM
video playback for ati is good (wlel depends for which card...). I have ATI Rage 16 MB only and run it full screen on 22" monitor. works nice. no issues. It can also run webcam quite nicely full screen.

AMD+Nvidia seems to be a good choice for a smooth & cheap ride in linux.

renudiz
April 15th, 2010, 09:45 AM
Please search on Google the best deal are there

arod0405
April 15th, 2010, 10:27 AM
I'm investigating and trying to refine my specs (found out I need firewire and IDE). Unfortunately the more I read the more I get confused... so here I am again :)

To summarize: need to build/buy a cheap desktop for my parents. I have spare parts (keyboard and mouse, monitor, case and PSU, dvd burner).

my needs are:
- cheap but durable
- linux friendly (setup/install/driver support, etc.) right now
- decent CPU and video performance (watching videos only, no games at all)
- IDE port for a spare DVD burner
- firewire for a DV cam
- possibly: tv-out; silent, small and efficient

Graphics
Integrated graphics are fine for me. Preferably Intel (OS well supported driver but poor performance even with X4500) or Nvidia (non-free but mature/stable driver and good performace).
Looks like there's plenty of AM3 socket AMD/ATI motherboards but very little AMD/Nvidia offer. I guess if I choose AMD I'll end getting a discrete Nvidia card.

CPU
AMD is cheaper and better value on the low-end. ALso Intel 775 socket will be soon obsolete. Intel motherboards are cheaper and should have IGP working fine with no hassle.

If choosing AMD I guess I should chose AM3 socket and DDR3 for future compatibility. Lots of choices in the < 100EUR range:
- Athlon X2 245: OK and cheap
- Athlon X2 235e: OK and efficient
- Athlon X4 630: better performance, still quite cheap
- Phenom II X2 545: best performance, better value
Any of these could be OK, but can't find a good motherboard.

If choosing Intel:
- Pentium E5400: cheap, decent performance
- core 2 duo E7500: good performance, not cheap
Lots of cheap motherboards. Easier to find one with the features I need.

Motherboard
Less choice if choosing AMD. Mostly AMD/ATI combo. Lack of features (firewire, tv-out) on low-end, AM3 socket products.
More choice and cheaper options for Intel. Presumably no issues with stability but too many chipsets. What to choose? Socket obsolescence.

Any advice?

Thanks!

Temüjin
April 15th, 2010, 06:34 PM
Video card: Nvidia GT220 or GT240: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_gt_220&num=9
Mobo: Something with an AM3 socket and an AMD 770 chipset (no integrated graphics), something like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128431

arod0405
April 16th, 2010, 06:53 AM
Video card: Nvidia GT220 or GT240: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_gt_220&num=9
Mobo: Something with an AM3 socket and an AMD 770 chipset (no integrated graphics), something like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128431

Nvidia 220GT video cards start at 50EUR.

Motherboards with AMD 770 start at 65EUR while 760G (with ATI IGP) start at 50EUR, both with no firewire. Is there a particular reason for preferring 770 over 760G?

It looks like if I want firewire (more $ on motherboard) AMD + discrete Nvidia card is a not-so-cheap option.

cascade9
April 16th, 2010, 08:43 AM
I'm investigating and trying to refine my specs (found out I need firewire and IDE). Unfortunately the more I read the more I get confused... so here I am again :)

To summarize: need to build/buy a cheap desktop for my parents. I have spare parts (keyboard and mouse, monitor, case and PSU, dvd burner).

my needs are:
- cheap but durable
- linux friendly (setup/install/driver support, etc.) right now
- decent CPU and video performance (watching videos only, no games at all)
- IDE port for a spare DVD burner
- firewire for a DV cam
- possibly: tv-out; silent, small and efficient

Cheap but durable? Avoid the really cheap motherboards. Really. Far more problems with them in general.

Linux friendly? You arent going to have any issues with the Core2Duo or AMD/nvidia chipsets. AMD/ATI migth be a bit more difficult. I'd avoid the core i3/i5/i7s, currently.

IDE port for a spare DVD burner? Almost everything you would eb looking at has that. I dont know of any Core2Duo/AMD/nVidia chipset motherboards that dont have an IDE port. (if somebody does, point them out, please!)

Decent CPU? Dependson the CPU you shove in. AMD or Core2Duo have options that are very good (but you will pay moer for a C2D with good perfromance).

Video performance? Go nVidia.everytime. VDPAU is a wonderful thing.

Firewire for a DV cam? The really cheap AMD or Core2Duo motherboards tend not to have it, but they are best avoided anyway...



Graphics
Integrated graphics are fine for me. Preferably Intel (OS well supported driver but poor performance even with X4500) or Nvidia (non-free but mature/stable driver and good performace).
Looks like there's plenty of AM3 socket AMD/ATI motherboards but very little AMD/Nvidia offer. I guess if I choose AMD I'll end getting a discrete Nvidia card.

CPU
AMD is cheaper and better value on the low-end. ALso Intel 775 socket will be soon obsolete. Intel motherboards are cheaper and should have IGP working fine with no hassle.

Are you planning on upgrading the CPU anytime soon? If not, then 'socket obsolescence' is not a problem. BTW, LGA 775 is already 'obsolete' and its also possible to run AM3 CPUs on most AM2+ motherboards. nVidia AM2+ is still an option.



If choosing AMD I guess I should chose AM3 socket and DDR3 for future compatibility. Lots of choices in the < 100EUR range:
- Athlon X2 245: OK and cheap
- Athlon X2 235e: OK and efficient
- Athlon X4 630: better performance, still quite cheap
- Phenom II X2 545: best performance, better value
Any of these could be OK, but can't find a good motherboard.

If choosing Intel:
- Pentium E5400: cheap, decent performance
- core 2 duo E7500: good performance, not cheap
Lots of cheap motherboards. Easier to find one with the features I need.

Phenom II X2 545 would be faster on single-threaded programs, but for multi-tasking, or multi-threaded programs the X4 630 would be faster.

If the E5400 has 'decent' perfromance then the X2 240/245 is about as faster, and better on multimedia-

http://en.hardspell.com/doc/enshowcont.asp?id=6438&pageid=4852



Motherboard
Less choice if choosing AMD. Mostly AMD/ATI combo. Lack of features (firewire, tv-out) on low-end, AM3 socket products.
More choice and cheaper options for Intel. Presumably no issues with stability but too many chipsets. What to choose? Socket obsolescence.

Any advice?

Thanks!

AMD/ATI onboard works..but TV out is going to be an issue.


Nvidia 220GT video cards start at 50EUR.

Motherboards with AMD 770 start at 65EUR while 760G (with ATI IGP) start at 50EUR, both with no firewire. Is there a particular reason for preferring 770 over 760G?

It looks like if I want firewire (more $ on motherboard) AMD + discrete Nvidia card is a not-so-cheap option.

The onboard video with ATI just isnt up to the same level as an nVidia card. You would also get TV-out from them which works well, not on the ATI (as far as I know).

An AMD770/GT220 would destroy the Intel options for multimedia. You wouldnt 'need' a GT220, its just a good choice, but even a 8400GS would be much better on multimedia than the intel options.

Some of the cheaper 770s dont have firewire, but the gigabyte that Temüjin linked is fast, reliable, has firewire and USB3.0/SATA3 (its actually what I would get, so I migth be biased) . Its in a different class to the intel options IMO.

arod0405
April 16th, 2010, 09:35 AM
Cheap but durable? Avoid the really cheap motherboards. Really. Far more problems with them in general.

Linux friendly? You arent going to have any issues with the Core2Duo or AMD/nvidia chipsets. AMD/ATI migth be a bit more difficult. I'd avoid the core i3/i5/i7s, currently.

Fine, iX series excluded.


Video performance? Go nVidia.everytime. VDPAU is a wonderful thing.

I'm willing go Nvidia because of VDPAU. Is 210GT a viable alternative? It's cheaper (35EUR vs 50EUR) and I don't need 3D performance.


Are you planning on upgrading the CPU anytime soon? If not, then 'socket obsolescence' is not a problem. BTW, LGA 775 is already 'obsolete' and its also possible to run AM3 CPUs on most AM2+ motherboards. nVidia AM2+ is still an option.

AFAIK running AM3 CPUs on AM2+ socket decreases bus speed (stated on gigabyte website). Anyway I'm more concerned about upgrading the RAM. With AM2+ I'm stuck with DDR2 modules (not a problem right now but probably more expensive than DDR3 in the future). If so maybe I'd better get an AM3 socket motherboard. Am I right?


Phenom II X2 545 would be faster on single-threaded programs, but for multi-tasking, or multi-threaded programs the X4 630 would be faster.

If the E5400 has 'decent' perfromance then the X2 240/245 is about as faster, and better on multimedia-

http://en.hardspell.com/doc/enshowcont.asp?id=6438&pageid=4852

I'll choose among Athlon X2 245, Athlon X2 235e or Phenom II X2 545 (cheap, efficient or performance); 50 to 75 EUR range. I guess four cores is off-budget and overkill for my parents.


AMD/ATI onboard works..but TV out is going to be an issue.

The onboard video with ATI just isnt up to the same level as an nVidia card. You would also get TV-out from them which works well, not on the ATI (as far as I know).

Ok. AMD with onboard ATI excluded.


An AMD770/GT220 would destroy the Intel options for multimedia. You wouldnt 'need' a GT220, its just a good choice, but even a 8400GS would be much better on multimedia than the intel options.

Some of the cheaper 770s dont have firewire, but the gigabyte that Temüjin linked is fast, reliable, has firewire and USB3.0/SATA3 (its actually what I would get, so I migth be biased) . Its in a different class to the intel options IMO.

It sells at 90EUR here. Not cheap but good features.
I guess I have to make some math, compare with a similar Intel solution and fit these parts in my budget.

Thank for the advices. Very useful!