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Sharky Extreme : Monthly High-end Gaming System Buyer's Guide February 20, 2012
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Monthly High-end Gaming System Buyer's Guide

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February High-end Gaming PC Buyer's Guide

By Vince Freeman :  February 23, 2009

AMD Motherboard: ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe (790FX)

Current Cost: $200
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

Although the upgrade to the Phenom II X4 940 doesn't require a new platform, we are looking to change to a newer model just to ensure the highest performance and stability. Both the 790FX and 790GX are great matches for this processor, but due to the higher-end features and motherboard configurations found on 790FX models, that's our target this month. The ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe is a very popular model for new AM2+ Phenom II systems, and one that offers everything our high-end configuration demands.

The ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe is powered by the AMD 790FX chipset, and includes four PCI Express graphics slots (PCIe 2.0/1.0), supporting dual and triple-PCI Express 2.0 modes, and four memory sockets with support for up to 16GB of DDR2-1066. Other features include an 8+2 phase power design, full Phenom II AM2+/AM3 support up to 140W TDP, SATA 3.0 Gb/s with RAID, Gigabit LAN, 8-channel audio, IEEE 1394, and CrossFireX multi-GPU technology.

Another potential AMD 790X platform is the ASUS M4A79 Deluxe, which offers a very similar motherboard base, and is a nice AMD 790FX alternative if the M3A79-T Deluxe is unavailable.

The only potential caveat to this, or any other AMD board intended for Phenom II usage, is the BIOS revision, and we'd recommend confirming with the vendor that the motherboard ships with a Phenom II-compliant BIOS.

Intel Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum SLI (X58)

Current Cost: $225
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

Unlike the Phenom II, the upgrade to a Core i7 processor does require a motherboard upgrade, specifically one using the Intel X58 chipset. Initially, these were extremely high priced, but as more boards hit the market, prices have dropped noticeably. This has allowed us to purchase a high-end MSI X58 Platinum SLI motherboard with all the performance and features that our readers demand.

The MSI X58 Platinum SLI supports all LGA1366 Core i7 processors, and offers a full QuickPath interface at 6.4GT/second. It is powered by the popular Intel X58/ ICH10R chipset combo, and includes six DDR3 sockets capable of handling up to 24GB of triple-channel DDR3-1066/1333, or even DDR3-1600 (overclocked), memory. The board includes dual PCI Express 2.0 x16 graphics, along with SATA 3.0 Gb/s with RAID, Gigabit LAN, 8-channel audio, and IEEE 1394.

MSI has not only packed a ton of features into their X58 Platinum SLI motherboard, but has even included a nice bonus - along with CrossFireX support, the latest revision has added NVIDIA SLI to the mix. This makes the MSI X58 Platinum SLI a serious challenger in the X58 market, and its $225 price tag creates an excellent value for high-end Intel buyers.


Page 1

Introduction and Case

Page 2

Processors and Cooling

  • Page 3

    Motherboards

    Page 4

    Memory, Hard Drive and DVD Writer

    Page 5

    Video Card, LCD Display and Audio

    Page 6

    Mouse and Keyboard

    Page 7

    Communications, Operating System, etc.

    Page 8

    Price Roundup and Closing Remarks