AMD Combo-shuffling madness

I’m not a big fan of AMD but I’ve always found myself buying AMD combos since ever. That trend continued as I had an ECS NForce4M-A and AMD X2 4200 from 2007. I had to pass that down to my dad so I bought myself a Gigabyte MA74GM-S2 rev1 and AMD X2 4850e (mATX, low-power, PCI-E x16 below the PCI-E x1, somewhat interchangeable with my old combo… sad how these are “features” to me)

Basically with the advent of HDTV and Windows 7, demands have grown increasingly high for powerful platforms that are capable of smoothly playing HD video, even in Flash. I needed a system that was decent but not top-of-the-line, and thanks to Windows Experience Index I found out that my CPU was the bottleneck of the system.

I needed a DVR/HTPC for myself as well so I bought a AMD LE-1640 + MSI K9N6PGM2-V2 combo from Fry’s .. and they had the Athlon II X2 240 combo for the same price before I got any good use out of it. Lame. Long story short, the video card on the X2 4200 combo broke so I lost my DVR/HTPC to give it to him. Except this time, I paired the X2 4200 with the MSI K9N6PGM2-V2 so that he could have better performance (the LE-1640 is only meant for a HTPC.)

It was long before I managed to replace the HTPC.. I ended up buying a Asus M3N78-VM + AMD Phenom II X2 550 combo. The motherboard was appealing because it had an onboard GeForce8 with all HDMI/DVI/VGA and optical sound outputs, AM2/AM2+/AM3 support for flexibility, 4 RAM slots, x16 below the x1.. yeah. (I want the x16 below the x1 because my 9600GSO is dual-slot and I would prefer it that way anyways.) The CPU was not that appealing but in fact it seems to be AMD’s strongest dual-core processor, and it’s 80W which is higher than 45/65 but not quite 125/145. I prefer dual-core over quad-core for better single-thread performance. But basically I bought this combo to use the CPU for myself and the motherboard with awesome integrated video for my HTPC. AMD, more mATX and x16 below x1 made it flexible in case I wanted to swap things around some more.

So now I have the AMD Phenom II X2 550 inside my Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 Rev1. That required a BIOS update to work and I’m glad it worked. The Asus M3N78-VM holds the AMD LE-1640 as the HTPC. My dad’s using the MSI K9N6PGM2-V2 with the X2 4200, and the NForce4M-A is being unused and holding the AMD 4850e until I find a cheap video card that can hardware accelerate HD video and flash. (There were a few $15-20 deals that I’ve missed…)

But yeah. 4 combos and not a single one is stuck with its “proper” CPU. Awesome =)


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