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Old July 29, 2009, 01:56 PM
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Default Phenom II X2 550 BE the new "best bang for buck" CPU?

Hoping to finally get around to building a new cheap gaming rig, and had been looking at the E7200's & E5200's (maybe an E8400 if I could find an extra $50) but I was browsing the processor reviews over at the egg and these things have been getting rave reviews.

Seems like with the right MB you have a good chance of unlocking the two unused cores, and it seems to o/c well with lots of people reporting quad core @ 3.8...for under $120???

Couple of people reporting better performance than they had with Q6600's & E8400's in the same system.

Anyone here have one? Thoughts on it?
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Old July 29, 2009, 02:06 PM
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spend an extra 200 bucks and get a 920 and an x58
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Old July 29, 2009, 02:43 PM
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Maybe I should have clarified in my original post:

Best bang for buck for a gaming system on a budget.
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Old July 29, 2009, 03:21 PM
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If you're going for performance/dollar ratio, I'd say the 550 BE would certainly rank up there. You can even use HWC's very own comparison charts to stack it up against the competition. Not to mention the entire AMD platform is cheaper, so you'll typically get an equal performing AM3 board for less than a 775 board.

My biggest piece of advice concerning this, however, is not to buy the 550 just in the hopes of unlocking the extra cores. Very few of them are able to be unlocked, and even fewer still are stable when they do unlock; especially if you're planning on OC'ing.

But that aside, the 550 is a great processor with great performance. For a value gaming system, I really can't see you being dissapointed; even running it stock with 2 cores. And if you pair it with a 790x board (fx if you're running crossfire) you're more than good to go.
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Old July 29, 2009, 03:30 PM
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I'd just like to add to Caldezar's post. You don't need a 790X motherboard. It seems that the cheaper AMD motherboards such as the Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3 does just as well in overclocking and unlocking cores, provided that you get the SB710 version.
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Old July 29, 2009, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geokilla View Post
It seems that the cheaper AMD motherboards such as the Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3 does just as well in overclocking and unlocking cores, provided that you get the SB710 version.
Ah, if you can go that route, then yes, it would be much cheaper and just as viable. I was simply under the impression that the only boards that had a guaranteed shot at unlocking cores were the 790 series. But I'm likely wrong as I haven't done too much research on it. That happens often enough that I'm used to it... Heck! If you talk to my wife; I haven't been right for years!
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Old July 31, 2009, 12:18 AM
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I have put together this setup for my second workstation which is based on a core unlocked X2 550.

Antec Three Hundred Case
Gigabyte GA790x-UD4P
AMD Phenom II X2 550 (0919BPMW)
Xigamatek SD965 92mm Heatsink/Fan
Seasonic S12II 500W Power Supply
Seagate 7200.12 500Gig Hard Drive
4gig (2x2gig) G.Skill PC2-8500 DDR2
LG DVD Burner

Presently I have the system unlocked to 4 cores at 3.82Ghz Prime stable at 1.425v. Unlocking this series was almost a joke. There are two main settings, depending on you motherboard, which have to be changed and it just worked. Getting a stable overclock may require some adjustments though.

The trick with the 550 is to know which ones have the best chance at unlocking. The possibility of getting 4 stable cores out of a known unlock friendly x2 550 such as my 0919BPMW or the 0920, 0921 & 0922 series is actually very high, naturally with the right board & bios. There are some such as the 0915's or the 0924's that have a much lower chance of successfully getting the 4 cores unlocked let alone stable.

To see a good indication of core unlock success or failure based on the info I posted above go here for example.
X2 550 Unlocking & Overclocking Consolidated - XtremeSystems Forums

Here is a good checklist for taking a stab at unlocking the 550's extra 2 cores.

1) Know your steppings. Unlocking hopes & dreams can end before they start if you pick up the wrong one. Ordering the X2 550 online could be a crap shoot because you get what they give you regardless. I actually purchased my X2 550 at Comp USA in North Carolina when I was on vacation a short time ago. I asked to see the boxes of all the 550's, they had about 8 in stock, & they were all 0919BPMW's :). If you know what steppings give the best chance at unlocking you will maximize your chances right there at the retailer by choosing the right cpu.

2) AMD 790 & 750 motherboards are your best bet although some Nvidia based motherboards, can't remember which right now, also can unlock the two extra cores with the proper bios naturally . BTW the GA-MA770-UD3 uses the 770 NB & 700 SB so it's an ok choice although it's only lately that a good core unlocking friendly bios was released for it. Still it's a good choice specially when you look at it's price. The GA790x-UD4P is a great safe choice since the initial release of beta bios F5A and now with release bios F5 it's known to be a very good unlocker. There are also boards from AsRock, DFI, Biostar & others that are good unlockers as well but please note. The Motherboard chipset, with respect to the AMD 770 or 790 series for example, does NOT guarantee a core unlock. The provided bios has to have the ability to do this or it's no go.

3) Going form 2 to 4 extra cores will produce more heat and the stock heatsink may be inadequate unless you want to run your new 4 core X2 B50 (That's what it's called now in my bios) at stock speeds. I almost never use stock cooling anyways so invest in something like a Xigmatek HDT-S1284 which is priced very well & is an excellent cooler. Remember you will be building the system around a quad core not a dual core...........hopefully. :)

4) Some patient reading on the intricacies of Phenom II overclocking, in particular an unlocked X2 550, is in order. Being a black edition the x2 550 can be easily overclocked, at least initially, by just changing the cpu multiplier. You milage may vary though.

5) Enjoy getting something for nothing............
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Old July 31, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Is there any relation to the batch numbers of the X4's to the X2's? That may prove to be useful in determining the accessibility of unlocking cores...
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Old July 31, 2009, 04:44 PM
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are you oc'ing with just the multiplier or?
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Old July 31, 2009, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojangles View Post
Is there any relation to the batch numbers of the X4's to the X2's? That may prove to be useful in determining the accessibility of unlocking cores...

Not sure about this. The link i posted previously though has a link to a source for determining which batch numbers are best.
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