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The Perfect Motherboard-CPU Bundle: A Few Examples

written by: •edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 7/2/2010

In my first article I described what to look for in a Motherboard-CPU bundle. In this one I will go through a couple of examples of good MB-CPU combos to provide you with a place to start.

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    Running through Some Examples

    Now that we have gone through what to look for in a MB-CPU bundle lets look at few examples. These are simply current examples from Newegg. Keep in mind that these are always changing. Not only are new versions and models of MBs and CPUs being released but every website will have different bundles available at any given time. Tomorrow these bundles might not even be offered.

    For the sake of the article I am using Newegg and will quickly run through the things to think about with each. You could easily do this from TigerDirect or any other computer parts website. For the sake of brevity, I will do two bundles for each price range.

    (Note: all pictures are from Newegg)

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    Budget Price Range Example #1

    Over at Newegg they will always have a fantastic deal on a really cheap MB-CPU bundle. The one today is this one:

    Intel Celeron E3300 Wolfdale 2.5GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

    ECS G41T-M(2.0) LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    This bundle is priced at $89 with an $18 mail-in rebate. This is an incredible price! Here's what we can note about this combo:

    • The prices of the MB and CPU are about the same but the CPU is a little more expensive. Normal priced, the CPU runs at $50 and the MB runs at $60.
    • That also means you're getting a good discount buying them together.
    • Checking reviews for the CPU you'll see it has high ratings but they are all from early to mid 2009. That just means its an older model. Thats fine, if you're going for a budget PC there's nothing wrong with buying last years mid-range hardware for dirt cheap.
    • The MB has a mix of reviews some of which are from people who have had it for a while. For instance, one reviewer says he's had it for a year and its working fine.
    • Check why people left 1 star reviews. Most of them were because the motherboard was Dead on Arrival (DOA). This would be a cause for worry except that the manufacturer wrote personalized responses for each and every one star review. This is always a sign of good service. Any MB will have a certain number of DOAs and for this price it might be worth the risk.
    • Statistically you can see you're getting a dual-core processor that is only running at 2.5 Ghz, but this is enough for every day internet and word processing use.
    • The MB has onboard Audio and Video so you don't need to buy a video card with this. Of course it will not run much more than your every day stuff--don't expect to be playing movies on it. Also it has limited ports but, again, fine for a minimalist usage.

    Verdict: Not a bad combo if you have a really tight budget. Go for it.

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    Budget Price Range Example #2

    This next one is a little more expensive:

    Intel Pentium E5300 Wolfdale 2.6GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80571E5300

    BIOSTAR G31-M7 TE LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    This bundle is priced at $104.98. Lets look at a few things:

    • First off, the MB is cheaper than the processor. You're getting a $50 MB and a $$65 processor and saving $12 getting it as a combo.
    • Checking the CPU for reviews you'll see it has about 140 reviews almost all of them 5 stars. This must be a good buy. You're also working with 2.6 GHz, a little better than the one in our other budget example. Interestingly enough these reviews are newer which means its probably an old model thats been updated and repackaged for the budget price-range.
    • Checking the MB for reviews has me a little worried. Of only 27 reviews 19% were 1 star. This means it might have problems. Some of them are DOAs but only one has a manufacturer response. Some of them suggest there are problems with the BIOS, which is basically the Motherboards internal operating instructions. Some of those things can be fixed by experienced users but it might be reason to shy away from it. Also, a lot of the five star reviews are from 2008, which is really old in computer terms. But again, no problem getting hardware that was good 2 years ago as long as it will work with current software. One review indicates that it will function well with Windows 7 as long as you update the BIOS.
    • Note that the MB only has 2 memory slots which limits how much RAM you can put in.
    • This one has integrated video and audio as well.

    Verdict: Consider buying this if you want a good, cheap solid processor but don't mind the cheaper motherboard.

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    The Perfect Motherboard-CPU Bundle: Mid-Range ExamplesFor those who are looking for a mid-range priced motherboard-CPU bundle here are a few examples to help you get started in your selection. It includes some things you can think about as you are comparing prices and looking at reviews for this range of motherboard and processors.
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    Mid-Range Example #1

    Here's one on the lower side of this range:

    Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6500 Wolfdale 2.93GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

    Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop

    This bundle is priced at $129. Not too bad.

    • In this one the processor is about $20 more expensive than the MB. However, the motherboard is Asus which (currently) has a good reputation for quality and durability. So that's a good sign.
    • Reviews confirm this generally. But looking at the reviews reveals why the motherboard is cheaper: they cut some corners on this motherboard's ports. For instance, one reviewer notices that it only accepts a few kinds of RAM. This is ok, especially because it does accept DDR3 you just have to make sure you grab the right speed. Another reviewer notes that it requires a 24 pin EATX power supply so some cheaper power supplies may not suffice. However, as long as you get the right parts it looks like the board functions well.
    • The CPU gets almost all 5 star reviews. Excellent there.
    • Operationally, this CPU-MB bundle looks like it will give you a good performance for running basic components and possibly videos--but you'd probably want to add in another video card to help the onboard video.

    Verdict: Seems like a good solid buy for a good price. A computer with this combo should come out to about $450

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    Mid Range Example #2

    This next one is a good midrange price range for those who will want to do some light gaming and full media PCs.

    GIGABYTE GA-H57M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H57 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3530

    This bundle is getting up there. $219.18 for the bundle. But this is about the price point you'll really want for the middle price

    range.

    • Here the MB and CPU are almost exactly the same price individually.
    • CPU has fantastic reviews and is a newer model. The i3s just came out a few months ago so you're not shorting yourself at all by getting this.
    • The MB has some mixed reviews. However, reading through the reviews you'll see a lot of them were minor issues and the major issues were responded to by Gigabyte. In general, I like Gigabyte because its what I'm currently using and it's been a nice durable motherboard with few issues. When I have had problems Gigabyte customer support has been good.
    • Good thing is that this MB supports some good speeds in RAM, a full audio card, and plenty of great ports on the back (including some USB 3 and an HDMI). No audio card but if you are getting this for a media or gaming pc you'll want your own anyways.

    Verdict: This would be a great base for your media or gaming PC. The extra ports on the MB give it great connect-ability and the processor is new and and fast for this price. However, just be sure to call Gigabyte if you have any problems in getting it set up.

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    The Perfect Motherboard-CPU Bundle: High End ExamplesBuilding a gaming or media PC? The hardest part of building a PC can be selecting a great motherboard and CPU to get you started. Here are a few examples with some thoughts to help you get started in choosing a Motherboard-processor combination.
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    High End Example #1

    Now we're getting into the higher end of things. This can get expensive but also give you excellent features and really fast speeds.

    Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750

    EVGA P55 LE 123-LF-E653-KR LGA1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

    This is a terrific looking bundle. Lets see how it looks under examination:

    • Here you've got a more expensive processor and a less expensive motherboard. $194 and $139. This is a good choice for those just barely reaching into this price range.
    • You've got a really fast, really new processor here. Its a quad-core running at 2.66 GHz a core. The reviews are raving as they often are with new Intels.
    • The Motherboard has some good reviews with only one 1 star (of 40 reviews). Again, EVGA is a good brand especially for gamers.
    • The MB does seem to have some limitations by way of ports. It doesn't have anything new and special there but does have a lot of USB 2.0 ports. Still if you're trying to go cutting edge might want to look for a better one.
    • The RAM speeds supported are fast but might actually be harder to find RAM for.

    Verdict: If you want to build a good gaming or great media PC go ahead and go for it or look around for one like it.

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    High End Example #2

    Here is a much higher end example for those who really don't care too much about money.

    Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I7860

    EVGA 160-LF-E659-KR LGA 1156 Intel P55 Classified 200 SLI Extended ATX Intel Motherboard

    This bundle costs $577. This would be fine for a computer budget between $1200 and $1500. In that case you'd want to spend this much to get a good foundation for your computer.

    • The MB-CPU price balance is similar here but you're actually spending a little more on the MB.
    • Reviews are top notch on both. Its hard to find something to complain about.
    • This MB will run super fast RAM and has a ton of ports for you. Plus one of the things that is harder to see is that it has a better chipset. This is normally what you are paying for when you pay more for a MB.
    • The processor is really up towards the high end--you'd have to get the outrageously priced "Extreme Editions" to get faster right now.

    Verdict: Buy this sort of thing if you are a heavy gamer, graphics artist, or heavy heavy media user. Realize though that for all of these you'll need a lot of more expensive RAM and a good video card (at least $200) to match.

The Perfect Motherboard-CPU Bundle

Building a new desktop but don't know what to look for when buying a motherboard and CPU? This series explains what to look for in buying a motherboard and CPU combo and then contains a few suggestions.
  1. The Perfect Motherboard-CPU Bundle: What to look for
  2. The Perfect Motherboard-CPU Bundle: A Few Examples