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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
7252 posts
441 upvotes
York

Best CPU For $130?

My computer is 10 years old and I'm feeling the effects. Can't run YouTube full screen, etc. I'm looking to keep most of my current components (PSU, HDD) and buy a new GPU, mobo, RAM, and CPU. I'm starting off with choosing a processor, which will then dictate which motherboard I go with.

Budget for the CPU is $130. I want to be able to do everyday tasks smoothly, and game a bit. Nothing hardcore - counter strike, TF2, GTA V, COD. Overclocking would be nice to have just in case. I do some very basic video editing as well but even then my current PC lags.

Clearly, I don't have the money or need for an i7, nor do I want its power. I've been looking at the FX-6300 as it's dropping in price and wondering if that's the best option for me.

Any recommendations are greatly appreciated :) TIA
38 replies
Deal Expert
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Oct 13, 2002
19332 posts
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Just curious ... What do you have now ?
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
28911 posts
9400 upvotes
Up your budget to $160, buy an i3-6100 and call it a day. B150 motherboards can be had at decent prices and you probably need new RAM anyway (I'm assuming you're on DDR2 if it's 10 years old)--just skip DDR3 and go DDR4 and Skylake.

For the GPU, wait until the end of the month when Polaris cards launch and you should be all all set.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
7252 posts
441 upvotes
York
Gee wrote: For that price, you're looking at an i3 or an A10
CPU Benchmark says FX > A10
willy wrote: Just curious ... What do you have now ?
Athlon X2 5600
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
7252 posts
441 upvotes
York
ES_Revenge wrote: Up your budget to $160, buy an i3-6100 and call it a day. B150 motherboards can be had at decent prices and you probably need new RAM anyway (I'm assuming you're on DDR2 if it's 10 years old)--just skip DDR3 and go DDR4 and Skylake.

For the GPU, wait until the end of the month when Polaris cards launch and you should be all all set.
My budget is $130. If I had a budget of $160 I would say it's $160 :)
Member
Dec 7, 2015
479 posts
104 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
Don't budget the parts - budget for the overall cost. Then you'll have the flexibility to mix and match. I.e. what you pay extra for a CPU may save on the MB.

BTW - I looked at doing this for someone's computer and realized it's a much better value just buying a new computer. You can't get parts for the same price as a complete machine - especially if you're planning on running Windows. You'll buy Windows at retail for a home-built versus buying bundled Windows for a complete machine - that will save you something like $50-$70. If you are running GNU/Linux, that's different.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
7252 posts
441 upvotes
York
All I need is RAM, a mobo, and a CPU. I was thinking ~$130 for the CPU, $60 for the mobo, and occasionally I see RAM on "Hot Deals" for $50 (8gb). Total budget for those 3 is $250
Member
Dec 7, 2015
479 posts
104 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
If you change the MB and CPU you won't be able to re-use Windows - do you have a spare windows license? Otherwise, budget that.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
7252 posts
441 upvotes
York
willilumplump wrote: If you change the MB and CPU you won't be able to re-use Windows - do you have a spare windows license? Otherwise, budget that.
Why can't I just use my HDD that has Windows on it already?
Member
Dec 7, 2015
479 posts
104 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
It won't work. When windows installs, it set the OS up for that one computer and the activation records (at MS servers) the identifying characteristics of the computer. Change too much and it becomes a different computer and won't work.

Hardware changes mean driver changes and Windows won't automatically change the drivers. That means that the computer likely won't even boot from the new MB and CPU. You might be able to coax it to run by booting off the install CD and running repair. Even if it booted, Windows will detect the changes and phone home to verify that you're activated. Since the MB and CPU don't match, MS assumes you're using the OS on a new machine and says: no go, buy a new license.

Even if you want to continue using the old HDD, you'll need to reinstall the OS so it will boot cleanly. Then it won't likely activate.
Deal Addict
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Mar 1, 2003
1701 posts
165 upvotes
Scarborough
If the original OS is a retail version (as opposed to OEM) you'll be able to reactivate on your new system. You might need to get in touch with MS support, but you'll be able to do it.

As far as reinstalling Windows goes, don't waste your time. I once swapped from AMD to Intel and the system booted up to Windows just fine with the new mobo and CPU. I only had to install the new drivers and I was set.
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Jul 8, 2010
7252 posts
441 upvotes
York
willilumplump wrote: It won't work. When windows installs, it set the OS up for that one computer and the activation records (at MS servers) the identifying characteristics of the computer. Change too much and it becomes a different computer and won't work.

Hardware changes mean driver changes and Windows won't automatically change the drivers. That means that the computer likely won't even boot from the new MB and CPU. You might be able to coax it to run by booting off the install CD and running repair. Even if it booted, Windows will detect the changes and phone home to verify that you're activated. Since the MB and CPU don't match, MS assumes you're using the OS on a new machine and says: no go, buy a new license.

Even if you want to continue using the old HDD, you'll need to reinstall the OS so it will boot cleanly. Then it won't likely activate.
tritium4ever wrote: If the original OS is a retail version (as opposed to OEM) you'll be able to reactivate on your new system. You might need to get in touch with MS support, but you'll be able to do it.

As far as reinstalling Windows goes, don't waste your time. I once swapped from AMD to Intel and the system booted up to Windows just fine with the new mobo and CPU. I only had to install the new drivers and I was set.
Thanks, didn't know that.

Still looking for spec advice for $250 - mobo, CPU, RAM.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
28911 posts
9400 upvotes
dankup wrote: My budget is $130. If I had a budget of $160 I would say it's $160 :)
Uh yeah but it's $30 more, perhaps even $20 if you just look for a sale:
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12201116491

But if you're gonna be stubborn about it, good luck to you. Buy something a small amount less but a whole lot worse/with a shorter usable life before it goes obsolete. Up to you.
Sr. Member
Nov 28, 2013
501 posts
226 upvotes
Increase your budget and get a new PSU.

You should not be reusing your 10 year old PSU. Whwn it goes it'll take your other components with it.

I was lucky, when my Antec Quattro PSU went it only took 1 HD with it.

And consider getting an SSD, it will make load times so much faster, and your computer experience zippy overall.
Deal Addict
Aug 23, 2013
1246 posts
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Vaughan
dankup wrote: All I need is RAM, a mobo, and a CPU. I was thinking ~$130 for the CPU, $60 for the mobo, and occasionally I see RAM on "Hot Deals" for $50 (8gb). Total budget for those 3 is $250
FX-6300 with an M5A97 2.0 and then get your ram.
I had this setup a couple of years back and it did everything you're asking for. I just sold the FX-6100 on Kijiji for $40 with a brand new heat sink fan. I originally posted for $100 because I thought it was the 6300 but I wasn't paying attention when posting and I felt bad for the buyer so I said just take it for $40 lol.
Deal Expert
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Mar 14, 2009
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Can the OP not get a Skylake i3 CPU and then overclock it with the right motherboard and BIOS? I was reading not long ago that there was a way to overclock non-K Skylake CPUs. OP if you can do this it's going to be your best option by far for that price.

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