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jmke 31st December 2008 13:47

Mid-End AM2+ Motherboard Roundup
A year ago, when Socket AM2+ just rolled out, there were problems because of delayed Phenom shipments, but now the market apparently accepted this platform, and it's become quite popular.

It's too early to write off Athlons, of course. They even prevail in inexpensive computers (fortunately, they can be installed in new motherboards for Socket AM2+). But it must be noted that the recent price drop lowered cheaper quad-core Phenoms (9550) below $150, and triple-core models sank even below $100. It makes Phenoms a more practical choice for a generic Mid-End computer (especially as Intel offers only dual-core processors in this price range). It's takes AMD much effort to stand against Intel's PR machine, of course, and there are not many CPU reviews which would emulate typical user activities instead of just publishing points or seconds. But a lot of users have probably learned from their own experience that extra cores indeed affect ergonomics, "making room" for background processes and executing them efficiently (unnoticeable to users). Upgrade to such processors is not as noticeable as, for example, a new graphics card, which allows to play modern games. But from the practical point of view, it only means that everything depends on a price. If extra comfort is not very expensive, much more people can afford it.

However, meticulous users have already adopted an absolutely correct idea -- to compare not only CPU prices, but also platform costs (including motherboards and memory). And Socket AM2+ has many trump cards here, primarily owing to inexpensive and functional chipsets from AMD and NVIDIA. Let's start from the chipsets.

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