Poll: If you were building a PC now, what socket would you choose?

In both our latest system guide and our processor value comparo, we pointed out that AMD’s Socket AM2+ and AM3 platforms actually have a better upgrade path than their direct competition. Intel is about to switch sockets for its mainstream processors, leaving LGA775 in the dust.

AMD’s Phenom II processors also happen to be quite competitive, but our observation raises an interesting question: just what socket would you, the reader, pick if you were building a system for yourself today? Would you go the AMD route for the better upgrade path or stick with good old LGA775 hardware? Would you make the jump straight to LGA1366 with a Core i7? And, if you were going with AMD, would you choose Socket AM2+ to save money or Socket AM3 for DDR3 support (knowing that AM3 CPUs also work on AM2+ mobos)?

Those are the questions we’re asking in our latest poll. Feel free to cast your vote either below or on our front page to let us know where you stand.

Our previous poll focused on Nvidia’s new mobile GPUs, and we asked how you felt about the firm selling a G92-powered graphics solution as a GeForce GTX 280M. 56% of voters believed the move to be “absolutely misleading and wrong,” while 21% voted “borderline unethical,” so about four fifths of voters don’t like the branding. 15% took the middle road, saying the move was fair game but confusing, while 8% thought Nvidia did a good job.

Comments closed
    • pullmyfoot
    • 11 years ago

    I voted Am3. I would consider AM2+ and a 720/940 though, since I can reuse my (very expensive when I bought it) DDR2 ram. Might as well since it still works. I also have tons of DDR2 lying around collecting dust. I currently have an older AM2 (without the plus) board with a 5200+ x2 @ 3.16Ghz and a 4850, which really is enough for me IMO. I want a new CPU for the sake of a new CPU :p.

    I think someone said this somewhere below, but I’ll say it again since its probably lost somewhere in that jungle. Its really nice to see that AM3 came in a strong second after i7 even on an enthusiast site like this. Shows how much AMD really screwed up over the past few years if its market share sucked when over 30% (AM2+ and AM3) of voters on an enthusiast site would buy a new system from them instead of the competition.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 11 years ago

    i7 as a future socket is about as certian as 775. the core 2 quads might still rule the roost of price preformance for mid range pcs but the fact that their socket is dead kinda deters me from buying into that socket type, AM3 looks really good as a long term investment vs. intels uncertain offerings. i mean core i5 isn’t that going to be a new socket too. how long with the i7 socket even last? and i don’t like the fact that they are followingup 775 with two sockets segmenting the market further.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      In theory i5 CPUs could be cheaper if they can do away with some of the server-oriented features that use die space so that’s not a bad thing (I didn’t look up Core i5 rumors/specs so may be a bit off there.)

    • Mr Bill
    • 11 years ago

    Still running a couple dual MP systems. If I had the dough, I would build a dual socket 1207(F) with AMD’s 45nm shanghai CPU’s. I’ve been thinking about the TYAN S2932G2NR-E since my SATA and SCSI raid controllers are PCI-X and I guess I would have to get PCI-e video cards. I suppose there’s not much hope for DDR3 and PCI-X on the same motherboard.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    I finally voted other to signify that it depends upon intended use as per my previous post. In reality I have no reason to buy a new PC platform and anyone who is an enthusiast and has bought within the last 2 years probably doesn’t either, maybe an upgrade or two but that’s it. ‘Other’ also signifies that I’m much more interested in what things look like after Core i5 comes out.

    • MrBojangles
    • 11 years ago

    I made this exact decision just last week. Replaced my MSI P43Neo-F motherboard and e4300 overclocked @3.2ghz. With a msi k9a2 platinum and Phenom II x3 720 overclocked to 3.5ghz. Was originally going to get a q9400 but decided on going amd after i saw the 720’s reviews and realized i could get better motherboard with more upgrade options and a better cpu for only bout 30-40dollars more.

    • jss21382
    • 11 years ago

    I just built 3 boxes last week and they were all am2. The other options are great, but when you can get an x2, 4 gigs of ram, a 4830, 640gb hard drive, plus the other odds and ends for well under 500 bucks and have a relatively decent gaming machine for a couple years it’s hard to go wrong.

    • fpsduck
    • 11 years ago

    I’ll wait for LGA1156 or whatever LGAxxxx that will come out at Q4 this year.
    In the meantime, I’ll skip LGA1366 without regret.

      • packfan_dave
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, my inclination if I were in the market for a new desktop would be to wait a few months for i5. Though my next PC will probably be a Westemere-family notebook.

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    If I was building today, and looking for best price/performance (rather than bleeding edge performance) I’d go with AM2+.

    I also have to say that the last two builds I’ve done — both of which were AM2/AM2+ systems using Asus motherboards — have been the most trouble-free builds I’ve done in a while. Everything just worked on the first try. Yes, I know it was probably just luck, but nonetheless this is yet another factor which would predispose me to go the AM2+ route.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      I’m curious what types of problems you’ve had before? Were they more software or hardware-related?

      I can honestly say that in my years of buying PC parts I’ve b[

        • just brew it!
        • 11 years ago

        RAM/motherboard incompatibility, mostly. I’ve had a few past builds where the RAM would not run at rated speed without a little tweaking.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 11 years ago

          Oh, nothing major or build-stopping then. What kind of tweaking? Simple CAS or voltage or advanced BIOS memory settings?

      • pogsnet
      • 11 years ago
    • swaaye
    • 11 years ago

    If you have an app that you use heavily and that app absolutely loves what an i7 can do with a few threads, then the choice is clear. If that platform had DDR2 support, AMD would have nowhere to stand.

    Otherwise, I’m still all about Wolfdale for gamers. It’s fairly cheap, it’s a single-threaded beast, and it runs cool and light on the power.

    On the AMD front, Phenom II is a good choice if you are upgrading a AM2 mobo from an Athlon 64 X2….. And of course a A64X2 is still an awesome budget processor for 95% of the populace.

    • thermistor
    • 11 years ago

    For me, it’s all about the infrastructure. There is so much 775 stuff floating around…i7 is too new, can’t really see what AM3 has that 775 doesn’t already. And don’t really need DDR3 yet, it’s inconsequentially faster at this point than DDR2, though it is coming down greatly in price and getting faster.

    I know AMD and Intel have roadmaps, but what’s already in the wild…a 775 can allow for some really great quad cores, dual cores, whatever.

    And, admittedly, I’m comfortable with 775…anything else, not so much.

    • PRIME1
    • 11 years ago

    Super Socket 7. The greatest socket evah!

    If I could afford it, Core i7 of course nothing seems to come close.

    If could not…… I would wait. Which is exactly where I am at and what I am doing.

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    The issue I have is that Core i5 is going to have yet a different socket, yet is the mainstream option. I now don’t care about having the best CPU on the market place, so I’m all about bang for the buck, so it would be Core i5 or and AMD solution. AM3 looks like a good plan for now, their CPUs are good value at the low end, yet that is more than good enough for me.

    I should also say that I’d choose it because I’m happy with the AMD systems I’ve had in the past (currently X2 4800+ on 690G), and unhappy with the POS Core 2 Duo I have at work, despite that probably being down to its configuration (thanks Dell).

    • Kougar
    • 11 years ago

    Some really amusing comments.

    Core i7 920 $280
    3GB DDR3-1600 $40
    MSI X58 Pro $170

    $490 shipped

    If you are buying a Q9550 or Q9650 then there is no reason you can’t already afford a Core i7. At this point the choice should only be between a cheap AM3 platform or a performing Core i7 platform.

      • swaaye
      • 11 years ago

      tis funny. Hell, I paid more for an Opteron 165 + DFI Ultra D + 2 GB DDR1 back in 2005.

      I wouldn’t buy only 3 gigs of RAM at this point though.

        • Kougar
        • 11 years ago

        You can buy 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory for $70, $10 more makes it 1600Mhz.

      • Krogoth
      • 11 years ago

      i920 at stock is not that much faster than a Q9550 though.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        but you have no upgrade path if you buy LGA775 now. Intel is just vamping, holding its place.

          • Krogoth
          • 11 years ago

          I find it silly these days to invest into a platform for “potential” CPU upgrades. You get a platform that makes whatever sense at the time of purchase.

          By the time there is a chip that is significant faster than current LGA775 line-up and cheaper than i7-965. X58 will be dated and the next thing will be faster and offer new features (USB 3.0, 10 Gbit Ethernet, faster QPI speeds etc).

        • Kougar
        • 11 years ago

        Its still generally faster, and even more so after it is overclocked.

        The thing is, if a person is building a platform from scratch (and decides against AMD’s value proposition) then Core i7 is the way to go. LGA775 would be cheaper with the motherboard, but if the person is looking for a high-end Quad CPU Core i7 920 takes it.

    • juampa_valve_rde
    • 11 years ago

    am2+ for me, mature and with upgrade path
    lga 775 is mature, but on a dead end
    lga 1366 is the best choice for whom has money on caiman islands, most people today are on a pale economic situation
    am3 didnt like, still buggy

    • kitsunegari
    • 11 years ago

    These delightfully arbitrary OPINION POLLS are always fun to respond to 😉

    But as per Clone and SSiDbroadcast’s conclusions, I can’t help but heartily agree.

    Until AMD comes out w/their revised SB800 and or IGP in Q3/Q4 I don’t see much reason to upgrade to AM3 mobo’s as all the benchies floating around have shown the performance benefit is minimal without overclocking: which in turn negates the benefit of the lower voltages yielded by DDR3. Not only that but present socket AM3 motherboards only support effective DDR3-1066 speeds at anything greater than 4-gigs of RAM for some strange reason (I imagine it has something to do with AMD’s present implementation of their IMC as I seem to recall AM2/and some early AM2+ boards were unable to support more than 4-gigs at max stock -1066- DDR2 memory speeds)

    As for iNTEL, I can’t see the average TR user requiring the efficiency gains afforded by an i7 system’s present performance/per watt/per $ ratio outside of very specific HPC applications that will always favor cutting edge tech. Besides isn’t there going to be another more mainstream chipset- aka i5- set to debut later this year that, while sharing the same core architecture, will have limited interoperability with present i7 board implementations?

    I think the real question/battle/fight lies in what chipset we TR enthusiasts prefer, AMD 790 or nVIDEA’s Intel 9400 boards.

    • bhtooefr
    • 11 years ago

    My next build will either be POPFCBGA515 (the TI OMAP3530,) or some unknown BGA package (Freescale doesn’t say what package the i.MX515 is.)

    • jackbomb
    • 11 years ago

    Definitely AM3. I’m a little perturbed at Intel…lol.

    But thankfully, there’s no need for me to worry about that stuff right now. My supercharged 939 system keeps going and going…

      • mesyn191
      • 11 years ago

      Nah. While DDR3’s value has improved a whole bunch I still don’t think its worth it to switch yet. Give it another year and the price and performance will be so much better. AM2/LGA775 all the way for the best bang for the buck.

    • GFC
    • 11 years ago

    It’s a hard question actually, if it was today – i’d surely go for something from AMD (don’t know if it would be AM3 or AM2+ though), but i’m actually planing to buy a core i5 later this year, so .. i’m not really voting, because my vote is: Wait for core i5.

    • vgk
    • 11 years ago

    Bullshit! You poor asses would be getting Am2 or LGA775! Dont try to act like a badass in front of your friends by clicking iCore7 and being like “yeah dawg, id get the new one because I can affordz itz” when you really have less than a grand in your bank account.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 11 years ago

      Feel better now?

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Fo. Sho.

      • Mourmain
      • 11 years ago

      Yo, my bitches here on TR roll big and spend bigger. Ain’t no puny-ass i7 gonna put a dent in our bank accounts. We keep ’em numbered cos we gots more of em than rings and spinners and hos and shit. A couple of i7s just about makes our bling budget for the lunch-hour, dog.

        • Arag0n
        • 11 years ago

        Well, im little agree with the original post. Some people voted what they wish have, not what they are able/poiting to buy. I also want a Ferrari but i should buy a Ford car…

      • PoohPall
      • 11 years ago

      Ha ha so true !

      • twizttid13
      • 11 years ago

      True. You can always budget your money and save up for an I7 rig. Pretty sure people who want it badly will do that. I’ve been wanting an I7 rig for a while but still don’t have one.

        • clone
        • 11 years ago

        the voting for Corei7 is not about real purchasing but about wishing it was a more practical purchase instead of such a poor value for the dollar.

        ppl won’t and don’t save to buy later because they know the prices plummet overtime leaving no need amongst a great number of other reasons, what they do is buy something now or hang onto what they have and wait.

        Intel currently owns the top and has a compelling place in the middle so they don’t care…. a buyer who has $200 to spend on a cpu has a place to spend it and a buyer who has $800 to spend on a cpu does also….. it doesn’t matter which Intel cpu they buy so long as it’s Intel.

          • moshpit
          • 11 years ago

          Hell, speak for yourselves. I’m already on socket 1366 and loving every minute of it :p

            • Arag0n
            • 11 years ago

            I have a core i7 at work and i can asure you that i can’t notice diference between it and a core 2 duo E8300, furthermore, at least you place a 3-SLI you wont notice any diference.

            • clone
            • 11 years ago

            using an E8400 at stock voltage 3750mhz with 8gb’s ram.

            some ppl embrace hype as reality in order to justify their purchase, additionally one has to wonder what they were using previously.

            going from a P4 2.8 to a Core i7 would certainly be noticeable…. but then the missing component is perspective.

    • clone
    • 11 years ago

    AM2 with a phenom II 720 tri-core without a doubt.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      This was my vote.

    • marvelous
    • 11 years ago

    I7 or am3 for new system. Second computer with core 2 duo.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    I’d probably go AM2+. You’ll have something of an upgrade path with any and all AM3 CPUs, you can still use much cheaper DDR2, and motherboards are reasonably priced. For a price/performance ratio, AMD has (IMO) wrestled some of the attraction away from Intel because of the upgrade path. LGA775 is now officially a dead end.

    • travbrad
    • 11 years ago

    If I had money, LGA1366, but I’m flat broke so I couldn’t build one at all. I bought an LGA775 board/cpu a few months ago though, and there hasn’t been anything I do that even makes it break a sweat.

    AM3 certainly has a better upgrade path though.

    • Faceless Clock
    • 11 years ago

    I think AM3 is the most sensible if you’re building a new PC for most purposes. You just don’t need Core i7 unless you’re a professional graphics guru or are really obsessive over Folding@Home scores. If you’re a gamer, you’re a lot better off buying a X3 720 and then loading up on a really expensive graphics card.

    That said, if you’re in the position I’m in – looking for an upgrade – then I think Core i7 is the only way to go. I have an E8400 and I’d like to overhaul my system because of some stability issues I believe are caused by my motherboard. In my position, AM3 doesn’t make a lot of sense, since it doesn’t really increase performance.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 11 years ago

    Given the limitations of my budget (as well as my needs), AM3 gets my vote. Actually, I may just go with AM2+.

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    depends on what you do with the machine. if you have an ipod, your gonna need an i7 extreme processor to spend those fun hours converting your videos to apple’s wonderful format.

    i’d consider AM3, but there’s really nothing out there that makes me happy. all the current am3 board line ups are disappointing, to say the least. anything half decent is already in x58 price territory, and if i am already shelling out that much cash, then you know its going to be for an i7 920.

    • alex666
    • 11 years ago

    It has to be encouraging to AMD that, on a geek site like TR, AM3 comes out a strong second.

    Personally, I’m totally torn between i7 and AM3, the former the more powerful, the latter the more cost-efficient.

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Since it is all hypothetical, I voted 1366 even though, in reality, I’d prolly “lay up” and go 775 or am3.

      • Ratchet
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah same with me. I’d like to go i7, but having to buy DDR3 and an expensive motherboard is too much. Realistically I’d probably go AM3 as well.

    • bthylafh
    • 11 years ago

    110v/3-prong. It’s the most future-proof socket of all.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 11 years ago

      … and yet it’s backward compatible with 2-prong polarized and 2-prong unpolarized equipment. Wow!

        • Dashak
        • 11 years ago

        I have no idea what you guys just said. Translation?

          • DrDillyBar
          • 11 years ago

          Power Cables

      • Krogoth
      • 11 years ago

      What about a Type C or Type D? XD

      • sigher
      • 11 years ago

      I wonder, maybe obama will start an initiative to align the US with the EU’s 230 volt system 🙂
      That would certainly create jobs as people would need to replace everything electrical.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    This requires a qualification like ‘what is the purpose of the build.’

      • fantastic
      • 11 years ago

      Agreed. HTPC is different than gaming or basic internet computer.

      I voted AM3. I’d probably get the X2 5050e or the X3 720 without further information. Corei7 is the performance champ, but it’s a pig.

        • Buzzard44
        • 11 years ago

        You can put lipstick on an i7, but then you might have trouble getting the thermal paste on.

          • adam1378
          • 11 years ago

          what about thermal lip gloss?

    • glacius555
    • 11 years ago

    Prices for a i7 start to make sense, even here in Denmark, so Core i7 I guess.

    • MaxTheLimit
    • 11 years ago

    I went Corei7 (LGA1366) because I’ve always tried to stay on or close to the edge of premier performance in consumer level hardware. I don’t dismiss AM3 as a legitimate price/performance factor. But if I were to buy a new system it would probably be a corei7 940, and overclock the stink out of it. The better performance clock for clock can’t be ignored, and those overclocker out there can appreciate how the Corei7s out there perform when overclocked.

    • bowman
    • 11 years ago

    Well I just built a 1366 machine so technically I voted for that, but if I were to build one in addition to that I would choose something cheaper because such a machine would not be doing anything demanding. But in order to not skew the poll with all sorts of media and server builds because I assume you are looking for main usage PCs I voted 1366.

    • Ryhadar
    • 11 years ago

    If I were building now I’d probably get an AM2+ board with an AM3 processor. I don’t think the merits of DDR3 are really there yet (even power consumption isn’t a huge difference). Even if money were no object I’d still probably buy an AMD based system because I’ve never owned — that’s not to say have never built — an AMD system before.

    • donkeycrock
    • 11 years ago

    Down with Intel!!!!!!!!!

    Talk about Milking, conspiring, keeping us down. And Stone cutters.

      • VILLAIN_xx
      • 11 years ago

      interesting. 🙂

    • indeego
    • 11 years ago

    Who voted other? And what did you want insteadg{

      • dermutti
      • 11 years ago

      I thought about voting “other” because any build I might actually do in the next 6 months would hopefully be around a dual core atom or nano, assuming you could get one of those with a credible IGP. (Still holding out for an Ion 🙁 )

    • Vasilyfav
    • 11 years ago

    If I had no money constraint, then obviously LGA 1366 for maximum performance.

    • Kilos
    • 11 years ago

    I actually just completed a new budget build. Went with AM2+ (Athlon x2 7750 Kuma), so if I ever have the need I can simply upgrade to Phenom II.

      • farmpuma
      • 11 years ago

      AM2+ with a Phenom II X3. One core for GPU folding support and the other two cores for SMP folding. I already have extra DDR2 memory collecting dust.

      My everyday main system is an S754 A64 @ 2GHz. It does what I need to do and folds, too. Although I am planning on a reshuffle which will result in my main system becoming my C2D @ 2.4GHz which will eventually get an HD TV tuner card.

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    Socket 775 or AM3.

      • d2brothe
      • 11 years ago

      Why 775 it is a dead end these days?

        • dermutti
        • 11 years ago

        I chose 775 because I when I upgrade my processor, I upgrade the entire platform, so my choice isn’t based on the best upgrade path 18-24 months from now, but the best performance/$ at today’s prices.

        • Krogoth
        • 11 years ago

        Choosing a platform to upgrade its CPU down the road is already a thing of the past.

        Socket 775 may no longer have any new parts being launch for it. You cannot dismiss the value that remains with the platform. AM2+ looks pretty good as well.

        LGA1366 is going to be dead sooner then your expect for desktop platform. It is going end-up going to be dual-socket only. I doubt Westmere and upcoming chips will work on current LGA1366 motherboards.

          • Umbongo
          • 11 years ago

          If board makers have used Intel’s guidelines then Intel believe there will be no issues with the westmere (Gulftown) processors working on X58 boards.

            • [TR]
            • 11 years ago

            Then a guy named Murphy turned to lawmaking and…

            • TaBoVilla
            • 11 years ago

            “…why these wires have nothing to do with each other.. and yet they are together like a twisted pair??!!!..”

    • no51
    • 11 years ago

    No single/dual 771 or single/dual 1207? Boo.

    • moshpit
    • 11 years ago

    Socket 1366 totally. Core i7 simply slams all other options for pure performance. I wanted a machine that wouldn’t leave me feeling jipped. And that’s what I got.

      • JokerCPoC
      • 11 years ago

      Yep i7 all the way for Me too.

      • adam1378
      • 11 years ago

      did the price of the machine leave you feeling jipped?

        • moshpit
        • 11 years ago

        Nope. I payed more for an Athlon X2 4400+ 939 when it came out then I payed for i7.

    • p645n
    • 11 years ago

    8 weeks ago I had to build a new box as my AMD 4400 bit the dust. I needed a new cpu, board, vid card & memory because the AMD platform gear I was using was incompatable.
    To make a long story short I went Intel 8400 Core2Duo because I couldn’t afford the (then) high prices for DDR3 & a 1366 pin cpu\board.
    Today? I’m really sorry as my new C2D system is a big disappointment.
    My biggest complaint is everything grinds a halt whenever I transfer big (XX GIG) files between drives. My AMD never did that!
    So what I’d do today is go i7 as the price is now affordable & the (required) performance would be there.

      • accord1999
      • 11 years ago

      Sounds like your HDs are in PIO mode.

        • hammurabi
        • 11 years ago

        Care to elaborate, i seem to be having the same issue

        • p645n
        • 11 years ago

        Thanks for the suggestion but no, none of my drives (a raptor & 3X750’s)seem to be in PIO Mode.

    • Meadows
    • 11 years ago

    AM3. No qualms about it.
    This is because DDR3 prices are starting to be sensible. I’d outfit the machine with a minimum of 4 gigs and preferably an nForce 980a board. I haven’t been following the news though, so I’m not sure if nVidia supports AMD’s ACC yet. If not, I’ll just pick the best AMD has to offer, and hope that it doesn’t screw up anything later on.

    This is assuming I’d even have money to build a brand new computer from scratch.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 11 years ago

    A socket-AM3 Phenom II looks like a good choice, at least until we see Core i5 in the wild.

      • cmdrjameson
      • 11 years ago

      i think this might have been a slight misstep for intel.
      my next system most likely will be an am3 phenom II due to longer up grade path.

      • khands
      • 11 years ago

      I’ll be going AM3 as soon as the 800 SB is out.

        • Ryhadar
        • 11 years ago

        Agreed, I’m really looking forward to the next iteration in hopes AHCI performance will significantly improve.

          • 5150
          • 11 years ago

          My OCZ Vertex SSD sucks horribly on the SB750. Anybody have an estimated release date?

      • billyconnection
      • 11 years ago

      Yes to AM3 /[

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