Building an AMD A8-3870K Llano APU System For Under $300Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
If you are looking to build yourself a new PC and want to spend less than $300 you can easily do it with enough money left over for a quick bite to eat at a fast food restaurant. We were able to build up a PC with an AMD Llano A8-3870K Black Edition processor and an OCZ Vertex Plus R2 60GB SSD that ran fast and was very energy efficient. Not bad considering we were on a strict budget! This system can easily perform mainstream tasks like web browsing and office work with ease and can even do some light gaming.
- AMD A8-3870K ‘Llano’ APU – $109.99 w/ free shipping
- GIGABYTE GA-A55M-DS2 – $49.99 w/ free shipping
- CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1333MHz CL9 – $21.99 w/ Shipping
- OCZ Vertex Plus R2 60GB SATA II SSD – $29.99 w/ free shipping
- Rosewill R379-M Micro-ATX Case – $49.99 plus $1.99 Shipping
- LITE-ON SATA DVD Burner iHAS124-04 – $17.99 plus $4.99 Shipping
Our build came together very nicely and we didn’t have any major complaints with any of the components that we used for this PC. We did notice that the 80mm fan was a bit loud because it was spinning at nearly 3,000 RPM. We downloaded and installed Gigabyte’s Easy Tune 6 utility to adjust the fan speeds.
After downloading and installing the utility we quickly found out you can’t adjust the System Fan header on the Gigabyte A55M-DS2 motherboard. We also noticed that the utility was incorrectly reading the CPU temperature because it reported the CPU at 15C when the room temperature was 26C. We tried overclocking the memory from 1333MHz to 1600MHz, but were unable to get the motherboard to save our manually set memory timings. We tried to use the easy overclock option in the BIOS and the board failed to successfully boot. The Gigabyte A55M-DS2 was a solid board with default settings, but keep in mind it is a $50 motherboard. You don’t get all the manual settings that you want and not all the utilities work like they should. We brought this up with Gigabyte and they confirmed the system fan was not adjustable and is looking into the other issues we found. We went to update the BIOS on the A55M-DS2 rev 2.1 motherboard, but the Gigabyte website only shows rev 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 motherboards. It looks like our revision is so new that is it not listed on their website!
If you are looking into building a new system and don’t want to break the bank we hope that you enjoyed this guide/review. We thought it would be interesting to build up something new and compare it to something older as we don’t go that far back that often. If you haven’t updated your PC in a long time and want to, we you learned easy and cost effective it is. Plus, you get an increase in overall system performance, which helps you become more productive and have a more enjoyable experience! You can also get power savings as new hardware is built with power efficiency in mind and with much better components.
Legit Bottom Line: You don’t have to break the bank to get a nice upgrade to that PC you’ve had for way too long!