The Secret History of Fry's Electronics' 2000s CPU / Motherboard Combos – Vintage Deals RATED!

The Secret History of Fry's Electronics' 2000s CPU / Motherboard Combos – Vintage Deals RATED!

This ‘week’ Smug and Play is digging into the intriguing backstory behind the unbelievably cheap CPU / Motherboard combo deals Fry’s Electronics advertised in the 2000s. How was it that they were selling these combos for less than the price of the CPUs themselves and what did it mean for broke, would-be PC gaming enthusiasts like ourselves? After the history lesson, we review some of Fry’s best deals – including some we picked up ourselves back in the day – and give our personal ratings.

Items discussed include:
* A bare, AMD Duron 1600 ‘Applebred’ with red-tinted motherboard for $39.99!
* An AMD Sempron 2800+ and ECS nForce3 board for $69.99
* An intel Core 2 Duo E6750 with a 945GC-based motherboard from ECS that they claim will reliably run w/1333Mhz FSB
* Way more stuff from ECS and their, shall we say, ‘value-oriented’ sub-brands
* Mail-in rebates that have a snowball’s chance in hell of being honored

Smug and Play is revisiting the most exciting era in PC gaming by playing through PC Gamer Magazine’s famed demo CD-ROMs. In each episode of our YouTube show and podcast we share our impressions of the titles on that month’s disc as well as the technological advances that enabled them – all with our trademark smugness.

Check out for our podcast, in-depth articles and behind-the-scenes info and follow us on Instagram @smugnplay for updates.


  1. Allan Stewart on September 7, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    "ECS boards aren’t good at clocking, much less overclocking." Classic

  2. fthetm on September 7, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    I remember getting an ECS board and CPU combo for like 30.00 at one point, it was an AMD recommended board at that and put together a cheap PC.

  3. Maynne Millena-Millares on September 7, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Those were the days of global controversy of bloated capacitors in many electronic devices, including motherboards.

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