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Building a New Computer

Last response: in Memory
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June 14, 2006 3:14:06 PM

I'm one of those people who wants to build a computer with budget parts and string it along with occassional upgrades and overclocks. I've been running a Pentium 4 2.4 and FX 5200 for a few years, and they've been able to play everything at some resolution up till Oblivion. Because I already have a 500W power supply, I want to stick to Nvidia instead of ATI because they're more power efficient and generate less heat, which is important if i want to be OCing the CPU. So the question is Intel or AMD? I don't want this to be a flame wars post, so I'm laying down some assumptions that I don't want anyone to contest, and I'm asking specific questions.

Assumptions: 1) Conroe and the Revision G (in Dec) will be competitive in price, performance, and power usage
- No one can see the future, this is not up for debate
2) AMD will follow through with it's planned price cuts in July, as announced in Daily tech

So with those assumptions, here are the questions:
a) what is faster for games like oblivion when overclocked, the Intel 805 D or the AMD 3800+? After the release of Conroe, the 805 will be $90, and the 3800+ will be $142. Obviously the answer also depends on the cooling we want to get, so please reference to benchmarks performed with stock cooling and with zalmans installed. I want to avoid watercooling because I'm a college student and will be transporting this system several times a year.
b) is there a mobo that can support both the 805 D and the upcoming conroe, while also supporting SLI with both PCIe slots being x16? Please include links to reliable vendors that ship in the US.
c) The lifetimes of CPUs are decreased by overclocking - but assuming the chip is cooled well, would this reduction in lifetime be from say 5 years to 3 years, or would it be that I'd have to replace the CPU within a matter of months?

I know that X2s are getting price cuts also, but benchmarks seem to show that they're not as good for gaming per price when compared to single cores, and gaming is what I care about. So when you respond, please list the question that you're answering, and no flaming (i know that the 805 has become a very sensitive topic), and include links to benchmarks, products, and articles from other websites. Thank you in advance.

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June 14, 2006 4:14:16 PM

The best dual core desktop processor on sale today is no more than 50% faster than the worst. Since you can usually overclock the slower processors better than the high end ones, you can close the gap quite considerably. Therefore, I recommend you buy a low end dual core processor. It doesn't matter whether it's Intel or AMD, you won't notice a difference in most games since the GPU is the dependent part.

I generally recommend either an intel 805D or intel 920/930D (whatever is cheaper, sometimes 930 is) because the 3800X2 is way more expensive. Conroe motherboards ( using the intel 965x chipset) should in theory support pentium 8/9 series processors aswell, however, you will have to check with them when they are released. It is thought that some 975x chipsets might support conroe but we are unsure of that too.

You seem to have limited yourself to air cooling due to transport reasons which is what I'd do in your situation. There are two ways overclocking will damage a cpu, by heating up the componenets more, and by the voltage damaging the di-electric material. From articles I've read, heat is the only realy factor to think about. Thus, if you overclock by 200MHz but the temp of the cpu doesn't dramatically change you will see no real difference to the reliability of the component.

Here's one of the latest comparisons between air cooling heat sinks:
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=196...

I'd be suprised if a CPU doesn't last 5 years, after all, there are no moving parts - it's not like a car engine that grinds itself down constantly.
!