So after 5 good years of gaming, my 2nd self built system has bit the dust. I have been looking into building a new one anyways for a good while, but needed to save up some money first. Then SLI/Crossfire, Vista (DirectX10), and the core wars came along and I did not want to upgrade just to have new technology come out a few months down the road that would make upgrading next to impossible.
So here is my delimma. I really, really need a new computer, but should I wait for AMD to counter Intel's dual core which clearly is a better processor from everything I have read?
Then there is SLI and Crossfire...I have not been completely sold on Crossfire, but I am interested in hearing from anyone on their opinions/actual user experience.
And the big question, what will DirectX 10 bring to the table? Will it be compatible with current video cards or will a new bread of cards be pushed out with the Vista release?
I am only looking to spend around $1500 on this new rig, and here are some of the items I will be looking to add to it:
WD 36GB 10k HD for os and office programs
WD 150GB 10k HD for everything else
2GB of memory...undecided of brand as it will depend on cost.
2 Video Cards, SLI or Crossfire...probably SLI
New PS, not sure how big
AMD or Intel CPU and compatible mobo...probably ASUS brand.
I would wait at least a bit. NVIDIA will have a new DX10 compatible card in this year, which may be along is as fast as dual 7900GT. Plus not only AMD will have new processor, but also Intel will have 4 core processor. This spells price reduction in core 2 department and just more choice for you. Plus, it is really interesting how SLI/Crossfire with DX10 card are performing in vista.
I am planing to buy/build system myself, but I am waiting until at least next year, so that everything is settled and I could make better decision, save money and get DX10 components.
This system may be compatible/upgradeable with whatever AMD comes up with, to counter Conroe, I wouldn't know. However, I was going to see if I couldn't save you some money with an Intel system...
After all, we have to face the idea that Intel is ahead of the wave at this time - Unless AMD can come up with a paradigm shift to surpass it, Conroe is going to be the leader for a while. From the... dismay I've seen around the net, AMD did not expect Conroe to be so good and they don't really have a counter for it right now.
However, when I tried pricing, I didn't find much to change the final price - except the processor itself.
Another advantage of this Motherboard is that it has 2 IDE controllers, so you can plug in your older HDs and copy data across. You can even use those old IDE drives for Back-up storage.
This CPU costs only a little less than your 4600+, but the performance boost is incredible.
In the end, I don't think I trimmed much off your budget - though you might, by shopping around, this was straight New Egg.
The Crosshair board is a nice board but seriously overpriced. I would only recommend getting a better AM2 chip if one already had a lower AM2 chip to begin with.
Since you are building from scratch, an Intel C2D is the way to go.
Get a E6400 for a CPU.
As far as mobos are concerned, a Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 or DS3, ASUS P5B-E or ABIT AB9 Pro are nice depending on what you need. There is also an MSI 975 board that costs a little more for you to check out.
As far as SLI, 7900GT SLI is a waste. It'd be better to buy a 7900GTX for $299 and then get another 7900GTX down the road. You want get the best single-slot solution that you can affored at the time of purchase.
The 7900GT SLI only beats the GTX by 10FPS but costs over $110 more. Plus, you're done with your upgrading capability.
I saw a NeoHE 550W not a 500W at Newegg. Anyway, that PSU is okay but you can get a better PSU with better amps on the dual rail and more wattage. Check out for example the HIPER 580W, here. See also Enermax, Thermaltake, other Antec models.
~$1600...little more than I wanted to spend, but since I probably will not be upgrading for along time I decided to go with some higher-end items.
Here are my suggestions:
1) If you want to go with AMD, get a cheaper board; the Crosshair has a lot of features which you pay extra for, but will probably never end up using.
If you're open to Intel chips, I'd get a Core 2 Duo E6600.
You also might want to wait for Intel and AMD's quad-core CPUs.
2) Forget 7900GT SLI; either get one of ATI's high-end DX9 (X1900XT or higher) cards or wait for nV's DX10 cards.
3) A 150GB Raptor is very small (not to mention expensive) for a storage drive, and the 36.7GB model is outperformed by some of the newer 7200 RPM drives. I'd change the hard drive to a single Seagate 7200.10 320GB or 400GB (just make sure you get a model with perpindicular recording and 16MB buffer).
4) You seem to have forgotten a case, monitor, input devices, and, most importantly, an operating system.
It is not ideal to have a computer system littering your floor, and cardboard boxes don't have very good airflow (or so I've heard). Figure ~$75-100 for a nice case from a reputable manufacturer.
I find that a monitor or other display device makes a computer significantly easier to use rather than relying on beeps and other error noises. Look for a 19+ inch LCD monitor; Dell makes some very nice ones, as does Viewsonic.
You can have the nicest screen in the world, but without a mouse/keyboard, it is very hard to relay information to your computer.
Unless DOS (or Linux) is your thing (it's certainly not mine), you'll want a recent version of the software which everyone hates but everyone uses. Windows can cost you a lot of money, but it doesn't have to.
Sorry if I went a little overboard with those last few paragraphs, but I'm bored, and I need to exercise my writing skills.
I saw a NeoHE 550W not a 500W at Newegg. Anyway, that PSU is okay but you can get a better PSU with better amps on the dual rail and more wattage. Check out for example the HIPER 580W, See also Enermax, Thermaltake, other Antec models.
That's very useful research, I like how you organized your info, giving both raw performance and price, besides price/performance data. Price/performance is a useful criterion, but not as useful for decision making, particularly if Performance is the primary factor. Your tables allow a person to choose a performance window, then notice price/performance rank.
Tom's CPU charts offer a price/performance ranking, but without seeing the underlying parameters, it's not so useful for decision making.
This Antec is a great PSU. It has won some 'Best of' awards. It's true, there are PSUs with greater amperage on the 12V rails. But those only have two rails - The NeoHE has Three +12V rails! (3x17>2x22) Antec NeoHE 500
It also has 80-85% efficiency, instead of the Hiper's 75%... In this case, I think less may be more.
Granted, 500 Watts may not leave much overhead for future expansion, but (as I said) at this price-point this is a great PSU. And for $15 more, he could get the NeoHE 550.
Don't bother with either of those video cards. They were once a good bargain but no longer.
For a $200 budget get the X1950Pro.
For a $300 budget get the 7900GTX at zipzoomfly. It has an MIR but so did your RX1900XT. And the 7900GTX is better than either card, even at Oblivion for cheaper except at very high resolution against the RX1900XT, but it's very minimal, 1.4 FPS. Not enough to justify the extra expense.
So now that Nvidia has finally countered ATI with the new Geforce 8 series. My attention goes back to Nvidia. I know the new cards are pricey, but I think the performance justifies the extra cost. Here is what I would buy today if I had the $$. This will probably change again since I am probably not going to make a purchase until after the new year.
My biggest concern really is the Power Supply and Memory for this setup, but any comments/concerns on everything would be appreciated.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
Mobo: Asus P5N32-SLI Premium
Mem: OCZ gold 2x1GB DDR2800
VC: EVGA 8800GTS (Will probably purchase another one down the road for SLI)
PS: XCLIO Greatpower 550W (Not sure of this brand...but the price was right)
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB Perp Rec.
Vista will be purchased along side this setup along with a new monitor since mine is about 10yrs old.