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Putting the Money in the Wrong Places

Last response: in CPUs
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December 25, 2006 4:02:09 PM

Most everyone here wants a really fast system with great game performance. A smaller minority need particular strengths, like computational, or encoding and such. Some are able to spend $1600 or $2000, and many want to spend only $1200 or even $1000. Some want the best computer in their social group, and others only want a computer that is 90% as fast for 65% of the money.....

So keeping in mind the exceptions, for most of us, we need a general all-around fast machine and perfer to save when we can.

So, for most of us, what is a good plan?

The best plan I could figure out for myself is to focus the $dollar$ into the components that actually affect my system performance the most....

And that is *NOT* the cpu, so long as it's any dual core, even low end.

It's the hard drive, and the graphics card.

The two components that actually affect your end experience the most dramatically.

So....I had an insight.

The really great way to build my new machine was to buy a *cheap*, *low end*, dual core, and....

put more money into the hard drive and the graphics card than my first thoughts, before I read up on all this.

Those are the actual bottlenecks.

$100 more on the graphics card (like a $300 card instead of a $200 card) will affect game performance a *lot* more than spending $100 more on a cpu.

$50 or $100 more on a hard drive will make a faster computer than $100 more on a higher end cpu.

But, here's the real clincher......

For AMD and intel both, you can build right now, and expect to put a *QUAD* core cpu right into the same motherboard for under $200 in 18 months....


Now, *that*, is a nice upgrade plan.

So....forget the marginal cpu performance gain. Focus on the graphics and hard drive, and make sure your motherboard (AMD or intel) is planned to have a drop-in upgrade to quad core.
December 25, 2006 4:26:50 PM

Note: the AM2 motherboards are expected to have drop-in quad core AMD cpus available in mid to Q3 2007, and that's good for professional video editors and such who need unusally big amounts of cpu power for professional work. For most of us, even just the lowest end, cheapest AM2 quad core in late 2007 or 2008 will be a great upgrade.

It's hard to manage to make even my AMD X2 4200 max out more than 1-2 seconds once a day of constant use. The games and software that need more power are not in common use for most of us.

When your dual core system slows down, for most of us, it's the hard drive....

Of course, even the cheapest low end AMD quad core will greatly outperform all dual cores, AMD and Intel, out there.

You get a lot for not too much $$ by 2008.

Instead of putting $400 into a high end Intel dual core now, save the money, and wait for the bigger performance for less money.
December 25, 2006 4:33:29 PM

thats basically what im doing...kinda

However i have the money for the E6600 so im buying that instead of the E6300...epically since im buying high end ram and either the R600 or G80.....and i dont want to have any cpu bottleneck of any kind...and im sure a SATA 3gig/sec is fast enough HDD ;) 
and prob around Christmas of next year ill get a Quad Core...

because right now even the benchmarks from a Quad to a Dual arn't that big...mind you a lot of things arnt even dual core optimized..and it will prob take Summer 07/Winter 07 till mostly everything will be Dual/Quad Optimized.
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December 25, 2006 5:12:07 PM

I think I'd spend the $$ on a Raptor before the 6600 vs the 6300. If you aren't already budeting the Raptor in. If performance is the real criteria.

I'd combine the $150 Raptor with a data drive, like a 250 Gig seagate 7200.10. Raptor + 6300 = better performance than 7200.10 + 6600 in most situations (i.e.-unless you do video encoding every day).
December 25, 2006 5:50:29 PM

thats BS...didnt TH do a benchmark where the seagate kept up or surpassed the raptors?

that cPU storms ahead in benchmarks
December 25, 2006 10:41:25 PM

Quote:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/09/27/round/page33.html

The Raptors win in almost every test.


http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/12/08/pc-hard-drives-that-pack-more-power-for-less-dough/page4.html#data_transfer_diagrams

The raptors win to a point, but all in all the 7200.10's are holding ground very well and the price you spend on a raptor can be offset by a pair of seagates 7200.10's in raid 0 which would:

1)perform alot better than a single raptor

2)probably give you more storage space, maybe 2 times bigger for the price of a 150GB raptor?

Now if you have the money to spend on 2 raptors and put them in raid 0 then by all means go ahead, but if your on a budget, a dual core system with raid 0 on the onboard controller(make sure the mobo supports it) will more then definately handle the load
December 25, 2006 10:51:15 PM

I can buy a 7200.10 500GB drive for near enough the same price as a 150GB Raptor, and you are right, sustained xfer speeds are similar.

However, the 10k RPM spindle speeds greatest advantage is NOT transfer rates but seek times, these are much much better on Raptors than 7200.10s.

It all depends what you want to do with the hdd imho.
December 25, 2006 10:54:23 PM

theyre probably good for boot-ups and games


but the seagates have massive caches so the seek times will be reduced thanks to that wont they?

i used to think raptors were a great idea, but they just dont steal the show as you think they would...especially not for the price/storgae ratio
December 26, 2006 12:49:24 AM

Dont forget the RAM
RAM is also a very important factor (More important than CPU too)
Perfomance increases A LOT (trust me) when you go from 256 to 512 and so on...
December 26, 2006 12:51:57 AM

In my case I couldnt decide for which one so I just bought the 2 of them :p 

Ill use the Western Digital 150Gb for Windows so it would boot fast and search for files fast too.

Ill use the Seagate for storage :) 

While Ill have another Maxtor 500gb for extra storage, an extra maxtor 100gb for (I really dont know) and my 60gb that is full of movies ;P
December 26, 2006 2:24:28 AM

I agree. But you forgot to mention the RAM. Increasing the amount of RAM in your system is the first step in improving performance.

You might also want to consider specifying that the power supply should be reliable and adequate for the components you propose to include in your system.

The discussion about Raptors vs slower spinning drives like the Seagate is largely moot. As was noted in an earlier post, the advantage the Raptor has is primarily in the seek time metric. The real question is do the Raptors provide a good enough price/performance ratio compared to slower drives to justify the very much higher price/GB of storage you pay for the faster rotation in a smaller drive.

The last line in my signature is from Robert A. Heinlein. It means: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. The debate about fast small and expensive Raptor vs somewhat slower, much larger and less expensive drives is a classic example of what this expression means. It's all a compromise - in any direction you go. Unless you have an unlimited budget, which most of us don't.

If you do have an unlimited budget, go for the 15K RPM SCSI drives. And get enough to have a boot drive and a large RAID 5 system with a high-end standalone RAID controller.

I hope this helps.
December 26, 2006 2:27:14 AM

yeah, I didn't mention memory, but I'd say 2 Gigs for all, except the most budget minded, who could go 1 gig for now, and add another gig in a few months as needed.
December 26, 2006 3:07:33 AM

I've upgraded my hard drive about every 8 months on average for several years now. I'm very aware of the performance characteristics of the 7200.10 vs the new and slightly older raptors, etc., etc., and my choice was a 7200.10 most recently. Raid is more interesting to those who are willing to spend more money, in which case, the whole point of this thread would be moot. :wink:
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