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Homebuilding newbie very confused >.<

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June 4, 2007 8:29:40 PM

Alright guys, you must be sick of hopeless newbies like me so I'll keep it simple. My planned build for early July is this:

OCZ 2gb DDR2 RAM at 800mhz (5-5-5-12)
BFG 8800GTX
AMD 5400+

However, I've been told that my CPU will bottleneck the card. A second ago I found out about the new Quad Cores coming in late July! Now I'm confused and uncertain about my build.

So, do I build the above rig in early July, considering that it's absolutely price perfect for me, and will I get monster performance out of it? Or, is the choice really a 5400+ and a GTS or a Q6600 and a GTX?

What would you reccomend, considering that I don't want to spend much more than the above build, I can't overclock and only need a rig that can make Crysis look beautiful? As long as Crysis can run like a charm for me, I don't care what the components are ;) 

Oh, and I'm planning on playing on a brand new Acer 22" at 1680x1050

That wasn't short, was it?

Damn, thanks

More about : homebuilding newbie confused

June 4, 2007 9:12:40 PM

that cpu will stop the gtx from maxing out but, the performance loss from going to a GTS is more then the difference in procs for gaming.
June 4, 2007 9:14:40 PM

Quote:
Alright guys, you must be sick of hopeless newbies like me so I'll keep it simple. My planned build for early July is this:

OCZ 2gb DDR2 RAM at 800mhz (5-5-5-12)
BFG 8800GTX
AMD 5400+

However, I've been told that my CPU will bottleneck the card. A second ago I found out about the new Quad Cores coming in late July! Now I'm confused and uncertain about my build.

So, do I build the above rig in early July, considering that it's absolutely price perfect for me, and will I get monster performance out of it? Or, is the choice really a 5400+ and a GTS or a Q6600 and a GTX?

What would you reccomend, considering that I don't want to spend much more than the above build, I can't overclock and only need a rig that can make Crysis look beautiful? As long as Crysis can run like a charm for me, I don't care what the components are ;) 

Oh, and I'm planning on playing on a brand new Acer 22" at 1680x1050

That wasn't short, was it?

Damn, thanks


I don't think 5400 will bottleneck your GTX. Since your not overclocking either AMD or Intel will give you what you want with a GTX or similar at 1680x1050.

You will need to decide which platform (motherboard) you want beforehand. An intel compatible motherboard like a 680i or a comparable AMD for the AM2 socket.

Once you decide on that than your choice is basically made since you will only be able to use the CPU that matches.
Related resources
June 4, 2007 9:19:32 PM

Budget?
June 4, 2007 9:21:41 PM

£1000 (around $1900). I get everything tax free (wink wink), so I'm able to get some quite advanced stuff potentially.

EDIT: Sorry, that's $1900 tax free. $2300 in 'real' money :D 
June 4, 2007 9:30:32 PM

Intel has a new chipset out, P35 with the X38 coming soon, the boards will support DDR3 down the road as well as the new 45nm processors in 2008.

Intel also has price cuts on the current lin of processors late July, Serious cuts that mean I will be upgrading. You can get a nice rig with that budget.

Now is a tough time to build with all the new stuff right around the corner. If you can wait until August I would recommend that. If not, then I can ceratinly post some suggestions.
June 4, 2007 9:45:43 PM

Quote:
?0 (around $1900). I get everything tax free (wink wink), so I'm able to get some quite advanced stuff potentially.

EDIT: Sorry, that's $1900 tax free. $2300 in 'real' money :D 


You have to tell us if you have $2300 for just cpu, ram and video card or for a full config, monitor included.
June 4, 2007 10:17:42 PM

It's $2300 for a full rig, monitor and all, but prices in the UK are quite a bit higher than in the USA.

I must say that I'm very interested in this new Intel stuff. The only sensitive point is price. Intel processors are quite a bit more expensive than AMD stuff, and those new mobos are also pricey from what I've read. I can't really afford that stuff to be honest, although I'd like to ;) 

It all comes down to this. The only intensive thing that I'm going to use my new rig for is gaming. It 'only' has to last me 2 1/2 years, and I don't want to spend more than the rig listed above. Is the Q6600 worth waiting for, or am I going to be able to run on high settings with what I've planned? As mentioned, my only benchmark is Crysis, although I haven't the foggiest if the reccomended specs are out. Any more advice would be welcome, but thanks for all of your tips!
June 4, 2007 10:39:07 PM

The best advice i can give you is to wait until Crysis is out and all kind of systems are benchmarked against it. Do not buy anything before that, it would be a waste of money. By that time, i think that your budget will be more than enough to get a much better system than you think now. My only reservation is about RAM prices, which seem to be at their lowest levels and will, eventually, go up. It would be a wise move to have an open eye and grab any good deal to buy the amount of ram you will need. All other prices will be coming down.

My two cents...
June 5, 2007 6:01:04 AM

The last thing I want to do is wait until Crysis comes out. By that time (Q3) I may feel too tempted to wait for the new round of video cards etc. I'd also like to play games like Oblivion over the summer! I'm not too bothered about getting the very best system for Crysis in particular, just something that should make it look pretty, so if quad core is going to be unecessary for 1680x1050 play then I probably don't need it. I can't bear to wait much longer!

However, the CPU question is still really bothering me. Is the bottom line here wait for the Q6600, or would anybody reccomend the AMD 5400+? Of course, if somebody could reccomend a full rig it would be fantastic!

Another problem I don't want to get into is 'mismatching' parts. I don't want to stick a mid-range CPU with a high-end GPU and vice-vesa. If I do go for the 5400+, would it be more economical/sensible to pair it with a 8800GTS 640mb and use the extra money for cooling and better ram (which is quite cheap in my planned build at the moment - 800hz 5-5-5-12), and if I go with the Q6600 will the only sensible option be to pair it with the GTX, which may be out of my budget? I also hear that the Q6600 gobbles up 100w more power than the E6600. That would also mean that I have to spend more in cooling and a more powerful PSU, right?

EDIT: Make that the 5600+. It's only $15 more expensive than the 5400+. Does the fact that it has a 2mb cache verseus the E6600s 4mb make a significant impact on performance.
June 5, 2007 12:27:08 PM

Quote:
The last thing I want to do is wait until Crysis comes out. By that time (Q3) I may feel too tempted to wait for the new round of video cards etc. I'd also like to play games like Oblivion over the summer! I'm not too bothered about getting the very best system for Crysis in particular, just something that should make it look pretty. July 22nd is a good time to upgrade, no more waiting for me!


Ok, now we have a more logical ground to step onto! Let's not wait more than July 22nd, Crysis is not the absolute criterion for your build.

Quote:
However, the CPU question is still really bothering me. Is the bottom line here wait for the Q6600, or would anybody reccomend the AMD 5400+? Of course, if somebody could reccomend a full rig it would be fantastic!


Let's suppose initially that an AMD 5400+ is not the way to go. What would a full system with a Q6600 cost you on july 22nd? All prices in USD + 10% estimated price difference for UK. I will also make price projections based on experience.

Intel Q6600 with stock cooler $ 300
Gigabyte GA P35 DS3R $ 150
Geil 2X1GB 800Mhz kit DDR2 $100
Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA2 $60
Samsung 18X SATA DVD-RW Lightscribe black $35
Generic midi ATX case $60
CORSAIR 620HX 620W Psu $ 160
Acer X222Wbd Glossy Black 22" 5ms $300
Set of keyboard-mouse optical $35
Total without operating system and video card :$1200

Now, we have all the hardware, perfectly matched and still no video card. $ 1100 left from our $2300 budget. What should we get?

Let's suppose again that we do not need to spend all the money at once. We think again of Crysis and we think that we also want to play Oblivion at high settings. Can we get a 8800GTX now? Yes we can! It would cost ~$600, leaving us with ~$500 to get an OS and to upgrade a little bit our config with another hard disc (or get 2X500 GB discs for that matter!), more ram and a better case. Is there something bottlenecking our system? No, we have a balanced, top notch gaming rig which can do everything else as well at top speed, no problem.

But i think there is a more careful approach to the video card question.
A ATI 1950Pro 256MB card is perfectly capable of playing all today's games at good frame rates and resolutions. Sure, it lags quite a bit behind a 8800GTX, but on the other hand it would only cost us ~ $160. We could keep ~$450 and wait for the new generation of video cards (and price competition :wink: ) around Xmas. I am pretty sure that for less than $400 you will be able to get a 8800GTX by then, or buy the new best thing for ~$600, sell the 1950Pro for ~$100 and be again within your budget, in fact with either a 8800GTX bought at a very good discount, or with a newer, better card at the same price a 8800GTX would cost you today.
Again, the previous system with a 1950 Pro is a very good gaming rig, not top notch but with nothing unbalanced, no bottlenecks until Crysis descends upon us :lol: 

Is this clear? I tried to explain some things but others may still be left in the dark. Please, question everything that does not seem right to you. Also think if you are going to get Vista, or stay with XP. That will add another parameter in order to further narrow your build's path.

Quote:
Another problem I don't want to get into is 'mismatching' parts. I don't want to stick a mid-range CPU with a high-end GPU and vice-vesa. If I do go for the 5400+, would it be more economical/sensible to pair it with a 8800GTS 640mb and use the extra money for cooling and better ram (which is quite cheap in my planned build at the moment = 800hz 5-5-5-12), and if I go with the Q6600 will the only sensible option be to pair it with the GTX, which may be out of my budget? I also hear that the Q6600 gobbles up 100w more power than the E6600. That would also mean that I have to spend more in cooling and a more powerful PSU, right?


To answer some of your questions: You do not need better ram than 800Mhz. The Q6600 does not use that much power, it has hardly a 125W thermal envelope and anyway the corsair 620 Psu will be more than enough. With your budget, you would be underspending by getting a 5400+ . It is a good cpu no doubt, but if you want to get an AMD it would be better to wait for what new they will have to offer. Frankly, the 5400+ is no match for even a E6600, let alone a Quad 6600. How much this affects today's games? Some are affected by the cpu's power, most are not, provided that you buy a modern dual core cpu. Other applications are affected dramatically and newer games will take advantage of multiple cores, so if you want to get the best within your budget, you should get the Q6600.

Again, ask questions, search for local prices and repost with your thoughts. I will be glad to help you if i can :D 
June 5, 2007 12:34:24 PM

Absolutely fantastic advice BigBlack, thank you so much! That was far more than I was expecting in a reply, in a very good way :D  I should be working right now (shhh!), so I can't test out the price and availability of your projected system right now. I'll do it as soon as I get home though and post what I find here.
June 5, 2007 1:14:44 PM

I agree, ditch the amd, get a fast quad core or even faster dual core at the end of july with a p35 chipset and either buy a cheap videocard and upgrade later or just get a gtx now. With a budget like that you can't really lose. If you can't wait till the end of july for some reason the just get an e6600 instead.
June 5, 2007 5:26:28 PM

No, as I found earlier I'm still around $150 off target, and I can't really find anything cheaper. Every component is at rock bottom price. We Brits really get a raw deal when it comes to electronics, and I'm using one of the biggest and cheapest online component retailers (eBuyer)

It looks like if I'm ever going to be able to afford Quad-Core, It'll be at the expense of the rest of my system. I don't want my expensive Q6600 and 8800GTX to go with a low-quality case, PSU, monitor, keyboard, [/b]mouse and RAM.

Whilst I appreciate the great help, I'm tempted to just go for an E6400 and a GTX, and spend the money I save on components of matching quality. I also haven't factored in the cost of any games, and they're not cheap either!

Whilst I'm not expecting this, if somebody could take a gander at eBuyer and throw together a system within £1170 GBP it would be most welcome! I'm afraid that if I go down too far in price in certain components I might buy the wrong thing.
June 5, 2007 5:52:09 PM

Didn't you say that you will wait until July 22nd in order to build? All prices are expected end of July prices, and not as per 6th of June!!! If you buy the rest now and wait to get just the cpu in July you will pay that 10-12% more that gets you out of budget...
I will take a look at your retailer's site anyway and try to build something that reflects your actual budget.

And of course you didn't expect to buy games with your hardware's money :wink:
June 5, 2007 5:55:25 PM

No, I assumed that the price of the Q6600 was the price it will be on the 22nd, not at the moment.

Looking at alternate options, I can afford a 8800GTS, a good OC-ing mobo and a E6700. I suppose it would be viable to get that and simply overclock when my CPU starts to struggle?
June 5, 2007 6:13:37 PM

So you want to build now. Ok, first of all forget the E6700. Too much money for a small performance difference. A E6420 is a much more balanced choice and a good overclocker. Don't get the 8800GTS now, for the reasons i described in my previous,long post. Search for a good 1950 Pro or a 7900GS. In about an hour i will have time to check out your retailer and propose a build for you, if you still want me to.
June 5, 2007 6:20:36 PM

So you want to build now. Ok, first of all forget the E6700. Too much money for a small performance difference. A E6420 is a much more balanced choice and a good overclocker. Don't get the 8800GTS now, for the reasons i described in my previous,long post. Search for a good 1950 Pro or a 7900GS. In about an hour i will have time to check out your retailer and propose a build for you, if you still want me to.

Edit: Sorry for double posting, i had connection problems...
June 5, 2007 6:21:16 PM

The video card is of most importance, so dont buy a quad core if you need to settle for a worse video card, and you wont be using more than two cores anyway.if you get 5400 + gtx your frames will be better than 6600 and gts. or you can get a intel dual core if you prefer
June 5, 2007 8:30:47 PM

From eBuyer, all prices in GBP

PSU 95 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/114941
Corsair HX Series 620W Modular PSU - ATX12V v2.2 APFC

RAM 55 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/106133
Crucial 2GB kit (1GBx2) DDR2 PC2-5300 CL=5 UNBUFFERED NON-ECC DDR2-667 1.8V

CPU 115 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/126906/product_info
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13Ghz) Socket 775 FSB1066 4MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor

MOBO 79 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/127813
EVGA nVidia 650i Ultra Socket 775 motherboard

HD 44 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/94403
Western Digital WD2500KS 250GB 7200RPM SATAII/300 16MB Cache Hard Drive

VGA 95 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/119203/rb/28416249250
Sapphire X1950Pro 256MB GDDR3 DVI TVO HDCP PCI-E

DVD-RW 18 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/117543
NEC Optiarc AD-5170A-0B 18xDVD±RW DL Black

CASE 45 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/114826
Coolermaster Black Centurion 534 - No PSU

MONITOR 203 GBP
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/123955
Acer AL2216WD 22" Widescreen TFT Monitor 1680 x 1050 700:1 300cd/m2 5 ms Silver/Black

TOTAL: Less than 749 GBP

You have a complete system here, very good at gaming with all today's games. Anytime the price seems right, you can get the 8800GTX or anything new and shiny (and most important, tested with Crysis :wink:) . You can get better memory, but you will not use it and the price difference is big. Anyway, you can overclock with this memory up to 333Mhz FSB and reach E6700's speed with stock voltage and cooling.
You can also get a bigger or fancier case but won't do you any good.
Last, but not least, you can get that GTX now if you want (allthough i say it would be a bad move) without any part bottlenecking any other part, for any reason.

Oh, and check out prices at this site also, you might find something interesting:
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/

Frankly, i was not impressed by the selection of hardware of your preferred merchant...

Any questions, please ask :) 
June 6, 2007 9:42:49 PM

My build is practically done! I took most of your advice, and here's the finished product:

CPU: Assume that it's E6420
RAM: Crucial 2GB kit (1GBx2) DDR2 PC2-5300
MOBO: EVGA nVidia 650i Ultra
GPU: BFG 8800GTX OC version 768MB
DISPLAY: Acer AL2216WD 22" Widescreen
CASE: Coolermaster Black Centurion 534
PSU: Corsair 620W HW
KEYBOARD AND MOUSE: Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 keyboard & Logitech MX1000
OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium x64Bit
SPEAKERS: Logitech X-230 2.1
HDD: Seagate 7200.10 320GB SATAII/300 8.5ms 7200RPM 16MB Cache
OPTICAL DRIVE: NEC Optiarc AD-7170S-0B 18x

PRICE Exactly on budget! (a miracle)!

I decided to go with the GTX since the current price doesn't really bother me, and I'm going to need shiny new games over the summer! I'm talking Oblivion and 2142 et al :D 

The CPU thing of course is still bothering me. I've been thinking about the subject. I'm the kind of guy that keeps a PC for a few years and then upgrades the parts. In fact, I've had this rig for 2 1/2 years and I've only opened the case once or twice. Is a Q6600 really going to benefit me? I know that it should provide a performance increase in some games, but its useless for me in other respects since I don't use my PC for anything other than surfing, word processing and gaming. By the time quad core really comes of age It'll probably be time for me to upgrade many of my PC components, and I'll be rich by then anyway so no need to worry about cost! Besides, anandtech says that the Q6600 is hot and power-sucking. I'd have thought that by the times quad core becomes suitable for gaming, the CPU business will have really moved on and the Q6600 will be largely obsolete. Maybe AMD will be king! For now, maybe the E6600 or E6420 would be a better choice?

I was probably barking up the wrong tree there, so please correct me if I was wrong. Terms such as future proofing are meaningless to me unless my PC provides great performance for at least a few years. This is all assuming that I don't wait for the price drop in late July, when it would be foolish really not to get the Q6600, but quad core is also going to cost me more in electricity, mobos and the core in itself. I'm not the kind of guy to look back anyway and regret a purchase. Hell, I've been coping with an overpriced Dell for years now!

So, what's everybodys opinion on the matter? :?
June 7, 2007 6:01:06 AM

Bump!
June 7, 2007 7:33:41 AM

There is a lot of good advice here.

My only comment would be:
I started out with pentium at the 386/486 level. Moved to pI. Had some AMD and Cyrix. Moved on up to pII & k6. Moved over when the gigahertz race was on to amd. Had 2100, 2500 etc, then on to FX55. I was in a similar situation on what to upgrade to. I researched and researched.

I have now a core 2 duo 6600 and the intel 975xbx2 board. I realize there are some advantages to perhaps some of the 965 or even now the 935 chips. And that the nvidia chips can also be quite nice. I have had some sort of board of most of the big manufacturers. Yes, Intel does not have as nice a bios as some. BUT, I was tired of tweaking this or that to get optimum performance. I can honestly say that I have hardly had to touch the bios in this board at all, and everything runs faster than any rig I have ever owned. I can't say it is the best choice for you, but for me, I think I will be going Intel for awhile, unless AMD can cough up something as spectacular as the 64 was when it first hit. That of course is in a couple years.

As for gaming, I have not even bothered to upgrade my 7900gtx yet because I still get good frames in all the games I play. I realize that an 8800 would push me further, but this system is so far beyond even that fx55 it is ridiculous.

May not be worth much but it sure was an easy upgrade/install.

good luck.
MrWoo
!