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Compare two $2,000 (ish) systems - AMD vs Intel

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September 11, 2007 9:51:42 AM

Hey,

So I'm planning on buying a new system in the range of 2,000 USD. I'm going to be using it for games and desktop and web design mostly, but the main purpose of all the power is obviously to play the latest games at good quality and performance. I have decided on most of the components, except for the motherboard+CPU combo and the PSU+case. Here they are:

AMD System

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Socket AM2, 2x1024K L2, bus 2000 0.09u, 1.4V 89W 64bit (3000 MHz) BOX Dual Core (Windsor)
Motherboard: Asus M2-CROSSHAIR, nForce 590 SLI, S-AM2, ATX 24p., 2xPCI-E x16 / 3xPCI / Dual DDR2-800, U-DMA 133,S-ATAII Raid 5, SB 8ch.&Dual Lan 1000 on board
RAM: Corsair DIMM 2Gb DDR2 PC-6400, 800MHz Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400, CL5 (5-5-5-12), (Kit 2 x 1GB)
HDD: SEAGATE 250 GB 7200RPM 16Mb Serial-ATA II 300, Baracuda 7200.10 with NCQ&Perpendicular Recording
DVD/RW: ASUS DRW-1814BLT Lightscribe - 8X18X8X16X - 48X32X48X Serial-ATA RETAIL Dual Layer
Video Card: ASUS EN8800GTS/HTDP/320M, GF 8800GTS 320Mb DDR3, PCI Express (320bit) HDTV HDCP DVI
Case: ANTEC NSK4000, no PSU 5,25 X 3 SILVER-BLACK Front USB + Audio, 120mm Cooling Fan
PSU: Antec ATX 650W P IV TUV Antec NeoPower 650W three independent 12V rails, efficiency>85% , Ventilaroar 120mm silent, Advanced Cable Management, ATX 2.2, SLI/Crossfire compatible
Keyboard: A4TECH X7 G100 USB Professional Game Keyboard, 4 Taste Predefinite, Volum Control
Mouse: A4TECH X 708-1 RED PSII+USB; Optic; 5but + 1wheel; Speed - Fps 6500/s
Monitor: LG 22" TFT 83KHz 1680x1050/75Hz, c/s 3000/300cd, 170/170 (H/V), 2ms, Flatron, F-engine, DVI, TCO03, Vista Design

Intel System

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2400 MHz, Socket LGA775, 8192K, bus 1066 0,065u, Quad CORE (Intel EM64T, VT)
Motherboard: Asus P5N-E SLI Quad Core, nForce 650i SLI, LGA775, FSB 1333, ATX, 2xPCI-E x16/ 1 PCI-x/ 2 PCI, Dual DDR2-800, U-DMA 133, 4xS-ATA II Raid 5, SB 6ch.&1394&Lan1000
RAM: Corsair DIMM 2Gb DDR2 PC-6400, 800MHz Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400, CL5 (5-5-5-12), (Kit 2 x 1GB)
HDD: SEAGATE 250 GB 7200RPM 16Mb Serial-ATA II 300, Baracuda 7200.10 with NCQ&Perpendicular Recording
DVD/RW: ASUS DRW-1814BLT Lightscribe - 8X18X8X16X - 48X32X48X Serial-ATA RETAIL Dual Layer
Video Card: ASUS EN8800GTS/HTDP/320M, GF 8800GTS 320Mb DDR3, PCI Express (320bit) HDTV HDCP DVI
Case: ANTEC NSK4000, no PSU 5,25 X 3 SILVER-BLACK Front USB + Audio, 120mm Cooling Fan
PSU: Antec ATX 650W P IV TUV Antec NeoPower 650W three independent 12V rails, efficiency>85% , Ventilaroar 120mm silent, Advanced Cable Management, ATX 2.2, SLI/Crossfire compatible
Keyboard: A4TECH X7 G100 USB Professional Game Keyboard, 4 Taste Predefinite, Volum Control
Mouse: A4TECH X 708-1 RED PSII+USB; Optic; 5but + 1wheel; Speed - Fps 6500/s
Monitor: LG 22" TFT 83KHz 1680x1050/75Hz, c/s 3000/300cd, 170/170 (H/V), 2ms, Flatron, F-engine, DVI, TCO03, Vista Design

My questions are as follows:

1. What combo is better, the Crosshair MB + AMD 64x2 6000+, or the P5N-E-SLI + Intel Q6600 to go with this system, for gaming purposes?
2. Is the PSU enough to handle all of this + an additional HDD and 8800 VC in the future?
3. If I want to buy another VC for the second SLI slot, can it be an 8800 GTX or does it have to be 8800 GTS like the first one?
4. Any components in the same price range that would work better?
5. Is it better to get a 2x1GB kit or two separate 1GB RAMs frm the same company? Buying separately is cheaper I noticed, but I'm unsure if I lose some performance bonuses that the 2x kit offers.
6. On this system, is the difference between the 320 RAM 8800 GTS and the 640 RAM 8800 GTS video cards worth the extra $100?

Please let me know what you think, I'm counting on you guys cause browsing the Internet for information is ever so confusing :D 

Cheers,
Tudi
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2007 11:59:47 AM

1. Looking at the CPU charts, the Intel system should outperform the AMD system on most things, and it overclocks better.
2. A 650W PSU is enough juice. Antec should be decent quality, as it is on Tier-3 of this list:
http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon
If it were me, I'd feel even better about a TIer-2 Corsair 620HX, which is currently $140 after MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3. If it were me, I would not go SLI. If you do, however, the cards must be identical, so you would need another 8800GTS.
4. The Corsair PSU is a little cheaper right now, and better quality.
Any other different choices I'd make are subjective, so I won't waste your time.
5. I'd get a 2-stick kit; I'd be more certain they'd be properly matched.
6. If it were me, and in the budget, I'd get one 8800GTX and forget SLI. Otherwise, at 1680x1050 I'm not sure the 640 would make a big difference over the 320. I'd get the 320, and if unhappy buy the next generation when it comes out (or a GTX) and sell the 320 on ebay.
September 11, 2007 12:40:27 PM

Thanks that's very helpful. What would be a good choice for a non-SLI motherboard for the Q6600? I'm *** it might be cheaper as well.

I was figuring the prices on 8800s will drop soon enough and when they do, I could buy another 8800GTS instead of the next gen card, but obviously i won't be able to decide until I see them and their prices :) . However, I went for the SLI as a "just in case" measure.

One more thing. The monitor description says 1680x1050/75Hz. Is this the native/optimal resolution? Or the maximum one? And what resolution is optimal for games on a 22" monitor. I'm still using a crappy old 1024x 17" monitor, so I really can't imagine how it would look like on a 22" in that reso. Thanks again!
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2007 12:47:22 PM

On an LCD, the Native Resolution is the maximum, and the recommended one too. Otherwise, visual quality can really suffer.

I like the Gigabyte mobos. The GA-P35-DS3R is worth a look. I'm running a GA-G33M-DS2R, which is a micro-ATX board. I'm not using the onboard video, and plan only a mild OC.
September 11, 2007 1:04:48 PM

If you end up going with the Corasir 620HX PSU checkout www.clubit.com as they have it for considerably less than newegg.
September 11, 2007 1:19:43 PM

Definitely shop around for PSUs.
NewEgg tends to be much higher than many other sites for many of it's PSUs.

Not sure why they are less competitive on this component.
September 11, 2007 1:30:00 PM

Thing is..I live in Romania and I'm not sure newegg ships that far East :D  So I'll have to stick to my local store, which sells a Corsair 620HX PSU for 140 Eu. On newegg, the same PSU is $140 so I'm missing some 30 Eu difference there...goddamn rippers :) 
September 11, 2007 1:45:28 PM

Hate to say it, go Quad Intel at this point or wait for Barcy to ramp (no option, will take a year).
September 12, 2007 7:03:31 PM

Personally, I prefer AMD. So I'm going to suggest the AMD system. If you get the Athlon 6000+ now, you can upgrage to a Phenom X4 in a few months. It will be drop-in compatible, so you do NOT need to buy a new motherboard or RAM.

You might want to consider buying an Athlon 4800+ for $120 now instead of paying a premium for the 6000+ at $185. You will be able to buy Phenom X4 CPU's in about 2 months. So you won't have to wait very long to get native quad core. :D 

What games do you like to play? Look for a review of the 8800 GTS to see if they measured the performance with a game you like. If they only got 20 fps with an 8800 GTS, you probably want to buy the 8800 GTX to get good performance. There's a good review here:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2953&p=1

Also, get a 500 GB hard drive with a 16 MB cache. The Western Digital Caviar SE16 is $120 compared to the 250 GB model for $70. Or you could get Seagate. It's a small price to pay for twice the storage.

!