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Gaming PC: Low Budget, long life

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December 28, 2008 8:58:12 AM

Looking at the games of today, my computer is starting to have problems running them. So I am out on the lookout of a new computer.

I sometimes play games, but I am not the addict I used to be. So although I like some nice playble games with good graphics, I am not will to spend a few hundered bucks for the addational fps.

I general play resolutions around 1200, which is sufficient for me. This will also ensure that the weaker cards are able to handle some addational more details in other settings.

After reading some of the articles on graphiccards and bugdet/midrange PC building, I found the following demand list:

1) I do not want to overclock the PC now. However, in a few years, when the system is older and out-dated, I will do an overclock to bring new life to the system. So we need to keep this in mind when building

2) I thick the best card for me will be the ATI HD4850. In the future, I want to added a 2nd card and use Crossfire. So the mainboard must be able to support this.

3) Internal memory banks I thick should be 2x2Gb. I like to use kingston when the pricedifference isn't that big.

4) Based on the above requirements, I want to find a cheap final sollution. I life in europe so US prices and EURO prices will be different. I am just looking for the best performance/price ratio out there. I am looking in the 500 to 1000 euro range, but for me with limited time to game, cheaper is better in this case.

Note: Games I want to be able to play today are:
- Fallout 3, Far Cry2, America's Army Online, etc.


I made a first search myself, coming up with the following list. Propably there are much better components to choose from, but that's where you guys (and girls) come in :-)

=========

The running gears (€412,64):
INTEL Core2Duo E8400 (S775 - 1333MHz - 2x3 MB) 3,0Ghz - € 168,65
Arctic Freezer 7 Pro (Socket 775) - € 24,35
ASUS P5Q3 (iP45 - S775) € 129,83 (Good brand, 2x PCIe, crossfire)
PC3-10666 - 2 GBx2 - DDR3 - Kingston ValueRAM CL9 € 89,81

Video card (€169,65):
Asus EAH4850 G/HTDI - 1 GB- PCIe - TV+2xDVI € 169,65

Harddisc and other stuff (€90,10):
DVD±RW Samsung SH-S223F/BEBE SATA - Bulk € 19,94 (Cheapest I found)
Seagate 500 GB ST3500630SV (SATA300 - 16 MB) € 70,14 (5yr garantee)

Case and power(€111.33 or €33.51):
Revoltec Zirconium Midi Tower RT-101B - Black - € 62,05
400 Watt PSU - Corsair CX - € 49,28
- Most budget version: X-Gear Mundo XM300K Black (400W) - € 33,51

===========

Thanks for your suggestions and advice.
December 28, 2008 9:20:19 AM

You have done your research. My only niggle would be the PSU. Doubt 400w will run 2 Graphics cards. Not knowing your prices and the conversion, still seems high for a 500 gig HD. Thinking is over $100.
December 28, 2008 10:41:03 AM

Yup, I thick asking without looking and thinking yourself first is waisting other peoples time.

Pricing I am getting from a local store, which in general seems to be a cheap solution, taking into acount the otherwise longer driving distance or shipping costs, buying local makes more sense. I just checked a other site and found it can indeed be cheaper, 50 euro (9 euro shipment costs for the full order, independed on amount). So 70 USD is possible. I will work through the list I gave through this other show, looking of the prices there.

At the moment, simple rule for Euro/USD: 10 Euro = 14 USD or 10 USD = 7,14 euro. so 70 EURO is 98 USD.

Dutch site with all prices (selected now for Seagate Harddisks above 360GB), show all prices found within the Netherlands:
Links to siteLink, sorted on price[/url]

I have no idea howmuch watt the cards and stuff requires. I can immagin that when adding a 2nd card and overclocking starts, a different or 2nd PSU is also needed.
Related resources
December 28, 2008 11:07:59 AM

Checked a other online store, only 9 euro shipment to my home regardless of amount of parts and weight, so that is a greate option.


Running gear (437,80 = more expensive then other shop):
11551 Asus P5Q Deluxe (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 3x PCI-e) € 177,95
6958 Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (Socket 775) € 16,95
13199 Kingston 1333Mhz CL9 DDR3 dual channel kit KVR1333D3N9K2⁄4G € 92,95
10376 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (S775, 2x3GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz FSB, Boxed) € 149,95

Videocard (202,5 = more expensive, maybe slighly different type?):
12385 Asus EAH4850 1GB (1GB, DDR3, PCI-e, HDMI, Dual DVI) EAH4850⁄HTDI⁄1G⁄A € 202,95

HDD and other stuff (69,90 = cheaper, but other HDD type?):
10059 Seagate 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 32MB Barracuda 7200.11 (ST3500320AS) € 47,95
11283 NEC AD-5200S 20x12xRAM (SATA, Dual-layer, Zwart) € 21,95

Case and PSU (121,40 = More expensive due to better PSU):
11847 Antec Earthwatts 650W (ATX12V 2.2) € 70,45
11034 Antec Three Hundred (ATX, Geen PSU, Zwart) Direct leverbaar !! € 50,95

==
I thick these prices are near the cheaper once for me. Tax is more expensive in Europe, so I guess USD prices will be found much lower, espaccially taking into acount the valuta.

While checking out this 2nd list, I find that there are slight difference to select from.

1) Graphic card is a slighly difference type maybe? (I cannot found out the differnece)
2) Harddisk different (Don't know if there is a speed differenece, the cheaper one has more 32MB instead of 16MB)
3) Main boards. I see two mainboard types, and my question is, which is better for me, and why.
- 11551 Asus P5Q Deluxe (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 3x PCI-e) € 177,95
- 11578 Asus P5Q3 Deluxe⁄Wifi-AP edition (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR3, 3x PCI-e) € 196,80
December 28, 2008 12:36:39 PM

A quality 600W or higher PSU should be able to handle two 4850s in Crossfire. The Corsair CX400W is too light for what you have in mind, especially if you are contemplating overclocking.

The Antec EA-650 dedicates the +12V3 rail, rated at 25A, for the two PCI-E connectors.
December 28, 2008 1:28:33 PM

The Antect Earthwatts 650W I last named should be the option for me, as it is one of the cheaper 600+ Models I can get, as well as energy efficient. Also I thick connector's is sufficient?

+12V3 0.5A 25.0A ±5% 120

1x 20+4 pin
1 x 4 Pin 12V
1 x 8 Pin 12V
1 x 6+2 PCI-E (1st graphic card, plus 2 not used ?)
1 x PCI-E (2nd graphic card)
6 x SATA
6 x Molex
1 x Floppy

http://www.antec.com/usa/productDetails.php?lan=us&id=27650
December 28, 2008 1:59:18 PM

The EA650 will be sufficient if you don't plan on using 2 cards. If you get a GOOD PSU, you would probably be fine with 500W (which is the minimum for a 4870, they recommend 600W), but you won't have much room in the future.

For the connectors you will be fine, it has one 8 Pins PCI-E connector, one 6/8 Pins (the 6+2) and one 6 pins which means you can use cards that need two 8 pins connector or 2 6 pins connectors (like the 4850).

BTW, any reason why you took a DDR3 motherboard? DDR2 RAM is so cheap, you could probably save the money toward a 4870 instead.
December 28, 2008 2:17:53 PM

I expect that the DDR ram speed will make a big difference in a few years time with newer applications.

I general tend to use a computer for a long time (5 years +) so I tend to choose things that I can upgrade in the future. For this reason I select the ATI HD4850/4870 card.

Looking at prices, Kingstand DDR2 vs DDR3 is 40 euro vs 92,13 euro. This is indeed a 52 euro difference, so something to thick about.

Do you have any suggestions for a 2x PCI-E 16x board with Crossfire, which if a good, stable, overclockable and cheaper sollution then the board I selected?

Note: For graphic cards, the following price range is there:
4850 with 512MB is around 170 euro
4850 with 1024MB is around 200 euro
4870 with 512MB is around 250 euro
4870 with 1024 is around 280 euro.

Looking at most articles I have seen until now, the 4870 is not that much better then the 4850. Offcourse there is a difference, however with a 80 euro price difference, it is 50% more money and I thick not 50% more performance. So from a performance/money point of view, I thick the 4850 would be better.
December 28, 2008 2:30:32 PM

As for the PSU (Can't edit my messages for some reason, causing these dual posts):

If looking at your reply, you are saying the EA650 is not enough when using two card, but a good 500watt is...

Do you mean that AE650 is not a good PSU and is not able to support the two cards, or is this a type-o?

Note: When filling out the calculator on the Anetc site, I come to the conclusion that I wont be using much more then 350Watt?

I selected the following:
1) Creative sound blaster all
2) 2 PCI
3) 2xcard PCI-E 16x
4) 2x USB
5) 1x fan controler
6) 1x 92mm fan high performance (CPU cooler)
7) 2x 120 fan high performance (case fans)
8) 90% load, and 35% ageing (30% recormended, selected bit more).

This gave me 328Watt.

In reality it will be less. Beside monitor, mouse and external USB harddisk (with it's own seperate power supply), I have no other device connected (except occasionally a memory stick, camera or mobile phone).

so I would expect that the AE650 is more then sufficent (when not overclocking).

December 28, 2008 2:34:55 PM

GrimReeperNL said:
I expect that the DDR ram speed will make a big difference in a few years time with newer applications.

You cannot optimize an application for RAM speed, so newer applications will not make better use of the same RAM. If the RAM doesn't give you good performance now, it won't in the future. Since you plan on keeping this setup for a long time, DDR3 would therefore be a waste of money. Bank the difference toward your next upgrade (like a quad when we all discover that Diablo 3 and/or Starcraft 2 is optimized for multiple cores ;)  ).

As for board suggestions with 2 PCI-E, both ASUS P5Q Pro and Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P are popular choices.
December 28, 2008 2:46:24 PM

^+1 for the motherboards.
December 28, 2008 2:46:33 PM

GrimReeperNL said:
If looking at your reply, you are saying the EA650 is not enough when using two card, but a good 500watt is...

Do you mean that AE650 is not a good PSU and is not able to support the two cards, or is this a type-o?
The EarthWatt is a great PSU. I misread the ATI website and I thought the 4850 required 2 PCI-E connectors (4 connectors for 2 cards), but it only requires 1 so the 6/8 pins connector + 6 pins connector will be enough for 2 cards.

Yes the PSU calculator will give you a low number, many people go overboard with PSU now, that's why I said that even a good 500W PSU would probably be enough (not that the EA650 isn't good, just because a GENERIC 500W wouldn't be good). However, unless the price difference is very big, getting a bigger PSU isn't bad, it might allow you to add stuff in the future and/or reuse it in a future build.
December 28, 2008 3:13:05 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^+1.

??

Zenthar said:
The EarthWatt is a great PSU. I misread the ATI website and I thought the 4850 required 2 PCI-E connectors (4 connectors for 2 cards), but it only requires 1 so the 6/8 pins connector + 6 pins connector will be enough for 2 cards.

Yes the PSU calculator will give you a low number, many people go overboard with PSU now, that's why I said that even a good 500W PSU would probably be enough (not that the EA650 isn't good, just because a GENERIC 500W wouldn't be good). However, unless the price difference is very big, getting a bigger PSU isn't bad, it might allow you to add stuff in the future and/or reuse it in a future build.


K, thanks. I agree with you, running a PSU on full load won't be nice in sense of stability and life endurance of the parts. It is foulish to save a few bucks on this. The EarthWatt seems to have a good rep when it comes to noise, power effecency and stability, this is why I picked it. As I tend to run the computers at 24x7, this is important.

As for the main boads, the regular P5Q seems to have one PCI-E 16x and one PCI 8x speed, where as the delux version has 2x PCI-E 16x and 1x PCI-E 4x. This was one of the reasons I suggested that that board would be the better. Or does the 8x and 16x have no influences, when it comes to Crossfire and ATI card speeds?

Small question. Does it make a big differnet, having 512 or 1024MB in the single card. THis, also taking into acount the future crossfire option.

Taking a no-name card "PEAK" 4850 with 512 MB would cost 130 euros. Making two of these cards in crossfire 10EURO cheaper then a single 1024 4870 asus card.

I however do not really like no-name stuff, as it more then often proves to be a regratable mistake...
December 28, 2008 4:05:58 PM

GrimReeperNL said:
As for the main boads, the regular P5Q seems to have one PCI-E 16x and one PCI 8x speed, where as the delux version has 2x PCI-E 16x and 1x PCI-E 4x. This was one of the reasons I suggested that that board would be the better. Or does the 8x and 16x have no influences, when it comes to Crossfire and ATI card speeds?
As far as I know, all P45 boards can only support CrossfireX up to x8, not full x16, you need X38/48/58 for that. Yes it has an impact, but for 4850 the impact would be minimal (5-10% performance loss compared to full x16). Given that X48 boards cost at least twice as much here than P45, it is also a good overall performance/$$$ tradeoff.

As for the 512MB vs 1024MB difference: for single card, 512MB hands all the way, but for XFire ... it is a tricky question. If the way you play only requires lots of calculation (lots of polygons and the like), 512MB will be enough, but if you raise resolution + AA, then it can require lots of memory and the 512MB can cause a huge performance hit. I think that if you plan on using resolutions not over 1680x1050, 512MB will be enough. Here the price difference is 10-20$USD so I would go for it just to play safe. Also check what the price difference includes; for example, the 1GB versions Gigabyte offers either comes factory-overclocked OR a better dual-slot cooling system. Both choices are worth the 20$USD over the basic 512MB version.
December 28, 2008 4:35:02 PM

Price difference here is about 30Euro, so 42 USD memory wise.

I use a 19" flatscreen, so in general I only run up to 1200 resolution. More can sometimes give better results, but for online gaming, lower res and higher detail options gives better view and higher FPS.

So in general, I try around 1200 resolution with AA enabled.

It's not an easy choise, that is for sure.

The cheapest Asus with 48 chipset I found is this one, for 252 euro (80 more then the regular P5Q and 50 more compared with the P5Q deluz)
- ASUS INT S775 X48 1600 Rampage Formula ATX C2D⁄C2Q.

- Gigabyte GA-X48-DS4 (775, X48, ATX, 4x DDR2, 2x PCI-e) might be a good option at 199,-. I see allot of people naming Gigabyte as a good mainboad manufactorar, but I don't know much about this brand.

Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 (775, X48, ATX, 4x DDR3, 2x PCI-e) comes in at 259 euros. Don't know if the DS4 and DQ6 have much differences, besides more CPU support i can't really find a big differance which would justify the money spend.

Any suggestions on these boards?

December 28, 2008 4:38:02 PM

GrimReeperNL said:
As I tend to run the computers at 24x7, this is important.
I'm not "greener" than most, but I think 24x7 execution is often a waste of energy/$$$. Just for the kick of it, I invite you to calculate how much $$$ is actually wasted per year:
Quote:
24h/day x 365days/years x <system idle power in kW (100W = 0.1kW)> x <electricity cost per kWh> = <cost per year>


For example, here in Quebec:
24h/day x 365days/years x 0.1kW (idle power) x 0.06$CAD/kWh (electricity is cheap here) = ~52$CAD/year (~30€)

Not much, but consider a higher-end system like an X58 and higher power cost (like 0.12$USD/kWh in many US states and you get:
24h/day x 365days/years x 0.2kW (idle power) x 0.12$USD/kWh = ~210$USD/year (~150€)

You end-up wasting the price of your second 4850 ;) .
December 28, 2008 4:45:54 PM

Don't worry.... here in the Netherlands, it costs much more ;-)

However, as downloading laws and punishments for them are much more liberaly here then forinstance the US, my 20Mbit glasfibre line likes to suck up some GB a day. Also, it is used as a NAS for my Popcorn hour, allowing me to watch movies from the computer, over the network. I do shut it down at night lately, however not always. So it will keep having a high up-time.

Note: With fuel prices here, I spend about 120 to 150 euros a month just on fuel.... so does few dollars of electricity aren't the biggest worry to me ;-)
FYI: gas price now at 1,20 euro per liter, which is 4,5 euro a gallon or 6 USD. At it highest it was at 1,60, making it 9 USD a gallon.
December 28, 2008 4:47:28 PM

I don't think paying the extra 80€ is really worth the performance you will get from it, moreover, if for some reason you never add that 2nd card (you just switch to the next generation cards or get a deal on one of those x2 cards), it will be wasted money. But that's me, I'm not a dual-card fan :p .

Gigabyte is a good brand with good prices. I wasn't able to find what was the big difference between the DS4 and the DQ6 either, so I guess the extra $$ aren't really worth it.
December 28, 2008 4:54:35 PM

Just looked it up.

High costs 0,21 euro a KWH
Low costs 0,14 euro a KWH

High is mo-vr 7:00 - 19:00 low is weekend and evenings. Does values times 1,4 gives your USD.

We have high energy tax, of about 0,07 euro a KWH, taking up a big chunk in the costs.

But still. Looking at my monthly costs, my car tax + fuel bill is higher then my Electrics + gas + water bill joined. So trust me when I say, saving 5euros a month on electricity wont make a big difference on my budget.
December 28, 2008 5:02:09 PM

Zenthar said:
I don't think paying the extra 80€ is really worth the performance you will get from it, moreover, if for some reason you never add that 2nd card (you just switch to the next generation cards or get a deal on one of those x2 cards), it will be wasted money. But that's me, I'm not a dual-card fan :p .

Gigabyte is a good brand with good prices. I wasn't able to find what was the big difference between the DS4 and the DQ6 either, so I guess the extra $$ aren't really worth it.


you have point there.

Maybe it is indeed better to go for a HD4870 1024 card, DDR2 and a Gigabit main board, not necaserily having a crossfire option.

I'll check out some componts and come with an alternative list, seeing if this change the price and performance allot.

Note:
I am able to pay for any computer. For me it is just a question of price/performance, as I find it a waist of money for something I dont do that offten. When buy a system for 3000 USD if you can buy one 1000 that is sufficient for my needs...
December 28, 2008 5:24:01 PM

History says that by the time you want to xfire newer gfx cards will be far more powerful and maybe cheaper than a second 4850.



If you do use a 4850 now be sure to buy one with a double slot cooler . The reference design cooks


Corsair HX620 for psu
December 28, 2008 5:59:39 PM

Outlander_04 said:
History says that by the time you want to xfire newer gfx cards will be far more powerful and maybe cheaper than a second 4850.



If you do use a 4850 now be sure to buy one with a double slot cooler . The reference design cooks


Corsair HX620 for psu


Thx for your reply. Does the same go for the HT4870?

Looking around some more, I see that saphire is also adviced for the ATI card. So with above comments in mind, I made myself a new list, choosing a more extreme case with better cooling option, sticking to the Earthworks, comming to the following list:

Running gears:
13046 Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L ATX LGA775 1600DDRII € 109,95
10376 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (S775, 2x3GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz FSB, Boxed) € 149,95
6958 Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (Socket 775) € 16,95
12447 Kingston 2GB DDR2 PC6400 800Mhz CL6 (KVR800D2N6⁄2G) € 34,90 (is this fast enough?)

Video card, please insert arm and leg now ;-)
12513 Sapphire HD4870 1gb gddr5 pci-e (11133-04-20R) € 255,95

HDD and other stuff
10059 Seagate 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 32MB Barracuda 7200.11 (ST3500320AS) € 47,95
10258 NEC AD-7200S 20x12xRAM (S-ATA, Dual-layer, Zwart) € 22,95

Case and PSU
7917 Antec Nine Hundred (ATX, Geen PSU, Zwart, Window) Direct leverbaar !! € 96,60
11847 Antec Earthwatts 650W (ATX12V 2.2) € 70,45

Total price of this list: € 805,65
Going for a HT4850 card and the same case as earlier it would be final price of € 689,00 (965 USD)

Any tips on the above hardware?

The mainboard seems to be a good one. I could not find any faster kingston DDR2, but not certain if this is the best one.

I thick these are two good systems for their price. Any suggestions on this list?
December 28, 2008 6:59:20 PM

GrimReeperNL said:
Thx for your reply. Does the same go for the HT4870?
In my opinion, it goes for pretty much every card unless you plan on upgrading in short-term (<12 months) or you buy "very high end" (4870x2, 280GTX, 295GTX, ...). By that time you can get a mid-range card twice as fast as what you got in the first place ... I paid 300$CAD for a 8800GTS 512MB last March and by the time I decide to change, there is probably be cards like HD5870 around for the same price and twice as fast.

For your resolution, I think the 4850 is a right choice. Get a P45 board like Asus P5Q Pro or Gigabyte UD3P that support XFire at x8 mode; they don't cost much more and you will have both options of replacing or adding cards when you decide to upgrade.

For memory, is the 2GB kit really 35 euro? Try to go 2x2GB kits if you can, some games will see an appreciable difference. I don't know which store you are buying from, but I know eBuyer.com ships to mainland europe and have both those kits:
OCZ CAS4
OCZ CAS5
CAS 4 won't give you much gain, but the memory might OC better and is only 7£ more.
December 28, 2008 7:19:54 PM

Zenthar said:
In my opinion, it goes for pretty much every card unless you plan on upgrading in short-term (<12 months) or you buy "very high end" (4870x2, 280GTX, 295GTX, ...). By that time you can get a mid-range card twice as fast as what you got in the first place ... I paid 300$CAD for a 8800GTS 512MB last March and by the time I decide to change, there is probably be cards like HD5870 around for the same price and twice as fast.
.


I was actually refering to the remark regarding "double slot cooler" and "reference design cooks"

Zenthar said:

For your resolution, I think the 4850 is a right choice. Get a P45 board like Asus P5Q Pro or Gigabyte UD3P that support XFire at x8 mode; they don't cost much more and you will have both options of replacing or adding cards when you decide to upgrade.


I'll thick about this one. I guess the 4870 does not give that much gain, looking at the money.

Zenthar said:

For memory, is the 2GB kit really 35 euro? Try to go 2x2GB kits if you can, some games will see an appreciable difference. I don't know which store you are buying from, but I know eBuyer.com ships to mainland europe and have both those kits:
OCZ CAS4
OCZ CAS5
CAS 4 won't give you much gain, but the memory might OC better and is only 7£ more.


My mistake, this was for 2 of them (17,95 each). I cleaned up the copy/paste version, removing this point.
December 28, 2008 8:38:55 PM

Michael Hoenig at Hardware Canucks provides a rundown on the total system power consumption of various setups (on an Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9770 @ 3.852Ghz system). He recommends a 600W or higher PSU for such a system featuring two 4850s in Crossfire.

Mike89 at the Overclockers Forum found that his fine Antec NeoPower 550 was insufficient to power his GTX280 card, while theELVISCERATOR had no problems with the card when powered by his Corsair 650TX (a single +12V rail, 52A design).

Two 4850s in Crossfire will stress your system a bit more than a single GTX280. I think the Antec EA-650 has the quality and power to handle a 4850 Crossfire setup.
December 28, 2008 9:32:14 PM

:lol:  I put the +1 for the motherboards. Fixed now
December 29, 2008 6:19:22 PM

Made a final system list without video cards, and stated 4 options.


Winkelwagen
Artnr. Artikel Aantal Prijs
12431 Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 (ATX, LGA775, DDR2) € 115,95
10376 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (S775, 2x3GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz FSB, Boxed) € 149,95
6958 Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (Socket 775) € 16,95
12447 Kingston (2x)2GB DDR2 PC6400 800Mhz CL6 (KVR800D2N6⁄2G) € 34,90
11034 Antec Three Hundred (ATX, Geen PSU, Zwart) Direct leverbaar !! € 50,95
11847 Antec Earthwatts 650W (ATX12V 2.2) € 70,45
10059 Seagate 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 32MB Barracuda 7200.11 (ST3500320AS) € 47,95

Ex VAT € 409,33
VAT € 77,77
Total € 487,10

Video card options:
11607 Sapphire HD4850 512MB (512MB, GDDR3, PCI-e, Dual DVI, TVO, 11132-11-20R) € 143,95
12295 Sapphire HD4850 1GB(1GB, GDDR3, PCI-e, Dual DVI, TVO) 11132-00-20R € 184,95
11715 Sapphire Radeon HD 4870, Radeon HD4870 512MB GDDR5 (Actieve koeling, PCI-e 2.0 16x, 2x DVI-I, S-Video) € 239,95
12513 Sapphire HD4870 1gb gddr5 pci-e (11133-04-20R) € 255,95

I am still working out which to use.

If I understand it correctly, for lower resolutions up to 1900, the 512MB is sufficient and 1024 does not help. On the other hand, not mucht price difference.

So I am now doubting about choosing 4850 or 4870.. that is a 80 euro (112 USD) difference in the price and I am wondering if I will feel the difference. As I play with a 19" monitor in lower resolution around 1200 (1600 some games), I wonder if the 4870 will give me that much more on the heavy games.

Currently the heaviest games I wanna try are Far Cry and Fallout 3. Other games I player are general ligher, UT3 engine games.

Thanks for the advice on this.
Note: If any of the other components seem a poor choise, I offcourse like to know as well.
December 30, 2008 12:55:11 AM

Case:

The Antec Three Hundred is a relatively small ATX mid tower, so it is especially important to consider the length and size of your video card(s) and CPU cooler.

I have an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro cooler installed in my Antec P180B in the "normal" position (exhausting towards the rear exhaust case fan). If you use a larger CPU cooler, usually ones that feature a 120mm fan, it may interfere with the Three Hundred's top exhaust fan when installed in the "normal" position.

ATI CrossFireX Certification:

The HD4870 requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors. The Antec EA-650 did not receive ATI CrossFireX Certification for the HD4850 or the HD4870. However, the EA-650 is certified for the HD4870 X2.

I still think the EA-650 will be able to handle two 4850s.

Other stuff:

Is your monitor a CRT or a LCD?

What is your operating system?
December 30, 2008 3:43:23 AM

The Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 has a 8-pin 12V CPU connector and the Antec EA-650 has an 8-pin EPS12V power cable for it. Since you will be using a dual-core CPU, the EA-650's 4-pin 12V CPU cable will also work. The 8-pin cable, I'm sure, would help better support power-hungry quad-core CPUs.

It's possible the reason the EA-650 didn't receive ATI CrossfireX Certification for the HD4850 and HD4870 may be due to it dedicating only the +12V3 rail to provide power (25A max.) to a CrossFireX setup. If this is the case, then I would avoid overclocking a HD4850 CrossFireX setup and not consider a HD4870 CrossFireX setup at all.

A power supply I'm familiar with, the Corsair VX550W, is certified for HD4850 CrossFireX. It has a single +12V rail rated at 41A. Likewise, the Antec Truepower Trio TP3-550 is also certified for HD4850 CrossFireX. Its +12V rails are not as strong as the EA-650s, but how it dedicates the power for its PCI-E cables may be a determining factor. My sister's PC has this Antec PSU to power her GeForce 7900 GS card.
December 30, 2008 7:16:33 AM

Couple of thoughts on your build.

PSU. Be careful with the Antec Earthwatts 650 because it only has 2 PCIe connectors. Ideally, you'd only run 1 video card with that power rating because to Crossfire either 4850 or 4870, you would need a 750W PSU. Note that the 4850 has 1 PCIe connector while the 4870 needs 2 PCIe connectors. Given your long-term theme for this build and all of the previous discussion on this thread, I'd rather play it safe and go with a 750W, such as Corsair TX750 or PC P&C Silencer 750, stressing single rail design. Here is another Power Supply Calculator for your reference, but it looks to be the same as the one on the Antec website. Please don't skimp on PSU, especially if you're planning long-term and running your computer 24/7.

Video Card. For your situation, looks to me like the sweet spot is the 4850 1GB model. At your 19" resolution, 4850 is fine and the 4870 is not required. The extra memory in the frame buffer is really for AA/AF at very high resolutions, but I would get the 1GB version so that if you crossfire in the future with a bigger monitor, that upgrade path is open. Again, I'm thinking long-term with potential upgrade path here. What is also important for the long-run is that you get a video card with a "real" dual slot cooler, one that has a fan exhausting the hot air out the vents of the second slot (like the 4870 design). Better cooling will contribute to component longevity.

Motherboard. Don't know why you would go with a mobo that supports DDR3 on the P45 platform, as that's not necessary. For reasonably priced Crossfire boards, look at the Asus P5Q Pro and Gigabyte EP45-UD3P. The P5Q Deluxe has more features, but most importantly it has a 16 phase power design, which allows for a higher and more stable overclock. All three of these boards support up to 4x4 GB of DDR2, which is plenty for the future. The DDR3 memory architecture doesn't really add much to the P45 platform.

HDD. If you want the best overall single system drive for now, I would suggest the Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB. Highest platter density short of the 1GB version, 5 year warranty and fast. I'd take that one over the Seagate, at comparable price.

CPU: For relative value, I'd also suggest looking into the E7400, which is a little cheaper than the E8400 and only 200 MHz slower at stock speed. It is currently at R0 stepping with a 10.5 multiplier, so it has excellent overclocking potential for the future.

Heatsink: If you're not going to overclock, then save money here by using the stock cooler. You'll just have to dismount the mobo if you decide to install a nice heatsink in the future when you do overclock. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro won't help you that much for overclocking and its nicety is only that you can use pushpins instead of a backplate.

RAM: Not sure of the pricing in the Netherlands, but these 2x2GB kits are very good value for gaming: Mushkin Redline and G.Skill.

Hope this helps!
December 30, 2008 11:25:51 AM

Akebono 98 makes good points. While the Antec EA-650 may "work" with the 4850 in Crossfire, the longevity of such a setup is questionable. I'm using a dual-slot Geforce 8800GTS 512MB powered a SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-650HT. The upper hard drive cage in my Antec P180B has a 120mm fan on the front and rear to form a wind tunnel. Quite a bit of air is being directed at the card. While gaming or running the Folding@Home GPU client, the card stays cool if I set the GPU fan to about 75%. Last fall, I had the card running Folding@Home for 81 continuous hours while I was at the beach. No errors, no crashes. (The 8800GTS 512MB uses less power than the 4850.)

How readily available are Corsair and PC Power & Cooling PSUs in the Netherlands? If Antec PSUs are cheaper and more available, have you considered the NeoPower 650 (Blue), which is Crossfire certified for the 4850? I do realize that it is a more expensive 600W-class PSU.

I should have added that if your RAM modules have tall heat spreaders on them, like the ones on the Corsair Dominator, it may conflict with the fan on the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. The Mushkin Redline is a little taller than the typical heat spreader, but it may be OK.

I agree with Akebono 98 that going with the E7400 and the stock cooler will save you some money. Right now, where I am, doing that would save me about USD $50 (€35).

Have fun.
December 30, 2008 5:42:27 PM

Alan G Archer said:
The Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 has a 8-pin 12V CPU connector and the Antec EA-650 has an 8-pin EPS12V power cable for it. Since you will be using a dual-core CPU, the EA-650's 4-pin 12V CPU cable will also work. The 8-pin cable, I'm sure, would help better support power-hungry quad-core CPUs.

It's possible the reason the EA-650 didn't receive ATI CrossfireX Certification for the HD4850 and HD4870 may be due to it dedicating only the +12V3 rail to provide power (25A max.) to a CrossFireX setup. If this is the case, then I would avoid overclocking a HD4850 CrossFireX setup and not consider a HD4870 CrossFireX setup at all.

A power supply I'm familiar with, the Corsair VX550W, is certified for HD4850 CrossFireX. It has a single +12V rail rated at 41A. Likewise, the Antec Truepower Trio TP3-550 is also certified for HD4850 CrossFireX. Its +12V rails are not as strong as the EA-650s, but how it dedicates the power for its PCI-E cables may be a determining factor. My sister's PC has this Antec PSU to power her GeForce 7900 GS card.



Thanks for your advice. I am not that into the PSU's so did not know this big difference. I am getting my prices and info from Here . It in dutch, however with the images it should be easy to navigate.

I can indeed get cosair devices as well (as stated in a later reply).

Akebono 98 said:
Couple of thoughts on your build.

PSU. Be careful with the Antec Earthwatts 650 because it only has 2 PCIe connectors. Ideally, you'd only run 1 video card with that power rating because to Crossfire either 4850 or 4870, you would need a 750W PSU. Note that the 4850 has 1 PCIe connector while the 4870 needs 2 PCIe connectors. Given your long-term theme for this build and all of the previous discussion on this thread, I'd rather play it safe and go with a 750W, such as Corsair TX750 or PC P&C Silencer 750, stressing single rail design. Here is another Power Supply Calculator for your reference, but it looks to be the same as the one on the Antec website. Please don't skimp on PSU, especially if you're planning long-term and running your computer 24/7.

Video Card. For your situation, looks to me like the sweet spot is the 4850 1GB model. At your 19" resolution, 4850 is fine and the 4870 is not required. The extra memory in the frame buffer is really for AA/AF at very high resolutions, but I would get the 1GB version so that if you crossfire in the future with a bigger monitor, that upgrade path is open. Again, I'm thinking long-term with potential upgrade path here. What is also important for the long-run is that you get a video card with a "real" dual slot cooler, one that has a fan exhausting the hot air out the vents of the second slot (like the 4870 design). Better cooling will contribute to component longevity.

Motherboard. Don't know why you would go with a mobo that supports DDR3 on the P45 platform, as that's not necessary. For reasonably priced Crossfire boards, look at the Asus P5Q Pro and Gigabyte EP45-UD3P. The P5Q Deluxe has more features, but most importantly it has a 16 phase power design, which allows for a higher and more stable overclock. All three of these boards support up to 4x4 GB of DDR2, which is plenty for the future. The DDR3 memory architecture doesn't really add much to the P45 platform.

HDD. If you want the best overall single system drive for now, I would suggest the Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB. Highest platter density short of the 1GB version, 5 year warranty and fast. I'd take that one over the Seagate, at comparable price.

CPU: For relative value, I'd also suggest looking into the E7400, which is a little cheaper than the E8400 and only 200 MHz slower at stock speed. It is currently at R0 stepping with a 10.5 multiplier, so it has excellent overclocking potential for the future.

Heatsink: If you're not going to overclock, then save money here by using the stock cooler. You'll just have to dismount the mobo if you decide to install a nice heatsink in the future when you do overclock. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro won't help you that much for overclocking and its nicety is only that you can use pushpins instead of a backplate.

RAM: Not sure of the pricing in the Netherlands, but these 2x2GB kits are very good value for gaming: Mushkin Redline and G.Skill.

Hope this helps!

For the mainboard, there are allot of Asus 5PQ versions out there with various prices. In my starter post I started out with one of those. I here have the entire list of Asus socket 775 Intel P5Q version boards I can get.
Asus P5Q (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 1x PCI-e) € 114,95 -
11551 Asus P5Q Deluxe (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 3x PCI-e) € 177,95
11826 Asus P5Q Premium (LGA775, Quad Crossfire, DDR2, LAN, Sound, 1394) € 208,95 -
11579 Asus P5Q PRO (LGA775, DDR2, RAID, 1394a, LAN, PCI-e, Audio) Deze worden morgen 30-12 weer bij ons binnenverwacht !! € 119,95 -
12883 Asus P5Q SE (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 1x PCI-e) € 84,50 -
12838 Asus P5Q SE PLUS (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 1x PCI-e) € 103,95 -
12917 Asus P5Q SE⁄R (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 1x PCI-e) € 96,45 -
12839 Asus P5Q SE2 (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, 1x PCI-e) € 94,95 -
11954 Asus P5Q WS (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, PCI-e) € 165,00
11594 Asus P5Q-E (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, PCI-e) € 134,70 -
12877 Asus P5Q-EM (LGA775 Intel G45 4DDR2 Dual Channel) € 106,80
13059 Asus P5Q-VM (LGA775 Intel G45 4DDR2 Dual Channel) € 107,50 -
11578 Asus P5Q3 Deluxe⁄Wifi-AP edition (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR3, 3x PCI-e) € 196,80 -
11952 Asus P5QC (775, P45, ATX, DDR2⁄DDR3, 1x PCI-e) € 125,40 -
12918 Asus P5QL (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) Deze worden morgen 30-12 weer bij ons binnenverwacht !! € 75,95 -
12993 Asus P5QL SE (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) € 69,95 -
12919 Asus P5QL-CM (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) € 81,95 -
13493 Asus P5QL-E (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) Deze worden morgen 30-12 weer bij ons binnenverwacht !! € 89,25 -
13112 Asus P5QL-EM (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) € 91,40 -
11829 Asus P5QL-PRO (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) Deze worden morgen 30-12 weer bij ons binnenverwacht !! € 77,95 -


As for the CPU, the E7400 is not availible at this store. In order of price, these options are availible Intel dual cores for Socket 775 up to the E8400...
11426 Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 (LGA775, 2,53G, 3MB, 1066) € 105,90 -
12208 Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 (LGA775, 2.66Ghz, 3MB, 1066) € 114,95
9115 Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (S775, 2x2.66GHz, 4MB, 1333MHz FSB, Boxed) € 133,80 -
10376 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (S775, 2x3GHz, 6MB, 1333MHz FSB, Boxed) Deze worden morgen 31-12 weer bij ons binnenverwacht !! € 149,95 -

So I think the this might be the best option. E8500 is 30 euro more (42USD more).

CPU cooler you are right. I guess it depends on the case ability to cool more then the CPU cooler itself. I don't intent to start soon, and I indeed selected the dual core as for me it is sufficient as well as only 65Watt max heat output...

About the RAM, here is a pricelist for some of the 2GB options I have:
10637 Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2X2GB) PC6400 800Mhz CL4 (TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX) € 57,35
9307 Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2X2GB) PC6400 800Mhz CL5 (TWIN2X4096-6400C5 G) € 61,50
12447 Kingston 2GB DDR2 PC6400 800Mhz CL6 (KVR800D2N6⁄2G) € 17,45
10078 Kingston 2GB DDR2 PC6400 800Mhz CL5 (KVR800D2N5⁄2G) € 24,95
8317 Kingston 2GB DDR2 PC6400 800MHz CL5 HyperX Dual Channel Kit (KHX6400D2K2⁄2G) € 34,95
8285 Kingston 2GB DDR2 PC8500 1066MHz CL5 HyperX Dual Channel Kit (KHX8500D2K2⁄2G) € 35,15
11982 OCZ DDR2 4GB (2x2GB) 800mhz PC2-6400 (OCZ2P8004GK) € 45,50
10082 2GB DDR2 PC6400 800MHz CL6 OEM € 19,95
10058 A-DATA 2GB DDR2 PC5300 667MHZ € 37,95

As kingston is not expensive in this list and it has a good name as well as long garantee period, I choose this DDR2. Don't know if the HyperX will help much more? (would double the price to 70 euro).

Thanks for the advices.
December 30, 2008 5:51:45 PM

As for the videocard, I am still doubting. As I probably wont buy upgrades for a long time, I am thinking about taking the 4870 1GB, to ensure that I also do not need any upgrades for a long time.

As for my monitor, it is a 19" LCD (Samsung SynchMaster 931BW)

Harddisk, I will look at. Seagate and WD both have good names. Also I have been using maxtor up to now, still having a 8year old harddisk in one of my systems, running without issues. I am still doubting what size HDD I need, because I have another choice to make.

I am using my computer for the following things:
1) Gaming
2) Regular use (internet browsing, office, etc.)
3) Torrent downloading
4) Using it as a source for my Popcorn Hour A-110 NMT (A device connected with the TV and home network, playing movies over the netwerk).

I am thinking about using a seperate NAS as storage, including torrent downloading. If I do this, I do not require much storage on the Desktop + I can turn it off when not using it, while the NAS is on 24x7.

If I do not buy a NAS (pretty expensive + I have more controle on the PC in checking, unpacking and scanning for virus) I will run the Desktop more or less 24x7 and I will need storage in the range of 1,5 TB or more (currently I am running out of space, while having combines 700GB of storage room ;-)).

If not buying a NAS, I thick I will need a 300 to 500GB harddisk for all applications and I will need bigger harddisk for addational storage space. In this last case, I will also have to look to parts that have low power consumption, as when running 24x7, every watt counts (this also being a reason for looking at the EarthWatt PSU and looking for low power consuming CPU's).
December 30, 2008 10:52:09 PM

Forgoing Crossfire and going with a single, strong video card, such as the 4870, will save you money in both hardware and power consumption. It will also make your choice of PSUs less complicated, and your system will run cooler and be more reliable. Later, no doubt a faster video card will be available when you decide to upgrade.

This is AMD's list of certified PSUs for single card operation.

For a single 4870 setup, certified PSUs (up to 750W) available from your Dutch seller:

Antec Earthwatts 650W, € 70,45 (Certified for the 4870 X2, but not the 4870(?).) *
Antec NeoHE 500, €74,50 *
Antec NeoHE 550, €94,95 *
Antec NeoPower 650, €98,00 *
Antec NeoPower 650 Blue, €104,50 *
Antec TruePower Trio 550, €62,55 *
Antec TruePower Trio 650, €90,45 *

Be Quiet Dark Power 450W PRO, €77,60 *
Be Quiet Dark Power 550W PRO, €91,40 *
Be Quiet Dark Power 650W PRO, €117,75 (Certified for the 4870 X2, but not the 4870(?).) * See Overclock3D.net and AnandTech reviews.
Be Quiet Dark Power 750W PRO, €142,50
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E6-500W, €69,95 *
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E6-550W, €79,95 *
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E6-600W, €84,95 *
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E6-650W, €89,95
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E5-700W, €105,45

Corsair CMPSU-520HXEU, €95,70 *
Corsair CMPSU-550VXEU, €79,95 *
Corsair CMPSU-620HXEU, €114,05 *
Corsair CMPSU-650TXEU, €85,90
Corsair CMPSU-750TXEU, €108,00

OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI-EU, €86,95 *
OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI-EU, €109,95 (#11459), €112,95 (#12350) *
OCZ Silencer 610W ultra Quiet S61EPS-EU (PC Power & Cooling), €89,95 *
OCZ voeding 750Watt Quad Black UltrQ (PC Power & Cooling), €109,95 *

Zalman ZM600-HP, €90,45 *

* These PSUs are not listed as being 4870 ready by AMD GAME!

Filtering the choices, taking AMD GAME! into consideration, here is what you have:

Be Quiet Dark Power 750W PRO, €142,50
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E6-650W, €89,95
Be Quiet! Straight Power BQT E5-700W, €105,45
Corsair CMPSU-650TXEU, €85,90
Corsair CMPSU-750TXEU, €108,00

As Akebono 98 recommended, the 750W Corsair and PC Power & Cooling (OCZ) PSUs are your best bets. It looks like the PC Power & Cooling 750W has better efficiency compared to the Corsair CMPSU-750TXEU (TX750W). If they are too expensive, the Corsair CMPSU-650TXEU (TX650W) is a good buy. Does the Corsair TX650W have better efficiency than the Antec EA-650?

Monitor. Your SyncMaster 931BW's native resolution is 1440 x 900. With LCD monitors, it's best to use the native resolution. Not all games support your monitor's resolution, especially older games, but some can be played in a window at, say, 1024 x 768 to avoid distortions and retain sharpness.
December 31, 2008 8:39:36 AM

It see little difference efficiency-wise between the Corsair TX650W and the Antec EA 650. Both are 80 PLUS® certified. The be quiet! Straight Power 650W (E6) should also have high efficiency, as claimed by the maker:
Quote:
Excellent energy savings and robustness, with efficiency reaching up to 87%

December 31, 2008 10:28:57 AM

I know. Current PC is a single core 2.4Ghz with ATI Radeon 9600...

So I am able to play allot of the games, but the newer shooters lately is becoming problemetic.
January 1, 2009 2:34:20 AM

You are not alone, GrimReeperNL.

My brother is a Counter Strike Administrator and he has been using what seemed like forever an old Shuttle SFF PC with an Intel Celeron something and a GeForce4 4200-class video card with 32MB of memory. He upgraded his OS from Windows 98SE to XP a few years ago and replaced his old CRT with a 22" widescreen LCD this year.

Last summer, I surprised him with a 21st century replacement (CS cheaters beware).

His new CS Admin Machine:

* Silverstone Kublai KL03 case, black
* Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R (same as my current PC)
* Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
* Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
* Corsair 2 x 1 GB XMS2 DDR2-800, 1.9V, CAS: 5-5-5-18
* Corsair VX550W
* EVGA GeForce 8800GS
* Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
* Seagate 500GB HDD
* Pioneer DVD burner
* Added two 120mm Scythe S-FLEX SFF21E fans to the side panel bracket and one 120mm Scythe Kama Bay SCKB-1000BK fan (fan replaced with a SFF21E) in the front 5.25" drive bays.
* Added filters to intake fans because he has a kitty.
* Windows XP Home Edition SP3
* Security courtesy of ALWIL Software and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

It was stable throughout approximately 150 hours of use and burn-in stability testing.

My sister and her husband helped me fund the build.

He has all the CS software and I tossed in UT2004 and installed the special X-Fi sound driver for that game. He has a good speaker setup.

I do not know if he is actually using the new rig.
January 11, 2009 3:44:03 AM

My apologies for having put this thread down for so long. A couple of points on your recent posts:

Mobo: Consider the Asus P5Q-E. It is higher quality and has better cooling than the P5Q Pro, but without the 16 phase power design of the Deluxe, so it fits in-between these two boards nicely. If you're not a hardcore OC person and want better cooling for longevity, this is the way to go.

CPU: I'd be indifferent between E8500 and E8400, let lower price decide. Where I am, the E8500 is often on sale for less than the E8400.

RAM: For the long-term, consider the Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX. These are actually Dominators that didn't make the cut at the factory, and have the nice finned heatsinks for better cooling--again, better for the long-haul and heavy-duty 24/7 use. At your price scale, they look very reasonable compared to the others at € 57,35.

Video Card: +1 on the 4870 1GB. Sapphire's card has a nice heatpipe cooler that will be good for the long-run. The Dutch website doesn't list it, but if you can wait a little longer, there is the Sapphire 4870 1GB Toxic Edition coming out very soon that has an even better cooler, although this might just be icing on the cake for your needs.

PSU: If you're going 4870 and want to have the option of crossfire later, then you will need the Corsair 750TX, because that has 4 PCIe connectors--the 4870 needs 2 connectors per card. The Corsair is also the only 750W on your list that I would personally buy.

HDD: If you go with your 24/7 route, then look into the WD Caviar Green drives as they are the eco-friendly models. That line has drives up to 1TB at the moment. Don't go with Seagate 7200.11 because they are having serious problems right now.

Generally for your purposes, keep heat production and cooling in mind--they will matter over the long-haul.
!