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Help me choose between two different builds.

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February 18, 2009 10:44:52 AM

I posted last week to get some ideas on a new build and after doing a ton of research/reading I've come up with an AMD build and an Intel build that I'm going to choose between.

Intel Build
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP43-UD3L
PSU: Corsair 650TX
Video: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x2
Memory: GSkill 4 GB DDR2 800
HDD: Western Digital Caviar 640GB

AMD Build
CPU: AMD Phenom II X720 BE
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA780G-UD3H
PSU: Corsair 650TX
Video: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x2
Memory: GSKill 4 GB DDR2 1066
HDD: Western Digital Caviar 640GB

I do a good bit of gaming and from what I've read, the E8500 performs better while gaming, but I'm a bit concerned about being left behind in the future when games are optimized for more than 2 cores. I don't plan to go Crossfire or DDR3 or anything so that's why I stuck with the basic motherboards.

Finally, if I go with the Intel build, would I lose a lot of performance by downgrading to an E8400 or even an E7400? I'd like to save as much money as possible here and these two builds (~700) are the most I'll be able to afford.

Thanks!

More about : choose builds

February 18, 2009 11:06:26 AM

Intel Build for Gaming, wont have to worry about the future for a while on multi thread games.

Would recommend getting the HDD:WD Black 640gb.

Memory: DDR2 PI Black 800 (2x2gb)

and also, no you wouldn't lose any performance downgrading to an e8400 as they are still the best chip in dual core processors. Outperformed many later chips in gaming still to this day. Wouldn't go down that low to a e7400 though. stick with the e8400, you would be suprised on performance.
February 18, 2009 12:26:23 PM

Thanks for the quick reply FullMetal. I went ahead and made sure the memory and the HDD were the right versions. I think I may stick with the E8500 since it's only about 20 bucks more and has a 9.5 multi vs the E8400's 9.0.

Another quick question for everyone, I found a good combo deal that includes a Rosewill 600W power supply. Will that be enough to power this system or should I stick with the Corsair 650TX I mentioned above? Price difference is 30 bucks and the 15 dollar combo deal makes it a total of 45 dollars cheaper. Here's a link to the Rosewill PSU:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182150
Related resources
February 18, 2009 1:49:39 PM

Rosewill has made many psu's and that one doesn't look bad at all, 600w should be fine but, the corsair is a descent/good psu. Splitting the 12v rail in 2 is also good but, in amperage, corsair is the best bet.
February 18, 2009 2:17:15 PM

Hmm, I'm still very tempted by that 600W Rosewill. I'm not opposed to spending extra for the Corsair, but the Rosewill is going to save me a good 45 bucks. Both of the PSU's are rated at > 80% efficiency. Any other opinions on whether the Rosewill be able to handle that system at full load? And Thanks again FullMetal, I really appreciate your help as this stuff can be hard to wrap your head around.
February 18, 2009 2:21:44 PM

Yea, i've been reading on psu's lately since i didn't know much about them or harddrives as much as i do with anything else, Rosewill should keep you pretty stable at 600w.
February 18, 2009 2:52:30 PM

Corsair >>>>> Rosewill.

VX550 would also be enough power.
February 18, 2009 3:00:31 PM

Forget that Rosewill. It has only 2 six-pin connectors, and you need one with 6 and one with 8 for your HD 4850 X2.

Also, the Corsair has 52A, while the Rosewill only 40. You'd expect only 4A difference (because 650-600W divided by 12V is 4A, not 12A), but Rosewill lies when they say 600W, it should have been 500W if they were honest.

Also, Corsair is much more reliable. In particular 650TX is an award-winning product while Rosewill is one of the least reliable brands.


February 18, 2009 3:02:17 PM

theAnimal said:
Corsair >>>>> Rosewill.

VX550 would also be enough power.



True, it has the 6-pin and the 8-pin, and at 41A is actually better than the Rosewill 600W with its 40A. Still, I'd pick the 650TX to leave some room for overclocking and extra HDDs.
February 18, 2009 3:18:10 PM

I'll just bite the bullet and go with the 650TX. It's only 10 bucks more than the 550VX and like aevm said, would leave me room for addition hdd's and overclocking later, btw how is the board I picked and the P43 series in general on overclocking? It's definitely something I'd like to try to do, nothing too extreme, probably just a good air cooling setup.

And now that the PSU is settled, does anybody see any other problems with this build? I'd like to go ahead and order tonight.
February 18, 2009 3:50:18 PM

I sont know where you're buying from but it looks like youve just fitted your budget. To be honest the is is a beastly build given the amount you've spent.

If I would upgrade, It would be changing your p43 to a gigabyte p45

Remember, before you overclock, you need an aftermarket CPU cooler (you need to replace the stock intel cooler)
February 18, 2009 3:52:03 PM

+1 Aevm for the corsair 650w

i have one of these powering my 4870x2 and a Q6660 at 3.2ghz and it is beastly
February 18, 2009 3:55:14 PM

Everything looks fine, as for P43, Shouldn't be anyproblem oc'ing, the fsb is good, only problem is every p43 has 1 pcie x16 so there no crossfiring involved with p43's.
February 18, 2009 3:55:20 PM

The P43 chipset doesn't have the Crossfire x8+x8 ability, but you don't care about that.

It's also less likely to reach an overclocking record than a P45 board, but again, you don't care about that. Leave the records for people who can afford DDR2-1066 or better and $70 coolers and $300 motherboards. You will be able to get a decent overclock on your P43, no worries.

What kind of case do you have, or intend to buy? The HD 4850 X2 needs a case with good cooling, and it's 283 mm long (that's 11.1", pretty long). I recommend an RC-690 here, if you don't have a suitable case already.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137
http://www.buy.com/prod/cooler-master-690-without-power-supply/q/loc/101/206177908.html
(It may be cheaper at the second URL, if Newegg shipping is over $7. It depends on state taxes too.)

February 18, 2009 3:57:07 PM

Yes I almost forgot, CPU Cooler and thermal compound is a must for oc'ing.

Xigmatek S1283 + retention bracket
and

Compound, dont know much about compound, have to ask someone. Usually Arctic Silver if im correct.
February 18, 2009 3:58:44 PM

Yea you never did mention any case to put all this stuff in :)  hah.
February 18, 2009 4:00:18 PM

The amd quad core is probably the smarter option if the prices are the same .

The days when intel ruled for gaming are gone , but a few dinosaurs and fanboys havent caught on yet
February 18, 2009 4:04:39 PM

How is that outlander? read any guide, will tell you intel has always been a better cpu for gaming.

Phenom II barely catches up with the Q9550..

AMD Dual cores have no compare to anything unless you want a $500-$600 dollar computer,

Phenom II did take some action and is a good cpu but, still for gaming its all Intel.

E8500 or the E8400 still outperforms alot of Quads these days in Gaming, if you were to benchmark it, could probably compare to an i7 for gaming.
February 18, 2009 4:15:52 PM

MX-2 is good thermal paste too. If you spill it won't conduct electricity. With Arctic Silver you better not spill.

LOL, nah, Intel still rules. But it's nice to see AMD getting close again.

I agree, the Phenom II 920 setup is almost the same price and more future-proof.
E8500+GA-EP43-UD3L costs $187+85
Phenom II 920 OEM + GA-MA780G-UD3H costs $200+$90

The GA-MA780G-UD3H supports Phenom II, btw.
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupport_Model.aspx?ProductID=3004

If you get the Phenom OEM you absolutely need an aftermarket cooler. Get the HDT-S1283, and you won't need a retention bracket.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003&Tpk=HDT-S1283

You could also get the Phenom II retail for $227, but it's smarter to pay $237 for the Phenom OEM and the Xigmatek, especially if you're interested in overclocking.
February 18, 2009 4:32:46 PM

I've got a case from an older build that I'm planning on using, it's got good ventilation and 3 or 4 case fans. I just measured it and it's 17"x8"x17" so it's an ATX mid-tower but it may still end up being too small. I'd like to keep initial costs down and upgrade later, but if the stuff won't fit then I'll have to get a case now. Do you guys think this case will work?
February 18, 2009 4:36:44 PM

I agree it is nice to see AMD getting close again, although i have never had one.

@ Outlander_04: just because you bought an AMD and regret it soesn't mean you have to ruin other people's builds!
February 18, 2009 4:39:50 PM

It depends on the internal layout. Specifically, how close the HDD area is.
Measure the video card you have in the older build and try to figure out if something 11.1" long would fit instead.
February 18, 2009 4:42:00 PM

and about 1.5" thick
February 18, 2009 5:04:54 PM

Yea doubt it would fit in the case.
February 18, 2009 5:10:21 PM

It's a bit tough to tell because the old card is only 7", but I measured from the side of the case to the hdd enclosure and it's about 12". This case is a bit older than I thought though. I think it was purchased around 2002, but I do remember overclocking the CPU in it fairly successfully so I know the airflow is good.
February 18, 2009 5:12:31 PM

Give it a try then.

You can check the GPU temperatures and change fan speed in ATI's Catalyst, btw.
February 18, 2009 5:18:36 PM

I've got another bonehead question for you. Have the sizes of motherboards changed since '02? Will the motherboard fit in that case with the ports accessible? How about the video outputs on the video card?
February 18, 2009 6:07:55 PM

I don't think sizes have changed. There's a standard called ATX that prevents it.

Is your old MB an ATX board? The GA-EP43-UD3L and the GA-MA780G-UD3H are both ATX.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATX
February 18, 2009 6:46:32 PM

It's an ASUS a7a266. I did a quick google search and it looks like it is an ATX board so that's good. Hopefully everything will fit into this case then :) 
February 18, 2009 6:53:08 PM

Sweet, well good build coming soon
February 18, 2009 7:43:06 PM

I may just pick up an Antec Three Hundred case. I just saw that they're $55 on buy.com and they ship free! The 4850 x2 should fit in the 300 no problem, right?


Edit: Just saw a review on Newegg that said the 4850 x2 would not fit in an Antec Three Hundred so it looks like I'm back to square one.
February 19, 2009 1:12:19 AM

lol, well damn, Have to look around for a big enough case, Sure an ABS jetflow is big enough but, i dont think it could work, idk.
February 19, 2009 2:06:32 AM

fullmetall said:
How is that outlander? read any guide, will tell you intel has always been a better cpu for gaming.

Phenom II barely catches up with the Q9550..

AMD Dual cores have no compare to anything unless you want a $500-$600 dollar computer,

Phenom II did take some action and is a good cpu but, still for gaming its all Intel.

E8500 or the E8400 still outperforms alot of Quads these days in Gaming, if you were to benchmark it, could probably compare to an i7 for gaming.


fruees said:
I agree it is nice to see AMD getting close again, although i have never had one.

@ Outlander_04: just because you bought an AMD and regret it soesn't mean you have to ruin other people's builds!



If you guys knew what you were talking about then it would be worth listening.

Take a look at
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-am3-phenom,2...
on this site .

The Pll 940 in that configuration gives up nothing to an e8500 in games and easily out points the Ci7 .Amd isnt catching up .They have a very valid alternative for people building midrange gaming computers .
And that same AMD quad core will be a better computer for longer thanks to actually being a quad instead of a dual core . The OP will be better off with the Phenom IMO

And for the record I have a C2D system , but if i was building new today it would probably be a Phenom ll because you get better bang for buck.


February 19, 2009 3:34:29 AM

Well my original AMD build used X3 720, but if I were to use the X4 940 in my build, I'd be adding enough $$ that I might as well go with the Q9550 which outperforms the 940(slightly) in most of the benchmarks I've seen.
February 19, 2009 3:48:07 AM

That being said, I'm starting to debate between the E8500 and X4 940. If it's going to make a big difference, I could drop the extra cash for the 940. I'm definitely going to be ordering tomorrow so I'd appreciate any responses.
February 19, 2009 3:52:19 AM

aveet said:
Well my original AMD build used X3 720, but if I were to use the X4 940 in my build, I'd be adding enough $$ that I might as well go with the Q9550 which outperforms the 940(slightly) in most of the benchmarks I've seen.


The x3 720 is also on the page I linked to . Its important to note that the total system is important . All the cpu/mb combo's were fitted with a single GTX 280 .
But what those benches show is that even the x3 20 is more than competitive in gaming with that class of computer . It often benches higher than the Ci7 and is usually better than the e8500 .

Dont be put off by uninformed people whose opinion amount to "intel good , amd bad " or "amd good , intel bad " . Both of those are far too simplistic .

Its about getting the job done at the best price .

A system with more processor cores probably has an advantage long term , so even if the C2d build is the same price the x3 720 might be the better option .
The only improvement I can think of is to use a 790 series chip set motherboard . Im not in the US but I think I have seen these for around $130 on newegg . That would give you a chance to add a second gfx card later if you want . The board you have selected is a great product but the second pci-e slot only runs at x4 and thats not going to run a crossfire set up
If you need to save a bit of $$$ then swap out the 4850 x2 for a 4870 1 gig.


February 19, 2009 3:55:43 AM

some one on here said that newegg had 940/mb/ram combos at very good prices .

I havent looked , but if you can get that as a package with a 790 series mb at a decent price ,I would
February 19, 2009 3:58:57 AM

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 - You could eaisly go for the E8400 and OverClock, but otherwise a fine choice :D 

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP43-UD3L - again, fine

PSU: Corsair 650TX - OVERKILL! To power this system, 650watts is just ridiculous. I would say that 400 watts would be more then enough, if i were you i would be going 500-550 just to be safely stable. But 650watts... definatly too much. Also - i would suggest Acebel as a brand, they make some pretty spectacular PSU's.

Video: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x2 - This would not be my choice of graphics card, but it shold do the trick

Memory: GSkill 4 GB DDR2 800
HDD: Western Digital Caviar 640GB
February 19, 2009 8:39:57 AM

@Outlander:

Easy tiger, If you look I didn't say anything disparaging about AMD and as a matter of fact I agree with what you say about them: In the 0-£800 bracket they are a compelling alternative to intel at stock. However when it comes to overclocking coupled with price/performance, the E8400 or E8500 wins in this particular situation.

@ Ameatypie 650W probably isn't overkill in this case, given the GPU and overclocking. Always better to have the extra power just in case ; )
February 19, 2009 10:17:19 AM

I've been doing some more research and I'm starting to think that I'm going to go with a PII x4 940. It came down to future proofing and realizing that I don't plan to do much overclocking. I'd rather have 4 cores at 3.0 gHz than 2 at 3.16, even if the dual core would overclock higher and perform slightly better.
Here is the system I'm looking at. I'm going to be placing this order in a bit, so please let me know if you see any problems (specifically with regard to the RAM).

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940 BE
Motherboard: ASUS M3A78-EM (This one is 10 bucks cheaper than the Gigabyte 780g board)
PSU: Corsair 650TX
Video: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x2
Memory: GSKill 4 GB DDR2 1066 5-5-5-15 timing(Is this going to be better than the PI Black DDR2 800 at 4-4-4-12 timing?)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
February 19, 2009 11:19:25 AM

Ameatypie, 650tx isn't an overkill on a pII/e8500/Q9550, Sapphire 4850x2 is the kicker, your not going to get much amperage on a 6pin/8pin 450-500w.

Plus, he's looking to keep a build for a long time, not getting a cheapo 450-500w on a high-end build and let it die out early.

Anyways, good build on.

To answer the DDR2 800 against 1066.

Since you wont want to oc anything, sticking with a high-end tight timing 800 is probably good enough, you wont need 1066 untill oc'ing comes part of the system.

which in that case, I love ocz for oc'ing so, OCZ Reapers 1066 HPC/epp ready.
February 19, 2009 1:17:59 PM

Thanks a lot everyone. I just ordered and I'm already getting anxious to get it up and running. I ended up buying a Cooler Master 690 as well because I'm almost sure that vid card isn't going to fit into the case I have. Grand total was about 900 bucks after the shipping and the case. Much more than I intended to spend but I feel like this system will last me for a while. Thanks again for all the help.

For anyone who is curious, here is the final build:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940 BE
Motherboard: ASUS M3A78-EM
PSU: Corsair 650TX
Video: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x2
Memory: GSKill 4 GB DDR2 1066 (I went with the higher clock because it actually ended up being cheaper)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
Case: Cooler Master 690

I'll let you know how the build goes!
February 19, 2009 1:48:27 PM

The build looks good! Good luck. :) 
February 19, 2009 1:54:26 PM

Wow, that's way better than my $3000 PC built in 2007. Nice work :) 

Read the MB manual before you build. Also be careful about electrostatic discharges. Good luck!!!


February 19, 2009 5:48:40 PM

fruees said:
@Outlander:

@ Ameatypie 650W probably isn't overkill in this case, given the GPU and overclocking. Always better to have the extra power just in case ; )


it depends how much money you want to spend - I read an aticle on power consumption a few weeks ago, and a computer with an i7, 8GB ram, 4 high-capacity hard drives, and (i think) two of both optical drives and grahpics cards used at 100% load less then 500 watts. I have a similar system to what they had and i have a 607 Watt PSU - still overkill lol :D 
February 19, 2009 6:44:43 PM

LOL right back at you. It's not as simple as you think.

Compare these PSUs:

Coolmax 600W, delivers 420W on the 12V circuit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?CurImage=17-159-055-22.jpg&Image=17-159-055-18.jpg%2c17-159-055-19.jpg%2c17-159-055-20.jpg%2c17-159-055-21.jpg%2c17-159-055-22.jpg%2c17-159-055-23.jpg%2c17-159-055-24.jpg%2c17-159-055-25.jpg%2c17-159-055-26.jpg%2c17-159-055-17.jpg&S7ImageFlag=0&WaterMark=1&Item=N82E16817159055&Depa=0&Description=COOLMAX%20CXI-600B%20600W%20Power%20Supply

This PSU would have died if a system tried to get 500W from it. It is labeled 600W though.

Or this one:
Rosewill 600W, combined output 35A on the 12V rails, i.e. also 420W.

Now look at this one:
PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703005
This one has 49A.

Also, if you try to get 500W from a PSU that can deliver 600W at most, it will work, but at more than 80% load, which means lower efficiency, more heat, higher bills, more noise, reduced lifetime.

Also, a PSU that can deliver 600W when new may be able to deliver only 490W after a couple of years. There's a "capacitor aging" that causes that.
February 20, 2009 8:32:05 AM

+1 Proximon

@Ameatypie: Come on man, if fwhat you say were true, who would need to buy anything more than a 650w ever? There's a reason why PSUs go up to 1200W and in that department, you definatley get what you're paying for
February 20, 2009 11:28:25 AM

Im tired of hearing how people say 650w, or 750w is wayyyy overkill for machines, its not an overkill, what happens to wattage as the time passes??


Loses capacity, which drops wattage amounts, so if you have a 650w for a couple years, your not going to be running the full amount probably, you'll probably have around 550w of power, so you get a huge amperage, suck up the electricity bill, gj.

get a good reviewed psu at a descent set of wattage and amperage, not anything like 61a of amperage on a small wattage and you'll be fine..
!