Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Phenom II X3 Build on a budget, need critiques and advice

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 28, 2009 3:08:25 AM

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 - OEM
$23.99

COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-SKN2-GP Black / Silver Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$49.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
$64.99

ASUS VK221D Black 21.6" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor
$149.99

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 DDR3 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard
$134.99

SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
$169.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
$6.99

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple
$127.99

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model
$144.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
$99.99

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler
$39.99


Im trying to juggle price and performance with this system, trying to keep it at around 1000 dollars or under. Im not sure of what power supply i need. Should I get faster ram or is 1333 not going to be a bottleneck? Any other mods you think appropriate?
February 28, 2009 4:39:25 AM

Antec Earthwatts 500W would be a good PSU choice.

AMD does not do triple channel, 2x2GB of RAM is what you need. 1333 is fine unless you want to do serious OCing.

Change the HDD to either Seagate 7200.12 500GB or WD 640GB.
February 28, 2009 6:06:23 AM

@theAnimal:
Do you recommend the Seagate .12 drives? Supposedly seagate fixed firmware issues on them...but I kinda feel like its too early to tell if they are safe.
Related resources
February 28, 2009 6:47:36 AM

Why the 3x2 GB of DDR3 RAM?
February 28, 2009 7:22:10 AM

for the 3x2gb i guess it's 2x2gb in dual channel and 1x2gb in single.

However look at the prices for 2x2gb 1600mhz and 2x1gb 1600mhz, since 1600 mhz is the minimum you should be using if switching to ddr3 otherwise there is no need for a AM3 board.
February 28, 2009 7:24:45 AM

I would consider an AM2+ set-up (PhII X4 940 and Asus M3A79-T mobo) as well although I see the value in the AM3, mostly due to the DDR3. I have read good things about OCing the 720 too and most times a quad core processor isn't utilized so I do the rationale there.

I would possibly get a larger PSU, like 750w. Offers more opportunity to upgrade later, maybe throw in a few more hard drives or run CrossFire with another 4870 when the price drops. I have a Corsair 750w I have had good experience with. I don't think I am close to the limit of it, but I can replace the processor, motherboard, and ram to something more powerful in the future and leave the rest of the components.

I have 2x Seagate 7200.11 drives. No issues. Had one for almost 2 years in another system. Can't speak to the .12 though.


Pete
----
PhII X4 940 @ 3.6ghz (200x18@1.45vcore)
Zalman CNPS9700 cooler
Asus M3A79-T Deluxe
8gb OCZ DDR2 @ 1066mhz
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 (512mb)
2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500gb (not in RAID)
Corsair TX750w PSU
Antec 1200 case
February 28, 2009 7:48:28 AM

Hmm i agree with thereev to a certain extent though i would hit hardest at GPU department :p 

February 28, 2009 11:40:56 AM

I didnt know amd didnt do triple channel, thanks for the info. I will instead get 2x2gb 1600. The reason I went with the 4870 was because i dont think i need more power at a resolution of 1680x1050 and for a cheap crossfire later on down the road. 750 watt psu is appropriate?
February 28, 2009 3:11:55 PM

Phenom II X3 720
4870
ASUS 790GX AM3
Mushkin/G.Skill DDR3 4gb (2x2gb)1333
CM 590
PCP&C 750Watt (if Crossfire in the future if not Antec Earthwatts 500Watt)
320gb HDD
February 28, 2009 4:05:13 PM

xthekidx said:
@theAnimal:
Do you recommend the Seagate .12 drives? Supposedly seagate fixed firmware issues on them...but I kinda feel like its too early to tell if they are safe.


I haven't heard anything negative about them.
February 28, 2009 5:33:51 PM

Personally, I'd go with no less than 650W PSU - Corsair or PC Power and Cooling come highly recommended. I recently built a similar system with an EA500 and upgraded to a Corsair 650w, cleared up some weird issues I traced back to the PSU underpowering the system. Also I THINK that Asus board has an 8pin ATX 12v connector, the EA500 only has a P4 connector, so you'd need to do some adapting - not a big deal but don't let it surprise you. The Corsair PSU I bought has an 8pin 12v connector and a single 12v rail with 52 amperes - in short, it'll feed the beast. The power supply and the mobo are the heart and soul of the PC, the CPU is the brain... what good is a brain if the heart and soul aren't up to the challenge?

Personally I would go with the PhII X4 940 and DDR2 PC2 8500 RAM because of the cost of DDR3 and it's higher latency- you can get 8Gb of DDR2 CAS5 for the price of 6GB of DDR3 CAS9. Also I'd go with the 750w Corsair (with single 12v rail w/ 58A).

I checked, that board has a P4, so the EA500 would work, but I'd still recommend the 650w +
February 28, 2009 5:42:14 PM

The Seagate .12 drives should be OK now - I'd risk it.
February 28, 2009 6:12:49 PM

scatrdfew said:
Personally, I'd go with no less than 650W PSU - Corsair or PC Power and Cooling come highly recommended. I recently built a similar system with an EA500 and upgraded to a Corsair 650w, cleared up some weird issues I traced back to the PSU underpowering the system. Also I THINK that Asus board has an 8pin ATX 12v connector, the EA500 only has a P4 connector, so you'd need to do some adapting - not a big deal but don't let it surprise you. The Corsair PSU I bought has an 8pin 12v connector and a single 12v rail with 52 amperes - in short, it'll feed the beast. The power supply and the mobo are the heart and soul of the PC, the CPU is the brain... what good is a brain if the heart and soul aren't up to the challenge?

Personally I would go with the PhII X4 940 and DDR2 PC2 8500 RAM because of the cost of DDR3 and it's higher latency- you can get 8Gb of DDR2 CAS5 for the price of 6GB of DDR3 CAS9. Also I'd go with the 750w Corsair (with single 12v rail w/ 58A).

I checked, that board has a P4, so the EA500 would work, but I'd still recommend the 650w +


A 500W PSU is more than enough for a system that won't top 300W.

The EA500 has an 8pin connector. http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/connectors.php?ProdID=2...
February 28, 2009 9:20:12 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone.
February 28, 2009 11:27:34 PM

I for one like the Corsair 620 w PSU.  Plenty enough for single GPU setup, even the most demanding. Furthermore, modular PSU helps keeping cable management at a minimum fuss.  I have a 620 and 520 Corsair PSU and highly recommand them.
March 1, 2009 12:17:01 AM

I was thinking of going with this power supply.

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified

I think it will be powerful enough for two 4870s down the road. It is cheap at 75 dollars after rebate, and is very efficient.

Im still confused about the triple channel thing. Is it important? Why doesnt AMD use it?
March 1, 2009 7:23:04 AM

Don't worry about triple channel memory, its performance gains are minimal over dual channel.

I would go with the Corsair 750tx to be safe...the 650tx probably would work, but I'd want a little more headroom to work with, those 4870's are very power hungry cards.
March 1, 2009 7:23:13 AM

edit
March 1, 2009 10:50:13 AM

xthekidx said:
Don't worry about triple channel memory, its performance gains are minimal over dual channel.

I would go with the Corsair 750tx to be safe...the 650tx probably would work, but I'd want a little more headroom to work with, those 4870's are very power hungry cards.



I agree, if the OP is going for a multi GPU, +/- 600w might be a bit close. For SLI/CF setup the PC & C 750 W is another very nice option.
March 2, 2009 7:31:40 PM

03RAH03 said:
I was thinking of going with this power supply.

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified

I think it will be powerful enough for two 4870s down the road. It is cheap at 75 dollars after rebate, and is very efficient.

Im still confused about the triple channel thing. Is it important? Why doesnt AMD use it?


If you're planning on crossfired 4870s...

System requirements for a Sapphire 4870-
http://www.sapphiretech.com/us/products/products_overvi...
600 Watt and four 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode

Check the resources page for the TX650, it only has two 6-pin connectors.
http://www.corsair.com/products/tx/default.aspx

You could throw on a couple 6 pin adapters to the molex connectors, but I would also agree that those are some power hungry cards and I'd go with the TX750 to ensure enough power for the system, esp. if you're overclocking. Some have said the EA500 would be a good choice, but I'm going to disagree with them. I own both an EA500 and a Corsair 650TX. The EA500 would cut it for one graphics card but not two. I happen to be from the "more is better" camp when it comes to the power supply. Since I own both of these power supplies here is my comparison -

The TX series PSU is more quiet, has a larger fan (120mm on the side of the PSU) than the EA500 (80mm on the back). 650TX cables are sleaved; no sleaves on the EA500 cables with one exception - the 20+4 pin power connector cable. Corsair 650TX has one +12v Rail with 52A. The EA500 has 2 +12v rails w/ 17A each (if it was made by Seasonic). I'm not saying the EA500 is a bad PSU, it's not. But the Corsair TX is nicer, and not much more $$.

My gaming rig: PhenomII 940BE, Asus M3A79-T Deluxe, two 4850s crossfired, 640GB HHD, multi card reader and a DVD-RW optical drive, Corsair TX650 and that works just fine for that.

I have another system for Video editing with a Phenom X3 Toliman 2.4Ghz, MSI 790GX, Sapphire HD 4830 card, 750GB HHD, multicard reader, Blu ray Optical drive and I use the EA500 for that.

March 2, 2009 7:35:46 PM

theAnimal said:
A 500W PSU is more than enough for a system that won't top 300W.

The EA500 has an 8pin connector. http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/connectors.php?ProdID=2...



Yeah I have to retract my statement that the EA500 doesn't have an 8 pin connector, I own one so I opened my case and sure enough, there it was. I didn't remember it had that - I have it powering an MSI DKA790GX that has a P4 connector.
!