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Thinking about building a computer. Quick Question.

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June 7, 2009 3:55:21 PM

I have recently expressed a very large interest in building a new computer. In the past I have just purchased them from a company. However, I have a desire to delve more and more into technology and how it works. Therefore, I decided that this time around I would build one. I plan to use it for gaming. ( I am what the console makers call a core gamer, meaning I am into the more high end hardcore gamer type games, I guess. Please correct me If I am wrong on the terminology.) Anyhow, I asked a friend to build a set up for me, with a limit of $1,000, and he did. Over the past few weeks I have been asking questions and reading up on how to build one. However, I am not sure this one will fly. Can someone do a quick check on these parts for me and let me know what is missing or not compatible?

-Antec Nine-hundred black steel ATX Mid-Tower case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Asus P5QE LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q9400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-OCZ Flex EX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1200 (PC2 9600)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-HITACHI Deskstar P7K500 HDP725050GLA360 (0A35415) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5 Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


To everyone that helps out, I appreciate your help and assistance. I especially appreciate you taking the time out of your day to help me out.

June 7, 2009 4:52:07 PM

Instead of the Q9400, which is on LGA775, i'd go an AM3 route with a Phenom II 620 X3 or 955 X4.
a b à CPUs
June 8, 2009 1:09:35 AM

What is happening right now in the hardware world is that Intel has stopped releasing new CPUs for the LGA 775 platform except for some slight improvements, such as the Q9550S or a possible E8700. So the LGA775 is on it's way to eol. Intel has turned their attention to the LGA1366 (i7) and the LGA1156 (i5) platforms. AMD on the other hand is still working on the AM3 platform and has new CPUs coming out. While Intel still has a slight advantage with the Q9650 over the PhenomII x4 955 BE, it's just a matter of time till AMD beats it (imo).
If you're building with an idea to be able to upgrade your system in the future, you would probably want to go with AM3 or LGA1366 or wait a couple of months till LGA1156 becomes available. Just my 2 cents.
Related resources
June 8, 2009 1:27:00 AM

dirtmountain said:
What is happening right now in the hardware world is that Intel has stopped releasing new CPUs for the LGA 775 platform except for some slight improvements, such as the Q9550S or a possible E8700. So the LGA775 is on it's way to eol. Intel has turned their attention to the LGA1366 (i7) and the LGA1156 (i5) platforms. AMD on the other hand is still working on the AM3 platform and has new CPUs coming out. While Intel still has a slight advantage with the Q9650 over the PhenomII x4 955 BE, it's just a matter of time till AMD beats it (imo).
If you're building with an idea to be able to upgrade your system in the future, you would probably want to go with AM3 or LGA1366 or wait a couple of months till LGA1156 becomes available. Just my 2 cents.



OK, so to make sure I understand this correctly. If I replace my memory with DDR3 memory, my motherboard to an X58 motherboard for the Core i7, and my CPU to a Core i7 for the LGA 1366 socket, then everything else should be compatible correct? I just want to make sure I understand this correctly. I am new to all of this, so I want to check with some people who know what they are doing before I start making some decisions.
June 8, 2009 2:28:33 AM

Yes. The three major things that you have to look at for compatibility are RAM, CPU, and Mobo.
a b à CPUs
June 8, 2009 2:33:29 AM

Yes, everything else is compatible. The sole possible "exception" is that once you change the parts, you technically should re-examine power requirements. Corsair's psu calculater (eg) ( http://corsair.com/psufinder/default.aspx ) says 750 is fine for 2x4870, so you are certainly fine with 1x4870.

Then there's two other things you should know.

1) There are folks who feel strongly about AMD's current competitive position and the future of AMD tech. Ditto others who believe more in Intel. Sometimes its hard to separate aspiration from analysis. Me? I don't believe there is much to future-proofing. And I'm an Intel guy because that's where I'm comfortable.

2) Intel's upcoming "i5" (generic media tag for the new line-up) will probably overlap the i7 920, some saying it will be eliminated. Prices for it seem to have come down. The i5s use a different socket entirely, which leaves Intel with two new (mainstream?) sockets. Most feel the top-of-the-line i7 will remain "top gun". It'll be fun to see exactly what happens next.

In any case, the recommended i7 overclocks *very* nicely, especially the D0. With or without OC it will do quite well for the next several years, leaving you most likely with only vid card technology to "worry" about. The 4870 is already not the fastest gun in the drawer - but any i7 mobo you buy will allow SLI (er, Crossfire :)  ) before you have to consider whatever is announced say a year or so from now. Or two of them :) 

Long way of saying, a larger than minimum psu is probably the only "future-proofing" you might want to consider.

Other than that, you're good.
June 8, 2009 4:49:20 AM

Well guys,
I have nothing but thanks and appreciation to extend to everyone here. I appreciate all the advice and assistance that was given to me. As far as a decision, I will probably go with the i7 since after all my reading, and all the advice I have been given makes me comfortable with Intel. As it is, with that set up, I am really pushing my spending limit (currently over it, but hey I have a lot of extra cash, I am just very frugal). In light of that information, the upgrade in a video card will have to wait so I can worry about the psu. One more question. I can upgrade my psu at any time correct?
June 8, 2009 7:14:28 AM

yes you can. power supplys are the one thing that havent had a drastic change. you can easily upgrade that. but its best to upgrde at the time of the build because sometimes you gotta take out other things to get it out depending on config.
June 8, 2009 6:43:16 PM

I7 920 really is a great product and amd can't compete with it in terms of encoding performance + application performance.

You say that the system is for gaming and wanted to get a cheaper Pc.

I7 overstreches your budget and you want to save money somewhere else.

My advice do not get the I7 920 it is very powerfull but gaming isn't at all its strongest category.

A Phenom II 920/940 gives you a better cost/performance ratio and you can later on upgrade. If your budget is tight save the money you would spend on I7920 and spend it on your graphics card it will give you better performance.

I'm not a fanboy of Amd or Intel. I simply choose the option that gives you most performance for your money.... and I7 (in a gaming Pc with your budget) surely isn't it.

There may come some Intel fanboys and tell you the I7 rocks sooo bad but in games the Gpu is more important and the Phenom II x4 940 is good in games but saves you alot of money which if invested elsewhere gives you better overall performance....

I hate it when people advice everybody to buy I7 although it will just be paired with a way to weak Gpu not able to take advantage of it.
June 8, 2009 7:15:29 PM

I agree with Erdinger. With a 1k budget, i'd rather go a Phenom II route, overclock it and run two cards on Crossfire.
a c 108 à CPUs
June 8, 2009 7:35:00 PM

What is your monitor resolution?

PhII 720 BE / Asus M4A79T Deluxe 790FX: $309
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Bumped to Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 1GB: $214 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The difference in price between the i7 and the PhII 720BE rigs could buy you a second HD4890 :bounce: 


Anand: Phenom II X3 720BE & CrossFire X Performance
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3533&p=9

Quote:
When it came to actual game play experiences, our opinions still have not changed when it comes to a choice between the Phenom II or Core 2 Quad. The Phenom II processors are a better choice in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and Crysis Warhead due to fluidity of game play, especially with background tasks running or CPU utilization near 100%. In the four other titles, we could not tell any real differences in the quality of game play between the Phenom II X4 940, Phenom II X3 720BE, or Core 2 Quad Q9550.



Happy Gaming!
June 8, 2009 7:58:59 PM

Ok, well let's say I go with the i7, and lets move the budget to about $1150 or $1200. What video card should I go with in respect to that price range. If you want to bump up the price a bit, then that is fine. From what I gather, as far as Radeon goes, a 4890 would be a decent choice with the i7? If I am off please correct me. (Keep in mind, I have the money to spend, and I am going to spend it if I have to. If I am going to build this, I am going to build it right.)

Again, thanks and appreciation is due everyone here. You guys have taken the time out of your day to assist me, and I am thankful for that.
June 8, 2009 8:01:03 PM

I am sorry guys, but I forgot to ask. With this set up, can I go with either ATI or Nvidia? Becuase if all the information points to Nvidia being the better option, I will invest some time researching that.
June 8, 2009 8:11:08 PM

For single-card setups, there are no limitations on which company you can go with.

FYI (As it sounds youve already settled on i7) When the new LGA 1160 launches, I expect prices on both LGA775 motherboards and processors to come down considerably. At that point, 775 machines will rule for budget minded builders. Right now tho, its just dumping money into a dead-end platform.
June 8, 2009 8:49:04 PM

So why am I being told I should spend some money to get a better graphics card? (Granted that only came from one source). Is the 4870 sufficient? Would it be worth it to move up to a Radeon 4890?
June 8, 2009 10:57:56 PM

Essencialy, look at it like this...

For gaming, the #1 most important part is your graphics card. Now yes, you do have to have a strong enuf CPU to push that card, but upgrading CPU isnt as important. The ONLY reason you should be considering i7 is because you want to be able to upgrade to a new CPU without swapping motherboards in the next 2, maybe 3 years. You will see no performance improvement compared to an equaly clocked Core2Quad or PhenomII.
a b à CPUs
June 8, 2009 11:57:34 PM

brightfutureahead said:
So why am I being told I should spend some money to get a better graphics card? (Granted that only came from one source). Is the 4870 sufficient? Would it be worth it to move up to a Radeon 4890?


This question isn't easy to answer because nothing (with a budget) runs everything at any resolution. Yet many cards can run anything at SOME resolution. So its a question of trade-offs. Most people look at 30 FPS as a minimum playable standard, but there's even some small flex there. Here's an example - you can find other reviews for other examples - of Crysis, a notorious GPU killer, running DX10:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

At 1280 x 1024 high details 0 AA this particular 4870 achieved 41/26 FPS (Average/Minimum). Its playable.

At 1920 x 1080 (closer to the 1920 x 1200 typical native monitor resolution for decent size monitors) it was 29/20 FPS. Hmmm.

There is no listing in this benchmark at 1920 x 1200 - it would clearly not be playable. But you could turn down some of the details . . . etc. Tradeoffs.

This review ( http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r... ) shows that a specific 285 and a 4870 X2 can run the same game at 1920x1200 at 40/29 FPS.

Unless your gaming includes MMOs where currently SLI/Crossfire is largely inneffective (AoC is a popular near-exception), most people "solve" this dilemma by staying away from the top card (295/4870 X2) and dropping down to the next best single GPU alternative. (See http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-grap... ) That card will usually work for almost anything at some resolution, and if it pisses you off you buy another one and SLI/Crossfire. That way you typically get the most FPS for the dollar.

At this time the two cards most likely to fill this role are the 275 and the 4870. Here's a review that includes the 275 and the 4870 and 4890.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3539&p=23

Lonnnng way of saying . . . if the above makes sense to you, then you *probably* want to buy a 275 or a 4870 and play. Then decide if you need another. Whichever one you choose will determine your mobo for support of either SLI or Crossfire so you can add the other later. And the power required by the psu you should prolly buy now to avoid replacement. The 2x4870 will likely require 750/850W, and the 2x275 1000W according to Corsair. Though that difference may be due to Corsair's power connectors.
June 9, 2009 1:18:59 AM

OK, I think I am starting to understand you guys now. Let me just make sure. So, lets say I buy all this and put it together. I am using a 4870. I decide, "Okay, I want to go with something better". I would then proceed to purchase ANOTHER 4870, and put that in my PC? From what I understand, I can put 2 4870 cards in one PC, but I CAN NOT put a 4870 and then a 4870x2 in the same PC correct? (The x2 is referring to the stream processing units?)

Again, I can not say it enough, thank you to everyone.
a b à CPUs
June 9, 2009 2:18:33 AM

No problem - you are earning the help by following along lol

When X2 is part of the model number, it means two vid chips are on one board. IOW, that single board is ALREADY "SLI/Crossfire". Its like two boards in one.

So, 4870 X2 or 4870X2 means two chips on one board, while 2x4870 would mean two 4870s, two separate boards connected by a cable, in crossfire. Normally :)  Confusing, eh?

If one 4870 isn't enough, you can add a second, and on some mobos a third (3 PCI-e slots).

If you use a 4870x2, you can add a second. That is quad-sli/crossfire, two chips per board, times two. That's all, 4 is the max atm.

Dunno if you can Crossfire a 4870 and a 4870 X2 - someone will shout out if you can, I'm sure lol.

Note that adding a second video card does not DOUBLE performance. Like dual-core cpus, it depends on whether the programming benefits from doing two things at once. If you want to get to a place 60 miles away in one hour, you cannot get there driving two cars with a max speed of 30 mph :) 

nVidia does the same. Clear :)  ?
June 9, 2009 2:46:44 AM

So if I understand it correctly, 2 4870 cards would allow for more things to occur at one time, not increase my performance when playing games? Or does it allow the current performance level to run smoother? I can't make the purchase for a 4870x2 right now due to the price. Maybe over time when I cram some overtime in and save that, then make the switch, if I want to.
a b à CPUs
June 9, 2009 3:54:23 AM

No. I guess my analogies did more harm than good. Let me try it this way.

When your game is running, the video driver may accumulate enough work that it can share it between two different video cards, and yet get the same result on your screen as if one video card had done it. In this ideal case, that work set gets done (almost) twice as fast.

But most times this is not possible, either due to a lack of work, or because there are dependencies that must be observed. A must be done before B, etc. So one card must do (most of) the work and the other card sits idle.

For the sake of argument, call the average of all cases a 30% improvement over a single card.

IOW, yes, crossfire or SLI will run most games faster by some percentage, up until the point where they are bound by the speed of the cpu.

And yes, buy one 4870 or 275 now, size your psu correctly for 2, and then order, build, and have fun.
June 9, 2009 4:01:17 AM

OOOOOOOkay, I understand now, that analogy made a lot more sense to me. I picked up a wealth of information in the past few hours. My thanks and appreciation goes out to everyone here. I am sure I will be back from time to time to ask questions as I move through the process. Until then, I will be doing a lot more reading and watching instead of talking (Well, typing I guess haha).

Again, thank you to everyone here.
June 9, 2009 7:19:54 PM

I agree with Twoboxer, nicely explained (the second time)

Now about your question concerning graphics card.

The 4890 is the best single card from Ati but there still exists the Gtx-285 from Nvidia which is more powerfull (and more expensive) then the 4890 or the gtx-275. Maybe you should also have a look at that card to see where you could invest the money saved by not buying an I7 :) 

I see you're really intrested in the topic so I'm sure your build is going to be a sucess
a b à CPUs
June 9, 2009 7:48:58 PM

Dual cards = alternate frame rendering or split frame rendering.
June 9, 2009 8:20:46 PM

OK, I see. I will invest a few more days researching video cards. Let me just double check. I can change to different video cards at any time correct? For example:

I have a 4870. I spend some months with that, get annoyed, and therefore I decide to remove it and replace it with a 4890. I can do that correct?

One more example:

I have a 4870 (or 4890) or whatever. I decide I want to get a GTX 285. Again, I can remove the 4870 or 4890 or whatever I have in their, and replace it with the GTX 285 right?
June 9, 2009 8:27:47 PM

I have a pc that is running pretty much the same specs and it runs pretty well. Im diggin it a lot.
June 9, 2009 8:37:47 PM

Yes you can always replace these cards.

The compatibility is determined by the motherboard.

Al new motherboards support Pci 2.0 (X16) and all new cards do.

Pci 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.0 (x8) and up to now gives nearly the same performance.

There are no plans of replacing Pci 2.0 in the next years. so you'll pretty sure be able to replace you graphics card with a newer one in distant future (maybe not 10 years but i don't think your pc will last that long :) )
June 9, 2009 9:04:49 PM

erdinger said:
Yes you can always replace these cards.

The compatibility is determined by the motherboard.

Al new motherboards support Pci 2.0 (X16) and all new cards do.

Pci 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.0 (x8) and up to now gives nearly the same performance.

There are no plans of replacing Pci 2.0 in the next years. so you'll pretty sure be able to replace you graphics card with a newer one in distant future (maybe not 10 years but i don't think your pc will last that long :) )


Haha, if it lasts that long with no worries about upgrading, something will have gone seriously wrong in the world of technology.
June 10, 2009 11:40:14 PM

Another Question relating to the RAM if you guys don't mind. The ram my mother board supports is as follows.

Memory
Number of Memory Slots 6×240pin
Memory Standard DDR3 2000(O.C.)*/1866(O.C.)*/1800(O.C.)*/1600(O.C.)/1 333/1066
Maximum Memory Supported 24GB
Channel Supported Triple Channel

This is how I understand it. It supports 1333 or 1066, however everything else is supports, would be overclocked from 1333 or 1066, correct?

So, this is the memory I plan to buy.

Brand CORSAIR
Series XMS3
Model TR3X6G1333C9
Type 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
Tech Spec
Capacity 6GB (3 x 2GB)
Speed DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
Cas Latency 9
Timing 9-9-9-24
Voltage 1.5V
Multi-channel Kit Triple Channel Kit
Heat Spreader Yes
Features Compatible with Intel Core i7 series CPU for Intel X58 Motherboard
Recommend Use High Performance or Gaming Memory
Manufacturer Warranty
Parts Lifetime limited
Labor Lifetime limited

However, I was wondering if someone could explain to me what the (PC3 10666) Stands for where it states the speed.

Again, thank you to everyone.
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2009 12:25:07 AM

From Wikipedia:

"DDR3-xxx denotes data transfer rate, and describes raw DDR chips, whereas PC3-xxxx denotes theoretical bandwidth (though it is often rounded up or down), and is used to describe assembled DIMMs. Bandwidth is calculated by taking transfers per second and multiplying by eight. This is because DDR3 memory modules transfer data on a bus that is 64 data bits wide, and since a byte comprises 8 bits, this equates to 8 bytes of data per transfer."

As far as which memory . . . I'll leave that to others. I just want it to work. But I think you are in the right speed range and price class. It looks like this at Newegg (Sort it by price):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

If I'm going top-shelf all the way, I'd go with the Mushkin for 6 latency, even though I'll probably never notice any real result from that investment. Otherwise I'd buy the stuff that has never failed me before, a very personal list that includes Corsair, G. Skill, Kingston, or the specific stuff listed as compatible on the mfgrs web site.

The G.Skill 7 latency might tempt me at $95 - their Customer Service seems to be watching the Newegg reviews as well :) .
June 11, 2009 12:36:16 AM

Twoboxer said:
From Wikipedia:

"DDR3-xxx denotes data transfer rate, and describes raw DDR chips, whereas PC3-xxxx denotes theoretical bandwidth (though it is often rounded up or down), and is used to describe assembled DIMMs. Bandwidth is calculated by taking transfers per second and multiplying by eight. This is because DDR3 memory modules transfer data on a bus that is 64 data bits wide, and since a byte comprises 8 bits, this equates to 8 bytes of data per transfer."

As far as which memory . . . I'll leave that to others. I just want it to work. But I think you are in the right speed range and price class. It looks like this at Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

If I'm going top-shelf all the way, I'd go with the Mushkin for 6 latency, even though I'll probably never notice any real result from that investment. Otherwise I'd buy the stuff that has never failed me before, a very personal list that includes Corsair, or the specific stuff listed as compatible on the mfgrs web site.


Ok, I KIND OF understand that. The acronyms escape me right now since I am so new to this.

DIMM: Dual Inline Memory?
DDR: Double Data Rate?

So essentially what you are saying is this: My motherboard will support 1333 and 1066 speeds, but it can not be memory (RAM correct?) of the others such as the 2000 or 1866 etc. listed, because if I wanted those speeds, I would have to overclock the RAM that is at 1333 or 1066?
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2009 12:58:09 AM

One number rates the single memory chip; the other rates the module with 8 chips; sometime one doesn't look like 8 times the other because they round.

Dual Inline Memory Module, yes. Double Data Rate, yes.

A little more complicated than that . . . you seem open to learning, try reading this very current article:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/memory-scaling-i7,2...

I just love this line from it: "Even the replacement of slow DDR3-800 RAM by DDR3-1600 memory will mostly yield disappointing results. While the performance advantage is measurable, it is never noticeable."

It tells you a lot, and may even convince you to look at 1066 memory.
June 11, 2009 4:14:00 AM

Well that answered a big question for me. The question I have now is that since that article stated that the i7 only officially supports 1066, what happens if I go with 1333 or faster? What do I need to worry about, and what do I need to do in order to prepare for it should I decide to go with faster memory? After reading the article, I don't plan to go higher than 1066 or MAYBE even 1333 just for ****s and giggles, but it would be nice to know for the future.

I know I have said it a million times, but thank you. :) 
a b à CPUs
June 11, 2009 4:28:16 AM

1333 or 1600 will work fine on the i7. You might have to manually set the speed in the BIOS, but other than that, there shouldn't be any issues. Currently, for i7, I'd lean towards DDR3-1600, if nothing else because the price has dropped so much. For example, 6GB of OCZ Gold DDR3-1600 is only $80 after rebate (link), and I can't find 6GB of 1333 for any less than $75.
June 11, 2009 2:04:04 PM

The only question I still have is what my motherboard actually supports. Can I put 1600 in my motherboard? It says it, but it says it as "1600*(O/C)" So what can I actually use? The only two without the *(O/C) are the 1066 and the 1333.
June 12, 2009 7:39:49 PM

Wow, I am so new to these forums, I just realized, I put this in the CPU forum. What was I doing. (Other than having the obvious inattention to detail that day.) Just wanted to say sorry for that.
!