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Buying one of these two this week - which one?

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July 6, 2009 4:06:52 PM

It's time I buy a new computer since work is picking up. I primarily do graphic design (Photoshop, Illustrator) and a little web design here and there (Dreamweaver). I plan on purchasing CS4 this week as well. No real video work (maybe as a hobby) and zero gaming. Which machine of these two should I go with considering the price?

Machine A: $840

AMD Phenom II X4 910 (2.6 GHz)
8 MB PC3-8500 DDR3
1 TB Serial ATA 5400 rpm
ATI Radeon HD 4350 512 MB
Wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g/n)
Blu-ray Disc player and DL DVD±RW/CD-RW drive
Vista Home Premium

Machine B: $950

Intel Core i7 920 (2.66 GHz)
6GB DDR3-1066MHz
750GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s
ATI Radeon HD 4650 1 GB
Wireless-N LAN card and Bluetooth
LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
Vista Home Premium

All of the benchmark findings online say the Intel will outperform the AMD, but considering the other specs, what route should I go? Any suggestions/advice is welcome and if you have a question, please ask.

More about : buying week

July 6, 2009 4:20:55 PM

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a c 83 à CPUs
July 6, 2009 4:28:06 PM

I'm not sure what you intend to use the computer for, but I doubt you'll ever need 4Gb ram much less the 6 or 8 in those machines so I wouldn't even consider that a factor in the decision. The blueray player is rather useless in my opinion too, but I have absolutely no use for one myself. Machine A also has a larger hard drive, but from what you've listed it is also slower.

Go with Machine B, you'll get a faster cpu, gpu, and hard drive. Your load times will be better, your gaming performance will be better, your multitasking will be highly improved upon, etc.
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July 6, 2009 5:10:47 PM

COnsidering you said you would be using this for graphic design and such, i would go with option B, the i7 would be the way to go there. with the hard drive, i assume that 750g is the WD HDD, which is very quick and reliable. You may consider 2 of them in a mirror, just to be safe. I wouldn't know for a fact, but i would guess utilizing the tripple channel function of the memory would make having that 6gig of ram ideal.

on a side note, i don't know if a better graphics card would help render or not... you may want to look into that
July 6, 2009 5:17:48 PM

I would probably look at trying to get something like this:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 (3.2 GHz) or 945 (3.0GHz)
8 GB PC3-8500 DDR3
1 TB Serial ATA 7200 rpm
ATI Radeon HD 4350 512 MB (or anything really since you don't need 3D)
Wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g/n)
DL DVD±RW/CD-RW drive
Vista Home Premium (64 bit)

Since I've removed the pointless blu-ray it should still be around the $900 mark.
a b à CPUs
July 6, 2009 5:23:01 PM

B
But with one change: The HD4650 is a low end gaming card, I'd replace it with a passively cooled HD4550 provided the case has good airflow.
And, obviously, you'll get 64-bit Vista, just that you did not say;)
a c 114 à CPUs
July 6, 2009 6:06:51 PM

Asus 790GX / Phenom 945 *AM3*: $270 AR

G.Skill 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600: $95

Western Digital VelociRaptor 150GB $140 AR
(With Promo Code EMCLVLN38 valid till 07/08/2009)

Western Digital 640GB: $75

Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 512Mb: $55 AR

Corsair 400w PSU: $40 AR

Anter Three Hundred Mid-Tower Case: $55

Windows 7 Release Candidate: Free
(You should actually go ahead and pay the $50 fee for your copy before it times out)


This totals $780 - will whoop your OEM builds (assuming you will also be paying sales tax). You need an optical drive ($35?) and cable - no reason for a Blu-Ray drive.

You may even pay a local yokel to build it and still come out to the good. You could save a good bit of money on a different mobo but hopefully in the future the second PCIe x16 slot may be used for true GPU processing.
July 6, 2009 6:21:13 PM

^+1 AMD Fool.... as am I....... BUT, I must say get System B .... Get the i7 940 instead though.... Also this is basically a workstation NOT a gamer.... The 4650 is a decent card but for workstation use I would have to recomend at least an HD 4890/4870x2.

No blu-ray.. Waste right now! This is not a media center, correct?
July 6, 2009 6:41:44 PM

As of right now, due to my own gut feeling and many of the responses, I'm leaning toward B. Like I mentioned before, it's going to be used primarily for Adobe CS4 Design Premium. Other than that, basic internet use along with MS Office or OpenOffice. I hear a lot of back and forth about the video card. Some people I've talked to say the video card isn't going to make a significant difference since I'm not a gamer and don't have a video rendering workload.

Initially, I was hoping to build/buy a pretty sweet machine for between $600-800. After looking into statistics, I won't be able to do so with an i7.

As for the Blu-ray, I don't have any use for it but it was included. It didn't cost any more to have it.
a c 330 à CPUs
July 6, 2009 6:55:11 PM

It is my understanding that cs4 is multicore optimized, and can use lots of ram to improve performance. The i7 920 and 6gb will serve you well on both counts.

I also note that the i7 build has a stronger vga card, more ram, and a faster hard drive. If you were to compare apples to apples, the i7 vs. phenom difference would be less.
The i7-920 can easily and safely be run at 3.3, the speed of the $999 i7-975.

If your budget permits, I would suggest a velociraptor for the OS and work drive, and a WD caviar black 1tb drive for storage. Otherwise, just the caviar black alone is good. It is almost as fast.

Jump on the 1/2 price deal for windows-7 upgrade deal before july11.
a b à CPUs
July 7, 2009 6:17:03 AM

Caviar Black is just as fast as the Velociraptor... not enough diff to justify the extra cost. Caviar Black in RAID < Velociraptor.

Practiclly any GFX will do for the OP, and the i7 rig is better value as well.
a b à CPUs
July 7, 2009 6:31:13 AM

For your uses and for a longer useful system life, i'd get option B.
a b à CPUs
July 7, 2009 6:36:27 AM

^, Yeh, for the price...
a b à CPUs
July 7, 2009 2:03:51 PM

Option B for you.
A higher end video card will do nothing, nada, zippo, zero benefit.
Keep everything exactly as listed, but I would opt for a Caviar Black drive.
a b à CPUs
July 30, 2009 1:18:59 PM

It's worth the extra $$$ for the added warranty alone.
!