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General Use System ~AUS$2000

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April 9, 2009 4:30:01 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 2 Weeks
BUDGET RANGE: AUS$1800-2100
SYSTEM USAGE: Gaming (Mostly WoW, some newer FPS LAN games), Studying (Running many applications at once with many windows up)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor (Samsung 226BW 1650*1080), Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers.

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: As I am in Australia, I will be using this local supplier. http://www.cpl.net.au/ (There is a parts list pdf on the front page)

PARTS PREFERENCES:
- I've been told that an i7 may be overkill, as i dont do any highly demanding things e.g. video editing.
- I've also been told that a Phenom 2 isn't going to satisfy me for 2-3 years as I'd like it to.
I'm a little confused here, and have no preference. However I'd like to build this in an RC690.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe - I dont know what I'm doing here.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
- This computer will be on for long periods of time and is in a bedroom, so i'd rather not overclock if it means extra noise. (My room often gets quite hot, so the computer i have at the moment I installed a variable fan on there to turn it up and down when required.)

- I may be looking to purchase another monitor (for ease of study) and have a dual display in the next few months (if this build is not too expensive).

- The prices here in Australia aren't comparable to your prices (even when you do the math on exchange rates). Things are generally more expensive here by ~10-20%. I would really appreciate if you look at the price list i mentioned above.

Thanks guys.
April 9, 2009 4:48:45 AM

What a daunting list.

I think that Phenom II would be a good option for you actually, they are quite good CPU's. I would get a PII 940 build.
April 9, 2009 4:56:38 AM

Thankyou xthekidx.

In that case, what GPU would you advise I get?
Related resources
April 9, 2009 5:21:49 AM

That PDF is hard to read. Maybe it's my laptop and it will be easier from home.

Let me lay out a general 940 build.

AMD 940
AMD 790GX chipset motherboard. 790FX might be a nice upgrade. ASUS, Gigabyte.
DDR2 1066mhz. Corsair, G.Skill, Kingston, Mushkin, OCZ, NOT Crucial. 4GB
Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, Antec, Seasonic 750W or better
Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive (your choice of GB)
A DVD burner
Vista 64-bit Premium for system builders

Video cards... you could get a single 4870 1GB, or two, or a 4870X2. Since you are at 1680x1050 I would say a single 4870 1GB would probably satisfy you.
April 9, 2009 9:54:36 AM

Phenom II X4 940
GA-MA790X-UD4
4GB Corsair C5DF
Sapphire HD4890 1gb
Coolermaster RC690 (no PSU)
Antec 650
Western Digital 640GB
Not Required
Windows Vista Premium 64 oem
DVD-RW Pioneer DVR213LS

Comes out at AUS$1839

Will this require any cooling if I dont overclock the phenom?
Will an i7 system require aftermarket cooling if not overclocked?
April 9, 2009 10:23:04 AM

Stock cooling will work if you run at stock settings.
But you can never be too sure. I'd throw in a fan or two myself. For that build, I'd also likely buy aftermarket cooling. Buying something intense, so might as well.
April 9, 2009 10:40:22 AM

proph said:
Phenom II X4 940
GA-MA790X-UD4
4GB Corsair C5DF
Sapphire HD4890 1gb
Coolermaster RC690 (no PSU)
Antec 650
Western Digital 640GB
Not Required
Windows Vista Premium 64 oem
DVD-RW Pioneer DVR213LS

Comes out at AUS$1839

Will this require any cooling if I dont overclock the phenom?
Will an i7 system require aftermarket cooling if not overclocked?


Well instead of the Antec 650, get the Corsair 750...
Reason - Can handle 2 4890 in xfire...
Its around AUS$30 more in that list...
And No you wont require a aftermarket cooler if you dont overclock...But I feel you can get more value from that CPU if you overclock it...The Phenoms IIs are highly overclockable...
Rest is good...Do add more case fans to increase the air flow inside the case...

April 9, 2009 1:59:39 PM

God Damn AMD Fanboys!!!!! :)  LOL

Dont listen to there evil lies!!!! Mwahhaha

Ok getting serious though Here is what I would build and do currently build for clients and friends I will also explain why I use these components.

Case: Thermaltake V9 @ $139 Great case not over the top but stylish, great quality and good design, a case is subjective though anyway, pick the one you like the look of.

PSU:Thermaltake QFan 750W @ $219 Overkill really but hey it feeds all your precious components, and it gives you piece of mind when you start eyeing off the likes of GTX295's :) 


Mobo: Asus P5Q Pro @ $205 Excellent board at an excellent price, officially supports up to 1600mhz FSB but can push up around 1750 and remain stable for overclocking supports ddr2 1200mhz memory, great cooling for nbridge and sbridge in this price range. Great overclocking board.

CPU: Intel E8400 @ $259, You can argue over quad/duals all day long but at the end of the day unless your doing heavy video encoding you dont need a quad. Nice to have yes, but a quad clocked the same as an e8400 is going to cost you $519. Really wanna drop that coin on something that will encode a dvd maybe 3 mins quicker? On top of that the E8400 will overclock 600mhz without even changing a voltage, just bump the FSB up to the required value, easy even for someone with no OC experience, so for $259 you get a 3.6ghz cpu! They will actually go up around 4ghz but takes experience with bios voltage setting to get it. Down the track when games finally start supporting all 4 cores available you can pick up a by then very cheap 3ghz Q9650 and drop it straight in your p5Q with no issues.

RAM: Corsair 8500C5DF 4 gig 2x2. @ $165 1066mhz CAS5 Ram cant go wrong. People tend to get the impression that running multiple applications requires faster cpu's or "cough" quads. This generally isnt so, memory access is usually more of a bottleneck with modern pc's 4 gig is the sweet spot with vista and low latency ddr2 will make it fly! I advise against DDR3 at this time while on paper it looks faster ( to the mhz crowd) look closely at the latency's, there crap, CAS5 DDR2 1066mhz is reallistically equivelent to DDR3 1600 CAS9 in speed due to this issue, price wise you save a bundle.

Video Card:XFX GTX260 @ $339 All you really need to run 1680x1050 maxed out with good FPS. Slightly cheaper than the 4870, although the 4870 has slightly better performance overall depending on the game you play they generally trade top position alot depending on the game. I prefer Nvidea at present due to AMD having issues with driver support for certain games, when the drivers are right they fly, when there not, well no comment.

Hard Drive: Western Digital 640Gig 16mb cache @ $99 I have 2 of these, really good drive for the price. Contrary to popular belief you dont need 970 million terabytes of HD space, unless your a porn addict.

DVD Drive:Asus DVD RW Sata @ $49, good price, good quality.

OS: Vista Home Premium 64bit @ $189. Everyone whines about it but most just continue feeding off the crap that was said when it was first released, its come a long way since then and I prefer it over xp now anyday, just turn off UAC and it will never bother you.

Total Cost: $1663 :) 

Would recommend an aftermarket cpu cooler if you plan to o/c it, stock intel coolers are sh#@t, add around 80 bucks for a decent one.

Just to give you an idea of performance as I am running a very similar rig at home. I run COD4 and COD WAW maxed out at 1680x1050 and never drop below 120 frames a second in multiplayer. LOL Probably run WoW at 2 or 300 Frames! 3DMark 06 score 22032marks with cpu oc'ed to 3.8Ghz.

Long winded I spose but useful information I hope, the most valuable advice I can give you is to take your time, troll around sites and research.
April 9, 2009 5:21:08 PM

God Damn Intel Fanboys!!!!!!
tonkatuffmofo said:

CPU: Intel E8400 @ $259, You can argue over quad/duals all day long but at the end of the day unless your doing heavy video encoding you dont need a quad. Nice to have yes, but a quad clocked the same as an e8400 is going to cost you $519. Really wanna drop that coin on something that will encode a dvd maybe 3 mins quicker? On top of that the E8400 will overclock 600mhz without even changing a voltage, just bump the FSB up to the required value, easy even for someone with no OC experience, so for $259 you get a 3.6ghz cpu! They will actually go up around 4ghz but takes experience with bios voltage setting to get it. Down the track when games finally start supporting all 4 cores available you can pick up a by then very cheap 3ghz Q9650 and drop it straight in your p5Q with no issues.

The E8400 is roughly equal to the PII 720BE in performance during single threaded gaming, in multithreaded gaming like in GTAIV or FSX it falls far behind the PII 720. In multitasking the PII definitely has the advantage with an extra core. The 720 overclocks very well also, since it is a black edition processor with unlocked multiplier. The PII 720 goes for $229, the E8400 goes for $259. You will want at least a tri if not a quad core. I suggested a 940 so it would last you a longer time. AMD offerings are cheaper right now than the comparable Intel ones, since AMD has been behind Intel for so long and is trying to make up some ground.

tonkatuffmofo said:
RAM: Corsair 8500C5DF 4 gig 2x2. @ $165 1066mhz CAS5 Ram cant go wrong. People tend to get the impression that running multiple applications requires faster cpu's or "cough" quads. This generally isnt so, memory access is usually more of a bottleneck with modern pc's 4 gig is the sweet spot with vista and low latency ddr2 will make it fly! I advise against DDR3 at this time while on paper it looks faster ( to the mhz crowd) look closely at the latency's, there crap, CAS5 DDR2 1066mhz is reallistically equivelent to DDR3 1600 CAS9 in speed due to this issue, price wise you save a bundle.

You will see no benefit getting faster DDR2 ram than 800mhz, the memory controller on the LGA 775 can't really handle anything faster. If you get faster timings however, you will see a performance gain. Get DDR2-800 mhz at 4-4-4-12 timings at 1.8-1.9v.

tonkatuffmofo said:
Hard Drive: Western Digital 640Gig 16mb cache @ $99 I have 2 of these, really good drive for the price. Contrary to popular belief you dont need 970 million terabytes of HD space, unless your a porn addict.

That is an older drive, get the Caviar Black version with the 32mb buffer, although I don't see it on that list.

I am not an AMD fanboy, if you look at my sig you can see I own intel. AMD is the best option for people on a budget trying to get the most for their money, which is why I would go that route if I were you. An intel build on the E8400/P5Q pro would be decent, but the 720 would be more future proof with an extra core and multitask better, which is what it sounds like you need. The 940 would be a better option IMO because you actually multitask quite a bit and would use the 4th core, and it can OC a bit higher than the 720, and has a faster clock speed.
April 10, 2009 1:14:39 AM

Thankyou very much for the effort you have put into your replies gkay, tonk and thekid. I really appreciate it.

I really am just weighing up the options now of what another $300-400 would buy me, so i decided to plan a bit of a devils advocate i7 system.

i7 920
GA-EX58-UD3R
Corsair 6GB Triple 1600C9 DDR3
Sapphire HD4890 1GB
Coolermaster RC690 (no PSU)
Corsair 750TX
Western Digital 640GB
CM V8
Windows Vista Home 64 oem

AUS$2300

(Which includes a cooler, and a stronger power source)

I understand that this discussion is being had all over the place, and the last thing you'd like to do is have to re-post it. But for me, I really just want to avoid that 'I should have just done that' moment in the future.

Is there somewhere I could read about how the phenom and i7 perform under multitasking strain?

Corsair C4DHX has 4 4 4 12 timings, however costs less - if it is better, why is this the case? Ram always seems such a debated topic, might see if i can find something on Toms to explain it.
April 10, 2009 3:37:16 AM

Actually you can save some money going with the Patriot 6GB 1600 Triple...
It costs about $30 less...And Patriot is also a decent RAM...

And I think for a DDR3 RAM you still dont get a CAS 4...
It must be DDR2 and i7 supports only DDR3 and it would be better if they are Tri channel RAMs...
April 10, 2009 3:41:08 AM

The E8400 is roughly equal to the PII 720BE in performance during single threaded gaming, in multithreaded gaming like in GTAIV or FSX it falls far behind the PII 720. In multitasking the PII definitely has the advantage with an extra core. The 720 overclocks very well also, since it is a black edition processor with unlocked multiplier. The PII 720 goes for $229, the E8400 goes for $259. You will want at least a tri if not a quad core. I suggested a 940 so it would last you a longer time. AMD offerings are cheaper right now than the comparable Intel ones, since AMD has been behind Intel for so long and is trying to make up some ground. said:
The E8400 is roughly equal to the PII 720BE in performance during single threaded gaming, in multithreaded gaming like in GTAIV or FSX it falls far behind the PII 720. In multitasking the PII definitely has the advantage with an extra core. The 720 overclocks very well also, since it is a black edition processor with unlocked multiplier. The PII 720 goes for $229, the E8400 goes for $259. You will want at least a tri if not a quad core. I suggested a 940 so it would last you a longer time. AMD offerings are cheaper right now than the comparable Intel ones, since AMD has been behind Intel for so long and is trying to make up some ground.


Most games are threaded for 2 cores at present, the choice of AMD over Intel is more preference in this range at present yes. I dont believe in tri core arrangements as they are an oddity and programmers may skip support for tri threading over dual/quad/octocore given time, there are many writeups on this. The difference in gaming with these two processors running similar gpu's could be measured in single frames. Multitasking? As I stated earlier in my post unless you are carrying out a lot of video encoding the need for a tri/quad at the present time is null and void, in 2 years time when you do need a quad, $100 will get you a q9650 which will blow a 720 out of the water and is a straight drop in replacement.


You will see no benefit getting faster DDR2 ram than 800mhz, the memory controller on the LGA 775 can't really handle anything faster. If you get faster timings however, you will see a performance gain. Get DDR2-800 mhz at 4-4-4-12 timings at 1.8-1.9v. said:
You will see no benefit getting faster DDR2 ram than 800mhz, the memory controller on the LGA 775 can't really handle anything faster. If you get faster timings however, you will see a performance gain. Get DDR2-800 mhz at 4-4-4-12 timings at 1.8-1.9v.


Dont really know what to say to this, where the hell did you hear it I spose. Seems to fly in the face of hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts actually. On top of that PC8500C5DF is enthusiast Ram and comes with a dominator ram fan in the kit. With fan fitted its safe up to 2.3v which gives you 1066mhz @ 4-4-5-12T timings.



That is an older drive, get the Caviar Black version with the 32mb buffer, although I don't see it on that list. said:
That is an older drive, get the Caviar Black version with the 32mb buffer, although I don't see it on that list.


For $99 the 16mb cache version is a great price and running a 640gig platter, 16mb cache is plenty, the performance difference would be negligible, 32mb cache are more reserved for the terabyte drives where its actually needed due to access and write times on larger platters.


OH also both the systems you and I have mentioned would be neck and neck in benchmarks, yours would win on a few, mine would win on a few, there very close, but mine is 200 dollars cheaper :) 

Oh sorry I downgraded your message i though it was the quote tab and clicked before i looked :( 
April 10, 2009 3:48:45 AM

An I7 build proph at the present time for what you want is absolute overkill, I cant even justify I7 for myself yet, if you want extra performance, put that extra coin into a GTX295 or a 4870x2, you will see massive improvements compared to an i7 upgrade.

Regarding your question an I7 will kill a Phenom in multitasking, its architecture is a generation ahead of phenoms at the moment.

Also Proph define what you call multitasking, what are you trying to run simultaneously?
April 10, 2009 5:26:29 AM

tonkatuffmofo said:
Most games are threaded for 2 cores at present, the choice of AMD over Intel is more preference in this range at present yes. I dont believe in tri core arrangements as they are an oddity and programmers may skip support for tri threading over dual/quad/octocore given time, there are many writeups on this. The difference in gaming with these two processors running similar gpu's could be measured in single frames. Multitasking? As I stated earlier in my post unless you are carrying out a lot of video encoding the need for a tri/quad at the present time is null and void, in 2 years time when you do need a quad, $100 will get you a q9650 which will blow a 720 out of the water and is a straight drop in replacement.

I don't agree that a duo will multitask as well as a tri or quad core, filling up your system try with several apps will slow down your performance unless you have multiple cores to deal with it. There will be newer Phenom II's that you can drop into the socket as well in two years that will be faster than the Q9650, AM2+/AM3 has a better upgrade path than LGA 775.
tonkatuffmofo said:
Dont really know what to say to this, where the hell did you hear it I spose. Seems to fly in the face of hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts actually. On top of that PC8500C5DF is enthusiast Ram and comes with a dominator ram fan in the kit. With fan fitted its safe up to 2.3v which gives you 1066mhz @ 4-4-5-12T timings.

Find benchmarks that prove me wrong. There is almost no benefit from getting faster ram than DDR2-800, maybe a 1% performance increase at most. Ask any of the forum veterans, they will tell you the same thing. LGA 775 memory controller doesn't see any benefit from it. Integrated memory controllers on the i7 or an AMD chip will see a benefit from faster memory because the memory controller is on the chip, not on the motherboard like the LGA 775 platform. Once you get to DDR2-800, its timings that matter, not mhz.
tonkatuffmofo said:
For $99 the 16mb cache version is a great price and running a 640gig platter, 16mb cache is plenty, the performance difference would be negligible, 32mb cache are more reserved for the terabyte drives where its actually needed due to access and write times on larger platters.

The WD6401AALS is about 5% faster read/write than the WD6400AAKS.
tonkatuffmofo said:
OH also both the systems you and I have mentioned would be neck and neck in benchmarks, yours would win on a few, mine would win on a few, there very close, but mine is 200 dollars cheaper :) 

$200 cheaper? How so? E8400 is more expensive than a 720 BE, Mobo's are about the same price, DDR2-800 ram is cheaper, the Caviar black drive is not much more expensive...I don't see where you shave $200 off a 720BE build with an E8400 and get similar performance. If you are saying that your E8400 competes with the PII 940, I am going to have to disagree with that statement as well. The PII 940 build is definitely superior.
April 10, 2009 12:44:11 PM

Oh sorry I stuffed up there somebody else put in a price of 1830ish, thought it was you, either way lets agree to disagree eh?

Either system in my opinion is rediculous overkill to do a bit of multitasking and play WoW. You could put a $1200 rig together that would still kill WoW and run like a dream.

5% difference on the hard drives, as I stated negligible for the price difference incurred.

As far as Ram goes the price difference between CAS 4 DDR2 800 and CAS 5 DDR2 1066mhz is $35 and you get a $25 Ram fan included free with the 1066mhz kit. Total difference $10 It may only get you an extra 2 frames a second but who cares? Its ten bucks difference! Really if your that set on 800mhz, you could back it down to that speed, bump the volts up to 2.3-2.4 with the fan fitted and probably nail cas3.


AS far as benchmarks go well a 22038 3D mark score on said system is nothing to sneeze at for 1600 bucks.

April 10, 2009 1:39:37 PM

Thankyou for your opinions

- It seems you may have forgotten that a computer is not something you buy to improve the past, but to provide for future requirements. A little WoW and some multi-tasking I could do for free (my current computer)... I forsee more demanding games i might like to play, and the ability to keep an Architect program up behind some research, a movie and a game.

Now for a couple of specific questions:

- I mentioned that I wasn't keen on overclocking as i was concerned about the noise of cooling. If I overclock an Phenom, what is the best aftermarket cooling solution?

- 'gkay' mentioned I might like to add another fan - does anyone share that opinion?

- 'gkay' also mentioned that I should upgrade to a 750W PS. I am a one card solution kind of guy, in that case - should I?


April 10, 2009 6:39:16 PM

NH-U12P is one of the quietest coolers out there and is also one of the best performers. If you are concerned about noise, go for that cooler, or perhaps a Zalman CNPS9700.

Case fans can never hurt, especially down there in AUS I am imagining fairly high temps. If you can get it at the end then add it in.

For only 1 GPU, I don't think you will need any more than a corsair 650tx ever, you will probably be fine with a corsair 550vx.
!