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Building a system around the new AMD Phenom II X4 955 Quad Core 3.2GHz

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April 26, 2009 7:05:08 PM

First of all, I am new on this forum, so hello to everyone ! :hello: 

I am building a new system around the new AMD Phenom II X4 955 Quad Core 3.2GHz, and I need some advice. Could you give me recommendations for:

1. Motherboard
I like Gigabyte. GA-MA790XT-UD4P or GA-MA790FXT-UD5P ?

2. DDR3 RAM
I believe 4GB should be enough. Should I go for 1x4GB or 2x2GB? Which brand?

3. GPU
Here I am at lost. All I can say is that I will connect a 24" (1920 x 1200) display which has both VGA and DVI connections. I believe that 512MB should be enough.

4. Case and PSU
?

Just in case you wonder, I have already virtually made my mind for the HDD (WD 500GB) and DVD-RW (Pioneer).

2 more points.
* I am not much in tweaking voltage and frequencies. So, I wish everything to work after assembly!
* Robustness is a critical factor for this system as it will be running non-stop (24 hours)

Looking forward to your advice.
April 26, 2009 7:37:06 PM

What are your main uses for this PC? Do you already own components you will be using? What is your budget? Where are you located and what stores will you be buying from?
April 26, 2009 10:29:11 PM

xthekidx said:
What are your main uses for this PC? Do you already own components you will be using? What is your budget? Where are you located and what stores will you be buying from?


* Graphic applications (such as Google Earth...), video conference, audio editing and playback, occasional gaming
* The only component I already have is the 24" monitor
* Budget: ~ $500-600
* I am in Hong Kong, and I will purchase from local shops
Related resources
April 26, 2009 11:24:06 PM

Go for an ATI 4850 GPU they run about $125 on Newegg but I'm sure they can be found for cheaper at other places. They usually bundle a dvi to vga dongle in the box.
April 26, 2009 11:34:40 PM

Go for a 3gb triple channel memory kit and nzxt tempest elite for your case. It has lots of fans and keeps my system alot cooler compared to my antec 900-2
April 27, 2009 12:08:05 AM

maybe should all switch to AMD 955, its so sexy...
April 27, 2009 1:01:20 AM

rav3n said:
Go for a 3gb triple channel memory kit and nzxt tempest elite for your case. It has lots of fans and keeps my system alot cooler compared to my antec 900-2


That memory wouldn't do a great deal of good for an AMD build. It's Intel Core i7 that has a triple channel memory interface. He'd be better off with a 4Gb kit from a reputable memory manufacturer.
April 27, 2009 1:06:38 AM

I'd get 2x2GB RAM, because then you have slots free to add more when needed.

Since you're going to run at 1920x1200, I'd say a HD 4870 1GB would be good.

PSU: Corsair 550VX or 650TX can handle all that. I'm assuming you will never want two video cards, so there's no need for a bigger PSU.
April 27, 2009 1:20:36 AM

...He has $600 for the whole thing, and the only thing he already owns is the monitor. A 4870 is out of the question I think.

I think you would do well to build this in stages, buy the basics you need to get it running now and the get better components later. Start out with a 790GX MB from asus or Gigabyte, with a Phenom II 720BE, maybe a 940 if you can find a good deal on one. Just use the onboard graphics for now, they will be fine for anything except gaming. Get a cheap case like the Antec 300 and a decent 500-600W PSU from Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, PC Power & Cooling so you can add a better GPU later. Look at a Western Digital WD3200AAKS or WD6401AALS for the HDD. Pioneer, Samsung, LG all make good optical drives, look for a basic one that uses the SATA interface. Get 4gb of DDR2 ram, 1066mhz if you can find it for a decent price, otherwise 800mhz will do alright. For the OS get Windows Vista 64bit.

I have no idea how much that will cost you, but over here in the US that would probably be over the $600 budget, so hopefully you can find some decent deals on that side of the world.
April 27, 2009 1:41:05 AM

+1 to xthekidx
but i would go ddr3 vs ddr2 fore future upgrades
April 27, 2009 2:05:59 AM

It seems that a Phenom II X4 955 build is a little absurd on your budget at this point. just for a decent board and the chip, your spending over half of your overall budget, leaving you a very small amount for the rest of your build. Also factor in around $100 for an OS if you plan on using windows.
April 27, 2009 2:13:15 AM

$600 in hkd is 4500+
he could get 4870 1gb
but the problem would be the phenom ii 955, it would cost alot seeing as how new it is.
It might cost him 1800 hkd to get that cpu
the reason he might be able to get all that is because first of all there is no shipping.
Secondly buying computer parts in china/hk is much cheaper due to the location. ( trust me, i know this)
April 27, 2009 2:14:54 AM

keithpowers1977 said:
That memory wouldn't do a great deal of good for an AMD build. It's Intel Core i7 that has a triple channel memory interface. He'd be better off with a 4Gb kit from a reputable memory manufacturer.


That is true. Maybe you should consider droping back to the am2+ phenom II's and go with ddr2, seeing as how your budget is $600 and ddr3 doesn't yet show any sort of significant performance increase unfortunately :( 
April 27, 2009 3:58:09 PM

Many thanks to all for your answers.

I think that the budget point might have been misguiding. In fact, I can stretch it if necessary. I would like to get the best value for what money can buy today regardless of any budget (which does not mean that I want the most expensive components). This is why, for instance, I asked in my OP which one of the 2 MOBOs I should select.

So, right now, the suggestions I have are:
* PSU: Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, PC Power & Cooling
* GPU: ATI 4850

It would be nice if I could have suggestions for the other components, especially the MOBO and the RAM.

For the GPU: is there any reason why I should select ATI rather than GeForce? should I go for 1 GB rather of 512 MB because of the 1920x1200 display I will connect?
April 27, 2009 4:02:01 PM

AMD 940
780G motherboard
4850 512mb gfx card(since it's only occasional gaming)
2x2GB of 1066mhz ram, or 800mhz 1.8v ram and oc to 1066mhz with voltage upto 2.1v.
Corsair, Seasonic/Silverpower, Antec, PCP&C or Silverstone are all good makes of PSU.
April 27, 2009 5:20:13 PM

check your local listing for CPU-MoBo combos, you can save a bit doing that. I've also heard that 1066MHz RAM does not make that much difference comparing to the 800 ones. As for brand, I heard that OCZ and Corsair makes good quality RAM, as does Kingston (which is more expensive than the first two in the US). Check your local price listing for the best deal.

As for the mother board, I guess it's really up to you to decide. The 790 FX chipset will support 16X16 CrossFire from what I've read so far, while the 790 X only support 8X8. If you're not going to be doing CF or overclocking at all, I'd say go for the 780G.

ATI v.s. nVidia card at the price range of 4850 is pretty much up to personal preference. The benchmarking they've done at Tom's showed negligible difference the GTS250 and HD4850.

For PSU, here's the link that most people on this site refers to when choosing one:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10...
It's a good reference, I suppose, but it's old, and I was having trouble finding reviews on some of the newer brands. Just make sure that you have enough power for your system. A 550W PSU should be enough for the Phenom II system as long as you don't CrossFire.

Anyway, here's my two cents, I'm a new builder as well, but Tom's sure is a good place to learn.

Cheers.
April 27, 2009 5:25:46 PM

1066mhz ram only makes a difference with amd processors, not intel one's.
April 28, 2009 8:46:12 PM

OK, I think I received good feedback from you once again. No, I don't intend to do Crossfire.

Here where I am, Corsair is slightly more expensive than Kingston, but local retailers recommend this brand for its longevity.

For PSU, I will go for 550W with the one of the brands you suggested, depending on what I can find.

For MoBo, based on the reviews I read, I think the GA-MA790XT-UD4P should be enough for my needs.

However, for the graphic card, I am still confused and undecided. Could you refer me to a good online site which could help me to select the card I need for my system?

April 28, 2009 8:48:57 PM

This site has graphics card reviews, and some times they're pretty good. You could also check www.anandtech.com or www.guru3d.com, or just use Google to find more reviews.
April 28, 2009 9:02:43 PM

aevm said:
This site has graphics card reviews, and some times they're pretty good. You could also check www.anandtech.com or www.guru3d.com, or just use Google to find more reviews.

Thanks, but it's not so much reviews that I need (there are so many anyway), but more something like a step-by-step guide to advise me on what would be the appropriate card for the system I am building.
April 28, 2009 9:24:24 PM

Well, if you find one like that I'd love to see it too...

Tell us which games you like most. Then we can (hopefully) find some charts for them at 1920x1200 and tell you what to expect.

Let's say for example your favorite game is Age of Conan. We know your monitor supports 1920x1200. We find some benchmarks, like this for example:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3501&p=2

Look in the table under the chart, in the column labeled 1920x1200. There you can see:

GTX 260: 28.9 fps (acceptable for casual gamers IMO)
GTX 285: 35.7 fps (better)
HD 4870 1GB: 35.9 fps (totally indistinguishable from GTX 285 here)
GTX 285 SLI: 60.7 fps (perfect) (the monitor keeps 60 fps, ignores the rest)
HD 4870 X2: 65.1 fps (exactly as GTX 285 SLI - still 60 frames shown per second)

etc etc.

In this game for example the HD 4870 X2 is ideal (since GTX 285 SLI costs more), and HD 4870 is good enough.

Now let's say your favorite game is Crysis Warhead.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3501&p=4

Here the GTX 260 and HD 4870 1GB are tied and both acceptable at 26 to 28 fps.
The HD 4870 X2 is doing badly (for its price) with only 35 fps. The GTX 285 SLI at 54 fps is the best thing available (unless you break the bank and go for three GTX 285 cards, that is). It really depends on the games.

Also, if you don't mind playing at 1680x1050 or 1280x1024 or whatever, then you can get by with a cheaper graphics card.




April 29, 2009 3:12:29 AM

meatwad53186 said:
It seems that a Phenom II X4 955 build is a little absurd on your budget at this point. just for a decent board and the chip, your spending over half of your overall budget, leaving you a very small amount for the rest of your build. Also factor in around $100 for an OS if you plan on using windows.

u dont always need to buy from windows torrents exist . they overprice to much
April 29, 2009 3:14:55 AM

morbius1 said:
OK, I think I received good feedback from you once again. No, I don't intend to do Crossfire.

Here where I am, Corsair is slightly more expensive than Kingston, but local retailers recommend this brand for its longevity.

For PSU, I will go for 550W with the one of the brands you suggested, depending on what I can find.

For MoBo, based on the reviews I read, I think the GA-MA790XT-UD4P should be enough for my needs.

However, for the graphic card, I am still confused and undecided. Could you refer me to a good online site which could help me to select the card I need for my system?

gtx 260 sp 216 if u have 160 bucks (newegg) with mail in rebate
April 29, 2009 3:27:43 AM

i say get phenom II 940, costs less, cheaper mobo will work, and you only lose 5-10% performance
April 29, 2009 5:04:54 PM

aevm said:
Well, if you find one like that I'd love to see it too...

Tell us which games you like most. Then we can (hopefully) find some charts for them at 1920x1200 and tell you what to expect.

Let's say for example your favorite game is Age of Conan. We know your monitor supports 1920x1200. We find some benchmarks, like this for example:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3501&p=2

Look in the table under the chart, in the column labeled 1920x1200. There you can see:

GTX 260: 28.9 fps (acceptable for casual gamers IMO)
GTX 285: 35.7 fps (better)
HD 4870 1GB: 35.9 fps (totally indistinguishable from GTX 285 here)
GTX 285 SLI: 60.7 fps (perfect) (the monitor keeps 60 fps, ignores the rest)
HD 4870 X2: 65.1 fps (exactly as GTX 285 SLI - still 60 frames shown per second)

etc etc.

In this game for example the HD 4870 X2 is ideal (since GTX 285 SLI costs more), and HD 4870 is good enough.

Now let's say your favorite game is Crysis Warhead.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3501&p=4

Here the GTX 260 and HD 4870 1GB are tied and both acceptable at 26 to 28 fps.
The HD 4870 X2 is doing badly (for its price) with only 35 fps. The GTX 285 SLI at 54 fps is the best thing available (unless you break the bank and go for three GTX 285 cards, that is). It really depends on the games.

Also, if you don't mind playing at 1680x1050 or 1280x1024 or whatever, then you can get by with a cheaper graphics card.

That's really useful. Thanks a lot.

What is the minimum fps value required for a good visual comfort for those games?

For video playback, how can I determine the minimum features required for the graphic card?
April 29, 2009 5:31:42 PM

Video playback - that's easy - any $50+ graphic card can handle it well these days. Even older cards like the 8400GS or the HD 3450 have support for HD too. You really don't need to worry about that part at all, with any gaming card.

Minimum fps: it depends on the game type. I played Diablo 2 at 25 fps for years and didn't have a problem. The fps mostly matters when you're playing shooter games (Crysis, Call of Duty, etc.). And of course it depends on who you ask. I could live with 30 fps, but others will say 40 or even 50.

Wikipedia has a neat article about it, but it doesn't go into much detail:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_rate






April 29, 2009 9:29:24 PM

here is a 955 system for under $600....it doesnt have a OS, but i think you could find a way to get it (legally), without much burden...

sure there is no video card, but in a few you can save up, the onboard video will handle all but the high-end games and settings...

you can have a 940 system for about 40 cheaper, so not much gain to go that route, if you want more help i can try, i love building budget systems (even though your in another country research is no big deal for me)

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...
May 1, 2009 10:03:41 PM

elitewolverine said:
here is a 955 system for under $600....it doesnt have a OS, but i think you could find a way to get it (legally), without much burden...

sure there is no video card, but in a few you can save up, the onboard video will handle all but the high-end games and settings...

you can have a 940 system for about 40 cheaper, so not much gain to go that route, if you want more help i can try, i love building budget systems (even though your in another country research is no big deal for me)

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

Thanks for your input, but I can't see the 955 system you referred to.

Just wondering how you could possibly help me to find the best deals for me to purchase my selected components in Hong Kong (unless you happen to be there too...), but don't worry too much about that... :D 
May 4, 2009 12:13:42 AM

go to hk 电脑城( you better be able to read that)
you will find lots of great deals
their prices are generally the same.
Compare a few stores. ( or do it for the whole day) then buy the materials.
Generally it is better to buy it from the same shop since they will most likely build it and test it out for you.
Just in case the item is 水貨
May 9, 2009 10:19:58 PM

aevm said:
Video playback - that's easy - any $50+ graphic card can handle it well these days. Even older cards like the 8400GS or the HD 3450 have support for HD too. You really don't need to worry about that part at all, with any gaming card.

Minimum fps: it depends on the game type. I played Diablo 2 at 25 fps for years and didn't have a problem. The fps mostly matters when you're playing shooter games (Crysis, Call of Duty, etc.). And of course it depends on who you ask. I could live with 30 fps, but others will say 40 or even 50.

Wikipedia has a neat article about it, but it doesn't go into much detail:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_rate

aevm, I still have a question for you, if you get to read this: how do I measure the fps value of a game on my system? Do I need any software tool? You may find my question naive, but I just do not know... (am a little green on all that, but I learned a lot reading all your comments...)
July 24, 2009 7:13:44 PM

Hi, this is my recommendation:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
Case: Cooler Master Centurion 534 + Plus
RAM: 2 x 2GB Kingston 1300 MHZ
Power Supply: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850w

The other pieces could be what you want, and de case and the power supply will help you to upgrade your system on the future.
!