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First Time Build...Please Help

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June 10, 2009 5:03:31 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: one week

BUDGET RANGE: build right now is at $661.92 including shipping, not sure if I can get that lower but keeping with the performance

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, photoshop, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, 23" monitor, going to use Win7 RC for OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPU/GPU and a mid tower case

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080, 1920x1200


Here is my build so far

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDZ550WFGIBOX - Retail
$102.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$111.99 https://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-790XT4P

GPU: XFX ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB DDR5 2DVI PCI-Express Video Card
$142.99 https://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=XFX-487G1B

Case: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
PSU: Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS
$114.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model
$64.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD: 2 for a RAID0: Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
$99.98 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Drive: LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM
$23.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total is at $661.92 including shipping. Thank you for your help.

More about : time build

June 10, 2009 5:23:21 AM

I would dump the ECS board. They are known for real low quality boards. The DDR3 RAM on a dual core board isn't the best price/performance way to go.

For $700, you could get a high end dual core intel system that would blow away that AMD system.
June 10, 2009 3:22:53 PM

This could be flawed thinking but I was going for a mobo with DDR3 so that in the future if I upgrade cpu I would not have to upgrade the mobo. Regarding the cpu, at least what I have read this x2 550 is supposed to very good price/performance as it can be overclocked upwards to 3.9 ghz and if you are lucky, you might be able to unlock cores maybe getting a quad core all for 109.99. What would be a suggestion for an Intel?
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June 10, 2009 4:00:03 PM

I got your reasoning now. Thinking of a jump to the pII 940 down the line? I've seen a few mentions of the x2 550 being unlocked, but not many. I wouldn't buy it expecting to get a quad.

The e5200, e7400, e8400, e8500 are all great cpus that can be OC'd pretty high. It depends on what you want to do with your budget though.
June 10, 2009 10:27:42 PM

aford10 said:
I would dump the ECS board. They are known for real low quality boards. The DDR3 RAM on a dual core board isn't the best price/performance way to go.

For $700, you could get a high end dual core intel system that would blow away that AMD system.


The 550 blows away most core 2 duos with the exception of the E8 series, it also supports vitualization (xp mode on windows seven requires virtualization) something that not all intel chips can do (not the E7 series) it over clocks very well and has probably the best price to performance ratio of any dual core chip right now, secondly it works fine with ddr 3 memory since it is an AM3 chip so i don't know why you would think it won't,moreover it offers a better upgrade path than any 775 cpu since intel is moving to the i5 and i7. The pentium dual core line can not compete with the 550 there is even an article about that here on Tom's hardware, and the E8 series would be more expensive and offer little in upgrade path so please tell me how you would get an intel system that would "blow away" the AMD system? because if he were to choose the cheaper pentium dual core he would be sacrificing tons of cpu power for the sake of a graphics card (and in reality he will never really need anything more than the 4870 or gtx 260 for a 23 inch monitor unless he plays at higher resolutions than 1900x1200).....the only good advise i see here is the motherboard ECS are not the most reliable brand both gigabyte and asus have better boards. This is why proper research is important,fan boys will always flock to give bad advice for something. (ps. he can't "upgrade" to the 940 since the 940 is an AM2+ chip and he is gettig an AM3 board)
June 11, 2009 3:00:54 AM

Since your objective is gaming at 1920, concentrate on the video card.
See if you can increase your budget there.
Look for the 1gb version of the 4870, perhaps the 4890. in the nvidia camp, look at the GTX260-216 or possibly the GTX275.

Once your duo cpu is clocked at 3.0 or better, there will be only small increases in fps for most games.
If you will be overclocking much , then you should get a better oem cpu cooler. Xigmatex S1283 is a good value.
If you go the intel E7400 route, you should be able to find a P45 mobo for <$100.
Add in 4gb of DDR2-800 ram for <$50 you get some savings to add to the vga budget.

Raid-0 is really not that helpful for gaming. For a similar price, look at the WD caviar black 1tb drive. The high density of the drive, particularly in the outer rings makes for very good data transfer.

---good luck---
June 11, 2009 4:27:25 AM

Made some edits to the build: Replaced mobo with a gigabyte as after the comments and other articles I have read seemed like an obvious choice.
I also replaced the GPU to a 4870 1GB as I have read that price/performance there is not a huge jump to the 4890. The only question at this point is I have found a 4870 1gb for $30 less that is not Saphire but is Power Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Not sure if there is a huge difference between brands as I have found reviews for the 4870 but not brand specific.
Thank you for your help so far and let me know of any other good advice. Thanks.
June 11, 2009 5:52:24 AM

rooseveltdon said:
The 550 blows away most core 2 duos with the exception of the E8 series, it also supports vitualization (xp mode on windows seven requires virtualization) something that not all intel chips can do (not the E7 series) it over clocks very well and has probably the best price to performance ratio of any dual core chip right now, secondly it works fine with ddr 3 memory since it is an AM3 chip so i don't know why you would think it won't,moreover it offers a better upgrade path than any 775 cpu since intel is moving to the i5 and i7. The pentium dual core line can not compete with the 550 there is even an article about that here on Tom's hardware, and the E8 series would be more expensive and offer little in upgrade path so please tell me how you would get an intel system that would "blow away" the AMD system? because if he were to choose the cheaper pentium dual core he would be sacrificing tons of cpu power for the sake of a graphics card (and in reality he will never really need anything more than the 4870 or gtx 260 for a 23 inch monitor unless he plays at higher resolutions than 1900x1200).....the only good advise i see here is the motherboard ECS are not the most reliable brand both gigabyte and asus have better boards. This is why proper research is important,fan boys will always flock to give bad advice for something. (ps. he can't "upgrade" to the 940 since the 940 is an AM2+ chip and he is gettig an AM3 board)


I said 'high end' dual core sytem. That's referring to the e8xx intel cpu's. Which by the way, also support virtualization
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/windows-xp-mode-virtua...

With the majority of current games, the e8400/e8500 are the top performing cpu's. In gaming, the high end intel dual core cpu's will blow away the x2 550. The only chip that competes with the e8xx series cpu is the i7.

You are correct in the upgrade advantage to the AMD socket.

I never said the DDR3 doesn't work well with the AMD chip. I said it wasn't the best price/performance RAM available.
June 11, 2009 6:20:33 AM

I would like clarification on your statement that "in gaming" that e8400 would "blow away" the x2 550. According to neoseeker (let me know if they are not reliable) in games like Far Cry, Crisis Warhead, Bioshock they performed almost identical. And in their conclusion http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/pii5... they deemed them to be performing at about the same. So what is the difference? $65 extra for the intel. I do not quite see the price/performance for the intel e8400. Please let me know if I am wrong. Thanks.
June 11, 2009 5:21:44 PM

I can't get to that site at work, so maybe this question is answered: What were the rest of the test systems' specs? I.e. could there have been a GPU bottleneck that would not allow CPU differences to appear?
I think the edits were good.
Also, you'll need a better cooler if you intend to overclock.
June 11, 2009 5:59:07 PM

Here's a better review on those games. It doesn't directly compare the e8xx series cpu with the x2 550, but it's the best chart i could find. The e8xx series cpu hangs right in there with the i7, pII x4, and pII x3 cpu's.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/16796/4
June 11, 2009 7:42:17 PM

re:4870 1gb:
There are several vendors of this card. While the electronics may be the same, they will have different coolers.

A vga card generates lots of heat, more than the cpu even. It is good if that cooler can send the hot vga air directly out the back of the case. That will keep the hot air from recirculating an impacting cpu cooling. The best are dual slot coolers like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A cooler like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
may do a good job of getting heat off the vga chip, but it depends on very good case cooling to be effective.
June 11, 2009 9:09:24 PM

The XFX seems like a great buy, so then it raises the question of price. Why is there a $35 dollar difference for the HIS? Unless there is something wrong with XFX it looks like the way to go. Thanks for all the help so far.
June 11, 2009 9:38:14 PM

The HIS has been clocked higher than the xfx.
!