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I need some PC hardware help

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June 19, 2009 1:44:53 AM

Hi all, long story short I'm not the tech-expert in my family and I'm hoping you can give me some expert advice on a computer upgrade.
First off I'd like to know if you think the following components would all work well together, I've done a lot of research and They all seem compatible. but I'd like your thoughts:

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD

GIGABYTE GV-N98TOC-1GI GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

(2) G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

By the way, I'm a photographer and 3d effects artist. (I'm not a gamer)

My second question is this: what do you think a good power supply would be for that rig?

thanks for any input, that entire setup is less than $600 from newegg, so I'd like to keep the whole thing under $750

More about : hardware

June 19, 2009 2:48:13 AM

Any quality 500-650w power supply would do. (Antec EA Series, PCpower, Corsair)
June 19, 2009 3:00:00 AM

Okay, thanks

I'm looking at a corsair 750W, would that be overkill? I read that you want a PSU thats about twice the load you expect, I used one of those PSU calculators and it calculated 350-450 so I was looking at 750W.

A few other questions I have for your PC wisdom:

The memory, will I have any trouble with the memory clock on the modern motherboard I've chosen (I'm not an overclocker, so I only care about the factory speed)

and finally, does anyone have experience with the heatsink that comes with the AMD Phenom 3.2GHz quad-core? will it keep everything cool?

Thanks again

-Stephen
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June 19, 2009 3:05:45 AM

Who told you use should get one at twice the load you expect? Maybe if you are buying a crappy one. Buy one from Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, PC Power & Cooling, or OCZ and you wont need one over 500 watts, optimally you want to run it at about 80% load.

If you are not overclocking the stock heatsink will suffice, it wont keep things down at 30C but it will keep it well away from its upper limit. DDR3 1333 should work fine straight out of the box as the memory controller on the new AM3 cpu's natively supports that speed.
June 19, 2009 3:11:52 AM

Alright, thanks. I read tutorials from a number of sites. Mostly what they were saying was that a PSUs optimum performance was at 50% load, so the best way to save money on your energy bill and to keep your PC cool was to have a PSU with close to twice the needed load. Thanks for the info,

so could I get your opinion on the build? I wanted the video card with a large amount of memory because I use Photoshop as a photographer, I also use Lightwave v9 and Vue 6 for 3d work. my understanding is that a card with 1GB of RAM can load high res textures better than one with less memory, is this correct? also, will it be able to load textures at higher resolutions than a lower memory count?(my current build is a Nvidia GeForce 7600GT with 128mbs RAM)

thanks again
June 19, 2009 3:24:59 AM

I would recommend changing the GIGABYTE GV-N98TOC-1GI GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 out for the the BFG Tech BFGEGTS2501024E GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail for $10 more. IMO... you'll get much better performance out of the GTX250, than the 9800GT.

Why don't you settle on a CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply? You were looking at a 750W based on sites you visited, we are saying 500W is good enough, so you pick the one in the middle and we all win!! :D 

Your overall build looks good. For what you are doing. the Core i7 920 would've been the best route to take but be very hard to make it under $750 with a Core i7 build.
June 19, 2009 3:28:29 AM

Most psu's are most efficient at higher loads than that .

But b4 we get there
1/ there is no point in using a gaming gfx card for a non-gaming pc . All it will do is be noisey and use power .
You should be looking at passively cooled cards OR swap mb so that you have AMD's integrated gfx which are very good
If you used
ASRock M3A780GXH/128M AM3 AMD 780G HDMI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
for $90 you wouldnt need the gfx card at all [ but you could add one later if you wished ]

A rig like that will be quite power efficient because gaming gfx card use more power than cpu's . You'd easily get by with 400 - 500 watt
Antec earthwatts EA430
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
for $45 with free shipping would be about right

PS . If you are using Adobe CS4 , and you have a 64 bit OS then then you can make use of more RAM . Put the money you have saved by not buying the gfx card towards another 4 gig of ram
June 19, 2009 3:36:43 AM

thanks,
I'm looking at an OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V, it's well reviewed and a very reasonable price. everything I've read says OCZ is a good brand (one of our computers uses OCZ, and it runs cool) so is the corsair of better quality than OCZ? there's not a great price difference so I'll go with which ever is better.

If I could ask about the video card: like I said, I'm not a gamer, but I use 3d programs and need good performance, so is the GPU GeForce GTS 250 better than the GPU GeForce 9800GT I had? also, if I decide on the gigabyte (for price reasons) does Gigabyte make a good video card? I've read good reviews, but personalized info always helps. I apologize if these seem like unintelligent or uninformed questions, I'm not exactly hardware-saavy

-Steve
June 19, 2009 3:42:35 AM

Oops-
someone replied before I finished writing the last message. So for someone using 3D programs like Lightwave and Vue, where I need to be able to handle lots of polys and high-res textures, would the video card I chose come in handy? or would a cheaper one suffice? I realize for just the photo editing I wouldn't need anything particulary powerful, but for 3D editing its more of an issue. Also, I don't yet have CS4 but plan to get it at some point, and it's supposed to use GPU for it's processing, so how much of a consideration would that be?

Also- I meant to say in the original post that I am planning on buying two of the 4GB sets, so the end result is 8GBs

and finally, I should point out that I've been working on a 5 year old PC with 3GBs of DDR1 single channel, 64-bit memory. and a 2.2 GHz dual-core proccessor, hardware has changed so much in the last few years that any upgrade will most likely feel like a huge step up.

thanks for all the help
June 19, 2009 3:45:03 AM

gaming gfx cards paint the textures in a 3d environment in real time . Its a huge load as the game environment is redrawn many times a second .

You do 3d work? Static images? Not a demand on the gfx card .

As for your psu
have a look at
http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js...
700 watts is expensive overkill
June 19, 2009 3:50:54 AM

Sweet- If I don't need a video card and I can go with a 500W power supply that decreases the price quite a bit. I do have one more question about the video card- How much of a toll will vista take on onboard video? as much as I love vista we all know it's a system hog, so using a 64-bit PC with 8GBs of ram, will Vista strain the onboard video?
June 19, 2009 6:41:21 AM

Stevie R said:
Sweet- If I don't need a video card and I can go with a 500W power supply that decreases the price quite a bit. I do have one more question about the video card- How much of a toll will vista take on onboard video? as much as I love vista we all know it's a system hog, so using a 64-bit PC with 8GBs of ram, will Vista strain the onboard video?


The and 790g ATI chipset motherboards are powerful enough to play Crysis at low resolutions ... which translates to "they are much more powerful than any previous generation of onboard gfx"
You wont have any issues with vista 64 bit

BUT
dont buy vista for this machine
You can download the release candidate of Windows 7 from microsoft for nothing and use that till the retail version is released in october . Its compatible with all vista drivers and its a lot faster and less of a system hog than vista
June 19, 2009 1:23:13 PM

Okay,

Thanks for all the input. I think I'll probably go with on-board video (or something cheaper than the card I chose)

I though Outlander raised an interesting point. What do you guys think of Windows 7? As a photographer I have a lot of work to do this summer, so I'm hestiant to use a release-candidate OS as my main OS, but if it's stable it's worth considering. Also, what do you think of getting Vista 64 for now and then upgrading to Windows 7 after it's release? I know that if I get the RC, then I'll have to do a clean install when the final version comes out, in theory with the Vista 64 bit, Id be able to upgrade to 7 without issue (although in my experience it's almost always easier to do a clean install anyway.) so do you think getting Vista 64 bit is a wise choice, or a waste?

-Stevie
June 19, 2009 10:45:57 PM

Hi guys,

I just downloaded and installed the Windows 7 RC 64-bit on an extra hard drive- Wow.
(The first time I've used a 64-bit OS!)

It's a huge improvement over the beta (when I installed the beta the computer crashed constantly and I had terrible compatability issues) so a couple of points, most notably the difference between 64 bit and 32 bit. Even on this old system, I noticed an increase in speed, especcialy in rendering in Lightwave (I downloaded the 64 bit version of 9, I was worried newtek would try to charge me for the 64 bit version, they did not.)

Also, 7 is noticably faster than Vista.

so if anyone who's been using the RC for awhile now could tell me how stable it is and any problems they've had, that would be much appreciated

Thanks Much,

Stevie
June 19, 2009 11:48:45 PM

The RC has been extremely stable for me...the only time it started crashing was when one of my ram sticks suddenly went bad...but as soon as I took the bad ram stick out, everything went back to picture perfect...
June 20, 2009 1:04:25 AM

Alright.

This build is really starting to come together. If I use Windws 7 64 Bit RC instead of Vista. that saves me $100. I'm thinking of investing that $100 dollars in a good case.

I want good cooling because as a photographer and 3d artist, this thing will be running 10+ hours a day during projects or photo shoots. Here are the cases I've found, what do you think? :

ABS Aplus ABS-CS-EL Diablo Black 0.8mm SECC ATX Full Tower Computer Case -


XCLIO A380BK Fully Black SECC 1.0mm thickness ATX Full Tower Computer Case

and this one is really sweet (and, as shallow as it is, cool looking):

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower

But I don't particulary want to spend 150 on a case (especially with the PSU at the bottom, that seems strange)

I'm leaning towards the Diablo. If I could ask one more question: What sort of added power demands will those huge fans add? I found a OCZ 700W PSU. Everyone here told me that was overkill for the build I had (but its a steal at $60) so I assume the 700W could handle my build and the load from these fans, right?

Thanks
June 20, 2009 3:36:04 AM

Well when it comes to cases, I say get whatever you think looks best...its more a matter of personal preference...

The power demands of fan are slim, so dont worry about them stressing your psu at all...

And the deal you found on that OCZ power supply is pretty good...I would say go for it unless you find a cheaper and better Antec psu...
June 20, 2009 12:32:02 PM

okay, On the case, when it comes to looks I really like the Deablo. I think it's sharp (I also like that 360mm Fan, it's supposed to be real quiet) Unfortunately Newegg's $40 off deal on the processor ended, but I can always hope they have another before I buy. I still think a high end build for under $700 is pretty good.

Right now I'm planning on getting Windows 7 64 instead of Vista 64.

Thanks Much,
July 2, 2009 12:31:21 AM

Hi guys,

I'm pretty confident about the build I have, but I wanted to ask a quick question (more out of curiosity than serious consideration, given the price range) In your opinion, which do you think would be better for my line of work? I do Video Rendering/Encoding, Photographic work, as well as 3d rendering work. Multi-tasking is important to me.

So which seems better: An AMD quad-core (The Phenom II X4 955BE) or an Intel dual core?


Like I said I'm just wondering


Thanks Much

Stevie
July 5, 2009 2:25:46 AM

amd quad fo sho!
July 5, 2009 2:44:44 AM

Ahslan,

sweet! :) 

Well I'm to the final stage of this build, and alas I have more questions. I've read alot about 'unlocking' the fourth core of the cpu. Could anyone enlighten me as to what this is? For the motherboard I've chosen, the GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P, does anyone have experience with this particular motherboard? are the BIOS up to date and is there anything else I'll have to do with the CPU besides insert it?

Also, for the memory: I'm going with two G.SKILL 4 (2x2)GB DDR3 1333, resulting in 8GBs total. do you think this is good memory? I've also read alot about timings. Does anyone have experience with this particular memory and installing it? Will I have to manually set timings?

Any info is much appreciated.

Thanks and happy 4th of July, God Bless America!

-Stevie
July 5, 2009 3:17:01 AM

Unlocking the fourth core is on the 720 BE. People have been lucky by overclocking that the fourth core came unlocked. It is a rare thing & not all have been able to do so.

Is there a reason you need 8GB of ram? You will be fine with just 4GB. The RAM you choose is good. I'm not sure if you will have to set the timings yourself or not
July 5, 2009 3:20:32 AM

thanks,

I'm going with 8 Gigs of memory because I do alot of photographic work, video editing and rendereing,as well as 3D work. If I'm processing 500 pictures (or more) in Photoshop I need all the help I can get. My understanding has been that when it comes to memory more is better, if I'm wrong feel free to correct me!

Thanks again.

Stevie
July 5, 2009 4:11:23 AM

Yeah with what you are doing, the higher RAM will make a difference. For what you use the computer, a Core i7 would of made a big difference!... but can't build on thatm budget of $750 or less
July 5, 2009 9:06:52 AM

^agreed...

some ppl do have luck unlocking the fourth core (its quite popular with the phenomII 550) but dont take it for granted...the way to do this on some gigabyte mobos is looking up the correct BIOS version needed for this and flashing it to your mobo, then its a matter of entering the bios and changing some settings (you could look this up...this is answered in many other posts)
July 6, 2009 5:00:25 PM

Unlocking cores on Black Edition cpu's is not a rare thing. In fact I have unlocked 2 550's, a 720BE and my Kuma 7750 and they all work perfectly fine (stable). There is actually an 80-85% chance that you will be able to unlock w/o any errors.

Just make sure that if you want to try to unlock you get a board with an SB750 ex:
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P once in Bios set ACC to AUTO and all cores should be unlocked. If you overclock with all cores unlocked you will have to play with voltages to get a stable system. Hope this helps....
July 6, 2009 7:12:49 PM

damn...so unlocking all four cores requires a mobo with SB750? im guessing it wouldnt work with a mobo that has SB600...
July 6, 2009 9:38:56 PM

That is correct, but at the moment the GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P is highly rated as one of the best AMD budget boards and its only 110.00$ off Newegg with free shipping so it is basically a no brainer for anyone who is on a budget and wants to unlock for example the new x2 550.
July 7, 2009 4:44:06 AM

damn....it seems like its gonna cost me $200 to upgrade (proc+mobo)...dont know if its worth it coming from an x2 6000+
July 7, 2009 5:05:41 AM

Just wait like 2-3 more months and when the i5's come out the prices should drop a bit.
July 7, 2009 6:17:22 AM

will certainly do...the thing I really want is crossfire...i really messed up by initially not getting a crossfire mobo...
July 7, 2009 7:13:21 AM

They are not that expensive at the moment, I think you should be able to get one for at least 90.00$ or so. Its more expensive to get a good AMD board with an Nvidia chipset.
July 7, 2009 5:38:00 PM

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the info, although I'm not planning any overclocking. I do have some more questions. I already ordered my case: the ABS El Diablo;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I ordered it because I really like the fans, especially since my work requires the computer to be on for 24 hours or more for some projects. Unfortunately, I've found some troubling information since ordering, it seems some people have had trouble with the 360mm fan catching fire. Does anyone here use this case? Like I said I really like it and want to use it (and I'd hate to go through the return process) but the idea of a fan catching fire is not an attractive one.

so if any of you own and use this case, I'd love to hear your experiences.

Stevie
July 7, 2009 6:24:10 PM

That case should do the job, dont worry about the fan issue. Just make sure you dont skimp on the PSU. Normally if the fan catches on fire its due to a defect, you should not have any problems with the case. On a side note : if you recieve a damaged case I would return it for a refund and go with another brand. As far as the reviews, it looks like a handfull of peeps recieved that same case damaged in one way or another. Hopefully you wont be one of them and your build should be fine.
!