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Request for help with Intel Q9550 build

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July 14, 2009 5:37:44 AM

Hi everyone, I discovered this website after the P4 system I built in 2003 died last week. After reading hardware reviews on this site as well as others and spending a good deal of time browsing through the absurd amount of information in this forum, I've decided to build the following system:

This PC will be used for casual movie/photo work, casual gaming, video/audio encoding, and other basic tasks(browsing, email, excel, etc). Please take a look at the components I have selected as I lack experience building my own system. A major concern I have is if the PSU(Corsair 550w) is adequate in the case that I overclock the cpu/add more RAM in the future. Any suggestions and comments will be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.

Processor/Motherboard:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail+GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail- Bundle
$319.98

Memory:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
$49.99

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
$74.99

Video Card:
SAPPHIRE 100225L Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$75.99

Power Supply:
CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
$56.19

Case:
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UB Black /Blue Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$49.99

DVD-RW:
Will this drive be compatible with the motherboard? It is an IDE device but the motherboard I chose lists a PATA-133 connector
LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM
$24.99

Total: $627.13
July 14, 2009 5:54:31 AM

The intel quads were great processors but they , and the whole socket 775 platform is at the end of its life .
There is more value and more future proofing using an AMD Phenom at this time

Your 550 watt psu will be fine for your build if you go ahead with it .

But the graphics card is a generation old and even though its cheap its not good value . A 4850 or 4770 is not much more and the performance improvement is very noticeable . Preferrably the 4770

IDE is PATA , but preferrably use a SATA dvd drive .

You can also drop back to 800 MHZ RAM and not lose any performance on C2Q
July 14, 2009 6:36:58 AM

Outlander_04 said:
The intel quads were great processors but they , and the whole socket 775 platform is at the end of its life .
There is more value and more future proofing using an AMD Phenom at this time

Your 550 watt psu will be fine for your build if you go ahead with it .

But the graphics card is a generation old and even though its cheap its not good value . A 4850 or 4770 is not much more and the performance improvement is very noticeable . Preferrably the 4770

IDE is PATA , but preferrably use a SATA dvd drive .

You can also drop back to 800 MHZ RAM and not lose any performance on C2Q

Thanks for the advice Outlander_04.

Per your recommendation I am now planning on purchasing this video card:
MSI R4830-T2D1G OC Radeon HD 4830 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

The 1033MHZ RAM is only $3 more so.. I went with those modules haha.

AMD Phenom having more value and being more future proof is confusing me though. I was under the impression that the Q9550+ chips outperformed the Phenom IIs. Can you or someone please clarify this for me?
Related resources
July 14, 2009 6:40:53 AM

The Q9550 will outperform the Phenom II chips, you're correct. He's simply saying that Intel is not making any more Socket 775 CPUs - you're putting money into a discontinued technology. AMD has had a habbit lately of making their new chips compatible with their older sockets, so upgrade paths aren't so obstructed by the motherboard socket.

Whether or not the tradeoff in performance is enough to offset the tradeoff in the ability to upgrade is up to you.

Personally, I'd still choose the Intel system.

Edit: Phenom != Phenom II. Precision is godly.
July 14, 2009 6:58:13 AM

Apparently the board/cpu combo I chose also makes the Q9550 very easy to overclock to much higher speeds, making the performance gap even larger, but now I'm considering switching to a Phenom II x4 940 because of this combo

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor Model HDZ940XCGIBOX - Retail + BIOSTAR TA790GXB A2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$174.99

Talk about cheap. Can anyone offer some advice on my choices please?

And the rest of my components can remain the same correct?


.. Outlander_04 was talking about Phenom II's x4 not Phenom x3,x4 etc right?
July 14, 2009 7:06:12 AM

Yup, the rest of your components can stay the same regardless of your two CPU/MB choices.

As far as those two choices go, you have cheaper/slower and more expensive/faster. It's really a matter of what you want. The Phenom II will overclock some, but not to the tune that the Intel quad will.

Again, were it my choice, I'd go with the Intel machine.

Edit: Seems I'm too lazy to add the II again. Precision..
And I certainly hope he was talking about the II. I wouldn't even consider a Phenom 'I'.
July 14, 2009 7:33:13 AM

Thanks a lot for your input frozenlead
July 14, 2009 7:52:14 AM

Im not convinced that the C2Q 9550 out performs a Phenom .

It may do in some specific tasks , but in gaming its not as strong as the phenom .
This
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/phenom2_955/8.h...
compared a number of processors including a 9450 with a range of phenoms . All systems use the same gfx card

This
http://www.pcauthority.com.au/GroupTests/148016,buyers-...
is the results of an application benchmark suite
Click on the graph at the bottom and its clear the phenom 940 edges past the 9550 and is very comparable to the Q9650 .

Chances are which one finishes ahead depends as much on which applications you are benchmarking

An AMD AM3 platform with DDR3 RAM is a very competitive option

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM3 + ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX
is $320
Performance will be marginally better than the 940 be thanks to a slight improvement because you have to use DDR3 RAM
This is AMD's latest platform , and thats a very top end MB . There are cheaper combos
July 14, 2009 9:45:42 AM

dlgreen09 said:
I used this review as my main reference point for the Phenom II's performance. DDR2-1066 was used for the AMD boards whereas DDR3-1333 was used for the Intels, but I don't know how much of a difference that made.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-940,2114....



On the Phenom system they SLOWED the 1066MHz ram installed in the Phenom to 800 MHz, but I don't know how much of a difference that made.

Also worth noting that both Phenom motherboards are out of date and current systems have different sb chipsets .
July 14, 2009 2:42:05 PM

from what was said if you plan to OC than still get the intel quad because of the better overclocking. new technology is fine but really how often do people replace there CPU's? and if they do they go for a new mobo anyway because the newer CPU would perform better for it.
July 14, 2009 10:23:00 PM

Outlander_04 said:
On the Phenom system they SLOWED the 1066MHz ram installed in the Phenom to 800 MHz, but I don't know how much of a difference that made.

Also worth noting that both Phenom motherboards are out of date and current systems have different sb chipsets .


Apparently AMD CPUs can only run one DIMM of DDR2 @ 1066 per channel..
July 14, 2009 10:47:27 PM

Well, its usually not a good idea to choose future compatibility over better performance for the present, especially for the CPU. Chances are you will replace the GPU and RAM before you replace the CPU. Also, chances are when you next feel a need for a new CPU, your motherboard won't have compatibility with the current chips. You might as well get the Q9550 if overclocking is your intention. Also, if gaming is your main goal, the Phenom II system would allow more money to be spent on graphics. For a general purpose machine, the Q9550 is a better deal. This is, of course, if you can't stretch for an i7 920.... :) 
July 15, 2009 1:28:40 AM

Outlander: When comparing the Phenom II 940 to intel, you need to compare it to the Q9650 because of clock speed. The Q9450 and Q9550 have a lower stock clock speed than the 940/955 meaning on (some) benchmarks of course they will be slower. Clock for clock its Intel>AMD, and the Intel's have more OC head room (as we/you know).

Don't get me wrong AMD has brought some great value to the Phenom series and the 940/955 are amazing chips. They just can't quite hold up to 45nm C2Qs which are already a year old, when it comes to clock for clock performance and overclocking.
July 15, 2009 3:35:19 AM

This is the type of discussion I was looking for to decide on a 2nd system. I should have posted in this section rather than 'motherboards!' Oops. You guys provide a good argument for staying with older technology aka socket 775 and a good e.g., a Quad Core Q9550 processor. This will surely come down to compete with AMD's Phenom II processors including newer ones to come out. The top of the line Phenoms will compete with i7 and i5.

I'm just building a 2nd system but with a basic plain jane P45 mobo ($90 to $100). RAM is around the same price regardless of Intel/AMD. Even if it's DDR3, there are speeds/brands at a similar price to some DDR2 sticks.

I do have a question, though. I am not sure if there is any performance issues if you use a Nvidia card in an AMD mobo. If I go Intel, there is no concern.

I thought upgrades might involve buying a new mobo anyway if I go for cheap P45 mobo, DDR3 RAM and Nvidia 98xx series or 260 video card. I could always sell the mobo and cpu for some bucks to go AMD if I changed my mind?

Comments? Recommendations? Advice?





















July 15, 2009 4:05:45 AM

Raidur said:
Outlander: When comparing the Phenom II 940 to intel, you need to compare it to the Q9650 because of clock speed. The Q9450 and Q9550 have a lower stock clock speed than the 940/955 meaning on (some) benchmarks of course they will be slower. Clock for clock its Intel>AMD, and the Intel's have more OC head room (as we/you know).

Don't get me wrong AMD has brought some great value to the Phenom series and the 940/955 are amazing chips. They just can't quite hold up to 45nm C2Qs which are already a year old, when it comes to clock for clock performance and overclocking.


comparing cpu's based on clock speed is a bit like comparing animals based on the length of their ears and concluding a Rabbit is the same size as a Cow .
The only reasonable performance comparison is how much performance do you get for your dollar. In gaming that falls very squarely in the AMD camp at the OP's price level . In other applications its not as clear and can go either way .

Thanks to digreen09 for pointing out why Toms slowed the ram on their benchmarks . You are correct the chipsets wouldnt support more than one dim per channel at 1066MHz .
So why didnt they just use a 2 x2 gig kit of RAM ?
July 15, 2009 4:14:23 AM

Canuck1 said:
This is the type of discussion I was looking for to decide on a 2nd system. I should have posted in this section rather than 'motherboards!' Oops. You guys provide a good argument for staying with older technology aka socket 775 and a good e.g., a Quad Core Q9550 processor. This will surely come down to compete with AMD's Phenom II processors including newer ones to come out. The top of the line Phenoms will compete with i7 and i5.

I'm just building a 2nd system but with a basic plain jane P45 mobo ($90 to $100). RAM is around the same price regardless of Intel/AMD. Even if it's DDR3, there are speeds/brands at a similar price to some DDR2 sticks.

I do have a question, though. I am not sure if there is any performance issues if you use a Nvidia card in an AMD mobo. If I go Intel, there is no concern.

I thought upgrades might involve buying a new mobo anyway if I go for cheap P45 mobo, DDR3 RAM and Nvidia 98xx series or 260 video card. I could always sell the mobo and cpu for some bucks to go AMD if I changed my mind?

Comments? Recommendations? Advice?


Who says the top of the line Phenom's will compete with the i7's and i5's? Maybe the i5, but the not the i7's.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-versus-i7,23... <--- there's your top of the line AMD Phenom vs the i7 920. Notice how the i7 is using an inferior vid card set up to compensate for price not to forget the D0 stepping i7's are doing an easy 4.0GHz - 4.4GHz on air.
July 15, 2009 4:20:29 AM

Canuck1 said:


I do have a question, though. I am not sure if there is any performance issues if you use a Nvidia card in an AMD mobo. If I go Intel, there is no concern.

I thought upgrades might involve buying a new mobo anyway if I go for cheap P45 mobo, DDR3 RAM and Nvidia 98xx series or 260 video card. I could always sell the mobo and cpu for some bucks to go AMD if I changed my mind?

Comments? Recommendations? Advice?



There are no problems using an nVidia gfx card in an AMD system
BUT
AMD chipset mb's support crossfire which means that if you do use an ATI gfx card you can add a second one later on [ if the board has dual pci-e x 16 slots ]
There are AMD motherboards that have nVidia chipsets but like the nVidia chipset intel boards they dont have a great reputation and performance is not as good as the 790 nb/750 sb AMD chipset boards
July 15, 2009 4:27:52 AM

Raidur said:
Outlander: When comparing the Phenom II 940 to intel, you need to compare it to the Q9650 because of clock speed. The Q9450 and Q9550 have a lower stock clock speed than the 940/955 meaning on (some) benchmarks of course they will be slower. Clock for clock its Intel>AMD, and the Intel's have more OC head room (as we/you know).

Don't get me wrong AMD has brought some great value to the Phenom series and the 940/955 are amazing chips. They just can't quite hold up to 45nm C2Qs which are already a year old, when it comes to clock for clock performance and overclocking.

Q9550 at 3.6? Nice. Mind telling me what mobo/cooling you're using?
July 15, 2009 4:28:07 AM

Outlander_04 said:
There are no problems using an nVidia gfx card in an AMD system
BUT
AMD chipset mb's support crossfire which means that if you do use an ATI gfx card you can add a second one later on [ if the board has dual pci-e x 16 slots ]
There are AMD motherboards that have nVidia chipsets but like the nVidia chipset intel boards they dont have a great reputation and performance is not as good as the 790 nb/750 sb AMD chipset boards

Okay. I did read about this recently, too.

I am not sure where (if I can find the source, I could post it if anyone is interested) I read it but apparently Nvidia is done with AMD for now in providing Nvidia-based chipsets with AMD. Whether they will do so with Intel is up in the air. For that reason alone, I would not pursue Nvidia chipset motherboards since they will be more outdated and possibly problematic (the poor rep keeps being mentioned) so I am not considering Nvidia chipset motherboards. If I really REALLY wanted SLI, I would just save up for i7 and an Intel-based x58 motherboard. There would no choice but that one.

I am trying to do this with some budget but a P45 build does get close in cost and price to AMD Phenom II. However, since I am only interested in the 1 GPU, I could maybe get a cheaper P45 mobo and go with either DDR2 or DDR3 RAM. But, the upgrades consist of current processors and that's it, probably. Other than video cards.

I guess it depends on what the options are for upgrading with Phenom II and AMD.

If I had the extra money, I'd go with i7 and X58 since I like lots of options. But, to start with, the processors/mobo combo is too expensive even if it isn't all that much more than, for e.g., AM3/Phenom II 955 (comparable AMD setup).
July 15, 2009 4:40:48 AM

Canuck you can take a look at the motherboard that I chose for my intel build. It's received great reviews all around and here is a comprehensive review of it:

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3508

The board also has a $20 MIR on newegg until 7/31 that bring its cost to $114.99 without a combo.
July 15, 2009 5:03:58 AM

Canuck1 said:
Okay. I did read about this recently, too.

I am not sure where (if I can find the source, I could post it if anyone is interested) I read it but apparently Nvidia is done with AMD for now in providing Nvidia-based chipsets with AMD. Whether they will do so with Intel is up in the air. For that reason alone, I would not pursue Nvidia chipset motherboards since they will be more outdated and possibly problematic (the poor rep keeps being mentioned) so I am not considering Nvidia chipset motherboards. If I really REALLY wanted SLI, I would just save up for i7 and an Intel-based x58 motherboard. There would no choice but that one.

I am trying to do this with some budget but a P45 build does get close in cost and price to AMD Phenom II. However, since I am only interested in the 1 GPU, I could maybe get a cheaper P45 mobo and go with either DDR2 or DDR3 RAM. But, the upgrades consist of current processors and that's it, probably. Other than video cards.

I guess it depends on what the options are for upgrading with Phenom II and AMD.

If I had the extra money, I'd go with i7 and X58 since I like lots of options. But, to start with, the processors/mobo combo is too expensive even if it isn't all that much more than, for e.g., AM3/Phenom II 955 (comparable AMD setup).


I believe nVidia is out of the mb chipset market completely .

Via made the same decision some time back . The margins were too tight and they just couldnt compete
July 16, 2009 1:18:24 AM

I ended up purchasing the Q9950 layout I listed above with a few changes:

HIS HD4670 IceQTurbo 512MB Vid card
WD Caviar Green 750gb
Some SATA Lite-On drive

Total after rebates came to $604.89 (Including shipping)


Thanks for the advice everyone.
July 16, 2009 1:22:43 AM

Outlander_04 said:
comparing cpu's based on clock speed is a bit like comparing animals based on the length of their ears and concluding a Rabbit is the same size as a Cow .
The only reasonable performance comparison is how much performance do you get for your dollar. In gaming that falls very squarely in the AMD camp at the OP's price level . In other applications its not as clear and can go either way .


I was simply disagreeing with you and stating that the C2Qs do in fact out-perform Phenom IIs in games when clocks are the same, and that C2Qs have more headroom than Phenom IIs for overclocking. Not which was the better value. =P Just raw performance. When it comes to bang for the buck AMD is doing quite well (when staying stock or doing a slight OC) but due to the OC headroom of the 45nm C2Ds I'd still have to hand it to Intel. (as far as Dual-Cores and gaming performance go)

When it comes to Quads however the Phenom IIs are an awesome value and beat 45nm C2Q hands down price/performance, usually.
!