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Processor and Video Card Help for a $1000 PC

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July 27, 2009 5:33:38 PM

I'm faced with a difficult decision. I'm trying to build a gaming PC for under or at $1000 and for the most part, I know what I want. There's just a few things that i need some help on.

1 - Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 940 (3.0 GHz) or Intel Core i7 920 (2.66 GHz)? I don't have any personal bias against either one, but I don't understand why everyone recomends the i7 (about $280) over the Phenom 940 (about $180) when, it seems to me, that the Phenom is a much better deal. There must be something I'm missing.

2 - Video Card - I have a couple of ideas here. I'm leaning towards the GTX 285 1GB (about $350), but am also considering the HD4870x2 (also about $350). My moniter is 1440x900 currently, and I don't plan on changing it for about a year at least, but I want a card that can play most anything at max settings and still have a good framerate, and I want it to stay that way should I change moniters sooner than I intend.

The motherboard I get depends on which processor I choose, and I already have about 5GB of RAM at the ready. Any suggestions would be greatly appriciated. Oh and if I have a Windows Vista disc that came with my last computer, could I use it on this new PC or do I have to buy an OS?
July 27, 2009 5:48:26 PM

1) the i7 pretty much beats anything out there, in pretty much everything, except single GPU gaming.

Reason? the Instructions per clock is higher than any other CPU.(so a single i7 thread at 2.66Ghz can do just as many instructions each second as a single Phenom II core at 3.2GHz) It also incorporates a feature called SMT, or Hyperthreading to us, this essentially allows two instructions to be done by one core. So multitasking is faster, as is media transcoding and CPU intensive tasks which can use 4 or more threads.

2) those cards are both wastes of money, especially with that resolution, get a 4870 instead, then upgrade your monitor with the money you saved, and put the rest, if you have any left, towards a DX11 card.
July 27, 2009 5:50:59 PM

1. I would recommend i7. But I don't think you'll notice that much of performance difference between the two most cases. but if you go Intel Core i7 920, keep in mind that motherboard will cost you anywhere from sub200(with good deals) up to $300. That's almost a $600 already. When you say 5GB of ram is it compatible with the X58 motherboard chipsets? If not, with ram, it'll be ~$700 which leaves you only $300 to get the rest of the parts, which is not easy. BUT if I were to choose the i7 and the motherboard, I would take a look at the board such as ASUS P6T (Deluxe V2), EVGA Triple SLI, and Gigabyte UD4P.

2. I got GTX285 along with i7 thinking I'm going to SLI in the future because I will be purchasing 30'' monitor soon. I'd take a look at anywhere from GTX260(SLI) and up. If you don't plan to go any higher than 1080p(~24'' monitors), honestly I don't think you will need to SLI GTX285. SLI GTX260/275 or CF 4890 will be more than sufficient for awhile. I'd personally recommend CF 4890 for the great value of the card.
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July 27, 2009 5:52:06 PM

So you're saying I could spend a little more on the i7 and get a lot better performance, and just get like a 4870 and save a lot of money. Thanks
July 27, 2009 5:54:39 PM

+1 on what helloworld said as well in terms of the monitor. now a days, a decent 24'' 1080p lcd monitors are getting dirt cheap. Get 4890 for now for ~$200, and buy a monitor. In my experience, upgrading the display(with having enough power to drive them) was the single best computer upgrade when i went 19'' to 23'' about a year ago. Now I want 23'' to 30''.
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