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New gaming build - Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II

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July 28, 2009 1:01:06 PM

Hi again forum dwellers.
I asked your advice on a HTPC-build about a week ago and have since grown quite fond on the media extender abilities of the Xbox360.
Therefore I have changed my mind for now (the HTPC will get built but at a later date) and feel that my old PC-gaming urge is growing too powerful to resist any further.
Since I've seen advice on this forum about gaming builds based around both AMD Phenom II and Intel Core i7 it seems that both seem quite able as gaming rigs.
Although I am having a litle problem deciding which route to take. The AMD route is a bit cheaper but not by a lot (a couple of hundred US$)

This time the purchase will be a bit sooner than i previously expected.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within 1 month, probably a couple of weeks.
BUDGET RANGE: 15000 skr (aprox US$1600)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, watching movies, surfing the internet
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: N/A (Will use swedish retailer)
PARTS PREFERENCES: I am partial to ATI Graphics cards
OVERCLOCKING: No
CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like a reasonably quiet PC with kickass gaming performance

I just want to get a litle bit of reasurance that the nuts and bolts of either of these specs will rock together or if I should switch some out for compatibility reasons or if you have some bad experience with some components.
...and...the biggest question. Should I go the AMD route or the Intel route?
And I would like to add that the US$ prices probably look sky high in the lists below. I calculated them with the present exchange rate 7.43 skr = US$1.
I usually use the exchange rate 10 skr = US$1, it is usually closer to the truth.

Intel build:
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932
1495 skr ($200)

PSU: CORSAIR HX 620W NÄTDEL ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V
1350 skr ($181)

HDD: WESTERN DIGITAL CAVIAR GREEN 1TB SATA/300 32MB
799 skr ($105)

BluRay: LG GGC-H20L BLU-RAY 6X BD-R RETAIL
1695 skr ($228)

Monitor: DELL S2409W 24# WIDE TFT FULL-HD SVART
2495 skr ($335)

Graphics card: SAPPHIRE RADEON HD4890 VAPOR-X 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E VGA/DVI/HDMI/DP
2350 skr ($316)

Memory: CORSAIR 6GB DDR3 XMS3 INTEL I7 PC10666 1333MHZ (3X2GB)
1245 skr ($165)

Motherboard: ASUS P6T SE X58 S-1366 ATX
2195 skr ($295)

Processor: INTEL CORE I7 920 2.66GHZ 8MB S-1366 + SPEL
2995 skr ($400)

Price total: 16619 skr ($2225)

------------------------------

Amd build:
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932
1495 skr ($200)

PSU: CORSAIR HX 620W NÄTDEL ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V
1350 skr ($181)

HDD: WESTERN DIGITAL CAVIAR GREEN 1TB SATA/300 32MB
799 skr ($105)

BluRay: LG GGC-H20L BLU-RAY 6X BD-R RETAIL
1695 skr ($228)

Monitor: DELL S2409W 24# WIDE TFT FULL-HD SVART
2495 skr ($335)

Graphics card: SAPPHIRE RADEON HD4890 VAPOR-X 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E VGA/DVI/HDMI/DP
2350 skr ($316)

Memory: DIMM DDR3 HYPERX 4GB 1375MHZ DDR3 NON-ECC LOW-LATENCY CL7 KIT
1063 skr ($143)

Motherboard: ASUS M4A78T-E 790GX AM3 ATX
1450 skr ($195)

Processor: AMD PHENOM II X4 945 3.0GHZ 8MB SOCKET AM3 BOX
2495 skr ($335)

Price total: 15192 skr ($2044)

I have gone with the boxed cooling for both builds but will change CPU-coolers a bit later, unless you strongly recommend I do so immediately.
As always, I greatly appreciate your advice and thoughts on this.
July 28, 2009 5:21:17 PM

Personally speaking, I'm not a fan of your PSU. Corsair is a fantastic brand, and I recommend them for most of my builds, but you're going to be paying as much for that one as you would for a 750TX or 850TX because the 620W is modular. If you take the time to manage your cables (~10 min), you don't really need the modular PSU. I'd grab a 750TX for the same price or cheaper.

I'm also not sure why you want a Blue Ray player. If you've already got Blue Ray movies, then you can probably go ahead and ignore the rest of this paragraph... Blue Ray is still really new, and therefore expensive. The improvements over standard DVD's aren't even that impressive from what I've seen. The most exciting thing for me about Blue Ray is that the disks can hold a lot more data, something like 25GB (don't quote me on that). Personally, I'm holding off for at least another few years when they become more affordable. SATA CD/DVD burners/players with light scribe (because why not?) are only like $20-25 anyway.

Other than the PSU and the Blue Ray, no real complaints on either build; everything is perfect for what you want.

Very nicely done, it's obvious someone's done their homework. :) 
July 28, 2009 5:26:41 PM

MY opinion on HDD: Take Caviar Black series 1TB! and get a Corsair PSU!
Related resources
July 28, 2009 7:07:44 PM

kufan64: Thanks for your advice regarding the PSU and Blu Ray. I certainly don't mind shaving off a few bucks on the build and as you say, I can add a Blu Ray-player later on if I feel the need, an easy $100+ off the price. About the PSU, I don't mind organizing the cables for this build since it's quite light on components. Good suggestions, I will take you up on both. :) 

blockhd: I've heard good things about both drives so I went with the one that's rumored to be more quiet :)  If the performance difference between the drives are substantial I may switch to a black instead, Price wise there isn't a big difference at my retailer anyway. I want the good stuff for the build :) 
And I did choose a Corsair PSU :) 

" PSU: CORSAIR HX 620W NÄTDEL ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V
1350 skr ($181) "

I'll switch it to a 650 or higher TX instead though.

Thanx for all your advice guys.

Only one question remaining....
Both seem to be decent builds for a gaming rig...but which one should I build?
I'm having a hard time deciding :( 
July 28, 2009 8:55:34 PM

I'm glad to hear you took my advice. :) 

The i7 build will perform better, but the AMD build is a better value. Since AMD owns ATI, the CPU and GPU might work together better in that build, but that's pure speculation on my part, and I have absolutely nothing to back up that claim. It's really up to you. I've always been an Intel/Nvidia guy and probably will remain so until they give me a reason not to be, and being an Intel guy, I can safely say that the i7 setup you pitched with the PSU and BD changes will be phenominal. I can't say the same for the AMD build simply because I'm not as familiar with them.

Regarding the Black vs Green HDD discussion, the black spins faster which generates more noise, heat, and draws more power, but it operates faster as a result. I can't tell you exactly how much more noise, heat, and power draw the black requires over the green, but I have heard that the performance difference isn't massive, especially if you compare a large 1-1.5TB green drive to a smaller black drive. It's pretty much your call, which is why I didn't comment on it before. I will say that black's are more popular with high performance game machines.
July 29, 2009 5:56:28 AM

kufan64:
Of course i took your advice, that was the whole point of posting here ;) 
I've read quite a few build-specs here and your advice seems great.
I switched the Green for a Black and there was about a $30-35 orice difference for the 1TB model.

For the PSU i went with the following, i hope that I will be ok with the 650 initially at least. I will probably add another optical drive in the future and another HDD.
CORSAIR TX 650W PSU ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V

I think I will try the AMD route this time around since I've never owned an AMD machine.
I think it will serve me quite nicely for a few years.

PS. I will probably check out the Core i5 setup once that is released and maybe use that platform for my HTPC build :D 
And who knows...maybe there will be an nVidia card in the bag then as well ;) 

Thanks a lot for now. I will update this post when I'm ready with the rig.
Have a nice summer in the meantime.

//SweHtpc
July 29, 2009 2:08:08 PM

There is nothing wrong at all with either rig for what you do. And there is no performance benefit either way...for what you do. Actually, with the parts you have picked out, the AMD rig may even slightly edge the i7 for gaming.
There is also absolutley no performance benefit what so ever by matching AMD/ATI.
A nVidia GPU will perform perfect on an AMD chipset.
All in all, for what you are going to do with the machine, I would save a few bucks and go with the AMD build.
Just my 2 cents.
July 29, 2009 3:42:16 PM

you could always look at it this way, go amd if you hate macs, because intel are in macs haha. Other then that your system looks awesome, i wish i had that money to spend ;) 
July 30, 2009 11:25:23 AM

jitpublisher: Great, AMD it is then. Been curious to try one for a long time. Have been an intel guy since i bought my first Pentium 75MHz.

SunshineKiller: I will go the AMD route but not for the "I hate Macs" reason ;)  I have two Macs and plan on a replacement MBP in the spring.

Thanks all you guys for the advice and responses I got!
Very helpful!
July 30, 2009 12:57:05 PM

i wold upgrade to the 955 black edition other than that the amd looks good but there is no doubt that the i7 build would beat it
July 30, 2009 5:12:55 PM

If you are a gamer and the most time of the day you play...buy the i7, if isn't buy the 955 is really cool...
!