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Should I build around a Q9400?

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November 3, 2009 2:20:45 AM

Hi,

I want to build a new PC, but I am not sure which processor to use. Should I go with a LGA 775 socket or AM3? I was specifically looking at a Q9400 or Phenom 955.

I feel a little doubtful of the Phenom 955 after the following marks it received in comparison to the older C2Duos and C2Quad:
http://www.techspot.com/review/162-amd-phenom2-x4-955/p...

I want the capability of playing games smoothly with somewhat nice details at 1680x1050. I also want the speed of encoding/decoding files to be decent.

Would you please give me your opinions. What do you think of building a entire new PC using LGA 775?
The PC will be used for light gaming and internet, email, burning media, etc.

I don't feel like paying for the pricey i7 platform, but according to some of the threads here it appears the LGA 775 chips are still a bit pricey as well, in your opinions.
If there is a better chip please tell me. I have kind of excluded the i5 because I thought tom'shardware said they don't recommend it in one of their articles.

Please give me your advice.

More about : build q9400

a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 2:45:03 AM

If you are building a new PC, consider the i7 and i5. 775 is an outdated socket, so you shouldn't get a Q9400 unless you already have a 755 motherboard.

i7 920s cost $200 at Microcenter and $279 on newegg. i5's cost around $200 on Newegg.

If you don't want to get an i7, just get the i5 and the 1156 motherboard...it'll come to around the same price as a good Core2Quad.

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November 3, 2009 2:51:13 AM

Crap how can microcenter afford to sell the i7 920 at $200?
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a c 199 à CPUs
November 3, 2009 2:54:52 AM

The benchmarks you linked to dont mean squat. They are synthetics and dont tell you anything useful. Since you want decent encoding take a look at these, you will see that the i5 beats the PII 965 handily in all but 1 encoding test, but the PII 965 performs as well or better than a Q9550. A 955 will provide smooth gameplay if coupled with an appropriate GPU for your resolution. The i5 is the better option however since you do want faster encoding speeds, and it does provide a strong quad core contender in the same price range as the AMD options.
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 4:02:40 AM

+1 i5

Don't buy 775/C2D.
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November 3, 2009 12:01:17 PM

isn't there an issue with the socket 1156 motherboards?
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 3:20:46 PM

^^ Only with overclocking.

First off, the only real price premium of going i5/i7 is on the mobo side; the processers themselves are quite competitive, and DDR3 prices have finally fallen. If you can afford the setup, i7 is the way to go.

i5 vs AM3 is touch only because of the lack of any significant performance benifit for the price the i5 gives, even though i5 is clearly the better CPU overall.
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a c 110 à CPUs
November 3, 2009 3:41:39 PM

Phenom 955BE / Asus 790X Evo AM3

After reading your link I do not think there are any questions --- and if you get lucky and snag a GPMW batch you may approach 3GHz on your NB/IMC OC ...


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November 3, 2009 5:22:14 PM

I'm trying to get a system together for a friend that costs around $650-700 dollars. I'm having a real tough time doing so I've tried getting there with the Phenom 955 but it ends up being about 750 or so.

I'm not sure which graphics card to get. It just needs to play game smoothly at 1680x1050. He's not an enthusiast.

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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 5:50:30 PM

You don't need high end for 1680x1050. So this shouldn't be too much worry.
Have a look at the Toms Guide 'best video cards for the money'. They do one each month, and they list how good it is e.g. 'Exceptional Performance 1680x1050' etc etc
For that res and a non-enthusiast, I think you could get away with quite a cheap card. I bought my 4850 for $200NZD (~150US), and it's overkill for my needs.

Also check out the 'Best CPU for the money' guides to help with CPU choice.

(These guides are under 'Articles' at the top, go hunting, I love them)

Also you could go with an AM2+ motherboard and DDR2 RAM. (The AM3 CPU will work on an AM2+ board). You may be able to save costs on both the board and RAM here.

I still run an O/C dual core, and I love it. Triples and Quads are good for games that use more than 2 threads or video editing apps etc which make use of multi-threading, but you'd need to work out what he needs. Having a quad core isn't essential, it's awesome, but not essential. Although since you're only $50 over budget, a 945 or 955 X4 might be the ticket anyway.

So lots of places to move with regards to budget there depending on what you think is important, and what other combos you can come up with, and what you pick from those guides.
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November 3, 2009 6:32:56 PM

Nice.
You're gonna need some DDR3 memory to go with it though.
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 6:47:15 PM

Looks like your budget is something for a midrange system. You haven't mentioned a monitor size which will dictate what GPU you will need for smooth framerates.
Unless you really really need the power, you could save some cash by going with 775 mobo and quad core instead of i5 or i7. And then you could the savings toward a higher end GPU. I use an e8400 for video editing and it seems to work okay for me so really it depends on how much usage you plan with a quad core. If you're seriously into video editing, I'd look past the Q9400.
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 7:19:01 PM

Yeah, socket 775 is a bit dead. Now there is nothing wrong with building a computer around the Q9400, unless you would like to upgrade the CPU latter on :D . Even if you are looking at 775 for the cost, fr the money AMD would be a better choice right now. AM3 will be around for a while and AM3 boards have become more affordable lately. A Phenom II 955 with a decent AM3 board and 4GB of DDR3 would make a good gaming rig. If you want something faster though then an i5 would be the way to go.
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November 3, 2009 7:22:20 PM

Think he's already decided on the X4.

HundredIslandsBoy - he did give the resolution, its 1680x1050.
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November 3, 2009 9:32:30 PM

The monitor will be 22inches in diameter if that makes any difference . (1680x1050)
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November 3, 2009 9:53:41 PM

Just did a bit of reading about the Phenom II X2 550 BE -- looks like I am going to be buying this chip. Has anyone got any experience with unlocking this bad boy to 4 cores? I found the following post which lists the mobos that have been successful in unlocking the phenom 550 BE:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254737-29-unlock-phen...

However, I am not sure which motherboard is the best buy.
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 9:59:53 PM

The real question is, will you be terribly disappointed if it doesn't unlock another 2 cores? If so, don't buy it with that in mind.

It's still a very competent gaming cpu however, even with only 2 cores. You might be better served having a look at the X3's....AMD sure have made the midrange interesting tbh and I often wonder which one I'd buy myself.
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 9:59:59 PM

Note: while not always the case, often those extra cores were locked because of failure. Make sure you'll be happy with it as a dual core CPU, if the cores unlock successfully its a free bonus, but don't count on it.

(Sorry can't help with motherboard selection, I don't know them well enough)
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a b à CPUs
November 3, 2009 10:01:24 PM

hah jenny bet me to it.
Yeah an X3 would be a good option.
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a c 110 à CPUs
November 3, 2009 11:40:19 PM

Cut n Paste FTW :D  (btw --- s775 probably won't go EOL until 2011 but it certainly does limit your options going forward) ...

Phenom 720BE / Asus M4A79XTD Evo AM3 790x: $202 AR
(The Phenom 550BE combo will save you $16 AR)

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $60
(free shipping with Promo Code EMCMMLP22 valid till 11/09/2009)

There is also a free shipping promo code (EMCMMLP24) and rebate on this Raidmax case which would save you $30 over the Antec 300.

WD 320Gb 'Blue' hard drive: $45
(Promo Code EMCMMLP28 valid till 11/09/2009)

Sony DVD optical: $28

OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w PSU: $100 ($70 AR)

There is a 4Gb (2x2Gb) kit of Crucial DDR3 1333 for around $80 that is qualified for that Asus mobo.

That's $495-$525 depending how you go ($455-$485 ARs).


You have not mentioned whether you have an OS but you are safely within shouting distance of the HD4850 <---> HD4870 to maintain your budget .....


Yer bud better save up his money if he wants to Crossfire ---- the HD48XXs will probably be disappearing quite fast.


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November 4, 2009 2:55:22 PM

Wisecracker said:
Cut n Paste FTW :D  (btw --- s775 probably won't go EOL until 2011 but it certainly does limit your options going forward) ...

Phenom 720BE / Asus M4A79XTD Evo AM3 790x: $202 AR
(The Phenom 550BE combo will save you $16 AR)

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $60
(free shipping with Promo Code EMCMMLP22 valid till 11/09/2009)

There is also a free shipping promo code (EMCMMLP24) and rebate on this Raidmax case which would save you $30 over the Antec 300.

WD 320Gb 'Blue' hard drive: $45
(Promo Code EMCMMLP28 valid till 11/09/2009)

Sony DVD optical: $28

OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w PSU: $100 ($70 AR)

There is a 4Gb (2x2Gb) kit of Crucial DDR3 1333 for around $80 that is qualified for that Asus mobo.

That's $495-$525 depending how you go ($455-$485 ARs).


You have not mentioned whether you have an OS but you are safely within shouting distance of the HD4850 <---> HD4870 to maintain your budget .....


Yer bud better save up his money if he wants to Crossfire ---- the HD48XXs will probably be disappearing quite fast.



Thanks wisecracker. Yeah I have a few Operating Systems laying around that I bought from my university. I think I'm going to go for the gigabyte 790x hopefully it will unlock the extra cores. And I kinda want to get the X2 550BE because I'm afraid of how the X3 720 will run. Won't 3 cores confuse programs? Where as 2 or 4 cores is more symmetrical.
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a b à CPUs
November 4, 2009 4:17:09 PM

You may already know this, but just to make sure.
4Gb RAM + 1Gb video memory (or even 512Mb) will exceed the 32bit Windows 4Gb limitation. Causing some of your memory to disappear/be unusable in Windows.

You will need 64bit XP, Vista, or 7. I'd recommend 7 out of the three.

Edit: and no 3 cores will not confuse anything, 3 core processors are rather perfect at the moment because lots of games only use 2-3 threads. The way multi-core/multi-thread works is very dynamic, and being triple core will not cause any issues whatsoever.
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November 4, 2009 8:15:41 PM

do not get i5 , there are issues with 1156 boards. get a phenom 2 x4 945 or 955
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a b à CPUs
November 4, 2009 8:16:58 PM

He's not buying an i5.
Why did you even post that? In the topic it clearly says Q9400.

Added note: With the Q9400 and a good heatsink, and some overclocking, should be able to do 3.5-3.8Ghz. I just did some googling and looked at other Q9400 setups.
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November 4, 2009 8:22:57 PM

SpidersWeb said:
He's not buying an i5.
Why did you even post that? In the topic it clearly says Q9400.
oh I'm sorry, did i hurt your feelings? :lol:  The other guys suggested him to get i5 , so I am just letting him know that 1156 boards are bad. :heink: 
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November 4, 2009 8:27:46 PM

No I was just confused.
He's decided on a Phenom II already, and was aware of the i5 socket issues. The socket issue isn't really a massive drama but still I wont be recommending it until its resolved. Foxconn needs a punch in the face.
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November 6, 2009 2:25:50 PM

Would the Corsair 750w tx be overkill for a:

pheniom x3 720 BE
4 GB ram
3 Case Fans
4850 or GTS 250
1 HDD
Overclocking/ Unlocking of additional core hopefully
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November 9, 2009 4:28:28 PM

There is no such thing as overkill.
But if it's messing with your budget, then yeah something smaller would do well. I run a 600W in my setup.
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November 9, 2009 5:39:45 PM

Maybe im late with this but an athlon II x4 620 would be choice. $99 (usd) There nearly just a powerful as the Phenom lines and there cheaper.
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