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WEIGH IN: $1200 AMD system for Sept. System Builder Marathon

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August 15, 2009 5:14:24 AM

Hi guys,

Its me again. I'm specing out the $1200 AMD system for the next system builder marathon and I wanted your feedback, folks.

Here's the Newegg link to the components I've got my eye on. Let me know if anything looks bad, or if you guys have any better ideas.

Note that the $1200 *includes* the operating system as a lot of folks requested, making it a little tougher to squeeze things into the budget.

Anyway, have a look and let me know what you guys think. Thanks!

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...
August 15, 2009 5:27:05 AM

The build looks pretty solid. I would go with a 790GX motherboard like the GA-MA790GPT-UD3H and step up to the Phenom II X4 955. I also don't see an aftermarket cooler. It seems like you'd want a black edition chip and nice cooler since you'll be overclocking the system.

The 650TX seems a little underpowered for crossfire 4890's. You'll have to use adapters to power both cards since the 650TX only comes with 2 x 6+2-Pin PCI-E connectors. I would step up to the 750TX.
August 15, 2009 5:29:33 AM

For dual GPU, I'd spring for the Corsair 750TX. 4xpcie connectors vs the 2 and adapters you'd need on the 650tx. If you factor in combo prices, the OS can be combo'd with just about everything for $15 savings giving you the room for the $20 PSU upgrade.

For the 945, is it better to get the 125w or the 95w flavor?
Related resources
August 15, 2009 5:29:52 AM

Thanks shortstuff - forgot the cooler. Not sure I have space in the budget for a 750TX though, especially after I add the cooler...

790GX is a good idea to save a few bucks though, but I don't want to give up the second x16 slot for Crossfire. I'll play with it and see.
a b À AMD
August 15, 2009 5:38:48 AM

Id stick with the 945 since they seem to top out at the same level as the 955 and 965

The gx boards have 8x/8x crossfire so stay with the fx

drop the wd 640 black for a seagate 500 gig 7200.12 , or the samsung f3 .
The money you save would put a decent cooler in the budget .


edit the OS doesnt have the upgrade to win7 , but that wont matter for this build I guess

and when you have finished testing it I volunteer to look after it for you :-)
August 15, 2009 5:42:04 AM

I added the 750TX and a Noctua NH-U12P cooler, but I had to drop the CPU down to an X3 720... and I'm STILL $20 over budget.

Crap. It's the devil's choice. Do I use the 790GX and a better CPU and give up 2x PCIe x16 slots? Or do I keep the X3 720 and use the two PCIe x16 slots the FX board allows?

Personally, I'd prefer the X3 720/ 2x PCIe x16 slots just because I'd like to show what an X3 720 can do.
August 15, 2009 5:44:39 AM

How imperative is dual 4890s? You said yourself in the conclusion for the gaming value i7 vs 955 that both systems delivered playable framerates. Hit the 4870 1gbs. That would free up enough to get the quad core back in there and drop you under budget.

Though it would be cool to see the x3 benched with that kind of graphics power.
August 15, 2009 5:45:49 AM

Well, I'm pitting this system against a $2500 AMD system, so I want to game as hard as I can. It seems most folks are only interested in the game benches anyway... :p 
a b À AMD
August 15, 2009 5:46:19 AM

cleeve said:
I added the 750TX and a Noctua NH-U12P cooler, but I had to drop the CPU down to an X3 720... and I'm STILL $20 over budget.

Crap. It's the devil's choice. Do I use the 790GX and a better CPU and give up 2x PCIe x16 slots? Or do I keep the X3 720 and use the two PCIe x16 slots the FX board allows?

Personally, I'd prefer the X3 720/ 2x PCIe x16 slots just because I'd like to show what an X3 720 can do.


I say lets see if we can melt a 650 tx !

[ but then I dont have to pay for it so I think "science" is fun ]
August 15, 2009 5:49:17 AM

Outlander_04 said:

drop the wd 640 black for a seagate 500 gig 7200.12 , or the samsung f3 .


Good thinking Outlander, the F3 puts us right at $1200. Perfect!
August 15, 2009 5:51:08 AM

That particular 790GX board (the GA-MA790GPT-UD3H) says in its description on Newegg that it has two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. I don't know if that's a mis-print or not. I'll have to look into it. I would go with the 790GX even if it did go down to 8x crossfire. Your own benchmarks on this site indicate there's hardly any speed penalty by going with 8x crossfire.

I'd much rather see a quad core and 790GX than a triple core and 790FX. What about everybody else?
August 15, 2009 5:54:34 AM

Outlander_04 said:
I say lets see if we can melt a 650 tx !

[ but then I dont have to pay for it so I think "science" is fun ]



Heheh. I like the way you think!
Unfortunately, the price difference only gives us enough to get the X4 810.

I suppose I could say to hell with it and up the budget to $1250 and just get the 945... but it seems like cheating. And the X3 would probably do a nice job...

...then again, I might be crazy saving a measly $50 to go with a 945. The X3 might overclock better since it's a BE. And having said all that, am I crazier not spending the extra $80 to go with a 955 BE?
August 15, 2009 5:56:47 AM

Unless one is crossfiringX a pair of HD4870X2s one would be bottlenecked by a pair of PCIex16 2.0 lanes running at 8x
August 15, 2009 5:57:07 AM

The 790GX buys you $50.
August 15, 2009 5:59:29 AM

For value of the article, there's loads of 955 dual 4890 benchmark reviews out there. If I'm going to drop $1200+ on a build, I would like to see a review using the x3 and how it compares. If it's an utter disaster, then I know to spend the extra on a quad. If it performs close to the same, I might get a second drive for a raid array or a shinier case. Boldly go where no other x3 has gone before.
August 15, 2009 6:00:19 AM

The problem is, I choose the 790GX and I get a million guys telling me I hate AMD in the forums because I've purposefully handicapped the $1200 system with 8x PCIe slots.

I'd like to avoid that if possible, shortstuff.
August 15, 2009 6:03:09 AM

batuchka said:
Unless one is crossfiringX a pair of HD4870X2s one would be bottlenecked by a pair of PCIex16 2.0 lanes running at 8x

Take what technical merit from this you want, but it used 4850 CF and concluded that the P45 x8/x8 did effect performance vs the x16/x16 on the X48. It is over a year old and the drivers have come a long way.

http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1472/intel_p45_vs_x48...

Or Don can buy a 790GX to do a head to head article with all the same parts except the mobo switched out.
August 15, 2009 6:06:27 AM

skora said:
Or Don can buy a 790GX to do a head to head article with all the same parts except the mobo switched out.

I would like to see something like that.
August 15, 2009 6:31:56 AM

What choices would you make if you were not building a gaming system?
August 15, 2009 6:33:15 AM

skora said:
Thats cute, but puppy linux might run better than vista on that :pt1cable: 


Heheh.

Seriously though, I've run 2GB on a ton of Vista boxes with no problems at all. 2 GB will do the job - load times might be a little longer for game levels, but it's very livable.
August 15, 2009 6:35:06 AM

If you're worried about the fanboys chastising you for bottlenecking a pair of 4890s, some of them might actually show up at your doorstep if you do that to 4870x2s.

And whose going to buy a modern PC with just a CD burner on it?
August 15, 2009 6:35:23 AM

Siddhartha gb said:
What choices would you make if you were not building a gaming system?


Single graphics card, or even integrated... save a ton of cash. A $60 780G motherboard would do the job nicely with no graphics card expense at all. A much less beefy power supply.

Then use the extra cash for the CPU. There's other stuff you can option out, but that's the bare basics.
August 15, 2009 6:36:50 AM

skora said:
If you're worried about the fanboys chastising you for bottlenecking a pair of 4890s, some of them might actually show up at your doorstep if you do that to 4870x2s.


If I choose two 4870 X2s, some of them will be there to ask me on a date... :love: 
August 15, 2009 6:38:14 AM

To each their own!
August 15, 2009 6:48:32 AM

Since you're doing a $2.5k AMD system, I'm guessing that will have the 4870x2s in it with a 965 in the 790FX. Take it down a notch for the $1200 system with the x3 and GPUs to budget in a 790GX. Then you have all the parts sitting in front of you to do another article that everyone wants by mixing and matching the parts. See how a Power house GPU setup does with the x3. Then trade out the GPUs to see how much 8x/8x effects both the $1200 system cards and the 4870x2s.

Its way past my bedtime so I'm out. This has been fun. Hope to do this again sometime. Nite all.
August 15, 2009 7:04:40 AM

Hi, this is my sample system, feel free to change. It does include a quad core, 4gb ram, 1tb HDD, 2x asus 4890 top..1kw powersupply.

August 15, 2009 5:11:37 PM

another suggestion to try on this SBM. ATI released the new 9.8 Catalyst drivers, and there is supposed 10-50% increase in frames regarding this. Is there the possibility that you guys can include the two different driver sets to prove/debunk this myth? I feel there has been some sort of performance increase with only a single 4850.

As for the aftermarket cooler, i feel the Noctua, as good of a performer it is, you could find something cheaper. The good ole Xigmatek S1283 is $18 cheaper before rebates, another 10 cheaper after (If that really counts, i normally don't count em).

My $0.02.
August 15, 2009 6:26:43 PM

Since you seem to be going for a max OC drop the Noctua. You'd get that if you are going for quietness :p 

Swap out to: S1283 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And get a bigger fan :p  : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Dropped my CPU temps after replacing my S1283 fan by 7C (P95 load) with that 110CFM Slipstream :ouch:  Even with the fan, s1283 is cheaper. This was the first time I have used that Scyth on a air cooler. Usually use that fan on heatercores :p .

Any chance for upping the budget to say $1400-1500 and going WCing? How about on the high end set up ?

PS: Me thinks Toms should do a testing on a REAL WC loop (No pre built kits ie no BigWater,H50 etc) vs top end air cooling (TRUE, S1283, Core Contact, V8etc) on an i7 OCed. Also where is that PSU review that we voted for? http://feedbacks.tomshardware.com/pages/16334-article-i...
August 15, 2009 6:35:42 PM

since this is a build for September, shouldn't you be including stuff like the 5870's release, the 975 BE, and possibly the 8xx chipset?
August 15, 2009 7:20:38 PM

If anything the AMD processor prices will drop.
August 15, 2009 7:25:10 PM

I'm building something for a similar budget ($1200 but flexible). I want to order within 2-3 days tops, and thanks for making it harder :p .

Just thought I'd drop in hahah...
August 15, 2009 7:29:29 PM

Here's a build, close enough at $1215.

One of the new Rosewill cases with 3x120mm fans and 1x80mm side fan. Save $20 on the Antec300 and it's a new case to be in a review.
case - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power supply - One of the new 700w Coolermaster UCP 700- gets good reviews at jonnyguru save $20 on the 750w Corsair - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - MSI 790FX -GD70 $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU - AMD PhenomII X4 955BE - $200 maybe you can trade the magazine sub for that $15
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - Patriot Viper 2x2 GB DDR3 1600 7-7-7-20 $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPUs - 2x Sapphire VaporX OC 4890s $400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hd - your choice - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Burner - the LG SATA - let us know about the damn blubird software $27
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler - Coolermaster - DTHP - the biggest difference i've seen in these type coolers are the fans. $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS - $110 although you may get a higher OC with 32bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


August 16, 2009 2:24:51 AM

Helloworld_98 said:
since this is a build for September, shouldn't you be including stuff like the 5870's release, the 975 BE, and possibly the 8xx chipset?


Nope. We have to order, ship, test, and write it ASSP to get it ready for September. It takes a while to do an SBM.
August 16, 2009 2:34:37 AM

DavidTJ said:
If anything the AMD processor prices will drop.


Of course all prices will drop, but we have to try to stay in the parameters when we spec it out.
August 16, 2009 2:39:21 AM

Shadow703793 said:
Since you seem to be going for a max OC drop the Noctua. You'd get that if you are going for quietness :p 


Well, we're going for the best cooler we can fit in the budget. Noise is a factor, so is temps. But I'll reconsider the cooler angle...

I have to pick the final components by Monday morning.


August 16, 2009 2:42:58 AM

Here is my new build, im leaning toaward those ASUS 4890 like the look (i know looks on a GPU) and the fan design very good OCer you could get 2 of them if you drop my extras youll have good pc with 2x4870 for like 1200

AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811517004
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$40.00 Mail-in Rebate
$129.99
$119.99
1

IMC KEM-01 Clear 2 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Mouse - Retail
Item #: N82E16826717003
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$12.99 Saving
$12.99
$0.00


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822152181
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$54.99


Open Box: MSI 790GX-G65 AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813130224R
Return Policy: Open Box Refund Only Return Policy
-$40.00 Instant
$124.99
$84.99


OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16817341018
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$30.00 Instant
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate
$129.99
$99.99
1

OCZ Diesel 4GB Single Channel Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model OCZUSBDSL4G - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227331
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
-$2.00 Instant
-$10.99 Saving
$12.99
$0.00


Tuniq Tower 120 Universal CPU Cooler 120mm Cooling Fan and Fan Controller/Heatsink - Retail
Item #: N82E16835154001
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$15.00 Mail-in Rebate
$49.99


AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103649
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G16004GK - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227316
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Instant
-$15.00 Combo
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate
$224.99
$189.99
1

CPU Mag Gift - 6 free issues of CPU Magazine - OEM
Item #: N82E16800995076
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$35.94 Saving
$35.94
$0.00
Subtotal: $599.94
August 16, 2009 2:59:29 AM

Asus M4A78T-E
AMD Phenom II x4 955
Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer
G.Skill 4GB(2x2GB) DDR3-1333 C8
2 x XFX Radeon HD 4870 1GB
Corsair 750TX
Western Digital black 1TB
Antec Three Hundred
Sony Optiarc (Basic Sata DVD Burner)
Vista Home Premium 64bit

$1150 from the egg, no special combos either
August 16, 2009 3:33:38 PM

cleeve said:
Well, we're going for the best cooler we can fit in the budget. Noise is a factor, so is temps. But I'll reconsider the cooler angle...

I have to pick the final components by Monday morning.

Noise?? lol, when gaming, I doubt that would make a difference. At idle you can always control fan speed with software like SpeedFan,etc.
August 16, 2009 3:36:51 PM

Quote:
Open Box: MSI 790GX-G65 AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

Absolutely not. Open Box items can't be used on a SBM as it's limited availability and you don't get PS/2 shield,etc.
August 17, 2009 4:49:50 AM

Here's some really good advice from the Graphic section. I'd take it, this Don Woligrowski guy really knows his stuff. : )

"Best PCIe Card For ~$400: Tie
Two Radeon HD 4890 cards in CrossFire Configuration (Check Prices)

Good 1920x1200 performance, 2560x1600 in most titles with some lowered detail
2 x Radeon HD 4890 in CrossFire Configuration
Codename: 2 x RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 1,600 (2 x 800)
Texture Units: 80 (2 x 40)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 16)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 975 (3,900 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

Two Radeon HD 4890 cards should, on average, perform on par or better than a single GeForce GTX 295, and the Radeons cost less. If you have a CrossFire motherboard and want some serious high-resolution performance, this is the way to go."
!