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Last response: in Systems
August 19, 2009 6:22:40 PM

Guys, I’m very new at computer lingo and computer stuff. All I know is I have recently taken a liking to computer gaming (Total war 2, ages of empires 3…). My computer (dell) is not good enough to play at high setting; even now it’s not worth playing because it’s too slow. I have been looking at custom building a gaming computer, but there are so many options/issues. I have spent about two weeks trying to figure stuff out and I need some help. I don’t want to over lock anything, mainly because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing yet.
Here is what I know so far:

I want an E8400 processor, would consider Q6600 or 9xxx, but don’t think I need it to play the games I like.

I would like one game card for now (have not got to this yet, still trying to find a mobo.)

Things I would like explained:

Have heard about Bottle neck issue if you want two graphics cards. I would eventually like two graphics cards so bottlenecking is something I would like to avoid.

What is the difference between sli and crossfire, which is better? Which is more compatible with an E8400 processor?

There is this computer for sale on ebay, it uses an asus p5q-se, but I also heard really good things about the p5q-pro-turbo-ip45 mobo. Then I read that P35 is being phased out and the p45 and x48 are in. So many mobo’s to choose from, I just want a solid one I can upgrade later, but not now. I just want to play and enjoy my games for now.

Any advice, warnings and help is greatly appreciated. And also, I have read the 2008 &9 Tomshardware computer build. Sounds like a nice computer but they base everything on over clocking, something I’m just not comfortable with yet. Also my budget is about 950 would like not to break 1K.

More about : mobo

August 19, 2009 6:27:50 PM

Well to give you a headsup, LGA 775 cpu's are being phased out, same with ddr2.

Could you give me a estimate of how much you want to spend? ill re-edit and send you a link to fill out, then copy it and repost with it and it will help us help you.
Related resources
August 19, 2009 6:29:29 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (example: tomorrow -- the closer the better) BUDGET RANGE: (example: US$500-750)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (example: Folding@Home, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (examples: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (examples:,, -- this is to help others see available options and prices)

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (example: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case)

OVERCLOCKING: Yes / No / Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes / No / Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (examples: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (examples: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC)

Fill this out and We will be glad to help you out.
August 19, 2009 7:31:07 PM

BUDGET RANGE: $600-950


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers.


PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type: I know I like the E8400 processor, would consider Q6600 or Q9xxx. Need help with mobo, I like Asus and Gigabyte (p45, x48, p5k-e, p5q-pro-turbo, p35 (I think this one is being phased out though), x38). I also would like to know compatibility with graphics cards. I like Nvidia and Radeon, but need to know which one will be more compatible with Intel processor and the motherboard. Need tower case, fans (quiet), power supply 600W, and os prefer windows xp.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Don’t know what the difference is, I would like two graphic cards eventually, but I have read that there may be a bottle neck issue depending on the mobo.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quite pc would be a plus, don’t want anything fancy, At this point I need major help picking out a motherboard that will be strong at gaming, compatible with Intel processor (E8400). I have read the 2008 &9 Tomshardware computer build. Sounds like a nice computer but they base everything on over clocking, something I’m just not comfortable with yet. Also my budget is about 950 would like not to break 1K.

August 19, 2009 7:34:39 PM

You can get a x3 720 am3 build which will be more of an advance than e8400. you will be able to upgrade in the future, e8xxx family has been phased out or is in the process of being.

August 19, 2009 10:48:08 PM

I don’t know, from my research her is what I gather:

Amd phenom x3 720 is a tri core, cheaper, more open to future upgrades with ddr3, but it also runs hotter.
Intell E8400 is 3.0ghz with out over clocking, it runs on half the power. The biggest and most important difference to me is that I read on and here is what it said, “most games and programs refuse to recognize the 3rd core. Apps are generally coded for 2 or 4 cores (6 and 8 later on) but there’s programs designed to scale directly to the cores and not programmed specifically which then the X3s would pull ahead in.” That statement is what pulls me back to E8400, and if anything to the quad cores. I like playing my games (total war 2, empire earth, ages of empire 3) and 50 bucks more is well worth it to me to play those games at their fullest potential. So then I guess the question is, is E8400 good enough to handle those games, and what mobo would be able to handle two graphics cards.

Also can some one explain cross fire and sli and which is “better” for gaming.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2009 10:56:42 PM

SLI and crossfire are the same thing, crossfire goes with ATI and SLI goes with nVidia, slightly different implementations for the same result, multiple cards acting as one.

The x3 provides the advantage in that windows can run its background tasks on the third core while you play a dual threaded game. Check out the charts on this site, it has the 720 above the 8400 in the gaming tests. The 720 also gives you lots of upgrade options down the line that the 8400 does not.

AMD also tends to rate their TDPs with a bit more of a buffer than intel does, you would probably find that the difference in power usage is minimal.
August 20, 2009 1:55:34 AM

I’m still torn. In a nutshell I understand that AMD is more upgradeable in the long run. Tomshardware does put the 720 above the 8400 in gaming, the only thing is it’s not so consistent when researching other sites. I wish computers could be built around games.

Would any one be willing to guide me through a website like show me what a good unit would look like?

My problem is not really between choosing amd or intell, it’s choosing the right motherboard and compatible video cards and other components, that will play my games.
We can spend days discussing what is better, I have spent several long hours reading threads about which is better and why. Nothing is black and white, not to me at least. I just want to know what my options are if I go with intel and what my options are if I go with AMD. What the two configurations would look like (mobo, game cards, p45…, sli, crossfire,ddr2,ddr3,gpu…) The only thing I know right now is AMD x3 you can get ddr3, Intel E8400 ddr2.
August 20, 2009 12:53:56 PM
1. XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB
2.AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB
mushkin HP 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R

Something to look at for you, sure you can add a 22" monitor

a b B Homebuilt system
August 20, 2009 1:12:06 PM

Maxwku, consider the X3 Phenoms as a dual-core processor with an extra core to handle background windows processing when you have your games on. While it doesn't directly work like this, its an extra core over Intel's dual core range.

Don't consider the issues too harshly, if we all did that, we'd never build a computer because nothing would be considered 'perfect'. All parts are designed to work at least decently with other parts so long as they are compatable, get the best value for money (price-performance compromise) and you wont go so far wrong.
August 20, 2009 2:48:19 PM

I like those parts, I totaled them up and it came to 629.94 (not including taxes and some shipment costs), that is under my budget.

I do have a couple of questions. Do you think I should go with a 600W psu or do you think it is not necessary?

I like the mobo you picked it’s nice. I was wondering if in the future that mobo would be able to accommodate the AMD X4 quad chip. Or is the X3 going to be able to handle things for a while?

I have listed system requirements for one of my favorite games. I know I’m good on everything, but I do have a question about the direct X9.0. I know the Ausus mobo you listed runs 10.1 direct X, but will it also support an outdated older Direct X9.0? And is the graphics card compatible?

I’m getting excited I like the motherboard. Tomshardware ran benchmark results for an M4a785td-m evo and it did pretty good. My mobo is an M4a785td-V evo, does that mean it’s even better then the m evo?

requirements Windows 2000/XP/Vista
1.8 GHz Processor
512 MB RAM
11GB uncompressed free Hard disk space
128 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible Graphics card
DirectX 9.0c compatible
16-bit Sound card
8x Speed DVD-ROM drive

August 20, 2009 2:54:02 PM

Yes, thats an am3 board it will work with any of the am3 chips made.

600w wouldnt be necessary, that psu has a single rail and its a big rail to work with.

if you wanted, usually people would get the 650tx which is $10 more.

having the price at $650 will set you in good hands on a really nice res monitor.

$250 can get youa 24" 1920x1080 such as:
ASUS + webcam

Still puts you under $900
August 20, 2009 3:36:37 PM

I think I will go with the 650tx.

I currently have a 19” sony monitor that came with my sony vaio.

What about the Direct X, do you think it will be an issue?
August 20, 2009 3:51:39 PM

19" hmm... you wont see the best out of the 4870 on a 19" monitor.

Direct X? what you mean will it be an issue?
August 21, 2009 12:52:06 PM

19” wont do it huh. Well in that case then I will consider the two monitor/tv’s you mention. Is there anything in particular I need to pay attention to if I was to buy a used one off ebay?

The direct X problem I mentioned is that, the ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G supports Direct X 10.1, but my game needs Direct X 9. So will the mobo support an older version of Direct X?
a b B Homebuilt system
August 21, 2009 1:03:38 PM

Yes, it's all backwards compatable.

Don't buy used, get new if you can.
August 21, 2009 1:34:51 PM


It’s hard for me to spend 200 on a monitor, I know the whole package will come in under my budget, but I would prefer to spend about 100 on a monitor and use the left over hundred to see where I can go ahead and upgrade my build. For example if I have an extra hundred left then maybe I can go ahead and get dual gaming cards (I think it’s called crossfire?) Or I can get the X4 processor, or wireless Internet, and a 12-in-1 internal flash media card reader/writer. What do you suggest?
a b B Homebuilt system
August 21, 2009 3:11:45 PM

A nice monitor is a good investment that will last far longer than the computer will, if you drop $200 on a nice monitor you probably wont change it out for several years, you are probably going to upgrade your processor before then, the X3 will handle gaming tasks quite well for a while yet.

To help you pick the card for the monitor based on resolution GTS250/4850=1280x1024/1440x900 GTX260/4870=1680x1050 GTX275/4890=1920x1080/1200

If you get a 4870 for a 19" monitor, sure you will be able to play everything maxed out but a 4850 could have done that for two thirds the cost.
August 21, 2009 4:03:36 PM

Ok so the monitor would out live the computer and several upgrades, that is something to consider, and maybe not skimp on.

I do like the 4870 card, I looked on new egg and found several 1G 4850(s) that were in the 129-139 price range.

The 4870 1G card showed a faster memory clock and only 10 dollars more.

I do have a question about the 4870. The specs say “…GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0…” But my mobo (ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G) takes GDDR3, would that be a problem?
August 21, 2009 6:27:06 PM

It doesn't "take" GDDR3, that is the speed at which the onboard vid chipset runs at, the graphics RAM speed has nothing to do with actual RAM or onboard vid speed. They are two different things,

For the vid cards, go with the Gigabyte or XFX one, and if you decide to get two different brands of the 4870 then make sure all the specs are the same, or else if one is slower than the other one then both have to run at the slower speed even though one vid card is faster. The gigabyte/XFX is faster and more popular i haven't heard about Diamond brand and you don't want to go with unpopular brands.

The XFX is also good it is faster than the gigabyte in a few things but also slower in an other area, either are good but once you get more familiar with computers you can OC both and get the awesomest setup that can run CRYSIS on high.....maybe, might need a 4890.

PS: there is a benfit and chance of the mobo you have, because the Northbridge is over 710, the X3 720 BE you have might get a core unlocked giving you a quad core processor, however, this is a gamble cause when AMD locks a core it is because they are defective or something, so you might have problems but the bettter chances are that you won't have any problems with the unlocked core
August 21, 2009 7:15:50 PM

Ok thanks for clearing that up for me.

I’m trying to understand your last paragraph. I have a benefit with the mobo I will be getting, that is about all I understand. I know Northbridge is crucial to overclocking, because of it’s frequency. You are saying my mobo’s northbridge is 710, but my processor is a 720. So there for I can OC the mobo? I don’t see how I can oc the processor if the northbridge on my mobo can’t go above a 710. But that is where my inexperience in over clocking comes in, I’m not even sure if I made any sense.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 21, 2009 7:23:42 PM

The 720 on the processor is just an arbitrary name that they give to all the ones with the same stats.

Upendra is refering to the advance clock calibration feature supported on the southbridge 710 and 750 that was designed to give the first generation phenoms more overclocking headroom, a side effect of it is its ability to unlock the fourth core on the 720 turning it into a 920 for all intents and purposes.
August 21, 2009 7:47:35 PM

That is pretty cool. So a 720 can be oc and made into a 920 (if the 4th core is not corrupt.) I will have to do more homework on over clocking, northbridge and southbridge.

Here is the build I hope to get started on: [...] mbo.237068

1. XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB
2.AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 [...] 6813131398

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G [...] 6822136319

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB [...] 6820146868

mushkin HP 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply [...] 6827136153

LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R [...] 6824236048

ASUS + webcam

Windows xp professional Sp 2
Got to get a wireless network card
And a bunch of drivers, patches…

Oh does anyone have a temperature display for their computers and is it worth the money? Also does anyone have any suggestions for a good case?

August 21, 2009 11:06:08 PM

yeah that is what i meant, sorry for the confusion, that proc/vid card link doesn't seem to work but if i were you i would go for the X3 720 BE, BE is for black edition, it can be very helpful when you get experienced enough to overclock
August 21, 2009 11:11:33 PM

Also the graphics cards might be wide enough to cover two slots so be careful, you may not have room for two cards.
August 22, 2009 8:49:47 PM

I don't think it will, it will cover the pci slot, not the other pci-e 2.0, the gtx 285 is bigger than the 4870 and it doesnt even cover both my slots.
August 22, 2009 11:56:21 PM

ok then he should be good to go
August 25, 2009 5:19:04 PM

I can’t get vista. I run AutoCAD at home, and vista requires that I buy the latest 2009 version because it is not compatible with my 2004 AutoCAD. AutoCAD 2009 is nice but very very expensive for just one seat (user). Vista is just not worth it to me right now. Maybe when 2009 gets as cheap as 2004, then I will switch over.

I was thinking will I have to buy the os and install it, or does the hard drive come with an os installed? Also this is my first time building a computer, so I thought I would check out and compare prices and parts and see if I would save a lot building it myself.

The only website that customizes pc’s and has majority of parts I want is cyberpower. Actually the only website I found that had AMD X3 Black Edition as an option. I tried to attach a list, but could not find a way, so here is the only difference from cyberpower items and my build list above:
1.) The os comes installed,
2.) The mobo is an asus M4A 79T Deluxe instead of M4A785td-V EVO.
3.) The hard drive is 1.5TB 32MB Cache 7200RPM (the cheapest one that had 32 MB cache), instead of the WD Caviar Black 640GB.
4.) I still have 4gigs of memory just not the mushkin hp

The price comes to $1119 and does not include monitor. Here is my thinking if I was to build it myself and get the parts from newegg total $854.93 (Parts listed above).
Then I would have to buy an os which I need to be XP professional they run $169.99 on ebay
Then I need a case (about $50)
Fan ($46.98)
Case fan (2 of them $10 ea.)
Then some thermal compound
I think I have captured everything I would need. The total for all that is $1160.85 (this does include monitor).

So what do you guys think? Is the mobo worth the change? Is it worth to get a lower quality hard drive and memory sticks?
August 25, 2009 5:22:28 PM

Nothing is worth buying a build already made, it's always overcharged.

Go to youtube on a laptop or at your friends and build it step by step as you watch the people on youtube.
August 25, 2009 5:24:36 PM

you have a particular video you find more reliable then the other? What about OS would I need to buy it?
August 25, 2009 5:28:38 PM

Having what you already have will work you just wont see all your ram on your computer with 32-bit.

Theres many of videos on youtube that will give you reliable information on how to build your computer step by step.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2009 5:31:59 PM

Build it yourself, you can get XP pro for 140 from newegg, dont buy an OS from ebay when you can get it from newegg for less.

However since you list the build date as 9/28 i would suggest getting vista business, using that for a couple weeks, then upgrading to windows 7 pro with the xp mode, you will then be able to run autocad on XP while having a nice fast and stable modern OS. Is it that autocad 04 doesnt officially support vista or is it that it doesnt work at all on vista?
August 25, 2009 5:45:20 PM

I would definitely rather buy from newegg, I was unaware they sold os’s. I guess I should search the site itself and not just google.

I don’t really know why. My brother-in-law just bought a new computer from dell, and it has windows vista. He has AutoCAD 97 installed on his old system. So I was going to upgrade him with my 04 version. I went to install is, and towards the end of the install a message popped up. I don’t remember word for word, but it said it was not compatible. Then a good friend of mine, who runs his own consultant firm, bought a new laptop and it had vista, and he had to upgrade to AutoCAD 09. So I don’t know what the problem is, but if what you say is true then that is really something to think about.

Is vista business the only one that can be upgraded to windows 7? And will windows 7 replace vista or is it a “patch?” I guess I need to read up on windows 7.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2009 5:48:28 PM

All versions of vista bought now give you the upgrade option but you upgrade to an equivalent version of windows 7, vista business will upgrade to windows 7 professional which has the XP license included, you have to buy a separate one for windows 7 home. When you upgrade it just overwrites the OS portion but allows you to keep all of your data which you would lose if you had to do a clean install.
August 25, 2009 5:50:50 PM

fullmetall said:
Having what you already have will work you just wont see all your ram on your computer with 32-bit.

Theres many of videos on youtube that will give you reliable information on how to build your computer step by step.

You mean reusing my hard drive with the os that is already installed on it? If that is the case then I can do that and when windows 7 comes out, and it is compatible with older versions of AutoCAD, then I would buy the new hard drive and upgrade my os.

Yeah I know I have seen a couple, I just didn’t know if there was one that was made by some one from Tom’s.
August 25, 2009 5:52:57 PM

hunter315 said:
All versions of vista bought now give you the upgrade option but you upgrade to an equivalent version of windows 7, vista business will upgrade to windows 7 professional which has the XP license included, you have to buy a separate one for windows 7 home. When you upgrade it just overwrites the OS portion but allows you to keep all of your data which you would lose if you had to do a clean install.

Makes sense, thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2009 5:55:02 PM

most vistas can be upgraded to win 7
newegg has some great combo's with os