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$400 Upgrade Budget - Work with it! :D

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September 27, 2009 11:48:51 PM

Hello :D  I've got a $400 budget to upgrade my computer with, and I'm asking you to help me decide how to spend it :) 

I built my computer as a budget build some time ago to better serve my needs. It was 10,000x faster than my previous computer (a 1999 Dell Hand-me down from my dad). That Dell was ok for anyone else in my family, but not for me lol. I'm a college student, and I mainly use my computer for multimedia/editing/gaming purposes. I have the entire CS4 Master Collection installed, but I primarily use only Premiere Pro, Photoshop CS4, and Lightroom. I'm a photographer/videographer. Of course I also game, my games list thus far reads as follows (games I play regularly): COD4, Burnout Paradise, CSS, Empire: Total War, L4D, TF2, and Unreal Tournament 3. I play all of these games @ 1920x1200 resolution. My graphics card is a wee bit stressed by that once in a while, but most of the time it runs like a champ (the 3870 used to be top of the line, least it was when I bought it :D ).

Additions:I added a few things gradually. The 26" monitor is a recent addition (started with the 19" only). Before that, I added the G15 keyboard and the G5 mouse. And I don't remember when, but somewhere in there I had to add more storage space. I started with the Seagate Barracuda, then bought the Velociraptor and made that my boot disk, then bought the Formula f1 terabyte when I ran out of room for my photos/videos. Everything else was there from the beginning.


Next section: Needs. Yes, it's true. My poor computer is still lacking in certain areas. As I've gotten more and more into my photography, and videography, I've been noting the extreme sloth of the dual-core processor I happen to be sporting. Simple Photo editing is OK, but more advanced steps take much longer, and when I need to perform these steps on multiple images it gets very frusturating.
Video editing is pretty fast (the editing part), but the rendering really kills me.
Gaming is pretty good, I'm able to play all my games at 1920x1200, but there are hiccups once in a while. One thing I keep noticing is that when playing games like L4D and Unreal Tournament, my processor is constantly at 100% load. I feel like in order to fully utilize my GPU's speed, I need to upgrade that processor.


Now, Your Recommendations?? What should I do with $400, now that I've meticulously explained my situation? I'm pretty sure I want a new processor, but not so sure as to which one. I'm also wondering what you guys think about my ram. Upgrade it, or leave it? Keep in mind that $400 is rough - ie. if you tell me that something that costs $550 is REALLY worth it, I'll spring for that instead. Also, remember that next month I'll have another $400 to spend (I love having a well paying job), if you'd like to help me plan for the future, that'd be great. Thanks for your help!

OS:
Running Windows XP
Monitors:
Asus 25.5" 1920x1200
Dell 19" 1680x1050
Keyboard:
Logitech G15
Mouse:
Logitech G5
Mobo:
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L Rev. 2.0 LGA775 Motherboard
Processor:
Intel Core2Duo E2180 Processor
Hard Drives:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200rpm Hard Drive
Velociraptor WD3000GLFS 300GB Hard Drive
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM
Cooler:
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 120mm CPU Cooler
Ram:
G.Skill 2x2gb (total 4gb) DDR2 800 Ram
GPU:
Visionek Radeon HD 3870 512MB
Burner:
Lite-On 20x DVD Burner Sata
PSU:
Antec Earthwatts EA430W
Case:
Antec 900

More about : 400 upgrade budget work

September 28, 2009 12:00:32 AM

Maybe this combo would suit you well. You really need a newer graphics card, but for what you're doing I think the CPU is more important. You can get an HD 5850 next month ;) 

The i5 is akin to an i7, but with hyperthreading disabled, giving you 4 cores, great overclockability, but not another 4 threads. Regardless, it'll outclass most anything in that price range, especially since you're doing incredibly CPU intensive work. DDR3 RAM should help as well, and the new motherboard just because Intel likes to change their sockets, but it will also allow you a viable upgrade path if you need later.

I'd recommend also shifting your work over to Windows 7 x64, and getting another 2-4GB of RAM when it allows. That will help immensely.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2009 12:02:40 AM

1. Get a Quad or OC the current CPU and see.

2. Get a x64 OS + 8GB RAM.

3. Good board :D .

4. You should be able to get a i5 + motherboard + RAM for $400. Also consider a X4 + AM3 board.

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a b B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2009 12:05:36 AM

brockh said:
Maybe this combo would suit you well. You really need a newer graphics card, but for what you're doing I think the CPU is more important. You can get an HD 5850 next month ;) 

The i5 is akin to an i7, but with hyperthreading disabled, giving you 4 cores, great overclockability, but not another 4 threads. Regardless, it'll outclass most anything in that price range, especially since you're doing incredibly CPU intensive work. DDR3 RAM should help as well, and the new motherboard just because Intel likes to change their sockets.

You beat me to it. +1 for the combo.
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September 28, 2009 12:18:30 AM

Brock and Shadow - you both suggest i5 boards, interesting. Ok, I was about to ask whether an i5 board would be compatible with an i7 processor, and I did some research: its not.

It seems like if I'm going to upgrade my motherboard, I'd want it to be an i7 board. Is this true, or are the lga 1156 boards actually becoming pretty popular? I've always thought the i7 boards had the most upgrade potential.

Would it be a better move to stick with lga775 and get a processor like This (the q9550)????

Thanks shadow, I really enjoy this mobo :D  too bad its discontinued now-adays, I think it is (was?) the perfect budget build mobo. Only problem I have with it is with the 4 Sata ports - They're all full, I've got no more room for hard drive expansion. Edit: lol shadow, just saw your siggy, it seems you too were once the proud owner of a ds3l :D 

You mentioned a 64bit os. I plan to have Windows 7 64bit on my system as soon as it comes out, so yes, more ram would be sweet!
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September 28, 2009 12:33:47 AM

ajsellaroli said:
Brock and Shadow - you both suggest i5 boards, interesting. Ok, I was about to ask whether an i5 board would be compatible with an i7 processor, and I did some research: its not.

It seems like if I'm going to upgrade my motherboard, I'd want it to be an i7 board. Is this true, or are the lga 1156 boards actually becoming pretty popular? I've always thought the i7 boards had the most upgrade potential.

Would it be a better move to stick with lga775 and get a processor like THIS (the Q9595)?

Thanks shadow, I really enjoy this mobo :D  too bad its discontinued now-adays, I think it is (was?) the perfect budget build mobo. Only problem I have with it is with the 4 Sata ports - They're all full, I've got no more room for hard drive expansion. Edit: lol shadow, just saw your siggy, it seems you too were once the proud owner of a ds3l :D 

You mentioned a 64bit os. I plan to have Windows 7 64bit on my system as soon as it comes out, so yes, more ram would be sweet!


Well, the reason I suggested that is it is in your budget range. An i7 upgrade is not however, unless you want to save up and spend the $800 next month. It'll offer better performance, but it's all up to you. You could also spend that money upgrading other parts. It's really your choice.
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September 28, 2009 4:17:59 AM

OOh.....so it would take $800 to make the move to i7? Hmmmmm Now I'm not so sure what to do.

Comparably, what would the differences be between the i5 combo you showed me and the q9550? Would the i5 combo be much faster? What if I bought some new ram to go along with the q9550, then would it be just as fast as the Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz?

Hmm, I'm not sure what the limitations of my Mobo are ram-wise - can the DS3L even handle DDR3 2000 (PC31600)??
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2009 3:16:55 PM

Quote:
Hmm, I'm not sure what the limitations of my Mobo are ram-wise - can the DS3L even handle DDR3 2000 (PC31600)??

No. It's just DDR2. As for the i7s, the LGA1156 has both i7s and i5s but will NOT have i9s.

@OP: Is the 2180 OCed? If not read my guide on how to OC it.
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September 28, 2009 4:36:56 PM

ajsellaroli said:
OOh.....so it would take $800 to make the move to i7? Hmmmmm Now I'm not so sure what to do.

Comparably, what would the differences be between the i5 combo you showed me and the q9550? Would the i5 combo be much faster? What if I bought some new ram to go along with the q9550, then would it be just as fast as the Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz?

Hmm, I'm not sure what the limitations of my Mobo are ram-wise - can the DS3L even handle DDR3 2000 (PC31600)??


Well first off, if you're worried about new upgrade options, the socket for the Q9550 will offer absolutely none, and you'll have to shell out more money eventually. The i5 combo will be much faster, yes; it is a new generation processor that costs less than some of the old generation processors, but the funny thing is it brings tons more performance. Remember: Price is never an indication of true value. Sometimes, it just happens to coorelate. As far as adding better memory goes, it's really negligible, and your motherboard doesn't support DDR3, much less triple channel DDR3.

As far as the i7 goes, it will end up costing you maybe $200-300 or more depending on how you want to do it. If you want to do it right you're gonna need to shell out the money for triple channel DDR3 in 3x 2GB sticks and then a comparable motherboard for the i7, though I'm not sure on the relation to price with those.
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September 29, 2009 1:32:18 AM

Well, what about the AMD route? I've heard great things about the AMD Phenom II X4 955, what do you think about that? I mean, if I'm going to buy a new mobo, I might as well consider AMD. For $190 and free shipping right now on newegg, that seems like an awesome deal. How does it compare to the i7/i5?


And I see what you mean about the whole i7 thing, and I don't really think that'd be worth it for me. I'd probably keep whatever processor I get right now for another year or so, and things in the i7 world will be completely different by then anyway. It seems rather pointless to spend a lot of money on an i7 right now, when i5's are fairly comparable, and they can do what I want them to do.

I also agree with what you're sayin about the q9950 being a dead end...its true. Could you explain the whole PCIex8 thing to me though? Does this mean that if I get an LGA 1156 board, I should never crossfire?? I was never planning on crossfiring anyway, as I'm not THAT heavy a gamer (especially around schooltime), and none of my games seem to need super high end graphics power to run @ 1900x1200. But what if you only have one graphics card on an LGA 1156? Will that one card run at PCIex16? I don't understand how it works...


Oh, and I am willing to Overclock it, so keep that in mind. (and yes shadow, I overclocked my e2180 to 3.0ghz, but switched it back when it became a bit unstable. I didn't have time to mess with it, as school was in full swing again).
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September 29, 2009 5:52:43 PM

bumpercarss
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September 29, 2009 6:06:28 PM

ajsellaroli said:
Well, what about the AMD route? I've heard great things about the AMD Phenom II X4 955, what do you think about that? I mean, if I'm going to buy a new mobo, I might as well consider AMD. For $190 and free shipping right now on newegg, that seems like an awesome deal. How does it compare to the i7/i5?


And I see what you mean about the whole i7 thing, and I don't really think that'd be worth it for me. I'd probably keep whatever processor I get right now for another year or so, and things in the i7 world will be completely different by then anyway. It seems rather pointless to spend a lot of money on an i7 right now, when i5's are fairly comparable, and they can do what I want them to do.

I also agree with what you're sayin about the q9950 being a dead end...its true. Could you explain the whole PCIex8 thing to me though? Does this mean that if I get an LGA 1156 board, I should never crossfire?? I was never planning on crossfiring anyway, as I'm not THAT heavy a gamer (especially around schooltime), and none of my games seem to need super high end graphics power to run @ 1900x1200. But what if you only have one graphics card on an LGA 1156? Will that one card run at PCIex16? I don't understand how it works...


Oh, and I am willing to Overclock it, so keep that in mind. (and yes shadow, I overclocked my e2180 to 3.0ghz, but switched it back when it became a bit unstable. I didn't have time to mess with it, as school was in full swing again).


There's nothing wrong with the AMD CPUs, and the Phenom II X4 955 is great. However, for $10 more the i5 will probably offer better performance. The 965 may offer on-par performance. Unforunately, Tom's hasn't updated their CPU charts with Core i5 offerings as of yet, only i7, so I can't say for sure. Your best bet would be to go search for "Core i5 vs. Phenom II X4 955" or whichever AMD processor you'd like to go with, keeping prices in mind.

The PCIex8 "thing" you're talking about, I believe, is that when using SLi or CrossFire one slot (or both) don't use the full PCIex16 bandwidth, limiting instead to PCIex8. I believe Tom's did some digging into this a while back and decided it really wasn't that big of a deal, but to be honest I'd recommend sticking with a single card solution regardless for both ease of use, power consumption, and cooling reasons. One graphics card should always be running at PCIex16, that issue was very specifically just for SLi or CrossFire.
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September 29, 2009 8:02:30 PM

brockh said:
The PCIex8 "thing" you're talking about, I believe, is that when using SLi or CrossFire one slot (or both) don't use the full PCIex16 bandwidth, limiting instead to PCIex8. I believe Tom's did some digging into this a while back and decided it really wasn't that big of a deal


If you could show some proof here that would be amazing. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, I'm just trying to figure out as much about the x8/x16 thing as I can. Thanks.
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September 29, 2009 9:37:29 PM

mavanhel said:
If you could show some proof here that would be amazing. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, I'm just trying to figure out as much about the x8/x16 thing as I can. Thanks.


Unfortunately I don't have the time to be digging through a bunch of articles, but I found this rather quickly.
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September 29, 2009 11:59:20 PM

brockh said:
Unfortunately I don't have the time to be digging through a bunch of articles, but I found this rather quickly.


Thanks a lot, that's really helpful.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 30, 2009 12:04:50 AM

1. PCIe x8 is more than enough for CrossFire/SLI on midrange cards like 9800GT,etc.

2. PCIe x16 is needed for QuadFire or SLI of high end cards (GTX280,etc).
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 30, 2009 3:11:05 AM

Why not find yourself a combo with say an AMD 720 x3 black edition, a decent motherboard and ddr3. Use the remaining balance to upgrade the video card. Or if you wanted, check out the quad core Athlon 2 line. A little cheaper but probably enough power.

How about something like this for 178?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Be sure to check memory compatibility with the mobo, but this stuff at 73ish.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So far only about 250 bucks.

Then maybe this video card considering you like some games and the 26 incher.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All in all, this should put you right under 400 bucks, and while the i5 may be somewhat faster, the nice thing here is you aren't blowing all your cash on just cpu, board, and memory, you are actually fitting a nice video card there as well. I think your system would be a lot more balanced as well. Also, the 720 being a black edition should overclock well too.
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October 1, 2009 6:16:53 PM

Hmm... good advice here. So the i5's actually offer better performance than the AMD's regardless of the AMD's higher clock speed?

Yes, I would like to get a better graphics card, but I'm not sure how I should go about it. I do have this one idea though: why don't I just buy another Radeon 3870 and crossfire it with my current 3870? Would that offer faster speeds than a single 4870 would give me? Sadly, it seems that a radeon 3870 costs the exact same as a 4870 does (the 3870 used to be about $70 on newegg before they discontinued it, now it's $130 on amazon), so I'm not so sure this would be a good idea after all.

If I buy a new graphics card, what do I do with my old one? Either way, I want to concentrate on upping my processor and ram speed for this "upgrade." I think I can be content with my 3870 for another month.

I think I'm going to go with i5, sadly the combo deal you linked to is dead, but I found THIS ONE that I think is the exact same thing.

Just a thought, say I did have about $550 to spend (I do, I just won't eat out this month haha), would THIS DEAL be a better option for me? An i7 860 + mobo + ddr3? Let me know if you think that upgrade will be worth the money. Whatever processor I buy right now will seriously have to last me at least 1-2 years.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 7:27:05 PM

Here's the thing. i5 will be faster than the 720. No question. But look what you spend. If you really want more power, but stay on a budget, here's a last amd option.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

283 gets you the 955 BE quad core, and 790 gx motherboard.

Same memory as above. Puts you to 356 so far.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Add back the 4870 and you are at 500 even. Less than the i5 still. Keep in mind still a black edition on the amd chip which is good for overclocking. As far as 4870 vs 3870, sometimes with crossfire and sli you don't get 2x the performance of 1 card, it might be more like 1.5x the performance of the single card. Then do all the games support sli or crossfire? So it's up to you. But basically hands down, i7 and i5 are faster in raw speed than current AMD offerings no question. But for gaming, Phenom 2's hold their own. And depending what you want to spend, you can get a lot better card.

Admittedly I'm an AMD fan, I could just never bring myself to pay intel prices, lol. That said, if you can afford i5 or i7, go for it b/c certainly it will be fast and make you happy. Myself, I'm willing to deal with something that might be a hair slower, but spend less and get a more balanced system. But the i7 you picked out should be ok. Have some of the other guys look at it as well who are better versed in intel equipment:) .




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a b B Homebuilt system
October 1, 2009 10:20:49 PM

I think you need to settle on a goal for this sytem first. The main question I would pose to you is "How long do you want this UPGRADE to last?" From your last comment, a Q9550 would last you 2 years. You would have to do a full core upgrade then vs now, but it is a less expensive route now. It will be heads above your E2180 but not quite as good as the i5/7 route. The i5 750 is 10%-30% faster depending on which app bench you look at: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=109&p2=50

For the apps you use, I'd suggest pushing for the i7 860 since it has HT. The extra now will last you longer with better performance. But that would be a 2 month savings process.

The other elephant in the room is your 430w Earthwatts PSU. You can get a 4850 running on that, but the 4870 might be a stretch since youre running 3 HDDs and you GPU will be eating a fair amount of juice regularly on dual displays. I doubt a second 3870 off of ebay would run on that PSU. So you already have $100 for Win7 to account for and about the same for 650w PSU if you're doing a GPU upgrade. So the GPU upgrade is its own months worth of funds when you pull that trigger.

Going to the i5 platform, you're looking at $434 for mobo/CPU/Ram. Going with the Q9550, its $220. Is the 45% cost increase worth a 10-30% performance boost? Leaves room to add Win 7 and another 4gigs of ram now.

Food for thought, the Q9550 will get you 2 years. If you're goal is only 2 years and less expensive now, its is a viable option. Then you'll be upgrading to the latest and greatest chips out in 2 years, which would be a 6 or 8 core CPU. If you want to spend $435, you can get a little more performance and longevity, but is it worth it.
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October 1, 2009 11:45:34 PM

You're very right skora. I'll explain exactly what I believe is the most important thing to me right now.

I really don't want to upgrade my Radeon 3870 - I am, as of right now, able to play L4D, Tf2, and COD4 at 1900x1200 resolution. I'm what you would call a casual gamer. I don't belong to any clans or anything, I just go on there from time to time to have fun. I do play some other games, like bioshock, or fallout 3, and in the future I'm ok with going with lessened graphics settings if I have to.

So what I really need to upgrade right now is my processor.

I actually don't have to buy Windows 7, I already have it (bought a $30 student discounted version).

What I need to know now is this: If I get THIS COMBO, and keep the 3870, will my PSU be able to handle it? If so, then I think I've made my decision. If I need to upgrade my PSU as well, then that'll bump the price out of my range for now, and I'll probably go with the 9550 as an interim step. As it is, $550 for that combo is a teeny bit much, but I'm thinking it would be worth it, as I doubt I'll feel the need to upgrade that processor and ram combo for at least 2-3 years.

Thoughts?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2009 12:21:41 AM

You PSU can handle all your gear, an OC CPU at 1.4v, and the 3870. I used this PSU Calc and it came back to 323. http://www.antec.outervision.com/PSUEngine

As for the combo to choose, a few things to think about, first, the mobo you have is really only good for a single GPU. The second slot working at x4 doesn't offer the bandwidth you need for any SLI/CF setup. So you can look for one with a lower cost to save some money. Also, the ram you have is DDR3 2000. You can save some more by just getting 1600 or even 1333. Based on this article, once you hit 1333, its more about timings than it is extra speed. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/memory-scaling-i7,2...

This i7 860 combo still uses an Asus board, Gskill Ram, but less expensive flavors of both that really shouldn't noticably effect performance at all.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And really, even though this is a micro board, still should serve you well:
Gigabyte P55M-UD2 and Gskill 1600 ram $185 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
i7 860 $290
Total $475
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October 5, 2009 5:42:56 AM

Thanks alot for that article link, skora. I didn't realize that about Ram.

The combo I referenced has 9-9-9-27 timings, and yours has 7-7-7-24

Thanks! I think I"m going to go with your combo. I definitely don't want to upgrade my Video card just yet. Processor is much more important to me right now.
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October 5, 2009 7:42:01 AM

Yep, definitely go with Cpu at this time.
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October 5, 2009 9:31:44 PM

Ok, so i'm going with CPU for sure. Which one though? I'm almost tempted to buy a Core i7 920. I really want to lol. Here's the thing with me: I have $1700 to spend right now, but I was trying to save some for other things. That's why I limited myself to only spending $400 on my computer. But I really want a solution that would be awesome and hold me over for quite some time.

Then again, I've also heard that people don't think the jump from i5 to i7 is worth the price. So please give me your advice. Is it worth it for me to get the i5 860 or the i7 920?

I did some pricing on the i7 920, and I think I'd have to spend about $100-200 more.

See, I could get the Asus P6T SE for $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then I could get the Core i7 920 for $280
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then I could get 3sticksX2gb of this OCZ ram for $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a total of $580

What do you think? Worth it/not worth it? I can do without eating out for a bit, as long as the value is there.
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October 6, 2009 10:45:50 PM

:( 

bump?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 7, 2009 12:10:55 AM

I suggest you wait if possible (for Columbus Day sales,etc). If not, pull the trigger. The RAM,CPU,Motherboard you selected are good. Also, do you plan to upgrade to i9s down the road? If not why not consider LGA1156?

Also, you won't happen to live close to a Microcenter would you? They have the i7 920 for $200.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 7, 2009 2:00:04 AM

There are only two reason to get a 1366 platform over the 1156. One would be higher end graphics solutions. If your happy running on a 3870, I don't think you'll be in the market for a dual GPU solution when you do upgrade. The second is FUTURE upgradability. I'm not familar enough with sandy bridge to know what platform its planned to be released on, but I think the 1366 will be where the 6 and 8 core CPUs will be released. Are you going to need that kind of horse power and how long before your new CPU will become too weak to keep using? All speculation questions that probably won't matter by the time you do upgrade. The next gen platform might be out and you'd be having the same debate as you where earlier similar to C2Q or i5/7, execpt it will be 1366 upgrade or X68 system.

The only other difference between the two platforms are triple channel ram has a minor performance edge over dual channel, but modern computer systems aren't held up by the ram subsytem. To me, the ram doesn't factor into this decision.

Which CPU comes down to how much production editing you actually do. If its some, but not a lot or heavy editing, the i5s will do. If you do a lot of it and some heavy editing, then the i7s have a notable performance advantage.

The CPUs for the i7 will cost the same either way. The mobo is where the difference is price wise. If you're cost conscienous, I'd hit the i7 860 if you can justify the needs for editing and that's what my suggestion would be. Otherwise, the i5 should be good for you.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 7, 2009 3:19:17 PM

Quote:
the 1366 will be where the 6 and 8 core CPUs will be released.

Correct.
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October 8, 2009 1:32:36 AM

Dude, you guys are awesome.

Thanks for the advice. No, I don't feel the need for a 6-8 core processor at all, I'm fairly certain my needs will be met for a long while by the i7 860, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with that. The reason I say I don't think I'll need a 6-8 core proc is that my e2180 ALMOST meets my needs. I mean my computer almost does what I want it to do, its just a little slow. From everything I've heard, the i7 860 will completely blow my dual core e2180 out of the water, which, I think, will be more than enough speed for me for now.

Excellent point on the motherboard thing. I would definitely like to save money in that regard. I won't have money to upgrade to a 6-8 core proc for a while anyway (plus I don't think I'll need to), but by the time I do, i7 motherboard prices will either be really low, or something completely different will have happened that totally changed the whole market.

One quick question on motherboards: Why does the 1156 only support 1 graphics card at full speed, while LGA 775's supported two? You guys are right, though - I definitely won't need a dual graphics card solution. If anything, I'll upgrade to a 4870x2 or something later. For now I"m definitely happy with my 3870.

So, Final Decision: i7 860. Which Motherboard, though? Would THIS combo still serve my purposes well?

Thanks so much guys
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 8, 2009 9:26:48 AM

That combo will work nicely for you. When you use this compared to the e2180, you'll have 3 extra hours a day and not know what to do with yourself except build a shrine around your computer.

As for your mobo question, the latest socket options depart from the way socket 775 worked, but 775 wasn't 2x full speed pciex16 lines, that was completely dependant on the chipset used on the mobo. It is the x38 and x48 chipset that offers 2xpciex16 slots vs the P45 only offering 1xpciex16 or splitting that data bandwidth across 2xpciex8 lines. All the mobos are physcially cabable of providing the data bandwidth, but its limited by the chipset on that mobo. The new line of intel mobos though are set up with specific chipsets with the socket. But you still see a little of whats happening on the older line as the mobo you picked is x16/x4 for the two pcie slots, but spending more money gets you a mobo that will do x8/x8. Only difference is the chipset options used.
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October 10, 2009 4:13:38 AM

Wait a second. I'm heading down to Orange County (california) tomorrow. There is a Microcenter in OC! Just checked the Microcenter Website: http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0302727 and they have 73 i7 920's in stock right now @ the Orange County location for $199. They also have a bunch of i7 860's for $229.

Would this change anything in your minds??? Should I just grab a 920 instead??

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October 10, 2009 5:33:09 AM

Ok, so I've been doin some scheming, and I think I've come up with another plan. Let me know what you think:

$200 Core i7 920 from microcenter LINK HERE
$160 ASRock X58 Extreme LINK HERE
$120 Patriot Viper PVT36G1600LLK 6gb ram LINK HERE

Total of a little above $480. I can definitely do that. Is it a better value than the combo I highlighted HERE?

Thoughts???

Thanks guys :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 10, 2009 4:17:53 PM

If you're going to spend the $480, the 1366 leaves more options open than the 1156. Performance wise, doubt you'll see too much of a difference. But going to MC to get just the i7 860 and then this mobo/ram combo will bring the price down to $445. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also, don't forget an adapter bracket for the Xigmatech HSF.
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October 10, 2009 7:58:00 PM

The i5 combo has dropped down in price to $409 with free shipping if you choose 3 day ups delivery. Here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Heck of a deal imo. Then I'd look to sell off the 3870 and upgrade the GPU with the savings.

I've got an i7 myself but I put this system together about a month ago, slowly getting all the parts one by one.
IF I had seen a combo like this I would probably have gone with i5 instead.
i7 is almost overkill for most things. i5 is supposed to be nearly as fast.
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October 11, 2009 1:59:00 AM

Woohoo! I just went ahead and got it :p 





And as you can see skora, I did see your post, thanks for the tip. Grabbed a bracket for my xigmatek.


I just figured that I'd buy it, and then even if I decided to go with an i7 860 later I could just sell it again really easily. I think I'm just going to keep it though.

So this means that all I need is a LGA 1366 motherboard and 3x2gb of ram. What are my options? Did I pick out the proper ones, or are there better? (talking about the patriot and asrock I linked to in my last post)

O and vjc, the i5 combo didn't actually drop, the one I was looking at for $490 was an i7 860 w/ 1156 mobo and ram. The link you just gave is an i5 750

PS: the i5 750 isn't for me, I bought it for another reason
Oh ya, and one other thing: I do want to OC the i7 920, so if you guys have any threads with info on that I'd appreciate it
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October 11, 2009 2:53:37 AM

ahaha I was actually going to sell it on ebay :p  but since you have been kind enough to help me so much.....uhhh...............nothing. what? I didn't say anything. it was nothing. no thoughts. hahaha :D 
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October 11, 2009 9:54:33 AM

haha I like to "clear" everything with you guys before I do it,

What do you think of the Asus p6t motherboard? its got a pretty nice price tag right now on newegg, $190, looks like a great overclocking board, and supports crossfire (I'm sticking with ati anyway, I don't need sli).

opinion?
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October 11, 2009 8:23:18 PM

bumpin on a sunday afternoon!

Guys I'm so close, all I need now is a mobo and ram!

Remember, I want to overclock the i7, what mobo should I get? I'm looking at the Asrock x58 extreme, the foxconn bloodrage, the p6t se, and anything else you want to make a case for.
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October 11, 2009 10:43:18 PM

Ya I have read that! I'm not sure whether I should spring for a p6t deluxe v2 or stay with the asrock x58 extreme.

From the reviews I've read, the p6t seems to be anything but stable, while the asrock is rock solid. The asrock is only marginally less competent than the p6t deluxe v2, I believe, and I can still get a 3.6 ghz oc out of it, so I think I'm just gonna go with that.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 11, 2009 11:32:52 PM

The Asrock sounds like a winner to me. You won't have an issue getting the 3.6ghz you're looking for if the chip will allow it. What stepping of the chip did you get?

eVGA is a great board, but does that bios allow for CF? You'd have to do some homework on that.
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October 11, 2009 11:36:30 PM

I got Do Stepping! I checked it about 20 minutes ago :D 
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!