Phenom X3 720 BE
sapphire radeon hd 4870 vapor-x (1gb)
2gb kingston DDR3 1333
ocz stealthxstrem 500w
now of course the first system is better but it's also more expensive, so should i go with the i7 and an average video card and maybe a year later or something i can get something better, or will the x3 be good enough. I want this system to last a few years and be capable of upgrading it and not buy a whole new system. It'll be used mainly for gaming, 3ds max and photoshop.
I think you'll get better gaming on the second system since the 4870 is a much better card. the X3 720 isn't much of a slouch either if you get a good overclock on it. The i7 920 is a much better processor, but the cutbacks you're making on the other components are holding it back. Both would benefit from upgrades as they become affordable to you, but the i7 system would eat up a lot more of your cash.
You get more GAMING benefit from a better GPU than CPU. The i7 is great CPU, but if you are going to pair it with a 4670 it isn't going to impress you from a gaming perspective. The AMD chip with the 4870 is a much better buy as far as gaming. You may even consider waiting a day or so for the 5850's to pop up on neweg, or where you are buying from. The 5850/5870 cards are just AWESOME. The 5850 is coming out at $260, but performs slightly under what (2) 4890's in crossfire do. It is worth looking into. Pair that with the Phenom build above and you'd have a sweet machine. If you do end up with the 4870, the vapor-x is kinda a lame cooling setup, just get one of the sapphire standard coolers.
Also, I would bump up to 4GB of RAM, the difference between 2gb and 4gb is usually only a few bucks. Plus photoshop LOVES RAM.
May as well get the best bang for your buck dude. The 4xxx's are going to start fizzling out as the 5xxx series cards start to roll out. The extra $100 for the 5850 is WELL worth it.
thanks guys for your help, guess i'll settle for the x3 then but just to get it out of my head , if i got the i7 with the 4870 (unlikely as i can't afford it right now) would it be worth it? would i get good value for my money?
sry, but just one more thing, i chose the gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P because it supports ddr3, but there are cheaper boards like the MA-790X-UD4P or even the MAA770-UD3 which supports ddr2, so which is better now and for the next couple of years?
I have an i7 with a 4870. It's works like a dream. But I really only use it for general use and my gaming. At the time the new AMD's were not out and the i7 920 was a hot overclocker. I didn't want to buy into the LGA775 chips like the quad core2's. If the Phenom's were out I would probably have gotten an AM3 board a 955 BE and a better video card. On the Phenom's I don't think the difference between DDR2 and DDR3 performance is drastic, but for the little extra cost it's not a bad idea to buy into the faster RAM. If you are trying to cut cost, I'd bring down to the DDR2 board and DDR2 memory before cutting other corners though.
If you are cutting costs, I would kill the vapor-x idea. It's not like they are clocked any faster, they just have more expensive cooling. Just get the plain Jane 4870.
so what do you recommend and also would on stick 2GB be enough for now and then i can upgrade later or what?
If you don't plan to OC then don't worry about it. But if you do, you will want a better performing set of memory. Something from G.Skill, Patriot, OCZ, etc. And YES, but a pair of memory sticks. You will loose the DDR part of the performance. DDR = Dual Data Rate, both sticks run in parallel. If you have just one you loose that. Come on man don't get THAT cheap. You still have to be practical.