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AMD/ATI or Intel/Nvidia "Bang 4 Ur Buck Gaming" (Overclock Friendly)

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Which of these system should I pick; Amd / Ati or Intel / Nvidia?

Total: 21 votes (3 blank votes)

  • AMD / ATI
  • 84 %
  • Intel / Nvidia
  • 17 %
October 1, 2009 10:38:44 PM

Hello all,

so I'm almost ready to purchase one of these systems (next 2 weeks), and am just trying to decide between the 2 approaches below. I have no components currently (running a slowly dying laptop), but plenty of experience in system building, configuration and some recent (successful and addictive) experience in overclocking. Unfortunately I'm a poor student, and as such, budgeting is vastly more important than anything else. Ability to upgrade (eventually), ability to overclock, "future-proofing" (mostly for games, an oxymoron in computer tech) and long term stability are my focus, as I will not be able to upgrade any parts for a considerable time, and when I can, will be very limited by finances. The only upgrade in the near future I am certain of is a 2nd WD Black 750GB HDD, and hopefully a 1TB storage drive, so RAID and SATA connection ability is a must.

My budget is approximately $800 for the entire system (monitor, case, peripherals, shipping, everything)

Usage: Gaming (!!!), digital imaging (CS4), music creation (with a possible sound card upgrade eventually, I have guitar input devices to record for now), entertainment, study, research etc etc ....

My chosen monitor below runs at 1680x1050, which is the minimum I wish to use (I really want the desktop space of a ~22" screen). I intend to overclock either system's CPU to speeds approaching 4Ghz with slightly less than max FSB speeds (seems possible given their respective multipliers and overclocking ability), so the RAM and M/B need to be able to handle the increases. Explanations of your choices are highly encouraged, thanks in advance for all you input!


Without further delay, the systems:

Intel / Nvidia System. Price (including shared components and shipping): $817.74
Total mail-in rebates = $30

Intel Pentium E6300 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MASSCOOL 8WA741 92mm Ball CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv3 GeForce GTX 260 896MB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



AMD / ATI System. Price (including shared components and shipping): $810.45
Total mail-in rebates = $10

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-485X-ZDFC Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Core Components (Shared in either system)

COOLER MASTER Elite 460 RS-460-PSAR-J3 460W ATX12V V2.31 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT M59 - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

IPCQUEEN IPC-12025 120mm Case Fan X3 (fills all spaces for case fans in the NZXT)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON SK-1688A/B Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft N71-00007S Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Wheel Mouse
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hanns•G HH-221HPB Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 15000:1(1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b K Overclocking
October 1, 2009 10:57:09 PM

This is redundant to say, but I couldn't imagine investing in a 775 system for gaming at this day and age. Look to an i5 system setup. The ram / mobo / cpu combo will cost you a little more, but you will get alot more power from it.

Save the extra hundred dollars and drop the money on the i5 system that when overclocked will put to shame even the i7 systems that cost more (with a single graphics card).

Either that or go with a triple core Phenom system. If you need advice for builds review the forums.

I always go with a Gigabyte mobo, corsair PSU, and some decent ram.

and just to let you know that GTX 260 will suit you nicely on a 1680x1050 although many will say AMD is a better way to go.

Hope the best for you.
October 1, 2009 11:07:26 PM

Thanks for the reply, but my budget is absolute when it comes to this. To save an extra $100 dollars would require me saving $20 a week or two for the next couple of months (and we're heading to the holiday season). I live so close to my income total that I simply cannot afford to break this mark. The 775 route is very unfortunate, and I would LOVE to go I5, I tried countless build configurations, but nothing worked for me.

I'm leaning towards the AMD system because there is the chance of a core-unlock on the PII 550 BE and the respective motherboard.

Plus being crossfire ready, an eventual new PSU and a 4850x2 2GB upgrade would be beastly (if it fit lol).

I like that the GTX 260 included overclocks to near 275 performance (in some cases higher), and I could upgrade to a core2quad, overclock again and still gain significant performance benefits down the road.
Related resources
October 1, 2009 11:24:18 PM

I just built a box using the same AMD CPU & ASUS MB although I'm not currently using it for gaming. I like the system a lot but I wouldn't count on enabeling the extra cores. It didn't work for me. FYI, AMD is still using the same antiquated method of attaching a HSF. I was hoping that Intel's had inspired them to find a better way. My only other comment is that I think your PSU is a little on the weak side.
a b K Overclocking
October 1, 2009 11:27:24 PM

You can put an nvidia GPU with an AMD CPU or an ATI GPU with an intel CPU.

I also would not consider a socket 775 system. Either go i5/p55 socket 1156 or go with PhenomII (or even Athlon II) socket AM3.

You might consider a case like the Antec 300 illusion, which at the same price already has all the decent quality fans you need instead of adding cheap fans.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You have 92mm CPU coolers listed, generally you want 120mm coolers for the kind of overclocking you are talking about.

The Radeon HD 4870 is the ATI equivalent of a GTX 260. The 4850 is closer to a GTS 250 in performance.

That HDD I am pretty sure runs 3x250MB platters. A single 500MB platter samsung F3 (or dual plater F3 1TB) or a dual 320MB platter Caviar black 640MB will be faster.

That coolermaster PSU only has one PCIE cable, it wont run a GTX 260 or any other decent gaming graphics card. The Corsair 400CX shadow recommended also only has one cable (though it at least has adequite 12v amperage).
October 1, 2009 11:32:56 PM

I don't think you need to go I5 route. I would recommend getting a quad-core (new $100 Athlons 2 x4 are out) or at least a tri core. Price difference (I5 is 25% of your budget and Athlong is 12.5%) is rather large for the benefit of i5. You might not be able to OC as much as you want, but in my experience, third core gives you a decent (10% percent boost) over dual cores in games, more in video/sound processing.

Also, 4870 is only ~$20 more than 4850 and it delivers much greater performance. IMO it is the best bang for the buck right now and IMo it should be your card of choice no matter if you go Intel or AMD for the processor. I own it right now and it plays every game I own at 1650x1080 with all eye candy on (save for Crysis).

Finally, 460W power supply looks very weak when you are talking about your setups, especially if you plan to OC as much as you plan on doing.

Just my $.02
a b K Overclocking
October 1, 2009 11:57:39 PM

Go with your AM3 build as a base.

Upgrade the 4850 to a 4870 (cost $20 re)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Switch HDD to a Samsung F3 500MB HDD. (save $30)

You could save $40 dropping to an AthlonII 240 2.8GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You could then upgrade the CPU to a 4 core Phenom in the future when you can afford it.


You still need to get a functional PSU.

For example this OCZ 500W ModXStream PSU is $60 with a $20 MIR bringing it down to $40.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b K Overclocking
October 2, 2009 1:33:47 AM

ram1009 said:
I just built a box using the same AMD CPU & ASUS MB although I'm not currently using it for gaming. I like the system a lot but I wouldn't count on enabeling the extra cores. It didn't work for me. FYI, AMD is still using the same antiquated method of attaching a HSF. I was hoping that Intel's had inspired them to find a better way. My only other comment is that I think your PSU is a little on the weak side.

Believe me, the AMD mounting in MUCH better than push pins. Push pins break very easily. The best mounting is a bolt in (with screws + springs + back plate)such as the system used with the Core Contact Freezer + LGA775.
October 2, 2009 4:29:08 AM

very very interesting ...

thank you all so much for the input, it seems that for the price point I want, I need to stretch a little further. Asking for a small amount of help from my mother, I'm shooting for a build of $910 including shipping, which is laid out below.

I've done some serious revising on the AMD based system, producing these changes:

1) Switch PII 550 BE dual-core for PII 720 BE triple-core
2) Switch PSU with OCZ Fatal1ty 550W
3) Switch HDD for WD Black 640gb
4) Switch case with Antec Three Hundred Illusion (and removed the extra previous case fans from my build)
5) Switched TX-2 thermal paste for the Rosewill RCX-TC060 (brush applicator appeals)

Need to decide between a 4870 1gb and the MSI OC GTX 260 (216) with twin fans (both @ $175 approx.)

I'm leaning towards the 260 for now, as I expect I can overclock it further still one day, and it runs cooler and using less power. I expect that eventually I could simply chuck in the top AM3 Quad-core and an ATI HD5870 one day, and the motherboard is crossfire ready (maybe with a PSU upgrade). lol ... but that's a long way off, and you'd probably need a 6.5ghz Quad-core to not bottleneck those beasts. hahaha

So thoughts on the revised system?

*EDIT* I should mention, I have no interest in purchasing the XFX 4870 linked above, the cooling solution looks terrible, and sounds like it runs that way too. I don't want that much heat being ineffectively pumped back into my system. If I was to go the 4870 route, it would have to be a dual slot solution for me to feel comfortable about the purchase.
a b K Overclocking
October 2, 2009 9:43:15 AM

I think that is a much more solid build. Either a 4870 or 260 will be solid GPUs, really depends on which games you play. I just linked the XFX without really looking. A cooler that vents out the back would probably be better.

I am not familiar with that thermal paste.
October 2, 2009 5:06:24 PM

Here is a build for under $700 with twin GTS 250 that will knock the socks off the systems discussed above for more money.

CPU
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition $120
CPU Cooler
Xigamatek Dark Knight S1283 $37
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P $110
RAM
OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Model OCZ2G10664GK $50
Graphics
2 x BFG GTS 250 512MB $160
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB $75
Sound Integrated 0
Network Integrated 0
Case
Rosewill Wind Ryder RZLS142A-P BK $30
Power
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W $80
Optical Drive
Samsung Black 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-S223B $27
Total Price $689

Note that this is based on the THG $650 system build with a few changes.

The price for the GTS 250 graphics cards is based on a current sale price at Frys
http://www.frys.com/product/5866243?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...
a b K Overclocking
October 2, 2009 5:11:00 PM

I dont recommend buying two old, low RAM GPUs. It may be faster than a single 260 this week with AA turned off but it leaves you no upgrade path for the future. A single 260 or 4870 will let you SLI a second 260 later for far better performance than twin 250s. You have to remember the THG builds are generally designed for maximum performance today with no consideration for future upgrading.
October 2, 2009 5:54:10 PM

You make a valid point about future upgrades. But please note that essentially what I did was give him the future upgrade today. One of his options above was a single 4850 - a single 250 outperforms it and with two he gets more than double the performance today - and much better performance than a single 260 today. But yes, he can go for less today to get more tomorrow. But also note that he has an extra $100 to put with buying a future card - and I bet in a year or so he will be able to buy a GX 275 on sale for that and can pair it with another on sale and then still have a substantial increase in performance at nominal cost.
October 3, 2009 10:24:05 AM

your Intel/ nvidia rig is ok I have similar set ups and a single gtx260 is a good choice now that the price is right for that matter a single 9800gt or gts 250 will play anything out right now to be honest and SLI/CF is all over rated and really not worth it ,I benched in SLI but for everyday use including gaming I use a single card setup and I build gaming PC's for a living ,have been for over 10 years now...my system speaks for it's self!.....


October 3, 2009 1:56:53 PM

Thankyou all for your help, it certainly assisted me in the decision, especially DNDHATCHER's comments, which were very much tailored to my person. Very helpful.

I'm going with the revised build I put up earlier, with the Antec case, the AMD 720 BE, the MSI GTX260 and so forth. I reviewed the build, thinking about airflow, and have decided that this is the best possible build in my budget. My PSU will suck the air coming from my GTX260 straight out of the bottom, and the top/rear fans on the Antec will suck the air from the CPU, with the twin 140mm fans at the front blowing air straight through the rest. This is going to be an awesome bang-for-your-buck build. An I5 build would have been nice, but I just don't want to stretch the budget that high.

Also I'm going to upgrade to the 120mm Xigmatek cooler, as research has shown it should fit, and I'm all about the overclock. And I've moved up to a 23" HDMI FullHD Acer monitor, I think I should be fine gaming @ 1920x1080 for now, until I can throw in a 5850/5870.

The SLI GTS 250 suggestion above really doesn't work in light my previous posts, and does not seem like the best possible build combination for me and my requirements, though thanks for the suggestion.

I really can't actually see any situation in which I would recommend a GTS250 SLI build to anyone though, cost or performance wise. Maybe it's personal preference.

Cheers again everybody :) 
!