Another attempt -- my phenom ii x4 955 build

Earlier I posted an i7 920 build in here, and you guys gave me some nice feedback.

I'd like to try this again, a bit cheaper, with a Phenom II X4 955 and a bit bigger monitor.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: late October / early November 2009
BUDGET RANGE: around $1,500
SYSTEM USAGE: general gaming and internet
OVERCLOCKING: Willing but inexperienced.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Initially no, but I'd be open to crossfire (adding another GPU) down the road one day.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This would be a little PC to sit next to the coffeetable, so I'd like to stay in the smallish case. It'd be mostly for the wife, and I'd ultimately network it to my existing PC. Also, we'd rather not have a huge monitor for that location. The wife plays Eve Online, Sims 2, etc., but the worst thing she does (imo) is play lots of facebook games that are always running in the background. When those things are on it makes it almost impossible for me to do anything. She also never closes Chikka, YIM, etc. (My current PC is just a single core pentium 4 [5 yrs old], so I'm thinking she may need all the cores she can get to run her stuff.)

Case: Silverstone SST-SG04B MicroATX Case ($149.99)
Motherboard: Asus M4A785TD-M EVO MicroATX ($094.99)
Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 955 ($189.00)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR3 ECC Unbuffered 1333 KVR1333D3E9SK2/4G ($207.98)
Video card: Asus EAH4870 Dark Knight 1GB ($134.99)
Power supply: Silverstone DA700 Crossfire Ready Modular PSU ($109.99)
Monitor: SAMSUNG LD190N (Lapfit) High Glossy Black 18.5" 5ms Widescreen LCD ($129.99)
Hard drive: WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb x 2 (two for a RAID setup) ($119.98)
Optical drive: ASUS Black Internal Blu-Ray / DVD / Combo Drive ($104.99)
Keyboard and Mouse: Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 V2 ($059.99)
Operating System: Windows Vista (Home Premium) 64 bit w/ Windows 7 upgrade coupon ($109.99)

Subtotal: $1411.88

Questions as I'm considering this build:

1) Are people able to run two hard drives on RAID when they'd have to share a SATA cable with the optical drive? I think I read somewhere that some guy's BIOS got confused and tried to put the optical on RAID too, and he could never get it to work right. Then he switched back to an IDE optical drive, and things worked better. If this type of headache could be avoided with planning, I'd like to avoid it.

2) What would it take for me to slightly overclock my Phenom 955 to make it equivalent to the 965?

3) Would it possibly be smart of me to downgrade the GPU to a ATI Radeon HD 3400 series so I can hybrid crossfire with the integrated graphics? It just seems disappointing to me that they boast hybrid crossfire as a feature, but we can't use any sexy cards with it.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration. You guys are sure friendly.
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  1. Best answer
    Thats not a bad little build there. More than enough for the wife. There are some things you don't need and some I would change.

    Right off the bat, you will not need 8GBs of RAM. 4 GBs is plenty unless you're video editing and stuff like that.

    Silverstone isn't bad for PSUs but I'd like to play it safe and go with Antec or Corsair. Silverstone make great cases but they are expensive. If you really like the case you should stick with it. If not get a less expensive one.

    You should swap the HDD for a Spinpoint F3 500GB for $54 a pop. Very fast HDDs.

    You won't be able to run another GPU card on that motherboard since it only has one PCI x16.


    AMD Overclocking on a Black Edition chip is a piece of cake. Just start up the application (I forget which one. Someone else will know) and click the mouse a few times. Just don't critically overvolt your CPU!

    Please don't downsize your GPU unless you want to save some cash and get a 4850. The hybrid graphics aren't anything to brag about. You will be much better off with the 4870.
  2. So it looks good. I also would say 8 gigs of memory is unnecessary. You will be extremely disappointed with hybrid crossfire, You'd be faster with a $50 hd4650. But I like the 4870, also the 4850 at $100 plus mir is a great deal.
    The processor is a snap, set the multiplier in bbios to 17x and you'll have 3.4 Ghz with no voltage bump.
    If interested in further overclocking, view the guide here on toms under the overclocking section and dl the latest version of AMD overdrive.

    Why did you want to do raid for the wife's pc?
  3. AMD is just about to release a new stepping, (at least according to a frys guy as an explanation why a raincheck on the current is worthless). It could be false but the new 965 is already listed on provantage.
  4. Thanks for the responses thus far, guys. I appreciate your time.

    Buzznut: I just thought that RAID was a great, commonsense way to make the machine run better (i.e. faster load times from HDD).
  5. Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $54.95

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS - $89.99

    GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $114.99

    AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache AM3 95W - $169.99
    Quad-Core Processor - Retail

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - Retail - $88.99

    XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
    HDCP Video Card - Retail & Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit - $214.98
    for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM - Combo

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" - $54.99
    Internal Hard Drive - OEM

    Total: 788.88 with $25 MIR

    Case is a bit bigger than the Silverstone, but you will not be able to find a good Crossfire mobo on MicroATX.
    That Phenom II X4 945 is 95w, easy to overclock to the same speed as stock 965 but cheaper and cooler.
    That ram has very good timings with only 1.5v.
    Could not find the xfx 4850 1 gb on newegg (out of stock) but you will not really need that much vram with that Samsung Monitor 18.5", you can wait for it if you want. Xfx has double life time warranty.

    Good luck.
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