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A rig of my own

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October 21, 2009 10:20:30 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Early November (but can wait several months if something really neat is about to come out)

BUDGET RANGE: anything up to $1200, but hope to pay a lot less.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Desktop home user machine; word processing, internet, light-medium computation and modeling, low-graphics gaming, light graphics editing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: CD, DVD, monitor, keyboard, mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Will almost certainly buy online; no preference in vendor.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Low power usage and high quality/reliability are musts. Everything else is negotiable.

OS: Windows 7 Professional
CPU: Intel i5 750?
GPU: 1x Radeon 4670? (not 4870!)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 P55 ?
Power Supply: TP-550 550W ?
Case: ??
Hard Disk: 1x 7200-RPM disk, probably 500GB?
Memory: DDR3-1300 x2, probably 4GB?

OVERCLOCKING: Light overclocking only (want low power usage and long life expectancy)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Nope.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1040 (possibly one step higher eventually)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Listing of possible parts on Newegg:

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1333C9A G
$109.99

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750
$199.99

GIGABYTE GV-R467ZL-1GI Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
$74.99

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$59.95

GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
$109.99

Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC
$89.99

KINGWIN XT-1264 120mm Xtreme Direct H.T.C. (Heat-pipe Touch Chip) CPU Cooler w/ 1366 Bracket
$34.99

More about : rig

October 21, 2009 10:38:39 PM

A 400W PSU is inadequate for your needs.

Corsair is a great brand, but all the lower wattage units are getting a bit long in the tooth. older less efficient designs. If you really want the best, you will pay much more for it. Here is a newer Seasonic-built 550W modular PSU from Antec:

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

Again, Corsair makes good PSUs at a good price, but most of them are not "the best" as you said.

Case and HD deal:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
October 21, 2009 11:38:53 PM

You should be looking at a newer DX11 graphics card like the 5770 or 5850 instead of the 4870.
Related resources
October 22, 2009 6:15:06 PM

Proximon, thanks a lot for the advice on PS units. I'll keep Antec firmly in mind.

I'm not sure how much juice I really need. Using the calculator at http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp with the above parts, plus 2 USB devices, 2 120mm fans, CPU overclocked to 3 GHz, and with 85% CPU usage, 90% load, 10% capacitor aging, I get a usage of about 280-300 watts.

What do I need to add to this to calculate how much power supply will be adequate, and how much additional will turn "adequate" into "ample"?

Also, what do people think of OCZ? Some of the 500-600W PS units that I'm finding most interesting come from them.


dndhatcher: If this computer were primarily a graphics or gaming rig, then your advice would be spot-on. However, for me, keeping power consumption (and cost) under control is more important than getting serious GPU power, and DX11 support shouldn't be necessary.
October 22, 2009 7:00:33 PM

That old calculator does not take into consideration load spikes, operating temps, and most importantly amperage on the 12V rail(s).

Capacitor aging occurs with usage, and will be different depending on the quality of parts involved. If you calculate for 10%, your PSU will last about 1 year.

Suppose you had to go to work every day on a freeway traveling 70 miles an hour. Would you buy a car that was just capable of 70 miles an hour with no headwind?

If you would like to learn more about PSUs, see my guide linked in my sig or at the top of the forum, then scroll down to the section on power supplies. I think you are under the impression that a lower wattage unit will save you money on the power bill because it will draw less power... it doesn't work like that.

As to OCZ, they have some OK PSUs and some marginal ones. Few of their units are outright bad and none of them are exceptional, except in the value category.

OCZ, Corsair, Antec, and most others do not make their own PSUs. To get at the quality of a PSU you have to see who actually made it... see my guide, and the links it contains.

Anandtech liked this Gigabyte UD2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

review
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3652
October 22, 2009 7:20:37 PM

frandreev said:
dndhatcher: If this computer were primarily a graphics or gaming rig, then your advice would be spot-on. However, for me, keeping power consumption (and cost) under control is more important than getting serious GPU power, and DX11 support shouldn't be necessary.
The 5770 and 5750 are lower cost, lower power consumption graphics cards than the 4870 you have listed. The 4870 is actually ATIs biggest power hog single core GPU. If power consumption and price are more important than graphics then the 5750 is the card you want. The 5770 is slightly less powerful than the 4870 and uses significantly less power.
October 22, 2009 8:44:00 PM

dndhatcher said:
The 5770 and 5750 are lower cost, lower power consumption graphics cards than the 4870 you have listed. The 4870 is actually ATIs biggest power hog single core GPU. If power consumption and price are more important than graphics then the 5750 is the card you want. The 5770 is slightly less powerful than the 4870 and uses significantly less power.

Oops! I should have listed the radeon 4670 Newegg listing as my current comparison "sweet spot" of cost, power usage, and speed. Sorry for the confusion!

Hopefully this will help clarify my GPU priorities a bit more.


Proximon, your hardware guide has been a great resource for me, but I may be misunderstanding a few things. I'm looking at a guide to power supplies at http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i.... In that article, the reviewer attempts to find an optimal PSU capacity for each of three builds. The power consumption of the parts listed above is about 1/2way between the first (entry-level) and second (mid-range) builds in the article. The reviewer ends up claiming that a 350W power supply is a comfortable fit for the entry-level build (and lower would have been perfectly acceptable), and a 500-600W PS is ideal for the mid-range system (although he notes that a 400W could work fairly well, it didn't get the same efficiency). Sticking in larger PSUs just lowered efficiency.

Based on this, it does seem (to my admittedly ignorant eyes) that anything over 500W is overkill for the parts listed above, and if I didn't want to overclock, that 450W would have been just fine. However, the article may not fully take aging of the PSU into account. So I'm taking it with a large grain of salt!
October 22, 2009 10:20:16 PM

When I this PSU calculator, I set 100% load and 30% aging so I can feel secure the PSU will run my system 3-5 years. I also buy quality PSUs so the power is reliable andthe PSU will actually last that long.
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Having a 4870 automatically forces a 550Watt PSU so all prior recommendations are going to be too high.
October 22, 2009 11:26:00 PM

A 4670 is far different than a 4870. Have you read this?
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/181/9

My recommendation for a 500W PSU still stands though. A good PSU can last 5 or more years through multiple upgrades. Plan for the future.
!