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Thoughts on my system specs

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November 5, 2009 4:31:19 PM

I'm kind of a newbie but after having some unsatisfactory PCs in recent history, I'm taking a crack at spec'ing my own system. Most of this has been a crash course, so I'd appreciate feedback on anything that is out to lunch here. I'm pretty sure the CPU and GPU are good choices based on reviews I've read but the Motherboard element confuses the hell out of me. Sooooooo many boards and so much I don't understand. Thoughts, criticism are welcome - Spotting any glaring oversights are much appreciated.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next week

BUDGET RANGE: approximately $1,500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Primarily for business but like to indulge in games when I can. Computer is in a home office so its for work and play. RAID 1 is essential to safeguard work data

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers,

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: don't care.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Leaning towards Intel i5 or i7

OVERCLOCKING: No, don't know what I'm doing and don't want to damage any hardware

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Would like the possibility to add a second GPU down the road, so yes SLI or Crossfire will depend on Video Card recommendation, but I'm leaning towards ATI models at the moment.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most concerned with getting a good system with reasonable ability to upgrade without changing core parts like motherboard

So far, I have picked out:

CPU: Intel Core i5 750 2.66 LGA * largely based on review read here on Tom's Hardware as being a good value buy $199


Motherboard: ASUS P7P55D Premium LGA $280

Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE 100283SR Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $180

Storage: 2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive = 2 @ $120 = $240

RAM: OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail $174

Case: Open to suggestions looking at Antec 900 because its big and has lots of airflow

PSU: Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC "compatible with Core i7" Power Supply - Retail $120

Drive: LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner - Retai $125

More about : thoughts system specs

November 5, 2009 4:42:58 PM

Some suggestions and compability issues:

-That motherboard is far too expensive. Motherboards at this price point are only useful for extreme overclocking or things like that. Get a motherboard at half that price, it will be just as good. (the Asus P7P55D for example).

-Spend some of the money saved on the graphics card and get a 5850, it's gonna improve gaming performance massively.

-Your memory is tripple channel (3 pieces). P55 chipsets don't support that, you will have to take 4GB (2x2). Don't worry, that's still more than enough for gaming.

-The Antec 900 is good, but it collects dust like an Arabian desert. The 902 is far better in that respect. If you don't want to spend that much, or don't want the disco appearance of the 900/902, consider a cheaper case like the antec 300.

-The psu is stronger than needed (600w should do it), but if you like that, go ahead.

-You say you want to be able to upgrade without changing the motherboard. That makes an intel i5-750/P55 combo very unattractive. No new CPU's are planned for that socket. The i7 platform will get 6-cores and likely some new 4-cores. If that's too expensive, AMD's AM3 platform currently has the 955/965 CPU's, which are great gaming machines and the AM3 motherboards will support the AMD six-cores. As a bonus, it's cheaper as well.

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November 5, 2009 4:50:33 PM

Silmarunya said:
Some suggestions and compability issues:

-That motherboard is far too expensive. Motherboards at this price point are only useful for extreme overclocking or things like that. Get a motherboard at half that price, it will be just as good. (the Asus P7P55D for example).

-Spend some of the money saved on the graphics card and get a 5850, it's gonna improve gaming performance massively.

-Your memory is tripple channel (3 pieces). P55 chipsets don't support that, you will have to take 4GB (2x2). Don't worry, that's still more than enough for gaming.

-The Antec 900 is good, but it collects dust like an Arabian desert. The 902 is far better in that respect. If you don't want to spend that much, or don't want the disco appearance of the 900/902, consider a cheaper case like the antec 300.

-The psu is stronger than needed (600w should do it), but if you like that, go ahead.

-You say you want to be able to upgrade without changing the motherboard. That makes an intel i5-750/P55 combo very unattractive. No new CPU's are planned for that socket. The i7 platform will get 6-cores and likely some new 4-cores. If that's too expensive, AMD's AM3 platform currently has the 955/965 CPU's, which are great gaming machines and the AM3 motherboards will support the AMD six-cores. As a bonus, it's cheaper as well.


^^^ +1, especially about the graphics cards.

Newegg estimates: more Sapphire 5850s on Monday, Nov. 9, and more 5870s on Monday, Nov. 16. So OP might wanna watch NewEgg over the weekend or keep a mail alert to something to notify you when they go into stock. Cause, they sold out within 10 days last go around. That's how I got stuck with 5770s.

1 5850 should do you, and you can always upgrade to XFire later. :) 
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November 5, 2009 5:16:49 PM

Silmarunya/jcknouse

Thank you for the feedback. Much appreciated. Particularly on the motherboard. If I wanted to stick with Intel, would I be better off going with the x58 something like the ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ? If I understand correctly, this would solve the future upgrade limitations of the P55 I had selected and solve my RAM limitations - allowing me to go with 4 for now, but leave plenty of room to upgrade in the future.

So in summary, my changes are:

Upgrade my CPU to the i7-920

Change board to ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Will upgrade to the Graphics card to the 5850

Does all that make sense?
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November 5, 2009 5:53:08 PM

Upgrading to the 5850 is a great move!

About the i7: please be aware that the cost of intel 6 cores (i9) will be enormous (I've seen figures of $700). So you might not upgrade to that anytime soon. The i7 platform isn't better for gaming than an i5 or AMD cpu.

If you want to able to upgrade, you should consider the AMD path. The Phenom II 965/955 is as good as an i7-920 for gaming and a LOT cheaper. The AM3 platform will support Thuban (AMD's 6-core cpu) and will be more affordable as well.

So to sum it up, there are 3 options:

-go P55/i5 and get great value for money, but you lose the ability to upgrade. Allows amounts of memory that are a power of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16)
-go x58/i7 and get an extremely powerful cpu with the ability to upgrade, but at a high cost (prohibitive even for the 6-core solutions). Allows any amount of memory preferred.
-Go with the AMD underdog and get slightly lower performance now, but at a lower cost and with great upgrade potential. Same memory restriction as the i5.

For gaming, all three options offer identical performance. Thus, the i5 is a no-go in this situation. That leaves a choice between absolute power (i7) and great value (AMD)

About the motherboard shown: I'm not an expert on x58 motherboards, but Asus means solid quality and the price is fair. It looks like a good choice.
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November 5, 2009 6:12:44 PM

Can you get the 5850 in the US currently? No UK retailers seem to have stock at all. Most have been saying 'stock due very soon' for weeks! Definately the way to go if you can get hold of one though.

I'm not sure I'd recommend the AMD option mainly because you say that business is the main use for the rig, plus budget doesn't seem to be too much of a priority. If it was a pure gaming pc then it would be different. The i7/X58 route probably offers the greatest upgrade potential for the future and best performance now, in my opinion.
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November 5, 2009 7:06:23 PM

The x58/i7 route offer the best performance indeed, but upgrade potential seems rather similar to me. However, if budget isn't a problem, I'd indeed stick with the i7.

I'm just assuming you haven't got infinite money to burn and so I try to recommend things from a performance/price perspective rather than a performance/no matter the cost perspective.

In the US it seems out of stock everywhere. In Belgium, where I live, it's even worse though. At launch, 40 (!) GPU's were delivered here... Someone managed to get 4, and thus had 10% of the initial supply in his hands :p 
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November 5, 2009 7:32:54 PM

True, its debatable whether the price/performance ratio of AMD is high enough in comparison right now to make it worthwhile though. Remains to be seen how the next range of AMD chips will compare to the current core i5/i7, could make things interesting.

I bet those cards were snapped up in about 10 seconds! I don't know why ATI have so much trouble releasing stock of their new cards always. To be 6 weeks past the release date and no-one can buy the card seems ludicrous to me.
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