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Gaming computer: AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE?

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November 8, 2009 8:43:37 AM

I want to build a new gaming pc and was initially going to get the intel i7-920 but upon reading up on the phenom 965, i discovered that it offers superior performance when playing games. My question is, is the phenom 965 Black Edition the best gaming cpu for the price (what are the best gaming cps?)?

Furthermore, if i do decide to go with AMD for my new pc then what would be the best AM3 motherboard to purchase performance-wise, especially for playing games? Preferable an ASUS motherboard (I've heard gigabyte boards aren't made as well as ASUS - i want quality not best value). My last gigabyte board blew up, only lasting 2 years.

My current system I'm thinking of is (already have a power supply):
-RAM: DDR3 6GB Kit 1600 Corsair C9
-Video card: XFX ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB DDR5
-Case: Midi ATX Case CoolerMaster Centurion RC-690 KKN1 (with 6 fans)
-Hard drive: 3.5" SATA 1TB 32MB Seagate
-DVD drive: 5.25" DVD Burner/Rw SATA Samsung DVD-SH-S223F 22x
-Monitor: WideScreen LCD Monitor 24" ASUS VW246H
-Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64Bit

The RAM from the online computer store I'm using is under 'i7 RAM' but will it still work with an AM3 board? Also i can get G.Skill RAM with exactly the same specs as the Corsair for 10$ less but i trust Corsair, unless you guys can offer your opinions?

On the last note, is the XFX and HIS 5850 on par? I prefer XFX but i also hear HIS is good. Which is better in your opinion? And is the monitor and all the other parts good/powerful and will last a while?

My budget is roughly $1500 USD although less is obviously preferable.

Thanks for any comments and opinions!
November 8, 2009 9:18:16 AM

Yes, if by price/value ratio, then yes, the Phenom 965 is a slightly better deal than the i7 920. But the i7 920 has a slightly better performance per clock ratio. But then the usual good mobos for the i7 are again, slightly more expensive than the good AM3 mobos for AMD processors.
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November 8, 2009 10:34:25 AM

Thanks for your reply. From what I've read, the i7-920 has 8 cores and no current applications use 8 cores. By the time games do use 8 cores, the i7s will be well and truly obsolete (according to what I've read). I am 80% sure I'll go with the AMD CPU, just needed that extra bit of advice. I found an AM3 MOBO which seems really good: ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The ASUS Crosshair III i found out was the best but that is just too expensive and doesn't really offer anything extra in my eyes when compared to the M4A79T. Anyone use the M4? Is this a good choice? It's $100 less than the Crosshair III.
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November 8, 2009 11:11:32 AM

The Crosshair is an extreme overclocking and multi-GPU board. Other than that, it has nothing useful justifying its price tag. The one you picked is more than enough, even cheaper ones will do nicely.

The RAM you selected is tripple channel (3x2), which is only supported by intel's x58 chipset. You'll have to pick dual channel (2x2 or 4x2) for an AM3 platform, or your RAM will be used at low speed
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November 8, 2009 11:28:37 AM

Silmarunya said:
The Crosshair is an extreme overclocking and multi-GPU board. Other than that, it has nothing useful justifying its price tag. The one you picked is more than enough, even cheaper ones will do nicely.

The RAM you selected is tripple channel (3x2), which is only supported by intel's x58 chipset. You'll have to pick dual channel (2x2 or 4x2) for an AM3 platform, or your RAM will be used at low speed

Thanks for your input! Now that i know about the RAM, do you think either of these: DDR3 Ram 4GB (2x2048MHz) PC12800 Kingston KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX or DDR3 Ram 4GB Kit (2x2048MB) PC12800 1600MHz Patriot PVS34G1600LLK 7-7-7-20 (Aluminum Copper Composite) will still be good? Will going down to 4GB of DDR3 1600 RAM reduce the computers gaming capability? Also, Kingston or Patriot. Kingston is $10 cheaper.

As for the motherboard, i found the ASUS M4A79XTD EVO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... One bad thing I've read is that it only supports PCI 8x with CrossFire not 16x as the M4 offers. Does this make a difference? I will eventually, when my computer becomes dated, upgrade to CrossFire. If there is really no BIG advantage in getting the M4, I'll definitely go the EVO.

Thanks everyone!
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November 8, 2009 1:55:39 PM

4GB is more than enough for gaming, 6 and more is only needed for productivity. As for memory, low latency is the single most important factor. All of the above kits have decent latency, so pick the one you (and your wallet) like most. Actually, DDR1333 with low latency outperforms DDR31600 with higher latency.

PCI x8 performs marginally worse than x16 (the highest difference I've seen is 8%, and it was mostly under 5%). It's not worth paying a high premium just for that. The EVO is an Asus motherboard, it has a lot of nice features and it's very reasonably priced. Go for it, you'll hardly notice the difference.

About the rest of your system: I'd personally get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD rather than the Seagate you propose. It's faster, just as reliable and it's very modestly priced.
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November 8, 2009 2:15:43 PM

Silmarunya said:
4GB is more than enough for gaming, 6 and more is only needed for productivity. As for memory, low latency is the single most important factor. All of the above kits have decent latency, so pick the one you (and your wallet) like most. Actually, DDR1333 with low latency outperforms DDR31600 with higher latency.

PCI x8 performs marginally worse than x16 (the highest difference I've seen is 8%, and it was mostly under 5%). It's not worth paying a high premium just for that. The EVO is an Asus motherboard, it has a lot of nice features and it's very reasonably priced. Go for it, you'll hardly notice the difference.

About the rest of your system: I'd personally get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD rather than the Seagate you propose. It's faster, just as reliable and it's very modestly priced.

Thanks! What RAM would you personally recommend? As for the HDD, the Samsung is only 500gb and the seagate 1tb. The seagate is 32mb cache and the samsung 16mb cahce. Doesn't cache influence the speed at which the hardrive functions (not rpm). I'm not too tech savvy with HDDs. If you could clarify this for me that would be great! I'm very close to finalising my spec. Just now need advice further on RAM and HDD. Also, if 8x pci-e doesn't make much of a difference i think i'll go the evo, thanks for that Silmarunya.
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November 8, 2009 2:32:28 PM

There is a Spinpoint F TB for your information, which has a 32mb cache. Yes, cache has an influence, but there are more important factors. RPM, build quality, platter density,...

I'd go with Kingston. It's a good brand (so is Patriot, but I don't know anyone who used it, as it's rarely sold here in Europe) and it's far lower voltage memory (1,65V vs 1,90V). It's clock latency is slightly higher, but you can always reduce the clock speed to 1333 and reduce latency. Both are great however.
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November 8, 2009 2:54:17 PM

get the 955 its basiccally the same as the 965 and get the asus 790xtd board
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November 8, 2009 3:17:19 PM

It depends. If the 965 is a new one with a 125w design, it will overclock higher and it's worth it. If it's an old 140w 965, get a 955 indeed.
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November 9, 2009 12:54:26 AM

Thanks for your feedback guys. I didn't know there was a 125w version of the 965, so thanks heaps for notifying me! By 'asus 790xtd' do you mean the EVO 79xtd?

Also i found a 3rd RAM i'm interested in: DDR3 Ram 4GB Kit (2x2048MB) PC12800 1600MHz G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ 9-9-9-24. At new egg, this RAM is rated 2nd best under the Corsair Dominator. Although it has higher latency than the patriot (which is 7-7-7-20) and the Kingston (which is 8-8-8-24). Now i'm really confused. Should i go the G.Skill purely based off its good reviews on newegg even though it has higher latency? The patriot to me seems the obvious choice with the lowest latency but maybe i'm missing something?

Well i've narrowed everything down except for the RAM and have almost made up my mind on which of the two motherboards to buy.

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November 9, 2009 1:10:00 AM

the best gaming cpu price: performance is the i5 750...
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November 9, 2009 1:21:38 AM

overshocks said:
the best gaming cpu price: performance is the i5 750...

I have read pros and cons on both. The i5 is cheaper but i sort of gathered they performed roughly the same with some reviews showing the 965 out ahead and some others, the i5-750. If there is really a big advantage in going wit the 750 i won't hesitate to change. It's just at the moment i haven't really read anything that clearly shows one CPUs superiority over the other.
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November 13, 2009 3:43:01 AM

The i5-750 is a great value. However, it leaves very little for an upgrade path (the cpu uses an LGA 1156 socket). With the AMD AM3 platform, you have that upgradeability later on.
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November 15, 2009 4:05:22 AM

You sound to be building the same system that I was looking into building. Though I am new to building (this being my first) ... I've been doing a little bit of research. And though not being that computer savvy .. I figured my build would start off with the

AMD Phenom II x4 965

ASUS m4A79T

Corsair XMS PC10600 RAM - 8GB, DDR3, Dual Channel, Class 9, 1333MHz(4x2GB)
Latency is a .. 9-9-9-24 (not entirely sure what this is but I'll look it up)

two 3.5" WD Caviar Green 1.5TB 32MB/SATA-3G 7200 Hard drives ...

and that's about as far as I've gotten ... Please tell me if I'm doing this all arsed up .. but I feel I'm on the right path ...
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January 12, 2010 12:23:55 PM

Sweet jesus you people are uncanny :o  I literllay just looked up "Phenom II X4 for gaming PC to see if it was a good choice for gaming PCs and stumbled this thread where you are building a near identical PC to the one I was planning and asking the exact same things I'm wondering right now, down to RAM compatability, PCIe speeds and mobo (sort of). This is the most helpful post on this project I've ever read.
As far as the CPU goes I'm going for a 965 because I like the extra 0.2 GHz and a 5770 or possibly 5850 if I can afford it video card.
My number one tip, since at least two people on this page (not including me) are building for the first time, is to buy from retail rather than online. There's a shop near Sydney where I live called MSY (with branches through AU is any Australians are reading this) that sells a 965 for AU$219 as opposed to AU$274 from PCMarket online store. It makes a big dfference and it's worth the 40 min drive :D 
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January 12, 2010 3:05:26 PM

I would be careful with the Asus M4A79XTD EVO - It has a lot of problems with some of the newer AMD X4 BE processors(C3) - just read the customer reviews on Newegg's site. I had an issue with it and had to return it. If it doesn't have the newer BIOS, it will not work with some of the processors.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 12, 2010 3:21:31 PM
January 13, 2010 2:47:44 PM

My Recommendation:
CPU/Mainboard - $270.98 - $10 MIR = 260.98:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGMBOX - Retail
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

PSU/Case Combo - $149.97 - $50 MIR = $99.97:
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

RAM - $109.99 - $20 MIR:
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1333LV4GK - Retail

Heatsink+Fan - $29.99:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ... - Retail

Drive - $54.99:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

DVD Burner - $25.99
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222A - OEM

GPU - $310:
XFX HD-585A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail

OS - $140:
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

Monitor - $230:
ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) Built-in Speakers - Retail
Total Cost: $1321.91 + $34 Shipping - $80 MIR = $1275.91 (plus tax)

Notes:
This build goes with a 500GB drive. Pleanty for gaming IMO.
This build has a DVD burner that can also burn CDs, but is IDE interface (not an issue IMO)
This build comes with a 700W powersupply and 8x/8x (or single 16x) PCIe slots for Crossfiring the 5850 later.

I would also caution about getting a monitor that does not support native DisplayPort interface. If you are going to do Eyefinity later, you should start with a monitor with DP, and then add the other (same brand for similar pixel resolutions and display size) and just convert DP to VGA (cheap!) instead of later having to convert VGA to DP (Expensive!)



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August 31, 2010 4:20:20 PM

Hope this helps people, this is my pc set up and works great.
Amd 965BE
8ghz ddr3 ram gskill 4x 2ghz sticks
gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard
coshair H50 CPU water cooler
thermaltak v9 case
2xgigabyte 5870 ati graphics card in crossfire
2xfalcon2 ssd harddrive 128g in raid0, for os, programs and games
2X 500g seagate for storige
windows 7 ultamate 64bit

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February 26, 2011 2:32:25 AM

adata DDR3 1600 triple channel 9 9 9 24 run it at 1333 not1600mhz it rated at this 2000mhz mother board m4A79T 955 run any game no sweat multiplierx18 3.6 all day stock voltage
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October 27, 2011 12:27:17 PM

i dont know if you have finished your build but i have the phenom iix4 965 and i love it,

the black addition for easy overclocking in uk is £90 pound if you shop around bargain,

also the stock cooler performs exceptionally well and comes with high quality silver thermal paste pre applied, and is more than adequate for a modest overclock.

i bought the asus m4n75td and its a quality board always wish however went for m4n98td with its dual pcie16 speed.

i have a 560gtx ti 900mhz runs all new games high detail 1280x1024 no problem at all
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October 27, 2011 12:34:16 PM

Quote:
The stock fan is not enough for any OC.
What are your temps on your phenom with an OC.
BTW 62c is the threshold limit for these cpu's...


i coudnt tell you off the top off my head but i assure you it is, i do have the black addition which comes with a much better cooler than the multiplier locked 965,

if you check cooler reviews it outperforms most custom coolers untill you really start spending money
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October 27, 2011 12:36:12 PM

Why was a 2 year old thread resurrected?
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October 27, 2011 12:39:13 PM

i was just googling to try and find out how my cpu compared nowerdays and it just popped up sorry
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October 27, 2011 12:50:23 PM

Oh and fyi there is no multiplier locked 965.
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October 27, 2011 12:56:29 PM

i said a modest overclock ive got it at 3914mhz using asus turbov
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October 27, 2011 1:01:25 PM

the cooler on the 965 is better than the 955 has a much larger copper plate,

i have a antec 200 1 intake 3 exshauts and its very tidy inside and my temps are fine,
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October 27, 2011 1:05:27 PM

im not saying you dont im a overclock amature, if you havnt guessed, ill stress test and post my temps when im done
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!