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Upgrade - Moderate budget

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November 9, 2009 3:58:35 PM

Hi, I'm new to this forum and I was directed to this section from CPU and Components section, where I posted a question on which processor to choose.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269783-28-which-proce...

So before telling my requirements, let me tell you that I'm not good at understanding technical details. All i want is a good system that gives me no trouble :) 

Budget- Moderate (300$ to 500$).
Since its an upgrade, I'll not be going for Monitor, keyboard, Hard disk and stuff.

Purpose- General use, Internet surfing, working on applications such as photoshop, visual studio etc, Gaming (sometimes, but i'm not too keen on gaming)

Video Card- No immediate requirement.

I'm upgrading my computer after 7 years. I want this upgrade to last for a long term. I don't want to upgrade my comp again for at least 5 years from now.

So here are my simple requirements. I just want to change my Processor, motherboard and memory. Considering the above, can you guys suggest what is best?

Hope I haven't violated the forum posting rules.
Thanks :) 
z
November 9, 2009 4:40:50 PM

First of all:
What sort of case do you have currently? (An exact model number is best, but we NEED to have the form factor)
What sort of Power Supply do you have? (Max wattage, brand, etc?)

The i7 core with hyperthreading is the leanest, meanest processor available right now. Dollar for dollar, I would certainly say that the i7 is worth its cost (and will have better staying power into the future); however, it is a new technology and so carries a higher price tag than the runner-up. Despite its high cost, due to the leaps and bounds it makes over its predecessors, I would suggest an i7 for future-proof office-oriented productivity.

Here's the cost of a great i7 office system:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 $99.99
CPU: i7-860 $289.99
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $89.99
Video Card (GPU): MSI N8400GS-TD256 GeForce 8400 GS $30.99
-------------------------------------
Grand Total: $510.96


For a more economical (but somewhat less powerful) system, you could go for an AMD setup:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H $89.99
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 $165.99
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $89.99
-------------------------------------
Grand Total: $345.97


Once again, let us know your Case Form Factor (ATX, MicroATX, etc...) or the Case Model Number, and also let us know what kind of PSU (how much wattage) you have... and then we can zero-in on what will work best for you.

Purchasing an SSD (Solid State Disk) once the prices come down will help your performance a TON! They are way too expensive now, so wait a year or two; however, they will make your computer start up MUCH faster, make documents open MUCH faster, make copying and moving files MUCH faster, among many many many other great benefits. An SSD is a newer type of hard drive; thus, you may purchase this down the road.
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November 9, 2009 4:59:28 PM

Hi nofun, Thanks for your elaborate reply. I really appreciate it. I have an ATX case right now. If the budget works out well, I don't mind changing it too (if needed) along with other necessary things.

If I decide on the first suggestion ( with i7) then I'll have to wait for at least two more months to manage with the cost! I'll decide on this soon.

Your 2nd suggestion suits my pocket well. But after seeing your reply, I feel like going for i7 ! I'm in a lot of confusion now! Budget is of main concern.

Can you tell me how AMD Phenom II x4 945 scores better than an intel core 2 quad? 'coz ppl here are with AMD Phenom II all the way! This will help me decide if I can't go for i7 build.

Thanks again,
z
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November 9, 2009 5:35:32 PM

zasch said:
Hi nofun, Thanks for your elaborate reply. I really appreciate it. I have an ATX case right now. If the budget works out well, I don't mind changing it too (if needed) along with other necessary things.

If I decide on the first suggestion ( with i7) then I'll have to wait for at least two more months to manage with the cost! I'll decide on this soon.

Your 2nd suggestion suits my pocket well. But after seeing your reply, I feel like going for i7 ! I'm in a lot of confusion now! Budget is of main concern.

Can you tell me how AMD Phenom II x4 945 scores better than an intel core 2 quad? 'coz ppl here are with AMD Phenom II all the way! This will help me decide if I can't go for i7 build.

Thanks again,
z



AMD can't compete with the power of the Intel i5 and i7 cores right now, so they have budgeted their chips in the "runner-up" niche. Dollar for dollar, the AMD Phenom II x4 series is a terrific value, and will beat the Core 2 Quads by a decent margin. AMD boards are (generally) cheaper and offer more options to the user; thus, the entire setup costs less.

From this round of benchmarks: (2009 Desktop CPU Charts) we can see that the Phenom II 965 is only slightly less powerful than the Intel Q9550. The cost of the mobo+CPU for the two rigs are:

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H $89.99
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 $199.99
-----------
$289.98

Mobo: BIOSTAR T41 HD LGA 775 $69.99
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz $254.99
------------
$324.98 (Note too, that this motherboard is not as good as the Gigabyte)

So, for only marginally (marginally) better performance, the AMD setup still out-prices the Intel setup by about $35, and provides a better motherboard as icing on the cake. The Intel Quad-Core does use less power, which will save a little on the electric bill, but also uses an older LGA 775 setup, which has slower ram, etc. Between the two, I (personally) would take the AMD rig.


Also, take a look at those charts closely, and you will see how the i7 core dominates everything else in office-oriented tasks. a $300 i7 outpaces a $1000 Core 2 Extreme, that's how much of a huge leap it is (and that is prior to overclocking).

Here's a good article about: Hyperthreading (which only the i7 has). Hyperthreading shows tremendous performance advantages, but only in software which utilizes it. However, over time, we may see more and more software take advantage of this; thus, the i7 will most likely be more future proof. Right now, though, the i7 is the most expensive because it is the newest technology; thus, you may find a decent AMD setup for a lot less.
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November 9, 2009 5:44:00 PM

One final note:

You could also substitute the i7-860 for the i5-750. The i5-750 does not have hyperthreading and has a slightly slower clock, which is the only real difference; however, it is MUCH more aggressively priced. An i5-750 costs only $199.99, and offers better performance than the AMD setup.

This would bring that Intel setup down to:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 $99.99
CPU: i5-750 $199.99
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $89.99
Video Card (GPU): MSI N8400GS-TD256 GeForce 8400 GS $30.99
-------------------------------------
Grand Total: $420.96


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November 9, 2009 6:16:31 PM

nofun said:
One final note:

You could also substitute the i7-860 for the i5-750. The i5-750 does not have hyperthreading and has a slightly slower clock, which is the only real difference; however, it is MUCH more aggressively priced. An i5-750 costs only $199.99, and offers better performance than the AMD setup.

This would bring that Intel setup down to:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 $99.99
CPU: i5-750 $199.99
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $89.99
Video Card (GPU): MSI N8400GS-TD256 GeForce 8400 GS $30.99
-------------------------------------
Grand Total: $420.96

exactly what I was about to say, also, don't get the phenom II 965, get the 955 and oc it about to the same clock, you will get a 965 at 60$ less
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November 10, 2009 4:00:57 AM

I now have a fair amount of idea on what I could go for, thanks to you!
I'm convinced by your replies and now I'll consider the following two..

Quote:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H $89.99
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 $199.99 / 965 as suggested by Daggs
-----------
$289.98


This will def fit my bill and works out well for me.

Second option is this,
nofun said:
One final note:

This would bring that Intel setup down to:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 $99.99
CPU: i5-750 $199.99
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $89.99
Video Card (GPU): MSI N8400GS-TD256 GeForce 8400 GS $30.99
-------------------------------------
Grand Total: $420.96

Seems to be good. As per your suggestion I may go for this. I'm not able to resist this! But I'll have to wait for some more days to come up with this cost.

So, Can I drop Video card, Video Card (GPU): MSI N8400GS-TD256 GeForce 8400 GS $30.99, for now? Or is it needed as a basic requirement? I'm not keen on gaming and stuff.
And how about going for 1 x 2GB DDR3 RAM? I'll take up an extra one once I get some money.



Thanks again!:) 
-z
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November 10, 2009 5:11:50 AM

overshocks said:
Hey, can you edit your post in this format, as it answers a lot of questions that we may have:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

if you go for the i5 750 route, you will need a video card, because the motherboard does not come with integrated graphics.

abit ot, but can he edit his message? I always get a "You have no permission to edit your messages" error when I hit the update button
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November 10, 2009 7:14:23 PM

zasch said:
I now have a fair amount of idea on what I could go for, thanks to you!
I'm convinced by your replies and now I'll consider the following two..

Quote:
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H $89.99
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 $199.99 / 965 as suggested by Daggs
-----------
$289.98


This will def fit my bill and works out well for me.

Second option is this,

Seems to be good. As per your suggestion I may go for this. I'm not able to resist this! But I'll have to wait for some more days to come up with this cost.

So, Can I drop Video card, Video Card (GPU): MSI N8400GS-TD256 GeForce 8400 GS $30.99, for now? Or is it needed as a basic requirement? I'm not keen on gaming and stuff.
And how about going for 1 x 2GB DDR3 RAM? I'll take up an extra one once I get some money.



Thanks again!:) 
-z


2 Gigs of RAM will be fine for now, and the prices will come down in the future. As Overshocks said, you will need a video card with the Intel build as that motherboard does not come with an integrated graphics card. You do not necessarily need to buy the one I selected, but they really don't make them much cheaper than $25.

If you want a fanless card (which will be silent, but requires reasonable case circulation) you could try this one: ASUS EN8400GS. There's a whole list of cheap video cards on NewEgg, but make sure you choose one with a PCI x16 (or PCI 2.0 x16) interface (not an AGP Interface as your mobo does not have a slot for it).
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