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AMD/ATI Game Build (DZE-AMA4)

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Last response: in Systems
December 22, 2009 4:40:02 AM

I really would like to know everyone's opinion about the new build I'm looking into.

I was going the SLI route until I encountered many articles relating to ATI performance.

I much rather prefer AMD due to budget issues.

Here is what I have compiled so far...

Windows 7 Ultimate or equivalent OS (Windows XP Mode, I like my older games.)
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE 125W (Overclocking Potential vs 125W 955 BE)
COOLER MASTER V8 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
MSI 790FX-GD70 (AM3 Preference)
XFX Radeon HD4890 1GB 256-bit (Future CFX Plans)
OCZ AMD Black Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 SDRAM (Overclocking Potential)
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Maybe two for RAID)
LITE-ON 24X DVD+/-R DVD Writer LightScribe Support
Rosewill Xtreme Series 850W Continuous @40°C 80 PLUS Certified
Rosewill Wind Knight Mid-Tower Case (Bottom Mount PSU)*
Silverstone 12cm Fan x2* (Model Number FN121) ;D
Silverstone 12cm Fan Blue LED x3* (Model Number FN121-BL) ;D
Zalman 8x1.5cm Slim Fan x1 (Behind Motherboard)*
Zalman 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller*
Rosewill Multi SD Card Reader*

Plus all the cables to make it fit. (Maximum Airflow, what's the point of $110 in fans if they don't work well?)

I was also thinking about a quad ATI HD5770 setup rather than a dual HD4890, kinda wanted to know which. I'm not really interested in paying more than $215 per 4890 or $180 per 5770. Each are single installments as my budget allows.

I am also interested in a OCZ solid state drive specifically for OS but not a "must have" item.

I also have the option for 14cm fans but none compare the the Silverstones. (Personal Opinion) Plus Silverstone doesn't manufacture 14cm fans, they really should though! *COUGH!*

I really would like to hear some ideas about this particular build, It offers me some of the newer technologies to run games currently on the market.

This is 2 months of research and refinement, I'm still in the planning stages and this is my final preview before I begin construction.

Plus I'm very concerned about this BIOS flash I'm hearing so much about because of the c3 stepping in the new AMD CPU, any thoughts?

*Already Purchased.

More about : amd ati game build dze ama4

December 22, 2009 6:23:56 AM

How about this config -

965 + ASUS 790X - Can still allow for a decent overclock say upto 3.8GHz with a good air cooling
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM - You dont need the AMD versiosn for a good overclock...even these would do...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - A far better one -
Antec 300 Illusion
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - Rosewill - Highly unlikely...
These are a ton better -
Seasonic 750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair 750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want a SSD and a powerful card -
HD 5850 + OCZ 30GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HDD - Better one - Samsung F3 500GB - And I dont think you would need RAID 0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooling -
CM Hyper 212
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The cost of the above config should come to around the same as yours...but you get a better overall PC...
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December 22, 2009 6:42:15 AM

Unfortunately, he already bought the case. If I were you, I would opt for better components recommended above especially the PSU.
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December 22, 2009 6:46:06 AM

Indeed, gkay did a great job. Especially on the PSU, Rosewill is the biggest mistake in history. Corsair, Antec and OCZ are my brands of choice, with Seasonic also getting a pass.

And indeed, everything gkay said is good advice.
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December 22, 2009 6:47:12 AM

How about an AMD Phenom II 955 instead of the 965. The CPU's are basically identical you are just paying for a factory overclock. You are going to get the same overclocking potential out of both of them (up to 3.8ghz on air cooling). Apart from that go with what gkay09 said.
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December 22, 2009 6:47:47 AM

^ Just noticed that he has already bought the case...
But fortunately not that PSU... ;) 
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December 22, 2009 6:50:25 AM

FinlayG said:
How about an AMD Phenom II 955 instead of the 965. The CPU's are basically identical you are just paying for a factory overclock. You are going to get the same overclocking potential out of both of them (up to 3.8ghz on air cooling). Apart from that go with what gkay09 said.


The 965 received an update and now has a TDP of 125W. As such, it will overclock slightly higher (0.2GHz I believe) than the 955 with the same cooler.
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December 22, 2009 6:51:07 AM

Cheers....nice to know that..
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December 22, 2009 6:51:40 AM

You're welcome
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December 22, 2009 6:53:13 AM

^ Yes...The 965s are better binned parts than the 955...but frankly if you are in tight budget, then the 955 + a CPU cooler like the CM 212 would cost nearly the same as a 965 and would allow for better overclock because of the better HSF...
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December 22, 2009 6:53:45 AM

I know he said that he wanted it to be an AMD build due to budget constraints, but looking at the build he has come up with he could afford a Core i5 rig. Just putting that out there. Don't shoot me down!
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December 22, 2009 6:57:09 AM

^ The i5s are also a very good option...but actually you can get the AMD rig with a Crossfire option(am talking about x8x8 config here, which you dont get in other cheap LGA 1156 boards - which mostly operate at x16x4 config) for less...
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December 22, 2009 6:58:11 AM

I've already had my crosshair on your head. :) 

Surely, he could put up an i5 rig.
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December 22, 2009 7:01:12 AM

I have never been much of a believer in Crossfire. After the amount of money spent on Crossfire capable components you would be better of getting a single GPU like the HD 5870. Sure it can give you amazing performance if you put two huge GPUs in Crossfire but it isn't really worth the money unless you want to build it for benchmarks or something stupid like Crysis. That is just my opinion though XD
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December 22, 2009 7:05:20 AM

^ Well taking the current situation - A single HD 5870 cost about ~$400
And 2x HD 5770s - $165 each - 2x 165 = $330
And 2X HD 5770s in crossfire performs nearly the same as the HD 5870 or in some cases, beats it...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5770-in-3way-cr...
So I still feel having Crossfire as an option is always a plus...
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December 22, 2009 7:10:09 AM

That isn't factoring in the cost of Crossfire ready components, but fair enough. However, the card that you were reccomending, the HD 5850, would be extremely expensive in Crossfire
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December 22, 2009 7:26:30 AM

ASUS 790X with that CPU combo - comes to around $100 - just about $5 - $10 more than the single PCIe mobos...
And about other components, I dont think again there would be much difference in cost...

And as for HD 5850, if he goes with it, he would wouldnt need the crossfire as of now...So later on when more intense DirectX 11 games come out, he can add one more later...by then am sure the prices would have come down...
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December 22, 2009 7:29:34 AM

By the time he needs more power DX12 will be out XD
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December 22, 2009 7:40:23 AM

I don't buy a graphics card that is as you say 'future proof'. That is an oxymoron. Technology is constantly improving and any 'future proof' graphics card that you purchase now will be obsolete in a years time. That is why I always buy what I need presently. I have an HD 4890. It is perfectly suited to my current needs. Sure the HD 5770 has similar performance, better power consumption and DX11. But how many DX11 games are currently out? NONE! It will take game developers a while to start optimising DX11. Therefore I am perfectly happy with my 'obsolete' GPU. If I need a new card when DX11 completly catches on I will get a DX11 card. By the same reasoning I will not get a DX12 card until DX12 is fully implemented. This is why I do not use Crossfire. If you have money to burn then you can waste it on crossfiring some ridiculously expensive bunch of cards. I do not. Like most gamers my two main concerns are cost and performance. You have to balance the two.
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December 22, 2009 7:44:30 AM

^ Lolz...
Well I think that is mostly unlikely...
DirectX 11 is yet to take off...the only major game out now is Dirt 2...
And for DirectX 11 to become mainstream, even Nvidia has to lauch their newer cards, which would take about 1-2 months or more...So for DirectX 12 to be released, it would take atleast 1.5-2 years looking at the current cycle...
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December 22, 2009 7:47:56 AM

I know that XD. I am just making a point. You have to balance budget and performace. I use the top end of last gen's technology to save money. I never use current top of the line components. It is completely pointless for a gamer. My HD 4890 plays every current game at decent quality and resolution.
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December 22, 2009 7:58:05 AM

^ Am not disagreeing with your point here...that is the reason why I had suggested a single HD 5850...It has the raw performance of a GTX 285 and comes with DirectX 11 support...So I feel for $300, it is a good buy(Actually would have been an unbeatable if it was still available at $250 price point)...so with it you can game at high resolutions and high settings...
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December 22, 2009 8:01:10 AM

I agree that a single HD 5850 is a great idea. I am planning on getting one at some stage. I am just waiting until Nvidia releases their GTX300 series and ATI drops their prices. I am the eternal bargain hunter XD
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December 22, 2009 8:10:05 AM

Ack! This is the problem w/ research, I learned that in order to get the 965 BE c3 to work is to have another am3 processor for the BIOS update... lame.

I'm not a big fan of the 5850, I'm not that rich.

I'm gonna stick w/ that particular PSU seeing as the success rate of 100 percent satisfaction is 82 percent. (Don't ask, numbers are statistics.) Plus it is comparable in specs to the Seasonic. Also, I just found a 950W Rosewill PSU w/ a 72 percent success rate...

Found a Antec 750W w/ 4 25a rails. Success rate above 90...

I really like the V8 mostly due to the rifle bearing design, I Wiki'd it and it's a quiet high spinning bearing, that's why all my fans are Silverstones. Plus it's on sale for 2/3rds it's original price!

I would argue that the Rosewill Case is a hundred times better than that Antec, but I won't, I love this case, I would have easily paid twice what I did, which was nothing, lol! It's a Thermaltake V9 clone and I love it.

I really like the HDD suggestion but I WANT RAID, no amount of money can replace data. However, while typing this I just realized an outboard solid state drive would work perfectly, I have a 1394a port...

Again, the GPU is too much, I can get the same performance out of two 4890's at 16x, hence the MOBO. I am forced to pay 100 more later as the upgrade is needed/preferred.

Thanks again guys, keep posting, I may be shooting ideas down due to personal preference/brand loyalty, but I'm not opposed change. Plus I was pretty upset about my CPU choice when writing this, and hearing about AMD's new 6 core CPU next year. At least I'll have a AM3 for the c3 BIOS update.
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December 22, 2009 8:18:00 AM

Oh, I know this is the wrong thread, but TigerDirect has a XFX HD5770 card that comes w/ dirt 2 for free, FOR FREE! and is like 175 after all the rebates, just sayn'.
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December 22, 2009 8:35:28 AM

Oops, forgot about the memory, I really like the GSKill suggestion! The Corsair not so much since it's geared for Intel. I really like the OCZ due to the compact heatspeader and the low latency.
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December 22, 2009 8:45:04 AM

^ I would still not go with Rosewill PSUs...Even the Antec 750 is a better option...
And also if you will be going with HD 5770s, then you wont need a 750W PSU...Antec EA 650 would suffice...
And as for performance difference between a x16x16 vs x8x8 is not at all significant - maybe around 5% rarely more...

I dont think you have calculated the total amount you would have spent on your build...comparing with the reworked build(with the HD 5850), I think there wont be any significant difference...
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December 22, 2009 9:07:39 AM

Right now w/ one video card it's 1k, more or less some pocket lint. No matter how I rework it, it comes out the same. Actually the higher end card still costs me 100 more... kinda stuck in a moral dilemma, I was hoping to find some better components that would save me some cash. I have improved the quality and functionality of the build w/ all of your guy's help though.
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December 22, 2009 10:08:03 AM

Update:

Windows 7 w/ XP mode or equivalent
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 125W Deneb
Cooler Master V8 HSF
MSI 790FX-GD70
Radeon HD4980 or HD5850** (Depending on Budget)
OCZ AMD BE Edition RAM 2x2GB 8-8-8-24
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB HDD
LG 24X DVD+/-R Burner SATA
Antec EarthWatts 750W PSU 4x25A 12V Rails
Rosewill Wind Knight Mid-Tower Case (Bottom Mount PSU)*
Silverstone 12cm Fan x5*
Zalman 8x1.5cm Slim CPU Fan x1*
Zalman 6 Channel Multi-Fan Controller*
Rosewill Multi SD Card Reader*

*Already Purchased.
**XFX 5850 Black OC (Might as well go big w/ it.)

Currently $900 w/ HD4980 or $1100 w/ HD5870 (Estimated)
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December 22, 2009 10:24:12 AM

^ You dont have buy specifically those AMD edition RAM sets...
Any DDR3 RAM will work with AMD...Only intel CPUs have the limitation of the 1.65V...
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December 22, 2009 11:07:40 AM

I'm sticking with them, they seem to be a hot item for AMD platform RAM, GSkill is more for P55 MOBOs. Reviews don't say much more than a pain in the a$$. OCZ has always been more compliant w/ AMD. They have a AMD BE Edition... that supports the innovative but lackluster AOD utility. I just wish I could get the ones w/ 7 cas lat.
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December 22, 2009 5:29:47 PM

If you want to save money you can ditch the MSI 790FX-GD70. A 790GX will give you similar overclocking potential. 790X is not quite as good but there is very little difference. They just tone down the features. If you have a tight budget you don't really need a 790FX motherboard.
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December 23, 2009 3:12:37 AM

Yeah, but the 790fx and the BE quad core are at the heart of my build, mostly for expandability, Having lots of PCIe is reassuring. I will look into a cheaper 790fx if the open box for sale sells b4 I buy it. I chose the fx because of the lack of onboard gfx chip. I really don't want to deal w/ the hassle of the gx, and the RAM it ties up. I have a onboard gfx nVidia right now that I dont use and I hate it. It makes ocn' much more of a pain.
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December 23, 2009 9:29:48 PM

Thank you for all your insight guys, you helped me save some money! I know I could probably be ok w/ a simpler board and cheaper RAM but I'm looking to develope the system further w/ crossfire and other goodies as my budget permits. Thanks again.
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December 23, 2009 10:59:31 PM

Good luck with your build!
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December 24, 2009 9:29:25 AM

Update:

After reading many reviews about the supplied fan in the V8 I opted to buy and additional 12cm PWM GELID fan just in case the supplied one poops.

BTW, I was reading some reviews in the Egg and I found that double boxing a Case is a good thing, Rosewill does this, I still have my old box to look at and they boxed the hell outta the thing. Just some fun facts to know.

I'm crossing my fingers here that the open box MOBO is ok. Sweating bullets.
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