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New gaming PC - Buy now or wait for the next gen Intel chipset

Hi all,
I'm a new user to these forums, though I've visited here many times.

OK, too business: I am building a new gaming PC. My plan is to buy a good single graphics card today(e.g. HD 5850), use it as long as it runs games smoothly on 1920X1200, and when it starts to show it's age, in let's say: 2 years, I'll buy another one and crossfire or SLI it. I want to be able to game on this rig for at least 4 years (my screen resolution will definitely not change in that time).

I am debating whether it is advisable to buy now or to wait for nVidia's Fermi and Intel's Westmere coming in 2010...
As far as I see, there are mainly 3 reasons to wait until 2010 as far as gaming is concerned:

1. the main disadvantages for the P55 chipset is the limit on PCIe rails, which might not allow me to take full advantage of the second graphics card once I add it. And the switch to the X58 chipset is costly and adds much more power consumption to the system, and I generally want to avoid it (I prefer to spend more money on graphics than on processing power). The question is, will Westmere bring with it a new chipset (P65?), and if so will it support 2 full PCIex16 rails as X58 does? Secondly, am I justly concerned about this? Meaning, will the x8 rail on the second graphics card have a real life impact on SLI/Crossfire performance?

2. Fermi: is it worth waiting for? Are there any benchmarks predicting the performance bump between ATI's 5000 series and the GT300?

3. SATA III: Will we be seeing any SATA III SSDs in the next couple of months? And if so, will they actualy be able to use the wider bandwith to increase performance? Or is this something that won't have any effect on performance in the near future (As you can see, I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to SSDs)

Of course no one can give me any promises on products that haven't come out yet. I just want to hear opinions and educated guesses, because I really don't want to buy a new rig now and regret it in a few months. Waiting up to 6 months is fine with me, if there is good justification.
I am wondering if any of the 3 above mentioned, are worth it?

One last thing. here are some of the games that I plan on playing: Crysis Warhead, COD:Modern Warfare 2, and, I don't know: Starcraft II if it ever comes out :ange:
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. 1.) No one can answer the technical stuff. We have no idea. Intel may not even know. As far as the 8x rail, it doesn't have too big of an effect on performance. It's not a noticeable effect anyway. In addition, the 1366 boards mostly support 16x/16x now, so if that's why you're waiting, there isn't much of a point.

    2.) I haven't seen any benchmarks (and I don't think anyone has), and I'm not holding my breath for the cards to come out. I expected to hear something about a release date by now, mainly so nVidia could get people to think about waiting to buy instead of flocking to ATI. I wouldn't be surprised to hear the release is going to be pushed back at this point.

    3.) If they are released, they will be WAY out of anyone's budget. Already, most SSDs are out of budget, or at least not a worthwhile upgrade, for all but the highest budgets. If they do come out, you can easily buy a SATA III board now, and they will be supported. Besides, SATA II hasn't become the bottleneck yet anyway. It will be several years before both SATA III devices are out AND surpassing SATA II.

    Anytime you buy technology, you are going to regret it in a couple of months anyway. That's just the nature of the business. If you start waiting for the newly announced tech to come out before buying, you will be waiting until the end of time.

    I'd be willing to bet you're one of the people still waiting for Duke Nukem Forever to come out...
  2. Best answer
    I'm waiting for gulftown & fermi in March. You can already get a USB 3 & SATA III motherboard today.

    Nobody's tipping their hat about what they are making for SSD drives, although I would expect triple cell MLC's to come out sometime in 2010, causing a 50% increase in SSD capacity at roughly the same price. I would also expect these to be upgraded to SATA III, although they still might not work so good in RAID-0 or support TRIM or some kind of garbage collection or trash cleaning function in RAID.

    Perhaps there will be a version of the Z-Drive that works like it should and has insane random read and write times... that would be fantastic, but I'm not holding my breath for it.

    Gulftown on the desk top would be worth waiting for if you can handle $1000+ for a cpu. Current core i7 chips are better than the other parts that will be coming out, with the exception of the core i7 870E.

    Nobody knows for sure if fermi will be worth waiting for compared to the current gpu's. It'll probably have better double-precision, if that's important to you. I'm thinking that when it comes out, prices on the Radeon cards will possibly decrease, making it worth the wait no matter if you want ATI or NVidia.

    That said, both companies have problems with adequate supply, so I would expect that if you want the best, you'll have trouble sourcing the hardware. And retailers & etailers might gouge you some.

    There have been numerous fermi gaming benchmarks posted to the web... all of which have been shown to be fake shortly afterwards. The real ones are not out yet and are covered by NDA.

    I would think that the SATA-III SSD's would only really be able to make use of the wider bandwidth in RAID -- which isn't working properly for SSD's -- so no reason to wait as far as the SSD's are concerned. Other than the obvious price per GB decrease that will happen with 3 level MLC's.

    You can read about planned westmere cpu's on wikipedia. Gulftown fits into x58 sockets. Arrandale is for mobile. Clarkdale is dual core P55. The rest of westmere is already out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Westmere_(microarchitecture)#Westmere_.28microarchitecture.29

    If PhysX and 3D-Vision are important to you, wait for Fermi. If not, go with ATI Radeon now.

    If you will be spending $1000 on a cpu, wait for gulftown in March. If you are spending under $500 on a cpu, buy one of the core i7 or core i5 now.

    If you need more than 160GB in a boot & applications drive, consider waiting, but if not, you'll do pretty darn good with an existing SSD.

    I'm mainly waiting because I want the gulftown cpu and I can't seem to find a 5970 for sale at msrp anywhere. That will give me more time to plan out my build. If fermi isn't out by the time gulftown arrives, then nvidia is just out of luck.
  3. MadAdmiral said:

    I'd be willing to bet you're one of the people still waiting for Duke Nukem Forever to come out...


    Hardly... I am well aware that there is always a new piece of hardware just about to come out. But I am also aware that there are opportune times to buy a new computer. Sometimes it just makes more sense to wait than other times. Now, my current system is no longer able to play the most recent games, but I can still manage with it for a little longer. I just recently bought a Full HD TV set and would like to be able to make the most out of it. I won't be replacing the TV set for AT LEAST 5 years (probably 7) so 1920X1200 is the way I'm gonna play for as long as this rig lasts, and I would like it to last me as long as it can.
    What I was asking is for opinions, from more knowledgeable, experienced users, to ask what would they do. If you were upgrading right now, on a budget of $1100-$1300, which would you buy:
    1.core i5 750/i7 860 +HD 5850 and in 2 years, when the prices are low, another HD 5850 + SSD (probably X25-M G2 80gb).
    2. Because of the PCIe rail limit on P55, upgrade to X58+core i7 920 + same graphics setup as 1... due to expensive motherboards, this rig is probably over budget for me ( I live in Israel and X58 motherboards here are more expensive than in the US so the gap between 1156 to 1336 is even wider for me)
    3. Wait for Fermi and Gulftown to come out and with it hopefully a new chipset, which, AGAIN, hopefully will have 32 rails for PCIe, thus enabling me, hopefully, to buy the rig I want, for the price I want. Also, as mentioned here, prices should drop substantially for HD 5XXX when Fermi is released, which could be another reason for waiting.

    So, between these 3 options, which would you recommend?
  4. Bolas said:
    Gulftown on the desk top would be worth waiting for if you can handle $1000+ for a cpu. Current core i7 chips are better than the other parts that will be coming out, with the exception of the core i7 870E.


    No, I am definitely not spending $1000 on a CPU(more like that on the whole rig:p) , especially when all benchmarks show that the i5 750 handles games nearly as good as i7 975. The CPU's today are just not the bottleneck (Well, not on my budget at least. On a crossfired HD 5970, the i5 would probably bottleneck but I don't care). what concerns me is the P55 chipset and it's PCIe rail limit. And I wonder, should it really bother me that hard?

    Thanks for the info on SATA III and SSDs. I know that there are currently boards supporting SATA III and USB3. However, because Intel's chipsets do not support it yet, some of these boards "steal" rails from the 2nd PCIe, further limiting the benefit of Crossfire and SLI and are therefore not a wise buy for me ( I think ASUS's board doesn't do that, I would have to look more into it).
    But as I understand from your answer, SATA III doesn't seem to be something to be something that would give me much, or any benefit in the near future. I mean, sure, USB3 is nice to have, but really, more than 2/3 of the time I'm using other PC's with my thumb drive, and even if I'll buy a USB3 thumb drive, in most likelyness, they won't support it, so it's nothing to get excited about either... So, I don't think I'll let SATA III and USB3 into my considerations anymore
  5. I don't think the ATI prices will drop drastically when Fermi is released. They just won't go up any more. ATI will be smart and keep supply low so the demand will still be there.

    The price drop is also assuming that Fermi is better, which may or may not be a good assumption.

    I would say that if the choice is buy now or wait and buy in 6 months or so, it really depends. If you're absolutely itching to play the current games, an i5/5850 build (i7-860's not a good gaming CPU and i7-920's out of budget) will likely last without upgrade for well over 2 years. If it's more of a desire to stay current, you should wait.

    Basically, if your current computer does what you need it to do now, save up for a monster rig when it no longer does that. If it doesn't do what you need it to now, buy a new one now. As long as you build a decent computer (and follow the advice on these forums), you won't be wasting your money on a machine that's obsolete out of the box.
  6. This is an in between state... Currently, my rig isn't able to supply what I want out of it. On the other end, I do have some older games to play and I'm fine about making it last for another 3-6 months.
    Of course, any state of the art PC will last 2 years. I'm not worried about the next 2 years. I want to build a system that has a good chance of last ling 4-4.5 years, providing I upgrade it a little over time (e.g. adding another graphics card, adding RAM etc.). These are my main concerns when building a new PC. And for that task, I'm not sure if maybe I should "break" the budget just a little, and go with X58...
    MadAdmiral, In your first reply you said that there won't be any noticebale difference between 2 Crossfired HD 5850 on X58 and P55. Could you care to expand. What do you mean by noticeable difference? Isn't the 8 railson the 2nd card a bottleneck here?

    Also, why do you say i7 860 isn't a good gaming CPU? I've never heard that. Could you explain...
  7. Well, apparently a little googling was able to answer 1 of my questions. Crossfire for HD5xxx on x8 seems to be of little concern, just like you said. Check out this comparison chart:
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_5870_PCI-Express_Scaling/25.html

    So really, I think there is really no benefit (as far as gaming is concerned) in going with X58, if crossfire HD 5850 is my goal. right?
  8. I'm holding out for larrabee!!!!

    yeah
  9. uh_no said:
    I'm holding out for larrabee!!!!

    yeah


    you're joking, right?
  10. The i5-750 processor incorporates the PCIe bus into the processor, and eliminates the bandwidth bottleneck associated with the Northbridge chip required for the i920 processor. This newer technology allows the i750 system to outperform the i920 system with either one or two-crossfired graphics cards:
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3641&p=7

    If you live near a Microcenter store you can pickup a i750 processor for $150. With your budget, I would recommend you save a couple hundred dollars by buying the i750 system instead of the i920 system. Get the newer technology, get better performance, and save some money.
  11. Okay, so it seems that besides the unknown Fermi, there doesn't seem to be any concrete reason to wait around for a new technology right around the corner. The benefit will be minimal... goodie
    Still, I never like to buy anything when it's a seller's market, which is clearly the case now with ATI... nVidia's response to the HD 5xxx series was none-existent.
  12. Fall / early winter is usually the worst time to buy as prices are inflated due to the holiday season and Intel historically slashes chip prices at the end of February with newer releases about that time.

    In addition, the GFX card manufacturers typically release their new generation stuff in time for the XMas season leaving the early adopters w/ a bit of buyer's remorse as non reference tweaked designs bring out the best of each generation's capabilities in Spring. With nVidia stumbling this year, that timetable's been kicked a bit off kilter.
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