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My $350 mobo/mem/proc upgrade - please any critique/advice...

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January 2, 2010 10:08:05 PM

Hello,
I decided to post the possible specs of an upgrade I am considering and have the community of Tom’s critique me before I buy. ..My application is multi-media, audio/sound recording (large files) and editing, playing video from DirectTV DVR and a pc workstation. I run Photoshop, Audio editing software, Win 7 64 bit, and I infrequently play computer games. My budget is about $300-400 for the three components I am upgrading…

The possible component candidates are as follows.

MOTHERBOARD
ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Newegg Item #: N82E16813131406
$94

MEMORY
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 15000) Desktop Memory Model F3-15000CL9D-4GBRH - Retail Newegg Item #: N82E16820231280
$99

PROCESSOR
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
Newegg Item #: N82E16819103674
$165

I will be powering the system with a OZ 550 watt PSU and will be running my current GeForce 8800GTS video card. All will be housed in a Antec P180 Micro ATX case. I like the HDMI out from the Mobo for my DVR viewing. :) 

Some questions:
*Is this the best price for the components?
*is this the best combo of mobo to memory?
*should I upgrade the the Phenom 965?
*is there a difference between the 145W proc or the 125W proc?
*should I invest in aftermarket CPU cooling?
*Am I forgetting anything?
*Please critique my choice of motherboard processor and memory combination.
January 2, 2010 10:18:47 PM

since you a power user i woul consider the intel i5
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January 2, 2010 10:56:30 PM

^ No point really unless OP plan to go i7 (8 Threads) down the road.

@OP: Not sure if your software can take advantage of 8 threads, but if it can, consider getting an i7.

Quote:

*Is this the best price for the components?
Probably

*is this the best combo of mobo to memory?
The Ripjaws are always a good choice

*should I upgrade the the Phenom 965?
No

*is there a difference between the 145W proc or the 125W proc?
Yes, heat output and motherboard compatibility.

*should I invest in aftermarket CPU cooling?
Yes, overclock it!

*Am I forgetting anything?
No

*Please critique my choice of motherboard processor and memory combination.
They look fine to me.

Answers in bold.
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January 3, 2010 3:07:55 PM

Thanks for your answers...

Shadow703793 said:
^ No point really unless OP plan to go i7 (8 Threads) down the road.

@OP: Not sure if your software can take advantage of 8 threads, but if it can, consider getting an i7.
I checked into the i7, and i will end up spending 2-3x more if i go the intel route...and questionable if i will see much of a difference. so I think i will stay within my budget and go AMD.

*should I invest in aftermarket CPU cooling?
Yes, overclock it!
Shadow: Can you recomend any aftermarket CPU cooling units?




Question about the memory I selected, since it is DDR3 1866, newegg says its specificially designed for the intel i5 and i7 mobo's, but my mobo is rated 1800 memory so will i be ok if i run AMD???
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January 3, 2010 3:12:00 PM

Yes, the RAM will work fine, btw, the DDR3 1800 rating for the motherboard is the MAX RAM speed it will do.

Quote:
Shadow: Can you recomend any aftermarket CPU cooling units?

Take a look here: http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

The best price vs performance goes to the CCF 120mm: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25 after MIR. Frosty ranks it at #6 for AMD based rigs. Not bad for a $25 cooler imo. And yes, it will work with AM3 since the AM3 and AM2 sockets are physically the same.
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January 4, 2010 1:27:33 AM

Awesome info...I think I will spend a little extra cash for the aftermarket cooler.

Question? How much can that proc be safely overclocked? Where's some good info on overclocking that proc?
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January 10, 2010 2:39:44 PM

what kind of hard drive raid configurations are fastest and popular now?
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January 10, 2010 6:55:09 PM

^ For OS:
2x 500GB Samsung F3s or similar WD/Seagate.

For Data:
A single HDD will do, however, some people do RAID 1 or RAID 01. DO NOT do RAID 0 for a Data set up.
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January 10, 2010 7:14:20 PM

I currently now have RAID (stripe) is that 0 or 1?

What about Mirror + Stripe? with 3 drives??

I heard the RAID on this Asus board is a software raid rather than a hardware raid setup..and software is inferior to the hardware raid.. is this true?

I bought one HItachi 500 GB deskstar allready.....
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!