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New i5 or AMD 925 / 955 for Parents - 3 Options, Need Feedback

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January 3, 2010 3:09:29 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the next month

BUDGET RANGE:
($450 - $600) After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: General Internet (email, web surfing), watching movie clips on news sites, playing Yahoo Games, MS Office, TurboTax, etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, OS (Win 7 64-bit)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, or locally at Frys or MicroCenter

PARTS PREFERENCES: Not partial to any certain brand, I’m thinking AMD simply in terms of cost compared to Intel.

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
This is a build for my parents. They’ll be replacing their 6 year old P4 2.66GHz Dell, 1.5GB RAM, 80GB HD. I know the Phenom II X4 or i5 may be too much, but they will keep this computer at least 6 years like the current one, so that’s why I’m leaning this route, unless it makes more sense to go with a Core 2 Quad (or Core 2 Duo) – if so, please recommend one.

I’ve spec’d out the below three options, and the items I feel I need the most advice on are at the top w/my questions, but please feel free to make any other suggestions / recommendations.

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CPU / MoBo OPTION #1 - total cost w/below components: $573
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor$165

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard$70

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CPU / MoBo OPTION # 2 - total cost w/below components: $470

AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor

MSI NF750-G55 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

FRY’S COMBO DEAL: $160

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** Main difference between the two AMD & MoBo combos I can see (other than the chip speed), is 1 extra PCI Express 2.0 x16 on the MSI board, but 2 less PCI Express x1 and 1 less PCI slot. No eSATA on the Gigabyte, but 2 Firewire ports.

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CPU / MoBo OPTION # 3 - total cost w/below components: $595

Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 4 x 256KB L2 Cache, 8MB L3 Cache, 95W Socket 1156 Processor$150

ASUS P7P55 LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel$105
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** Compared to the AMD Set-up(s), how would you compare the Intel? MoBo Specs are about the same as the Gigabyte board.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153052]Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0 Power Supply$30

--OR—

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply$50

** Any advice one way or another on either of the PSU’s I’ve chosen?

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333$100

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s$55

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R $27

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 - $28

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower$50 (from MicroCenter)

GIGABYTE GV-R455D3-512I Radeon HD 4550 512MB 64-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP$28 - not needed on Frys combo deal
January 3, 2010 4:04:28 AM

i see no reason to not go with an Athlon II X4 620 along with the GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 unless you want onboard video
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January 4, 2010 2:07:17 AM

Thanks for the feedback Duke, I appreciate it.

Would you still go this route even with the Phenom II X4 925 being available with a combo MoBo for $160? It looks like the Athlon 620 & Gigabyte board are $170 together, AMIR.

Or if they're sold out (which seems to happen all the time with the Frys by my house) and I do go with the Athlon II X4 620, does this offer the same potential upgrade path as the Phenom would?

Thanks,
Steve
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January 4, 2010 5:28:03 AM

^ For the tasks that your parents do, I doubt they would benefit with a Quad when compared to a dual core...But a SSD would be a good option...
Reason -
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-ssd-perform...
SSD options - As that cheaper Kingston one is not good and I doubt you would need more than 30GB for just the OS and some apps...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And in terms of upgradeability, 6 years is a pretty long time and both the platform would be dead by then...The probable lifespan of the above 2 platforms are -
AM3 - Till 2011 as AMD will be launching a newer platform for their "Bulldozer" archietecture...
LGA 1156 - From the past, you can assume most probably 2-3 years, which has been the case with nearly all the sockets from Intel...
So going with either of the platform will be fine...

Including a SSD will really help boost the performance day-to-day as it will boot up fast, shut down fast, apps will be loaded in a jiffy...These are the most important things that your parents would want...

So with the above considerations, I would go with Option 2 (Generally the onboard chipsets for AMD apart from AMD dont go very well but that board doesnt seem to be bad) + a SSD...
And I can guarantee you that this setup will be faster that the rest of the setups...
But finally its your call...
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January 4, 2010 2:33:43 PM

gkay09 - thanks for all the input! And great SSD article.

I didn't even consider an SSD for them, but I think you're right, especially seeing as their current HD is only 80GB and is maybe half full with everything, inlcuding Win XP. I always hear about how long it takes for the PC to start. I like the look of that OCZ drive and put it on the list.

True, regarding upgradability, down the road 6 years, I'm sure any option I choose will probably go the way of my old P4 with RD-RAM :)  But I guess that's also why I'm looking at a Phenom II X4 or i5, even though it may be overkill now, I was hoping it would still be performing well 6 years down the road...
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January 5, 2010 2:51:58 AM

^ Ohh yeah those Quad will perform very well even after 6 years(w.r.t usage of your parents)...
And you should read about Undervolting for sure...Will help running the Phenom cooler and at lower voltages - hence lower power consumption...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/undervolt-cpu-pheno...
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January 5, 2010 8:18:02 PM

I choose the GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P for my first build and I havent been disappointed. Personally I would go with the dual core athlon 2, those things are cheap!
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January 5, 2010 9:29:22 PM

gkay09 said:
^ Ohh yeah those Quad will perform very well even after 6 years(w.r.t usage of your parents)...
And you should read about Undervolting for sure...Will help running the Phenom cooler and at lower voltages - hence lower power consumption...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/undervolt-cpu-pheno...


Thanks for another great article - I gotta look around there more (I recently joined this forum), I've seen some great stuff there for a newer system builder such as myself. That's one thing I noticed as you stepped up from the 925 to the 955 the watts rating went up by 30W.

hamsterspam said:
I choose the GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P for my first build and I havent been disappointed. Personally I would go with the dual core athlon 2, those things are cheap!


Thanks for the feedback hamsterspam! That's on my list as an option, if I can't get the Frys combo. With the Frys combo, it leaves room in the budget for the OCZ SSD, which I like the idea of. A friend reminded me that MicroCenter has some great deals on Core 2 Duo/Quad chips, especially with the i5/i7's out. So, I may take a quick look in their store before I head to Frys, just to be sure...
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