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Opportunistic Build - 3D, and games ~ $800-$1000

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January 14, 2010 8:42:09 PM

*Smack head for not following forum rules*

Sorry about the previous post, I've edited it to conform to the standard that's set out.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next 30 days (waiting on confirmation of upcoming project)

BUDGET RANGE: $800 up to $1000 if necessary

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: CAD, 3D Rendering, Gaming, occasional video encoding and general use (browsing, email, video)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, Optical drives

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Anguilla, British West Indies (not an issue, except with rebates)

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, ATI GPU preferrable

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently using two 19" Dells @ 1440x900. Won't change that for the time being

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My current system is a Dell Vostro 200. It's vitals are as follows:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz
RAM: 3.00 GB (can't remember specs on the 2x512MB that came with it, but I added Kingston ValueRAM 2x1GB 240-Pin DDR2 667
GPU: HIS H155F256EN-R Radeon X1550 256MB 64-bit GDDR2
HDD: 150GB Samsung 7200RPM

I'm in architecture and, whilst it's an adequate system for what I do most of the time, it's starting to struggle with the newer versions of all the software that I need to use. I do some light gaming when I have a few moments. Nothing strenuous: FIFA10 and now getting into COD4: Modern Warfare. I was planning to upgrade the GPU as I think it's race is run. However, the best I can do with the PSU I have is the ATI HD 4670 (I think that's the one that doesn't need additional power). That said, I am thinking that building a new system might be the way to go.

The reason I called the thread "Opportunistic Build" is that I was scouring the Egg when I came across a really sweet combo that could be the backbone of a decent system. The combo includes CPU, MOBO, PSU, RAM, HDD and a Case. It is as follows:

CPU
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor

MOBO
GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda LP ST31500541AS 1.5TB 5900 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Power Supply
Rosewill Green Series RG700-S12 700W Continuous @40°C,80 PLUS Certified,Single 12V Rail

Case
NZXT LEXA S LEXS - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

All this is for $560.99. The link for the combo is:
]http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.311727]

Added to this, I was going to add the following:

Video Card
HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - $162.99 (minus $10 off promo code, ends 1/15) = $152.99
]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161317&cm_re=5770-_-14-161-317-_-Product]

More RAM to bring it up to 8GB
Another pair of the Ripjaws - $93.99
]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277]

The total cost = $807.97. I'm not averse to going up to about $1000, but only if that means I'm getting $200 more worth of performance or getting essential parts.

I wanted to build a 64-bit system to take advantage of having more RAM, is there something I'm not considering? I use Autodesk Architecture for drawings and 3DS Max w/ Vray for rendering. Beyond that there's Photoshop and Illustrator for light graphic design, there's the games I mentioned, and everyday activities like browsing. I'm a heavy multi-tasker as well especially when I'm going back and forth from Max to CAD. I know the i7 is the defacto suggestion for people in my field, but I'm trying not to break the budget, or go overboard just because it's there to be done. The i5 is plenty powerful, especially when compared to my C2D which now serves me well and, truth be told, could last for a while more.

Regarding this build, how much more performance in my CAD/3D work do you think I would be able to manage over my current set-up - percentage-wise? I was thinking that if I can't get at least a 50%-80% improvement, then it makes no sense. Are there any suggestions? The combo is a BIG selling point for me, by the way, so if I don't have to change any of that, I'll be happy. Quite a long post in the end, I hope I didn't scare off some of the experts on here. Sorry I didn't read the rules earlier. Thanks so much whomever takes the time to read this and respond.
January 15, 2010 12:09:41 PM

Either that combo is gone, or the link doesn't work.

Regarding the performance gain, you're probably never going to get that large of an increase. Tech just doesn't improve that fast. I can't say exactly what you'd get, but it certainly won't be a 50% gain. Maybe if you got one of the $600+ i7s, extremely overclocked it and played around with everything else, you MIGHT be able to get that. Maybe.
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January 15, 2010 7:12:31 PM


The reason I was pushing for a possible 50% gain at the minimum is based on the benchmarks here on Tom's. I did a side-by-side of the E6550 and i7-920 as they were included in a 2008 benchmark. In the 2009 benchmark chart, the E6550 was excluded, so I did a side-by-side of the i5-750 and i7-920. Based on the head-to-head in similar programs and tests, it was obvious that the i7-920 would give a significant performance boost. In 3DS Max, for example, the i7-920 was 287% faster in the test that was administered (31s vs 89s). No surprise here since we're talking about multithreading making use of every last core and then some. In a similar test using 3DS Max between the i5-750 and i7-920, the i7-920 was only 13% faster (166s vs 188s). For most other tasks the performance difference between the i5-750 and i7-920 were close enough to be more/less negligible.

I was thinking that based on the benchmarks, performance gains could be in that region - if we are to use the i7-920 as our control variable. Am I being too linear in my thought process? Is there something more to consider. If I can get anything like that kind of gain, I'd be really happy.
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Best solution

January 15, 2010 7:17:38 PM

Yes, garthy4u, you're on the right track. A lot of people on these forums only know performance as how it pertains to games. CAD and rendering software are thread optimized and make full use of fast quad cores and lots of RAM. People who just game on their computers don't understand this. You'll see a very significant difference in your CAD and rendering performance. Just make sure to use 64-bit applications to get the full use of the system. Using a 32-bit CAD program still limits you to a 2GB limit for applications.
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January 15, 2010 7:31:12 PM

Yeah, I did mention that in the OP. I'm fed up of Max crapping out when calculating the lighting in some scenes because it has run out of memory. It has forced me to scale down the kind of work that I want to do and do workarounds. Frankly, I just want to throw some stuff at it and let it hammer it the hell out, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the input. Hopefully I can get some others to weigh in on compatibility issues or any other tweaks I can do that could polish off the system.
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January 26, 2010 12:13:10 PM

Best answer selected by garthy4u.
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