Im thinking of replacing my aging old machine and currently have numerous thoughts on this and cant make up my mind! Generally when doing this I try and get a machine that will last and the current one still plays most games etc but now struggling for storage, game detail levels low, general office performance is dragging!
General Details below, currently I have an AMD 4400X2, 4Gb Ram, 2 x WD 74Gb Raptors (Raid 0), 2 x 250Gb WD (Raid 0 drives), ATI 4750 VGA, decent case & PSU, decent keyb, mouse and screen
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Either now or in a few months, one of the questions!
BUDGET RANGE: £1300 - £1800
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3D Max, Gaming, Music, General Office
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Screen, keyboard,mouse, speakers, OS
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: scan, overclockers, ebuyer, any that are recommended!
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK
PARTS PREFERENCES: ATI over nVidia, like all past AMD cpus but tolerated intels (if that makes sense!)
OVERCLOCKING: yes, not made up mine water or air and usually overclock a year or more after to get that speed feel back!
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Crossfire at a later date (get 1 good card and add to it)
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 28" 1920x1080
I plan on building the system with best initial components I can affoer and can add more ram later
My original machine spec was: AMD Phenom II 965 BE, Asus Crosshair III Formula xfire motherboard, 1Gb XFX HD 5870XT (add another later for xfire), 4Gb Corsair Dominator PC1600 Ram (2x2Gb), 2 x 150Gb WD Raptor Drives (OS, Raid 0), 2 x 500Gb WD RE3 Drives (data, Raid 1), Antec P193 case, 850w Antec CP-850w PSU, Asus Xonar Essence STX PCI-E Audiophile soundcard, extra fans 120mm
Some Questions that hold me back!
1. Is it worth waiting for a 6 Core AMD & are there any new platforms due out with it? Can only seem to find that it will be AM3 compatible
2. I have 2 x 74Gb Raptor HDDs (currently 5ish years old when first released) running Raid 0 for performance, dont know how much life they have left so thinking of changing. I was all set to get 2 x 300Gb Raptors and Raid 0 again with two reasonable 500Gb drives for storage but am seeing good things about the Samsung Spinpoint F series. Would there be a massive performance loss running 2 Raid 0 instead of raptors or even 3 configured Raid 5
3. Entry level SSD Drive worth it yet against the above proposal OS drives (the raptors will set me back £240ish)
4. Is the Ram any good for overclocking as I have never had problems from Corsair before but looking at it, there may be benefits of other brands and also is it worth getting 1800Mhz Ram instead
5. Gigabyte have just released a new mobo with USB3 and few other bits but I have never been a fan of Gigabyte boards, this is based on bad experience 10+ years ago, what are they like now
1.) Not really. The 6 cores are going to be on the AM3 socket, so you could get a cheap one now and upgrade later.
2.) Raptors are useless right now. For 1/3 of the price, you can get 500 GB Samsung Spinpoint F3s that perform just as well. You might even see performance gains. If you're committed to spending a good $300 on HDDs, get a SSD as a boot drive. Nothing beats their speed.
4.) Performance wise, there's nothing better than a SSD. Raptors aren't that good any more compared to the Spinpoint F3s (as mentioned above). That said, I don't typically recommend them except when there is no where else to spend the $300 (or however many pounds) as it's newer tech that is still at a huge premium and still being worked on.
4.) I don't think it's worth getting 1800 mhz sticks, but I'm not an expert on overclocking. You might want to stick to 1600 mhz, CAS Latency 7 sticks.
5.) New? It's been out for a while.
Here's what I recommend. Considering that you're budget is huge (between $2,100 and $3,000), you shouldn't be using AMD at all. Since I'm not in England, you might want to check these prices out over there.
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium
RAM: G.Skill PI Series 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7
HDD: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB
SSD: 128 GB one
Case: Antec P193
PSU: Antec 850W
GPU: HD 5970
Optical: Cheap SATA Burner (or if needed, BluRay reader/burner)
Total (w/ BR burner): $2,450. Plenty of room for anything else you need, even a second SSD for RAID 0 or a second HD 5970 (both completely unnecessary).
2. Original raptors get outperformed by cheap eco green hard drives these days lol.
3. For SSD's, the only two you should consider atm are Intel X25-M's or OCZ Vertex. Any other SSD is far behind these two in performance. 80gb Intel goes for $300 in the states. 60gb Vertex goes for $230. Use these as boot and app drives.
4. OC wise, the speed of the RAM you want depends on how high you want to go. Generally, you're better of with tighter timing RAM, especially on AMD architecture, which gains very little from speed, but greatly from tight timings.
Lately I've just been using 7-7-7-21 1333 DDR3 and that allows me to OC i5's and i7's fine to 4ghz while keeping the 7 timings. If you want to go much higher than that, you'll need 1600 RAM. 1800, don't see any need for it especially since i5's and i7 are much more stable with odd ie 21x multipliers.
5. Current gigabyte P55 boards steal PCIE bandwidth to enable USB 3.0/SATA 6.0. Very poor decision on a platform that has limited PCIE lanes to begin with, and it effectively kills xfire, and hurts even single card performance.