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Upgrade first, i7 Next - Advice requested

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February 23, 2010 6:09:28 PM

I have decided to build a core i7 computer. I haven't built a computer since my self-built PC that I'm using right now (2-3 years). My plan is to take an upgrade approach to eventually get to the i7 build in 2011. Any advice with my strategies and components is appreciated! :) 

I currently have an old dual core PC that I plan to upgrade with components that will also work in my Core i7 build. That way, when I upgrade to core i7 in 2011, I can use almost all of the components that I buy this year.

Core i7 Build (Finish building in 2011; ** items work in 2010 Upgrade build):

CPU: Intel i7 920 (will overclock) $290
MB: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 $310
**HDD: 2 x WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200RPM 32MB Cache $140
[Boot Drive] Intel SSD 40GB (Splurge Item! ) $130
**GPU: Radeon HD 4870 256-bit or HD 5770 128-bit $160ish
**Case: Antec Twelve Hundred $160
**PSU: Antec CP-850 $110
RAM: 6GB (3x2GB) G.Skill DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $165
Media: LG BD/DVD/CD combo $100
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 $30

Total: ~$1600

Upgrade Build (build now (2010), then change out CPU, MB, RAM, Media, and Cooler in 2011):

CPU: [Upgrade] AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz $55
MB: [Have] MSI K9N SLI Platinum
HDD: [Core i7 Build Components] 2x WD 500GB; SSD 40GB $270
GPU: [Core i7 Build Component] HD 4870/5770 $160ish
Case: [Core i7 Build Component] Antec 1200 $160
PSU: [Core i7 Build Component] Antec CP-850 $110
RAM: [Upgrade] 4GB (2x2GB) Crucial DDR2 1066 (PC 8500) $100
Media: [Have] DVD/CD combo

Total Spent in 2010 $855
Total Spent in 2011 (upgrade CPU, MB, RAM, Media, Cooler to i7 Build) ~$870 (minus depreciation)

Does this look feasible? Any holes/precautions that I should be aware of? Any suggestions on the video card or just in general?

All comments welcome.

Thanks!


February 23, 2010 6:36:51 PM

What's the computer for?

HDD: Don't get the WD 500 GB. Get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate 7200.12. It's cheaper, faster, quieter and cooler.

SSD: A 40 GB SSD will literally only hold the OS and maybe 2 games. Don't get anything less than an 80 GB one.

GPU: 5770 would be a better choice. If this is for gaming, the 5770 is extremely weak for any resolutions above 1600x. It's also weak when using DirectX 11. If you're gaming at 1900x (or will be), you need at least the 5870.

Case: Save yourself $70 and get the HAF 922.

PSU: I hate the CP-850. It will only fit in 3 cases, and it's not that efficient. If you're commited to quality and logevity, get the Silverstone 850W 80+ Silver for $150.

I have a whole little problem with your plan. The newer 6 core CPUs are due out this year. That likely means that the LGA1366 socket will be dead come next year. Since you're spreading this build out for so long, you will be building on dead tech when it comes time to buy the CPU and the rest. So either you get an obsolete build next year, or you pay full price anyway.
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February 23, 2010 7:02:36 PM

Mmm, it took you how many minutes to suggest a better build than the one I spent weeks researching? :) 

Thanks for the info.

Purpose: Office, internet, Gaming (occasionally, but want to enjoy it), streaming video to HDTV.

HDD: I will go with the Samsung or Seagate drives (RAID 0).

SSD: I know 40GB is only for OS and (maybe!) a game or two, but I usually only have 1-2 games that I play at a time and I can't justify the expense of the 80GB yet :) . You're point is perfectly valid though.

GPU: I'll look at the 5770 or the 5870.

Case & PSU: I had played around with the HAF 922 idea, but going with the Antec 1200 made the PSU choice easy :) . I like both of your suggestions however and will go with the HAF 922 and Silverstone PSU

As for the building on dead tech problem:

If the only components that I'm buying right now that I plan on using in the future are the HDD, GPU, Case, and PSU, should I be able to go with just about any matching set of ATX mobo, CPU, RAM, and Cooler in the future? I plan to just use an Athlon X2 this year and then see what my options are next year for upgrading the CPU set (likely go with a discounted i7 at that point since the i9s will be out). Am I missing something? (very possible)

Thanks!


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February 23, 2010 7:16:10 PM

I'd definitely wait on the SSD. The prices are falling, and they have some kinks to work out. The reason the 40 GB will only hold a game or maybe two is that SSDs like to have a lot of empty space, usually more than 20% is recommended.

The parts your buying now will definitely be compatible later. The problem is that after the first 6 core CPUs, Intel is likely to abandon the LGA1336 socket. So you could buy the i7s for cheaper, but you wouldn't have an new upgrade options (hence the "dead" socket). So if you wait a year or so, then buy the i7-920 at say $200, that's going to be the best CPU you could get on the LGA1336 socket. If you wanted to upgrade in a few years, you would need a new board, new CPU and likely new RAM. It's exactly what happened with the LGA775 socket.
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February 23, 2010 7:31:27 PM

Or just stick with AMD with an AM3 mobo and hope that the 6 core AMD's are comparable to the Intels.
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February 23, 2010 7:39:52 PM

Well, by next year, we'll know for sure.
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February 23, 2010 10:40:29 PM

Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense.

I'll definitely do some more research next year regarding cpu, mobo, chipset, etc.

After more research on your suggested items and other items, I'm going to get the following:

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB (x2)

SSD: Intel SSD 40GB (I just have to try these :) )

GPU: I'm going to stick with the HD 4870. Good price and I don't have much use for DX 11 right now. When I get the new stuff next year, I may get another HD 5XXX for crossfire.

Case & CPU: I'm going back to Twelve Hundred with the CP-850. I've read a ton of reviews and comparisons and they seem to be neck and neck for 1200 vs HAF. I also looked into some really in-depth PSU testings and have decided that I like the new form factor and the improvements on this PSU.

Thanks again for all your suggestions. And thanks for the heads up on my next year components!




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February 24, 2010 12:00:37 AM

You realize that if you Crossfire a 4xxx with a 5xxx card, you will lose the extra features the 5xxx series gives you right?
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February 24, 2010 12:16:09 AM

:)  I do now.

I'm actually looking at a 5770 (128-bit) right now. I may switch to that (I've asked a comparison question in the video card forum). Thanks for the heads up!
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Best solution

February 24, 2010 12:30:16 AM

Antec 1200 / CP-850 combo is $244. You simply can't find a better rated PSU.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

The Silverstone 850 models were very poorly reviewed, getting the two lowest ratings ever on jonnyguru.com

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

For comparison purposes , the list below contains performance ratings (10 scale) at jonnyguru.com / prices as per newegg on 02/21/2010 and ones w/ double asteris (**) made it onto silentpcreview.com's Editor's Choice List:

Antec SG-850 - 10.0 ($220) **
Antec CP-850 - 10.0 ($110) **
XFX 850W Black Edition 10.0 ($185)
Corsair HX850 850W - 10.0 ($180)

Antec TruePower Quattro (TPQ-850) - 9.5 ($150)
Corsair TX850 - 9.5 ($140)
Seasonic M12D 850W - 9.5 (NLA) **
NorthQ Giant Connector 850W - 9.5 (NFS)
Etasis ET850 - 9.5 (NLA)
Silverstone Zeus ST85ZF - 9.5 (NLA)

Enermax Revolution 85+ 850W - 9.0 ($250)

Thrmaltake Toughpower XT 850W - 8.5 ($216)
OCZ Z Series 850W - 8.5 ($200)

NorthQ Black Magic Flex 850W - 8.0 (NFS)
Coolmax CTG-850 - 8.0 (NFS)

SilverStone Decathlon DA850 - 7.5 ($230)
Enermax Galaxy DXX 850W EGX850EWL - 7.5 (NFS)

SilverStone Strider ST85F - 7.0

Silverstone Element ST85EF 850W - 6.0


NFS - Not For Sale / NLA = No Longer Available



Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The WD Black 2 TB is a good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

GFX Card - I didn't see ya resolution....1t 1650 resolution or blow the 5770 works....at 1920 and above, the 5870 is da way to go.
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February 24, 2010 10:26:20 AM

The CP-850, it could be God's Gift to the World, but I'd still hate it as it WILL ONLY WORK IN 3 CASES. And they're not even the best 3 cases.

As for that review, a major drop to the Silverstones was the value score, which for the ST85F was dinged because it was $200 at the time of the review. It's down 25% now. The value would surely be a 9 or 10 now, increasing the score to an 8.5. Same with the Element. It was reviewed at $180, got a value of 3, and is currently $100. This is why I hate johnnyguru's reviews. They don't age well...

You also don't look at any other factors in that list, such as grouping them by efficiency.
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February 24, 2010 11:12:55 AM

Forgot to add one thing: the Silverstone reviewed (ST85F) isn't even the same one sold anymore. It's the ST85F-P. Chances are that they improved on the one flaw noted in the review...

Also forgot to mention my *other* strike against jonnyguru reviews. That retarded "aesthetics" score. You don't even see PSUs, so why whould what they look like matter? And the reviewers taste are HIGHLY questionable. I remember seeing a neon green unit with a blue LED fan getting a 10. I've seen things in toilets that were more aesthetically pleasing than that...

So, in summary, you have to ditch or adjust two of the 4 categories of the review. How's that make for a good source?

Oh, I also just noticed that you inflated some of those scores. The CP-850 got a 9.5, not a 10. And no mention (or decrease due to) of the strange size in the scores , which is unforgiveable.

In light of the mistatement of the CP-850's score, I have gone back and pulled the others. Here's the ACTUAL SCORES from johnnyguru:

SG-850 9
CP-850 9.5
XFX 9.6
HX850 9.6
TPQ-850 9.5
TX850 9.5
Seasonic 850W 9
NorthQ 850W 9
Etasis ET850 9
ST85ZF 9
Enermax Revolution 85+ 850W 9
Thrmaltake Toughpower XT 850W 6.5
OCZ Z Series 850W 8
NorthQ Black Magic Flex 850W 8.5
CTG-850 8
DA850 8
DXX 850W EGX850EWL 8
ST85F 7.5
ST85EF 850W 6
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February 24, 2010 3:02:36 PM

Good information all around. I agree with both of you on Johnyguru reviews--they are valuable when viewed under the right filter.

Either way, I like the CP-850 PSU and I actually like the 1200 so I went with that. I ordered all the parts yesterday and am excited to put it all together (and REALLY hoping it all works without a hitch)!

Upgraded Build when complete:

MB: My old MSI K9N Platinum
CPU: New Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (stayed away from the 6000+ due to reviews and sketchy compatibility)
RAM: New 4GB (2x2) Mushkin DDR2 800
GPU: New Sapphire ATI Radeon 4870
HDD: New Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB (x2)
SDD: New Intel SSD 40GB
Case: New Antec Twelve Hundred
PSU: New Antec CP-850 (850W) (overkill, but can crossfire in future)
ODD: Old DVD/CD combo

Total Spent: $810 (plus shipping)

Next Year's Build:

MB/CPU/RAM: TBD (4-6core CPU, DDR3 RAM, awesome mobo. Will just have to see what's out there then).
ODD: BD/DVD/CD
Rest: All the new stuff from above :) 

Thanks again everybody
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February 24, 2010 3:08:43 PM

Wait. You bought new DDR2? Is that a typo?
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February 24, 2010 3:49:48 PM

It's not a typo. It is a sunk cost though.

I'm running on 2GB of really old, low-qual RAM. I had to upgrade the RAM.

Both the CPU and the RAM in my upgrade build are sunk costs that won't carry over to my new build next year. But I'm ok with spending the ~$125 now to hold me over for another year or so.
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March 3, 2010 2:43:35 PM

Best answer selected by Trajen.
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March 4, 2010 9:43:20 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The CP-850, it could be God's Gift to the World, but I'd still hate it as it WILL ONLY WORK IN 3 CASES. And they're not even the best 3 cases.


To each his own

Quote:
As for that review, a major drop to the Silverstones was the value score, which for the ST85F was dinged because it was $200 at the time of the review. It's down 25% now. The value would surely be a 9 or 10 now, increasing the score to an 8.5. Same with the Element. It was reviewed at $180, got a value of 3, and is currently $100. This is why I hate johnnyguru's reviews. They don't age well...You also don't look at any other factors in that list, such as grouping them by efficiency.


I would ask that you should stop telling people what they are and are not looking at and more carefully read what your responding to before criticizing it. The ONLY number I ever look at and ever quote on THG is the jonnyguru "Performance Rating''. As I have stated this to you before I wanted to emphasize that . Again, PLEASE CAREFULLY READ what a person says before you criticize it. I stated:

"For comparison purposes , the list below contains performance ratings (10 scale) at jonnyguru.com / prices as per newegg on 02/21/2010 and ones w/ double asterisk (**) made it onto silentpcreview.com's Editor's Choice List:"

Very clearly says "Performance Rating", Not "Aesthetic Rating", not "Value Rating", not "Functionality Rating", not "Overall Score"

The SilverStone Strider ST85F 850W is rated poorly solely because it has a Performance Rating of 7.0 ...that's a crap score.

The Silverstone Element ST85EF 850W is rated poorly solely because it has a Performance Rating of 6.0 ...that's an even crappier score.

Quote:
So, in summary, you have to ditch or adjust two of the 4 categories of the review. How's that make for a good source?


Agreed. That's why I am only looking at and posting the "Performance Rating"

Quote:
In light of the mistatement of the CP-850's score, I have gone back and pulled the others. Here's the ACTUAL SCORES from johnnyguru:


No mistatement was ever made....other than your claim that it was a mistatement.

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

Your "corrected chart" doesn't correct anything...all you did was post a new set if data containing overall scores which, by your own words, don't matter because 2 of the 4 categories shouldn't count. The "Performance Rating" for the CP-850 most certainly is not 9.5 as you listed but 10 as I listed. Same for every other PSU on my list.

Performance 10 (this is the number in my chart as specifically stated preceding it)
Functionality 8 (never looked at, cared about or posted it)
Value 10 (never looked at, cared about or posted it)
Aesthetics 9 (never looked at, cared about or posted it)
Total Score 9.5 (never looked at, cared about or posted it)


Again:

For comparison purposes , the list below contains performance ratings (10 scale) at jonnyguru.com / prices as per newegg on 02/21/2010 and ones w/ double asteris (**) made it onto silentpcreview.com's Editor's Choice List:

Antec SG-850 - 10.0 ($220) **
Antec CP-850 - 10.0 ($110) **
XFX 850W Black Edition 10.0 ($185)
Corsair HX850 850W - 10.0 ($180)

Antec TruePower Quattro (TPQ-850) - 9.5 ($150)
Corsair TX850 - 9.5 ($140)
Seasonic M12D 850W - 9.5 (NLA) **
NorthQ Giant Connector 850W - 9.5 (NFS)
Etasis ET850 - 9.5 (NLA)
Silverstone Zeus ST85ZF - 9.5 (NLA)

Enermax Revolution 85+ 850W - 9.0 ($250)

Thrmaltake Toughpower XT 850W - 8.5 ($216)
OCZ Z Series 850W - 8.5 ($200)

NorthQ Black Magic Flex 850W - 8.0 (NFS)
Coolmax CTG-850 - 8.0 (NFS)

SilverStone Decathlon DA850 - 7.5 ($230)
Enermax Galaxy DXX 850W EGX850EWL - 7.5 (NFS)

SilverStone Strider ST85F - 7.0

Silverstone Element ST85EF 850W - 6.0
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