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Planning a Possible Build in the Next Month (Gamer)

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April 14, 2010 8:33:28 PM

Hello.

I'm currently running an aging Q6600/680i build and was looking at a couple options for a new-future update. To be honest I could probably get away with atleast another 6 months on this machine, but I am definately feeling that itch (I'm sure many of you know it) for a new build.

I'll start with my current applicable specs:
CPU: Intel Q6600 (oc 3.2GHz)
MB: EVGA 680i
RAM: G.Skill DDR2 800
GPU: ATI HD 5850 stock clocks (recently purchased and will be moving on to the new build)

I know how things stand currently that the Core i7 is the go-to build for an enthusiast, but I was looking at possibly waiting a few weeks for AMD's new 6-core CPU which I have read in a couple places that the Black Edition model will be priced right under $300 or if the better option will still be to go the Core i7 route. I was wondering what sort of input you guys/gals have about future-proofing and price/performance for a new build.

If it is not clear. I'm not looking for a specific part by part build but rather wondering what others think about an AMD vs. Intel build at the moment considering the new 6-core CPU's coming out sometime soon.
April 14, 2010 8:36:59 PM

The i7s are by far NOT the go-to. In fact, I never recommend the i7s for a gaming build that doesn't have a budget over $1,500-1,600 (counting GPU). I can tell you that I have never recommended an HD 5850 and i7-930 build. A much better option that costs about the same would be the i5-750 and HD 5970.

As for the hexa-core CPUs, they mean nothing to gamers. Games don't use that many cores. In fact, there was a review done that found that the best number of cores for gaming is three.

As far as what to actually look for, we really can't help you without a price range. For example, here are three common budgets and what you get for it (counting the GPU). None of them share anything.

$800:

CPU: X3 425 $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $125 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
GPU: HD 5850 $300
HDD/PSU: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB and OCZ StealthXStream 700W $95 after rebate
Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $83 after rebate

Total: $793

$1,200

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $375
RAM/GPU: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 and HD 5870 $515
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 750W $85 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $80 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35 (with free card reader)

Total: $1,172

Beyond the point of reason.

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Asus P6X58D Premium $570
RAM: Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $250
GPU: HD 5970 $700
SSD: Corsair Nova 128 GB $369
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $90
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $190 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $80 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22
HSF: Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B $85 (with 2 fans)

Total: $2,356

And of course there are a number of builds in between...
April 14, 2010 9:12:22 PM

I'd say I have an $800 budget excluding sound card, HDD, monitor and GPU. As for a case, I just need something basic to throw my current machine in as I will be putting my new build in my current Antec 900. I also do not need a PSU.

Included in the $800 budget I would like to include a small SSD for Windows 7.

So, $800 for a SSD, CPU, mobo, RAM and HSF (unless my Tuniq Tower 120 could be used)
Related resources
April 14, 2010 9:53:58 PM

I'll echo admiral's recommendation w/ a few changes:

Unless you need access to multiple LAN networks (I have never run into such a situation myself) knock off $55 and get the following:

Asus P6X58D-E and i7-930 $515
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I'm not a fan of big tall heat spreaders which don't do anything for me other than interfering with many heat sinks. After "learning my lesson", I try to use modules with the low profile spreaders (i.e. Mushkin Ascent Liquid Coolers) or bare modules.

These are $10 more and are a tad faster (7-8-7-20 vs 7-8-7-24) but, in addition to that tad, that $10 buys some peace of mind that I won't have to RMA something :)  .

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course of you an verify the fit prior to the purchase and can confirm clearances, no need to worry. But the boards do contain a fair number of "I just started to put together my build, but my Heat Sink is hitting my RAM modules" posts.

As for the heat sink, with the budget room, I'd step it up a notch to the king of the hill. You could use your existing but a switch would pick you up 4 degrees C according to the review below. Looking here:

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

We see the latest ranking of top heat sinks

Intel-LGA1366 CPU Cooler Thermal Difference Advantage
ProlimaTech Megahalems 24.29°C over ambient -4°C
Thermalright Venomous-X 24.47°C over ambient -4°C
Scythe Mugen-2 SCMG-2000 26.03°C over ambient -3°C
Cogage Arrow 26.53°C over ambient -3°C
Titan FENRIR TTC-NK85TZ 27.92°C over ambient -1°C
Zalman CNPS10X-Performa 28.08°C over ambient -1°C
Coolink Corator-DS 28.38°C over ambient -1°C
Cogage TRUE Spirit 28.39°C over ambient -1°C
Noctual NH-D14 (2x 140) 29.10°C over ambient
ProlimaTech Armageddon 29.26°C over ambient
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme 29.40°C over ambient
CyberPowerPC XtremeGear HP-1216B 29.42°C over ambient
3R-System IceAge Prima Boss-II IA-120B2 29.46°C over ambient
Tuniq Tower-120 Extreme 29.52°C over ambient
Intel DBX-B ATS (Performance) 29.65°C over ambient
Xigmatek Balder SD1283 CAC-SXHH3-U06 30.00°C over ambient +1°C
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384 30.76°C over ambient +1°C
Noctua NH-U12P 31.68°C over ambient +2°C
Thermaltake Contac-29 CLP0568 32.60°C over ambient +3°C

Given those results, and since you have the budget room, I'd add the following:

$65 http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8807/cpu-pro-01/Proli...
$7 http://www.frozencpu.com/products/7038/thr-41/Innovatio...
$ 11 http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10026/fan-639/Scythe_...

Puts you at $798

If you want to OC a bit more, grab a 2nd fan (push-pull configuration) for another $11 and attach it to your MoBo's CPU header with the PWM splitter cable for another $7 .... new total = $816

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8418/cab-150/FrozenCP...
April 14, 2010 10:17:44 PM

Good looking out on the motherboard. I was not thinking I would need something at the $300 mark.

I do plan on OCing the CPU as I see fit but I do not think the Megahalems will fit. I have already had to modify my side fan on my Antec 900 case to accomodate the Tuniq, which is about 6mm shorter.

If the Tuniq would indeed do the job for some moderate overclocking (maybe shoot for the 3.6-3.8GHz range) how would the money saved be best spent? And we are sure that it will work on the LGA1336 socket?

C:\Edit

I just realized the Tuniq in the review is the newer "Extreme" which probably performs better than mine: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1449/cpu-tnq-01/Tuniq...

It appears the best one that will fit with a side case fan installed on my Antec 900 is the Scythe MUGEN-2.
April 15, 2010 3:35:51 PM

I don't think you should upgrade... You could save some money by getting by on that machine for more than 6 months. You may have the itch but I think it's inappropriately early. I can't think of any game or application that would have speed/frame rate issues running on that setup.

Myself on the other hand, I needed an upgrade.
OLD Setup:
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ @ 2.1GHz
2GB of DDR 400 (not DDR2)
x1950 XT - Yet to be upgraded, but needed. Likely going to purchase a 4870.
!