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Sanity Check for ~$1000 AMD Build

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May 4, 2010 3:52:25 AM

Hey all,

It's been a good 6 or 7 years since I built my last rig, and since then I have become frighteningly rusty. The time has come though, for me to build another, as "old faithful" finally died on me. It's amazing all the new stuff that can come out in that short a period of time. At this point, it's not worth trying to salvage it... it's time to look to the future.

I've been doing non-stop research over the past week or so, scouring Tom's HW, Newegg reviews, etc. and my head is literally spinning now. I have changed this potential configuration a dozen or more times, trying to find the "sweet spot" between performance, cost, and of course, compatibility. I'm hoping you guys can help to either validate or improve this tentative build. My big sticking point is the video card... more about that at the bottom of my thread...

==================================

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: ~$1000 before rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming / Movies / Surfing / Work (MS Office)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD Build, Mid-Tower - see below for specifics

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (eventually) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (eventually)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet is nice, but not mandatory. I have listed some specific questions below...

==================================

Case: LIAN LI PC-B25F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W
---> Question: Is there a difference between the following two Phenom II X4 955 chips? They look identical except for the model numbers:
---> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103674
---> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808

HSF: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler

RAM: Two options. Both on QVL, but ECO has lower CAS latency (7 vs 9). Is that worth $15?
---> Option 1: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
---> Option 2: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal

DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

Video: This is where I've got a problem. To keep to my $1000 budget, I appear to be limited to something like the following:
SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

From what I can tell, people tend to recommend the 5870's or 5850's, if at all possible. I am struggling with sacrificing on the other areas, despite the fact that the video card is what gaming is going to be all about. Any recommendations on how I can squeeze an extra $200 or so from the other areas without sacrificing too much (and without jeopardizing compatibility and future growth opportunities)? The build above (including the 5770) runs $995 with shipping.

Another option would be to just deal with the 5770 for now, possibly Cross-firing it as a next step, and then, if need be, upgrade to something heftier at a later time. Thoughts?

Thanks!!
May 4, 2010 4:00:48 AM

That case is a pretty expensive one. Check out the HAF 922, and put the savings towards a 5850 or 5870.

Processors - Yes there is a difference. One is C2 and the other is the latest C3 stepping. Defintely get the C3 here:

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

The CAS Latency of 7 is preferable, however, make sure your board will run it at 1600.(check with Gigabyte and G.Skill forums) Most RAM is designed for the 1156/1366 Intel chipset. I had issues getting my RAM to run at rated timings on my 790XTA-UD4.
Related resources
May 4, 2010 4:02:54 AM

Welcome to the forum.

First off, I would recommend a cheaper case, but that can be a matter of preference.

The RAM latencies will not make a huge difference. My personal choice would be this set - nice balance of performance and cost.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have a very similar build in one of my own computers (955 + 5770) and also plan upgrading down the road. There is little room for cutting back with your build, unless you don't mind dropping down to a 790X...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And even that doesn't save you enough to upgrade to a 5850 (or even a 5830). So, provided your budget is fixed, I would say you will be quite happy with the build and it's upgradability. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
May 4, 2010 4:13:29 AM

This will play any game at 1920x1080 very well. Total is 941.92 (add shipping)

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811119197
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Instant
$109.98
$89.98


Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822148395
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$5.00 Instant
$59.99
$54.99


GIGABYTE GA-770T-USB3 AM3 AMD 770 USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128431
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$10.00 Instant
$89.99
$79.99


SAPPHIRE 100281-3SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814102883
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$40.00 Instant
$429.99
$389.99


CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ...
Item #: N82E16817139006
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$30.00 Instant
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$139.99
$109.99


G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
Item #: N82E16820231303
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$119.99


AMD Athlon II X3 425 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX425WFK32GI - OEM
Item #: N82E16819103725
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
$67.00


COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$29.99

May 4, 2010 8:49:59 PM

Thanks so much for the helpful (and quick!) responses...

I suspected there might be some recommendations around the case and the mobo... in light of your suggestions, here are my current thoughts:

Case... My last two cases were Lian Li's and I do like them, but I'm not married to them. One reason I selected the Lian Li case (besides being a make I'm familiar with and a nice design) is that it's part of a combo with the Samsung Spinpoint 1TB drive ($40 discount on the two together). Still, even with the $40 combo savings, the Lian Li is $40 more than the HAF 922. My only real concern with the HAF 922 is the lack of dust filtering. I guess I have to decide whether saving $40 is worth having to clean my case out more frequently. If it means the difference between a 5770 and a 5850, I guess it is! ;-)

Mobo... Jbakerlent -- you mentioned the 790X board. It's funny, because that's where I originally started looking. I was originally looking at this Gigabyte 790X board which has USB 3.0 support (I should have mentioned wanting USB 3.0 in my original post). But when I realized that it's only $15 less than the 890GX board, I figured, why not go with the 890GX? The 890GX should be more future-proof, right? Also, it looks like I would be able to enable a "hybrid crossfire" setup using the 890GX's on-board GPU. I need to do more research on it, but it sounds like that could give me an additional boost since I only plan to install one video card (for now).

You also pointed out the Ripjaws series memory. Unfortunately, that model is not on the QVL for the Gigabyte mobo I selected, so unless I want to stray off the reservation, I would either need to find another mobo that has USB 3.0 support and supports this RAM, or just stick with RAM that is on the QVL. I found a supported G.Skill model that costs less than both the ECO and the Ripjaws, though the latency is slightly higher, at 8. I don't expect that will be a big problem, though.

As for the HSF, the one I had originally selected was part of a combo with the AMD proc I had. Now that I have selected the correct proc (thanks to Goatsword), that opened up some new "combo deal" possibilities. I found a combo deal that saves $30 when paired with the ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU TOP/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ ATI Eyefinity. This particular card doesn't have many reviews on Newegg (only 2), but they're both very positive. If anyone has any additional feedback/suggestions around this particular card or other good 5870/5850 video card deals, please let me know!

So... after additional research and the incorporation of some of your helpful suggestions, I have come up with the revised build below, which comes out to about $1060 - slightly over budget, but I got to keep the 890GX board while managing to upgrade to a 5850 video card. I greatly appreciate any additional suggestions you all might have...

===============================================
~$1000 AMD Build v2.0

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($89.98)

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V ($109.99 before $10 rebate)

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard ($139.99)

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W ($129.99 after $30 savings from combo w/ video card)

Video: ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU TOP/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ ATI Eyefinity ($339.99 combo w/ CPU - $30 savings applied to CPU)

HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler ($29.99)

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK ($108.99)

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal ($89.99)

DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner ($24.99)

Total Cost: $1063.90 ($1095.40 w/ shipping)
===============================================

Edit...

As an alternative, for the same price (actually $10 less after rebates), I could pick up two of the following: ASUS CuCore Series EAH5770 CuCore/2DI/1GD5 Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card, and run them in Crossfire. I'm not sure what the pros/cons would be versus running the single 5850 in the build above...
!