I'm designing a new build. Everything will be purchased within the next two to three weeks. So i'm comparing current prices.
I have two systems that are running the Phenom II X2 550 BE and am very happy with its performance. Though i haven't been able to test completely with gaming.
These previous systems have been paired with two sapphire radeon HD 4650 1GB video cards in crossfire. I tested them in games like Fallout 3 and Assassins Creed on highest setting without any problems. My display is DVI 1280x1024. Though the thing is, i didn't really notice any difference between running both video cards together vs. both in crossfire. Actually, i noticed a few more hickups when run in crossfire. Can anyone explain this to me?
My question is, should i spring for a higher performing video card or stay with the HD 4650 which is a great deal for $60 on newegg.
Also, i will most likely be getting an asus M4A79XTD EVO motherboard. With at least 4GB of ram. Which i feel should fit my needs well and upgrade well in the future.
BTW, i will mostly be using this computer for school with a little bit of gaming. So mostly games like the previously mentioned. So what would be the main bottleneck of this setup? Would it be a better investment to but more money into a video card or should i go for a quad-core processor before that? Would something like the 4670 or even the 4770 be something i should consider?
There's a huge difference between a HD4650 and a HD5770; before you spend 3x the money, check a few benchmarks. The HD5770 is a nice card, but may be more than you need for 1280x1024. That's a relatively low resolution, which is why the weak HD4650 has done as well as it has for you. Unless you are planning a significant monitor upgrade also, consider a HD4770, or if you want DX11, a HD5570 or HD5670.
Your PSU may also be a factor. What brand/model is it? Anything can run a HD4650; a HD5770 needs a quality PSU, even though 430W-500W should be enough.
For the price of that 550BE, you can pick up a X3 440 and have change left over. I'd rather have that third core, but if something has worked well for you, don't feel compelled to change it.
Thanks jitt283, those are some good considerations.
I was going to post a thread in the build section but thought i would only be asking one question about the video card so i just posted it here. But it looks like this has turned into a system build question.
As for the PSU, i would never go with anything but high quality. The antec TruePower series has always served me well. I will determine wattage when everything else has been decided. More than likely a 700W at least.
For the video card, thanks for pointing out the fact about the resolutions. For right now i will be sticking with my 1280x1024 display but would like the possibility to upgrade to a widescreen and run something like 1920x1080 or something similar. So the 5770 may be overkill for right now but when i upgrade my monitor it should be adequate.
Thanks for mentioning the X3. Though i don't see the 440 model. The X3 720 is $5 more than the X2 550BE. I just now need to weight out my needs and decide between 3 cores at 2.8 GHz or 2 cores at 3.2 GHz. Both of these CPU review to be very good at overclocking also.
Would the HD 5770 be a good choice if i wanted to leave myself open to an upgraded monitor in the future?
If you plan to upgrade your monitor, then the HD5770 would be a reasonable choice. A 550W Truepower New would be all you'd need for it; 650W if you plan on Crossfire.
The 440X3 is an Athlon II, not a Phenom II. It doesn't have L3 cache, but has the extra core. Look at the last $750 SBM article for some results with that chip.
Since all these processors are relatively the same price i might need some help narrowing down my choices.
Athlon II X3 440 3.0 GHz $85
Athlon II X4 630 2.8 GHz $100
Phenom II X3 720 2.8 GHz $105
Phenom II X2 550BE 3.2 GHz $100
Most of my computer use is school related. Programs like Office, a little photoshop and the typical internet browsing. I would also like to be able to do mild video encoding. And then a little gaming on the side.
From my usage what class of processor would you recommend? Athlon or Phenom? Thanks
I think you want at least three cores.
If you look at the benchmarks at http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/119?vs=105 (I played with all of your choices), it looks like the extra core helps more than having L3, but there are some trade-offs; also these figures are stock, and will be different if you overclock.
You could even throw an Intel i3 into your possibilities, but I believe that AMD's socket AM3 is a lot more future-resistant than LGA1156. The conclusion I took from the recent article on gaming with the i3 was that pretty much any modern CPU is going to get the job done. As a matter of budget, it's hard to beat the X3 440, but if your video encoding can use four cores, then I'd say the X4 630 is worth another $15.
It is worth getting a tri core or better, I my self got lucky on a 8250e B3 (65w tri core) for next to nothing. Just be sure to hunt down the best in budget that you can get for the best price you can and always research before you buy. Shame that the 65w editions of the PII x4 are RARE.
OCZ isn't in the same league as Antec or Corsair. He's mentioned the Truepower New, which is an excellent PSU. For longevity, 650W would be better for Crossfire, even if 550W would be enough. Check prices when you buy though; sometimes the Truepower New pricing allows you to pick up the bigger one for the same price.
Nothing has been said about budget in this whole thing, which is probably why I've said more about the Athlon; it's cheaper. If budget is not a concern, and this rig is being built to last a while, may as well get a PII 955BE and not worry about whether or not a stable core will unlock.
For gaming, a more powerful tri-core will beat a less-powerful quad-core, unless the game is CPU-Optimized. And the HD5770 uses about 90Watts of power, his CPU using 125. He'll be fine with any brand 450W.
Cooler and warranty are about the only real differences that matter; any factory overclocks you can do yourself. XFX has a double lifetime guarantee. I've always liked the IceQ coolers on some HIS cards, but in this case that looks like a $25 option that may not be worthwhile. Check the number and type of connectors; some of the cheaper ones only have one DVI output, and you may want two if you plan to run two monitors.