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Need to downgrade something - 888 $ Build

Last response: in Systems
May 24, 2010 4:25:58 PM


My laptop is slowly falling apart, so for once I'd like to try a pre-emptive purchase of computer components before I end up without any possibility to utilize my computer at all.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week, or close to it.
BUDGET RANGE: 888 $ (Which equals 7000 swedish crowns and explains the uneven number)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Display, Chassi, HDD, CD/DVD.
COMMENTS: Good looks superflous, this is all about keeping costs down and performance high. Relatively quiet is a must though, nothing too fancy but if a part is known to be very noisy it will have to be excluded.


I've spent yesterday trying to brush up on the terminology, five years of using the same laptop has rendered me completely unaware of todays world of computer hardware.
At first I thought about simply purchasing a premade upgrade packet, but in the end I couldn't make myself pay for parts which I myself find obsolete (a fancy chassi etc.)

Intel Core™ i5 Quad Processor i5-750 246,83 $


Corsair Dominator DHX DDR3 1600MHz 4GB 158,63 $

ASUS P7H55, H55, Socket-1156 122 $

Cooler Master GX 550W PSU 81 $

Grand total: 1001,73 $
As you might've noticed, this adds up to 114,47 $ too much, which means I have to downgrade something for it to work. Here's some alternatives I have, and I'd be glad to hear your opinions on it. I don't really have any hopes that someone will be able to link me to a better alternative, me being in sweden with shipping costs and all, so I'll be happy with just your thoughts on the subject.

Intel Core™ i5 Quad Processor i5-750 -> AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 246,83 -> 202,41 = 44.42 $ less (A fan is not included in the latter CPU and will have to be purchased separately)

XFX RADEON HD5870 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/DP -> XFX RADEON HD5850 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/DP 393,27 -> 303,93 = 89,34 $ less

Corsair Dominator DHX DDR3 1600MHz 4GB -> Kingston ValueR. DDR3 1333MHz 4GB, CL9 13.32 $ less

My thoughts on this: This build is supposed to last a while, which means directX11 support is nice. It pains me to consider downgrading the graphics or CPU, but I dont know if I can find cheaper alternatives on the motherboard or power supply.
So basically it comes down to dropping the graphics card a notch or dropping the CPU along with lots of other small downgrades.

More about : downgrade 888 build

May 24, 2010 4:44:06 PM

Just to point out, you'd need a different board for the X4 955. I'd suggest the Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3. It should be cheaper.

If I were you, I'd drop to the X4, pick up the different board, and then drop the RAM. These won't make a huge difference. If you still need to save some more money, switch the X4 955 to a X3 440 (only if you don't do a TON of CAD and Photoshop). After that, drop to the 5850.

I would also get a different PSU. You don't want to go cheap with the PSU. For a budget option, check out OCZ's 600W models, though a better unit would be preferrable. If you can, I'd get a 550W unit from Antec, Corsair, Silverstone or SeaSonic. Those are all high quality brands.
May 24, 2010 5:06:11 PM

I see photoshop and autocad, I would use Intel, I also see gaming I would go for ATI as well getting bang for your buck go Bundles off of

Heres a build I created for your situation:

case and psu: 135.00

cpu and motherboard: 465.00

memory and gpu: 315.00

All you need is a (DVD Drive and HDD)

Total: 915.00

Sorry for going over!

You wanted to go with 888.00, I went 27 dollars over, but I got you a i7 psu, i7cpu and a i7 motherboard.

So if you have any questions just ask!

Related resources
May 24, 2010 5:47:11 PM

The OP isn't in the US, so Newegg isn't useful.

I would agree that it's a good idea to use an i5/i7 for CAD, but it's just not going to be possible with Intel. Also, that PSU is a POS and I wouldn't trust it for doing anything but proping open a door.
May 24, 2010 8:28:07 PM

Thanks for the replies,
I did as you suggested MadAdmiral and dropped the CPU, dropped the RAM and switched the motherboard. Turns out the motherboards with AM3-sockets are way cheaper.


Mobo: ASUS M4N68T, Socket-AM3

unfortunately I couldn't find a cheap Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3, but I found this one. Not sure how cheap I dare go, but if you find this one sub-par then maybe this or this one is better.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition


The memory got halved, would you still consider this somewhat okay or should I drop the CPU another notch instead? Photoshop won't be much of a problem since I'm used to working with it on my 1 gb RAM laptop during the recent lustrum. I admit I really wanted to make Photoshop smooth, but I guess "usable" will have to do for another while. Autocad is sparsely used and doesn't need to be prioritized, as long as it starts it'll do.

This setup will leave a few dollars free to upgrade the PSU since you found the last one abit sketchy.
May 24, 2010 8:38:45 PM

I wouldn't get that board. The AMD boards with nVidia onboard graphics are not good boards. Another good board to look for is the Asus M4A77TD. It's fairly cheap and is still an excellent board.

2 GB of RAM is fine for gaming for now, but I would certainly make that a priority for upgrading soon.
May 25, 2010 12:01:38 AM

Trust me I use the programs listed on my i5, your going to see a improvment using Intel. As far as the GPU is concerned your going to need some thing that will handle the games as well as intense photoshop edits. RAM your going to need at least 4-6GB and a 64-bit OS I would perfer Win-7 or XP, don't use Vista because the amount of RAM it will use. Then if your going to be using the computer for longer periods of time make sure the PSU is a certified continuos power and the Case has enough airflow to cool the system.

These are my thought on being a HUGE GAMER and going to college for GRAPHICS ART.
May 25, 2010 12:07:36 AM

MadAdmiral said:
The OP isn't in the US, so Newegg isn't useful.

I would agree that it's a good idea to use an i5/i7 for CAD, but it's just not going to be possible with Intel. Also, that PSU is a POS and I wouldn't trust it for doing anything but proping open a door.

Sorry for the newegg mistake that was my fault and as far as the PSU I selected I use that PSU is my F@H build which is on in a constant of 12+hours. To update on this I really need to reach in the top ten of Toms F@H members.
May 25, 2010 2:45:50 PM

This is all great advice, I've found a motherboard and also taken a look at obsidians picks, altough they pretty much leave me in the same position as before.

I found a deal for a used RADEON HD 5870 for the same prize as a new HD 5850, it's 3 months old so it should stil have its warranty. Are there any common hoaxes one should be aware of when purchasing a used GPU?
e.g. are there any valuable easy-to-remove parts in a common Radeon that people sometimes extract/replace?
May 25, 2010 2:49:09 PM

Just to point out, but warranties don't transfer, unless the warranty specifically states that it does. The only one that I know of that stays intact is XFX's "Double Lifetime" warranty, and that's only if the original purchaser registers it with them.

Outside of that, there aren't any besides the typical scams (not paying, filing a complaint, etc.). They could try to pass a lesser one off, but that would be fairly easy to spot once you have it.

The only thing I can think of that you could remove would be the heatsink, but that's not something that's valuable and would also be easily noticed.

I would certainly try to find out why they're selling it. The 5870 is one of the newest and best cards out there. It seems odd to me that someone would buy it at full price then turn around in a month or two and sell for a large price cut.
May 25, 2010 6:35:53 PM

I'll probably go with all your tips and make the following purchase:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition


PSU: Corsair VX 550W PSU


Mobo: Either MSI 870A-G54, Socket-AM3 or Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3, Socket-AM3. The differences seems to be their allocation of slots. I'm not sure which one would be best though.

MSI 870A:
1 processor - Socket AM3
4 minne ( 1.5 V ) - DIMM 240-pin
1 PCI Express 2.0 x16
1 PCI Express 2.0 x16 ( x4-läge )
1 PCI Express x1
3 PCI ( 3.3 V/ 5 V )

Gigabyte GA:
1 processor - Socket AM3
4 minne ( 1.5 V ) - DIMM 240-pin
1 PCI Express 2.0 x16
4 PCI Express x1

What slots would be more useful?
I've tried to check if things were compatible with eachother, but I would really appreciate it if someone could take a quick look and verify.
May 25, 2010 7:06:43 PM

The PCI 2.0 x16 are the most useful as they are the ones used by video cards. However, they aren't useful if they run at under 8x. The MSI board's second slot runs at 4x, making it basically useless. After that, I'd say the PCIe x1 are the second most useful.
May 25, 2010 7:35:01 PM

I would take a gigabyte board over MSI any day, but thats just my opinion. As MadAdmiral said if the slot downclocks to (4x) when in crossfire then its useless!

It looks to me as your trying to get a bang for your buck PC hardware, for the fact of the AMD and ATI and if thats what your going for then your on the right track, but I'm still wondering what website or where your purchasing your hardware?

I think I'm a little confused on this thread. Sorry bout that.