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Is $1600 AMD build stupid?

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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:02:55 PM

Hey guys, my friend has asked me to do a build for him with emphasis on style as well as performance. So some of his components are a little bit more expensive due to the looks of them.

Now I have asked him repeatedly "What do you intend to use this for" His response is always gaming.

But I begin to wonder, at what price point does it make more sense to pick Intel? I'll give you the run down with links:

PSU+Motherboard: Corsair 750HX+ASUS 890FX Crosshair IV

CPU+GPU: 955 BE+ASUS 5870

SSD Boot Drive: Intel X25-V 40 GB

Case: LIAN-LI Armorsuit AMD Dragon Case Red interior also includes free 8 GB stick

Memory: Crucial DDR3-1333 CAS 7 Latency with Red LED activity lights

Fan Controller: NZXT Sentry 2

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB

CPU HSF: Corsair H50

OS: Windows 7 64 bit OEM

DVD-RW: Samsung DVD-RW Sata Drive

Misc. other frills:

Coldlight cathode: 4.99
12" ATX 8 Pin Extension: 3.29
10" 24Pin extension: 10.89
Black cable sleaving kit: 10.00

I know hes just going to be exclusively gaming. Every component is black or red for what I think will be a very sleek professionally looking build. There are added costs across the board for some of the little things, like the case for example. Thats about $100 more than he needs to spend, but it does complete the look.

So I guess what I want to know, how often do you see AMD builds topping 1600? For a strictly gaming computer, is it stupid and biased not to go Intel? I'd really like some input from of the more experienced people because I don't want my biases to lead this guy down only 1 path.

More about : 1600 amd build stupid

June 23, 2010 4:19:27 PM

AMD typically has the edge in the low-mid range, and Intel has the edge in the high end. At this price point (let's say, 1450-1500 on non-cosmetic parts), you could probably fit in the cost of an intel processor.

The difference in gaming wouldn't be huge, or even moderate... it *might* be noticable.

At this price range, you could probably be safe sticking with an AMD, unless you live near a Microcenter or Fry's Electronics (i7-930 for $199.99).

I would /NOT/ go an SSD at this price range. At the rate that SSDs are advancing, he would be better off waiting until Christmas to add an SSD to his machine. I would cut out that cost and perhaps crossfire 5850s, or even aim for a 5970. As shown again and again on Tom's articles, the GPU is the most determinant factor in terms of computer gaming. Since your friend claims to be /always gaming/, things such as an SSD won't entirely help much (as they are not cost efficient for gaming), and you could probably justify throwing a 5970 in there.
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June 23, 2010 4:22:20 PM

Also- as someone aptly put it (I can't remember who): "Good Air is better than Cheap Water". Depending on his OC, you could go anywhere from a 212+ to a megahelms for about the same price (or less).
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:22:41 PM

It is a great gaming build with a lot of "EXTRA BLING" to raise the cost well above $200 more than it needs to be. If this is what your friend is looking for the "BLING" than you have served him well! If he just wants a solid nice looking system, I would make some major cuts..

Case - Drop down to the HAF 922
Fan Controller - Drop completely
PSU/MOBO - Drop down to this combo... http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Just some thoughts!
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:23:26 PM

The cost difference between a $400 5870 and a $700 5970 doesn't cover the expense of the $114 SSD. But I do understand what you're saying. That the SSD boot drive in no way increases the worth of the system in reference to gaming.

But seeing as how the budget is the budget and dropping the SSD won't gain him a 5970 I don't really see what else to do.

I did also fail to mention that he will be playing WoW and SC2 mostly on a 1920x1200 monitor, so it isn't super intensive gaming.

Thanks for your input though, I really appreciate the look.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:25:16 PM

Well the motherboard and PSU are actually pretty intentional, the PSU is modular and capable of both supporting another graphics card later on(16x/16x I might add)

And yeah when I asked him, he pointed at my computer and he said "I want it all gay and bright like yours" So yeah I understand especially with the case he is paying a $100 premium for bling. (My case is my profile pic, shiny blue bling)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:26:01 PM

The build looks good to me. If he's not planning on doing heavy editing tasks, there's no reason that you have to go Intel at a certain price point.

Since most games are GPU-bound, not CPU-bound, it's not like he's going to get 50% more fps by going with an i5-750 or an i7-930. If he finds his processing power lacking, he could potentially upgrade to a Bulldozer chip next year. Furthermore, the 890FX chipset offers 16x/16x, unlike P55, so while it's only a 4-5% performance drop to 8x/8x, some people might consider that a worthwhile investment.

I'm in agreement with Omniblivion that an SSD at this price range is not ideal. I'd consider upgrading to 850W if he intends to overclock and CrossFire in the future.

Then again, I just spent over $2k on a similar AMD build, so I might be biased.

EDIT: 5870 at 1920x1200 for WoW and SC2 will be excellent, with fps only dropping to around 30 in Dalaran on Ultra settings, higher everywhere else.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:27:14 PM

Also the H50 is where my personal preference comes into play. I have been really disappointed with air, and when I got my H50 it did exactly what it needed to do. So I personally recommended it to him.

Even though yes I've seen alot of benches on it, my own personal experience speaks volumes to me, the builder. In fact H50 and the 955(rather than the 965) were the only components I recommended before I even got started on outlining his build.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:28:54 PM

I ran his config through the Extreme Power PSU calculator. I gave him a 3.8 GHz OC with a 1.45 vCore and added a 2nd 5870 in Crossfire(just to reference for the future)

It came out with a 562W PSU requirement so I think for 2 5870s and a mild OC I'm pretty safe with a 750W Corsair. Can anyone else give their opinion on the PSU wattage?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:29:39 PM

coldsleep said:
The build looks good to me. If he's not planning on doing heavy editing tasks, there's no reason that you have to go Intel at a certain price point.

Since most games are GPU-bound, not CPU-bound, it's not like he's going to get 50% more fps by going with an i5-750 or an i7-930. If he finds his processing power lacking, he could potentially upgrade to a Bulldozer chip next year. Furthermore, the 890FX chipset offers 16x/16x, unlike P55, so while it's only a 4-5% performance drop to 8x/8x, some people might consider that a worthwhile investment.

I'm in agreement with Omniblivion that an SSD at this price range is not ideal. I'd consider upgrading to 850W if he intends to overclock and CrossFire in the future.

Then again, I just spent over $2k on a similar AMD build, so I might be biased.

EDIT: 5870 at 1920x1200 for WoW and SC2 will be excellent, with fps only dropping to around 30 in Dalaran on Ultra settings, higher everywhere else.


I think it's a really solid build that will look really sharp, it just feels strange spending 1600 on an AMD build.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:30:37 PM

cmcghee358 said:
I think it's a really solid build that will look really sharp, it just feels strange spending 1600 on an AMD build.


Reminds me that I need to clean up my cabling and take pics of my new rig. :) 

Anyway, I dunno. It's not like CPU matters that much for gaming (barring GTA IV, etc.). As long as you're primarily running tasks that don't see a benefit from hyperthreading, I don't see a requirement to go with Intel.

And man, the Crosshair IV looks sweet.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:32:36 PM

I am definately posting pics of this build. Spending as much as we are on looks, you GOTTA!
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:33:04 PM

cmcghee358 said:
he said "I want it all gay and bright like yours"

I'm not sure if I would take that as a complement or not?? [:mousemonkey:5]

Either way... both yours and your friend's will have a nice "bling" effect. You won't need lights in a room if you two are together for a LAN party :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:33:56 PM

Are you implying that we are "crossing cathodes" ?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:35:08 PM

[:mousemonkey:5].... Now that was funny!!

I'm saying no such thing :D 
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June 23, 2010 4:37:45 PM

You'd have to squeeze a bit to get the 5970. If he plans to upgrade in the future, he can stick with the 5870 and get a second one. WoW is pretty cpu/gpu intense (due to pretty rough coding), so he will still see some fps drops in places like Dalaran at high graphic levels. His machine will blow away SC2, so that isn't a concern.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:38:22 PM

Alright I'm gonna let this sit for the day while I sleep and see if I get anymore input. Thanks coldsleep for the reassurance.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:39:07 PM

I run Dalaran @30-35 FPS on my 4890 so I think for WoW he'll be pretty good through the next xpac with a 5870.
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June 23, 2010 4:40:28 PM

Jeez, I need to stop working on "quick replies" then going afk for 10 minutes at work before posting them... missed like 8 posts!
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:42:11 PM

To be clear, that build is almost exactly my build, and I've got no complaints in WoW, SC2 beta, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, etc.

Which reminds me that I must make sure that I've updated my forum info. EDIT: Yes, it's current.
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June 23, 2010 4:42:59 PM

There is no doubt that this computer will still be awesome for those games. As long as he isn't intending to benchmark crysis or own at BC2 at max graphics (giggity) then the AMD build suggested above will be more than he needs.

You could even spend the extra SSD money on more glowy stuff on his case (LED case fans?)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:44:07 PM

I'm really excited about a red and black themed computer. With good cable management, a modular PSU!

He offered to pay me, but I flatly refused because I'm JONESING for a build.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:45:13 PM

Well it has 4 case fans, 2 120mm red LED fans, 2 140mm red LED fans. I think with the red cathode and the fan controller it's about as blinged as it will get. And a good solid black wire wrap job to make it all clean. I think he's set.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:47:01 PM

Your link is broken but I know what you're talking about. Funny thing is we're both Crew Chief's on F-16s in the Air Force. I'm just not sure what to tie the switches in with...
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:48:01 PM

So if you had to swap out the $114 40 GB SSD boot drive, what would you spend the money on?
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June 23, 2010 4:49:29 PM

Another F3 and put them in Raid 0
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:49:40 PM

cmcghee358 said:
Your link is broken but I know what you're talking about. Funny thing is we're both Crew Chief's on F-16s in the Air Force. I'm just not sure what to tie the switches in with...


Fixed. Had an extra character between = and http.

If you want them to do the work, they've got custom bay devices. I'm so tempted.

I would consider buying another hard drive, but I'd suggest RAID 1 or just do normal backups to the 2nd.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:52:44 PM

coldsleep said:
Fixed. Had an extra character between = and http.

If you want them to do the work, they've got custom bay devices. I'm so tempted.

I would consider buying another hard drive, but I'd suggest RAID 1 or just do normal backups to the 2nd.


You know they have a 5.25" bay devices that's a single slot bread toaster?

http://www.crazypc.com/other/misc/toast.htm
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June 23, 2010 4:53:54 PM

Problem with RAID 1, (well not really a "problem), is that it provides no real benefit to a pure gamer. I can backup my savegames on my google account; don't really care if I have to reinstall the games if a HDD crashes.

On the other hand, RAID 0 will significantly increase performance (nearly to the effect of an SSD in gaming) and general computer usage.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:57:29 PM

It just seems like we're trading oranges for tangerines here. I would expect equal performance from a RAID 0 as an SSD for gaming, slim to none really.

With the exception of its 1 TB compared to 40GB. 1 TB thats reliant on both drives not failing. Maybe a bluray drive?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 4:58:21 PM

Omniblivion said:
Problem with RAID 1, (well not really a "problem), is that it provides no real benefit to a pure gamer. I can backup my savegames on my google account; don't really care if I have to reinstall the games if a HDD crashes.

On the other hand, RAID 0 will significantly increase performance (nearly to the effect of an SSD in gaming) and general computer usage.


RAID 0 is fine for skilled users that are going to be good about performing backups/imaging their machine.

I think RAID 0 is kind of a terrible idea for people that either aren't technically savvy or at the very least aren't that comfortable with computers, so I tend not to lean that way for most builds on Tom's. Based on the fact that cmcghee358 is building the computer for his friend, I'd vote against RAID 0.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 5:01:59 PM

Mushkin Redline CAS 6 RAM (though I guess it doesn't have the blinky lights)? Blu-ray reader is a non-terrible idea too, if he doesn't have something else he watches movies on. Not all that useful if he's set in that department, and burners are still too expensive.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 5:04:01 PM

Funny you should mention the blinky lights. Because right now they are sold out on newgg until 6/29 and he told me to see if I can find them somewhere else or else he will wait until newegg gets em. He's that set on blinky lights. Which I find kinda weird. I could definately find some red or black themed memory to match it all if I had to.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 5:06:22 PM

Some Ballistix with the green LEDs would fit my theme nicely, but I went for the CAS 6 Mushkin Blackline, because at some point, performance is slightly more important. :) 
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June 23, 2010 5:07:43 PM

cmcghee358 said:
With the exception of its 1 TB compared to 40GB. 1 TB thats reliant on both drives not failing.


2TB :)  (well, technically 1.9tb) in the RAID.

Not intending to start a RAID Debate, just clearing up the air- the only "extra" risk of forming a RAID is the combined basic drive failure rate of the involved drives.

I don't know the exact failure rate of the F3, but I'll assume it's around .5%. In a Raid 0 with 2 F3s, the failure rate is a combined 1%. If the computer is being used for gaming, you've got a 1% risk of data loss (WoW and SC2 would just be reinstalls). On the other hand, the RAID setup would increase overall performance of the PC in the 10's of percents, as the HDDs would be the bottleneck on the system. Once RAIDs are installed, there isn't much extra work required down the road (if any). It would be an inconvenience for a gamer if one drive failed (covered by warranty so free replacement)- but worth the (very minor) risk for the increased performance.

A bluray drive is a waste of money atm on a gaming computer.



Does he already have red/black mouse/keyboard? If not, you could invest in some :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 5:08:05 PM

Aight off to bed. Thanks for the help everyone
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 5:09:03 PM

Oh snap thats a good idea. Gaming keyboard and mouse!!
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 5:09:18 PM

Damnit I really need to get to bed!
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June 23, 2010 9:20:46 PM

Why go with AMD when you can go with Intel? Al tough the i5 750 and i7 dont give better gaming performance so no it's a nice build.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 10:05:23 PM

Userremoved said:
Well there is this mobo except it does not have USB3:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and really spending that much more just to get a red motherboard seems pretty stupid.


The OP indicated that aesthetics were important to the guy commissioning the build.

And who knows, maybe he'll use the extra features of the Crosshair IV? Perhaps he wants to tweak his settings with a Bluetooth device, or use the USB connect thing.
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June 23, 2010 10:08:34 PM

So he cares more about the looks than the cash he saves... WHO THINKS LIKE THAT!? Anyways ya I guess he might use them later.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 10:14:12 PM

The price difference is $35 or less. If it was like $100, you might have something there. Plenty of people will pay a little more for something that looks better. It's not like he's giving up a 5970 or a 480 in order to get a better-looking mobo.
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June 23, 2010 10:23:56 PM

True at least hes using combos.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 11:52:42 PM

Thanks for the heads up on that NB issue. I'm getting the components 1 week before the build to prep the wire management, so at that same time I'll take the NB/SB heatsinks off and check the stand-offs and apply some new IC Diamond 24 to it.

The dude I'm doing the build for is coming over for assembly which is why I'm doing a prep the weekend before. If that makes sense.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 11:58:55 PM

cmcghee358 said:
Thanks for the heads up on that NB issue. I'm getting the components 1 week before the build to prep the wire management, so at that same time I'll take the NB/SB heatsinks off and check the stand-offs and apply some new IC Diamond 24 to it.


New thermal material shouldn't be necessary, but yeah, definitely check the standoffs.
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