Decisions decisions....

So... I thought I had recently finished my quest for the PC I want to build and then I made the mistake of building an Intel Desktop to compare to the AMD one I just finished laying out.

Now the main point to this comes down to this... build the AMD now and have greater performance now with little hopes or greater performance from upgrades later or for the same price buy an Intel based set up with a lower GPU then upgrade later to a crossfire of 5870's or 5970's. . .

So do I deal with lower quality now and obtain greater quality in a short period or do I stick with good quality now and leave my next upgrade sitting years away (which will most likely require a completely new rig).

The main purpose of the rig that I chose will be gaming. (FFXIV to be specific)

Please, if my assumption of future potential for each rig are off, correct me. As I am still learning.

Here are the two builds minus the things that are the same.


CPU: AMD Phenom II 965 BE

GPU: HIS Turbo Radeon HD 5870

Mobo: Asus M4A89GTD


CPU: i7-930

GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD 5770

Mobo: Asus P6X58D

-Things that are the same-

RAM: G.Skill 4GB

Case: CM HAF 922

PSU: XFX 750W 80+ Silver cert

HDD: WD Black 500GB

DVD: Asus

Monitor: Asus 23.6" 5ms 1080p
13 answers Last reply
More about decisions decisions
  1. Defintely don't get the i7. You're budget isn't high enough if you've got to drop the GPU to a 5770 to afford it.

    I'm guessing at the total budget, but here's what I'd suggest:

    CPU/GPU: X4 955 and HD 5870 $520. The 965 is a factory overclocked 955, and isn't worthe extra cash.
    Mobo/PSU: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 and Corsair 750HX Modular $215 after rebates. This board is easily one of the best out there. Also, a 8xx chipset is completely unnecessary. The PSU is also one of the best on the market.
    RAM: G.Skill Eco 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $105. Faster sticks for almost nothing more.
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75. Faster, bigger, and basically the same price.
    Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $83. Another excellent case option. I'd also look at the Antec 902. The HAF is excellent though, but you don't need something that big.

    Total: $998 ($1,178 with monitor)
  2. Excellent build by MadAdmiral.

    I'm kind of unclear why you think AMD has lower potential in the future.

    Reasons to go with AMD for future-resistance:
    1) Intel's X58 chipset is being replaced next year. Major CPU releases for the chipset are unlikely.
    2) AMD has indicated that their new chip, Bulldozer, is slated to run on AM3 - in icase you find you need a processor upgrade in a year or two.
    3) The 790X chipset MadAdmiral recommended is able to do CrossFire at 8x/8x, which is fine for CrossFire. If you really want 16x/16x, consider a 790FX or 890FX motherboard, both of which have plenty of PCI lanes.

    EDIT: I was going to point out the 4%-5% performance thing on 8x/8x vx. 16x/16x, but MadAdmiral beat me to it.
  3. I should point out that the difference between 16x/16x and 8x/8x Crossfire is only 4% (from a Tom's article on it). That 4% only really comes into play when you're using dual 5970s, which is beyond the point of being obscene and unnecessary.

    EDIT: Also, on AMD's upgrade path, Bulldozer is above what's already out there. AMD's hex cores run on the AM3 socket, they're just not that powerful yet. So you can reasonably expect there to be at least two options for upgrading an AM3 CPU. For the i7, there is one (i7-980X), and only if you want to shell a few hundred bucks (i.e. $500ish) for it after it's been out for a few years.
  4. Wow super fast response. Okay so I can't say much besides wow lol... First, thanks alot, these two posts have actually clarified quite a bit that I was confused about. So I'm gathering Intel chips are only great if you can spend the extra to match up everything else instead of skimping like I did.

    As for the 955, can I (a PC newb) OC it to the same, or greater, speed as the 965, without and aftermarket cooler?

    Thank you for the information regarding the next gen AMD chipset, I did not know this, this actually makes me more comfotable with going the AMD route.
  5. The 955 should be simple to overclock to 965 speeds. All you should need to do is go into the BIOS and increase the multiplier by 1. That should be reasonable safe without an aftermarket cooler, as I suspect that the 955 & 965 have the same stock cooler.

    If you want an inexpensive, well-regarded cooler, the Hyper 212+ can be found on amazon for about $30. It's overpriced on newegg right now, possibly due to high demand.

    (I should point out that I had been considering an i7-920/930 build up until April when EOL for X58 was announced. At that point, I switched to an AM3 build, and I'm very happy with it.)
  6. Out of curiousity, why the G.Skill Eco over the Ripjaw? Basically, I suck at computers, what specifically makes them faster?
  7. The Ecos are the same price and have a lower voltage setting. That means less power consumption, lower heat and a higher possibility to overclock. Of course, that's referring to the 1600 mhz CL 7 Ripjaws...

    As for the ones you choose, besides the above, the Ecos I linked to have tighter timings (CAS Latency). That's the major spec on RAM. The lower the timings, the faster the sticks run. Also, if you do overclock, tighter timings can allow for a higher overclock.

    Agree with coldsleep on OCing with the stock cooler. It's easy to reach 965 speeds. As for the maximum overclock, the speeds are going to be about the same for the 955 and 965.
  8. Thank you so very much, you gave me more than enough information and help to finalize my decision. I have made some substitutions to my list with those you have provided to keep the costs and and price relative.

    I decided to keep the board I have currently, as much later (next summer) I will have the funds to get dual 5970's and well, I might as well squeeze everything I can out of them right? :)

    With regards to the PSU I have (XFX) vs the one you showed in the combo, since I am not doing the mobo deal does the XFX suffice or would the extra $20 for the corsair be worth it? I ask because (I'm guessing here) I will need a higher power supply for dual 5970's in the future.
  9. If you're planning on dual 5970s, you'll want an 850W PSU. The XFX would be fine, but compare it to similar sized units from Antec, Corsair, SeaSonic and Silverstone.

    Also, you'll definitely want the HAF 922 for the 5970. The cases I suggested would fit a 5970, but it'd be tight.
  10. Silverstone 850W 80+ Silver Modular

    only $20 more from the 750W i had initially.

    EDIT: Hmmm... made a hastey pick, apparently it's not Crossfire Certified.... time to keep looking.
  11. The 850HX is only $4 more (counting shipping and the rebate). I tend to think that Corsair is a little better than Silverstone, but either would be good.
  12. If you feel like dealing with mail-in-rebates, the XFX 850W PSU is $10 cheaper than the Silverstone after the MIR (but $10 more if you don't do the MIR).

    The XFX 850W is pretty much a Seasonic on the inside. It received a 9.6 overall from jonnyguru, with most of the points marked off being for aesthetics. Any of the PSUs already mentioned (Corsair, Silverstone, or XFX) would be fine choices.

    Disclaimer: I own the XFX 850W and I like the aesthetics. I have been satisfied with the PSU so far.
  13. Thanks for that tidbit of info. Knowing me however, I will fail to use any of the available MIR's simply because I can be forgetful.
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