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I've been out of the hardware game too long, Help.

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July 14, 2010 8:22:13 PM

Good day everyone,

I am looking at building a new gaming/VM running/storage/media rig. The problem is the last PC I built was a few years ago and lots of things have changed since then.

I work in IT, mainly server side and have been building enterprise class servers for a few years now, however, I can not tell you jack about intels new desktop processors or AMDs. No more knowledge about the latest ram, video cards and storage have stayed relatively the same, but I just would like to get some feedback from the community, what are you guys seeing as the best of the best, do I go Intel or AMD? What do I need to look at as far as RAM goes? SATA or is there something faster in a desktop machine? What graphics cards are good right now? Any new sockets come out?

More about : hardware game long

July 14, 2010 8:28:12 PM

Fill out the form in sticky, link in my sig.



In general best bang for buck gaming at:

$800 Phenom II x4 and gtx 460

$900 Phenom IIx4 and 5850

$1k is phenom II x4 955 and 5870.

@$1.2k i5-750 and 5870.

@$1,500 phenom II x4 and 5970

@$1,600 i5-750 and 5970

@$1,800 i7-930 and 5970

Sli and xfire builds and deals will alter that a bit, but in general that's how it breaks down. I personally don't recommend multi GPU setups off the bat as it prevents future expansion. Also xfire/sli scaling varies so much btwn games that unless game you play has been tested, it's hard to know how much benefit you'll get.
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July 14, 2010 8:29:56 PM

Since this is extremely vague, I'll try breifly answering some of the questions. Hopefully by then you can find the guidelines (here's a hint: they're in the link in my signature), and we can help you with the actual parts.

AMD vs. Intel: Right now, Intel owns the high performance, high priced side. They've got the fastest (and most expensive) parts out there. Expect to pay $1,400 and up for a good Intel gaming build. AMD owns the price/performance. You can get a decent gaming build starting at $500, but you max out at around $1,400.

RAM: DDR3 1600 is as fast as you need right now. Grab some sticks with CAS Latency 7. As for amount, for gaming, you only need 4 GB (AMD or i5-750) or 6 GB (i7-930). If you're doing heavy encoding, double that.

SATA: That's pretty much all there is. SATA III is emerging, but it's not really useful now. Most good boards support it, so it's not an issue.

GPU: The HD 5970 is king, but it's $700. Next is the HD 5870, followed by the 5850, GTX 460 and then the HD 5770. nVidia has some higher end offerings (GTX 470, 480), but they're too expensive, under perform, use massive amounts of power and generate a lot of heat. Basically they're just plain undesirable.

Sockets: Intel's coming out with the LGA1155 and LGA1365 sometime next year.
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July 14, 2010 8:39:30 PM

well first is how much do you want to spend..

if you going to do VM running i would say Intel i7 because amd phenoms doesn't run true triple channel and Intel does which will help in vms.

I have both amd and intel chips have no problems with any of em. I run all my vms on my amd got 8gb of RAM running in ddr2

Kinda wanna switch it to my intel machine but i game more than i work haha (has 6gb of ram)

on my amd machine i have ati card not bad had allot of issue with server 2008 tho (ATI/AMD response they dont support server) kinda got turned off from ati from that statement and force me to install windows 7 (yes i had server 2008 as desktop machine)

On my intel machine i have 2x 8800gtx gotta say those guys still kick butt.. and they are kinda out dated

But for some reason my games run smother on my amd machine (not a big diff i get around 120 fps in l4d2 and in my intel machine i get 100 fps) then again my amd machine has newer card but w.e

As for HDD Sata 3.0 is the newest thing besides SSD (solid state drives) they pack a mean punch and also empty your wallets. Also you can look at the raptor drives they just made 600gb one for 100 bucks cheaper than ssd..

My advice is if you wanna wait a little longer wait for AMD bulldozer chip i been hearing allot of good things hopefully it will support true triple channel and then that be perfect set up plenty of RAM true ddr3 and amd can take abuse so dont gotta worry about vms..


Also check out newegg.com probably heard of this site read the comments and it help you decide as well.. (just don't listen to those noobs that give it bad ratings bc its DOA)
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July 14, 2010 8:42:39 PM

Thanks, MadAdmiral, exactly what I was looking for.

Sorry if people misinterpret the fact that I am just looking to catch up on what is out there, I did not know that Intel was coming out with a new socket (surprise surprise.. guess I will have to buy a new system board... gerr)

As far as the ram goes, "as fast as you need right now" sounds too much like "You will never need that much hard drive space" :)  is DDR3 1600 the top of the line now or is there something else that I might want to look at?

The first computer I built I got burned by guessing on what type slot the GPUs were going to be using in the future, pcix, pci express, or whatever agps offering was at the time. I went that way and got smoked.

Any rumbling in that respect?
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July 14, 2010 8:43:27 PM

For RAM on Newegg there a lot of 7/7/7 1600 mhz 2x2gb kits.
Some with Intels got 6/6/6 1600 mhz...
For AMD the 6 cores are the best simply because of the newer binning.
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July 14, 2010 8:44:40 PM

There's plenty of sticks faster than 1600 mhz. It's just that you literally can't overclock to the levels that you'd need to run the sticks that fast. If you bought the faster sticks, you'd pay more, but have to run them at slower speeds.

I haven't heard anything about new PCI slots. Every GPU right now runs off the same type (PCIe 2.0 16x).
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July 14, 2010 8:46:39 PM

k3y3n1n said:

My advice is if you wanna wait a little longer wait for AMD bulldozer chip i been hearing allot of good things hopefully it will support true triple channel and then that be perfect set up plenty of RAM true ddr3 and amd can take abuse so dont gotta worry about vms..


True triple channel? Sorry, I am out of the loop on hardware.
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July 14, 2010 8:48:11 PM

No such thing as fake triple channel...

AMD and Intel's LGA1156 CPUs run on dual channel RAM (pairs of sticks). Intel's LGA1366 CPUs use triple channel (sets of three sticks). There isn't really a huge difference, it's just what runs best with which CPU.
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July 14, 2010 8:53:13 PM

Also, what recommendations do you have for keeping the noise down. My current machine has 5TB of SATA drives and the fracker is LOUD.

The one thing that I will be doing is getting another liquid cooling system, (Before people start bashing it and saying just get a good fan, I have a cat and he likes to shed. Fans are a no no for me.) The last 2 that I have had in my other rigs have worked awesomely, I was able to OC my CPU from 3.0 to 3.7 stable as hell and the cpu temp was only 39c.

I would also like to keep my same case, an all acrylic sunbeam, so I cant just put down padding inside the case.

Here is an older pic of my rig from my crappy phone in the dark.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30069174&l=4c9c0f...
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July 14, 2010 8:55:28 PM

MadAdmiral said:
No such thing as fake triple channel...

AMD and Intel's LGA1156 CPUs run on dual channel RAM (pairs of sticks). Intel's LGA1366 CPUs use triple channel (sets of three sticks). There isn't really a huge difference, it's just what runs best with which CPU.



That seems silly, why not do quad channel then? odd numbers in a base 2 system do not come up to often.
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July 14, 2010 8:58:13 PM

It's just the way it works right now.

I have no idea on keeping it quiet. About all you can do is get a good case, good cooling system and make sure it gets enough air. After that, there isn't a whole lot that actually works.
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July 14, 2010 9:22:31 PM

Wow, reading up on the i7 and I am just blown away.

Core i7-980X Extreme processor which has six hyperthreaded cores....

I thought I was BA when I had my 3.0Ghz P4ht back in the day..

Anyway, I do have a question though.

"Intel Core i7 (2008) has an 8 MB on-die unified L3 cache that is inclusive, shared by all cores. The benefits of an L3 cache depend on the application's access patterns"

wouldn't sharing the L3 cache on ALL cores be a dumb idea? I would think it would perform better if each core had it's own cache. But then again you sure would need a lot more cash for it. (Thank you, thank you, I will be here alllll night, be sure to tip your waitresses and cab drivers...)
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July 14, 2010 9:44:04 PM

It's the only way to do it right now. Also, considering when the extra cores aren't being used, they shut down and boost the ones that are, the shared cache is a good idea.

Also, I should point out that the i7-980X is $1,000. And completely unnecessary for pretty much everyone.
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July 14, 2010 9:46:44 PM

About the RAM:
AMD and Intel's LGA1156 CPUs run on dual channel RAM (pairs of sticks)
This means you typically would take 4GB (2X2GB sticks), 8GB (2X4GB sticks) etc.

For intel's LGA1366 CPUs (they use triple channel = set of three sticks).
You would typically take 6GB (3x2gb sticks), 12GB (3x4GB sticks) etc...

DDR3 memory is mainstream now, mostly DDR3 1333 Mhz & 1600 Mhz

about the Video cards:
Both Nvidia and ATI cards use PCIe 2.0 slots now, which are included in all motherboards.
There is only a difference in the bandwith supported by those slots in a motherboard (16X or 8X, ...) But that doesn't make much of a difference anyway.

To keep your system quit, watercooling is good to keep eveything cool and quiet IF you have a big budget.
Almost as good is a case with a nice airflow, and good fans.
The noise comes from the fans, so replacing stock fans and stock CPU coolers with aftermarket ones helps a lot.
+ Having energy and heat efficient quality parts + a good airflow keeps everything cooler, and so the fans can run at lower speeds => less noise
Also cases like the Antec P183 are specially designed to be quiet.

The i7-980X is kind of overkill for most users, but it depends on what you're going to use the system for.
Mostly the i7-930 has plenty of processing power :D 
Ow yea, and most new quad/hexa core CPU's from AMD and intel come with a function that disables cores that aren't used at a certain moment, to boost the speed of the active cores. (respectively named AMD Turbo CORE Technology & IntelĀ® Turbo Boost Technology)

Something else that is certainly new are SSD's (Flash drives) replacing/concurring with the HDD's
SSD's are MUCH faster but are still too expensive to fully replace HDD's
Typically in a 1,5-2k build you would take a 60-80GB SSD for your OS (very fast boot times) and the programs you use the most (for very fast loading, etc) + a HDD for storage

Could you fill in this?
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/261222-13-build-adv...
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