Prebuilt or Home..

Alright, I've posted a few times, but I just have a random question.

I plan to O.C very lightly, both the CPU and GPU. I do not plan to Xfire/SLI at all.

I do not need usb 3.0/sata 6, as I feel that I will upgrade by the time it matters.

I will use this computer for gaming, internet, movie business, and nonsense microsoft office.

I have a computer build in mind atm, from scratch. However, if I buy a prebuilt, I can upgrade the GPU next semester (January) and be set.

I was looking at a 955be, 500 f3, 5850 + a monitor and an os for a homebuilt system.

This is what I'm looking at now - not the case I want, but hey...

And the monitor for both builds

Just wondering if it make sense to purchase the linked items, then wait until January for a GPU, or if I should just build exactly what I want now (August)
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  1. Here is a build which I posted for another user...
    GSKillz 4GB DDR3 + Gigabyte 870A

    X4 955 + HD 5850

    Samsung F3 1TB

    OCZ 550 + Sony DVD

    CM 690 Black

    Total - ~$775 Including HD 5850...So you can easily save ~$100 or more if you go wiht HD 5770(And it is very fast compared to the 9800GT) So you can get an OS for that money...
  2. In general, if the PC is just for surfing/email.. etc, then it is hard to beat the pre-built units.
    If you are interested in gaming, then building your own will often be better.

    The unit you linked to is good on cpu, ram, OS, and the usual parts.
    It is silent on the psu specs.
    The 9800GT will be underpowered when gaming at 1080P.

    I suggest you add up the cost of components to build exactly what you want and then compare.
    Do not forget to add in $100 for the OS. If you are a student, academic pricing is about $30.

    If you don't like the case, don't buy. You will hate it forever.

    I sense that the majority of posters here are AMD and ATI fans. Those products give good value.

    I happen to like Intel and Nvidia.
    Try a build with i5-750 anf GTX460.

    If you build it yourself, you will get the manufacturer's warranty on parts which is often longer than the prebuilt warranty.
    The support you get at these forums is maybe better than the prebuilt support.
    The satisfaction of building it yourself...Priceless.
  3. Always, always build your own for gaming.

    The prebuilt you are looking at is an unspecified 500gb HDD (this matters, there are performance differences for HDDs - Samsung Spinpoint performs better than other HDDs)

    Mystery brand RAM with underwhelming specs - 1333mhz and no doubt only CL 9. Meanwhile quality G Skill 1600mhz CL7 RAM will help with OCing

    Dead technology weak graphics card

    No doubt a dodgy PSU, OCing you computer may cause it to die horribly - as might simply using it heavily for a few days.

    At $725 + $30 shipping, that's a lot for some no doubt cheap parts. You said yourself you would then pay for a GPU in January, so at the very lease you would buy a 5770 which means essentialyl this computer would cost you near $900 in total. gkay just gave you a build which has good quality parts, one of the best GPUs and if you add in the cost of the OS you still end up slightly cheaper than the prebuilt
  4. OK, I decided to look at what a Intel/Nvidia build would be for that $700 budget.

    A Intel/Nvidia build for value gaming at 1920 x 1080.

    1) The Graphics card is the most important factor in most games, particularly at 1920x1080 or larger resolutions.
    To that end I suggest a GTX460 as the graphics card of choice. The basic card is a $200 part, and the 1gb card will be about $220.
    Launch menchmarks show that it is faster than the $200 ATI 5830. The GTX460 is not quite as fast as the $300 5850, and considerably faster than the $150 5770. According to tom's best graphics cards for the money July 2010, the 5850 gives exceptional performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games. The 5830 gives just great performance.,2676-4.html

    I would go with a EVGA GTX460, probably the 1gb version when it is released. The 1gb version will have a lifetime warranty vs. 2 years, and EVGA support is very good. If you ever want more, I would favor graphics upgrading by selling the old card and replacing it with a single stronger

    2) CPU. What cpu is required to drive such a card to good frame rates? Tom's did a nice article "is i3-530 fast enough for performance gaming?",2588.html
    The conclusion showed <4% difference in FPS overall in all of their tests using a 5850. The other cpu's included i7-870, X3-720, X4-965 at stock. The 530 is a great overclocker. When overclocked, it matched the stock X4-965.
    At $115 it is a good CPU, and the 32nm mfg. technology keeps it cooler. If you have games or other apps that thrive on 4 or more cores, like FSX or Photoshop, then a quad would be better.

    3) Psu.
    The GTX460 requires a psu with 450 watts, and two pci-e power connectors. Not much else is important. My short list of quality psu brands would include Corsair, Seasonic, PC P&C, XFX, and Antec. You can pick any one of them. The price point will be about $80. You may find one for a bit less. But, don't be tempted to go with a cheap psu of unknown quality.
    My pick would be the XFX 650w unit for $80 after rebate:
    There is a lot to like. Bronze efficiency, modular, and well reviewed.

    4) motherboard.

    Almost any 1156 based motherboard will do. All will have at least modest overclocking potential, except perhaps Intel. My short list of vendors would include EVGA, Gigabyte, and ASUS. Look, perhaps at a Micro-ATX motherboard, they are less expensive. They will have 4 expansion slots instead of the 7 on a full ATX format. Today, you get all the extras like many usb ports and sound integrated.
    How about the EVGA micro-ATX board for $70 after rebate?

    5) Ram.
    4gb seems to be the good amount for normal operations. A 4gb kit (2 x 2gb) of DDR3 ram should cost you <$100. Do not pay extra for faster speeds or lower latencies. Synthetic benchmarks show nice performance, but it does not show up in more FPS or better application performance. Think 1-2%. Check that it is on the motherboard's ram QVL list or the ram vendors configurator showing that it is compatible with the motherboard.

    6) Case.
    Almost any case will do. Look for one with at least two 120mm input or exhaust fans for adequate cooling.
    The Antec 300 illusion model is a great case at a reasonable price of $70.
    For less "bling" the 200 at $50 with free shipping is a great value. Check shipping on cases, they are heavy and shipping can add $20 to the cost.
    If you want a small micro-atx case for gaming, look at the Lian li PC-V351 at $99:

    7) Cpu cooler.
    The 32nm cpu's run cool, and really don't need a oem cooler. However, I recommend one. It will allow easier and higher overclocks, and will keep the noise down better than the stock cooler. Almost any will do and be better than the stock cooler. You should be able to find a good one for <$40.

    8) OS.
    Windows-7 home premium 64 bit seems to be the way to go. It will cost you $100. If you are a student, look into academic pricing for about $30.

    The rest of the components such as keyboard, mouse, monitor and dvd are relatively standard. Pick what you want there.

    This build will total approximately $700.
  5. Personally I am not an AMD fan - I have never actually bought an AMD CPU before, however when on a tight budget they are the best way to go for performance and money.

    The problem with the i3 is that it is dual core, and dual core is rapidly becoming old news for gaming. When with a similar budget you can get a very good AMD build.

    As for Nvidia or ATI, well, Nvidia have finally come to the party with the GTX460, however it is in the wrong bracket - coming in weaker than the 5850 means 1920 x 1080 is just about within its grasp, struggling with some games. 460 is definately Nvidias best product so far, but if an AMD build allows for a 5850 I would go with that
  6. The problem with quad or 6 cores is that you have to give up a bit of maximum clock speed per core to add more cores. Adding more cores gets you diminishing incremental improvements in FPS. If more cores comes at the expnse of giving up clock speed per core, then there is less benefit, and perhaps even a loss.

    Also, the 530 has hyperthreading which gives the OS the appearance of 4 cores. True, the extra hyperthreads are only about 30% the performance of a core, but those threads will be working on lower priority tasks. A 2.6 core cpu??

    If your game is truly cpu limited and enabled for three or more cores, then a quad or better will do well. FSX is one such game. Most of the time though, games are much more limited by the graphics configuration than the cpu anyway.

    Is the future there for needing 4 or more cores? I think not. It is harder to program to take advantage of more than two tasks/cores. Game developers want their games to be able to run well on minimal hardware so they can sell more copies. What is the advantage to them to produce a game that can only be run on a high end PC with many cores?

    One other thing, we are back to the clock rate wars of the past. Marketing touts the clock rate as the main or only metric of cpu capability. In fact the capability to do more work per cycle because of architecture is a metric that has to be factored in. In general, I see that the Intel cpu's outperform the AMD cpu's on a clock for clock basis. That is why they cost appropriately less.
  7. The whole reason why the i5 750 has become the gamers chip is because of its OC ability and it is quad core.

    When core 2 duo came out and quad core followed, no one who gamed wanted the quad because of loss of clock speed and no real benefit.
    But things have changed or at least are changing, dual core is no longer the best option for gaming, to be precise, neither is quad as it is excessive - it is the addition of the third core that makes the performance difference (thats why the AMD Rana 440 was a very popular budget chip)

    Going in excess of 4 cores is definately a waste, it has been shown pretty clearly that an i7 hyperthreading and the AMD x6 are no benefit to gaming whatsoever and I cannot see that changing anytime in the near future.

    The AMD 955/965 is a good quad core CPU and the best alternative to an i5 750 if on a budget - especially as it doesn't cost much to get a motherboard that XFires to go with it (or at least a board with USB3.0 and SATA 6gb/s)
    Aside from being able to get a quad and a good motherboard, you are also left with money in the budget to get a more powerful card - the GTX460 is a nice design but the card is not powerful enough - it beats the 5830, a card widely considered as a pointless card that has no real place in gaming. The 5850 on the otherand has that little more juice to handle most games at 1920 x 1080 and is the lowest I would be willing to go for a gaming build

    So, key reasons for AMD instead of Intel i3 530:
    Quad core chip
    Better GPU
    Better Mobo - eitehr XFire or SATA/USB III or both

    The stock x4 beats out the stock i3 and sometimes the Oc'd one as well. In situations it loses the fps is almost identical. Bare in mind this is without the 965 being OC'd its performance is matching or beating them.
    But the key elemant here is still the fact that overall you are getting a better build without any performance loss by going AMD.
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