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Athlon II x4 635 + Asus M4A89GTD

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July 27, 2010 10:28:28 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 24-48 hours

BUDGET RANGE: Around $1000 on parts I don't already have.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: office work, music playback, web development, HTPC, some photo editing, and I want to start checking out some FPS and auto racing games, and might or might not get more into games in the future.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: case, monitor, OS, keyboard, mouse, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect and circuitcity for bing cashback, centralcomputers.com for local pickup to save on shipping costs, maybe Microcenter

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Western Digital drives. G.Skill RAM because they seem to have good support. I'm willing to pay more for good companies with good support and solid products.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe next year

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, for the same reasons as overclocking.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 for the HP ZR24w 24" monitor I just bought. Also need output via S-video to TV. Might go dual monitor in the future.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:


Hi,

I think the Athlon II x4 635 + Asus M4A89GTD might be a good combo for me. What do you think?

This is my first build and the high performance uses are HTPC, some photo editing, and I want to start checking out some FPS and auto racing games, and might or might not get more into games in the future.

Many thanks to batuchka for pointing me in the right direction, summarizing my needs well, and picking out a CPU. I did my due diligence and read reviews and benchmarks and it looks like the Athlon II x4 635 is a great choice for me.

I need s-video, DVI or Displayport, and esata.

I want this machine to be fast, snappy, quick, and silent.

Overclocking next year maybe.

If I do light to medium overclocking, should I get this Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler now or wait until next year when I start overclocking? I'm kinda thinking "now" so I won't need to redo it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is the C3 version of the CPU worth $16 more +tax+shipping? Otherwise I'm buying the C2 version from tigerdirect or circuitcity with bing cashback. Unless I'm missing something, it looks like the answer is no from:
http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/372/AMD_Athlon_II_X4_6...




Motherboard option 1:

ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Compared to the other boards below, it has the latest northbridge chipset, which probably wouldn't make much difference to me.

My gut is telling me to go with this board because of the on-board video and it has more newegg reviews than the Gigabyte boards.



Option 2:

GIGABYTE GA-890XA-UD3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Someone in another thread wisely pointed out that this board has 2 extra sata ports which is enticing to me, but I prefer the on-board video on the Asus.



Option 3:

GIGABYTE GA-890FXA-UD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This board has dual LAN ports. I'd get this board if I could connect my DSL modem to one port and another computer to the other port and allow the other computer to connect to the Internet. I don't think that's possible though, is it? I think I'd need a router.

This board doesn't have the latest Realtek sound and LAN chips it seems, which probably wouldn't make much difference to me.


Some CPU fans and heatsinks apparently get in the way of the RAM slots on the Gigabyte boards, and the RAM needs to be moved, limiting the board to only 2 slots. Eyeballing the proximity of the CPU socket to the RAM slots, it looks like it might be a concern and a reason to go with the ASUS.

I originally wanted to go with a Gigabyte board because I've read they have better quality and support overall, and good manuals which are good for first time builders. But I'm leaning towards going with the masses and getting an Asus.

Any reasons I should pick one of the Gigabyte boards? Any other boards I should consider? Functionality is more important to me than saving $20-$50.




RAM:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not exactly sure what I'm buying with RAM: latency, speed, etc., but it's listed in the QVL.

http://www.gskill.us/forum/showthread.php?t=5169&highli...




PSU:

SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ATX12V V2.3/EPS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Modular, silent fan, lots of SATA connectors, 5 year warranty, power switch that will likely never be in the "off" position.

I'm probably going to have 4-6 sata drives, 1 ODD, 1 Intel 40GB SSD boot drive.

Slots:

2 PCIe x1 - 1 or 2 capture cards
1 PCIe x1 - maybe a wireless card
2 PCIe x16 - 2 graphics cards?



At first, I was going to get this video card for s-video out:

XFX HD-435X-YAH2 Radeon HD 4350 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the cheapest card with s-video and Win7 64-bit support that I could find.

But Asus said that their VGA port supports TV-out, so I can try to use this adapter first:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&...


With on-board video, can I get the max resolution on both DVI and VGA with unique (non-mirrored) displays, or do I need separate cards?




Case FYI:

ARK 4U-500-CA Black 4U Rackmount Case 3 External 5.25" Drive Bays
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



My original thread is here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/290843-31-htpc-music-...


Please let me know what you think about this rig!


Thanks!

-- Ed
July 27, 2010 11:37:47 PM

if u are goin to game u need better gpu

Best solution

July 27, 2010 11:55:22 PM
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Hiya,

Quote:
I think I'd need a router.

Not exactly, one computer acts as a "proxy server" in that configuration. However, I strongly recommend a router in any case for the extra layer of security one provides. Even an inexpensive one.

Yes, just install the cooler up-front. Did you verify that the Scythe will fit in the case?

I think you should get an 870 board and discrete graphics card. Here is the way I would do this on newegg:

Gigabyte 870 board and 4GB RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Don't sweat the details on the RAM. This will work just fine for your needs. Latency and frequency makes only very small differences measurable only by benchmarking programs.
I really do not see you needing more than one video card. Get one up front that will meet your needs

I think the black edition Phenom X3 with the possibility of unlocking the 4th core might be a better choice at the same price, for a potential overclocker:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

... and why not the Asus 5750? Will do everything you need up front, with lowered settings for gaming. Later you can upgrade to something like a 5850 if you want.

The X750 has certainly come down in price lately. It's one of the very best made of course, but I don't think it's needed. Keep in mind I'm a PSU fanatic :)  It's just kinda overkill.

I would think the TP-650 would do everything you need, still be overkill, and save 50 bucks. Seasonic makes those too ya know.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...








Related resources
July 28, 2010 12:59:52 AM

+^1... Proximon's Suggestions

Couple of additonal notes...

1) None of the motherboards listed will work with your case as it is a 4U factor (Unless I'm missing something?). You will need to switch your case to something else to use any of those motherboards.

2) You'll need a HSF if you go with Proximon's CPU (does come with one). I would go with the Sunbeam CR-CCTF, if & when you switch the case. It will not work in your current case due to it's size.

3) I would go with this case and PSU combo... Antec 300 Illuson and Antec EarthWatts EA650
July 28, 2010 1:34:19 AM

Good find on the case fitting an ATX motherboard.


I would say that none of his listed heat sinks outside of the H50 will fit into his case. I would go with a Scythe Low Profile heat sink over the H50 though.
July 28, 2010 11:26:38 AM

Thank you for your feedback, Proximon and tecmo!

>> Yes, just install the cooler up-front. Did you verify that the Scythe will fit in the case?

No, but thank you very much for pointing that out. How can I verify it fits?

I think it might be best to wait and buy the cooler last after I have the case and motherboard and I can measure.

The Antec 300 is 8.1 inches wide and the ARK 4U is 7 inches, a difference of 1.1 inch or 27.94 millimeters. I'd really prefer the horizontal case versus tower if possible. In fact, I'd skip overclocking if I needed a bigger cooler and it couldn't fit in the case.

Any idea how much clearance there is in the Antec 300? It's probably not an exact comparison, but it will give us some idea.

The cooler I picked is the Scythe SCMG-2100 and it's 130 x 100 x 158 mm. I'm not sure which is the height, but I think it's 158mm based on the dimensions of their other coolers.

When you say "low-profile" which one are you referring to? The SCSK-1100?

Scythe SCSMZ-2000 = 119mm tall?
HS = 94 x 122 x 94 mm
Fan on top = 92 x 92 x 25 mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scythe SCSK-1100 = 76mm tall?
HS = 105 x 116 x 64 mm
Fan on top = 100 x 100 x 12 mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scythe SCKBT-1000 = 157mm tall?
HS = 124 x 133 x 132 mm
Fan on top = 120 x 120 x 25 mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Here are the comments in the newegg reviews for the Ark 500 4U case about coolers:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...

"The only minor case flaw is that some tall CPU coolers can obstruct the stability rail by a few mm. I put a few extra washers in underneath the rail which worked for me."

--

"pretty sturdy. fits my standard 19" equipment rack just fine, plenty of room for hard drives, pci cards, and even a zalman 9300 cpu cooler(if you dont need to use the extra hard drive bays)"

"i stuffed it with the following: ga-ep45c-ds3r, e8400 w/zalman 9300 cooler, 8800gt,..."

ZALMAN CNPS 9300AT SuperFlo CPU Cooler
http://www.zalman.com/Eng/product/Product_Read.asp?idx=...
61.35(L) x 108(W) x 132.5(H) mm

--

"If ordering a large CPU heat sink make sure you don't get one that is too tall for the case. Most 120mm CPU fans will not fit inside this 4U (7 inch) tall case. I am using a Rosewill RCX-Z3 92mm CPU Cooler on a ASUS M3A78-EM AM2 motherboard. Once assembled their is less than a half inch between the cooler and the case cover. "

Rosewill RCX-Z3 92mm CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HS: 101.7 x 93.6 x 67.8mm
Fan on side: 92 x 92 x 25mm

--

"The support beam for pci devices interfered with my CPU cooler."

--

"metal brace for extra card support can interfere with CPU cooler."

"It works great, except that the internal cross brace for cards collides with the CPU cooler on my old Athlon64 (Asus K8NE board). Luckily it is removable."

Previous 2 comments from same reviewer.

--

"The case has excellent airflow and at 4U is high enough for the largest CPU Cooler."

"My Thermaltake CL-P0401 110mm CPU Cooler, fits with a little extra room. "

Previous 2 comments from same reviewer.

Thermaltake CL-P0401 110mm CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HS: 147 x 92 x 143mm
Fan on side: 110 x 110 x 25mm

--

"pretty spacious for a server build (which doesn't require an aftermarket cooler or fancy gfx card)."

--

"I can't use the extra dual hard drive rail that hangs in the middle of the case because I have an oversized CPU cooler and I can't move it down because of cabling and PCI cards. But this is just because of my layout, I'm sure different layouts would be different."

--

"My mobo doesn't have lan or cpu fan cooler light pins so those LEDs just sit dark, but that's not much of a con."

--


Looking at the comments, I think the Scythe 2000 (119mm) or 1100 (76mm) will fit. With this small cooler, how much overclocking will I be able to do?




From the Scythe 1100 customer reviews:

"Cons: It cant cool my Phenom II X4. stock cooler keeps a low 57-58C, this cooler while quiet cant keep my core below the 62 C limit AMD specs for

Other Thoughts: if you have a mid power CPU it would work nicely, but I needed low profile for my HTPC, but this just cannot keep the temperature down. hence the 3 eggs "

Another review:

"This was exactly what I needed as my power supply is right above the CPU socket of my ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO. Anything else would not have fit. Using it to cool an oc'd X4 II 955 (@ 3.45Ghz). Keeping it at 39C idle, <60C under Prime95 or 57C under Everest Ultimate. (Using Arctic Silver.)

OC'd it to 3.52Ghz, but it was getting above 60C and I didn't want to chance it. Might look at doing the same as the below post and getting a different fan, but any taller fan for me, and it might not fit in my case."

Another:

"Cools well with ten percent over-clocking. If you want more cooling . . . then you might get the bigger brother (it is 120mm).

Antec Minuet350 Piano Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 350W 80PLUS Certified Power Supply,
BIOSTAR TA790GX XE AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard, AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz..."


I think it might be best to wait and buy the cooler last after I measure. Please let me know what you think.



PSU: The TP-650 looks great. I'll look into that one and other 650w power supplies.


I think I'm going to stick with the Athlon for now and guarantee the four cores. When/If I start getting into overclocking next year, then I'll look into all of the options with the possibility of upgrading the CPU.



>> I think you should get an 870 board and discrete graphics card.

Please let me know why you like the 870.

I removed the 870 from my list because I didn't think I needed 3 PCI slots. More PCIe slots would be better, I thought. Any other reasons you think I should get this board, other than 2 more SATA ports?

If I consider a Gigabyte board, why not the GA-890XA-UD3? Because the 870 combo deal is a great one? Any other reasons? (To clarify, I'd rather get functionality than save $20-$50. But if the additional functionality is limited, I like $50 in my pocket just as much as the next person.)

After looking into this more and considering your comments, I think you guys really like discrete graphics cards for the gaming factor, but I won't be gaming at all until next year at the earliest. I think I can get a great card then. Is a discrete graphics card going to have better performance for "office work" than on-board video?

Nonetheless, if I get a Gigabyte board and a discrete graphics card now, I'm thinking I'll get a low-end card this year like the one I linked to in my post, and then next year I'll get something really great.

870A + RAM = $150 + $60 XFX video card + tax = $230

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
890XA + RAM = $170 + $60 XFX video card + tax = $250

3 PCIe x1 slots vs 3 PCI slots are worth $20 to me, I think.

890XA $135 + G.Skill RAM $110 = $245 + $60 video card = $305
890XA + OCZ RAM combo + $60 video card = $283.74 - $15 rebates = $268.74

Is G.Skill RAM worth $20. I'll pay it if it is.

870 + G.SKill RAM combo = $150 + XFX $60 video card + tax = $244.89 shipped - $10 rebate = $234.89

890XA + OCZ RAM combo + XFX $60 video card = $268.74 - $10 rebate = $258.74

Asus with on-board video $133.54 after bcb + $101.74 G.Skill RAM = $235.28

Asus M4A89GTD + Athlon II x4 635 = $218.42 after bcb + $101.74 G.Skill RAM = $320.16 shipped


Please let me know why you think I should get the Gigabyte or if there's any reason I should not get the Asus. Will the XFX card give me noticably better performance for video and office work, until I can upgrade and get a good card for gaming?

Thank you very, very much for your help! I really appreciate it.

-- Ed
July 28, 2010 12:22:34 PM

That's a whole lotta text and I'm past my bedtime :p  I would go for an upright 92mm cooler for a good blend of size and cooling. Zigmatek or Sunbeam
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That Rosewill you linked looks about right also.

As to the 870, I wasn't really looking at PCI-E slots. If you need a bunch of those then it won't work. It was more a budget choice.
August 11, 2010 11:43:22 AM

Thank you very much Proximon and tecmo for your feedback!

Your comment about the cooler fitting in the case was absolutely CRITICAL and saved me money, time, and headaches. Thanks!!

I decided to get another case, the Lian-Li PC-7FN mid-tower. Fortunately, I figured out a good place to put it: behind my monitor. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I was going to put a tower case, and I much prefer this case over the other one.

I also decided to get the Mugen 2 because it's quiet, highly rated, and should fit in this case.

Thanks again for your help! Much appreciated!

-- Ed
August 15, 2010 5:03:07 AM

Best answer selected by webdev50.
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