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Seeking advice on new build

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August 4, 2010 11:51:26 PM

It's time for a new computer. I plan on keeping some components from my old system (DVD burner, Case, Hard Drives, possibly the power supply and CPU cooler) and replacing everything else for a major increase in performance. I'm considering a few different options right now. Components and Specs for each system are posted below.


Single Video Card Intel System
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
Video Card

Crossfire Intel System
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
Video Card (2x in crossfire)


Single Video Card AMD System
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
Video Card


Crossfire AMD System
Motherboard
CPU
Ram
Video Card (2x in crossfire)

This will only be the second system I've built, and the last one was more than 3 years ago, so I've got some questions.


The AMD processor seems like a FAR better choice than the intel, with considerably better performance at a considerably cheaper cost. It almost seems too good to be true. So is there some downside to the AMD, or is it simply a better choice?

I can get 16 GB of DDR3 1333 RAM for $480 vs. 16 GB of DDR3 1600 for $640. Is there enough extra performance in the DDR3 1600 to justify that extra $160 or would I be wasting my money?

Is there anything in particular I need to be aware of if I decide to go with a crossfire system rather than a single video card? Any benefits/drawbacks to either setup?

Will the systems I outlined above actually work? Mostly I'm concerned whether or not I've picked a motherboard that will support everything else.

I'm currently using a PC Power and Cooling silencer 610W power supply. Will that be sufficient to run the systems outlined above, or should I be looking at upgrading that as well?

I currently use a Zalman CNPS9700 CPU cooler, will that work with the CPUs listed above, or does that need to be upgraded?

Will the components outlined above allow me to run Windows 7 64-bit?

Any other advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated as well.

Thanks.

More about : seeking advice build

August 5, 2010 12:31:01 AM

Hi, the x4 965 will be great and your CPU cooler would work fine, are you planning to overclock? if not than the 9700 would be a-okay. The AMD processor is not far better than Intel but the Intel you chose was an old socket. The amd sockets are much more future proof :)  I would go with your single video card AMD because down the road you just add another, no point in getting a low end graphics card in crossfire, get one high end and crossfire that when you can. Crossfire is not as good as Nvidia SLI.. so only crossfire 2 cards for the best overall setup. 610 watts is pushing it i would upgrade to something like this, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now with ram, why do you want so much ram? for regular gaming and computer use you only need around 4GBs no reason to get the 1600mhz. 16gb of ram is a lot though and not needed for most people. I would get 4gb of ram and get a 5970 :D 
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August 5, 2010 10:20:53 AM

Mr Pizza said:
Hi, the x4 965 will be great and your CPU cooler would work fine, are you planning to overclock? if not than the 9700 would be a-okay. The AMD processor is not far better than Intel but the Intel you chose was an old socket. The amd sockets are much more future proof :)  I would go with your single video card AMD because down the road you just add another, no point in getting a low end graphics card in crossfire, get one high end and crossfire that when you can. Crossfire is not as good as Nvidia SLI.. so only crossfire 2 cards for the best overall setup. 610 watts is pushing it i would upgrade to something like this, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now with ram, why do you want so much ram? for regular gaming and computer use you only need around 4GBs no reason to get the 1600mhz. 16gb of ram is a lot though and not needed for most people. I would get 4gb of ram and get a 5970 :D 



I was under the impression that more ram was an easy way to upgrade performance. I didn't realize that there were limits to how much certain programs used
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2010 11:03:02 AM

If gaming, RAM beyond 4gb is pointless. By the time more is required it will be far cheaper to buy, so stick with 4gb if gaming is your focus.

You seem to be misinformed believing you get better performance and cheaper than Intel by going AMD. AMD wins when comparing price/performance ratio, but Intel are the better performing CPUs.

Regardless of build, I would be looking at 1600mhz, CL7 RAM, something like the 4gb G Skill Eco - $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Assuming it is a gaming build, if going Intel either go with the i5 750/i5760 not the i7 860 as there is no benefit with i7 for gaming, just more money for nothing.

For motherboard I would grab the Asus P7P55D E Pro for $179.99 this has USB/SATA III and Crossfire/SLI capability
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now you have the option of either sticking with the 5870, or SLIing 2 x GTX460, I am inclined to say go with the more powerful card with the option of adding a second in future if you ned to. On the other hand Nvidia cards look to be better with Direct X 11, so it is worth deciding for yourself what you want. 2 x GTX 460 will certainly outperform the 5870 (as you would expect for about $80 more) but you lose an option for the easy upgrade of adding another card later.

A 610W will cover single card set up, but if you want Crossfiring then in the future you will want to upgrade to 750W or more.

AMD is a good alternative, though I would grab the 955 as all you need to do is make an easy tweak to make it a 965. AMD will limit you to Crossfire only, not a big deal.

Personally, I tend to only look at AMD if on a tight budget, if you can afford Intel I think it is a better way to go (but I am Intel biased). With the money you saved on RAM and going to i5 you can afford whatever you want.
While talking about affordability/budget, if you can afford the extra money for a board that allows XFire/SLI I would always suggest getting one to keep your options open, picking up a second card can be very cheap down the line and give just as good an upgrade as replacing your card with a new more powerful (and expensive) one

Also, I assume you are playing on a 1920 x 1080 monitor?

Future upgradibility is irrelevant, your build will last 3-5 years, by that time new technology is out and you would want to get a new mobo and RAM anyway, so you wont be wanting to keep the core of your build in future anyway
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2010 2:06:49 PM

16 GB of RAM !!! My friend are you planning to launch a space shuttle ? If that's the case, then Houston, we got a problem.

Firstly you did'nt mention your usage.

Secondly you did'nt give us your budget.

Assuming it's gaming, lemme tell you the following ---

Games don't really use more than 4 GB of memory. So 16 is a colossal waste of money. Get this CORSAIR DOMINATOR (2 x 2GB) CL7 set.

Similarly, as far as games are concerned, most of 'em dont really have the ability to use more than 2 core (with notable exceptions like FSX-DX 11).

But just in case...your choice should be the quad core Intel Core i5-760.

The mobo - stick to asteldian's choice, It's absolutely the right one. But in the unlikely scenario of you wanting a cheaper option, go with the younger sibling of the same mobo. @ 150 bucks, it's 'bout 30 bucks cheaper - ASUS P7P55D-E
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2010 2:15:03 PM

Now for your AMD build...

CPU : AMD Phenom II X4 955

EDIT : I just realised that mr pizza asked you to get the Phenom II X4 965. It'll be gr8 too. Just 20 bucks more expensive.

Mobo : ASUS M4A89GTD PRO

You can keep the the rest of the build mentioned in my previous post.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2010 2:33:27 PM

OK, lol I just realised I also forgot to give you the GPU.

At your budget - which I'm assuming is pretty substantial (for crying out loud, you were goin' with 16 GB RAM for 640!!!), I think the SLI set-up is a no brainer.

Go with 2 X GTX 460 (Fermi).

As for ATI, you can do a lot worse than the Radeon HD 5870.

EDIT : Yes these components will allow you to run Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2010 2:47:32 PM

Now 'bout the PSU ---

The one you got should be sufficient, but if you want a more powerful one, you can get a CORSAIR 650W PSU if you're not too finicky about getting a modular one. If so, you can go with the CORSAIR 650W modular PSU.
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August 5, 2010 11:45:55 PM

Thanks for all the advice everyone. The primary purpose of the build is gaming, and my budget is about $1500. I took your advice and came up with the starting point below.


Power Supply
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
Video Card

All in all, that will run me about $1100, so I have another $400 I could spend to upgrade it past that point. Any suggestions on how that $400 could be best spent?

I'm considering adding another two ram chips to bring me up to 8 GB instead of 4.
I'm also considering upgrading the processor to something like the i7-875k for a slight increase in processor performance.
I'm pretty sure that I want to stick with a single video card for now, since it will allow me to upgrade more easily to crossfire in the future, so I might also upgrade to something like this, or even this.

Any suggestions on what would be the best thing to spend the extra cash on if I decide to do it?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 8:10:29 AM

Have you got a good case? The 5870 is a big card and you want good airflow if using 2. Something like a HAF 922? Got yourself a good Hard Drive like the Samsung Spinpoint F3 or is it old? Is it IDE or SATA?

I definately would not bother with the extra RAM, it really will be no use to you. By the time more RAM is any use, the cost of DDR3 will have dropped dramatically.

How good is your CPU cooler? With a decent CPU cooler, the i5 760 should be able to OC to about 4ghz which is all the power you need. I would not get an i7 875 because it doesn't offer anything useful for gaming over the i5 760

Don't get the 2gb 5870, it is a lot more money for nothing.

I personally am not a big fan of the 5970 (the 2 GPUs in one), I would sooner just XFire into two 5870s which gives all the power you will need anyway - but I would not do that yet either because you wont need a second card for awhile and by then prices will drop.

Some will probably suggest a Solid State Drive - not yet though as prices are supposed to drop.

But me personally, if I had left over cash I would squirrel it away as a great platform for adjusting my build in the future - rather than spending the money for the sake of it, wait until you have the system and can identify anything you are not happy with so that you can focus your money rather than spend blindly on what you think you may or may not need
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 9:08:49 AM

asteldian said:
But me personally, if I had left over cash I would squirrel it away as a great platform for adjusting my build in the future - rather than spending the money for the sake of it, wait until you have the system and can identify anything you are not happy with so that you can focus your money rather than spend blindly on what you think you may or may not need

Amen to that.

Now, 'bout the cooler queries that you had ---

Your Zalman would have been compatible if you had gone with the 955 / 965, or chosen a quad core 9650 or something. But not for i5 / i7.

You can go with this COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus cooler.

Or the 20 bucks cheaper (only i5 compatible, not i7) Cooler Master Hyper TX3.

EDIT : You don't really need an aftermarket cooler if you don't wish to OC. But it won't hurt either.
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August 6, 2010 10:20:22 AM

asteldian said:
Have you got a good case? The 5870 is a big card and you want good airflow if using 2. Something like a HAF 922? Got yourself a good Hard Drive like the Samsung Spinpoint F3 or is it old? Is it IDE or SATA?

I definately would not bother with the extra RAM, it really will be no use to you. By the time more RAM is any use, the cost of DDR3 will have dropped dramatically.

How good is your CPU cooler? With a decent CPU cooler, the i5 760 should be able to OC to about 4ghz which is all the power you need. I would not get an i7 875 because it doesn't offer anything useful for gaming over the i5 760

Don't get the 2gb 5870, it is a lot more money for nothing.

I personally am not a big fan of the 5970 (the 2 GPUs in one), I would sooner just XFire into two 5870s which gives all the power you will need anyway - but I would not do that yet either because you wont need a second card for awhile and by then prices will drop.

Some will probably suggest a Solid State Drive - not yet though as prices are supposed to drop.

But me personally, if I had left over cash I would squirrel it away as a great platform for adjusting my build in the future - rather than spending the money for the sake of it, wait until you have the system and can identify anything you are not happy with so that you can focus your money rather than spend blindly on what you think you may or may not need


My case is an Antec 900. I'm quite happy with it, and I believe it will be plenty big to fit everything I need inside. I've got two fairly new 500 GB hard drives (One Seagate and one Western Digital) and both are SATA.

MY CPU Cooler is a Zalman 9700, which as the guy below you suggested is apparently not compatible with the i5 processor, so I'll probably look into getting a new one.

Thanks for the advice about the other components. I wasn't sure if there was any benefit to spending more at this point, but it seems like a lot of money for pretty small gains.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 12:37:48 PM

That about sums it up, $1200 pretty much gives you everything you need for a gaming build especially when you already have some parts, anymore starts to get 'bonus' items or indulgences as I would call them.

Yeah, your case and HDDs are fine
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August 7, 2010 11:04:57 AM

I really appreciate all the advice, and I'm hoping to get a little bit more. My wife also wants a new gaming computer and has asked me to build it for her. She has a budget of about $1200. She currently has a laptop so she'll need all the components for a tower. She's decided to go with a single video card, with the option of going SLI or Crossfire eventually. She's told me she's not interested at all in overclocking. She's also insisted that she wants 6 GB of ram, though I communicated to her that she would be fine with 4. With those criteria in mind, I came up with the build below.


Case
Power Supply
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
Video Card
Hard Drive
DVD Burner
Wireless Card
OS

I also considered an AMD processor and motherboard, since it saves about $100, but I'm not sure how much of a hit to performance that would be.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 1:23:36 PM

Tell your wife that 6gb is not an option. The kit you linked is triple channel and so only works witht he very expensive i7 and X58 motherboards. What you are building is for i5, P55 mobos and uses dual channel kits (so, 2gb, 4gb, 8gb etc.).

If she really wants 8gb she can have it, but at a cost of losing game performance due to sacrificing CPU or GPU (As she will likely exceed the budget).

Suggest to her she gets 4gb now and gives it a go, if she truly believes she needs more after that you can always buy another set.

You can go AMD, me personally, I prefer to do AMD if on a tight budget, if I can afford Intel without losing out on GPU then I do.

The build looks good, the only thing that may be a consideration is buying a GTX 460 (1gb) with intention to SLI later. I prefer the AMD 5850 because it is more powerful, however, in SLI the GTX 460s are insanely good - I think they may even out do the 5850s in XFire (not sure though).
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August 7, 2010 1:49:38 PM

asteldian said:
Tell your wife that 6gb is not an option. The kit you linked is triple channel and so only works witht he very expensive i7 and X58 motherboards. What you are building is for i5, P55 mobos and uses dual channel kits (so, 2gb, 4gb, 8gb etc.).

If she really wants 8gb she can have it, but at a cost of losing game performance due to sacrificing CPU or GPU (As she will likely exceed the budget).

Suggest to her she gets 4gb now and gives it a go, if she truly believes she needs more after that you can always buy another set.

You can go AMD, me personally, I prefer to do AMD if on a tight budget, if I can afford Intel without losing out on GPU then I do.

The build looks good, the only thing that may be a consideration is buying a GTX 460 (1gb) with intention to SLI later. I prefer the AMD 5850 because it is more powerful, however, in SLI the GTX 460s are insanely good - I think they may even out do the 5850s in XFire (not sure though).


Cool, thanks for the heads up. I hadn't realized that the mobo I linked couldn't accept odd numbers of ram chips. I'll make sure she knows.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 3:11:04 PM

There's no gaming benefit from 6/8 GB. Todays' games can't really utilize more than 4GB of RAM. Anything more than that for gaming really will be overkill.

So stick to low latency 7-8-7-20 $135 CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) RAM

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