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Pre-Build vs. Home Build

I'm looking for some expert opinion about a potential rig I plan to get very soon. Up to this one I've always bought pre-built and upgraded mildly, gfx cards and other simple things like low end gfx card OC, etc. But, it looks like I can get more power, cheaper, by ordering the parts and doing it myself.

My current computer is a pre-build HP Pavilion a1330n media center, AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3800+, 2.39 Ghz single core, 2GM RAM, 2005 build, NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT, RivaTuner OC'd...mildly, get real bad clipping, sputters at extreme OC, the card is dated. This was "ok" for FFXI and it handles WoW decently at middle settings, windowed at 1680x1050 24-bit color 24-it depth 1 x multisample (game can be configured up to 4 x multisample) in game 30-50 fps, lows as low as 15 fps in high crowd areas. The thing is old now, and the stutters that used to not bother me, are.

Thing is being I've never dona full build, and I am prepared to drop a pretty substancial amount of $ in doing it I am gun shy about buying the items without some confirmation that I what I am getting are compatible, balanced items. Any bottlenecks you see, things like that.

So here goes, the real question, I have had my eye on a HP pre-build for a while so I'm going to list the parts of both here. I'm looking for suggestions on what I may need to change in my potential parts (if any), and further whether I should get the pre-build if they are close enough to not matter. I got the bug for a new gaming computer specifically for preperation for FFIV, the benchmark kicked the crap out of my current 2005 build, 860 score when Square-Enix recommends at least a 1,500.

The processor is pretty well set in stone, I've seen plenty of "vs" reviews saying the i5 and i7 processors do better on current games but the 1090T can be OC'd to 4gHz and is way cheaper than the i series. The i7 is reeeealy nice, but expensive.

The pre-built machine has the following specs (HP):

Operating system: Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: AMD Phenom(TM) II X6 1090T six-core processor [3.2GHz, 3MB L2 + 6MB L3 shared, up to 4000MHz]
Memory: 8GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [4 DIMMs]
Hard drive: FREE UPGRADE! 1TB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive from 750GB
Office software Microsoft Office Starter 2010
Security software Norton Internet Security(TM) 2010 - 15 month
Graphics card: 2GB ATI Radeon HD 5570 [DVI,HDMI, DP, VGA adapter]
Speakers: No speakers
Primary optical drive: FREE UPGRADE! Blu-ray player & Lightscribe SuperMulti DVD burner
Networking: Integrated Ethernet port, No wireless LAN
Front Productivity Ports 15-in-1 memory card reader, 1 USB, 1394, audio
TV & entertainment experience No TV Tuner
Sound Card: Integrated sound
Keyboard and Mouse HP USB keyboard and optical mouse

Total: 1,089.99 (keep in mind I'd be looking to add things like bigger processor fan right after purchase as well as maybe having to drop the 2x5570 for 2x5850 or 5870, lower configuration would have one 5850, with ability to xfire down the road). This one is cheaper now by a little...wasted money in a short time.


Items picked for DIY build (Newegg):

Operating system: Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Motherboard: MSI 890FXA-GD70 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130274&Tpk=N82E16813130274
Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16819103849
Thermaltake Frio Overclocking-Ready Intel Core i7 (six-core ready) & i5 Compatible Five 8mm Heatpipes Dual 120mm Fans Intel ...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106150&Tpk=N82E16835106150
Memory: OCZ Reaper HPC 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820227415
Optical Drive: LG Black Blu-ray Disc Combo SATA Model CH10LS20 OEM LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16827136195
Graphics: XFX Radeon HD 5850 HD-585X-ZAFC Video Card w/ Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16814150477
Case: Rosewill DESTROYER Black Gaming Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16811147144
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16822148433
Power Supply: XFX Black Edition XPS-850W-BES 850W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16817207001

Total: $1,274.92 (Not including Win7, see below)

First and foremost, am I missing anything, do I need to change anything up? Are there things I can downgrade while maintaining the same computing power (perhapes motherboard is overkill?). However, many of the items listed above are package pricing...actually almost every piece is part of a pair of items.

I need to know which copy of Win7 I should get, this is a completely new build obviously so can't get the cheeper priced upgrade only disks, so the price there may throw this one out of the picture. That is also a thing that worries me, never built the software from a completely fresh build, any links I need to research to negate potential problems or is it a simple plug everything up and load? The cooler is large and from what I have read has a chance to cover one of the DIMM slots, but with 3 x sticks it shouldn't be an issue. I realize all of these items are going to be more friendly to OC and this will not have all the junk preloaded that comes on pre-built machines.

Still, I can't get over the worry associated with being a first time builder. The reason I buy pre-made, if its done wrong, can always have them repair/replace. I screw up these parts, out of pocket.

I realize there is a lot of information to mull over on the items, and if need be I will make links to all the items for ease. Really looking for good advice and from all the research I've seen, this is the place to get it. Thanks for any and all help.
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  1. Best answer
    ok. first off, no games, not even FFXIV will use more than 4 cores, so you can chop almost $150 off by getting the Phenom II 955BE, which will overclock right up to 4 GHz as well. the X6 core is sorta future proof in that by 2012, all its cores might be in use...but by then you'll want a Bulldozer instead. if you aren't doing heavily multithreading apps like video encoding, you just won't notice the difference between and X4 and an X6 processor right now.

    the 890 Motherboad is AMDs top-line choice right now, but an 870 or 880 could save a bit of money and still be bulldozer ready, though some of them are single-card graphics options, depending on manufacturer.

    You can save quite a bit by going with DR3-1333 or DDR3-1600 RAM, 2000 is very expensive and overkill. You don't want 6 GB of Ram. 4GB is all you need for any modern game, and AMD processors cannot do triple-channel memory. 4 GB is all you need if its pure gaming. Go to 8 GB (in the form of 2 sets of 2x2GB DDR3, NOT 2 4GB sticks) only if you will be doing heavy video encoding, 3D Rendering, or other processor intensive tasks, of if you'll be doing dozens of things at a time. The fewer RAM sticks though, the easier the overclocking.

    the 850W Power Supply is probably overkill for a 5850, you can save a little money by going to a 750W, even for overclocking. If you want to crossfire two of them, you will need a 1000W for that and your overclock.

    Also, what's your screen resolution? If its 1680x1050, 1600x1200, or less, you can drop down to a HD5770 and play just fine. the just over $200 GTX460 from NVidia is also a good solution up to 1900x1080. at higher resolutions, the 5850 will be a better choice. With a 5770 or 460 single card option, you could drop down to a 500, 550, or 600W option.

    Keep the fan if you plan to overclock

    The Seagate is an OK drive, but the Samsung F3 Spinpoint 1TB is a bit faster and often a little cheaper.

    Blu-Ray is pointless unless you'll be hooking up to your TV for movie watching, a cheap DVD burner will see you hough fine. If you want Blu-Ray though, Its fine.
  2. ^ Good advice, except about the PSU. A 750W is more than enough for 2x5850:

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5850-review-crossfire/9

    for full system, at the wall, power requirement. PSU power requirement is at least 10% less. OTOH, the cpu is not totally stressed when the gpus are, so need to add some power. OTOOH, nothing in the real world will fully stress both.
  3. And a good 550 for one 5850.
  4. Thank you all for your replies.

    ScrewySqrl,
    I will likely be upgrading my monitor from a HP w2007 to a HP 2310m which is a little larger and supports 1900 x 1080 res. If there is a monitor with similar res, cheaper, again I'd love advice. Ok I did some additional searching and check out these components:

    Motherboard:
    MSI 870A FUZION AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130297R
    $104.99

    or

    ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157198
    $89.99

    or

    MSI 870A-G54 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130275
    $99.99

    I will be OCing both processor and it looks like most 1600 ram even if rated for 1600 will require a OC from default 1333 to 1600 (yeah?)


    Processor, I have read many times 6 core configurations are not currently supported by todays gaming, I was just looking to furtureproof a bit. However, your suggestion makes since as I will be able to upgrade later, just hope the 45nm size from now to then transitions over, hehe. Processors I looked to to swap out the 1090T:

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727
    $165.99

    or

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808
    $152.99

    I think I read that the 955 and 965 can be OC'd to the same levels, the 965 just comes out of the box tweaked higher? If so I can save the $13.00 and go with the 955, suggestions?

    Ram, 2k triple channel isn't supported by AMD, and that I do not intend to anything more than gaming with this build no need to exceed 4g:

    CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMP4GX3M2A1600C8
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145297
    $124.99

    or

    CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C8
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145263
    $109.99

    I don't see the difference between these two to be honest other than cost. Same timing, same speed...what gives? The dominator looks to have better heat bleedoff maybe?

    Power supply:

    I can get a pair set that includes a 955 CPU and a 750w power supply for package price.

    CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.468998
    Price with 965 CPU: $285.98

    Last HD (I don't "need" a SSD right?) but I looked up your suggested HD and found,
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185&Tpk=Samsung%20F3%20Spinpoint%201TB
    $59.99 with rebate (good call, 20 savings over the Seagate)

    Once I have you guys opinions on these changes, I'll lump everything together again for a final once over before I buy. Again thanks for all the help!

    -edit- I'm VERY happy to have found a group of people willing to carry me a bit with this. I've been looking over other threads and you guys really to go above and beyond to help, great forum.
  5. The 955 will be fine if you overclock, what you heard is true. the 965 is just already tweaked.

    if none of the motherboards you like can do 1600 without overclock, go ahead on down to DDR3 1333. the difference between 1333 and 1600 is about 1% on benchmarks. you won't notice it. G.Skill makes good memory that is easy to overclock to 1600 for around $90 for 2 2GB Sticks
    This is one of several that people like:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231275&cm_re=g.skill_4gb_ddr3-_-20-231-275-_-Product

    as for an SSD, if you can afford one, it is the single bet upgrade to improve your speed. It isn't necessary, but once you have one, you never want to go back. If you can fford one, get a 60-128 GB Sandforce-based drive for a boot drive. Load the OS and the main software on it, and use the 1TB as a data drive (for pics, movies, etc). Its somthing to gt if you can afford it, but ts usually worth it if you can.
  6. I spent a good bit of last night and today studying over the stickies and FAQ’s contained in this forum and I feel a lot more comfortable about the idea of building my own rig now. This forum is an excellent resource. Taking all the advice I redid the build and this is what I came up with, just looking for seal of approval before I place order.

    OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754
    Motherboard: Open Box: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131633R
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808
    CPU Heatsink: Thermaltake Frio Overclocking-Ready Intel Core i7 (six-core ready) & i5 Compatible Five 8mm Heatpipes Dual 120mm Fans Intel & AMD Universal CPU Cooler CLP0564
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106150
    Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277
    Opt Drive: LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106335
    Gfx: XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150477
    Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
    Case/PSU Combo: Antec Dark Fleet DF-30 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case &
    Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129085
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371026

    After a good 48 hours of reading over the forum I realize these sorts of questions can start to feel redundant to forum veterans and I appreciate the comments/help I've received to this point. Hopefully this will be my last question prior to purchase and after my build I can start being a contributor rather than a pest. ;)

    Total: $1,081.87
  7. You can combo some of the above to save a few bucks!! I have been looking at putting a very similar system!!
  8. Specs wise, the revised list looks good!

    DO NOT get a Open Box as you will not get a IO cover, SATA cables,etc. Just pay a bit more and grab a retail boxed motherboard. Spend a little more (before MIR) and grab a board like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131366

    It's on a bit older chipset, but you'll be fine.

    Like said, if you can, grab a SandForce/Intel based SSD depending on budget.

    Quote:

    After a good 48 hours of reading over the forum I realize these sorts of questions can start to feel redundant to forum veterans and I appreciate the comments/help I've received to this point. Hopefully this will be my last question prior to purchase and after my build I can start being a contributor rather than a pest.

    First off, thanks for that. Many of the frequent people here would appreciate you understanding that. At any rate, your OP shows that you did quite a lot more research than 99% of the people who post here asking for build help. Thanks.
  9. Shadow703793 said:
    Specs wise, the revised list looks good!

    DO NOT get a Open Box as you will not get a IO cover, SATA cables,etc. Just pay a bit more and grab a retail boxed motherboard. Spend a little more (before MIR) and grab a board like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131366

    It's on a bit older chipset, but you'll be fine.

    Like said, if you can, grab a SandForce/Intel based SSD depending on budget.

    Quote:

    After a good 48 hours of reading over the forum I realize these sorts of questions can start to feel redundant to forum veterans and I appreciate the comments/help I've received to this point. Hopefully this will be my last question prior to purchase and after my build I can start being a contributor rather than a pest.

    First off, thanks for that. Many of the frequent people here would appreciate you understanding that. At any rate, your OP shows that you did quite a lot more research than 99% of the people who post here asking for build help. Thanks.

    ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131631
    $139.99 vs the posted $99.99

    Yeah?

    Thanks for the heads up, little extra out of pocket now is well worth not being dissapointed by mising components come build time.
  10. ^ Yup. That's the one.
  11. Thank you all very much for the help!
  12. Best answer selected by leilah.
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