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Need help selecting a CPU - First Time Building A Computer

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September 3, 2010 2:33:03 AM

Hi Tom's HardWare Members,


I'm planning to build a new system. This would be the first time building a system but I'm computer savy and have an idea of what I would like to do. I have a list of what I would like my computer to do at the end of this post. So hopefully this will help. Any help given would be most greatly appreciated in advance.


I have come to you in hopes of making an informed decision.

I see alot of processors on the market place from the new Intel i7's to the new AMD's

I wish to make all my purchases locally if possible from the following websites as they are in my area:

www.canadacomputers.com or www.kingstoncomputerplanet.com

I did alot of research on tomshardware in the top gaming processors thread http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor... and other sections of the forum. I also checked out reviews on www.newegg.com and other websites. I have even gone into a few of the local computer shops in hopes of getting making a decision.

The whole ordeal has left my head spinning and I am at this point very unsure what to choose for a processor for my first computer. But bear in mind I would like to choose 1 processor so at least this will help me narrow down my choices for the type of mobo I would need to get to fit that socket for the CPU

I am hoping to find a non-bais opinion. Someone who can give me facts and about making a decision about the pros/cons about choosing a processor and not someone tooting their horn saying "Intel is best I only choose Intel" as that is what got from a store sales man at a local store.

I have compiled a list of the following processors. I am hoping someone can help me choose the best processors from each manufacturer and explain to me why to use that processor in terms of price, performance, speed, overclocking and anything else.

The most confusing part to me comes from the price point. I feel alot of these processors seem to have the same specs so is there any differences that I am missing?

I would also appreciate if someone can explaine to me what the following means on the description page of the website. For example Intel Core i7 960 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 3.2Ghz, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) $599.99

I understand LGA1366 refers to mobo socket but the rest is a blur to me.



AMD PROCESSORS


AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $309.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

AMD Phenom II X6 1055T (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 2.8GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $219.00
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.4GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $184.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $159.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...



INTEL PROCESSORS

Intel Core i7 960 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 3.2Ghz, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) $599.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 Quad-Core Socket LGA775, 3.0 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 12MB L2 Cache, 45nm (Retail Box) $392.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i7 875K - Unlock Multiplier (No CPU Fan) - Quad Core Socket LGA1156, 2.93Ghz, 2.5GT/s FSB, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $369.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i7 950 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 3.06Ghz, 4.8GT/s FSB, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) $329.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i7 870 Quad-Core Socket LGA1156, 2.93Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) $329.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i7 920 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 2.66Ghz, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) $ 316.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i7 930 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 2.8Ghz, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) (BX80601930) $ 314.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 680 Dual-Core Socket LGA1156, 3.6Ghz, 4MB L3 Cache, 32nm $309.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i7 860 Quad-Core Socket LGA1156, 2.80Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $304.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 670 Dual-Core Socket LGA1156, 3.46Ghz, 4MB L3 Cache, 32nm $299.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 661 Dual-Core Socket LGA1156, 3.33Ghz, 4MB L3 Cache, 32nm $ 249.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 655K - Unlock Multiplier (No CPU Fan) - Dual Core Socket LGA1156, 3.2Ghz, 2.5GT/s FSB, 4MB L3 Cache, 32nm $ 234.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 760 Quad-Core Socket LGA1156, 2.8Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $224.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 660 Dual-Core Socket LGA1156, 3.33Ghz, 4MB L3 Cache, 32nm $214.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Intel Core i5 750 Quad-Core Socket LGA1156, 2.66Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $209.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...







APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Wish to build and assemble within 1 month after proper research has been done & recommendations have been given.

BUDGET RANGE: $1000 to $1500 - Would like to keep this in the $1000 dollar range with taxes if possible but can stretch to $1500 if it makes sense to spend more on a part or component. Example why purchase a AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm for $159.99 when you can get a AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.4GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm for $184.99 and get an extra 200Mhz of processing speed.



SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:

This is what I would like to do on this system

Single Bootable System (Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition or Windows 7 Professional Edition)
Duel Bootable System (Windows 98 & Windows XP Professional) - Not even sure if this is possible on a 64 bit chip
Duel Bootable System (Linux Fedora & Windows XP Professional)
Duel Bootable System (Linux Fedora & Windows 7) - Considering buying Windows 7 at this time as Market seems to be changing
Internet Explorer Browsing
High End Graphic PC Gaming
Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Access, Excel
Outlook Express Email
Regular Email (Example: google, yahoo, etc)
Downloading/Uploading Streaming Video

Music Player
Computer Programming (Visual Basic, C++, Java, Perl, HTML/XHTML)
Viewing youtube videos
Flash player capable
MSN/AOL Messenger
Ventrilo
Games to be played on System: Counterstrike 1.5, Counterstrike Source, Bad Company 2, Any high graphic end first person shooter game that

comes out later in future. Would like to make certain that this system will be able to play any future games.
Antivirus/Firewall Capable (Use to use Nortons, It was a bottle neck on the system I have. Had to remove it)
Server Capabities (Later on would like to use this a server for home network or set up as a counterstrike server room for friends for online play)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speaker, Operating System (Win 98, XP, Fedora)


PARTS REQUIRED:

CPU
Motheboard
Graphics Card
Sound Card (Not sure if i need one)
Memory
IDE Hard Drive
Power Supply
Computer Case & Fans
Heat Sink
DVD/CD Burner
Floppy Disk (If possible - Yes I know its not used anymore but would hope for it)
Cables to connect all parts together


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.canadacomputers.com www.kingstoncomputerplanet.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada, Ontario

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD & Intel CPU. Any good mobo that comes with all the latest bells and whistles that can be used for any home user, power

user, computer expert or computer gamer.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (Don't know much about this other then its technologies expect they are used to combine 2 or more video cards to work

together)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Any Monitor resolution that will fit nicely across any LCD monitor for gaming, internet browsing, etc. (e.g.: 1024x768,

1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Computer needs to be able to do multi-tasking with multiple windows open without freezing or clogging.
Ablility to ALT TAB out quickly launch or access programs
Ability to quickly use Fast User Switching Mode on Windows XP
Computer Fans Need to be quiet (Friend has a computer and sounds like a vacuum cleaner/airplane combo when turned on - don't need this)
Low to moderate power consumption if possible
Something that will suit my needs and will continue on in future for quite sometime.
Any addition items that would prove to be useful please list them that should be considering when making a computer.
Ability to easily upgrade or replace parts as newer components hit the marketplace.
September 3, 2010 2:53:30 AM

Hello ChrisBek;
Whats the native resolution of your monitor?
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September 3, 2010 3:28:12 AM

Based on your budget and what you want to to with your system we can toss out the $600 CPU, the dual core CPUs and the socket 775 CPU as well. Makes your list of choices more manageable.

Core i7 950 LGA1366, 3.06Ghz, 4.8GT/s FSB, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $329.99
Core i7 870 LGA1156, 2.93Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $329.99
Core i7 930 LGA1366, 2.8Ghz, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $ 314.99
Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $309.99
Core i7 860 LGA1156, 2.80Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $304.99
Core i5 760 LGA1156, 2.8Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $224.99
Phenom II X6 1055T (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 2.8GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $219.00
Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.4GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $184.99
Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $159.99


This is what I would like to do on this system
Single Bootable System (Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition or Windows 7 Professional Edition)
Duel Bootable System (Windows 98 & Windows XP Professional) - Not even sure if this is possible on a 64 bit chip
Duel Bootable System (Linux Fedora & Windows XP Professional)
Duel Bootable System (Linux Fedora & Windows 7) - Considering buying Windows 7 at this time

Why settle for just a dual boot system when your computer can do so much more?
I have a six way boot setup on my system. And I strongly recommend Win7.



-->High End Graphic PC Gaming; Would like to make certain that this system will be able to play any future games.
If we meet this requirement all the other requirements you have are met as well.
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Related resources
September 3, 2010 4:43:22 AM

WR2 did a great job of narrowing down your choices. For the things you said you want your system to do all of those chips would be fine. In fact you would probably not even be able to notice any difference at all.

So I would say go with a AMD chip to save money and use that money for getting a better gpu or other components such as SSD With AMD your choice is really pretty simple in my opinion. It comes down to the X4 955 ( thee 965 is not worth the extra money) and the x6 chips. Do you want to pay a little more for the extra 2 cores or not is the only thing left really. If you where going to use the machine for apps that really will benefit from the extra two cores its a no brainer.

I would go with with 955 system myself.
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September 7, 2010 8:47:28 PM

Ok thanks in advance to all those who responded back

As for my monitor its a Samsung SyncMaster 931bw that I currently have set at 1152 by 864 pixels using Windows XP professional

As of now I'm doing quite extensive reviews on the AMD processors I kinda looking at the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $309.99


I hear that this CPU is good for multi-threaded applications but not games from what I have seen on various websites and from the tom's hardware review here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-10...

http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=259&th...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/04/27/amd-ph...


Also this section from tom dicussing the cpu in general:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-10... -

Bottom of page and I quote "This one gaming test opened up a ton of additional reformatting, reinstalling, and testing, just to make sure everything was reproducible. The conclusion we’re going to draw early on is that a six-core CPU running at a lower clock rate—Turbo CORE or not—is probably not the way to go for gamers. At any rate, onto Left 4 Dead 2."

Anyone know who know if above statement is true or is this processor good for gaming?

Also I hear the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.4GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $184.99 is better all around processor as it can easily be overclocked to 4 Gigahertz with decent cooling and most games only use to 2-3 core max.

I almost thinking about going with this but I'm not sure.

Also I thinking of choosing intel from this article which discusses intel processor 920. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,252...


My main concerns as a first time computer builder are:


1) I want to choose a processor that I know I will be able to play the games I want such as (counterstrike 1.5, counterstrike source, bad company 2 or any of the other high processing graphics demanding games like starcraft2, crysis, dirt 2, etc)

2) A system I can easily upgrade in future as new components come out

3) Is the processor easily overclockable?

4) Will I be able to accomplish all the other tasks I wish to do I stated above

As of now these are the processors I have to choose:

Core i7 950 LGA1366, 3.06Ghz, 4.8GT/s FSB, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $329.99
Core i7 930 LGA1366, 2.8Ghz, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $ 314.99

Core i7 870 LGA1156, 2.93Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $329.99
Core i7 860 LGA1156, 2.80Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $304.99
Core i5 760 LGA1156, 2.8Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm $224.99


Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $309.99

Phenom II X6 1055T (125W) Six Core Socket AM3, 2.8GHz, 9Mb Cache, 2000MHz HT, 45nm $219.00

Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.4GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $184.99

Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm $159.99
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September 7, 2010 10:20:11 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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September 7, 2010 10:25:36 PM

In my opinion the only ones worth looking at are the 1055t, 955, i5-760, and i7-950.

What's your total budget for this build? Usage pattern (primarily first person shooters, real time strategy games, photoshop, movie editing, just browsing?).
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September 8, 2010 4:32:35 AM

i5-760, and i7-950 should be your choices
the AM3 Chips are slower clock for clock than the C2d lineup
BUT they can offer you an upgrade path later on to Bulldozer
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September 8, 2010 6:08:31 AM

the amd will certainly cut costs and a bit of performance, and possibly you wouldnt wanna buy a core i7 cos sandy bridge hopefully will come, in q1 of 2011. and so would bulldozer, it would be nice if you can wait for a few months.
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