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Is my new build weak, what can I do...

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December 10, 2010 5:46:24 PM

I've been reading T.H. for the past several weeks, trying to come up to speed on the tech,
as it's been several years since I've assembled a computer. Of course, I wanted something
with a 4-core AMD, or even the new i7, but I have budget constraints, so I pulled the trigger
on a $50 mb/cpu combo from Tiger's Black Friday sale. It's not optimal, not even close, but
the price was right. Here it is:


Coolmaster Elite 460w
Coolmaster Elite 330 ATX Mid-Tower
Coolmaster RR-910-HTX3 Hyper TX3 CPU heatsink
AMD Phenom x3 8450e 2.1Ghz AM2 CPU

ECS MB, A740GM-M V7.0

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2G x 2, Crucial 2048 PC6400 DDR2 800MHz RAM
-An old WD200GB ATA hard drive
-Old DVD Burner, ATA, LG electronics
Windows 7 Ultimate


If it weren't for the onboard GPU being so lousy, my Windows Experience score would
be about 6.0, but my overall is dragged down to 3.5, because of the limited graphics.

QUESTION:

I am considering buying a XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would this card pump up my system so that I could play games, or should
I send back the CPU/MB/RAM, and start over? Gaming isn't my # priority, but
it would be nice to get back into games... This new build is primarily for multitasking/business usage.
So far, it seems much snappier than either my aging Toughbook, or my old tower, which was
powered by an AMD Athalon 1800+.

Appreciate any input on any particular aspect of my new system.








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December 10, 2010 5:53:35 PM

Wow. Can't say you did anything close to a good deal on that. You've pretty much got a 5 year old PC right there. If you can, I'd send everything back and start over.

I don't know what your budget is, but I know you can easily get a current (and slightly future proof) build with an X3 and 5770 for under $500. Here's what to look at:

CPU: X3 450 $79
Mobo: ASRock 770 Extreme 3 $75
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $75 (or really any non-OCZ DDR3 sticks)
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F4 320 GB $40ish
GPU: HD 5770 $120ish
Case: The one you got is fine.
PSU: I'd probably go for something from Antec, Corsair, SeaSonic or Silverstone in that wattage range (400-500W), but if that's out of budget, an OCZ unit would be fine as well. The Coolermaster is an absolute last resort. This will probably be around $50.
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20ish

Total: $459. That's without checking any combos or deals. I'm using Newegg prices as the basis.

If that's still out of budget, you're really looking at some major cuts. First, drop the RAM to 2x1 GB. Then cut out the GPU until later.
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December 10, 2010 5:56:34 PM

Well, for a mere $50 you got parts suitable for office apps. For gaming, however, I'd suggest you start over. The CPU is weak, and would likely bottleneck a HD5770 [at lower resolutions], the ancient AM2 mobo has only 1K Hypertransport, and the PSU is not suited for use in a modern PC: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-El...
You could buy a new PSU and the HD5770 and see how it does, since you could move those parts to another machine. A quality 500W PSU would be sufficient.

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December 10, 2010 6:16:27 PM

Well, anything is going to be much faster than your old 1800+. The only downside is that you purchased the first gen Phenom processors rather than the phenom II. HOWEVER, that X3 will blow your 1800+ away. As you have already started this build, I would recommend sticking with it. It seems that your budget is not very large and this system will keep your cost down.

If you are not that concerned about gaming and have a tight budget, I would recommend a GTS 450. This one on newegg is $95 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the same price as the 5770, I would recommend the GTX 460 768mb. It will best the 5770 on most titles.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The resolution of your monitor might help with that decision. Also, a dollar figure for a budget.

Also wanted to point out that your windows experience score has little to do with actual performance. Don't use it as a benchmark for how good your system it. I would refer you to either run your own benchmarks or check out the charts here on Toms Hardware.
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December 10, 2010 7:56:08 PM

Well, it is very much faster than my old 1800+, and for office apps, it kicks well enough. 1920 x1089p is my native resolution.

If I go for the GTS 450-460, could I get some recommendations on games, FPS genre, that might work okay? I could order them together today, install 'em, evaluate, and if it isn't doing it for me, I can send back the MB/CPU/RAM within my 30 day window and get something else. I could keep the GTS-460 for the second build.

I don't need or want to spend $1500 on a gaming rig. I'd be happy with something much less, but I don't want to be shut out of all of the cool games.
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December 10, 2010 8:00:27 PM

You don't need to spend $1,500 on a gaming machine. The one I listed above is under $500. Throw in another $50-60 for a case and you've got a great gaming build. Of course, if you want to max out games at 1080p (especially FPS games), you could drop another $130 on the GPU and get the HD 5870.
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December 10, 2010 9:24:07 PM

Thanks folks, MadA, I'll look it over.
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December 10, 2010 11:14:47 PM

If you give us a budget you'd like to work with, we could tweak our recommendations a bit.
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December 11, 2010 12:06:45 AM

Sorry about leaving out the budget details, my bad.

Not counting the case/psu/peripherals, I have about $120 into the CPU/RAM/MB.


If go with a DDR3 MB, then the rest of the guts have to go. I prefer AMD, as they seem
to have the best value, & although one might argue for the i7 as having the best bang/$,
I don't want to spend that much for a "value" that I don't need.

I'm prepared to buy a decent GPU, return the guts, and go another direction.

So, ditching the guts I have now, maybe $300 for all new CPU/RAM/MB/GPU.

Tell me if I'm dreaming or not.




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December 11, 2010 12:16:09 AM

You can get close. I put an X3 450, ASRock 870 Extreme 3, HD 5770 and 4 GB of 1600 mhz DDR3 sticks at about $370. You might be able to find some combo deals to get that cheaper, but probably not enough to get it under $300. If you didn't want to Crossfire later, you could drop to the ASRock 770 Extreme 3, saving $20. After that, I'd probably drop down to only 2 GB of RAM, which will likely save another $20-30. That'd put you really close to the budget.
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December 11, 2010 12:41:52 AM

I don't want to crossfire and all that jazz. However, will ASRock boards overclock or unlock?

Will 2 GB RAM cut it day-to-day? I multi-task with the best of them, although I'm not movie editing.

Thanks, I'll noodle around newegg and tiger and see what I can find.

UPDATE:

This is the ASRock Extreme, with 770NB, and a 710SB, for $75:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the ASRock M3A770DE, with 770NB, and a 710SB, for $60:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What's the difference?
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December 11, 2010 1:04:11 AM

They'll be fine.

2 GB would be a tad slow in multi-tasking, but 2 GB with an X3 would be better than 4 GB with a lesser CPU. Keep in mind that you can drop in another 2 GB easily and fairly cheap later. Replacing the CPU would be more expensive and more difficult.

The difference in the boards is that the first (the Extreme 3) has USB 3/SATA III support and the second doesn't. I'd get the Extreme 3 because it will allow you to add the newer devices that are coming out. Basically, it will extend the life of the build.
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December 11, 2010 1:36:38 AM

I'd take the 5770. It's quite a bit more powerful than the 5750, especially when the prices are so close. I've got a 5750, and I really wish I had spent the extra money on the 5770 back when the price difference was closer to $50. The 5750 is a good card, it's just not as good of a value. It'd be excellent for an HTPC with some gaming potential, but as a strict gaming card, it falls a little short.
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December 11, 2010 2:07:49 AM

Any recommendations for a sata hard drive?
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December 11, 2010 2:45:23 AM

Either the Samsung Spinpoint F3 (500 GB for $55 or 1 TB for $70) or the Samsung Spinpoint F4 320 GB ($45ish). The F4 is slightly faster, but more expensive per GB. Those are really the only good choices. The Seagate 7200.12 500 GB or 1 TB is almost as fast as the F3s, but slightly lower quality for the same price. All of Western Digital's offerings are more expensive and slower (excluding their Caviar Black 1 TB 6 GBps model which is slightly faster).
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December 11, 2010 5:53:16 AM

I can't find CAS 7 DDR3 1600 for less than $75. (Only 2x2 G sticks offered. No 1 G)


Would a CAS 8 or 9 be acceptable, or 1333, or both?
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December 11, 2010 5:05:32 PM

You should be fine with higher latencies or lower speeds as long as you don't plan on overclocking.

You could also consider getting a single 2 GB stick, but you'd be sacrificing a little speed for using it as single channel with a dual channel board.
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December 11, 2010 5:37:21 PM

Think Id look at a nvidia gts 450 before the 5750. An x3 or x4 athlon should be good. Another way to compromise though you would sacrifice dual channel is get 3 gb of ram that would help multitasking and gaming.
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December 11, 2010 5:50:07 PM

The ASRock board has 4 slots, so I could punch it up later. This is what I was looking at:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course I want to overclock! Just a little, anyway. Does anyone know if the ASRock MB
has an UNLOCK feature, or will I need the AMD software for that? I know the 770 chip
will support the AMD overclock software...
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December 17, 2010 11:52:34 PM

Best answer selected by hamlet_jones.
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December 18, 2010 7:07:08 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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