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Amd / Intel - Budget machine

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December 30, 2010 6:56:04 PM

Hey all, I'm looking at spending ~$2000 on a new gaming PC and I am stuck on whether to go with Intel; brand I know and trust - or Amd; a completely new ballgame for me...

I have two setups, one based on Intel and one Amd.
Top things I want with this rig in order of importance: Performance, Aesthetics, Low-temps
*NOTE* WILL BE OVERCLOCKING GPU + CPU

AMD:

CM HAF-X
Corsair HX-1000W
Corsair H50 - Push/Pull with CM R4 120mm Red LED fan
AMD Phenom II 965
Asus Crosshair IV Formula
Corsair Dominator 4GB 1600mhz CL8
AMD Gigabyte 6950 (future X-fire)
(using Techpowerups' 6950 to 6970 BIOS unlock to unlock to 6970 [eqv. of 6970 but cheaper and cooler)
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan controller
Liteon DVDRW
2* WD Caviar blue 500GB SATA3 - Raid 0

Total_~1800$

Intel:

CM HAF-X
Corsair HX-1000W
Corsair H50 - Push/pull with CM R4 120mm Red LED fan
Intel Core i7-950
Asus Rampage III Formula
Corsair Dominator GT 1866mhz CL9 (CL8 overclock?)
AMD Gigabyte 6950 (future X-fire)
(using Techpowerups' 6950 to 6970 BIOS unlock to unlock to 6970 [eqv. of 6970 but cheaper and cooler)
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan controller
2* WD Caviar blue 500GB SATA3 - Raid 0
Liteon DVDRW

Total_~2100$

Now, for gaming would it really be a MASSIVE difference with the Intel? I know it has all the wizz bang features but this is a budget rig and I want to make it as cost effective as possible.. So, wadda you think?

Happy New year,
Intel1502

Best solution

December 30, 2010 7:06:55 PM

AFAIK, intel is the way to go for pure performance, but if it's about bang for the buck, AMD is preferred.

I'd hold off on any immediate intel purchases though as Sandy Bridge drops on the 5th of the new year and should theoretically push a lot of of processor prices down.

The builds look good, but you might want to think about the HAF 932 instead of the HAF-X. It'll save you a few bucks and look spiffy with your red LED. It's also got more options for your rad, IIRC.

From what others have told me, the 100mhz bump from the 955 to the 965 isn't really worth the cash, especially if you're overclocking anyway. Unless you're getting a really good deal on the 965.

Also, I think 1000W is a bit much, you shouldn't need more than 750 or so, 850 if you want to be extra future proof.

With the money you save on the case and by going with the 955, you might want to think about an SSD to lower load times.
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December 30, 2010 7:12:43 PM

the 1000W PSU is for having triple or quadruple graphics cards....

for a single GPU, I'd go 650W or so. 750-800W if you plan to do a crossfire eventually
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December 30, 2010 7:14:05 PM

The PSU is massive overkill. A quality 750W PSU will be sufficient, including for Crossfire.
For aesthetics, the fit and finish of a nice Lian Li case will make Coolermaster look like cheap trash. You probably won't even have to spend the full $200; for example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $180. If it doesn't have to be a full tower, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $140 would be nice.

Edit: Since you do apparently intend to Crossfire in the future, go with an Intel build.
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December 30, 2010 7:15:20 PM

With your budget, you're looking at Intel. Generally, it's a decesion determined entirely by budget. Also, this is by no means a "budget rig". This is a high end rig.

I'm going to make other changes to the build too.

Case: There is no reason to spend $200 on the case. Instead, grab the HAF 922 for $100. It's just as good, yet a fraction of the cost.

PSU: Again, complete overkill. You can Crossfire the 6970 on a 750W, but go with an 850W to be safe. This is my favorite 850W unit: SeaSonic 850W 80+ Silver for $120. It's fairly cheap, extremely high quality and super efficient.

Mobo: No reason to spend $300 on a board. Pick up the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R for $100 less. You don't lose anything useful.

RAM: Again, complete overkill. RAM really won't run faster than 1600 mhz anyway. Here's a good, cheap set: G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110.

HDD: Not a great choice either. I'd pick up either the Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB ($55) or 1 TB ($70). Throw them in RAID and they'll be a lot faster.

GPU: Have you consider the GTX 580? It'd be faster than the 6970, and you certainly have the budget for it.
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a b À AMD
December 30, 2010 7:15:52 PM

Personally, I balk at spending $200 on the case. even $140 gives me pause. I'm likely to stick to a $30-80 case unless something really unusual happens.
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December 30, 2010 7:21:04 PM

Well, in this case, the OP did list "aesthetics" as #2, so I figured a more expensive case might be justified.
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December 30, 2010 7:22:42 PM

That's true, but then the OP chose a HAF case. Kind of a contradiction there...
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December 30, 2010 7:23:58 PM

Onus said:
Well, in this case, the OP did list "aesthetics" as #2, so I figured a more expensive case might be justified.

You're right, but if he/she likes the looks of the HAF-X, then their aesthetic and your aesthetic probably aren't the same at all, hehe.
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December 30, 2010 7:24:25 PM

MadAdmiral said:
That's true, but then the OP chose a HAF case. Kind of a contradiction there...

Gah! You beat me to it again!
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a b À AMD
December 30, 2010 8:08:07 PM

for a $2000 budget, there is, IMHO, no reason not to get a 980X
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December 30, 2010 8:15:58 PM

Besides it being a complete waste of money? Or the fact that you'd eat up half the budget on something that doesn't improve gaming performance? No, besides that there's no reason not to get the 980X...

Look at it this way. If you put the 980X into the build, you've got $1,000 for everything else. Figure $200 for the board, $100-120 for the RAM, $100 for the case, $100-120 for a good PSU, $70 for the HDD and $20 for the optical drive. That's $630 right there. That only leaves $370 for the heatsink (optional) and GPU. You're then forcing the $2,000 build to use a middle of the road GPU. It's now an unbalanced build, that will only be average for gaming.
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a b À AMD
December 30, 2010 8:46:43 PM

Not the way I'd go about it, Admiral:

$2000 budget:
$1000 proc
$600 for GPU: 2x HD6950, reprogrammed into 6970s.

that leaves $400 for everything else:

$70 for 6 GB DDR-1333 RAM (no reason to go faster, differences are minimal and I'm not overclocking a 980) (Mushkin Enhanced Silverline)

$70 for a 1TB Drive

$90 for a CoolerMaster GX 750W PSU

up to $80 for a decent mid-tower (like a Challenger or a CM690II)

$20 for a DVD burner

total $330 for those other parts -- leaving room to upgrade to an 800W if needed, or add a decent replacement cooler, or faster ramT
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December 30, 2010 9:42:38 PM

Wow @ all the replies. I'm just going to try and answer as many comments as I can in one thread.
I really don't see going past 4/8 thread necessary... When you talk about my budget of 2k you talk about the parts as they are priced in America.

In Australia the 980x goes for 1350$ and corsair 800D cheapest in the country is 380$... it's not as cheap here.. If i had a job I'd spend that much on a case, I know it sounds silly but for me, that case will last me theoretically forever...

I shop @ umart.com.au for anyone wanting to look at price comparision. Talking of the GTX 580, in my area this sells for 680-700$, not really a smart decision seeing I can get crossfire 6950 (6970 unlock) for that price.

Are you sure its a good idea to throw away a basic sata raid for only 100$?

@"get a 932".. the lack of grommets, black interior, the ugly side fans and miniature window, just makes me uneasy on the insid- *pukes* Theres really no cases I 'love" other than the corsair 800D, but its out of my means (cries*)

I'm trying to make my parts as future proof as possible and if that means spending 40$ to get an extra 150 watts on my PSU then I find that to be something that will save me time and money in the future.
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December 30, 2010 9:47:25 PM

MadAdmiral said:
That's true, but then the OP chose a HAF case. Kind of a contradiction there...

Exactly; why I made the comment about Lian Li making CM look like "cheap trash."

And "Oh Hell NO" to a GX-750: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-psu-efficien...
I don't want those spikes pounding away at my RAM in a high-end build.
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December 31, 2010 2:10:57 AM

Don't get an Intel Board - wait for Sandy Bridge.
Your PSU is overkill (750W is good enough)
You could also just get a GTX 580 which would be better than a 6950 in my opinion, or you might want to consider 2 6870s in CrossFire.
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December 31, 2010 6:50:40 AM

Cs342 said:
Don't get an Intel Board - wait for Sandy Bridge.
Your PSU is overkill (750W is good enough)
You could also just get a GTX 580 which would be better than a 6950 in my opinion, or you might want to consider 2 6870s in CrossFire.


No to the graphics.
2* 6970 (6950 BIOS flash) = 660$
1* GTX 580 = 700$

Seeing that 6950 crossfire SMASHES a single 580, 6970 crossfire would eat it for breakfast.
Probably will wait for sandy bridge but ide rather buy discounted hardware from 2009/10

My PSU isn't overkill... I want to not have to buy power supplies for a while, and this gives me that option. :) 
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December 31, 2010 11:43:42 AM

intel1502 said:
No to the graphics.
2* 6970 (6950 BIOS flash) = 660$
1* GTX 580 = 700$

Seeing that 6950 crossfire SMASHES a single 580, 6970 crossfire would eat it for breakfast.
Probably will wait for sandy bridge but ide rather buy discounted hardware from 2009/10

My PSU isn't overkill... I want to not have to buy power supplies for a while, and this gives me that option. :) 


The highest priced 580 I see is only $549, and 2 6950's flashed to 6970's end up overheating and burning out and having warranty claim denied, because you couldn't flash them back to originals before rma'ing.
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December 31, 2010 12:56:49 PM

kg4icg said:
The highest priced 580 I see is only $549, and 2 6950's flashed to 6970's end up overheating and burning out and having warranty claim denied, because you couldn't flash them back to originals before rma'ing.


1/ I live in Australia and thats the pricing.
2/ Looking @ the charts the 6950 is the same temps as the 6970, and you can change the bios back, on the card theres a bios switch next to the crossfire connecter
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December 31, 2010 1:11:05 PM

intel1502 said:
1/ I live in Australia and thats the pricing.
2/ Looking @ the charts the 6950 is the same temps as the 6970, and you can change the bios back, on the card theres a bios switch next to the crossfire connecter


They are not the same, just by looking at the power plugs alone, you can figure that out, and also, people who have flashed there cards are having overheating problems, just for the sake of an extra 5fps.
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a b À AMD
December 31, 2010 1:26:58 PM

even if you don't flash. 2x 6950 > 1x 580
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December 31, 2010 1:43:50 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
even if you don't flash. 2x 6950 > 1x 580


I know, i was just saying that 6970 would be "even" better... :whistle: 
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January 1, 2011 3:25:47 PM

Psychodabble said:
AFAIK, intel is the way to go for pure performance, but if it's about bang for the buck, AMD is preferred.

I'd hold off on any immediate intel purchases though as Sandy Bridge drops on the 5th of the new year and should theoretically push a lot of of processor prices down.

The builds look good, but you might want to think about the HAF 932 instead of the HAF-X. It'll save you a few bucks and look spiffy with your red LED. It's also got more options for your rad, IIRC.

From what others have told me, the 100mhz bump from the 955 to the 965 isn't really worth the cash, especially if you're overclocking anyway. Unless you're getting a really good deal on the 965.

Also, I think 1000W is a bit much, you shouldn't need more than 750 or so, 850 if you want to be extra future proof.

With the money you save on the case and by going with the 955, you might want to think about an SSD to lower load times.



Thread is dead so I'm just going to pick you as best answer, some points for the youngster =D
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January 1, 2011 3:26:07 PM

Best answer selected by intel1502.
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