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Please Comment on These Two Builds

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January 6, 2011 3:04:22 AM

Hi,

After much research and some advice from the AMD forums, I've put together two builds for a gaming system that I'm building w/ a friend. My friend isn't sure that he wants to overclock his system, but it seems as if it's almost expected these days by the component manufacturers. So, of the two builds, one is designed for overclocking, and the other isn't.

I'm looking for any and all opinions, particularly on the heatsinks and PSUs. I'd started a thread on the AMD forums relating to the mobo's and memory, so I'm fairly happy w/ those choices, but any comments are welcome. Also, we tried to keep the pricing as close to $1000 as we could. Thank you.


Non-Overclocking System
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4x512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB 7200RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s
Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 Heatpipe Direct Contact Long-Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
Mobo: Biostar TA890FXE AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s
Optical Drive: LG Black 24x DVD+R 8x DVD+RW 16x DVD+R DL 24x DVD-R 6x DVD-RW 12x DVD-RAM 16x DVD-ROM 48x CD-R 32x CD-RW
PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 CrossFire Ready 80 Plus Bronze Certified
Video Card: Sapphire Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support
Total Price: $1017.90


Overclocking System
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4x512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache 6.0Gb/s
Heatsink: Xigmatek Aegir SD 128264 Mega Killer Double HDT 120mm Long-Life Bearing CPU Cooler Dual Fan
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
Mobo: Asus Crosshair IV Formula AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0
Optical Drive: LG Black 24x DVD+R 8x DVD+RW 16x DVD+R DL 24x DVD-R 6x DVD-RW 12x DVD-RAM 16x DVD-ROM 48x CD-R 32x CD-RW
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold Series RS800-80GAD3-US 800W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 CrossFire Ready 80 Plus Gold Certified
Video Card: Sapphire Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support
Total Price: $1198.90

More about : comment builds

January 6, 2011 3:47:27 AM

^ Frankly I would do a totally different build,...

CPU - X4 955 - Just $6 more, but is clocked at 3.2GHz and has unlocked multiplier, so even at stock it is fast and can easily be overclocked,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo - Even the 890GX would suffice for a decent overclock - say upto 3.8GHz(which is the best performance/ power consumption speed)
Gigabyte 890GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Or if he still wants 890FX, then this
Gigabyte 890FX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM - Non fancy, one of the best budget overclocking RAMs out there
Crucial CT2KIT25664BA1339 4GB 2GBx2 240-pin PC3-10600 DIMM DDR3 Memory KIT
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-CT2KIT25664BA1339-240-pin...
http://www.buy.com/prod/crucial-4gb-ddr3-sdram-memory-m...

CPU Cooler -
Scythe Mugen Rev.B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sunbeam CCTF 120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
These both are IMO some of the best coolers for that money,...With another fan in Push-Pull config, they easily allow the CPU to hit 4GHz+
Scythe's review
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/scythe...

CASE - The 932 no doubt is a very good one, but even the HAF 922 would be a good choice for the build,...
Another choice- NZXT Tempest EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - CM 800 Gold is a very good choice, but just confirm from newegg that it has 5 years warranty that Cooler Master website specifies and not the 2 years that newegg specifies,...

Video card -
Did you know that ATI has launched newer HD 69xx graphic cards ?
HD 6950
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Also check this -
BIOS hack to mod 6950 to 6970,...
http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...

HDD -
Samsung F3 1TB - Cheaper and better
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-Cache-Desktop-H...
SATA 6GB/s is useless for a mechanical HDDsas they have yet to saturate SATA 3GB/s, so SATA 6GB/s connectors for HDDs is just a marketing gimmick,...
January 6, 2011 4:23:05 AM

gkay, thank you very much for taking the time to link me to all of your suggestions. :)  My replies are based on information I've gained by reading reviews and forum posts in the past week or so.

CPU: The reason we went w/ the 965, as opposed to the 955, was that the 965 clocks at 3.4GHz for only $15 more, and the Black Edition is distinctly made for overclocking. Are you saying that the 955 will overclock easier/better?

Mobo: We had originally settled on a Gigabyte mobo, but the horror stories on Newegg made us re-think our position. I really like the Asus Crosshair IV Formula, but it has a north bridge heatsink issue. According to a few posters on the AMD forum, it's a known issue, and all you have to do is tighten the screw on the heatsink, and the problem is resolved.

RAM: We had a hard time choosing the RAM. We finally went w/ the G.Skill, b/c it's CL7. Will the Crucial overclock easier? I'm still a bit confused about the RAM, actually. I went w/ DDR3 1600, b/c both those mobo's will handle DDR3 1333 natively, but you can overclock the memory to 1666. If the memory is only 1333 to begin w/, can you overclock it to 1600?

CPU Cooler: I really liked that Sunbeam, but again, I read horror stories from those who'd bought it at Newegg. They said that there's no support department w/in Sunbeam, and it scared me off.

Case: My friend and I actually have cases already. We both have the Thermaltake Armor Series cases from a few years back. They're big enough to house all our potential components, but they're it's such a big, heavy case, I started looking around for alternatives.

PSU: Thanks for the heads-up. I'll definitely check that out. Actually, I have a 650W Silverstone PSU from my previous system. Do you think that will suffice for this system?

Video Card: We compared the video cards, and it seemed that the 1GB 5870 was the way to go. However, that's quite a reasonable price on the 6950. Thanks for finding that!

HDD: Good to know about the 6Gb/s SATAs. There were plenty of 3GB/s HDDs that were half the price of the 6Gb/s ones.

Again, thanks very much for taking the time to look into all of this. We really appreciate it!
Related resources
January 6, 2011 4:49:22 AM

CPU - There is no difference between the 955 and the 965 except for the speed, even the 955 has unlocked multiplier like the 965, just a multiplier change will run the 955 @ 965's speed
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpu-overclocki...
Quote:
Despite the pecking order, Phenom II X4 955 offers the best gaming value of the bunch. It is a true quad-core processor with a sizable 6 MB L3 cache. But even more impressive at this price is its unlocked multiplier. From our experience, the great majority of Phenom II X4 955 processors can run just as fast as the Phenom II X4 970 with a simple BIOS multiplier change from 16x to 17.5x--an easy way to put this $145 processor on par with a stock ~$200 Core i5-760.[\quote]

Mobo - Horror stories ?? Actually if see the reviews, it has only 13 1-egg reviews compared to the 105 5-egg reviews, that says a lot about the board,...
Similar with the 890GX
Even the best products do have DOA issues,... IMO Gigabyte is still one the best along with ASUS in the mobo manufacturing,..
I dont see why you need to pay so much extra for the rampage if not overclocking extreme,...

RAM - Check these reviews,...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ddr3-4gb-p55,2462-7...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/dual-channel-ram-dd... - Though in this review the Trident got the awaard, but check the performance of that Crucial kit,...

CPU Cooler - Majority of the complaints about the CCTF is about the rebates, frankly IMO even without rebates, the cooler along with TX-2 is worth that money,...
Or get the Scythe Mugen 2, I doubt anyone would disagree with it, go thought that reivew, it gives a good idea of its performance,...

CASE - Then Mid-Tower cases will be very good options,...
The HAF 922 though is a Mid, but is large on space,... Other options - Lian-Li K62, NZXT Tempest EVO
Or CM 690 Advanced - Very good features with clean looks,...

PSU - For a single card, it would be fine, but if you are planning for Crossfire, then atleast 700W+

Video card - In a single card setup, I would also suggest the 5870, at the current price is a good deal, but if having plans for Crossfire(hopefully you should else no point spending on Crossfire capable boards IMO) then the 69xx series are better as they scale as good as Nvidia cards, so these would give far better performance than the 5870s in Crossfire...
January 6, 2011 5:05:21 AM

CPU: That's interesting to note. I'm wondering now how fast I can get the 965 to run by ramping up its multiplier.

Mobo: Sorry, I should've clarified...the UD3H was the board w/ all the horror stories. Almost 15% of the reviews were one egg. And, the problems were all random. I agree w/ you about the DOA components...it happens. But, these problems seemed to be all over the place. The UD5, on the other hand, is expensive enough that it seemed worth it to make the jump to the Asus board.

RAM: I'm partial to OCZ, personally. It just seemed that the G.Skill offered better performance at a better price. Those reviews are definitely interesting, though, and I'll certainly take them into consideration.

CPU Cooler: The Scythe does look good. The reason we'd weeded it out, though, is b/c, it's a sleeve bearing. We read that sleeve bearing is not the best way to go. Frankly, I'd like to try water cooling. Do you have a recommendation for something pre-built that we can just slap in there?

Case: I like your recommendations. Thanks! I'll take a closer look at all four of them.

PSU: The plan is to move into a CrossFire configuration in the near-future.

Video Card: In a single card setup, wouldn't the 6850 still be a better deal? It's the same price as the 5870, and since it unlocks to be a 6870, it seems as if it can't be beat.



January 6, 2011 6:25:22 AM

Mobo - Well its upto you though,..

RAM - OCZ were good, but now, I would rather stay away from them,...too many stability issues,...

Cooler - Well you get good fans for about ~$14, so still it adds up good,...
If you want a pre-built(Closed-loop), then check out the Corsair H50, but its performance might be similar to the 212+, not much better...

Video card -
The unlocking is possible with the 6950 and not 6850
January 6, 2011 6:41:37 AM

Sorry, I meant the 6950, not the 6850. So, in a single card setup, wouldn't the 6950 unlocked to be a 6970 outperform the 5870?
January 6, 2011 7:19:59 AM

The 6950 seems like the way to go. Investigate the ATI chipsets was frustrating, b/c they seemed to release a recent series that actually underperformed the previous series. I thought it was the 6900 that underperformed, but I guess I was mistaken. Thank you for pointing that out. There's no point in paying $290 for a 1GB 5870, when the 6950 is only $10 more.
January 6, 2011 7:25:08 AM

gkay, just curious, but what effect do you think the release of Sandy Bridge will have on the Phenom x4 series as it relates to pricing? And, when do you think it might happen? If the Sandy Bridge series is released right after CES, do you think we'll see a price drop in the Phenom x4 series at the same time?
January 6, 2011 7:34:50 AM

^ You can see faster Phenoms at the same price range,...
And frankly it might not be a bad idea to check out the Intel i5 2500K, the CPU would cost about ~$216, but you should be able to find good mobos with Crossfier, cheaper than that ASUS Crosshair,...
January 6, 2011 8:12:27 AM

In that case, I'll probably wait until the end of the month or so to see what the 970s drop to. We didn't spend much time on the Intel procs, b/c every comparison we saw said that while the Intel chips were faster, when it comes to multimedia and gaming, AMD is still the top of the heap. I really like the Biostar board in the non-overclocking build, but one of the long-time posters in the AMD forums steered me toward the Asus board. He said that it was like comparing apples to oranges, although I don't see it. The boards are virtually identical, unless I'm missing something.
January 6, 2011 8:20:40 AM

^ I guess he is referring to the options, quality and the features that the mobo has to offer,...
Frankly for an overclocking enthusiast, he will find the Crosshair more appealing anyday, but for a normal user, I doubt (maybe except for the color scheme)...
January 6, 2011 9:08:20 AM

Frankly, I think that the Biostar board is a steal. It's CrossFire ready, has all the bells and whistles of boards priced $75 higher, and Biostar tends to make decent products.
January 6, 2011 9:19:44 AM

^ No doubt that board is very good for the money, but I was just saying about the Crosshair in general,...
Just a heads up, the Biostar doesn't have USB3.0, if that matters,...
January 6, 2011 3:11:47 PM

Biostar is definitely 2nd tier in my book. I think only one of three Biostar boards I bought a few years ago is still running; the others died for indeterminate reasons (PSUs were decent, and they weren't overclocked, so not that). I buy ASRock or Asus now.
If you think you might run multiple GPUs in the future, it might pay to wait for SB. I never saw any further analysis as to the cause, but Tom's found rather significant bottlenecking of a SLI setup with a 955BE. Whether or not it applies to Crossfire I couldn't say, as it really didn't make a lot of sense; it could have been the chipset, or simply that SLI requires more CPU muscle than AMD can provide right now.
The case is a big personal choice item, but I think you'll find the fit and finish and overall quality of Lian Li or Antec to be far superior to Coolermaster. Anticipate minor (but correctable) quality issues (like untapped screw holes) with any CM case.
Like gkay09 said, OCZ RAM seems to have slipped. I'd probably choose Crucial or G.Skill.
In any event, don't let us niggle your build to death. You're working with parts in a decent performance range, and nothing is a gross mismatch, so you should be happy with the results.
January 6, 2011 10:50:42 PM

Thanks for the comments, jtt. That's interesting to note regarding the CPUs. I'm interested in waiting to see what the prices are like after Sandy Beach hits. I'm hoping that it might make the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition more affordable. If that thing drops considerably, it might be worth it to scoop one up.

I agree about the cases. Lian Li is definitely my favorite that I've used over the years. I'll probably just stick w/ the Armor Series that I have, as it's sitting around doing nothing, and it's really just an expenditure of $100-$150 that is unnecessary at this point.

I'm really surprised to hear that about OCZ. They always did right by me, but I've never overclocked RAM before. Crucual always seemed cheap to me, but if they've stepped up, I have no objections to using their product.
January 7, 2011 2:01:27 AM

^ IMO I would rate Crucial as good or even better than GSKillz,... It is GSKillz who have caught up with Crucial if you ask me,...

Your case would do just fine, stick with, maybe when you build your next PC, then you can get a new case,...
!