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Advice on 800$ Gaming Build

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January 17, 2011 7:10:45 PM

Hey Everyone,

I want to build a gaming PC for 800$ or less if possible. I looked at the build as posted by screwy squirrel here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/302509-31-sandy-bridg...

He helped me build a PC for my younger brother for $550 Total before, a few weeks ago and it worked out great. In any case, i intend to build another PC now and need some more help.

Here is the parts list so far:

http://img16.imageshack.us/f/screenshotkpn.png/

The problem is that despite not adding a custom CPU cooler, and only 4 GB of RAM (instead of 8 GB) and a slightly cheaper PSU, the price is nearly $900. I did include a wireless card for 20$ which he did not mention, but that is needed for my build.

Can You guys take a look and see if we could knock the price down without sacrificing much of the performance of this PC?


Thanks for Any help You may provide, Lukas


a b 4 Gaming
January 17, 2011 7:27:26 PM

I say go with a single 6870 or 5870 and add a decent CPU cooler. You can then add another card down the road.
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January 17, 2011 9:06:54 PM

okay. I am more or less shocked by these suggestions.

"I say go with a single 6870 or 5870 and add a decent CPU cooler. You can then add another card down the road."

The primary point of this system is gaming. Thats the whole reason for going with crossfire 6850s. 6870 and 5870 dont even come close to CF6850.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6850_C...

Gaming resolution will be 1920x1050. I also dont understand the cpu cooler. That wont add any FPS unless i overclock, and even then it will be marginal. Am i missing something here?

And Screwy Squirrel... I am very surprised by your recommendations. In your original thread You said the AMD build is better. But in this thread you say to only go with a single 5870 or 6870? Whats the benefit of the intel system if he will get lower FPS in games?

We need the most powerful gaming pc possible for the given budget. Crossfire is a must right off the bat, since it outperforms any similarly priced options. I just wanted to see if it was possible to drop the price by 90$ or so, because that would be in the budget. We are slightly over stretching it.

Any ideas?

Also, we intend to OC the gpus, and maybe the cpu. Will this PSU handle it?
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a b 4 Gaming
January 18, 2011 3:59:34 AM

Quote:
And Screwy Squirrel... I am very surprised by your recommendations. In your original thread You said the AMD build is better. But in this thread you say to only go with a single 5870 or 6870? Whats the benefit of the intel system if he will get lower FPS in games?


times change. AMD used to be the king of $800 computers, Not a much anymore. Sandy Bridge 2500K has a 50% performance increase over a Phenom II X4 970, at 50% less power usage, at stock speeds (3.3 GHz), It overclocks to 4.4 GHz on the intel cooler, and to *5* GHz on really powerful air cooling. Right now, Sandy Bridge stands alone. At 1920x1080, a single 460 or 6850 will play ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY with a sandy bridge chip. Yes, you could crossfire, but that would push $1000.


I had a thread earlier (last week), which you looked at, where I basically asked: is a crossfire 6850 on a 955 a match for a single card sandy bridge, and the general consensus is, No, it wasn't ... or at least the cost savings isn't enough to cover the second card.
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January 18, 2011 4:44:12 AM

I will choose whatever hardware is best, but i still have a few questions for you. When you say "Sandy Bridge 2500K has a 50% performance increase over a Phenom II X4 955, at 50% less power usage" (1) Does that refer to Video Game frame rates or general performance? Because the person im building the PC for does not do photoshop, video encoding or anything like that.

The computer would be used for Gaming, excel spreadsheets, and some business software. Big emphasis on gaming, since he has a laptop which so far serves his needs in the other areas.

(2) Does Sandy bridge really make that big a difference in Video Games?

(3) Final and most important question. Is the 955 a bottleneck for the CF6850's ? Because if it isnt, then i cant see how the intel build would be better.

Im off to hunt for benchmarks now, but its hard to find CF 6850s benchmarks with a 955 cpu. Id like to compare that to something like Sandy Bridge 2500K with a 5870 or whatever money would still be available for the video card. If you know of any such benchmarks help me out, ill be looking for them.


Thanks for everything again!

Luke
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a b 4 Gaming
January 18, 2011 3:23:51 PM

look at the release info on the Sany Bridge chips, (usually with a GTx 580) and compare. Here, Anandtech, CNet, etc.

Here's a chart using Prime95, of system power consumption at PEAK:



i5-2500K uses 129W system power, and a 965 (basicaly identical to a 955) uses 237. The intel is using only 54% of the power usage of the 965.

Here's F1 2010:



86 FPS vs 50 FPS (a 970, not a 955)


and, yeah, its a benchmark, but 3D Mark 11 combined score:


2500K 5750, Phenom II X4 970: 3861


3DMark 11 physics score:

i5-2500K 21, 970 14. again a 50% increase.


after looking at all of this stuff, plus other sites, has lead me to say: get sandy bridge, or wait until the end of feb/early march for bulldozer, which promises to be in Sandy Bridge's neighborrhood for performance and power usage.
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January 18, 2011 7:43:37 PM

Screwy Squirrel, I would like to thank You for putting in so much time and effort to help me out. You have given me some great advice, and forced me to consider the alternatives. In the end, I decided to go with the 955 and dual 6850s. We will purchase the system as is for $890.

I was finally able to find the benchmarks I was looking for, and it is my opinion that the amd setup offers superior FPS in Video games for the price. The benchmarks you showed for F1 2010 run at a resolution of 1680x1050 - so this does not apply to the build b/c the gaming resolution will be 1920x1200. At lower resolutions sandy bridge gives higher FPS, but thats not the case for higher resolutions if the AMD build has dual 6850 vs lets say a 5870 (which puts the systems at similar cost).

I found some good benchmarks here:

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Inte...

Notice how for Crysis at 1920x1200 and 0xAA the 2500k offers only 3 fps more than the 965 (57 FPS Total) (we will be running the 955 at higher clocks than the 965 even).

Compared to the Crossfire performance: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6850_C... which offers (50 FPS) but with 4x AA turned on.



For Far Cry 2, The sandy bridge set up would offer 117 FPS at 0x AA (http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Inte...) , while the AMD build would offer 120 FPS WITH 4x AA turned on. (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6850_C...)


For Dirt 2, the sandy bridge build would offer 82 FPS with 0xAA (http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Inte...) , while the AMD build would offer 135 FPS with 4xAA and 16xAF on.


I also found this post which i think offers good advice on performance / $ and includes fair recommendations for Nvidia/ATI/Intel/AMD:

http://www.giantbomb.com/pc/60-94/gaming-pcs-what-to-bu...

For the 1000$ Build, they suggest 955 and 6850s in CF. if the person who will be using this PC had a few hundered extra we would get sandy bridge, but we are already 100$ over the budget, and certainly cant go 200$ more.

Once again, thanks for all the help I will be ordering the PC soon. We will probably OC the cpu to 3.6 GHz, and possibly OC the dual Radeons by a modest amount. Just enough to bring the performance higher, without any risk to the system.
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January 18, 2011 11:50:17 PM

just wanted to let everyone know that i already ordered the PC. I managed to find 2 coupons so the total came out to $821 after MIR. Extremely happy as Newegg also included a free 2 GB flash drive, and a free copy of the game Stalker call of pripyat.
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