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Badly need your opinion ASAP! Thanks!

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February 6, 2011 12:20:40 PM

I can't make up my mind which rig to buy because I'm on a really tight budget, but I want the rig to last for more than 2 years. I wanted to buy the Sandy Bridge at first but found out it's too expensive for me. Then I decided to buy an AMD rig but the processor I'll be getting has been out on the market for almost 2 years already (Phenom II x4 955 BE + Asrock890GX Extreme 3), so I just have this feeling that they will already be obsolete after about a year. All of the other components are not of the latest too, which makes me feel like I'll have to replace them really soon.
Now I came up with a final idea on what to do. I realized that if there's a big chance I'll have to overhaul my rig in a year, why not buy almost obsolete parts intentionally and just replace them after 1 year? To make this plan successful, I thought I should buy the Phenom II x2 555 BE plus a really cheap board that can run RAM stock speed at 1600 or more, has sata III 6GBps, USB 3, and once which will be stable if I OC. Then, every penny I save, I'll invest on other parts which I can still use when I am able to buy a Sandy Bridge processor and a really cool P67 mobo. The ram I'll be using for the Intel Gaming rig are the following:

>8GB RAM at minimum of 1600 stock speed (I prefer something higher but I still want something compatible with the old mobo I'll buy)
>a good GPU (not too expensive though); I already have a lot of recommended GPU's from other threads (won't be use Crossfire or SLI; just need 1 GPU for gaming)
>1 - 2 TB SATA III 6GBPS
>PSU
>CPU Fan - good for OC ing
>CPU casing good for OC ing

Please tell me if my idea is good or not, or if you can possibly recommend something better, I'll be more than happy to read it. My budget ranges somewhere from $350 to $570. I'll be starting the rig from scratch. As for the use of my rig, it will be about 80% gaming and 20% net surfing. As for the types of games I'll be playing, there's no limit. I'll be playing games starting like Warcraft III, L4D2, Mass Effect 2, Lost Planet 2, Star Craft II, Dragon Age Origins, GTA IV, and basically anything I can get my hands on. With regards to settings, I'd prefer the maximum settings, but a little under MAX will do. What's important is I don't get pawned due to lag or anything like that.
Thanks for reading this even though it's long.

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February 6, 2011 1:05:22 PM

Hello emmanuelxian07;
There will be no real upgrade path from the 8xx motherboard to the next gen AMD CPUs.
They'll need a completely new socket - AM3+. Anyone you want to sell this next build to will probably know that.

A Phenom II x4 955 BE & 890/870 motherboard will still last a good long while with just a graphics card midway through it's useful lifespan. And it's an excellent value for a tight budget.

On a budget 4GB is plenty enough for gaming. Going for higher speed RAM isn't as good a boost in performance as a CPU cooler and a CPU overclock. A .2ghz overclock will do more for performance than going from DDR3 1333 to DDR3 2133 RAM.
Save the jump to 8GB RAM when all the other parts have been upgraded.

Your plan to go with Phenom II x2 555 BE & budget MB is doable. But wouldn't it be easier to resell a Phenom II x4 955 BE & 890/870 motherboard down the road? That's what you'll need to consider. How much would each be worth when you're ready to see and make the jump to your next system. x4 955 would also keep you 'happy' in your gaming for a long period (IMO) while you save up for the next system.
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February 6, 2011 1:28:43 PM

WR2 said:
Hello emmanuelxian07;
There will be no real upgrade path from the 8xx motherboard to the next gen AMD CPUs.
They'll need a completely new socket - AM3+. Anyone you want to sell this next build to will probably know that.

A Phenom II x4 955 BE & 890/870 motherboard will still last a good long while with just a graphics card midway through it's useful lifespan. And it's an excellent value for a tight budget.

On a budget 4GB is plenty enough for gaming. Going for higher speed RAM isn't as good a boost in performance as a CPU cooler and a CPU overclock. A .2ghz overclock will do more for performance than going from DDR3 1333 to DDR3 2133 RAM.
Save the jump to 8GB RAM when all the other parts have been upgraded.

Your plan to go with Phenom II x2 555 BE & budget MB is doable. But wouldn't it be easier to resell a Phenom II x4 955 BE & 890/870 motherboard down the road? That's what you'll need to consider. How much would each be worth when you're ready to see and make the jump to your next system. x4 955 would also keep you 'happy' in your gaming for a long period (IMO) while you save up for the next system.


First off, thanks for replying! :D  When you say that the 955 will keep me happy for a long period of time, can you give me a rough estimate around how much time would that be?
With regards to upgrades, I'm planning to let go of the mobo and processor, and keep the rest of the parts like RAM, HDD, etc. and buy the Sandy Bridge after a year or so. If it will take me more than 1 year to save enough money, maybe I can buy a more recent CPU and mobo that just came out by the time I buy an upgrade. I'm planning to keep the mobo and CPU for only about a year. What do you think? Does this change your opinion on getting the 955 BE or no?
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February 6, 2011 1:40:43 PM

If you're like most gamers a couple years with just a video card upgrade midway through.
How long did your current system last you?

You might even be able to skip Sandy Bridge and go straight to Ivy Bridge, the 22nm SB shrink. Latest word is SB/IB will both use the same 1155 x67 motherboards.
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February 6, 2011 2:12:27 PM

WR2 said:
If you're like most gamers a couple years with just a video card upgrade midway through.
How long did your current system last you?

You might even be able to skip Sandy Bridge and go straight to Ivy Bridge, the 22nm SB shrink. Latest word is SB/IB will both use the same 1155 x67 motherboards.


Haven't heard or read anything about Ivy Bridge before but if this is true, then it's good news for me. At least my plan to buy a Sandy Bridge processor after a year will bear me good, but I won't keep my hopes up as Intel usually makes new processors with new sockets.

With regards to the processor, how sure are you that the Phenom II x4 955 BE will still be useful after 2 years? If you're about 80% - 90% sure, then maybe I'll get that or heck, maybe I'll get the 970 BE if it's worth it. But if you're not so sure, I'll just get the Phenom II x2 555 BE.
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February 6, 2011 2:20:27 PM

emmanuelxian07 said:
but I won't keep my hopes up as Intel usually makes new processors with new sockets.
Fud sez not this time.



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February 6, 2011 2:37:14 PM

WR2 said:
Fud sez not this time.


Thanks for the heads up dude! Because of this, I'm now having second thoughts about everything. Now I'm leaning towards getting an i5 core again. However, I just have 2 more questions regarding this, and I hope you can still help me.
My first question is that, is there a possibility that the price of the Intel P67 boards and Sandy Bridge CPUs go up after they release bug-fixed boards? The second question I have is that, will there be a way to tell if the board I'll be buying after April is a bug-fixed board or if was one of the boards released before April? There has to be a way to differentiate them, right? If not, then there's no telling if the retailer I'm buying from is a scam.
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February 6, 2011 2:41:09 PM

Thank you WR2 for the good information!
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February 6, 2011 2:55:46 PM

Your welcome Ubrales;

@ emmanuelxian07;
A lot the SB is better (and it is) argument forgets about the fact that most games are limited by the GPU before the CPU. Especially when you turn up the eye candy graphics settings and AA/AF filters, play at DX 11, etc, etc.

You could very well get BETTER overall gaming performance with a Core i5-760 and HD 6950 GPU than you would with a Core i5-2500K CPU and HD 6850 GPU.
Ok, maybe it's not fair to compare apples and oranges with different GPUs but it points out that there are different ways get excellent gaming performance.
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February 6, 2011 2:58:03 PM

Because of the pent-up demand (people frothing at the mouth and leaking brain fluids, etc) there might be a spike in spot prices. At least until the rabid pack is satisfied and the marketplace resumes it's normal calm course.
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February 6, 2011 3:00:24 PM

I forgot to mention those games where the CPU has more influence over game peformance than other types of games.
In some RPGs (like WoW and SC2) and Sims (flight and racing) the games can sometimes be CPU limited before GPU limited.
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February 6, 2011 3:30:00 PM

Well stated! ^1 - I like the terms "pent-up demand" "people frothing at the mouth and leaking brain fluids" "rabid pack" - LOL. Right on bro!

It brings some levity without digressing from the main theme; in the midst of geeks.
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February 6, 2011 3:44:09 PM

Thanks for explaining everything to me. I hope this will be my last question because I've taken up much of your time already. Do you think it's a good idea to buy a Sandy Bridge processor now (just the processor), and then, wait until after April, before I buy the rest of the parts?
Sorry, for the last part, I still don't have an inkling whether Intel will come up with a plan to differentiate the new from the old P67 boards. >,<
Thanks again!
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February 6, 2011 4:01:16 PM

When Intel ships the new chipsets in April, the new boards will be available sometime in May. During this time, inventories of the Sandy Bridge CPU will pile up, and I foresee an aggressive marketing campaign by Intel resulting in lower CPU pricing. Keep in mind on-going product revisions. A good example is the i7-920 rev CO Vs the rev DO (DO is better).

The boards may have a premium for the first few months, but the CPUs may have attractive pricing. I would wait until all compatible parts are available.
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February 6, 2011 4:10:09 PM

Ubrales said:
When Intel ships the new chipsets in April, the new boards will be available sometime in May. During this time, inventories of the Sandy Bridge CPU will pile up, and I foresee an aggressive marketing campaign by Intel resulting in lower CPU pricing. Keep in mind on-going product revisions. A good example is the i7-920 rev CO Vs the rev DO (DO is better).

The boards may have a premium for the first few months, but the CPUs may have attractive pricing. I would wait until all compatible parts are available.



Thanks a lot Ubrales and WR2!! Really appreciate all of your answers. Hope you can help me again in the future. Keep up the good work!
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February 6, 2011 4:11:10 PM

Best answer selected by emmanuelxian07.
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