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$750-ish New Build -- Suggestions?

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February 14, 2011 7:00:34 PM

Hey guys,

Basic Background: I had planned on a $1000-ish budget for a Sandy Bridge PC. Intention was to use it for 4-5 years while only upgrading the GPU once or twice and hoping that the processor wouldn't get too dated by then because of how damn nice they are. That didn't work because of the issue with the SB chipsets though, and I can't wait around until April or later for a computer.

New Plan: Build a computer to use for 1-2 year before giving it to my parents as a gift (or in exchange for a new CPU/Mobo worth half the price of the system). Since I'm not going to be using this for as long, and my parents don't have very strenuous computer needs, I'm dropping the budget to $750 (I'm not taking the performance hit coming from SB unless I save a significant bit of money).

Approximate Purchase Date: Next 1-2 days

Budget Range: $700-750 -- this is flexible but I want to keep to a budget for reasons mentioned above

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Multi-tasking (Multiple PDFs, Word, Excel, Broswers & Photoshop) > Gaming > Other

Parts Not Required: Peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.) & OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg preferred, but open to anything with good reason

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: None really, but I don't mind paying a few extra dollars for quality

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (Dell U2211h)

Additional Comments: I want something that will not be completely outdated in 5 years, though I suspect my definition of completely outdated won't jive with everyones. My parents currently have a Dell with an AMD Athlon x2 4000+, 2GB RAM, and a Radeon x1300 (128MB) and consider it to be "good enough but starting to get old" -- so if this build will be compare to this in 5 years I'll call it good (I.e. I intend to use it for 1-2 then pass it to them for 3-4 years). Quiet is preferred, though some noise will not make or break the build.

Proposed Build:

$239 -- Phenom II x4 965 & Mobo Combo
$180 -- Gigabyte Radeon 6850
$47 -- G.Skill Ripjaws 4GB 1333 DDR3 RAM
$65 -- Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
$90 -- Corsair 650W PSU
$60 -- HAF 912 case
$23 -- DVD Burner

Total: $704 +shipping


Questions:

Should I drop an extra $40 on an x6 1090T? I'm not sure if the performance increase will be noticable. Keep in mind that gaming is secondary to multi-tasking performance, but I'm not sure I would really notice a difference for either. For that matter is there another processor out there that is simply a better deal assuming I can't wait for SB or Bulldozer? I'm hesitant to pick up a i5-760 because it's almost the same cost as the 2500k was and more than either the 965 or 1090T but am open to suggestions.

Should I drop an extra $40 on 8GB RAM instead of 4GB? If not and I decide to upgrade later, I should just be able to add another 2x2GB anyway right? Or is 2x4GB significantly better than 4x2GB? What about 1600 speed vs. 1333 for this particular CPU (or another)?

I have seen some deals lately on the Geforce 460 SE 768 MB card for around $100 -- that's significantly cheaper than the 1GB Radeon 6850. Just how bad would the performance hit here be, honestly? Main games I play are Civ5, SCII, WoW, Oblivion, Dragon Age, and perhaps a few others later. I also use Photoshop but not extensively. Something to keep in mind here is that at present I game on a laptop with a 256MB Quadro FX 570m GPU and it runs the Dell U2211h (1920x1080) for gaming -- usually on Low/Fair/Med settings, so while I do want to play at High/Ultra settings on at least one game, I don't understand why people say that you NEED a 1GB card to power a 1920x1080 display. I do want a nice experience here though.

Thanks everyone -- please let me know if there is anything you think is worth changing here. I'd like to buy ASAP.

Oh, and sorry for "writing a book" but I wanted to be thorough. This will be both my first build and my first desktop ever -- so far I've only owned laptops -- so I'm extremely nervous about getting it right and having it work.
February 14, 2011 9:03:39 PM

Thanks for your input! The PSU you link to looks like a fairly solid option if I don't need more room for expansion, so I'll definitely look into that. I'll also mark you down as someone who feels the 1090T is worth the money.

What's the advantage of that Mobo to the one in the combo? I'd have to pay a bit more for that one but it does look nice and I've heard great things about MSI.

I am not going to pay over $200 for graphics though even if they are nice, and especially if I only intend to use this rig for a little over a year before passing it on. I'm still wondering if I should back down to the 460 768MB to save money.

Any other suggestions? And thanks again Derbix -- you have good suggestions and I really appreciate the build recommendation and the link!
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February 14, 2011 11:30:24 PM

The ASRock 870 Extreme 3's a better mobo. It runs its PCI-e lanes at 8x/8x.

The 1090T is a waste of money if you don't edit video. And for $180, you should get a 5850, not a 6850, because it's quite a bit faster. 1GB of video memory will really make a difference in a year or two--it matters less at 1920x1080 today.

4GB DDR3 is plenty (on a budget build, for now). Get 1600 because it's the same price pretty much and can run tighter timings at 1333 than a lot of 1333 will if you get into overclocking.

Also, you should wait a couple weeks for SB. Intel's moving quickly.
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February 15, 2011 12:11:42 AM

ok, this GPU would be a good choice if you want something cheaper
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

yeah the asrock is probably a nice mobo too :)  i just like MSI thats all hehe.

i think the 1090T is worth it since you are a multi tasker and 6 cores are more futureproof than 4 because things are getting better multi core support.
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February 15, 2011 12:31:32 AM

Better future proof yeah, but not $70 worth of future proof? $70 of present money is worth $85 in two years and he'll be able to get a better processor than either for $100 by then (maybe Ivy Bridge i3's or Haswell? I dunno about cut down Zambezi). And 4 cores takes a LOT of multitasking to get bogged down. Heck, I can run multiple engineering structural analyses while video encoding on a Q9400 and it's barely noticeable.

Is the $80 difference between a 1090T and 955 really worth the rare occasion when you're using photoshop while encoding a video while you play a multi-threaded game and stream a movie? Because if you only do two of those things at once, the 955 will do.

And last I checked, gaming was on his list. And $80 makes a HUGE difference to gaming.

I like MSI, but the ASRock board is 8x/8x and the MSI is 16x/4x and costs $10 more. ASUS 870 Exteme 3 FTW!
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February 15, 2011 12:03:01 PM

Thanks guys for comments so far! Ordering later today/tonight, finally. To address a few things...

What does it mean that it runs PCI lanes at 8x/8x instead of 16x/4x or whatever? I'll go with your Mobo suggestion most likely because it looks like a great deal, but I'm unclear on why still. (If this has to do with XF or SLI then not relevant)

If I stick with 4 GB now and add another 2x2GB later is it worse to have 4x2GB than 2x4GB?

Thanks again! You guys have helped me out for sure.
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February 15, 2011 8:27:19 PM

No, so long as you don't heat the RAM up a ton through HEAVY overclocking, 4 sticks will do as well as 2 on any decent motherboard (I have a REALLY crappy ECS board where it matters).

If you are absolutely certain that you won't ever Crossfire, then get a $70 board that runs 16x/4x. The 8x/8x performance for crossfire GPUs is better than 16x/4x--especially on high end GPUs. And I think you should go with a 5850 if money's an issue since it's the best bang for your buck (well actually that's a 5870). The 5850 outperforms a 6850 handily.
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February 16, 2011 12:22:39 AM

I was wrong. Apparently Phenom II's can only use 1 DIMM per channel. So that means you'll want the 8GB G.Skill kit on sale right now for $75 on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231314

That, or don't worry about dual channel or be satisfied with 4GB of RAM.
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