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New AMD Quad Core Build - Questions on Parts

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March 17, 2011 6:22:20 PM

I am building a new system and want to use an AMD CPU not Intel.

I will be using it for Gaming, Development work, and Serving HD video to some TV's in the future.

I am buying from NewEgg within the next few weeks.

I have some questions on recommended parts

I might want to overclock.

I will be using the HDMI monitor that I am purchasing as my primary display.

I already have 2 HannsG HX191D monitors(1280*1024 max res) that I might want to try using as dual gaming monitors if that is possible with a single GPU.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103727 Price: $159.99

Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131631 Price: $149.99

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH
Item #: N82E16820231402 Price: $104.99

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811119225 Price: $179.99

Hard Drive System: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136284 Price: $87.99

Hard Drive Storage: 3x Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136514 Price: $79.99 each

Burner: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner - Bulk SATA WH10LS30 LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827136181 Price: $90.99

Keyboard: Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000
Item #: N82E16823109149 Price: $18.99

Mouse: Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical - OEM
Item#: N82E16826105100 Price: $21.99

Monitor: Asus VE248H Black 24" 1920X1080 2ms Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 10,000,000:1
Item#: N82E16824236102 Price: $209.99

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754 Price: $99.99


Power: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 600W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Bronze Certified Modular ...
Item #: N82E16817171036 Price: $69.99

1) Is 600w enough for 1 GPU and 4 HD's or should I get more wattage
2) If I ever did decide to Crossfire, what should I get for wattage


CPU Cooler: ????
3) I am not sure what to get for a cooler and what to look for.


GPU: Radeon HD 6950, (Sapphire or XFX)

SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814102914 Price: $276.99

or

XFX HD-695A-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814150518 Price: $289.99

or

XFX HD-695X-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814150530 Price: $274.99

4) I've been reading some articles regarding Flashing to 6970. What do people think regarding this.
5) I'm not sure if the Sapphire supports Open G/L 4.1 and if this matters or not. Sapphire states that some GPU's support 3.0 and 3.1.
6) XFX has a better warranty but I can't seem to see any difference between the 2 XFX versions other than the model #


What do you all think, what changes would you make to the above.

Last question, my younger brother has an amd 965, the same case, 600w psu with several HD's as a server.
He doesn't use it for gaming and he is using the STOCK fan that comes with the CPU.
What temperature should he be looking out for and should he get a better fan.
He's been using it awhile without a problem.

Thanks, very much in advance for the comments and suggestions.


March 17, 2011 7:13:31 PM

1. I would get something in the 650-750 watt range from a known good brand(Corsair,Seasonic,Antec,PCP&C,XFX BLACK EDITION)
2. SEE 1.
3 Coolermaster hyper 212+ is recommended a lot
4. you pays your money and you takes your chances. Nothing is guaranteed. It voids the warranty.
5. All 6950 support the same Open GL level.
6 model 695x is shorter. 695a probably has better cooling,has a rebate and cheaper shipping right now on newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|14-150-518^14-150-518-TS%2C14-150-530^14-150-530-TS
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March 17, 2011 7:43:07 PM

You only need an aftermarket cooler if you overclock. The 955 is essentially the same as the 965 since the multiplier is unlocked. Just spend 5 minutes fiddling around in your bios changing the 955 to a 965's multiplier.

The 6950 2GB's should unlock and use the 6950 unlocked bios, not the 6970 bios. I think it's a good idea to unlock the 6970 performance, but I will not guarantee you that you can't break your card. You can break anything if you try hard enough.

Why do you want an AMD build? A core i3-2100 is pretty much the same price with better performance at stock speeds. I'd splurge the extra $100 and get an i5-2500K since there are a couple tiers of performance difference between an 965 and an i5-2500K and that only gets accentuated by overclocking. It's your call though. I just want to know why one over the other.
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March 17, 2011 8:08:00 PM

Looks like a great build....I'm wondering why you need 7TB of storage though?

BTW go with the XFX vid card..either one will do, and you really dont need to unlock it to the higher card firmware...just OC the beast if it isnt fast enough in stock form!

Power supply should go 650-750 and dont go Antec....they been flacky lately!
Seasonic makes some BA hardware...and Ive personally had great luck with OCZ power supplies, just dont skimp to a cheap brand, EVERYTHING rides on the PSU, it has to be good
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March 17, 2011 8:26:48 PM

I should've told you earlier that the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB is just as good as the WD Caviar Black. Check reviews if you want to verify that statement. It can be found for as low as $55 and occasionally lower on Newegg.

The WD Caviar Green "EARS" do not perform as well as the "EADS" from the previous generation. Get the EADS version if you can find them. 7TB is a lot of storage. Considering that they'll be releasing much larger drives (4TB) this year, you could consider waiting. Or just buy it now...I guess it doesn't matter much.

Motherboard: You should get an ASRock 870 Extreme 3. It does everything you need and only costs $90.

Microsoft has cheaper 24" Monitors, btw. If I was gonna spend $209 on a monitor, I'd spend $249 on Tiger Direct and get a 28" 1920x1200 monitor.

Memory: 1333CL7 is the same as 1600CL9, more or less. Newegg had 1600CL9 RAM for $75 last week. You can still probably get it for cheaper than $105.

Your case is really expensive. Save the money and get a MUCH better computer (i5-2500K). Consider an Antec 900 or something else in the $100 ballpark.

Blu-Ray Burner: Blu-ray writable discs cost $10 each minimum. If you can't afford an i5-2500K, then skip this for now and get a DVD Burner for $18. You can add one later when they become more practical.

If you're spending this kind of money, why are you spending it on a practically obsolete system? Bulldozer will be out soon and Sandy Bridge is out. I could give you a build that costs the same as what you put out there but has vastly superior performance.



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March 17, 2011 8:50:46 PM

+1 dalauder

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1Tb are as fast and reliable as those WDs

Also, you are about to drop $160 on a CPU that is beaten by a large margin by a $119 i3 2100.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
I am actually an AMD fanboy... but until bulldozer comes out I would not touch AMD unless it was for a very low end system.
The Sandy Bridge platform is capable of giving over twice the performance over the top of the line AMD quad core solution. That is not an exaggeration either.
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March 17, 2011 8:55:02 PM

While I agree with dalauder on the spinpoint F3 having a great rep, I will tell you from very personal experience that you dont want to buy from tigerdirrect......used and refurbed parts without notice could be in your future if you buy from them!

Meanwhile, I agree again with him that youre dropping alot of money on this build, but its your toy and if you have that nice of a budget then go for it and build what you want....Intel fanbois will be Intel fanbois, I wonder if they've ever tryed an AMD system...other than a box bought crap??

No practical reason to go with the 1600 cl9 ram either....the 1333 cl7 will OC just fine and most times its more stable on an AMD system than the 1600

Ultimately its your build, have fun with it and build the beast YOU want!!

Good luck, and let us know how it goes..ok??

Dead
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March 17, 2011 10:12:04 PM

I'm not an "Intel fanboi". I greatly prefer AMD when it's a viable choice. But in this case, all the tests in the world show that Phenom II's are a bad choice for price or performance.

The only reason I suggested 1600CL9 over 1333CL7 is because it's easier to find deals on. If you can get some 1600CL7 for $75 or 1333CL7 for $105, then you should get the 1600CL9.
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March 18, 2011 12:59:20 AM

Ok, not a fanboi...sorry, but meanwhile if youre going to say things like
"But in this case, all the tests in the world show that Phenom II's are a bad choice for price or performance." Can I ask for links to the articles youre quoting??
Cause I've not seen anything that says Phenoms are a bad choice....unless youre refering to what is known as the "fake" Phenom, the Athlon II based chip that doesnt have the L3 cache??
Sorry dude, Im just not gonna listen to random hearsay without lookin for proof, also last i looked at newegg that 1600 ram was maybe $5-$7 cheaper than the 1333.....so ok!!

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March 18, 2011 1:36:42 AM

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions.
I do have the option of waiting awhile before purchasing a system.
I'll take a look at when Bulldozer is coming out.
I was hoping to get a system between now and May, hopefully sooner as I want to turn my dual core into an Oracle/SQL Server for development i do in .NET.
I know Intel has the edge on CPU's but I'd rather purchase AMD and see the company stay in business if I can get something that I'll still be happy with.
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March 18, 2011 5:04:55 AM

Okay, I'll provide you proof since you asked Deadstick. Or at least benchies.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

If you don't trust Tom's Benchmarks, I can go look elsewhere and give you more links.

But if benchmarks count as evidence, then the evidence says that all Phenom II's are outperformed in gaming by the $120 i3-2100. Although the Phenom's might beat it when overclocked.

Keep in mind than you can upgrade an i3-2100 to an i7-2600K down the line. What do you upgrade a Phenom II to? Last I heard, Bulldozer needs a new socket.

I just can't justify Phenom II's on price, performance, or future upgradability. Personally, I'd wait for Bulldozer. It will, at the very least, drive down Phenom II prices.

EDIT: Another good source http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...
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March 18, 2011 12:30:48 PM

If u have low budget - GPU/scalability gains trumps over any platform debate (unless we are talking dated chips) so Asrock 870 extreme + CF is still the best option for budget gaming However BD is rather near so...:p 
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March 18, 2011 7:16:10 PM

Deadstick50 said:
While I agree with dalauder on the spinpoint F3 having a great rep, I will tell you from very personal experience that you dont want to buy from tigerdirrect......used and refurbed parts without notice could be in your future if you buy from them!

Meanwhile, I agree again with him that youre dropping alot of money on this build, but its your toy and if you have that nice of a budget then go for it and build what you want....Intel fanbois will be Intel fanbois, I wonder if they've ever tryed an AMD system...other than a box bought crap??

No practical reason to go with the 1600 cl9 ram either....the 1333 cl7 will OC just fine and most times its more stable on an AMD system than the 1600

Ultimately its your build, have fun with it and build the beast YOU want!!

Good luck, and let us know how it goes..ok??

Dead


Dead - most of my personal builds have been with AMD CPUs. I've been running AMD rigs since the late '90s. I even used to have a Cyrix processor that I thought was amazing back in the day. Nothing thrills me more than when AMD can outperform a more expensive Intel chip. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that that the AMD David can slay the Intel Goliath.

AMD has ruled the sub $200 processor market for about 3 years. AMD still rules the sub $100 market. The last time I made an Intel rig for myself was in 2005, and frankly it sucked. When I started planning for my current build it was going to be an AMD 965 all the way. I was running a Phenom 9850 at the time. I figured I'd get the same performance out of it that I'd get from an i5 750 for a lot less $.

Then sandy bridge came out... BTW here are your benchmarks... twice the fps over AMD

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

I was stunned. How could it be that Intel was beating AMD on both price and performance... I mean really, when has that ever happened? Even after figuring the extra cost of an Intel motherboard the new Sandy Bridge chips left the Phenom IIs far behind eating dust. Ever since Sandy Bridge was released TomsH monthly best CPU for the $ has AMD chips only in the sub $100 range.

The Intel chips are simply faster and cheaper. I had to get a Sandy Bridge system or I would feel like an ass with an underperforming dying platform that would be replaced soon. I hope that AMD can change the game with Bulldozer. I need to update my wife's PC (with an athlon II 620) soon and I'd love for it to be a killer Bulldozer chip. But Bulldozer isn't out yet and If I had not spent that tax return on a PC the $ would end up at the mall thanks to my wife.
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March 18, 2011 7:27:39 PM

sdamicojr said:
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions.
I do have the option of waiting awhile before purchasing a system.
I'll take a look at when Bulldozer is coming out.
I was hoping to get a system between now and May, hopefully sooner as I want to turn my dual core into an Oracle/SQL Server for development i do in .NET.
I know Intel has the edge on CPU's but I'd rather purchase AMD and see the company stay in business if I can get something that I'll still be happy with.


Good idea to wait. Right now AMD has nothing to offer in your price range.

AMD is not in danger of going out of business especially if they keep putting out killer GPUs.
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March 19, 2011 3:10:56 AM

Points taken on the Sandy Bridge out running the Phenom, Im not a sore loser, just never saw the benchies. Wow, Im blown away by it...but it is what it is!
Ok, Im still gonna support the underdog, been backing AMD since the K6-2 era and dont see a reason for stoping. They still meet my needs with what they have going.

Good luck with the build sdamicojr.....update us when you get it done!!
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March 19, 2011 4:28:02 AM

I'm with Deadstick on the AMD. Wait and see what Bulldozer does.
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March 19, 2011 5:59:29 AM

I'm pretty excited about to see what bulldozer can do. They are going a different direction than intel with their architecture. I can't wait to see some benchies.
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