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Need Advice, Fleeced by private builder

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March 29, 2011 1:59:34 AM

Hi everyone. I recently had my computer die on me (it was pretty old. I'd last upgraded in 2003), and I had a guy at work offer to build me one for cheap. I was hoping his intentions were genuine, but alas, he seems to have done his best to make a few bucks off of me.

He's charging me $380 Canadian for the computer. Heres what it has for parts:

Mobo: ASUS M4A785-M
RAM: 2 Gigs Lexar ddr2 800
CPU: AMD Phenom 9850 quad core @ 2.5ghz
HD: Used 350gb HD. Unsure of model/speed

Thats pretty much all thats in it (It has a cooling device installed as well). Clearly, I got fleeced. I should have known better and just bought a computer new or built my own, but it's been some time since I've followed hardware with any interest and I'm a bit out dated in my knowledge.

Obviously, I need to get this thing up to speed somehow. It's not running any of my games (Games my old pc used to have no trouble running), and I suspect thats because I'm still running windows XP which doesn't support the Hybrid technology the motherboard is using for video.

So I have a couple questions for you guys and I was hoping you could make some suggestions.


Q1: I need to update my OS to utilize the power of the motherboard, processor, and especially if I wish to upgrade the RAM. I noticed that Windows Vista supports Hybrid technology, but with the advent of windows 7, I'm wondering if I should look at buying windows 7 or try and find a copy of windows vista to purchase? Cost is definitely an issue.

Q2: I would like to purchase a graphics card, however I'm still a little unsure how this hybrid tech works. From what I can tell, only certain cards support it, and low end cards at that. Has this changed? If not, can a guy run a system reasonably well simply using a decent Graphics card and disabling the video on the motherboard? Is it possible to get a couple ATI cards and crossfire them with this mobo? What graphics options would you suggest? I have a budget of about $200 to spend on graphics. I'm not sure if I can even crossfire a couple ati cards on this motherboard, or not. I was thinking about just buying a SAPPHIRE 100314-2SR Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express from new egg but I'm unsure if it's compatible with the motherboard. any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated.

Q3: From what I can tell, the processor is 64bit compatible. Last time I was into hardware, 64bit tech was somewhat of a gamble in terms of productivity. Is it worth while to use a 64bit OS? Does it make that much of a difference?


To summarize what I use my PC for:

I'd generally like to be able to run games on my PC, though I'm not as much of a power gamer as I once was. I don't really care about getting 95 fps on crysis 2 with everything cranked. I'm happy as long as I can play Team Fortress 2 and my other games, with maybe Battlefield Bad Company 2 thrown in since it came with the computer. I would also like to be able to run Maya on it, though not for anything intensive like rendering. As long as I can model and animate, and run photoshop, while playing the odd game, I'm happy.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can make. Obviously, money is an issue or I'd just go drop 5k on an alienware.
March 29, 2011 4:17:07 AM

1.} Win 7 for sure
2.} get the 6870it can handle most all games np
3.} 64-bit OS is required to address more memory thats the short reason to get 64-bit
The 6870 will handle your needs...That hybrid stuff you don't have worry about
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March 29, 2011 4:18:39 AM

You might want to add 2 more GB of RAM if you can...it'lll run alot smoother
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 4:34:10 AM

So you payed him basically?

Well what resolution are you playing at? That hugely determines the amount of money you need to spend. Say you were running anything below 1680x1050. The 6850 would be good enough. Anything equivalent or above you'd need a 6870 or better.

One thing you really need to know though, even high resolutions, Valve/Source engine games do not require strong graphics. I play CSS (updated w/ new beta) @ Max all settings @ 300 FPS on most maps except custom maps such as ze_predator (assuming you play zombie escape this is a very graphically crazy map). I run CSS @ 1680x1050. I get about 120 FPS in TF2 that's basically all the time at max settings, I use a 5850 which you can find probably about the same price as a 460 now if you find it. However I recommend the 6850 because it'll be cooler, quieter, shorter and just more efficient per watt.

I suggest selling that for as much as possible. 300$ is probably something you could stir up. If you can find someone to buy that for 300$, do it. After that you could check out my build guide for 600$ which would give you optimal performance for your needs.

----------------------------------------

Seperate advice from building.

Maya requires COMPLETELY different requirements than a gaming PC. Are you casually using Maya? Or big models? If you are doing this for your job, it is best you get a separate computer from your gaming computer. The games you plan to play, my 450$ rig would do.

However Maya wouldn't really take advantage of cards like the 6850, 460, etc. etc. Granted, they do use OpenGL and Cuda. But still, your looking at workstation cards, IE FirePro or Quadro not the Barts or Fermi.

Also, you'll need ALOT more CPU firepower for Maya. For gaming, the CPU only needs to be as good as the bottle necking concerns. That is why you only need a Rana 450 in most cases. However, in regards to Maya, it requires lots of CPU power and a lot more graphical power. But in a different way. Meaning both are optimized differently. For instance a workstation card would do Maya tasks well, but fail at gaming. Vice versa.

--------------------------------------------------------------

For my 600$ build I actually suggest switching the 925 for this chip. The i3 2100 same price.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
And this motherboard.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Totals to about 610$ same cost. Better CPU. The new arch would prob help in Maya as it does shine in gaming. See here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
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March 29, 2011 5:08:20 AM

I've given him $180 so far, and he wants another $200. I don't have a problem paying him for his time, but it doesn't seem like there is $300 worth of hardware in my case given the fact I'm looking at having to spend an additional $400 just to get it running games.

As far as Maya goes, I'm going to school in the fall for Digital Media (3d modeling, animation, etc), and while I'll be buying myself a high end laptop for school, I'd like to be able to edit files for homework on my desktop if need be. It's not that I'll be using it as a work station so much as I'd like to have the option of doing some basic work on my PC if need be.

As for the Graphics card, is there a large difference between the 6850 and 6870? Newegg has an XFX HD-685X-ZDFC Radeon HD 6850 for $189.99 which seems like a great deal given the lifetime warranty. Granted, the 6870 is only $30 more but with money tight and the need for RAM and a new OS that $30 means a lot.

PS: Appreciate your replies :) 
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 5:15:37 AM

If possible ask for the 180 back. I don't know what your agreement was but those parts are junk.

If you can actually get 180$ back, get the 610$ build I told you about.

An i3 2100 + the ECS mobo + a different card (460 768mb).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It isn't lifetime warranty but this'll save you some money and allow you to get your OS. Your going to school, take advantage of this Microsoft deal.
http://www.microsoft.com/student/en/us/windows/buynow/d...
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March 29, 2011 5:24:14 AM

Hey just trying to work with what hes got...granted its not much no offense OP
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March 29, 2011 5:25:04 AM

although that CPU sure leaves something to be desired
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March 29, 2011 5:26:20 AM

$150.00 system...plus 1 hour of labor..you've already paid for it lock, stock, and barrel..I wouldn't give him another penny
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 5:48:25 AM

^ You can edit posts, no need to separate into 3 separate posts =P
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March 29, 2011 5:59:06 AM

slow connection...yeah I know thanks
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March 29, 2011 6:41:52 AM

I dont think using a new OS(Win 7) is going to speed up your gaming experiance. As it is, its the DX11 in Win 7 which is useful in games. You are short on money, delay buying OS, buy GPU and ram instead. Fortunately, you have the option of putting a six core cpu in the future. I say, go this route, and finally down the road you may add the OS to your expenses. You already have XP. Will do you fine.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 6:49:14 AM

^ Does OP still have a code that works is the question.

As for OS is it 64bit or 32bit (x86). If it's 32bit, that'll an issue, but minor as most. The only factor is the RAM the OS will recognize is 3gb if you have 4gb. But that shouldn't be an issue as you only have 2.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 8:48:03 AM

Also, hybrid graphics is terrible. Ignore it completely.

As far as source engine games are concerned, you could just buy a 5670 or something for like $70-100 and be able to play those just fine. No extra RAM or OS really needed.

That hardware is a bit old being the from the original phenom line. But it's not like it's a major ripoff either. I mean, it's not a pentium D or something. For most people that system would be great, and the price isn't too far from where a retail system would be (for newer models but similar power or less, probably dual cores). Except if he's worth his salt it also has a good power supply in it, which is almost guaranteed to not happen with retail PC's. It sounds like the reason its not playing games is because it has no real graphics at all. Of course integrated graphics are going to do that, they aren't meant for anything else.

Being able to build your own though, even if you have been not paying much attention, there was no reason to do anything but build your own.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 6:26:55 PM

First of all, saying he needs at least a HD6870 for occasional gaming is nonsense. A HD5770 would very likely do quite nicely, especially considering his titles. If you want to spend the full $200, look for a 1GB GTX460, although you may need to wait for a rebate.
The mobo is a little dated, but not "bad;" the CPU is the lame duck here. Still, overall it looks like he was trying to re-purpose old parts into something he could sell. It's worth $200-$250, but no more. I'm guessing the PSU is junky too, and probably couldn't support a powerful video card. What brand and model (not just wattage) is it?
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March 29, 2011 7:47:44 PM

Hey anything under 68XX series or 460 is just a waste in my opinion...6870 is $200.00 right now at the egg the 6850 is even cheaper and would do a great job....Oh and the OP wasn't using new parts some ass built this using those parts and told him it was a new build...At least thats what I got from it..BTW he never stated what PSU he was using...
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March 29, 2011 10:07:05 PM

Basically you purchased the same system tiger direct sells for 199 US on sale (or is it 299) sorry to say yes you got rooked,

Check your Power supply will it even handle a newer Video card?

the CPU is fair

Add 2 more gigs and go with Win 7 basic 64 bit (or what ever they are calling it now)

a 5770 would work or a 6850 also
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 10:41:15 PM

Benchmarks show that a HD5750:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/173
...or HD5770: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/296
...can play just about any game (with the possible exception of Crysis) if the gamer is willing to lower a few settings; which it appears the OP is willing to do. Sure, a HD6850 or GTX460 would be nice, but if the budget won't allow that, the result won't be insufferable by any reasonable measure.

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a b B Homebuilt system
March 29, 2011 11:13:14 PM

So it's been 17 posts, have we gotten over the fact that the OP perceives he's been ripped off?

Clearly by his post he is incapableof building his own system, but apparently wise enough to recognize previous generation parts. I guess all this knowledge was gained after requisitioning the build of the system. If the OP agreed to have a system built at a set price, and he is upset about the system, I think the OP is the only one to blame. If you lacked knowledge about the system, and purchased it anyway, shame on you. If you believe that people selling slower systems, or substandard systems is fraudulent I suggest you begin a lawsuit with Best Buy immediately and let us all know how that goes.

But that's neither here nor there. Because now you've recognized that the system isn't up to your newly found expectations. We need more info, specifically the Power Supply and the Case. These 2 things will greatly limit what GPU can be installed.

Also lol @ OPs final sentence. ALiENWARE ftw
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March 30, 2011 12:48:16 AM

I'm not really here to cry about being ripped off, so you can save your acrimony for someone who deserves it. I'm simply looking for advice on what to do with the parts I have been given. I fully intend to pay the guy for the computer, as I'm a man of my word.

As for a power supply, it seems to be a macron 400w power supply (I'm fairly certain I had a 450w or 500w in my old system. He kept all the old parts).

There is also a cooler master installed over the cpu, which I believe he over clocked to 2750mhz.

In regards to the case, I really couldn't tell you what kind it is except to say that it's old. I bought it in 2003. It's not overly large, has 4 CD bays, front USB ports, and a neon light. Very basic, I guess you could say.

There isn't anything else in the case short of a dvd writer and a cd writer...Also a neon black light that came with my case and is easily disconnected. So will that be enough power for a new card? or am I looking at having to shell out more $ for a power supply?

*edit: a code that works? as in a valid windows xp key? I do have one yes. I paid for windows xp when I originally upgraded the computer back in 2003.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2011 1:00:36 AM

I've never heard of that brand. If it has a little voltage switch on it, it is at best an older, inefficient design; at worst it is an overrated piece of junk that will die sooner rather than later. Such PSU-shaped objects rarely die alone. If you intend to add a graphics card, at the very least get a $40 380W Antec Earthwatts. It will handle a HD5770 with ease. Otherwise I would assume it isn't reliably good for any more than 300W, and not get anything more demanding than a HD5670.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2011 2:19:23 AM

^ +1

I'm VERY confused right now. Is the 300$ PC bought in 2003? Or did you buy these parts to upgrade? You should've seeked the forums before finalizing the deal. =P w/ that extra 300$ your build could be at least 10x better.
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March 30, 2011 2:48:14 AM

To clarify, The ONLY thing he kept is the case. Basically, I bought this pc in 2003, chose the parts, case, etc. The motherboard died on me a couple months ago, and given the fact most of my parts were so out dated, it seemed logical to try and get a new pc built.

So basically, the only thing about the computer that was retained from my old pc, would be the case.

The CPU, Mobo, cooling, 2 drives, power supply (which I discovered dates from about 2002 and is clearly used), RAM, and hard drive (Which is also used) were all put in it by the builder.

Either way, I'm not looking for a consensus on weather I got a good deal or got fleeced. I've already drawn my conclusions on that. What I'm wondering, is what I can do with the parts listed in the OP to bring this computer up to spec, given my needs.

I'd like a new graphics card obviously, and since the PSU is so old I'll be needing an appropriate power supply. RAM would also be a plus, and I'd ideally like to put 16gb of ddr2 800 in it, but thats later down the road.

My immediate concern is the graphics card (and now apparently the power supply), os, and a bit of RAM. I have a very limited budget and was hoping I could get some suggestions in this regard.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2011 2:51:06 AM

16 GB is completely excessive. Add 2x1GB of DDR2. For the games you've listed something in the 56xx series would suffice. A good 400W PSU like the 380W one previously listed will be fine. You might be looking at another $150.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2011 3:34:40 AM

^ Yup.

You can try to try to budget. Upgrade to a 460 768mb or 6850. That'd run you 150$ tops. At that point you'd have 250$ left. With the 250 upgrade your PSU. That'd run you 60$ at most. Then you'd have 190$ left. That's good enough for a cheap i3 2100 (130$) and an H61 board (60$). I'd say that looks pretty solid. Just add 40$ more to the budget, you'd have 4gb of ram.

The only issue would be the OS, since 32-bit only recognizes 3gb at most. I don't know if it would serve as a problem though since it'd just see 3gb instead of 4 which isn't an issue imo.

Just to reiterate the parts.

i3 2100 + H61 ECS H2-M2 - 219$
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=59963&vpn=H61M-D2P-B3%26i...
4GB of Ram Patriot Sig - 35$
Comes w/ CPU/Motherboard bundle
MSI 460 768mb - 155$ Before 25$ MIR
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=54626&vpn=N460GTX%20Cyclo...
OCZ 500w ModXStream PSU - 55$
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=33040&vpn=OCZ500MXSP&manu...

Total after rebates - 439$
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March 30, 2011 3:47:24 AM

Here's what I'm leaning towards:

Ultra LSP550 550 watt power supply
Sapphire Radeon HD 5770
Corsair XMS2 4gb pc6400 DDR2 800mhz mem
Windows 7


With shipping, that will run me about $395 and leave me a little wiggle room to upgrade later. I'm thinking I'll just keep the mobo for now. Would these parts work reasonably well with an ASUS M4A785-m?

Also, I know RAM can be finicky if it's not all exactly the same, but I'm wondering if I could leave the 2 gigs I have in it, for some added punch? Is it fairly safe to do as long as the memory speed is the same?

This is what Sys info displays for my RAM:


Property Value
Memory Summary
Maximum Capacity 16384 MBytes
Memory Slots 4
Error Correction None
DRAM Frequency 440.0 MHz
Memory Timings 6-6-6-18 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)
Device Locator Slot 1
Manufacturer Crucial Technology
Part Number CT12864AA800.M8FJ1
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type DDR2 (PC2-6400)
Speed 400 MHz (DDR2 800)
Supported Frequencies 266.7 MHz, 333.3 MHz, 400.0 MHz
Memory Timings 4-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 5-5-5-15-20 at 333.3 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 6-6-6-18-24 at 400.0 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Data Width 64 bits
Manufacturing Date 2010, Week 33
EPP SPD Support No
XMP SPD Support No
Device Locator Slot 2
Manufacturer Crucial Technology
Part Number CT12864AA800.M8FJ1
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type DDR2 (PC2-6400)
Speed 400 MHz (DDR2 800)
Supported Frequencies 266.7 MHz, 333.3 MHz, 400.0 MHz
Memory Timings 4-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 5-5-5-15-20 at 333.3 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 6-6-6-18-24 at 400.0 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Data Width 64 bits
Manufacturing Date 2010, Week 33
EPP SPD Support No
XMP SPD Support No
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2011 3:53:45 AM

Terrible PSU. And I strongly suggest going with the build I just suggested. You can always just upgrade the OS later, (same with all the other parts) but with the 2100 and 460 768mb you get way better performance than a 9850 + 5770.
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March 30, 2011 4:03:29 AM

That does seem like the best way to go, but unfortunately that's a fair bit over budget for me, and I might as well utilize the motherboard I have since I won't be getting my money back.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2011 10:01:40 AM

2289832,26,858816 said:
Here's what I'm leaning towards:

Ultra LSP550 550 watt power supply
Sapphire Radeon HD 5770
Corsair XMS2 4gb pc6400 DDR2 800mhz mem
Windows 7


With shipping, that will run me about $395 and leave me a little wiggle room to upgrade later. I'm thinking I'll just keep the mobo for now. Would these parts work reasonably well with an ASUS M4A785-m?
.
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With "Manual 130v & 220v Switching" in its description, that Ultra PSU should be an automatic "No!;" their older ones were system-killers. Quality brands include Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax; FSP would be a step (or two) down. Look for full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and at least 80+ certification.
What was your old video card, that could play your games? Or, what games do you want to play, and what resolution is your monitor? I still don't recall seeing that in this lengthening thread (sorry if I missed it). If your budget is indeed $400, I don't think you'll have a problem getting a reasonable gaming experience.
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March 30, 2011 7:21:34 PM

***here is what you need to do***
Your a man of your word, granted, but that doesn't mean roll over and give in just cause you promised to.

Talk to your work friend, tell him you arn't happy with the parts and cost and you would like to negotiate to return them and upgrade to one of the recommended PC suggests in this thread. Offer to box them up yourself if you want to save him the time. Then have him "sell" the parts to you and pay him to build it. Ask what each part is costing him, ask for receipts then ...

Pay him fairly for his time, and make sure he knows it.

This way, you get a better PC for the cost, he feels like he is earning his money for his knowledge and time and everyone is happy.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 1, 2011 10:59:37 PM

Or you could just install your XP on it fresh, and sell the whole thing on ebay.

You should get plenty enough to add enough for a new system to your budget.

I'd do a AM3 770 chipset mobo with whatever the fastest Athlon II x3 is for the CPU and mobo, and 4 gigs of DDR3. Then the other stuff mentioned for PSU and graphics card.
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