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EDIT2: New Build Input

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June 6, 2011 10:56:06 PM

I am currently gathering a list of parts for a new computer build with a budget of around $1000-$1100 (minus a monitor) for my brother for his high school graduation. He'll be taking this rig to college for all his computer needs along with gaming. The big thing I'm focusing on is building the system such that it has an upgrade path and therefore will, with upgrades, last & be able to play games at decent settings for many years before needing to be completely rebuilt. He's old computer was out of date when I built it for me in '05 (my first build) and was pathetic when he inherited it in '08 so I really want to do this build justice. I'll be using an AMD system mainly for their track record in forward computability (see discussion below). This is my list of parts at the moment and some comments on them:

EDIT: 1) ASUS Evo 880G AM3+ $129.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard for upgrading to zambezi/bulldozer later on; probably on the 2nd generation of said processor

EDIT2: 2) Phenom II X6 1090T BE & MSI R6950 2GB Combo $464.98 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Downgraded from 1100T as the only difference is a 0.5 multiplier increase from factory over the 1090T. Will be given stock voltage OC (around 3.6GHz from research)
I prefer XFX or EVGA for my cards but I know many people that have had MSI and they seem like good cards and this one has good specs & reviews.

3) G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866 $104.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Will likely be upgraded to 16GB (4x4GB) when upgraded with CPU as stated above

4) XIGMATEK Gaia 120mm CPU Cooler $29.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seems like a nice budget aftermarket cooler with good reviews

EDIT: 5) CORSAIR CX600 $69.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
More familiar with CORSAIR for PSU and get 600W instead of 550W with the OCZ unit

EDIT: 6) 2x Seagate Barracuda 500GB HDD 2x $39.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAID0 Config; Would have rather had a SSD/HDD setup but not in the budget. Anything over 500GB is gravy.

7) Cooler Master Storm Scout Case $89.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
He wanted a full tower clear side case with red theme but about the cheapest decent one I could find was the Cooler Master HAF 932 for $160

8) LG Black 10x BD-ROM $69.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Just wanted a BD reader; anything for a better price and good reviews feel free to suggest

EDIT: 9) Arctic Silver 5 $11.98 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Heat paste; forgot to put in original post

Starting Build Price: $1086.89
EDIT1 Build Price: $1061.88
EDIT2 Build Price: $1051.88

Please keep the comments coming to refine this build some more. Particular places of interest are Motherboard (would like to have a 9 series NB/SB chipset but at comparable price), CPU Cooler (First time buying aftermarket cooler so any suggestions?), and RAID0 HDD setup (first time attempting a RAID setup also so any suggestions?).

More about : edit2 build input

June 6, 2011 11:33:12 PM

Given the price of the CPU and MB, I would also check the new Sandy Bridge CPU, the i5-2500K specifically; it will probably outperform the Phenom X6 for gaming and can be OCed like crazy on top of that.

If you can find a good deal on a good quality PSU that can deliver more watts, I would also consider as 550W might be a tight fit if he ever wants to add a 2nd GPU (if that was at all a consideration). Everything else should fit just right if you switch, even the cooler.
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June 6, 2011 11:42:12 PM

AM3+ is hype for AMD fanboys; there's a reason people don't use their Phenom IIs in AM2/+ motherboards (HT/northbridge).

For that price you should either get a 2 GB 6950 or save some money and get a GTX 560 Ti.

Get the Antec BP 550W modular; it's a better unit.

Did you try to pick the most overpriced motherboard and processor?
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June 7, 2011 12:16:15 AM

Overclocking is not much of an issue for this build as it will be lightly overclocked if at all during its life and from the benchmarks I just looked at it for kicks and giggles the X6 1100T and i5-2500K perform similar as some applications are taken by the 1100T and others by the 2500K: http://www.guru3d.com/article/core-i5-2500k-and-core-i7...

The motherboard costs so much because it seems to be one of the first AM3+ boards with the 9 series chipset; I may consider getting a board with the 8 series chipset after some more research which would result in a ~$75 price cut. If anyone could link me to a nice 990FX vs 890FX type showdown I would appreciate it.

The HD 6950 1GB has 830MHz core & 1500MHz memory for $269.99; The HD6950 2GB has 800MHz core & 1450MHz memory for $274.99; Tom's Hardware Forum, which shall I get?

Thanks for the PSU suggestion ignoranceabou, however the only one on newegg is a white color and would stand out like a sore thumb in the black case. Any other suggestions for PSU?

The processor's cost is reasonable for a balanced build that is aiming at $1000 total cost. It is also cheaper then the suggested i5-2500K on newegg by about $40 and (as stated above) at similar standard clock performance.
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June 7, 2011 12:20:24 AM

The PSU is in the back and nobody sees it unless you have a side window.

The 2GB version is a much better deal but for a single 1080p monitor you can get a cheaper 1GB version or a GTX 560 Ti to save some money.

If anything go with 1090T and save a few dollars. The primary advantage of the Intel SB processors for gaming is being able to power two GPUs without overclocking.
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June 7, 2011 1:20:35 AM

True the 1100T and 2500k trade blows in multithreaded applications but gaming wise the 2500k wins everytime as games aren't able to take advantage of more then 4 core usually not more then 2/3.
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June 7, 2011 2:18:49 PM

Changes:
- The motherboard has been changed to a little cheaper 8 series NB/SB board
- Graphics card changed to the 2GB variant do to popular request :p 
- Power supply changed to 600W non-modular variant
- Now two hard drives ran in RAID0 configuration

mgf derp said:
True the 1100T and 2500k trade blows in multithreaded applications but gaming wise the 2500k wins everytime as games aren't able to take advantage of more then 4 core usually not more then 2/3.


But what if I want to run 3 games, a word document, and 7 instances of Firefox simultaneously :lol:  I'm sure that will change btw, I remember when people said to not buy the new dual core processors because games weren't multi-threaded and single core could beat them. As I've stated above the main thing I want to do with this is make sure that 3,4, even 5 yr out from now (with some upgrades) this system will still be able to do what he wants. That is my main reason for going with AMD in the first place (and being a little bit of an AMD fanboy, hehe) as they seem to do a lot of backward/frontward compatibility on their CPU/Motherboards.
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June 7, 2011 2:28:24 PM

venom4u said:
But what if I want to run 3 games, a word document, and 7 instances of Firefox simultaneously :lol:  I'm sure that will change btw, I remember when people said to not buy the new dual core processors because games weren't multi-threaded and single core could beat them. As I've stated above the main thing I want to do with this is make sure that 3,4, even 5 yr out from now (with some upgrades) this system will still be able to do what he wants. That is my main reason for going with AMD in the first place (and being a little bit of an AMD fanboy, hehe) as they seem to do a lot of backward/frontward compatibility on their CPU/Motherboards.
The thing about multitasking is you need to know the "idle" CPU usage of those applications; most of those are basically dormant unless you interact with them and will only consume RAM.
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June 7, 2011 2:29:34 PM

venom4u said:
Changes:
- The motherboard has been changed to a little cheaper 8 series NB/SB board
- Graphics card changed to the 2GB variant do to popular request :p 
- Power supply changed to 600W non-modular variant
- Now two hard drives ran in RAID0 configuration



But what if I want to run 3 games, a word document, and 7 instances of Firefox simultaneously :lol:  I'm sure that will change btw, I remember when people said to not buy the new dual core processors because games weren't multi-threaded and single core could beat them. As I've stated above the main thing I want to do with this is make sure that 3,4, even 5 yr out from now (with some upgrades) this system will still be able to do what he wants. That is my main reason for going with AMD in the first place (and being a little bit of an AMD fanboy, hehe) as they seem to do a lot of backward/frontward compatibility on their CPU/Motherboards.

But with your budget you could get a i5 2500k which is just as future proof and currently will jog gaming circles around the Phenom. Just a thought
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June 7, 2011 3:30:55 PM

mgf derp said:
But with your budget you could get a i5 2500k which is just as future proof and currently will jog gaming circles around the Phenom. Just a thought


I understand that most games on the market now run better on the i5-2500k because of multicore issue however it is, on average, by about 15% although the range is quite large. I've seen benchmarks where the i5 ran double what the 1100T and nearly the complete opposite in other games however as time goes on and newer games come out with multithreading at mind the phenom will likely take the i5's place when comparing benchmarks on games. Note the phenom is really just a stepping stone to an eventual bulldozer core and that is the reason for the AM3+ boards. Also I feel, after knowing how AMD typically does development between CPU & Motherboard, that the AM3+ board will likely see upwards of a year or so more lifespan then the current LGA1155 even though they are planned to be used in the up coming Ivy Bridge architecture.

Sorry if I have bothered you. I have no bias toward Intel and I think they make nice quality chips I just do not think it is the right choice for this build. Trying to keep this thread from erupting into an AMD vs Intel discussion :non:  The things I really would like to have more input on are the case, power supply, cpu cooler, gpu, and motherboard if anyone can find any good ones.
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June 7, 2011 4:34:17 PM

I must admit that AMD has a much better track record for "forward compatibility" than Intel which could probably solder the CPUs to the socket by now :p .

I would, however, damper the "as time goes on and newer games come out with multithreading at mind" as this has been an argument since pretty much 2007 and, except for a few games, still not that many take advantage of more than 2 cores. That said, you could consider a CPU between Phenom X4 955 and a Phenom X4 975; the higher clock speeds usually gives better performance than more cores (benchmark) and they are moderately to significantly cheaper.
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June 8, 2011 12:51:13 PM

EDIT2 complete with a combo deal which has a 1090T CPU and MSI R6950 2GB GPU. Please continue to refine the build
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June 8, 2011 11:33:58 PM

Does anyone know anything about the Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would like to know it's speed performance in comparison to my currently spec'ed RAID0 configuration if anyone has this information? If it is considerably faster I would consider it in place of the RAID0 config as 320GB should be sufficient for the build.
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June 17, 2011 12:22:08 PM

I am getting ready to do the build in the coming days but just had a question that I can't seem to find an answer to about memory if anyone would care to give me some input. I have changed the motherboard to the Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ however everything else is the same.

Given the three 8GB kits below (each 2x4GB) which should perform better and by about how much on the AMD system above:
1) DDR3 1600 with timings 8-8-8-24
2) DDR3 1866 with timings 9-10-9-28
3) DDR3 2000 with timings 9-10-9-28 (this is about $30 more so is it worth it?)

I have heard a general formula is to use MHz/CAS timing which would result in 1) 200, 2) 207.3, and 3) 222.2 favoring the 2000 ram and I have also heard that AMD systems are more sensitive to CAS timings then MHz where Intel is the other way around. Can anyone give me some guidance on this as I can't really find a definitive answer or benchmarks?

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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June 17, 2011 1:20:34 PM

venom4u said:
I am getting ready to do the build in the coming days but just had a question that I can't seem to find an answer to about memory if anyone would care to give me some input. I have changed the motherboard to the Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ however everything else is the same.

Given the three 8GB kits below (each 2x4GB) which should perform better and by about how much on the AMD system above:
1) DDR3 1600 with timings 8-8-8-24
2) DDR3 1866 with timings 9-10-9-28
3) DDR3 2000 with timings 9-10-9-28 (this is about $30 more so is it worth it?)

I have heard a general formula is to use MHz/CAS timing which would result in 1) 200, 2) 207.3, and 3) 222.2 favoring the 2000 ram and I have also heard that AMD systems are more sensitive to CAS timings then MHz where Intel is the other way around. Can anyone give me some guidance on this as I can't really find a definitive answer or benchmarks?

Any input is greatly appreciated.
You first need to check if you will be able to push the RAM speed up to the given speed; I don't know AMD enough to make any suggestions, but if something (CPU, MB, heat, ...) prevents you from pushing the RAM to the rated speed, there will be no point in getting it. How much is each set? An alternative would be DDR3-1600 CAS7, the score would be 228.6 :p 
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June 17, 2011 1:37:56 PM

Zenthar said:
You first need to check if you will be able to push the RAM speed up to the given speed; I don't know AMD enough to make any suggestions, but if something (CPU, MB, heat, ...) prevents you from pushing the RAM to the rated speed, there will be no point in getting it. How much is each set? An alternative would be DDR3-1600 CAS7, the score would be 228.6 :p 


Sorry I should have put that in the post but the Phenom II support DDR3-1333 natively on the in CPU memory controllers however the upcoming bulldozers will natively support DDR3-1866 so that is what I was planning for. I am basically not considering the DDR3-2000 unless someone tells me something I don't know I just wanted it as a comparison. And the other two sets are running just under $100, the 1866 set is the one in my build list. I did see a 1600 with cas 7 but it was around $130 on newegg.
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