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AMD Bulldozer in waiting build

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June 8, 2011 9:09:56 PM

Proposed System

Processor: AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition 3.2Ghz CPU:: CLICK
PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W:: CLICK
Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB:: CLICK
Sound Card: Integrated
Primary HDD: OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB:: CLICK
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s:: CLICK
RAM: Patriot Viper Xtreme 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) (2 sets to make 16 GB):: CLICK
Mobo: ASUS Crosshair V Formula AMD 990FX / SB950 AM3 ATX:: CLICK
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932:: CLICK

Items purchased: I have purchased the Mobo, Case, PSU, and CD Drive.

Comments: This machine build is intended to become a Bulldozer Desktop that can comfortably play many games supporting tri-monitor. I intend to go crossfire, and potentially tri-fire down the road. I will also eventually get a nice SSD for the machine. Until bulldozer is released, I will primarily be using this machine for Starcraft and other games not requiring significant specs.

Core Purposes: Gaming, Some graphic design and and editing

Core Question: Will the RAM work with the mobo? Is there a better set of RAM I should purchase to get to 16 GB of fast ram? Is the SSD a good choice for installing OS plus a few games on it? Is the processor right for me given my intentions, or should I just get an Athlon X3 instead (and lose the potential unlocking ability for the phenom II)?
June 8, 2011 10:09:17 PM

The RAM looks good to me, and it'll work fine with that motherboard. I've actually got a bit of that 2000mhz Viper stuff myself. If you try and go much faster it will start to get pricey very quickly...

That SSD is perfect as well. I've been eyeing one of those myself... And 120gb should be enough for quite a few games (although maybe not a whole steam account etc.).

If you are set on Bulldozer, then that processor should do just fine. I unlocked a 550 back in the day for fun as well haha. You can actually unlock some of the Athlons as well I've heard, but I'd still stick with the Phenom. It's maybe even possible to grab one used off craigslist or something if it's just temporary.
a b À AMD
June 9, 2011 6:25:26 AM

Theres no point installing 16 gig of RAM in a gaming machine . Games are 32 bit , and cant use it .

You will get the same performance from lower latency 1600MHz sticks

I am considering a similar build , but using a Phenom x4 840 instead of the x2
Related resources
June 9, 2011 6:42:38 AM

Are you really that confident that AMD will deliver similar/better results then Sandy Bridge with Bulldozer? Just wondering as due to all the rumors it seems Bulldozer is currently a flop.
a b À AMD
June 9, 2011 8:07:45 AM

mgf derp said:
Are you really that confident that AMD will deliver similar/better results then Sandy Bridge with Bulldozer? Just wondering as due to all the rumors it seems Bulldozer is currently a flop.


5 or 6 years ago AMD's performance was so far ahead of intels that Intel was doing extraordinarily dodgy things to try and stay competitive .
The European Union has fine Intel for cash kick backs to pc companies . I believe its the largest fine ever in Europe
Intel paid AMD a billion dollars in damages Last year .

Intel pays royalties for critical technologies in its CPU's to AMD . That onboard memory controller ... AMD etc etc

Can AMD make a strong comeback ? Sure they can .
They've just pummeled intel in the netbook market ... who would use an ATOM for anything these days ?

Is there a performance problem with Bulldozer? Probably not .
NO business would say there was a performance issue with its cpu's so the rumours flying about are just rumours .
I imagine theyre focusing on the Fusion APU's right now . Thats the mass market , and top end bulldozer is a much smaller , even if it does matter most to enthusiasts

Id expect AMD's architecture to be competitive , and probably way better than Intel in some key areas .
a c 111 À AMD
June 9, 2011 11:41:05 AM

A 1100w PSU is way overkill, at least your link goes to a 1200w Corsair PSU instead of the Apevia Warlock. Your system doesn't even need half that power. But since you already bought the PSU then the point is moot.

If you are working on large graphics / photo files, then I suppose 16GB is not too much overkill.

As for buying the mobo even before the CPU is available for sale or even benchmarked... Well let's just say I won't even make a comment.
June 9, 2011 11:41:10 AM

I get you're obviously waiting for Bulldozer, but like MGF said, are you really willing to put your trust in an architecture that hasn't even been officially benched yet, let alone compared to Sandy Bridge or, more appropriately, Ivy Bridge?
June 9, 2011 1:45:20 PM

Thanks for the assistance on the RAM - I'll go with what I found for that and the SSD. Regarding the PSU, it is too powerful, but I didn't want to go cheap on it and I got a deal. I also love the 5 year warranty on it.

I'll quickly answer the comments on the machine, as you guys have assisted me with this purchase. I went with AMD for primarily two reasons.

1) My timeline requires me to build something (for the most part) in the next 1.5 months, and I wanted to start. I'm not happy with the Z68 board selection yet (the high quality boards are still P67), and I'm not happy with the prices for any of the boards with the NF2000 chip, allowing for tri-fire. I was able to purchase a tri-fire capable board (16, 16, 8) for $100 less than anything else available.

2) The purpose of the machine is to last 3 years, before I gut the processor and possibly the GPU's. I foresee an eight core processor lasting longer over time, even if it isn't quite as fast, and programs will continue to take advantage of more and more cores.

I am not inclined more towards AMD or Intel. But I am particularly disinclined toward architectures that expire quickly preventing an upgrade pathway. I realize Ivy Bridge will remain 1155, but given intel's record, there next set of processors two years away probably won't be 1155. AMD's record of offering an upgrade path is what really won me over - there will likely be many bulldozers to come, and in three years, I am confident the options with AMD will appear better than Intel if I had purchased a P67/Z68 board.

In short, based on specific predictions with certain assumptions that I believe likely to come true, I predict my build will offer better value over a longer period of time given my general gaming and non-gaming needs.

Thanks everyone for the assistance and I'll let you know how the build goes.

Stuart
June 9, 2011 4:30:48 PM

It's actually a 7-year (not a 5-year) warranty on the Corsair Gold PSUs. I've got the AX750 myself...

Anyhow, looks like a nice build, good luck with her!
June 12, 2011 1:15:31 AM

I built a sandy bridge pc..many of them in fact, and they are quite good..but..I actually recently defected to AMD...sure there haven't been any official bechmarks yet...but, who cares? Why is it gonna be a flop? because we're comparing it to intel? pfftt...AMD, in my opinion, will not be able to catch up to Intel..not quite...but, BD won't be a flop..it will deliver great results...you just need to stop comparing it to sandy bridge and the like..honestly...I am building something quite similar to the OP and I know for gaming and my needs..that bad boy is gonna be a bawseee of a computer...especially once I put an 8 or 6 core inside my Crosshair V..it's gonna be the best feeling that board will ever have...AMD is for the economically sound, and budget gamer...but, it's also for people like myself that would like to get a great looking/performing board with a modestly priced processor..and then focus most of the cash on a great gpu..
August 30, 2011 9:32:16 PM

Sweet build...........just a heads up though, The HAF's love to eat dust. Unless you have a spotless room, you may be dusting it out quite often, not just cause the massive fans and intakes but the black air filters have a lot of dust stick to them.
But there is a way around this...
You can actually buy magnetic exterior fan filters that cover all your vent and is as simple as ripping them of and giving them a blow with compressed air. This will save you from pulling it apart when ever it needs dusting :) 
February 6, 2012 11:25:04 AM

I ended up building the machine and love it. I made some minor edits to the specs prior to purchase that I mention below. I also have some follow-up questions, now that I am looking to upgrade.

Purpose: The purpose of this machine was a bulldozer in waiting machine. The idea was to go tri-monitor, and possibly crossfire or trifire for games.

Comments: I'm not particularly pleased with bulldozer at this time and don't believe it offers a good value. I hope Vischera can show the value of AMD in the desktop market, but for now, I'm not planning to purchase a bulldozer processor. I have questions related to a serious upgrade below. I think this build is interesting to others, because it's an attempt to build a mid-budget machine that offers tri-monitor performance.

Core Questions:

1) I want to purchase three monitors to eventually run SWTOR, BF3, Arkham City, Crysis, perhaps Metro and Skyrim. In addition, I use the machine for SC2 and expect to use it for Diablo. These two use cases are important: The first set uses three monitors, while the second set uses single monitors. I stress this because I am not averse to getting a nice 27" monitor for the later, however I'm not so sure how to set it up an make the 27" work with the other two monitors (difference resolution and ppi, ect), in addition to the fact that all 27" monitors I looked at have large bezels. I'm looking at the following monitors for eye infinity as they have thin bezels and are cheap and have decent reviews. Would it even be possible to put a nice 27" monitor between the two monitors, and would it make sense?

Acer S211HLbd 21.5'' 5ms LED-Backlight LCD Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 12,000,000:1 (ACM)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=24-009-...

Acer S230HLAbii Black 23" 5ms HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 ACM 100,000,000:1 (1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=24-009-...

2) I eventually upgrade the machine to tri-fire to drive the three monitors. I'd like to purchase two more 6950 2gbs as they scale well in tri-fire and cost less than the 6990s. Their price will likely drop further once 7850s and 7870s are released. They don't need to unlock. I already have one 6950 2gb, and so I want them to play friendly with it and my CPU/cooler. Price is somewhat important.

3) The processor is not good for a tri-fire machine, but I'm not excited about bulldozer. I'm considering getting a used thuban and selling the x4, or dramatically overclocking the x4 until Vischera is released. More on that below.

4) Cooling: This is a core question for the machine. The case is large and currently stock cooling. Given the number of video cards I want in it and the fact that 6900 runs hot and loud, I'm trying to think of ways to keep noise on it down and keep temps down. There are two ways to do this.

One is to purchase a series of more fans for the case, creating fantastic airflow, and figuring out the best way to place the video cards. I could also get a non-stock fan for my 955. While temps may stay barely acceptable with this method, my processor will likely get hot, limiting to some degree overclocking headroom which is necessary for a tri-fire setup on old AMD architecture.

Two is to move to watercooling. I have no experience with this, although I'm starting to read into it. I understand that there are a lot of options here, and that there are hybrid solutions (water for some components, air for others). This strikes me as making sense for my needs, given my interest in controlling variable costs (video cards and processors change, monitors last much longer) and maximizing value. I imagine that if I invested in a good water-cooling device, I could overclock my CPU to levels that would allow me leverage much more of a trifire setup (until vischera gets released) in addition to keep temps low on the GPU. However, i also understand there are limitations on how many components I can run in a water loop. I'd like suggestions on what I can read to learn more about this and make an informed decision. I understand I will need waterblocks for cpu and gpus. This seems rather confusing and I'm not sure what will work and what won't.

Answers to these questions would be very very helpful.


Alterations to system:

Basically I went with Intel for the SSD because I like their reliability, and I went with the AMD 4 core to be certain I got 4 cores.

Primary HDD: Intel 510 Series (Elm Crest) SSDSC2MH120A2K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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