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New build and advice for ~700usd machines

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October 16, 2011 11:46:27 AM

Hello folks,
It's about time I replaced my old computers but to be honest, I'm very outdated and never used anything from AMD. I'm aiming for a couple budget-ish machines, one for me which is more for gaming, particularly MMOs and some work and the other is for my wife, who is a graphical designer and uses the entire CS5 pack.

After reading a hefty amount of the great responses in the forums, this is what I came up with; the builds are basically the same except in CPUs and amount of RAM:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: ~700usd/machine, can only buy in my local stores unfortunately, Newegg and others don’t ship my way.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: first machine for gaming and lightweight work, the other for heavy duty photoshopping+illustrator+the rest - most at once.

Parts Not Required: any peripherals.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: as mentioned, can't buy from Newegg and such, which is really depressing. And expensive.

Country of Origin: Israel

Parts Preferences: nothing in particular, went with AMD for the bang to buck ratio

Overclocking: for the work computer – no for the gaming one – probably, but later when an upgrade will be needed.

SLI or Crossfire: no reason that I'm aware of for the moment though I did take it into account when I picked the motherboard for possible upgrading

Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200 and 1680x1050

Additional Comments: please have a look on the case and PSU and try to advise whether they work with the rest of the components.
And although I'm pretty sure these parts work on Win7 64bit systems, can anyone please confirm?

The Parts:
The two sets differ only in CPUs and amount of RAM:

CPUs:
For the gaming machine: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition; approx. 155usd local price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808
For the work machine: AMD Athelon II X4 645; approx. 140usd.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103889&Tpk=amd%20athlon%20ii%20x4%20645

RAM:
Gaming machine, till upgrade: 2X Kingston 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600; approx. 45usd
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104219&Tpk=KHX1600C9AD3B1-2G
Work machine:
2X Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 approx 120usd
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104238&Tpk=KHX1333C9D3B1-4G

The rest of the build is the same for both:

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3, approx. 136usd.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128519&Tpk=GA-970A-UD3

Graphics: GIGABYTE GV-R567D3-1GI Radeon HD 5670 1GB; approx 100usd.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125360&Tpk=GV-R567D3-1GI

PSU: RockPower G600XG (something Chinese..); approx. 60usd
http://www.3rsys.com/english/products/view.asp?navi=power&idx_num=131

Case: HEC 6C28BS; approx 50usd
http://hecgroupusa.com/products/pc-cases/mid-tower/6c28bs/

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM; approx. 77usd
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185&Tpk=HD103SJ

Optical drive: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner; approx. 26usd
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118067&Tpk=AD-7280S

Thanks a lot in advance.
October 16, 2011 12:52:54 PM

Looks ok assuming the HD 5670 is good for CS5 etc.

One thing I would change though, I would put the Athlon in the gaming system too so you can get a slightly better GPU like a HD 6770.

Something else I would consider is the i3-2100 with a cheap H61 motherboard. At stock it should match/beat both CPU's you posted and not having to pay extra for a futureproof socket means you save some cash.
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October 17, 2011 7:05:15 AM

Thanks Jmsellars1.

The HD5670 *ought* to be fine but that's the extent of how sure I am..

I checked for prices and you're right, the Intel combo is indeed quite cheaper but I thought that the PIIx4 955 compares with the i5 750 or similar quads, not sure about the other, are you certain it will provide the same performance and for how long can i expect it survive (its longevity something?)?

Can you point me please to an article/explain how does the CPU limit the GPU?

Thanks again.
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October 17, 2011 9:04:38 PM

No a Phenom II x4 is more on par with a core 2 quad, at stock settings the i3-2100 is usually going to beat it in games despite the 2 cores due to the fact that it's basically 2 generations ahead.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/88?vs=289

I know something like this isn't exactly concrete proof or anything but it also doesn't lie, if you scroll down to the gaming benchmarks there the Phenom doesn't beat the i3 in any of the tests.

As for longetivity I would expect the i3 to last longer than the Phenom, it has lower power consumption, cannot be overclocked and Intel are still using the 1155 socket unlike AMD who are moving on from AM3. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an Intel fanboy slating AMD. The Phenom would be a viable choice if you really wanted to overclock or needed 4 physical cores for some reason but even for the Photoshop and stuff I think the i3 would be great. the hyperthreading really helps.

As for the CPU limiting the GPU, a CPU usually struggles in games where too many calculations need to be made. RTS games like Starcraft are a good example, games like Battlefield are also fairly CPU bound but the i3 should be fine even in these games regardless of settings. This is because not many of the video settings in games actually concern the CPU unless it's something like the size of a battle/population limit in a Strategy game or something. Often this isn't the case and the options will be things like graphics detail and resolution. In this case games will tax the graphics card and I think the i3-2100 is a good enough CPU to push a card like a GTX 560Ti so in a gaming system so it makes sense to get the best GPU you can. The HD 6770 should be able to play most games at high/very high settings at a resolution like 1680x1050.
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October 18, 2011 6:23:04 AM

Thank alot for the information and the help. Seems it's back to the drawing board for me..

Gonna try and assemble an Intel machine as per your recommendation and see the differences in builds and particularly - cost.

Have you ever heard of a Newegg-like site that has less- "problems" - with shipping internationally? Or where would you recommend to post this question in TH forums?
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October 18, 2011 6:06:48 PM

I'm not from the US sorry I have no idea.
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October 18, 2011 6:57:22 PM

I would go for something along the lines of this:

i3-2100
2x2GB G.Skill Ripjaws X 1333Mhz
ASRock H61M/U3S3
HD 6870 1GB
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
Corsair CX-500
Coolermaster Elite 430
Samsung DVD Burner

Total is around $580 on Newegg so hopefully you can get that in your budget for the gaming build. As for the Workstation:

i5-2400
2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws X 1333Mhz
ASRock H61M/U3S3
HD 5670 1GB
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
Corsair CX-430
Coolermaster Elite 430
Samsung DVD Burner

You may be able to afford a quad core here as the total for this build on Newegg is just under $530. This means you may be able to afford a more sleek and quiet case instead of a gamer one with lights on it.
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October 25, 2011 6:06:29 AM

Best answer selected by talrosen.
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October 25, 2011 9:04:44 PM

So what did you go with in the end?
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