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How does this build look? [Buying this weekend]

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Last response: in Systems
November 11, 2011 8:55:40 PM

Alright, so basically here is what I already have lying around the house:

Antec 900 Case

Standard WDD 300GB HDD 7200RPM

Patriot Viper Xtreme 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

I also of course have a CD/DVD drive.

>>>Here is what I plan on buying (trying to keep it ~$600) and throwing into the Antec 900 with the HDD and RAM:<<<

CPU/MOBO COMBO ($310)(-$25 combo discount from newegg included)

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz

MSI P67A-C43 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67

^I like this mobo because I save money with the combo, but it only has 1 PCI-E slot :( 
I don't PLAN on doing crossfire but I guess I never really know? Thoughts if you were in my position?

Video Card: ($150)
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA Series GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16

^I am actually debating on upgrading it to a 6870 for about +$20-30 extra. Thoughts?

PSU: ($130)

^I chose this PSU because of it's strong presence on Newegg and seemed reliable, but to be honest there are a lot of cheaper options. Am I wasting money on this or should I keep it?

In addition to the ^questions, I also have a couple more concerns.

Are there any better options for me with an AMD build? Is everything nicely compatible in this build? Do I need to worry about any overheating issues? (I dont plan on OCing) Any comments, suggestions, or insight is greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!

More about : build buying weekend

November 11, 2011 9:31:46 PM

If its a gaming rig its a bit unbalanced . Too much processor and not enough graphics punch [ assuming you have a 1080p monitor]
What monitor do you have?

Motherboards wityh a Z 68 chipset are far more versatile that P67 boards . Check the prices .

The voltage of your RAM is too high for sandy bridge . It needs to be 1.5 volt or less or it may cause damage to the processor

A 750 watt psu is way overkill even for a build with a 6870 . 500 watts works .
November 11, 2011 9:34:24 PM

You could get this motherboard for 2 PCIe slots but it is $10 more and there is no combo.

A quality 650W PSU is enough for a 2500K and 2 6850s or 6870s.

Right now, Sandy Bridge is where its at, there isn't anything better than an i5 2500k for the same price range. If you live near a microcenter, you can pick up the CPU for $180, BTW.
Related resources
November 12, 2011 11:20:11 PM

Oh gosh, you guys are going to make me go broke! :) 

Alright, take some $ away from the PSU and put it into the vid card for a ~6950, got it!

But what a bummer on the RAM :(  So I can't use this 8gb of RAM that I have just lying around here for free just cause it's 1.65v? What WOULD I be able to use it with? It would just save me a nice chunk of change on my "college student budget"

Would saving money with an AMD build be a good idea, or is it really worth it to just go ahead and get the Intel i5 2500k?
November 12, 2011 11:40:18 PM

If it's for gaming and you want to save money. Go for the Phenom II x 4. You save at least $100.

With the Phenom II. You can use your 1.65v ram and save more money.
November 13, 2011 3:37:10 AM

Alright so basically I can use >1.5V RAM with an AMD CPU but NOT an Intel CPU?

And also, I'm willing to do an AMD build, but I really would like to play Skyrim and BF3 close to max settings. Exactly how much performance would I be losing going from an Intel i5 2500k build to an Phenom II x4 build?

Thanks so much for all the help so far guys!
November 13, 2011 3:52:14 AM

BF3 Benchmark Results: CPU Scaling
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: CPU Benchmarks

In BF3 the x4 965 can hang with the Sandy Bridges since it's mostly GPU constrained. This is typical of FPS when you raise the graphics settings and eye candy the differences in CPU become minimal.

RPGs like Skyrim relay more heavily on the CPU and you'll note the benchmarks and comments show that. Tweak the graphics details a bit and the X4 965/GTX 580 combo should still do really well

November 13, 2011 4:21:46 AM

Gotcha. Even though looking at the Skyrim benchmarks for CPUs are frightening, I suppose an AMD build might not be so bad. UGH, this is such a tough decision.

When looking at the AM3+ mobos, what is the main difference b/w the 990 and 970 chipsets? Does it really make any difference?

November 13, 2011 4:28:23 AM

It's actually a VERY good picture when you think about how many people would want to be in your position with that type of system.

The 970/990 would not make a difference. As would taking one of the Bulldozer CPUs.
There's some hope the follow on to Bulldozer will get you a good upgrade path when it's time to do a normal mid-life upgrade in 18-24 months
November 13, 2011 4:41:23 AM

Alright so here is what I put together for an AMD build, tell me how it looks please.

Is the CPU - GPU unbalanced? I feel like getting the AM3+ board plus a 700w PSU I'm leaving room for future upgrades.
November 13, 2011 4:53:21 AM

Just confirm what resolution you're using for a monitor?
November 13, 2011 4:54:11 AM

For anyone else looking in on the topic:
November 13, 2011 5:03:17 AM

Well, heres the thing. This is kind of embarrassing but I'm currently running a geforce 7950gt on a 19inch monitor, so 1440x900 is the max I can go, which is what I run. But now that I'm building a decent system for the first time in my life it opens up a lot of new oppurtunities. What would be my optimal res with a 19inch monitor with my expected setup listed in the jpg??? (I monitor is alos VGA only, so I have to use a VGA -> DVI converter, I dont know if this makes a difference)

November 13, 2011 5:15:54 AM

You won't be the first person to make an upgrade project move forward in stages.
VGA - DVI converter won't have an impact on performance or quality.

November 13, 2011 5:24:18 AM

Everything in your list is compatible and all good quality.
The only thing left to confirm. Single or dual GPU?
970MB / 600W PSU / HD 6950 - upgrade strategy is sell the HD 6950 and get a future GPU.
990MB / 700W PSU / HD 6950 x2 - upgrade strategy is get another HD 6950

The reason I ask is the PSU. It has the power - but not the PCI-e power connectors for 2x HD 6950.
November 13, 2011 5:25:10 AM

I'm not sure what my native resolution is, but I have a HannsG 19' LCD monitor. I don't really know the model. Is there any way to check the native resolution?

But more importantly, once again to reiterate with this build, my 8GB of Patriot RAM WILL work with this build at 1.65V no problem right? [...] 6820220573

Also, for a little extra I can upgrade the AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4ghz to a X6 1090T

It states less ghz, but seems to be getting better benchmarks.
November 13, 2011 5:32:02 AM

Im guessing the native res is 1400x900 - that's about standard.
You can check the model number or you can check the Display Properties in Windows. It's going to show you possible resolutions (you can't go higher than native res).

Yes, I checked the MB Memory Support List to make sure there was 1.65V RAM and that's confirmed.
Patriot Viper PX34G1600 2GB modules were on the list as were other similar 4GB 1.65V modules.
November 13, 2011 5:32:53 AM

I know it seems logical that more cores = better performance but for gaming it's just not working out that way. X4 965 FTW.
November 13, 2011 5:54:02 AM

Alright that sounds good, so that would be an AMD build I could definitely work with. Now, just to play with some numbers now I put together an almost identical build put with the intel i5 2500k.

Basically it all boils down to:

-$100 AMD build
+$100 Intel build

(included RAM with the intel build since the Patriot will supposedly not be compatible)

Is the $100 worth it or is it not? I COULD afford the extra 100 as well. I know it's personal opinion but I would rather go by someone's opinion who frequents this forum than my own since I'm not very knowledgeable. What say you?
November 13, 2011 6:57:37 AM

And on top of that... do I go with the Radeon 6950 2GB or the Geforce 560 ti.

Opinions on all this anyone?
November 13, 2011 8:19:18 AM

6950 is better than the 560 Ti by a little get the 1GB version unless you plan to go dual monitor
November 13, 2011 8:32:59 AM

6950 2GB better then 560Ti cos u can update bios and get 6970 for 6950 price.

November 13, 2011 12:52:04 PM

With the combo discount you're paying $280 for the HIS 6950.
I think I like this option (about $35 better a/r). Has the nice accessory pack
SAPPHIRE 100312-3L Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card $265 plus $20 rebate.

Another option - get a HD 6870 now, add a 2nd one when you upgrade the monitor.
Saves $100 and both MW3 & Skryim will run at Ultra details at 1440x900.
I'm thinking that when you do upgrade the monitor it could be time to resell the HD 6870 and a HD 7xxx or GTX 6xx replacement.
November 13, 2011 1:58:46 PM

Alright good deal.

Almost ready to buy, one more thing though. I just realized that the RAM I have is actually this exactly:

Instead of the one I previous linked (sorry :( ) But will this still be compatible with my AMD build even though it says for Intel P55 platforms?

November 13, 2011 2:17:09 PM

It's always been compatible with the AMD build.
And there is a good chance it's compatible with the i5-2500L Asrock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 .
November 13, 2011 3:16:23 PM

When newegg states that the motherboards

PCI-E 2.0 16x: 2 (x16, x4)

What does the "2 (x16, x4)" mean? 2 Slots obviously, but what about the parenthesis. Sorry for the noob questions. :p 
November 13, 2011 3:28:56 PM

The 2nd x16 slot has the electrical connections of a x4 slot.
It will fit a full size graphics card but the bandwidth will be limited.
You'll give up a bit of overall performance vs the typical x8/x8 video card CFX/SLI in the higher end P67/Z68 MBs.

Does CrossFire Work At x16/x4?
November 13, 2011 3:48:34 PM

Well I only plani on running ONE card.

So this will ONLY affect me if I am doing sli/crossfire, other wise I would never notice a difference with a single 6950, correct?

The reason why I'm asking is because I'm looking at this mobo for my AMD build:

And I'm guessing the difference between the 990 and 970 chipsets is SLI/crossfire related also, correct?
November 13, 2011 3:55:37 PM

I'm not sure SLI (Nvidia) will run x16/x4 but CFX (AMD) certainly will.

Correct, single card no issues. I favor the 1 card option. When you need more graphics power, instead of adding a 2nd card, sell the HD 6950 and get a 2013 HD 89xx follow on card.
But you will have the option to CFX. And it's probably worth the lower MB cost in the long run. The slight performance hit is actually quite a small issue when you think about the increased performance CFX x16/x4 will get you.
November 13, 2011 4:06:59 PM

Many many people have been using their sandy bridge processors, overclocked or not, with 1.65v ram and nothing has happened to any of them. I mean, have you ever seen anybody on any forum going "omg my ram burnt my i5!!"?
Nah, Intel states that anything above 1.5v can potentially damage the cpu and they also state clearly that while testing them on 1.65 no problems occured.
If you can help getting 1.5v ram then good, if they are too expensive you shouldn't fuss about it. Hell, we are talking about overclocking processors and pumping their voltage here and worry about ram potentially damaging it. When my i5 2500k dies i won't blame it on my kingston hyperx blu for sure.
There is no reason instilling fear in users based on something none of us can prove right or wrong because simply we have no way of testing it's validity.
November 13, 2011 4:15:17 PM

Alright cool... So, how does this look for a final build which will be purchased in about 30 minutes (super excited!)

Any last concerns?
November 13, 2011 4:19:12 PM

And is it correct to assume that I will not notice any performance difference between
these 2 sets of RAM with my AMD build listed above, even though the Patriot states that its designed for an Intel platform?

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800):

[2x] Patriot Viper Xtreme 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800):

November 13, 2011 4:20:48 PM

I think u good 2 go, post your nice big smile then u get this ;) 
November 13, 2011 4:26:24 PM

Why are you buying RAM? Your Patriot Viper Xtreme is an excellent match for the AMD board.
November 13, 2011 4:31:41 PM

WR2 said:
Why are you buying RAM? Your Patriot Viper Xtreme is an excellent match for the AMD board.

I actually forgot to take that out of my cart in the screenshot, sorry about that.

So just to clarify, I will not notice ANY performance loss with my patriot RAM:

EVEN THOUGH it says it is specifically designed for an Intel P55 plaform?? That's what was making me hesitant, but I trust you a lot more than I do myself, haha.
November 13, 2011 4:38:50 PM

olmek said:
EVEN THOUGH it says it is specifically designed for an Intel P55 plaform??
It doesn't actually say that.
November 13, 2011 4:42:18 PM

WR2 said:
It doesn't actually say that.

Oh, it just says "tested for" on the Newegg page. However, on the box with the RAM sitting in front of me right now says "designed for". Sorry about that. But I'm assuming it doesn't matter either way?

November 13, 2011 4:42:51 PM

November 13, 2011 4:43:51 PM

ANNNNND, if I don't get the RAM it clears up a nice $40 since I have allotted $600 to the build.

Any thing that $40 could go into to give a mrginal afvantage? Such as upgrading from a AMD 965 to a 980 or something (if the mobo could even handle that 3.7 ghz)
November 13, 2011 4:44:57 PM

olmek said:
However, on the box with the RAM sitting in front of me right now says "designed for".
If AMD has been selling the most systems when the marketing guys were designing the box it would have said "designed for AMD AM3"
November 13, 2011 4:45:59 PM

WR2 said:
If AMD has been selling the most systems when the marketing guys were designing the box it would have said "designed for AMD AM3"

November 13, 2011 4:49:40 PM

So if you hypothetically had to pump $40-$50 extra into this build, what would you buy?
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