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New Budget/Midrange PC Build Help

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November 17, 2011 11:07:49 PM

Hi, this is my first post on Tomshardware, I apologize for my noobness. I am going to be building a budget/mid-range system soon and was a little curious about the components. The parts I'm set on are:

1-NZXT M59 Classic Series ATX Mid Tower interior chassis M59-001BK (Black)

2-OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

3-Western Digital Caviar Black 750 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Bulk/OEM Internal Desktop Hard Drive - WD7502AAEX (I have actually already ordered this one)

4-ASUS AM3+ AMD 870 DDR3 2000 SATA 6Gbps Supported ATX Motherboard M5A87

5-Asus 24xDVD±RW Drive DVD-RAM/±R/±RW 24x8x16x(DVD) 48x32x48x(CD) Serial ATA Internal OEM DRW-24B1ST (Black)

6-Corsair Vengeance Blue 8 GB (2 X 4 GB) PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B

The parts that I want to get will probably be:
1-AMD FX 4100 4-Core Processor, 3.6 4 Socket AM3 - FD4100WMGUSBX

2-Some form of Windows 7, I can't find a student discount on a full install disc unfortunately, only upgrade discs or OEM copies.

3-Either the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card OR some variant of the new 560 Ti 448 core that is coming out later this month, which can be comparable performance wise to a little bit less than a stock GTX 570.

I have four major questions.

1-Is this a sound build in your opinion?

2-Will the processor (even overclocked to around 3.7 Ghz) bottleneck either of the GPUs listed?

3-(If CPU bottlenecks GPU) Is there a better AMD processor that will not bottleneck the GPU that still has a great performance/price ratio, and should I just get the OEM version of Windows 7 and hope my motherboard doesn't fry?

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 17, 2011 11:45:27 PM

1. I would go with a AM3+ Motherboard in case you wish to upgrade to a Bulldozer CPU later (in fact, I would buy the FX-4100 right now, since they are $5 cheaper than the x4 955).
2. OEM = Full copy...it means "original equipment manufacturer", so basically it doesn't have the fancy box and stuff.
3.No Bottlenecks of any kind that would be obvious. The only way to bottleneck a GPU/CPU nowadays is if you have a modern 560Ti while using a core 2 duo (which is insane!)
4. It'll work, The motherboard specs will say "Designed for thermal TDP of 95W or whatever if it doesn't support a 125W chip)
5. FX-4100? supposedly faster than the 955BE and also cheaper on newegg.
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November 17, 2011 11:50:36 PM

1. Do you have an AM3+ mobo that you recommend that is in the same price range as the AM3 that I have chosen (which is ~$100)? I heard that the bulldozer's weren't that good for gaming, and that the performance increases are absent from the phenom II series...but I don't know for sure.
2. I know it is a full copy, but it is locked to the mobo...so that means that if the mobo goes out I'm SOL?
3. Thanks, good to know
4. I'll give it a look.
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November 18, 2011 12:09:59 AM

r0aringdrag0n said:
1. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2. I don't get how it's locked to the mobo, the mobo doesn't really play a part in the OS installation other than being the docking station for all the components

so what about the bulldozer performance do you know? I know it is more power efficient than the 42 nm dies, but does it actually perform better than the 955 BE?
btw, thanks for all the info. Any motherboard you could recommend if I didn't want to SLI/Crossfire?
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November 18, 2011 2:18:23 PM

build updated to the AM3+ board with the FX 4100 Bulldozer chip. thoughts?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 18, 2011 5:49:56 PM

If you really want, you can use the Phenom II x4 955 on the AM3+ board (backwards compatible) and then switch to the Bulldozer 8 core later when they lower in price (if they lower)
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November 18, 2011 5:54:10 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:
If you really want, you can use the Phenom II x4 955 on the AM3+ board (backwards compatible) and then switch to the Bulldozer 8 core later when they lower in price (if they lower)

Considering the bad reports I have been hearing about the first generation bulldozer line (even the 4100), you may be onto a good idea. Quick question though, don't the AM3+ sockets run at 95 watts, but the phenom II x4's run on 125 watts? Therefore, the AM3+ board wouldn't work.
Given that the board I found is an ASUS, I may still use it (if it is completely backwards compatible) and then maybe upgrade on down the road. Either way, this board is still cheaper than the AM3 boards. Overall, do you think I have a pretty good system in the works?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 18, 2011 5:56:51 PM

Nope! The Motherboard can support the older Phenom II models if needed even though the FX series is 95W.
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November 18, 2011 7:08:12 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:
Nope! The Motherboard can support the older Phenom II models if needed even though the FX series is 95W.

Awesome, I'm considering it the more and more I read into the FX line-up. I'm confused though, why are the FX series chips falling so behind in performance? And most importantly, why does the 955 perform better than the 4100, even though the 4100 has a higher clock speed AND can OC more?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 18, 2011 7:12:14 PM

the clock speed doesn't really mean performance. Clock speeds only means cycles per second so a 3.5GHz CPU can have worse performance than one with 3.2GHz.
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November 18, 2011 7:17:13 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:
the clock speed doesn't really mean performance. Clock speeds only means cycles per second so a 3.5GHz CPU can have worse performance than one with 3.2GHz.

I see, I'll probably go with the 955 or 965 depending on the deal I can snag. Another quick question (and btw, thanks for all your input)--am I better off with the OCZ power supply listed here, or should I go with the Corsair 650 watt Enthusiast series? I've heard great reviews from both, but friends are telling me that the OCZ's are junk. I don't understand how there can be a discrepancy like this.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 18, 2011 7:19:10 PM

I would go with Corsair, I know OCZ makes great SSDs but I haven't really heard much about their PSUs. I can vouch for corsair because my PSU is a corsair and it's going beyond my expectations
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November 18, 2011 7:20:43 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:
I would go with Corsair, I know OCZ makes great SSDs but I haven't really heard much about their PSUs. I can vouch for corsair because my PSU is a corsair and it's going beyond my expectations

Roger-Dodger.
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November 25, 2011 2:08:41 AM

Best answer selected by El Matadurr.
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