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Help deciding some parts.

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Last response: in Systems
December 25, 2011 1:51:54 AM

I hope this is the right section, lol.


So this is going to be my first build. I'm going to go for an average build, not too pricey. I don't play very demanding games (L4D2, DotA2, Payday, games around this resource intensive) and I often watch HQ videos (1080p, hi10p encoding, etc), that's the extent to my computers usage.

The tower I'm using is this:
-Got it 70$ off, what do you think?
-I'll be using my old 4x1gb DDR333(or 400 can't remember) + 2x512mb DDR333(or 400). IIRC RAM is just multitasking speed and how many things you can have on at once right? I don't really need too much of this, unless someone can tell me a reason to go other wise (or some really friggin cheap RAM out there).
-Using 2x 4850s and will be xfiring them

So tower, GFX, and RAM (sort of) I'm good.

So what I need help with really is to find a good Mobo/CPU combo. Like I said, I'm not the power hungry so I don't need those i7 bundles. My friends are telling me that most of the combos out there right now either have a bad mobo or a bad CPU- but they admit they aren't very familiar with the scene anymore. I was wondering if the community here can help me out, for example the bundles here.
-Scroll down to the bundle section, how are some of the bundles there? The mobo has to be xfire ready and the CPU can be decent. I'm more or less looking for <300 all in.
-Another alternative if someone can actually find a Mobo/CPU separately. There's a Phenom II and a bulldozer for like 150ish I believe on the CanadaComputers reference I left at the bottom, but I don't think there are any mobos that are around 100.

I will also be purchasing this SSD
-But for 69.99, what do you think?

I will be needing a PSU as well, this is what I was originally going for
-It will be 169.99
-Reason being because I'm not sure how much an xfire 4850 will need and my new CPU/Mobo needs. My accessories and harddrive usage is limited, so that's not really an issue. I will also be OCing the 4850s and my CPU. Also this PSU will be great because I upgrade once every half a decade and I'm hoping this one will last me a few builds! (It will right?!)
-However I don't really think I need so much power and need to spend so I'm open to alternatives

Lastly, this sound card, what do you guys think?
-Will be 24.99
-I have a 5.1 home theater set up with my current PC, will this enhance my listening experience at all? Right now I'm using this on board:
-Really prefer using HDMI as my means to listening, however I am using optical right now (SPDIF?).
-Does anyone know better a better deal out there?

And I believe that's all I need to mention. Me building this year is really predicated on finding a decent CPU/Mobo bundle. If I can't find one, I'll ONLY be purchasing a SSD/Sound Card. If I do find a decent combo I'll be purchasing a PSU as well.

I use these sites as references:

But I'm willing to order from anywhere, as long as it ships to Canada (Toronto).

Thanks a bunch, Merry Christmas!


Edit: Oh yeah, trying to keep it under 500 for everything! Not including the tower because I already have it, meant for the parts.

More about : deciding parts

Best solution

December 25, 2011 2:42:05 AM

You can't possibly use old DDR or DDR2 memory on any recent motherboard. AMD's Phenom II CPUs were the last to support DDR2 (and only on older AM2+ socket motherboards) and DDR hasn't been supported for a while before the Phenom IIs came out around 2009 or so.

I also doubt the possibility of using 6 DDR modules on anything but maybe a server motherboard which probably wouldn't have PCIe if it's that old.

As for sound cards, whether or not it sounds better will depend on how good the integrated sound of your motherboard is. I haven't used a sound card in almost 10 years so I can't say what the difference might be because the integrated sound has been good enough for me.

The Radeon 4000 series is also getting pretty old. Your card would be okay for now and would work with new motherboards but it isn't the fastest card out there and I don't think it is even in the high end league at all anymore. If you don't think you need even crossfire 4850s then you might as well keep them instead of buying something new because they are already better than what you think you need and really aren't bad (much better than my integrated Radeon 4290 on my system, or my integrated Radeon 1270 on my laptop).

I have don't see problems with your SSD choice but it needs to be paired with a SATA 6.0Gb/s port to run at it's full speed or you will be running it at half (SATA 3.0Gb/s) or even a quarter of it's full speed (SATA 1.5GB/s). If you do choose to not use a new enough motherboard to support SATA 6.0Gb/s (I don't think much, if anything, made before 2010 supports it) then you would need a PCIe x4 addon card that supports SATA 6.0Gb/s to get it's full speed.

motherboard and memory bundle:

CPU and after market cooler bundle:

Together those two bundles are $300 and have a decent motherboard with 8GB of RAM, an AMD Phenom II x6 1055T CPU, and a Coolermaster Hyper 212 CPU cooler.

Overclock the CPU to 4.0GHz or more and it's fast enough for almost all gaming and 8Gb of memory is really becoming the sweet spot for gaming memory capacity because 4GB is slowly becoming not enough. That cooler can handle an AMD six core CPU like the 1055T at 4.0GHz much better than the stock cooler (stock cooler probably can't do it at all). If you already have a power supply that works with your crossfire 4850s (probably 700 watt or so but I'm not sure for those cards) then that would be everything you need, if not then a power supply is the last you need and the one you picked out seems... Excessive. Go for something with 680-800 watts or so and you should have more than enough headroom. Shouldn't cost more than $70 for a decent power supply of that wattage range.

That would put your total cost below $400.
Merry Christmas.
December 26, 2011 3:33:55 AM

Best answer selected by Transcends.
December 26, 2011 3:34:31 AM

Thanks so much! Great reply, definitely expected of the Tom's community.

I suppose I'll look for an equivalent to that CPU because I already have cooling ready.