my son is looking to upgrade his gaming computer. it is currently a 775 machine with a core duo E6750, 4gig RAM, coolmaster case with a 550w. Vista 64 bit, ASUS EAH5870. So he is thinking of the following items to upgrade:
- I5 2500K. Not sure if or when he will overclock it but want the ability if desired
- ASRock z68 Extreme3 LGA
- Corsair Vengeance 8gb DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
So my questions are:
if he decides to OC the CPU does he need to buy a different heatsink/fan then what comes with the cpu? if he does not will it hurt the CPU or just reduce the potential of how high the OC will go.
is the ASRock a good board to go with? in reading what i have found it is highly recommended. In the future he may use 2 video cards but not at this time.
As for the RAM what is your opinion? from what i read, as long as it is 1.5v nothing else is a real issue? Did i miss something?
If you don't buy him an aftermarket cooler for his CPU it WILL limit how high the OC will go.
ASRock makes good boards.
RAM - Potentially incorrect. RAM is not a commodity product.
The Micron company makes those little black chips found on RAM sticks and is one of the few companies that does. They run all of their chips through huge amounts of testing. The ones that fail their restrictive standards get thrown into a fail bin which gets bought by another company. The buying company puts it on RAM boards and sells it as generic RAM.
Corsair is generally a company that can be trusted to deliver good parts, however, I have never heard of them building their own RAM chips. If they don't, its likely they get it from the fail bin of a company like Micron that does.
Micron sells RAM under the brand name "Crucial" and if you look up "<motherboard name here> RAM Crucial" in google it will take you to one of their webpages that lists part numbers they make that are guaranteed to be compatible with your chosen board.
If you do this and buy those part numbers, you are getting RAM that is guaranteed compatible and guaranteed to be tested rigorously before being sold. If you go with a lot of other companies there is no telling where the RAM comes from.
Corsair is pretty well respected in the RAM space, but there is no telling how deserved that respect is.
In other news, not just every RAM with the right stats works in every board. Motherboard makers have a thing called a Qualified Vendor List (QVL) which shows which RAM they have tested in their motherboard and which can be guaranteed to work. If the exact RAM part number you want isn't on this list then it isn't tested and guaranteed to work.
You can roll the dice and buy RAM not on a QVL and maybe it will work without problems, but you have no guarantees if you do.
For me, Crucial RAM is just too good price/performance wise to pass up in conjunction with their little online tool that tells you which exact part numbers to get. It is kinda a no brainer for me.
It isn't worth many hours of headaches in order to save $5 on RAM, which is what a lot of people are potentially doing by buying RAM not on QVLs.
On a separate note, if you want your kid to be able to OC, try to find 1.35v RAM instead of 1.5v.
one more question. If I read your response correctly. If you overclock your CPU but dont give it enough cooling (upgraded from what is supplied with the CPU) it will not hurt the CPU it will just self regulate how much faster it will run?
Also, you didn't mention this point so I want to bring it up in order to avoid any possible confusion.
The PSU is also NOT a commodity product.
There are more companies that make PSUs than there are companies that make those little black RAM chips, however, brand makes just as much of a deal with PSUs as it does with RAM.
PSU companies design a PSU schematic and then shop around for a manufacturer that will build it for them in the quantities they desire. If you wanted to be a PSU brand, you would just have to get a schematic and get a PSU manufacturer to agree to build it. Then you could just put your maddmanzz sticker on it and try to get a retail store to carry it.
However, not all manufacturers are created equal. Some manufacturers like Topower (RIP, thx god) would make pretty much any specification they got, regardless of how well it would perform in practice. About 90% of PSU brands are made from these sorts of companies that will make anything a customer gives them.
Other companies like Seasonic, Channel Well, Enermax, Delta and some other names are very specific about the quality of things they will build. More to the point, they won't build anything that will perform poorly in a computer.
Seasonic in particular has a reputation for being the gold standard of sorts. If you say you have a new'ish PSU that was made by Seasonic to someone here when you are asking for help the people just assume its not a PSU problem regardless of how much it might look like one if the person instead said they had a Topower PSU.
Indeed, if people say they have a Topower PSU, its automatically recommended they change it regardless of whether it will fix the problem or not. Generally, the request is that they instead get a Seasonic one instead.
PSUs are connected to every part of the computer and they can be one of the most frustrating things to try and resolve if you can't just switch out whatever PSU you have with a Seasonic one instead.
PSU problems can show themselves as if they were problems with any other component and the PSU is the number one destroyer of hardware. A failing PSU can take video cards, processors, hard drives, or anything else down with it.
That is why we stress that people not try to shave a few bucks off the cost of a PC by buying a cheapy PSU.
A good rule of thumb is that a PSU should cost at least $1 per 10 watts. If you see a 650w for $35, it is probably a cheapy PSU.
My Seasonic PSU (XFX only sources from Seasonic) was $90 for a 650w PSU. Luckily, I got a good rebate with it which reduced the cost to $60.
Cheapy PSUs can't be trusted with any hardware that you would mind having to buy again, IMHO.
Also, cheapy PSUs are very aggressive with what they write on their product labels whereas premium grade PSUs are conservative with it.
Cheapy PSU makers test how many watts their PSUs can do at extremely cold temperatures. Cold enough that any place they are likely to be used is probably a lot warmer than that. Any wattage delivered at a cold temperature isn't guaranteed to be available at a hot temperature. Indeed, every PSU can reach much higher cold than it can hot.
On the other hand, premium brand PSUs rate all their PSUs in much hotter conditions. Hotter conditions than those of any situation their PSU is likely to be in.
When Seasonic writes 650w on a label, it may very well mean the PSU can make it to 700 or 750 without breaking in normal temperatures.
When Diablotek writes 650w on a label, it may very well mean the PSU can make it to about 250w or 300w without breaking in normal temperatures.
Anyway, maybe you can use some of that knowledge in your PSU buying decisions.
- Edit -
I didn't mean to say what you think I said with the cooling. High temperatures can actually damage the CPU physically.
High temperatures have the potential to damage pretty much any electrical component physically for that matter.
For that matter, high temperatures are one of the biggest enemies of computer builders.
Not that I want to go off on a tangent here or anything, but a given high end PC may use as much as 1000w of power from the PSU or maybe even more. If that was 80% efficiency inside the PSU then the PSU would be taking 1250w from the wall in order to give the computer parts 1000w. The 250w difference would be turned into heat inside the PSU.
If you have a top mount PSU and dispersal fans on your processor and video card, then all that heat is probably being directed upwards, into the PSU, and out the back of the case too.
This greatly decreases the life of the PSU and accelerates a catastrophic event. You hope the computer just goes off one day and never comes on, but a loud explosion and a fried motherboard is also possible.
It is for this reason that people with high end computers should seriously consider their cooling solution (I could write another response just as long about how cooling also is not a commodity).
Bottom mounting PSUs and having more active in and out fans increases the life of all of the computer's parts very much.