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New build with a controversial processor

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April 13, 2012 6:44:07 AM

So i'm doing my first computer build from scratch. I got a bit ahead of myself and fear that i might of wasted 800 bucks when i could of gotten a bit more for my buck. Me and my buddy did the build together (well he did did the bulk of the looking i just made decisions basted on what i thought was best). Well here what we came up with.

To start I'm being a daring one and trying the AMD FX-4170 Zambezi 4.2GHz despite mixed reviews.
Next I have 16 GB of DDR3 ram 1330
750W modular power supply (crossfire ready)
250 gb Hard drive with a spin speed of 7200rpm
MSI 970A-G46 AMD 9 Series Motherboard - ATX
and last important component is (the one i think i could of done better on)
PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 1GB

If you need more info please ask, i posted what i thought was truly important. I also got windows professional. I spent about $800 on the total build. How'd i do for my first build?

Also i placed this in CPU because i did hear alot about people saying that the Phenom II black is actually better int the FX-4150. I took the risk because the AMD came out with a patch recently that increased conformance by 10% and i'm using the 4170 which is much faster.
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April 13, 2012 6:50:29 AM

You did ok

you give the brand of the power supply.


There are a few things you could have saved money on. The ram being the biggest thing as I doubt you'd be able to use it all. 8gb of 1600 would probably be a better buy imo.

the power supply might be a bit too much as you could have gone with a 500w no problem.

the 4170 isnt very good to spend the extra money on as its the same performance as the 4100. You just need to OC the 4100 and it will be just as good. The phenom BE cpus would have been even better.

You could have gotten a 6870 with the money saved. Also window ultimate really isn't worth it over home premium for most users imo.

The build is decent overall tho, should do what you'd want it to do for a build at that price.
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April 13, 2012 6:57:44 AM

Did you already bought this setup 800 bucks is a bit to much for this build I would say. I assume you did. The PSU and Ram is an overkill in my opinion. Also i would have picked an Intel processor instead of the zambezi.
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April 13, 2012 6:59:16 AM

Well i'm a 3D modeler so i spend alot of time rendering so i figured that the extra single core power and RAM will probably get put to use. And I am hoping to double the graphics card so i can crossfire, hence the larger power supply.

I'm a bit of a firm believer that anything worth doing is worth over doing. As for the windows premium Its actually a requirement for a program i'm going to buy, and when the program is half the price of the computer its worth the extra 20 bucks i spent to get the better OS. This might of been good info to add in post 1. As for the power supply brand its the

NZXT HALE82 HALE82-750-M 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Power Supply

Not sure how to sum that up.
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April 13, 2012 6:59:53 AM

The 4100 is a 95w part. the 4170 is a 125w part. they are not the same.

While you can get the 4100 to the stock speed of a 4170, you can get the 4170 to 4.8 ghz.

Mine slightly outperforms my friends i3 2120 after the overclock.

That having been said, if I didn't already have an AM3+ board (bought it with an x3 450 before bulldozer came out), I would be using intel right now. AMD needs to drop their chip prices by at least $10 across the board to be competitive on value again.
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April 13, 2012 7:00:28 AM

some suggestions:
an ssd 64 (boot) to 128 (os) gb. and for other stuff, a roomy hdd .. 500gb at least.
a good cpu cooler. i can't recommend lcs ones outside amd's branded one by asetec or corsair's h series as i don't know much about them. as for air coolers, cm hyper 212 evo, xigmatek gaia, corsair a70, noctua nh d14 are some good cpu coolers afaik. amd's stock cooler isn't half bad, but it gets loud on load.
single 6850 is fine.
970 chipset is okay for single card setups.
for gaming, 16 gb might be a bit overkill but ram is cheap, so... rendering likes system ram, 16 gb is fine.
imo both 4100 and 4170 have the same oc limit while 4100 uses less power at at stock (95w vs 125w). you could have done better with $800. but it's your decision. good luck.
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April 13, 2012 7:03:34 AM

Redmar89 said:
Did you already bought this setup 800 bucks is a bit to much for this build I would say. I assume you did. The PSU and Ram is an overkill in my opinion. Also i would have picked an Intel processor instead of the zambezi.


I did already buy it. But this cost was without the rebates and including shipping. I also bought a case, a nice case. But that wasn't relevant to the specs. I also bought quality components. Also Intel was a bit out of my price range.
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April 13, 2012 7:03:46 AM

de5_Roy said:

imo both 4100 and 4170 have the same oc limit .


No, they don't. The different wattage ratings should have told you that much. the 4100 tops out around 4.2 ghz, the 4170 gets up to 4.8 ghz on air, maybe higher. 4.8 is as high as i could get it stable.
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April 13, 2012 7:05:32 AM

I hear people with 4.7ghz 4100s. I don't think the 4170 really OCs much higher.
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April 13, 2012 7:08:46 AM

you'll have to provide a link there. I researched both chips pretty thoroughly before I bought, and I've never seen a 4100 stable that high on air cooling, with all 4 cores still enabled.

If you can find one that ran something like prime95 for at least two hours, I'll definitely be a sad panda :D 
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April 13, 2012 7:09:41 AM

de5_Roy said:
some suggestions:
an ssd 64 (boot) to 128 (os) gb. and for other stuff, a roomy hdd .. 500gb at least.
a good cpu cooler. i can't recommend lcs ones outside amd's branded one by asetec or corsair's h series as i don't know much about them. as for air coolers, cm hyper 212 evo, xigmatek gaia, corsair a70, noctua nh d14 are some good cpu coolers afaik. amd's stock cooler isn't half bad, but it gets loud on load.
single 6850 is fine.
970 chipset is okay for single card setups.
for gaming, 16 gb might be a bit overkill but ram is cheap, so... rendering likes system ram, 16 gb is fine.
imo both 4100 and 4170 have the same oc limit while 4100 uses less power at at stock (95w vs 125w). you could have done better with $800. but it's your decision. good luck.


This computer will be used for gaming but allot of my decisions were made on the fact that i do alot of rendering. And I know that if you don't get ram all at once you might not find the matching set again. I found a deal on some good brand name ram so i filled my slots. I don't do alot of OCing so i just went with solid stock speed.
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April 13, 2012 7:12:10 AM

Ok i understand if you buy a case with it, it's worth mentioning it in the 800 price atleast.
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April 13, 2012 7:15:05 AM

Dizuki said:
This computer will be used for gaming but allot of my decisions were made on the fact that i do alot of rendering. And I know that if you don't get ram all at once you might not find the matching set again. I found a deal on some good brand name ram so i filled my slots. I don't do alot of OCing so i just went with solid stock speed.

nothing wrong with your decision to not oc and to go with higher stock clock. the suggestion still stands, in case you change you mind. :) 
good call on getting that much ram at once. i have made the mistake of getting small capacity in the begining to upgrade later, only to never find the matching set.
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April 13, 2012 7:15:25 AM

Redmar89 said:
Ok i understand if you buy a case with it, it's worth mentioning it in the 800 price atleast.


Yah, Its a $50 case with 4 fans and built like a rock.
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April 13, 2012 7:20:58 AM

de5_Roy said:
nothing wrong with your decision to not oc and to go with higher stock clock. the suggestion still stands, in case you change you mind. :) 
good call on getting that much ram at once. i have made the mistake of getting small capacity in the begining to upgrade later, only to never find the matching set.


Yah and with all slots full the only way to upgrade is to just replace. If i ever need a smaller rig i can break it up into 2 2X4 systems or something. I figured that filing the slots would be better then haveing 2/4 at a faster speed and cost twice as much. I've put alot of thought into this build. I wont take all the credit my friend spent 14 hours looking up parts then i just did the extra research to find the ones that i thought would work best for what i'm doing. I am planning on upgrading sometime in the future.
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April 13, 2012 7:21:25 AM

quilciri said:
you'll have to provide a link there. I researched both chips pretty thoroughly before I bought, and I've never seen a 4100 stable that high on air cooling, with all 4 cores still enabled.

If you can find one that ran something like prime95 for at least two hours, I'll definitely be a sad panda :D 

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/1/
heres one at 4.6

http://www.overclock.net/t/1223168/seeing-what-the-fx41...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/272897-29-4100-5ghz-q...

some people with OCs
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April 13, 2012 7:27:37 AM

Yah as much as i'd like that speed, I wouldn't risk a brand new system experimenting with OC. I've never done it before and i'd hate to balls it up. I'd sooner do it with a AMD then an intel but still stock speed is just fine.
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April 13, 2012 7:32:05 AM



I can't find any stress tests in that bunch, only benchmarks, though that is food for thought.

looking around on overclock, looks like some folks have been able to get the 4170 to 5.1 ghz, on the stock cooler no less.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1235151/4170-highest-stable-...

Could be I just need a mobo with a better voltage regulator.
>.< except the guy with the 5.1 OC has a mobo with the same damn regulator as mine.
1.64v seems pretty dangerous, but then again, there isn't much testing on the 4170 out there so I don't know what a safe ceiling is for it's voltage.
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April 13, 2012 8:36:28 AM

2505459,1,1178321 said:
So i'm doing my first computer build from scratch. I got a bit ahead of myself and fear that i might of wasted 800 bucks when i could of gotten a bit more for my buck. Me and my buddy did the build together (well he did did the bulk of the looking i just made decisions basted on what i thought was best). Well here what we came up with.

To start I'm being a daring one and trying the AMD FX-4170 Zambezi 4.2GHz despite mixed reviews.
Next I have 16 GB of DDR3 ram 1330
750W modular power supply (crossfire ready)
250 gb Hard drive with a spin speed of 7200rpm
MSI 970A-G46 AMD 9 Series Motherboard - ATX
and last important component is (the one i think i could of done better on)
PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 1GB

If you need more info please ask, i posted what i thought was truly important. I also got windows professional. I spent about $800 on the total build. How'd i do for my first build?

I would have told you to go with the lower clocked 8120 Eight sort of core (I consider them cores but it's subjective on that but it's a nicer choice overall. It can clock up to the faster 8150 cpu and even a ways past it if your into overclocking so it's a nice deal.
How long do you plan on using the computer? I know video cards can eat money and while the 6850's are pretty fast I never liked the lower memory amount and would prefer to go with the 2gig or see if you could scrape enough money to go with the 6950 or 6970 cards. I know they aren't as cheap yet they give you more headroom to not need to replace it soon as games are getting pretty complex and a faster Video card to me makes more sense. At least that is how I plan things out, which one gives me the most long term benefit. The Hard drive will run out of room very quickly and your size depending on what your going to use it for it an eat your pick up pretty fast.
And while back on the video card there are a couple of games that make use of 2gig memory more logical but again, don't know what your primary use of the computer. Game's like Skyrim want to have the extra memory as well as fallout. It's not a real big deal but if games keep increasing in map sizes tests have shown the extra memory does come in handy and may be more picky as time goes on.
I hope you did some research on the Power supply, the most important part in any computer. The money constraints might not give you the best power supply but if it's at least a good name brand like PC Power And Cooling among a few others are well designed and have a very low noise output There are a lot of cheap power supplies out there and research is a MUST before picking which one. I can't say enough about which one you end up with but I hope it's a quality build and designed right.
One thing I really like about one of my computers running the new 8 core over the Intel one is it can run a lot of different programs at the same time without hurting overall performance. I think AMD had a good idea that multimedia apps and games that can also use this will show a lot more about AMD's new design. Unlike the Intel one, the AMD continues to run great while a lot of software is thrown at it while my Intel one gets jittery and I have to close down come programs to keep it running more stable.
I sure don't want to confuse you or lead this into a fan bashing joke. What ever both AMD and Intel can run the newest software at very fast speeds. I don't like the 6 core AMD FX lineup. You would probably be better off using the older AMD cpu . I would also get at least a 1600 rated memory or the 1866mhz because AMD's new cpu's can use it. To tell the truth I'm not sure about the cpu your thinking of but the 8 core seems to like the faster memory and I like to play around with it and the cpu by bumping up the bus speed from 200mhz to 210 or 220 that increases everything but you should take a look at memory offers and maybe with newegg you can get both on a combo deal. I did this when I got my cpu and save a fair amount of money. You could run into problems if the memory is a cheap one so keep your eyes open for a good deal. I was kind of blown away when I got the AMD because I am always mult tasking and when norton pops up for a auto update my older system got real bumpy but that is a thing of the past with their new chips.
I always tell my friends when I build them computers to think hard about how long you can use it before any upgrades make that big of a difference to where you can notice the speed change. It's a good rule to go by, I can't afford to do that stupid upgrade game a few years back and the new AMD cpu to me was a match made in heaven I got the ASUS Sabertooth MB, ASUS has always turned out great products and this MB is above a lot of other motherboard. It can overclock like crazy and is probably the most stable system I've yet to build. ASUS has a new kind of attachment called TUF. It just means it was overbuilt with the best components except in the sound area that was left to realtek which isn't the best but for me it is ok. It has very long warenty so they are backing this MB with it. I think it's 5 or more years so you can't go wrong with that part.
Well, that was a mouthful but I hope I helped out. Good hunting
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