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Questions about Mobo, CPU + more

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January 6, 2012 5:33:50 PM

Hey Guys,

I'm looking to build a pc that's based off of Tom's Hardware's Dec 2011 $600 builder marathon rig. The changes I'll be making are a different motherboard, cpu, psu and more ram.

My budget is $700-$800, maxing out at $1000. Components tend to be more expensive in Canada than the U.S, so after tax, even if I stuck with TH's $600 build, it would be an additional $100-$200 at least. However, the components I picked out are the most I'll spend on those parts.

I will be looking at newegg.ca, ncix.ca, canadacomputers.ca for the parts.

Link to a screenshot: spreadsheet with parts, prices, websites

If you want me to post more information about my build, I will do so, but this is long as it is and perhaps overwhelming.

Motherboard: I'm taking the motherboard from Hardware Revolution's tier 5 mainstream gaming pc which is an ASRock Z68 Extreme3. The reason I'm interested in this is because they called it futureproof, so that I can upgrade when the ivy bridge cpus are released.

CPU and RAM: i5-2500 or even 2500k, and at least 8GBs of RAM. Although, a 2500k may not be worth it because apparently overclocking requires a bit of knowledge and can be risky.

Questions: How much of a difference does a better cpu make (from i5-2400 to 2500) based on the other components (gpu, ram)?

As I understand it, the ivy bridge will be more efficient and powerful at similar price levels. Other notable things with the ivy bridge is that it will activate the PCI express 3 slots, which are better and faster than the PCIe 2 slots, both of which the ASRock has.

However, in order to take advantage of the PCIe 3, I need a gpu that is a PCIe 3 card, so unless and until those are released and buy one, is it worth upgrading to an ivy bridge? At which point I'll just wait until the ivy bridge cpus are released.

Also, as I understand it, from the lack of my computer knowledge, the design of the sandy bridge and ivy bridge are different, and the ivy bridge is compatible with sandy bridge motherboards (I hope I'm getting the lingo right), but ivy bridge's full potential won't be used, until an ivy bridge specific motherboard is used.

Is this the case with the ASRock, where the ivy bridge won't be used effectively?

Please feel free to correct me, that's why I'm asking you guys.

GPU: This relates to the motherboard question. I haven't heard of PCI-E 3 gpus released yet, or haven't heard of them being released anytime soon. That being said, when they are released, I'm assuming I should expect them to be out of my price range, that is, maximum of $200, and I shouldn't expect it to drop significantly or go near that for at least a year (based on the price history for the 6870 at gpubenchmark).

So, when should I expect pci-e 3 gpus to be released, if any of you have heard news on it, and would it be out of my price range? A pcie 3 gpu with similar specs to the 6870 would be priced much higher? Although, as far as I've seen, it wouldn't make sense to release a video card with specs similar to ones already released, so it would probably be a higher end gpu.

RAM: I've noticed more expensive ram with casings that have 'heat spreaders', is it worth it for me to spend the extra cash on this? Would I expect the RAM to heat up this much? I'm intending on buying 2 4GB sticks, and which companies do you guys prefer in terms of reliability?

PSU: I've calculated that I would need a psu with wattage of 600, 700 ideally. I may end up buying an extra 6870 in the future. Unless, depending on the time, it may be worth it to replace the cpu to any ivy bridge and gpu to pcie 3, assuming I buy an ASRock z68 extreme 3, and even then, assuming it is really future-proof. Considering that, I may have to buy something at about 1000W.

Sorry for the long post! I have so many questions. Thank you for those who bother to read through this, and I apologize for my lack of tech-know-how.

More about : questions mobo cpu

a b à CPUs
January 6, 2012 10:24:27 PM

Quote:
Questions: How much of a difference does a better cpu make (from i5-2400 to 2500) based on the other components (gpu, ram)?

As I understand it, the ivy bridge will be more efficient and powerful at similar price levels. Other notable things with the ivy bridge is that it will activate the PCI express 3 slots, which are better and faster than the PCIe 2 slots, both of which the ASRock has.


Not much of a difference between the 2400 and 2500. Having +-.2GHz isn't going to make that much of a difference. The only time you'd see a difference would be getting the 2500K where you can overclock to over 4 - 5GHz.

But Ivy Bridge isn't going to be a significant upgrade - just a few new CPUs with higher clock speeds. There's not going to be any new technology in these CPUs and there's not going to be any difference in terms of motherboard technology, either.

Quote:
Also, as I understand it, from the lack of my computer knowledge, the design of the sandy bridge and ivy bridge are different, and the ivy bridge is compatible with sandy bridge motherboards (I hope I'm getting the lingo right), but ivy bridge's full potential won't be used, until an ivy bridge specific motherboard is used.


No. Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge are going to be using the same motherboards, same chipsets, and same OC'ing methods.

Quote:
However, in order to take advantage of the PCIe 3, I need a gpu that is a PCIe 3 card, so unless and until those are released and buy one, is it worth upgrading to an ivy bridge? At which point I'll just wait until the ivy bridge cpus are released.


But those aren't going to be available for quite some time. Most everyone in the gaming world - including those of us using the latest AM3 and Z68 boards will still be using PCI-e2.0. The graphics card manufacturers know that they'll have some pretty unhappy customers if they release cards that are only going to be available to people who own certain boards. Even the new Radeon 7970 and 7950 are going to be using 2.1, so it may be a generation or two before the cards catch up with the technology.

Quote:
Is this the case with the ASRock, where the ivy bridge won't be used effectively?


I don't know where you're getting this information from but Asrock's motherboards really aren't that different from other motherboards. They all use the same Z68 and P67 chipsets, and Ivy Bridge will work on these motherboards with a BIOS flash.

Quote:
GPU: This relates to the motherboard question. I haven't heard of PCI-E 3 gpus released yet, or haven't heard of them being released anytime soon. That being said, when they are released, I'm assuming I should expect them to be out of my price range, that is, maximum of $200, and I shouldn't expect it to drop significantly or go near that for at least a year (based on the price history for the 6870 at gpubenchmark).


Again - it will be at least a generation or two before we start seeing these cards. No matter what you buy now you'll be safe for a while. The GPU is where you'll see the most difference in how your PC performs, not the CPU.

Quote:
RAM: I've noticed more expensive ram with casings that have 'heat spreaders', is it worth it for me to spend the extra cash on this? Would I expect the RAM to heat up this much? I'm intending on buying 2 4GB sticks, and which companies do you guys prefer in terms of reliability?


No. If you're working with any sort of aftermarket cooling system with 1 or 2 PWM fans the tall heat sinks will make installing these coolers incredibly difficult, and if you're going for the 2500K, you will want a good aftermarket cooler in order to overclock your CPU way beyond the stock speed of 3.3GHz.

As far as RAM goes - the tall heat sinks really don't do anything. Your RAM will heat up, but that's pretty much expected. And RAM all pretty much comes off the same assembly line in Taiwan, but if you want reliable manufacturers - G.Skill, Corsair, Crucial, and Kingston are among the best. Then Geil, Mushkin, ADATA, Patriot, and the others.

Quote:
PSU: I've calculated that I would need a psu with wattage of 600, 700 ideally. I may end up buying an extra 6870 in the future. Unless, depending on the time, it may be worth it to replace the cpu to any ivy bridge and gpu to pcie 3, assuming I buy an ASRock z68 extreme 3, and even then, assuming it is really future-proof. Considering that, I may have to buy something at about 1000W.


Any PSU 1K+ is going to be major overkill. With Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, Intel has designed the chips in such a way that they've reduced power consumption and voltage requirements. Where you'll need the extra power is if you overclock, as that requires increasing the voltage of your CPU. The mid-line boards like the Extreme 3 will be somewhat future-proof but you have to remember that no one can predict the future. :lol: 

Gigabyte and Asus will probably be better choices in the long run should you go Z68. Ivy Bridge isn't going to be using anything differently either.
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January 7, 2012 5:59:09 AM

Oh wow, thanks for actually reading through it and answering the questions. Really appreciate it.

Hmm, I guess I read some stuff wrong over the internet. I kept thinking ivy bridge would use a different structure, where it had the ability to be compatible with sandy bridge motherboards, but the cpu wouldn't be using its full potential.

But now I know.

I apologize for not properly explaining the last part. I rechecked using online calculators for psu wattage, it's giving me between 400-500 for a single 6870, and between 600-700 when adding an extra. I'm assuming 750 or 800 is safe enough?

I'm deciding I'll go with a cheaper motherboard since I don't need the ASRock, and probably go with something priced around the MSI shown in the TH's build, which will cut a significant amount from the cost.

Since there was a flood in Thailand, I'm waiting for HDD prices to go down, but I hear that may take several months.

I'm also keeping watch of sales to see how much components get discounted, so I can figure out which sales are good deals.

I'll have to take pictures and post them up here when I do actually build it since it's inspired by TH with help from community members.

TH seems to post new builds every three months so I can't wait to see how the next ones turn out.

Again, thank you for answering the questions.

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a b à CPUs
January 9, 2012 3:00:44 AM

ehcanadian said:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=EN...

Well don't I look foolish, there already are pcie 3 cards.


Really? I'm surprised at this.

Quote:
I apologize for not properly explaining the last part. I rechecked using online calculators for psu wattage, it's giving me between 400-500 for a single 6870, and between 600-700 when adding an extra. I'm assuming 750 or 800 is safe enough?


750 or 800 will be plenty. Your system only draws the power it needs when it needs it. The only time you would use anything over that is for overclocking since that really puts a strain on your PSU.

Quote:
I'm deciding I'll go with a cheaper motherboard since I don't need the ASRock, and probably go with something priced around the MSI shown in the TH's build, which will cut a significant amount from the cost.


Stick with the Asrock - I'm not the biggest fan of MSI around here as most people will tell you. :lol: 

Quote:
Since there was a flood in Thailand, I'm waiting for HDD prices to go down, but I hear that may take several months.


Yeah it might be at least a year from what WD was estimating last. But don't get a recertified drive - they're usually returns and they're never covered fully under warranty which means you might not get replacements for them if something goes wrong.

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May 8, 2012 6:08:03 AM

I can't believe how long ago this was.

I built the computer and it's over two months old now. I bought the components separately as they went on sale over an almost two months period.

It totals 750 dollars, and through sales I've saved around 170 dollars. The comparison doesn't include shipping prices, or any savings I may have made from deals which include free shipping and such because it gets too complicated.

I had a more in-depth comparison set up in excel (which I can't find) where I compared the price I bought them for with the cheapest non-sale price available, which means in reality, I probably saved less.

Anywhoo, here's the parts and pics:

CPU: I5-2500
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850
RAM: Corsair XMS3 Classic 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz CL9
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM (ST500DM002)
PSU: Corsair TX750 12V 80 Plus Bronze (CMPSU-750TXV2)
OD: LG 22x Super Multi (GH22NS90)

Pictures:

Before cable has been managed


Test run


Closed up and ready to go


Two months after, did some cleaning and turned it back on. The front fan wasn't plugged in, and I didn't realize that until I opened it up to air-dust.



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