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Looking for Advice on First Build - 2500k or FX-4170

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March 14, 2012 6:13:18 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: This week/weekend

Budget Range: Around $500 after $485 Amazon Gift card (Hopefully < $1000 total)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Photo editing, Internet, Homework

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, OS, Speakers, Case

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg and Amazon

Country: US

Overclocking: Maybe (future)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (future)

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

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I've wanted to build a PC for a while now and finally decided to. I have an Amazon gift card and recently got an Antec Two Hundred S for free from a friend. I want to buy as many components as I can on Amazon in order to use up the gift card, so I have minimal expense out of pocket.

I've come up with two different builds. One is based around the AMD FX-4170, the other is based around the Intel i5 - 2500k. I realize that everyone is probably going to say the 2500k, but I wanted to make sure that the difference in playing games like BF3 and Skyrim is not going to be negligible between these two processors.

Here is the FX-4170 build:

CPU: AMD FX-4170 Zambezi 4.2GHz (4.3GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4170FRGUBOX ($139.99)

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2048 MB GDDR5 ($279.99)

Mobo: Asus Socket AM3+/ AMD 970/ Quad CrossFireX/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard (M5A97) ($94.99)

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL ($46.99)

PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified ($89.99)

HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($149.99 - $40 promo if bought today)

Monitor: Dell ST2220L 21.5-inch Wide Flat Panel Monitor ($129.99)

Total: $913.92
Total Out of Pocket: $428.57


2500k build:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W ($219.99)

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2048 MB GDDR5 ($279.99)

Mobo: ASUS LGA 1155 (P8Z68-V LE) ($137.99)

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL ($46.99)

PSU:Corsair Enthusiast Series 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified ($89.99)

HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($149.99 - $40 promo if bought today)

Monitor: Dell ST2220L 21.5-inch Wide Flat Panel Monitor ($129.99)

Total: $1,036.92
Total Out of Pocket: $551.57


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What do you guys think of these two builds? I am open to suggestions on just about everything. Is the 2500k build definitely worth the extra money? Included in the cost of the totals is also a $20 DVD drive, but I didn't include a link to that. While I wouldn't normally have wanted a 2TB HDD, I saw the deal and figured I would add it in. Otherwise I would probably get a 1TB or even smaller drive and wait until prices go down.

Thanks in advance for any help.

More about : advice build 2500k 4170

March 14, 2012 6:19:31 PM

Definitely, 2500k. It's hard to suggest AMD anymore, they announced they were leaving the high end CPU to Intel. Everyone here will tell you the same thing (not because we're Intel fanboys, I for one have two AMD PCs I use daily). If you're ready to pay the price difference for a Z68/i5-2500K build, go for it, it's definitely worth it.

Read this from Tom's:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

Also, I wouldn't suggest a "Green" HDD. Read this on the subject:
http://www.tomshardware.com/us/sponsored/Seagate-HDD-Ha...

Otherwise, the rest of the build looks good! :) 
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March 14, 2012 7:06:36 PM

NVIDIA just reduced their prices... If you are playing today's top-end games, I would suggest going with the 448-core GTX 560 Ti versus the 2GB regular Ti. Reason being, is you won't see much of a benefit by having the extra 700MB RAM with that resolution - it would be a different story if you were planning on SLI-ing (and had either more than one monitor or using something higher the 1920x1080).

May I suggest this card instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130758

As far as the builds, go Intel all the way. Keep in mind that Ivy Bridge is coming here very soon (die shrink 22nm of the current Sandy Bridge - so expect better overclocking for sure).

Also, I would *STRONGLY* discourage you from buying the Samsung "spinner" at this point. Although it's high capacity at 2TB, the price is still way too high. Give it a couple more months and the price on "spinners" will come down. If disk capacity isn't an issue, you will see a huge increase in going SSD for the boot drive and use a "spinner" for data - if you already own one just use that for now, or ask your friend... I just can't advise anyone to buy a mechanical drive right now with the prices so high. Even if I had to take apart a laptop and buy a 2.5 bracket for my desktop, I would sooner do that right now :-)

A good SSD (boot drive): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147133 - You're going to get around 520 / 150 R/W speeds with that :-) and it's $10 off right now.

You could also shave off a few bucks on the PSU by purchasing one with smaller wattage (stick with Corsair though - good brand). See here: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Lastly, for gaming and general multimedia purposes (especially if you're not too comfortable with OC'ing) you can save some money on the CPU by purchasing an i5-2400 instead. It lacks some of the features, but for gaming you will notice little to no difference whatsoever. (Even my i5-760 isn't bottle-necked in current high-end games).

Hope this helps!
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March 14, 2012 7:08:37 PM

always the 2500k.

also my green drive sucks.

i have two slave HDDs, a Samsung 1TB and a 500GB WD Green. Samsung's good to go every time I click on it but the WD has to wake up, which takes about 3-4 seconds if it hasn't been used for about an hour.
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March 14, 2012 8:53:53 PM

jtmunn said:
NVIDIA just reduced their prices... If you are playing today's top-end games, I would suggest going with the 448-core GTX 560 Ti versus the 2GB regular Ti. Reason being, is you won't see much of a benefit by having the extra 700MB RAM with that resolution - it would be a different story if you were planning on SLI-ing (and had either more than one monitor or using something higher the 1920x1080).

May I suggest this card instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130758


Could you explain the benefits of the 448-core version?

Also, I found two different versions on Newegg. It appears to me that one has a slightly higher clock speed. Which of those two would you suggest?

With regard to the PSU, is it safe to go less than 650W? I think I might stick with that for the future rather than skimp out on one now.
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March 14, 2012 9:03:54 PM

neunelfer said:
Could you explain the benefits of the 448-core version?

Also, I found two different versions on Newegg. It appears to me that one has a slightly higher clock speed. Which of those two would you suggest?

With regard to the PSU, is it safe to go less than 650W? I think I might stick with that for the future rather than skimp out on one now.



"Put simply, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core is a GeForce GTX 570 with one streaming multiprocessor disabled, yielding 448 shader cores..."

See GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core: A Card With Overclocking Potentialhere

and

The Best Graphics Cards for the Money: Sept 08

So pretty much you are getting a card in-between the GTX 560 Ti and the GTX 570 for the same price ;-)
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March 14, 2012 9:17:30 PM

neunelfer said:
Could you explain the benefits of the 448-core version?

Also, I found two different versions on Newegg. It appears to me that one has a slightly higher clock speed. Which of those two would you suggest?

With regard to the PSU, is it safe to go less than 650W? I think I might stick with that for the future rather than skimp out on one now.



Sorry - missed that message about the PSU...

650 is plenty for 2x GTX 560 Ti's in SLI. My point was, if you're trying to come out like a bandit and you don't plan on using SLI, then go with like a 500-550. I don't recommend anything under 500 though as I wouldn't in my own build. If you're only going to run games at 1920x1080 on one monitor, I don't see why you would SLI... unless your a fanatic that needs Mutisampling set to 16x (which you wouldn't be able to tell the difference at that resolution anyway ;-)

The link to the PSU calculator above is what I have used on many, many builds and never had a problem. For some video cards you have to pay attention to the +12v rail, but I don't believe you'll have a problem with that card.

...Going along with EVGA's "classifications"... the Classified is one step up above from "FTW" edition. This means it's a little bit more factory overclocked. Now, you could spend less and just get the rerference board from EVGA and overclock yourself, saving moola, but supposedly EVGA "bins" GPU's, meaning they will only make an Classified edition out of a GPU that yields low temps / low heat at those overclocked specs - Now if it really happens that way - I'm not sure, it might just be as good as any reference design overclocked ;-)

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March 14, 2012 9:17:59 PM

Awesome! Especially since it is the same price.. sounds good, thanks!

Will I need to worry about extra cooling? My case has two fans, one is 120mm and one is 140mm. I'm assuming they aren't anything special. Is the heatsink/fan that is included with the 2500k sufficient for now before I decide whether or not to OC?

Finally, I'm a little unsure of what to do about the hard drive situation. Is the only reason for getting a SS "boot drive" installing Windows to it in order to boot faster? If I just buy that for now, will I be able to survive until prices come down a little on HDDs?

Edit: About the Classified version, I think I would rather spend an extra $10 and have it factory overclocked etc.

The reviews for the Corsair "Builder" series don't seem as good as the Enthusiast, which is what the 650W is classified as. It would save me a good $35 though, so if there's nothing to worry about, I guess I would want to go with a cheaper one.
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March 14, 2012 9:28:29 PM

neunelfer said:
Awesome! Especially since it is the same price.. sounds good, thanks!

Will I need to worry about extra cooling? My case has two fans, one is 120mm and one is 140mm. I'm assuming they aren't anything special. Is the heatsink/fan that is included with the 2500k sufficient for now before I decide whether or not to OC?

Finally, I'm a little unsure of what to do about the hard drive situation. Is the only reason for getting a SS "boot drive" installing Windows to it in order to boot faster? If I just buy that for now, will I be able to survive until prices come down a little on HDDs?


If you are overclocking, I would definitely look at an aftermarket cooler. It's kind of like buying a Ferrari and asking if you should get the Performance tires... ;-) (Stock HSF will never be anything other than "meh")

Again - if you're just looking to get the best gaming performance, the i5-2400 is rated in the same category as the i5-2500k, in other words, it's more dependent on the GPU at that point (no CPU bottleneck) - it's a place to save $30.

For the SSD, you will notice a difference when booting (probably get around a 10 sec boot time) but you will also notice when anything is read or written to your drive, which is pretty much constantly... But think about these things:

Loading Maps,
Launching the Game,
Saving,
Installing a game,
any resource the game loads during play.

These things are all affected by the read / write speed of the drive the game is installed on.

The reason I suggest SSD is because it's the #1 bottleneck in almost every PC I come across... Even if you have a super fast CPU / RAM / etc... if the disk will only go so fast, so will the CPU / RAM / etc...

The only concern with SSD is the capacity. Windows 7 will take up 25GB of space so you're left with 35-40 GB for games / apps / drivers / updates / etc... a game like World of Warcraft takes up 25GB! Others take as little as 3 - 15.

Cheers


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March 14, 2012 9:33:22 PM

Keep in mind you can get the Radeon 7850 for $250...
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March 14, 2012 9:44:33 PM

Ok so basically I would probably want to install Windows and maybe BF3/Skyrim to my SSD and then my Steam library to the HDD for example. Right?

Do you think I should hold off and get the 7850 instead?
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March 14, 2012 10:02:53 PM

7850 ~= GTX 560 Ti 448 so it's all about price / preference...

I would say you'd be fine with Skyrim + BF3 on boot drive but you may want to put Steam on your data drive.

Also, you will want to setup your drives to where C: is boot and D: is data and tell Win7 that Users should go to D:\Users, and C:\ProgramData goes to D:\ProgramData...

There's a good article on that here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/window...

It uses an answer file that you specify when doing Win7 Install (after going to the "Audit Mode"). It's a little tricky, but well worth it in the end. Also, make sure you setup your junction points at C:\Users <-> D:\Users and C:\ProgramData <-> D:\ProgramData
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March 14, 2012 10:54:24 PM

jtmunn said:
Also, you will want to setup your drives to where C: is boot and D: is data and tell Win7 that Users should go to D:\Users, and C:\ProgramData goes to D:\ProgramData...

There's a good article on that here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/window...

It uses an answer file that you specify when doing Win7 Install (after going to the "Audit Mode"). It's a little tricky, but well worth it in the end. Also, make sure you setup your junction points at C:\Users <-> D:\Users and C:\ProgramData <-> D:\ProgramData


jtmunn,

I can't thank you enough. This will save me so much time when re-installing Windows 7 with my new SSD. I did it the long way (regedit modifying every entry and copy-pasting), I'm happy there's an easier way. :D  :D  :D 
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March 14, 2012 11:11:40 PM

@quicksand10

Hey np :-) I went through some trial & error to get it all figured out myself, but i've deployed it on several machines now and it works great...

If you would like a copy of the script I made that does both the Pre-Install Script (during Audit Mode) and Post-Install, I would be happy to send it to you (basically it takes automates all of the manual steps to where you just double-click a .bat file).

Send an email to jtmunn AT l i v e DOT com
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March 15, 2012 3:55:25 PM

There is two way I want t suggest you:
First, Windows 8 is comming and not many people are happy about the metro UI. so the consumer and developer (all developer, not just game developer) will consider changing to mac. So, if you want a computer for another 5-10 years then you should have an I mac.
Second, I want to suggest Radeon HD over NVIDIA and AMD over Intel because they not worth it. I had a 2500k and its a looser compare to Phenom II x6 1100. I don't know much about the 4170 but all the specs is totally overwhelm 2500k.
I want to suggest us WD hard drive instead of samsung. samsung just not good enough in making hard drive.

Yeah, that's all i want to say.
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March 15, 2012 3:59:09 PM

Yeah you would be stupid to get an AMD chip. I mean the AM3 socket is DEAD.
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March 15, 2012 5:02:50 PM

Qilin said:
There is two way I want t suggest you:
First, Windows 8 is comming and not many people are happy about the metro UI. so the consumer and developer (all developer, not just game developer) will consider changing to mac. So, if you want a computer for another 5-10 years then you should have an I mac.
Second, I want to suggest Radeon HD over NVIDIA and AMD over Intel because they not worth it. I had a 2500k and its a looser compare to Phenom II x6 1100. I don't know much about the 4170 but all the specs is totally overwhelm 2500k.
I want to suggest us WD hard drive instead of samsung. samsung just not good enough in making hard drive.

Yeah, that's all i want to say.



Both are priced the same and the Intel beats the AMD... not much more to say-


AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 6,203

Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.30GHz 6,744
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March 15, 2012 5:17:02 PM

The real problem is that even if in some tests the Phenom II X6 1100T gets close to the i5-2500k, the reality is, in this case, that more cores doesn't equal more performance.

The i5's cores have better performance than the AMD's.
6 cores are rarely used by today's programs, and are NOT used by today's games.
That i5-2500k overclocks like a dream, while the tremendous heat produced by the X6 1100T severely limits its overclocking ability.
Current Intel chipsets such as P67, H67, and Z68 will probably support Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors.
AMD has left the high-end CPU race for Intel... I think that says enough.
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March 16, 2012 4:13:41 AM

Ok, so I think I've pretty much finalized the build. I think I want to go with a HDD for now. I found a 1 TB Western Digital with a 64 mb cache for $140.

Also, looking through the combo deals for the 2500k on Newegg, I found that I could get Rage for free. Does anyone know of any combo deals with BF3?

CPU: i5-2500k
GPU: eVGA 560ti 448 Core Classified Ultra
Mobo: Asus Z68 LE
RAM: G.SKILL 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz
PSU: Corsair 650W
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB
Monitor: Asus VE228H 21.5" Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD

I'm also planning on getting two additional 120mm fans, one for the side intake and one front intake. Total comes to ~$1085. What do you guys think?

Thanks for all the suggestions, you have been very helpful.
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March 16, 2012 3:30:44 PM

Personally, I would stick to the ASUS boards seeing that ASRock is owned by ASUS and was known as the lower end of their products, but I've heard good things about that motherboard as well.

Also, in theory, Sandy Bridge processors all 'only' support DDR3-1333MHz, but the motherboard makers are really the ones who have a say in it.
In practice, 1600MHz (in comparison to 1333MHz) will create a small increase in speed, but beyond that it's not worth the money.
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March 23, 2012 1:42:15 AM

Best answer selected by neunelfer.
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