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Critique my build! and help with cpu choice

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April 23, 2012 1:59:17 AM

Hey guys, I am in the process of picking out parts for my first ever build, and I need help choosing a cpu/mobo combo. The two that I am looking at are the Intel 2550k and the AMD FX 8120. I would probably pair the Intel with a Biostar TZ77XE3 MOBO, and I am planing to pair the AMD with a Biostar TA990FXE MOBO. The rest of my build is as follows:

Graphics Card: EVGA superclocked Nvidia GTX 560

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 rpm internal hard drive

Memory: G. Skill Ripjaws X series 8gb (2x4gb) (DDR3 1600 for Intel / 1866 for AMD)

PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX600

Case: NZXT Phantom ATX Full Tower (Red)

Monitor: ASUS VS Series VS228H-P 21.5"

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Both the AMD combo and the Intel combo are about the same price, so money isn't a big deal. So i guess what I am asking is which processor is more future-proof and will perform better in games and highly-demanding engineering software? Another question is if i go for the Intel combo, should I wait it out for Ivy Bridge, and if so, why? In addition, are there any major bottlenecks within the build that I am overlooking, and how would I go about fixing them?

Any other suggestions are also welcome. Just keep in mind I have a budget of around $1200. Thanks!!!
April 23, 2012 2:41:57 AM

For FullHD gaming, you're sinking some good money into the other system, at this point in time, the best for gaming is the i5 2500k.

Your choice goes like this:

$200 for 8 core AMD CPU
$180 for USB 3.0 high end AMD mobo

$380
=100% performance


Or.

$300 for i5 2500(k)
$200 for mid level i5 mobo

$500
=150% performance

So, for a single full HD monitor, I would reccomend the latter, especially as games become more visually enhanced (I presume you want to keep for a few years) then you will still maintain decent enough FPS well into the future, as the i5 is much faster than the equivalent FX series and will not be a limiting factor for gaming in the future, allowing you to upgrade your GPU for (hopefully) years to come.

There will be an argument over this, FX vs Intel, but the simple fact is they COST more, they PERFORM better.

Edit: I noted your budget, what's your favourite website for deals, amazon NCIX etc and your country so that we can price up a good deal. Note, the i5 will most likely go over that, for reasons stipulated above, will be a better long term investment.
April 23, 2012 2:45:29 AM

some interesting things are around the corner for gpus and inel cpus so i say get everything except the gpu and cpu, wait 30 days, then get the cpu and gpu, or you could just get the intel combo, scale back on the cpu and get a better gpu
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April 23, 2012 3:40:02 AM

Yup - stand by for news on IB and whatever nVidia is announcing soonish.

And the i5-2500K is only $220 on newegg and no reason to spend more than ~$180 on a Z77 mobo from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, or ASRock. You could spend less for a mobo but you get what you pay for.

Better check the clearance of that RAM with the 212 Evo unless you plan to put the fan as pull or as a push turned toward the top. Not sure there.

You don't have a really large PSU (i.e. no SLI) or make mention of wanting a large water cooling setup so wonder if you really need a full tower. Could save some money there and get something like the 410 (similary appearance to the Phantom).

Think you're looking at being ~100 over budget but it would be worth it IMHO.
April 23, 2012 10:32:04 AM

Thanks for the suggestions! I am from America and I plan to do all my shopping from Newegg. Both of the builds I listed are at just under $1200 all pricing them from Newegg. So I'm guessing the general concensus here is wait for ivy bridge before I buy anything?
April 23, 2012 10:43:21 AM

Unless IGP interests you I dont think waiting has alot of merit.

I agree in your budget 2500k is a good choice FX are pretty cr@p at their pricepoint
April 23, 2012 10:50:50 AM

Wait and see what the reviews are like for ivy bridge, there are rumoured, JUST RUMOURED, problems with them like overheating,so you should you wait for IB to release and if the reviews are bad go with the i5 2500k because the price of that will drop when IB is released anyway :-)
April 23, 2012 11:57:35 AM

lpiotoole said:
Wait and see what the reviews are like for ivy bridge, there are rumoured, JUST RUMOURED, problems with them like overheating,so you should you wait for IB to release and if the reviews are bad go with the i5 2500k because the price of that will drop when IB is released anyway :-)

Sorry to burst your bubble, but they aren't rumors. It's been quite clear for weeks now that Ivy Bridge has serious heat issues (90C+ on the H100) when overclocked, both with the engineering sample and retail boxed CPUs.

As far as the OP is concerned, the 8120 is garbage compared to the 2500k. Not even a contest, the 2500k beats it at everything. Get either the 2500k (if you want to overclock) or the 3570k (if you don't plan to overclock) when it launches. Beats anything AMD has to offer. Don't let the AMD fanboys swing you with benchmarks where the framerates are GPU limited so they can hide the 30% lead the 2500k has over the fastest processor AMD has ever made.

It's like saying "Hey, you only need a $150 CPU, but go ahead and pay $250 for it because in cherry picked benchmarks it looks as good as Intel's $200 CPU." It's fanboyism at its best. If you're going to point to GPU bound benchmarks as a reason not to buy the 2500k, you'd better be suggesting a Phenom II instead.

There is no reason not to get the best bang for your buck. The 2500k has legendary bang for your buck, while Bulldozer has legendarily bad bang for your buck. Don't buy into the hype about them being 8 core (they're not). Get an Intel chip, you'll be happy you did.
April 23, 2012 12:08:55 PM

Cool so I think I'm definitely going for Intel, but I just need to decide to wait for Ivy Bridge or not. Also, are there any MOBOs anyone would recommend for the I5 under like $170? (pref. z77)
April 23, 2012 12:11:51 PM

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4/6. The 4 is $140 or so, the 6 is $175 or so.
April 23, 2012 12:37:20 PM

Why have you listed the GTX 560 and not a GTX 560ti? That would then split into 1GB, 2GB and even the 448 core models. The GTX 570 is a good suggestion but still fairly expensive compared to the ti's. Have not seen a real drop in price now the GTX 680s are out but maybe in the not to distant future from the rumours.

One thing to also seriously consider would be a smallish (100-120gb) SSD as your boot drive. They really do put some zip in any system. Once you've had one you don't want to go back.
April 23, 2012 12:54:59 PM

What i wanna know is why are you getting BIOSTAR? well lets just say its a def. Not my first choice Motherboards
April 23, 2012 12:57:51 PM

Define Engineering software? That's not hardcore software that only few computers can run? am i missing something?
April 23, 2012 1:48:47 PM

Without more detail on the "engineering software" it's hard to justify going one way or the other.

What is it? Does it support more than four cores? Is it coded to utilize one CPU type over the other?

Games are easy, get video card that runs faster than you need today. If new game come out that don't run fast on it, buy another and tie them together. My son has my old PC with an Intel CPU and a decent video card. ALL his games run at frame rates he's happy with. I offered him a second card to boost performance but he didn't need it ... today.

I don't like your drive choice if you applications are disk intensive. My personal computer has an SSD for boot and software. A "standard" for data. I would suggest a raid array of smaller drives if you need high performance. SSDs are still a bit flaky for heavy apps.

Only 1600 DDR3? I would go with a minimum 1866 if I were building a $1200 system.

I do play games but I do a lot of video encoding and my lowly FX4100 at 4.1Ghz. blows through my work faster than I need.
April 23, 2012 2:36:50 PM

Well I don't believe the engineering software is really a big deal, I am just about to begin an engineering major and I heard its somewhat demanding but it shouldn't be any problem.

I am going for ddr3 1600 because anything higher is considered overclocking for sandy bridge and most of the Intel mobos from what I've read, but I could be wrong.

I was thinking about an ssd but idk if I can fit it into my budget :/ 

I was thinking the same thing about the 560 ti as well, and I think the 560 should be able to power through anything I need.

As far as the mobo, I'm thinking the asrock extreme4 now, due to better reviews and reliability.
April 23, 2012 2:43:02 PM

Also I've decided on the nzxt phantom 410 now because its cheaper and should fit everything fine
April 23, 2012 3:50:32 PM

zconner33 said:
Also I've decided on the nzxt phantom 410 now because its cheaper and should fit everything fine


http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

just add windows 7 ..and be done ..I did the same but changed the case from a thor to a corsair 500r .., got a 500gb cuda instead of the 1tb, and replaced those memory stics to some munchkin 16gb for 90 some bucks and got me ansrock board the gen3 i should have kep the thsi asus

April 23, 2012 4:35:29 PM

zconner33 said:


I was thinking about an ssd but idk if I can fit it into my budget :/ 

I was thinking the same thing about the 560 ti as well, and I think the 560 should be able to power through anything I need.


Do try and squeeze the SSD into your budget you won't regret it, even if it's the smaller 60GB variety. Would take some file management but the speed gains are so worth it.

There can't be much in the way of price difference between the superclocked 560 and a vanilla 560ti, which you can easily overclock yourself with MSI Afterburner. I know which one I would prefer to have.
April 23, 2012 6:19:01 PM

Alright guys so here's my current build!

Processor: Intel I5 2550k

Mobo: asrock z77 extreme 4

Memory: 8gb G. Skill ripjaws x series ddr3 1600

Hdd: seagate barraccuda 7200 rpm 1Tb internal hard drive

Ssd: crucial m4 64gb internal ssd

Graphics card: EVGA superclocked gtx 560

Psu: xion axp-700k14xe (700w / 80+ bronze / 5 eggs on Newegg)

Case: nzxt phantom 410

CPU fan: cooler master hyper n 520

Monitor: asus vs228h-p 21.5"

OS: Windows 7 home premium
April 23, 2012 6:20:18 PM

1] 2500K / Z68 cost more than a 3570K and Z77, lucid MVP makes a difference in gaming so if you are not on a sandy already or on a low end sandy, then a Ivy is far more practical than going with soon to be redundant tech.

2] The real world gaming experience between the 2500k at $220 and 8120 at $180 is so over exaggerated in a callous manner, factor in the FX8120 pretty much trashing the 2500K in high thread count performance really makes the choice tricky if you can accept the Zambezi for what it is. Also a high end 990FX board can be bought for as low as $180, that gets you mainstream on the Intel platform.

So if you are asking me if your rig is good enough; Yes

I would maybe look into a better Graphics card where the net gains will be noticed more. If it means lowering on the Motherboard and losing the SSD then go for it, a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 is a good feature rich board for $100, saving the extra $70 on a SSD, if you take a $360 vs $500~ setup plus factor the above, you will have enough for a HD7950, my opinion is that a FX 8120 / HD 7950 thumps a 2500K with GTX 560 without any doubt.
April 23, 2012 6:44:21 PM

ASrock extreme 4 Z77 motherboard
i5 2500k / 3570k(or whatever the new one is)
RAM is good, GPU is good, get an SSD (60GB boot drive)
I wouldn't go with biostar for a motherboard
April 23, 2012 6:58:11 PM

60gb for windows 7 is to little ..at least 90 ...you need more than 60 after patches and downloads of drivers etc etc etc etc i have 90 gb ssd munchkin brand and already have 30 some left and I'm not done with the drivers ...everything else is on a separate drive (500gb cuda) going to get another 90 gb ssd for just diablo and gw2 ..so far warhammer wrath of heroes game is entertaining enough ..
April 23, 2012 7:59:18 PM

Fully patched Win 7 with adobe reader, flash, etc takes approx 26 GB. I have it on a 30GB partition with 4 GB free. So your SSD should be sufficient along with a games or two on it.

Unless you need really high overclocks grab the 3570K in a week. You can still get 4.2GHz or so with reasonable temps and power consumption.
April 23, 2012 7:59:58 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
April 23, 2012 8:05:47 PM

For an SSD, you should have 15% of the drive free.
April 23, 2012 11:46:55 PM

I believe Windows 7 is still only around 26 gb after patches and such, and I would probably only put about 2 games on the ssd, so I think 64 gb should be plenty of room. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Also, how in the world is a 2500k/z68 more expensive than a 3570k/z77? If that is true I will go for it, but idk if it is.

Another issue is whether or not there will be any major problems with Ivy Bridge seeing as it is just now coming out. First generation tech is always something i hear to stay away from :p 

April 24, 2012 12:09:53 AM

What 2 games do you plan to put on the SSD. My BFBC2 is around 5.5GB.
April 24, 2012 12:16:32 AM

If you are getting a ssd

I suggest you do (for the most part) what is listed in this link. Read over them and make sure you know what you are removing.

http://thessdreview.com/

Just doing the main important ones I have my OS on my SSD down to 12.5GB to 15GB depending on what all I do in that link.
April 24, 2012 5:46:44 AM

My suggestion was for a boot drive SSD not to store games or all your photos, music etc which can be stored on the 1TB drive. My Windows 7 64bit is 18.8GB fully patched with programs taking up an additional 8GB (no games). Add in some documents and it's still way clear of the 64GB mark so your SSD should be fine, although bigger would give you more room to chuck on some games if you desire. Moving the Restore and Virtual memory to the SSD is essential for space and longevity of the drive.

You don't have an optical drive listed. Do you have a donor drive or not plan to use one?

I think your build is pretty much there with regards to your budget. Don't forget to use Windows 7 64bit with your 8GB ram.
April 24, 2012 7:04:35 AM

Major_Trouble said:
My suggestion was for a boot drive SSD not to store games or all your photos, music etc which can be stored on the 1TB drive. My Windows 7 64bit is 18.8GB fully patched with programs taking up an additional 8GB (no games). Add in some documents and it's still way clear of the 64GB mark so your SSD should be fine, although bigger would give you more room to chuck on some games if you desire. Moving the Restore and Virtual memory to the SSD is essential for space and longevity of the drive.

You don't have an optical drive listed. Do you have a donor drive or not plan to use one?

I think your build is pretty much there with regards to your budget. Don't forget to use Windows 7 64bit with your 8GB ram.


If you have a 1TB full of games, you want something like the Crucial Adrenaline to boost your HDD for you.

Yes you could use a small regular SSD but where do you get legit well working software? I sure don't know like a lot of people so I went and picked up SSD cache w/ software included, installed OS onto my HDD from my other SSD, installed the software for ssd cache, voila. :D 

This is what my HDD is running at currently



Here is my Intel 320 series I bought last year



This is my Crucial M4 64GB, (would have just bought another one of these but I am glad I went with their Adrenaline for my HDD storage.)




I have over 100 games on my HDD including other things but I still felt like I was living in the stone age with it compared to my two SSDs. Now its equal (give or take) to my Intel 320 so... GG..

Gives me all my Crucial 64GB to use for large games and programs and doesn't have to work overtime with a OS on it as well.

You could go with the M4 64GB now and then pick up an Adrenaline later.

Longest process I went through was installing the OS onto my HDD. Once that was done and I installed the cache software... wow..
April 24, 2012 8:17:01 AM

I agree with you regarding the cache SSD to a point. The Adrenaline is still just a 50GB SSD used as a cache and some software (OS overheads).

The Adrenaline software will learn and, based on it algorithms, cache data most frequently accessed. If you ask for data not in the cache you're back to HDD speed. You could have just used the SSD to store your most frequently acessed / used stuff in the first place.

When these things are intergrated into the drive itself like my laptops Momentus XT 750Gb - 8Gb SS cache you get fast booting and the most accessed programs do open 'almost' as fast as a true SSD. It only has one drive bay otherwise I wouldn't have compromised and just split it like my desktop with a SSD boot and HDD storage.

We are digressing here with this SSD talk. The OP asked to comment on his build to get the most bang for his buck and I think he's done a pretty sound job so far.
April 24, 2012 8:39:41 AM

Major_Trouble said:
I agree with you regarding the cache SSD to a point. The Adrenaline is still just a 50GB SSD used as a cache and some software (OS overheads).

The Adrenaline software will learn and, based on it algorithms, cache data most frequently accessed. If you ask for data not in the cache you're back to HDD speed. You could have just used the SSD to store your most frequently acessed / used stuff in the first place.

When these things are intergrated into the drive itself like my laptops Momentus XT 750Gb - 8Gb SS cache you get fast booting and the most accessed programs do open 'almost' as fast as a true SSD. It only has one drive bay otherwise I wouldn't have compromised and just split it like my desktop with a SSD boot and HDD storage.

We are digressing here with this SSD talk. The OP asked to comment on his build to get the most bang for his buck and I think he's done a pretty sound job so far.


Find me a SSD for $160 that can store my 200+ games kty.

I did go with SSD boot, twice for 2 different ssds. Turns out the HDD loads faster than my Intel 320 series..

When you say "most frequently accessed" all I know is that it makes 99% of my HDD's aspects faster, as shown by the CrystalDiskMark.

Compare that to a Hybrid SSD + HDD momentus and your speeds won't look as nice (maybe read/write seq will but the rest no)

Yes I agree about the bang for buck, I am just trying to make the point that even with these dated HDDs we can still get fully saturated Sata II SSD performance. Compared to a Velociraptor 1TB which costs $330 just to get equal performance + equal space.
April 24, 2012 9:29:25 AM

akamrcrack said:
Find me a SSD for $160 that can store my 200+ games kty.

I did go with SSD boot, twice for 2 different ssds. Turns out the HDD loads faster than my Intel 320 series..

When you say "most frequently accessed" all I know is that it makes 99% of my HDD's aspects faster, as shown by the CrystalDiskMark.

Compare that to a Hybrid SSD + HDD momentus and your speeds won't look as nice (maybe read/write seq will but the rest no)

Yes I agree about the bang for buck, I am just trying to make the point that even with these dated HDDs we can still get fully saturated Sata II SSD performance. Compared to a Velociraptor 1TB which costs $330 just to get equal performance + equal space.


200+ games. You play them all over the course of a week? a month? the year? Just keep the ones you are currently playing on the SSD and be done. Move the ones you are not to the HDD. The fact you find 99% of the time your HDD drive is faster is because you are not pulling any data from outside the 50GB cache.

There could be many reasons why you have found your HDD + Adrenaline SSD to be faster than your Intel 320 SSD alone but if you look at Crucials site they show their Adrenaline performance compaired to an SSD drive after it's been run 3 x to help boost it's performance and it's still lower. I wouldn't take your CrystalDiskMark as definitive proof either. If you're happy with your performance, which is the important thing, I am not going to try to convince you otherwise.

I agree my hybrid Momentus XT will not perform as well as it only has a 8GB cache and a 2.5" drive but, like I said, I have no room for the SSD and a HDD combo which I would prefer. If I could I would still not go the Adrenaline route myself. Maybe I like to extract the most performance, with no compromise, rather than the easy route.

The big reason to go with the Adrenaline option is if you've already installed Windows on your current HDD but want near SSD performance, most of the time, but don't want to have to do another install / patch / install progs etc. Another benefit would be if your SSD fails you only loose performance and not your OS so you still have a usable machine and just need to replace the SSD.
April 24, 2012 10:21:51 AM

Major_Trouble said:
200+ games. You play them all over the course of a week? a month? the year? Just keep the ones you are currently playing on the SSD and be done. Move the ones you are not to the HDD. The fact you find 99% of the time your HDD drive is faster is because you are not pulling any data from outside the 50GB cache.

There could be many reasons why you have found your HDD + Adrenaline SSD to be faster than your Intel 320 SSD alone but if you look at Crucials site they show their Adrenaline performance compaired to an SSD drive after it's been run 3 x to help boost it's performance and it's still lower. I wouldn't take your CrystalDiskMark as definitive proof either. If you're happy with your performance, which is the important thing, I am not going to try to convince you otherwise.

I agree my hybrid Momentus XT will not perform as well as it only has a 8GB cache and a 2.5" drive but, like I said, I have no room for the SSD and a HDD combo which I would prefer. If I could I would still not go the Adrenaline route myself. Maybe I like to extract the most performance, with no compromise, rather than the easy route.

The big reason to go with the Adrenaline option is if you've already installed Windows on your current HDD but want near SSD performance, most of the time, but don't want to have to do another install / patch / install progs etc. Another benefit would be if your SSD fails you only loose performance and not your OS so you still have a usable machine and just need to replace the SSD.


Teach the average user how to move steam games from 1 hdd to another while keeping some on the SSD.

The SSD failure argument is pretty stale seeing how we are talking about a Crucial M4 drive, if it fails its most likely a user error.

Now please, what were you saying?
April 24, 2012 10:24:32 AM

Thanks for the help on the drive situation. I think I'm probably just going to stick with the small ssd to work as a boot drive and leave it at that. Also, I do have an optical drive already, which is why I didn't list it. Thanks!
April 24, 2012 10:41:20 AM

akamrcrack said:
Teach the average user how to move steam games from 1 hdd to another while keeping some on the SSD.

The SSD failure argument is pretty stale seeing how we are talking about a Crucial M4 drive, if it fails its most likely a user error.

Now please, what were you saying?


The average user is going to install a Adrenaline drive because he knows the benefits? Come on give those that do some credit.

As for drive failures have you done a search for "Crucial M4 failure" they are just as susceptible and not as bulletproof as you make out.
April 24, 2012 3:50:23 PM

Major_Trouble said:
The average user is going to install a Adrenaline drive because he knows the benefits? Come on give those that do some credit.

As for drive failures have you done a search for "Crucial M4 failure" they are just as susceptible and not as bulletproof as you make out.


better controller + new firmware = what u talkin bout willis?
April 24, 2012 4:30:31 PM

Oh I see you have done the search yet.
April 24, 2012 6:05:16 PM

Major_Trouble said:
Oh I see you have done the search yet.


The search about how in 5000hrs my drive will have some issue occur that was fixed with a firmware update?

Or the search about how noobs imporperly handled hardware and fried it, or was manufacturer's fault, or was act of nature.

What "research?"
April 24, 2012 7:07:21 PM

Yes all those plus the others you absent mindedly failed to mention.

My point is all hardware can fail, including your beloved Crucial, and using a Adrenaline configuration of SSD cache + HDD your machine will still boot and all you will lose is performance until the SSD is replaced. Which I am sure you will admit is a benefit.
April 24, 2012 7:30:11 PM

Why are you mentioning the obvious? What is telling him all hardware can fail going to accomplish?
April 24, 2012 10:26:32 PM

azeem40 said:
Why are you mentioning the obvious? What is telling him all hardware can fail going to accomplish?


Its like saying the world could end tomorrow lol

fallacies and generalizations made to fit his argument, I see there is no point in trying to make my own point when clearly he has his own point he wants to make instead.

So I will let him enjoy making his point by himself, alone while he is whackin and jackin it in San Diego.
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