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Need help on first home-built Phenom 2 build!

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May 5, 2012 4:30:23 AM

Hi, you guys are great at answer my questions, so I thought I'd run my new rig by you.



CASE: CM Storm Enforcer http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Phenom II X4 975 BE
Cooler: Hyper 212 EVO
RAM: 8GB 1333mhz http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: GA-990FXA-UD3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Graphics card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 OC http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: 1TB WD Caviar Black http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS: Win 7 HP 64-bit retail
Optical drive: ASUS 24X DVD burner
Power supply: Thermaltake TR2-RX 850w semi-modular Power supply, Alteady own this.

I do NOT plan on overclocking my CPU

My questions to you guys:

1. Will this system need an exhaust fan on top, and if so, which setup is best: 1 200mm cooler master Megaflow fan, or 2 120mm fans?

2. Will this system run the latest games at 1080p at Max to near max settings at decent frame rates (40+), I plan to play Diablo 3, Tomb Raider (the one that isn't out yet), and the Max effect series. also, will this system handle newer games for the next 1 1/2 to 2 years? I forgot to mention that I'll probably play the new Call of Duty games as well!!

3. Is there anything here that you would change, and if so, what?

Thank you for your help
May 5, 2012 8:11:53 PM

actually, I changed my mind and decided on the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition OC, gives me a 5% overclock, which will give it a kick in the pants. Anyway, the fan(s) you can install go on top, so that helps pull heat out, heat rises and all! I just wanna know what is best, 1 200mm fan or 2 120mm. Please let me know
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 8:43:53 PM

Yes the rig will be fine for a few years of staying power.

I really don't think you have to be overtly concerned about the case fans. If you want, you can install a single 200mm fan on the top. I don't think theres going to be any real advantage with 2 120mms vs the single 200mm.
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May 5, 2012 8:58:46 PM

WOW, that was quick, lol. I just edited that message not 2 seconds ago. what do you think the difference would be between the 212+ and the EVO in this case? I may overclock it a little later, just figured I'd get the best I can afford and be ready in the future!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 9:37:44 PM

LOL, what can I say, I got a lot of time on my hands. Happens a lot in this economy.

The difference between those coolers will be probably unnoticeable. Phenom IIs tend to top out at 4.0-4.2GHZ, which is before extreme cooling solutions become a necessity.
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May 5, 2012 10:02:51 PM

Yeah, I read on WIKI I think that someone got a phenom 2 to 7.6 GHz on nitrogen or some such insane cooling system. HAHA, he's set for life! One more question, how much RAM can the phenom 2 support at 1333mhz? I hear that they can only run 2 sticks of RAM at that level, though I see you got 16GB. what did you have to do to do that?
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May 5, 2012 10:05:49 PM

On second thought I think 8GB is more then enough for gaming, at least I hope so. I want this bad boy to spit in the eye of any game I throw at it!!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 10:21:40 PM

Yea, they have gotten to 7.6GHZ, but in that test, they're running only a single core and just trying to push the one core as high as they can go. With all 4 cores running, its very rare to see one over 4.2ghz, for a daily overclock, honestly, if you make it to 4.0, thats damn good enough for a stable OC.

How much RAM depends on your motherboard. Your board can support 32GB in 4 8GB sticks. My RAM is 1600mhz rated RAM, however the rated speed is just the maximum supported speed it can run at, it doesn't necessarily have to, it may run higher or lower.. The Phenom IIs run DDR3 at 1333mhz by default, with my overclock mine is running at 1480 something (when you overclock the reference clock you also overclock the RAM).

As far as how I have 16GB, I have 2 8GB sticks on my board, although I'll admit it was a situation of my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I've never even needed 8GB since I built this system about 4 months ago.
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May 5, 2012 10:29:04 PM

I have a similar system, running a phenom 1090t. Whatever i throw at it, I've never used more than 5GB, so in my opinion 8GB is fine unless you do some insane multitasking! The Hyper 212 is a great cooler, but i would recommend getting a second fan for it if you want to OC
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 10:31:01 PM

Riftkiller126 said:
On second thought I think 8GB is more then enough for gaming, at least I hope so. I want this bad boy to spit in the eye of any game I throw at it!!

I assure you it will. :lol: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 10:39:06 PM

Riftkiller126 said:
Yeah, I read on WIKI I think that someone got a phenom 2 to 7.6 GHz on nitrogen or some such insane cooling system. HAHA, he's set for life! One more question, how much RAM can the phenom 2 support at 1333mhz? I hear that they can only run 2 sticks of RAM at that level, though I see you got 16GB. what did you have to do to do that?


Single core suicide run I bet you :)  Liquid nitrogen (LN2)
I have had 4.5GHz out of my 975 but I'm on insane water, 4.2GHz is about top for air and its not too slow hehe
Moto
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 10:43:50 PM

Motopsychojdn said:
Single core suicide run I bet you :)  Liquid nitrogen (LN2)
I have had 4.5GHz out of my 975 but I'm on insane water, 4.2GHz is about top for air and its not too slow hehe
Moto



Yea,, I got mine to 4.2, but I didn't like the temps I was getting with the Hyper520, so I dialed it back. Really for my typical computer usage I really don't need an overclock at all, my OC is a "because I can" thing.
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May 5, 2012 10:49:30 PM

okay, so in regards to RAM, do I need to do 2 sticks of 8GB 1333mhz to get it to work, or can it be 4 sticks of ram. This whole thing with dual channel and capacities is confusing. though putting that much ram AND have a CPU cooler may have some clearance issues, I plan to have the CPU cooler fan pointing up at the 200mm fan to aid in cooling (if I can rotate the heat sink that way)! and in regards to the 2nd fan on the cooler, do they make one for the EVO? and how do I set up the fans to work in tandem off the motherboard?
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May 5, 2012 10:53:21 PM

I also have heard that if you overclock your CPU, MMO's kick you off because they think your cheating or something. Like to see how a faster CPU can make you cheat!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 11:12:10 PM

You can use 1, 2, 3 or 4 RAM sticks, it doesn't matter. The whole thing about dual-channel is that instead of a single lane of data transfer you have 2. Imagine a 1 lane street vs a 2 lane street. It gives you a little bit more performance because the "traffic" doesn't have to yield to opposing traffic. You know how it is on a single lane street when a big truck comes down the other way, you have to pull over sometimes to make enough room for it to pass (I don't know if that makes it make more sense or not, LOL)

If you install 1 or 3 sticks of RAM the motherboard will run the RAM in "Single channel" mode. If you run 2 or 4 sticks of RAM it will run in Dual Channel. Ideally, I would install 2 4GB sticks in your system to give you 8GB total in dual channel mode.

As far as RAM getting in the way of a CPU cooler, I can say that my Corsair Vengeance (which is high profile) doesn't get in the way of my CPU cooler. and the 212 is pretty similar to the HyperN520, so you shouldn't have an issue there.

You really won't need the 2nd fan on the Evo honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you were to set up a second fan on it, any 120mm fan would do, and all you'd have to do is plug it into one of the fan headers of the motherboard. But like I said, with just the one fan on the cooler, despite the fact that it may look a little awkward with one fan, will be just fine performancewise.

I've never heard of an MMO kicking you off a server for overclocking. I'm not even sure they could tell what kind of clock speeds your computer is running in the first place.

Edited for clarity
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May 5, 2012 11:19:34 PM

that does make it easier to understand, thank you. I was just wondering what the phenom 2 can do with 4 sticks, because it (just what I read on a review for newegg, mind you) that the phenom 2 is only certified to 1333 by TWO sticks. Though I don't know of ANY game that needs more then 4GB of it! and as for the mmo thing, who knows, they be watching you, haha!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 11:25:00 PM

Well, keep in mind, not everyone who writes reviews on newegg actually knows what they're doing lol. I once worked at an Autozone for a year, oh the stories I could tell! Some people really shouldn't be allowed to work on their own cars. :lol:  But then again, not everyone who works at Auto parts stores knows what they're doing either.

Off topic I know but I recommend you try the following:
-Call a local auto parts store, ask them for a price on a set of spark plugs and wires for a 1996 Dodge RAM Cummins Diesel... (The trick: Diesel Engines don't have spark plugs)

-Ask for a price for a waterpump on a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle (The trick: They dont have waterpumps)

-The most obvious and cliched one but still a favorite: A flux capacitor for a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12

Back to what the Phenom II can do with 4 sticks.. nothing it can't do with 2.
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May 5, 2012 11:32:14 PM

You want a blast? try asking technical questions to someone at best buy! HAHA, absolute (frustrating) fun!! They sell it, shut up and buy it! Anyway, The only thing I am still scared of is the Hard drive, I have read enough reviews about ALL brands failing that I cringe. I have a desktop that has a Seagate barracuda 1TB in it, its an off the shelf system, but it still works, I thought about getting one for my new rig, tho the satisfaction rate on those is LOW! Too bad, they are 100 dollars for a 1 TB. what are the odds of me getting a hard drive that's a ticking time bomb that is gonna die in less then a month (let alone a couple years)?
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 5, 2012 11:38:27 PM

lol, I've run into those types too. Dare I say it, I've run into some of them on this forum. I generally am pretty good about admitting when I don't know something, I'm not perfect, but who is. I try to keep in mind that when doing build recommendations of troubleshooting that requires the purchase of parts that its not my money thats being spent, so in a way I feel that I have an obligation to make sure the advice I give is sound, or defer to someone more knowledgeable than myself if necessary. Some people don't have that level of restraint I suppose.

As far as hard drives, anything thats mass produced runs the risk of slipping between the cracks of quality control. Some models are better than others. Its pretty rare for a hard drive to fail, but as always, back up any important data before theres a problem and you'll be fine.
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May 5, 2012 11:46:53 PM

nekulturny said:
Well, keep in mind, not everyone who writes reviews on newegg actually knows what they're doing lol. I once worked at an Autozone for a year, oh the stories I could tell! Some people really shouldn't be allowed to work on their own cars. :lol:  But then again, not everyone who works at Auto parts stores knows what they're doing either.

Off topic I know but I recommend you try the following:
-Call a local auto parts store, ask them for a price on a set of spark plugs and wires for a 1996 Dodge RAM Cummins Diesel... (The trick: Diesel Engines don't have spark plugs)

-Ask for a price for a waterpump on a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle (The trick: They dont have waterpumps)

-The most obvious and cliched one but still a favorite: A flux capacitor for a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12

Back to what the Phenom II can do with 4 sticks.. nothing it can't do with 2.


just goes to show you how screwed businesses would be if the computers that ACTUALLY run them decides to crap out huh? We live in a world that (no offense to anyone) has lost that important "experience" thing, the only things with any of that have been programmed with it (online parts servers anyone)?
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May 5, 2012 11:52:39 PM

My biggest annoyance with a hard drive that takes a dump is Microsoft's "call us to reactivate your OS" crap, I bought retail Win 7 to make it so I didn't have to jump through hoops, makes upgrades easier too. So, would you think it mattered what brand of HDD I got, (there is only two now, Seagate and WD) not saying I want to be cheap, just that, why spend more then you have to? Don't care what the brand is, as long as I don't have to deal with a ton of hassles!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 12:01:07 AM

I've had both Western Digital and Seagate Hard drives, I've never had a problem with any of them.

Heh, I get a free copy of Windows7 Professional through my college's Microsoft Academic Alliance program. I have a license key I can use as many times as I want, no restrictions. I refuse to call microcrap!
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May 6, 2012 12:11:55 AM

lucky bastard! I plan on building my rig first, then running it for a week STRAIGHT! that will tell me if the drive will fail in the first month, not even gamers use their computers that long at a stretch, I plan on letting it idle when not in use, then use it when I want to. Call it a lazy mans stress test! lol. I just don't want any problems with this rig, its gonna cost me close to $830 to build (if I go with a WD Cav. Black) How big of a drive can you get when you are building a new single drive rig? 2GB? just wondering, I don't need that much space anyway! I might go with a seagate and save some money.
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May 6, 2012 12:15:46 AM

one thing, if your motherboard doesn't have SATA 2 connectors, do you need to get a SATA 3 hard drive? I am well aware that NO mechanical drive can flood that connection, just asking if the motherboard is smart enough to "switch" the connector to SATA2?
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 12:18:29 AM

Right now Seagate is better off than Western Digital, WD was hit harder by the Thailand flooding than Seagate, hence the better prices.

I think the biggest drive on the market today is 4TB, I think Seagate makes it and its insanely stupid expensive.

In my system I have 2 hard drives, I have a SATA III 500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue, and a slower but larger SATA II Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB as my bulk storage.

Higher than 2TB the price of drives becomes so expensive that its worth considering having multiple smaller capacity drives than single high capacity ones.

As far as poor mans stress tests, there are a few utilities you can download to check stability. Prime95, Cinebench are a couple. HWmonitor is a good program to keep an eye on your system temperatures and voltages.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 12:20:27 AM

Riftkiller126 said:
one thing, if your motherboard doesn't have SATA 2 connectors, do you need to get a SATA 3 hard drive? I am well aware that NO mechanical drive can flood that connection, just asking if the motherboard is smart enough to "switch" the connector to SATA2?



All of the SATA connectors are cross compatible. For example, if you plugged a SATA III drive into a SATA II it would work, and vice versa. However, the SATA II port with a SATA III hard drive would be limited to SATA II transfer rates, but you're correct no HDD can flood the connection, so its not really an issue.
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May 6, 2012 12:23:26 AM

If it was you building this rig, would you go with the Caviar Black, or the Barracuda? and as far as I know there is no utilities that test hard drives!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 12:27:03 AM

Honestly, Id go with whichever is cheaper. Like I said, I've never had any complains about either brand. I bought the Caviar Blue for my boot drive and added the Seagate as my backup storage a month later, it was cheaper than a comparable Western Digital 2TB.
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May 6, 2012 12:32:32 AM

Okay, I got one last question. The case I chose has a hard drive mounting system that consists of these plastic "runners" that slide into the drive bays. it's odd, and my only question on this is, how secure is that? seems kinda flimsy to me! just to let you know, I play games on a 25" 1080p HDTV, not that that will affect the 7870, would it?
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May 6, 2012 12:35:25 AM

the runners btw, are two pieces, one goes on each side of the drive!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 12:40:25 AM

CoolerMaster makes pretty decent cases, so I would trust it to be secure enough. It looks like from the pictures on newegg that the runners are secured by the walls of the hard drive case, so it should hold just fine unless you dropped the case down a flight of stairs or something.

As far as playing on a TV, I honestly don't know. Different resolutions of TVs and monitors is a bit alien to me, as I'm the kind of person who says "a monitor is a monitor"
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May 6, 2012 12:46:53 AM

It has a PC mode, so it plays at 1920 x 1080 like a monitor, so I don't see what the difference could be! it goes thru the HDMI as well. hope the graphics card comes with a mini-hdmi to full HDMI adapter. that reminds me, does the case secure the graphics card with a screw? it looks like it does, but the pictures aren't that detailed (not to mention zoomed in enough to show it)!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 12:50:59 AM

It should work fine if it has a PC mode. Looks like the card comes with a VGA to DVI adapter as well as a mini HDMI to HDMI, so you should be covered.

Looks like to me from zooming in that it uses Philips screws. Idiots couldnt spent another penny on thumb screws I guess. Oh well.
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May 6, 2012 1:06:31 AM

okay, thank you. God I feel bad for pestering you, but I'm wondering, would a Caviar blue 1TB be good for a single drive gaming rig or should I go for the "high performance" drives? I don't for the life of me see a difference in performance between them myself!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 1:26:51 AM

Dont' worry about it.. I don't mind.

The Caviar Blue or Black HDD is fine, RPM speed of a hard drive doesn't equal faster performance (for example those expensive 10,000RPM drives), in most cases it just means higher electricity draw. Obviously the SSDs outperform, but thats a whole nother ball game.
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May 6, 2012 1:36:22 AM

Okay, I may have a problem, I just looked at a photo of the case with a fan mounted on top, and I don't think a hyper 212 evo is gonna fit with one on! its the review on this page with a video. The clip shows it pretty close to the stock fan on the intel processor in use http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Computer-Cooling-R4...
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 2:11:45 AM

Yea, that does look pretty tight. I would forget the top fan for now and see if it would fit when you have the evo installed if you still want to go with that case. Honestly, that top fan is going to be a luxury item. The fan on the back of the case can handle the exhaust for the CPU.
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May 6, 2012 2:27:32 AM

Whistles, wait a minute, FREE SHIPPING? WTH?Lucky, Yea, but that a REAL luxury item, the 410 is anyway. Big enough to park a Cadillac in and STILL have room for a Freakin' SWEET rig! Figures if you pay 30 dollars more you get free shipping, pricks! Then again, looks for me, kinda take a backseat to the way it holds your expensive parts, but you gotta admit, mine ain't too bad either! Side window is bigger, haha!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 2:34:41 AM

LOL, well the nice thing about good cases is you can use them for many builds.

Newegg is pretty good on the free shipping usually. I don't know how they determine what gets free shipping and what doesn't though. and yea the CM Storm is a pretty nice looking case too. I trust CoolerMaster to make cases and CPU coolers, but damn I wouldn't buy one of their power supplies. I think they finally managed to make one that wasn't a piece of trash, but between me and you I'll stick with Corsair.
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May 6, 2012 2:45:37 AM

My thermaltake was called a piece of trash by someone on the forums, said it was more like a 600w or so. Thinking I might take the plunge and get the phantom. Ha, they probably look at the items and say "that's gonna sell good, 9.99 shipping" or that's gonna sell BETTER, FREE shipping" tho, the funny thing is the full size phantom LACKS USB 3.0 on the front, odd! Nah, this case is steel like the phantom, just doesn't have that removable HDD rack, DAMN good idea! everything else is the same, mostly!
Should last for a few builds, Though I have no plans to build again for a few years, (or never depending on 12/24/2012 or whatever the end of the world date is, what crap).
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May 6, 2012 2:56:51 AM

Oh wait, yeah my case has that too nevermind! rotatable too! tho I don't get THAT feature!!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 3:09:15 AM

LOL.. The full size phantoms shipped in 2 generations, originally they had 2 USB 2.0s on the front panel, but at some point they changed it to have 1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.0.. Mine has the latter configuration.

Ha, don't get me started on the 2012 people and the "Rapture" believers... my dear mother is one of those people who believes that the world is going to end soon... Funny, I don't remember reading in the Bible that the world actually was going to end. Jesus mentioned an end of an age, not the world.. But some people make it to mean what they want.
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May 6, 2012 3:27:17 AM

Yeah, I'm still waiting on the VW bus full of cheerleaders but, sigh, hasn't happened yet! tryin to think of what else to put in this beast. thought about a wifi card, but I got a rosewill usb that works fine, gets hot, but works. If it ain't broke don't fix it! Sound card? nah, onboard is good enough for gaming and music listening, don't have a 5.1 surround system anyway. (Dad does tho, ha, he scared the crap outta my mother when he turned it on for the first time. Helicopter came from "behind" her and she yelled at him, haha). Alright, well thanks for the help and good info. Last I checked the mayan calender said something about starting over or end of an age too..... hmmmm. Oh, I know, it STOPS at 2012. nevermind the fact that they are a "dead" civilization, and are presently unable to keep revising their calendar! Thanks again!!
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May 6, 2012 3:34:40 AM

HAHA, just remembered something, I hope to HELL my Processor (which I have in my hand in it's box) ISN'T a dud! That would SUCK!! haha
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May 6, 2012 3:36:17 AM

And why did you go with a GTX 550 Ti, I have that card and it's kinda lacking. tho it runs MMO's pretty decently, so I withdraw my comment!
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May 6, 2012 3:38:09 AM

Best answer selected by Riftkiller126.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2012 10:29:48 AM

I wish I had of gotten the 6870. At the time the 550 TI was 160 bucks. I usually stuck with Nvida cards simply for the fact that I'm more familiar with their numbering system.. (what a stupid reason eh??) But either way, Runescape is the game I play most of the time, so its fine.
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May 6, 2012 9:27:45 PM

makes sense, that's not that hefty a game. The 550 can run RIFT pretty well as I recall, I have dial up, so I can't vouch for it's grace under a 25 man raid, but other than that it worked fine!
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