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First build using leftovers from upgrades- advice appreciated!

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June 6, 2012 8:35:15 AM

Hello all- this is my first post here, but I have read the forum for quite a while. I am starting my first scratch build tomorrow though, and I figured I better have some experienced eyes look at my blueprint before starting to assemble anything. I have lots of experience with major tear-down/rebuild projects, and this build was actually a result of having leftover pieces unused or replaced from those endeavors. My most recent project was buying a Dell Inspiron 570 desktop on sale for around $250, then seeing what I could accomplish with the factory case, mobo and BIOS. The starting passmark system score was ~770, and the end result was a system score of 2868. I am hoping to exceed the perforamnce of that project here.

Approximate Purchase Date: all parts arrive tomorrow except for hard drive and opitcal drive.

Budget Range: around $200-$300 max for the hard drive, opitcal drive, and any other changes to the parts already listed as being purchased/on-hand.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: High resolution photography projects, 1080p video editing, web browsing and viewing streaming HD video on multiple monitors.

Parts on-hand from other projects: Phenom II X4 965 Black CPU, Asus HD 6850 graphics card, Asus HD 6670 graphics card, Corsair Vengence 8GB (2 x 4GB) PC3-15000 DDR3 RAM, Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-10600 DDR3 RAM, Logitech K800 Keyboard & M570 Trackball Mouse.

Parts ordered (can be exchanged): Asus M5A97 Motherboard, Cooler Master eXtreme 500W PSU, NZXT 210 Elite white case, NZXT 120mm fan (in addition to installed 140mm top and 120mm rear case fans),

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm CPU Cooler

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon- have gift credit left over, but will consider other established sites

Country: US

Parts Preferences: Like Asus and Corsair due to familiarity

Overclocking: Possible with research after complete

SLI or Crossfire: If it makes sense to do so with parts being used

Monitor Resolution: 32" 1080p LCD TV, 1920x1080 21.5" Acer LED, may run on single larger display later on.

Additional Comments: Would like to have 1TB+ storage, but at least 750GB of storage at minimum. Am considering newest Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid drive. Also, am willing to swap one of the two Asus graphics cards above with the HD 6870 I have currently running my i570 desktop. Also have a Panasonic BD-R drive I would be willing to move into this system and replace with cheap DVD-RW drive for i570. Also need advice on OS- I can get a copy of 7 Home Premium from friend, but am not married to either windows or the 7 platform.

Thanks for helping a newbie!
June 6, 2012 11:46:57 AM


Passmark is pretty much a useless metric -- not really representative of performance across various platforms.

Dependent upon your software, the Firepro V4900 1GB is $160 and will provide OpenCL hardware acceleration in Vegas11 and (possibly) CS6 <--- this seems to be a matter of debate under either OSX or Windows with either a desktop or workstation card, so some additional research is in order.

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June 6, 2012 10:53:29 PM

Wisecracker said:

Dependent upon your software, the Firepro V4900 1GB is $160 and will provide OpenCL hardware acceleration in Vegas11 and (possibly) CS6 <--- this seems to be a matter of debate under either OSX or Windows with either a desktop or workstation card, so some additional research is in order.


Thanks for the response- I'll do some research on workstation cards vs graphics cards. I'm also curious as to whether the hardware I have is all compatible with an OSX system? I have limited experience with OSX.

If I was looking for a temporary solution until I add a good workstation card (if I decide that's the best option), what sort of results might I get from ditching the PSU for something like a 750w or higher power supply, then using Crossfire to utilize both my 6850 and 6870 graphics cards at the same time? I know the X4 965 is a bit of an anemic processor to handle higher-end graphics setups, but the idea here has always been to make use of the perfectly good parts like that CPU and my graphics cards without spending a ton of cash. I'm also using this as a "guinea pig" for a build I'll design from the ground-up next, which will obviously include a much more appropriate processor and likely a single PCI-e card that's given a good size budget.

Also, I know Passmark is lacking as a real evaluation tool, so I'd be open to suggestions for any performance benchmarking program that gives more useful metrics.
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June 8, 2012 1:53:19 AM


I'd look for specific benchies tailored for your typical workflow in the software you use the most.

Look out for and avoid the 'dew-dads' or features that show great performance in certain tasks that you seldom, if ever, are going to use. Right? :lol: 

With more and more emphasis on compute and OpenCL, I suspect any modern quad-core processor can keep a "GPGPU" busy. This will most likely emphasize disk I/O and memory more so than pure CPU power.

Here is a link on Vegas11

Vegas Pro 11 is designed to take advantage of GPU acceleration for video FX, transitions, compositing, pan/crop, track motion and encoding. The series of test discussed below used an AMD FX 8150 8-core processor, 3.6 GHz, 8GB RAM, running Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit. The benchmarks evaluated preview and rendering with OpenCL GPU acceleration enabled on the AMD FirePro v4900 ...

Vishera (Zambezi with Piledriver cores) will be here soon enough. That should push something like the FX-8120 down to the $150-range. It will do some nice tricks in video editing and graphics. AMD projects Vishera a decent bump over the first Gen.

I'm not sure dual desktop cards are going to do you any good unless you want to heat things up. The V4900 doesn't require any external power and, theoretically with the right software and FirePro accelerators, you could run two of them.

The power draw is ridiculously low on a single card -- something like 55w.



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June 10, 2012 8:19:33 AM

Okay so last stupid question I promise- could I add a V4900 to another existing setup I have running an HD 6770 and somehow utilize both cards? Even if it was to run one screen from the V4900 and one from the HD 6770, I'd like to check it out side-by-side with a rig I am familiar with using already.
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June 12, 2012 10:42:07 PM


No real stupid questions --- only big, dumb guy replies [:lutfij:4]

You could probably do it but the configuration might get nasty, and the performance of both cards would suffer.

From a 'strict' compute standpoint, the HD6770 and V4900 are probably quite similar. Side-by-side benchies would be a hoot -- establish a baseline with the PhII965/970 and desktop HD6770. Over the next few years you will have some excellent upgrade opportunities.

Check out Tom's front page ...

Can OpenGL And OpenCL Overhaul Your Photo Editing Experience?

Interestingly enough, both CS6 & Musemage used OGL in their examples. I suspect that is where the V4900 would start to distance itself from the HD6770, with the Pro drivers and application accelerators for OpenGL making a big difference.



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