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Homebuilt System Compatibility/Performance

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September 15, 2012 4:47:02 AM

Hello all,

This is my (theoretical) first homebuild system. My number one concern is that the mobo,CPU, and vid card are compatible and will work well together, although if there are any other issues please scream. Will there be any major bottlenecking issues if I use the proposed vid card with this mobo? I'm having issues finding am3+ mobos that are pcie2.1 or greater. Anyways, here's the build:

Computer Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER
Video Card: Radeon HD 6950
CPU: AMD FX-4170 4.2GHz (4.3GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ Quad-Core Desktop Processor
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AMD
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
Power: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power Power Supply
a b B Homebuilt system
September 15, 2012 5:35:54 AM

First.
There are no AMD motherboards that support PCI-E 3.But that't not an issue because PCI-E 3 is backwards compatable.
Everything else looks.... OK
BUT you can improve it a lot without spending extra money.

You can do that by either
You should either save some money by changing the Processor to a Phenom II X4 965.And buying a cooler to overclock it.
The Phenom is as fast as the FX at stock but when it's overclocked it becomes even faster.

Or you could just buy a cheap H61 motherboard and buy a Intel Core i5.This option will provide the best gaming performance but you'll be stuck on a dead platform.

You should also definetly upgrade the graphics card to either a HD 6870 or a GTX 560.They are a lot faster than a HD 6850 and cost almost the same.
Also there is no need for more than 4GB ram for gaming only.8GB is recommended if you multitask while gaming and 16GB is just pointless.You will get NO performance boost from it.No matter what you do 8GB will be more than enough.

And with the saved money from that you can upgrade to an even better graphics card like the GTX 660.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Which will give you a huge performance boost.

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September 15, 2012 6:10:47 AM

I considered your first option, but with my limited knowledge I'm basically choosing to go for my first homebuild without complicating it further with OC detail. I'll definitely look into the Phenom II x4 965. Who knows though, overclocking is a tempting option and I may end up taking you up on that.

As for the graphics card, the 6850 was a typo, the 6950 is the card I am looking at (and I think that changes things a bit - I edited my original post). Reasonable price to benchmark score ratio.

The RAM I was unsure about, but it would certainly be nice if I could scrape a few bucks by eliminating unused resources.

So to recap, my new questions would be:
-Is the 6950 worth the money?
-If I do decide to get a Phenom II x4 965 and overclock, I will need to by an aftermarket CPU cooler, yes?
-If I get an aftermarket CPU cooler, will the Rosewill Challenger have sufficient space to pack it in? A few of the reviews I read had said that if you get an aftermarket cooler you may have trouble getting it in the case.


Thanks for the response and some things to consider.
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September 15, 2012 6:21:59 AM

What is your budget? Do you live in the US?
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September 15, 2012 6:23:03 AM

6950 is obsolete. A 7850 smashes it and use less power to boot. I'd also avoid anything AMD until Piledriver comes out. Its simply too slow.
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September 15, 2012 6:47:58 AM

iknowhowtofixit said:
What is your budget? Do you live in the US?


Well, the budget can fluctuate but I'd like to keep it in it's current range simply out of prudence (or something). The build that I posted came out to around $770 without shipping. However, I live up in Alaska so shipping is an arm and a leg.
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September 15, 2012 6:48:08 AM

Here is a well balanced build for you to look at: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/huGS

Save $25 (plus get a free 16GB flash drive)- PSU + Case combo - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Save $11 - FX4170 + Samsung DVD Burner Combo - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Save $10 - Motherboard + Heatsink combo - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total combo savings = $46
pcpartpicker.com = $696.90 (after $20 MIR)
Total after Newegg combos = $650.90 (after $20 MIR)
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September 15, 2012 6:53:19 AM

fathairybeast said:
Well, the budget can fluctuate but I'd like to keep it in it's current range simply out of prudence (or something). The build that I posted came out to around $770 without shipping. However, I live up in Alaska so shipping is an arm and a leg.


With that budget, you can jump up to an HD7950 using the other parts of the build I listed:
HIS iceQ HD7950 - $320 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE HD7950 - $280 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The HD7950, depending on which one you choose, is $80-$120 more.

Benchmarks for you:
HD6950 vs HD7870 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/510?vs=548
HD6950 vs HD7950 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/510?vs=550
HD7870 vs HD7950 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/548?vs=550

Keep in mind that the HD7950 is a monster when it comes to overclocking too.
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September 15, 2012 6:54:09 AM

Smeg45 said:
6950 is obsolete. A 7850 smashes it and use less power to boot. I'd also avoid anything AMD until Piledriver comes out. Its simply too slow.


That was a concern when I was putting together my build. I've seen others cautioned away from building with AMD until the new line (PD) come out. Truthfully, I would rather buy a slower processor now then wait until an undetermined date in 2013... this homebuild is a combination of a homebuild/hobby and gaming. I don't necessarily need the cutting edge.

Thanks for the heads up on the 6950.
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September 15, 2012 6:58:11 AM

fathairybeast said:
That was a concern when I was putting together my build. I've seen others cautioned away from building with AMD until the new line (PD) come out. Truthfully, I would rather buy a slower processor now then wait until an undetermined date in 2013... this homebuild is a combination of a homebuild/hobby and gaming. I don't necessarily need the cutting edge.

Thanks for the heads up on the 6950.


Not cutting edge. My FPS jumped minimum 15% with an Intel i5. AMD really has fallen behind. Far behind.
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September 15, 2012 7:03:33 AM

Smeg45 said:
Not cutting edge. My FPS jumped minimum 15% with an Intel i5. AMD really has fallen behind. Far behind.


Same build on an unlocked core i5: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/huJr

Total combo savings = $25
pcpartpicker.com = $837.91 (after $20 MIR)
Total after Newegg combos = $812.90 (after $20 MIR)


Intel = $812.90
AMD = $650.90
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September 15, 2012 7:05:09 AM

iknowhowtofixit said:
With that budget, you can jump up to an HD7950 using the other parts of the build I listed:
HIS iceQ HD7950 - $320 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE HD7950 - $280 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The HD7950, depending on which one you choose, is $80-$120 more.

Benchmarks for you:
HD6950 vs HD7870 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/510?vs=548
HD6950 vs HD7950 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/510?vs=550
HD7870 vs HD7950 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/548?vs=550

Keep in mind that the HD7950 is a monster when it comes to overclocking too.


So I guess my only concern would be will the pcie2.0 on the motherboard bottleneck the 7950? By the way, your suggestions are pushing me dangerously close to going from 'a decent gaming rig' to 'things just got serious'...thanks for that.
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September 15, 2012 7:10:15 AM

fathairybeast said:
So I guess my only concern would be will the pcie2.0 on the motherboard bottleneck the 7950? By the way, your suggestions are pushing me dangerously close to going from 'a decent gaming rig' to 'things just got serious'...thanks for that.


For some reason I've always enjoyed tinkering with rig configs. :pt1cable: 

http://www.overclock.net/t/1188376/hardwarecanucks-hd-7...
The results couldn’t be any clearer: the HD 7970 doesn’t benefit in any way from a PCI-E 3.0 link to the CPU.

Obviously if the HD7970 isn't bottlenecked, the HD7950 won't be either. Also, you won't see a 15% difference in gaming performance like Smeg45 said. The difference in most games will be insignificant with the graphical goodies turned on.

Just to give you a comparison, I game at 1920x1080 on a Phenom II 955 and an HD4890. In 95% of games out there (including AAA games released this year), I'm still able to turn on most the graphical goodies and with some minor tweaking even turn on some AA and AF.
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September 15, 2012 7:17:01 AM

Smeg45 said:
Not cutting edge. My FPS jumped minimum 15% with an Intel i5. AMD really has fallen behind. Far behind.


I can't explain it logically, but I am strongly inclined to go with AMD despite Intel's reputation for producing faster processors. I think it may be part cost, part overclocking ability.
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Best solution

September 15, 2012 7:23:14 AM

fathairybeast said:
I can't explain it logically, but I am strongly inclined to go with AMD despite Intel's reputation for producing faster processors. I think it may be part cost, part overclocking ability.


I understand how you feel. I've always been more inclined to go with AMD despite their short comings. Its always more fun to root for the little guy anyway.

Good luck to you if you end up ordering tonight. I'm hittin' the sack... :hello: 
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September 15, 2012 7:24:47 AM

fathairybeast said:
I can't explain it logically, but I am strongly inclined to go with AMD despite Intel's reputation for producing faster processors. I think it may be part cost, part overclocking ability.


OC'd still can't match Intel. If you do go AMD and experience how creaky it is, it will cost a lot more for an i5. I would know, I chucked my 965 two weeks ago. The difference is huge.
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September 15, 2012 7:24:55 AM

iknowhowtofixit said:
For some reason I've always enjoyed tinkering with rig configs. :pt1cable: 

http://www.overclock.net/t/1188376/hardwarecanucks-hd-7...
The results couldn’t be any clearer: the HD 7970 doesn’t benefit in any way from a PCI-E 3.0 link to the CPU.

Obviously if the HD7970 isn't bottlenecked, the HD7950 won't be either. Also, you won't see a 15% difference in gaming performance like Smeg45 said. The difference in most games will be insignificant with the graphical goodies turned on.

Just to give you a comparison, I game at 1920x1080 on a Phenom II 955 and an HD4890. In 95% of games out there (including AAA games released this year), I'm still able to turn on most the graphical goodies and with some minor tweaking even turn on some AA and AF.



Sounds like bottlenecking is severely overestimated. Nearly every thread I come across bottlenecking is one of the major terms. Anyways, there is one less thing to worry about.

Regardless, I've just been slammed with about 10x more information than I could process at one point. I'm going to assess all of my options, do another cost analysis on NewEgg with shipping included, and then adjust my choices accordingly.

Thanks for all the help to everyone who posted.
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September 15, 2012 7:26:21 AM

Best answer selected by fathairybeast.
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September 15, 2012 7:39:54 AM

iknowhowtofixit said:
For some reason I've always enjoyed tinkering with rig configs. :pt1cable: 

http://www.overclock.net/t/1188376/hardwarecanucks-hd-7...
The results couldn’t be any clearer: the HD 7970 doesn’t benefit in any way from a PCI-E 3.0 link to the CPU.

Obviously if the HD7970 isn't bottlenecked, the HD7950 won't be either. Also, you won't see a 15% difference in gaming performance like Smeg45 said. The difference in most games will be insignificant with the graphical goodies turned on.

Just to give you a comparison, I game at 1920x1080 on a Phenom II 955 and an HD4890. In 95% of games out there (including AAA games released this year), I'm still able to turn on most the graphical goodies and with some minor tweaking even turn on some AA and AF.


Rubbish. The 4890 would die at 1080p at any modern game - forget Max Payne 3 or Sleeping Dogs or Metro 2033 or the Witcher 2. Forget DirectX 11 too. What AAA games this year? And no, generic console ports like Skyrim don't count. You'll be able to turn AA up at 1024x768. I personally witnessed a 15% increase, quantifiable across nearly every game. Right now AMD is utterly useless for gaming and that 4890 belongs in the bin along with the 955.
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