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$1500 AMD Build – What should I have done better?

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February 13, 2013 9:10:24 PM

So I have finished my new PC.

Primary use is gaming @1440p, but I may do a bit of VM / SQL server / Video encoding at times. Also for gaming I don’t really play multiplayer FPS games and I don’t need everything on Ultra with max AA etc…I am happy with everything so far (even windows 8).


I also had some goals for my build.
Goal # 1: support AMD (so I did not consider any Intel /Nvidia parts) – Success :D 

Goal #2 : upgrade from 1080P to 1440P for my Monitor - Done and Happy so far with 1440P

Goal #3 : re-purpose old parts for family and friends (so I did not sell anything). I gave my old PC along with a new 6670 vid card to my Nephew (Phenom 2 X3), My old 27” 1080P monitor is used by my GF in her home office as she works from home about 40% of the time, and finally my GTX460 is going to my brother as an upgrade for his 9800GT.

The only parts I did not buy (I re-used) are my speakers, keyboard, mouse, heat sink, and 2nd HDD.

I purchased OS, all core parts, and a new Monitor. Also let’s assume I have plenty of data storage on other PCs that I can transfer to if needed.

I got the parts over the last month or so through various deals. I’m less interested in things like I could get part X for $70 instead of part Y for $80. I am more interested in people’s opinions on things like amount of RAM, CPU chosen / MB chosen etc…I feel that the two areas I could have done better were perhaps buying a new heatsink or getting a 7950 instead of a 7870 Tahiti, Or perhaps somewhere else.

For a few items that I bought at Microcenter I paid Sales tax

CPU / MB - FX-8320 and Gigabyte 990FX –UD3 combo for ($290 combo incl. tax at Microcenter)

Heat sink – Cooler Master Vortex plus – this is basically a $20 sink that is better suited to an HTPC ($0 used what I had) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - Sapphire 7870 XT (Tahiti) ($245 with free tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite)

Ram - G-Skill RAM (2x8GB) 1866Mhz CL- 9 ($75)

SSD - SanDisk Extreme 240GB ($170)

HD2 – an old WD 7200 RPM 250GB drive I have ($0 and is only used for storing large/ rarely used files, I have additional storage if needed)

PSU – Thermaltake Smart 750W Modular PSU -80 plus Bronze – ($70)

Optical - DVD Drive ($18)

Case – Zalman Z9 Plus ($40)

OS - Win 8 OEM ($80)

Monitor – Auria 27” 2560 x 1440 IPS ($430 incl. tax at Microcenter) – MC has a great return policy.

Total Cost = $1,420 (well I guess I beat my budget by $80 in the end)

So my main questions are around what could I have done better?

The main things I am wondering are :

1 – Should I have gone with a 6300 or 8350 instead of the 8320?

2 – For GPU would I have been better off going with the 7950 instead of 7870 XT/LE (Tahiti)?

3 – Is it worth it to get a new HS for a bit more OC? My current HS is keeping temps low at current settings but I can’t overvolt and seem to be stable at about 4.1GHz.

4 – Should I have only bought 8GB RAM? I know it is not usually going to be needed but for around $30 I went for it.

5 – Any other thoughts or criticisms?



More about : 1500 amd build

February 13, 2013 9:31:35 PM

congratz on trying to support.

the best cpu i think is the 8350 for gaming (well the one to get) I think you couldve spent less on motherboard and more elsewhere... but i spent 300$ on my mobo as well :p .
here is a benchmark test and you can see the 8350 comes out a little bit more on top
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/fx-8350-83...


i wouldve taken the 7950 instead of 7870 and then if needed just overclock that one... basically just cuz its a higher tier.

i took 16gb ram as well... but people say it dont matter for gaming ... i dont care :D  4 years from now this will still be my primary computer and im sure by then the use of resources will expand just like with my last build.

i wouldve gone with corsair PSU or seasonic but i think the thermaltake is not bad either

the case you chose has only usb 2.0 in front.. this one here is a great mid tower case with quite a bit of room inside
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...


windows 7 is a lot better for gaming.. and i think you should get that

also get a new heatsink, 212Evo coolermaster (just cuz old one has been exposed to temperatures that may have effected the contact surface as well as the performance of it aint good as new anymore, if you have budget then go for the new one)




those are some of my thoughts
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February 13, 2013 11:07:29 PM

Windows 7 is not better for gaming.

Just get what's cheaper between the two.
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February 13, 2013 11:29:30 PM

Stick with the 8320 . Its only fractionally slower than an 8350 and you could change your BIOS in about 7 seconds to run it at well beyond 8350 speeds

You dont need 16 gig of RAM for a gamer . 2 x4 gig is more than enough
and the money you save will pay for a CM hyper 212 or Xigmatek GAIA cpu cooler

Your build needs a 600 watt psu and even then it has a decent amount of overhead

Win 8 games the same as 7 . It has a much better license without the oem restrictions that lock 7 to a motherboard .
Basically you can take it off that comp in 3 years time and install it on another one .
There is a learning curve , and you will probably want a start button .
Im using a free open source download called Classic Shell . Works well
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February 13, 2013 11:43:21 PM

gussrtk said:
there are obvious compatibility issues with win8.... that's the point.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/124170-13-windows-gam...


Vaguely interesting but since the issue is not win 8 but almost certainly drivers from AMD and nVidia , AND THEY HAVE BOTH BEEN UPDATED IN THE LAST 3 MONTHS since that thread was written there is no reason to not use win 8

I have never seen any graphics driver problems with win 8
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February 14, 2013 4:17:05 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Stick with the 8320 . Its only fractionally slower than an 8350 and you could change your BIOS in about 7 seconds to run it at well beyond 8350 speeds

You dont need 16 gig of RAM for a gamer . 2 x4 gig is more than enough
and the money you save will pay for a CM hyper 212 or Xigmatek GAIA cpu cooler

Your build needs a 600 watt psu and even then it has a decent amount of overhead

Win 8 games the same as 7 . It has a much better license without the oem restrictions that lock 7 to a motherboard .
Basically you can take it off that comp in 3 years time and install it on another one .
There is a learning curve , and you will probably want a start button .
Im using a free open source download called Classic Shell . Works well


I went with the 750 for future crossfire (but I probably won't end up doing it and should have gone with a 600.

Yeah I think the CPU cooler was the one missing item. It worked fine on my phenom but that was a 95 watt part and it just can't handle the 125 when you put more volts in it.

Win 8 is fine with me. I don't have that big of an issue with the start screen like many do.
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February 14, 2013 4:17:24 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Stick with the 8320 . Its only fractionally slower than an 8350 and you could change your BIOS in about 7 seconds to run it at well beyond 8350 speeds

You dont need 16 gig of RAM for a gamer . 2 x4 gig is more than enough
and the money you save will pay for a CM hyper 212 or Xigmatek GAIA cpu cooler

Your build needs a 600 watt psu and even then it has a decent amount of overhead

Win 8 games the same as 7 . It has a much better license without the oem restrictions that lock 7 to a motherboard .
Basically you can take it off that comp in 3 years time and install it on another one .
There is a learning curve , and you will probably want a start button .
Im using a free open source download called Classic Shell . Works well


I went with the 750 for future crossfire (but I probably won't end up doing it and should have gone with a 600.

Yeah I think the CPU cooler was the one missing item. It worked fine on my phenom but that was a 95 watt part and it just can't handle the 125 when you put more volts in it.

Win 8 is fine with me. I don't have that big of an issue with the start screen like many do.
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February 14, 2013 5:16:20 AM

The thing about having an AMD GPU with an AMD CPU is that the GPU will run slower on the AMD CPU instead of the intel counterpart just letting that out there.

I myself would go Nvidia since the 670 does not need a strong single thread to run as much as the 7970 of course it is your choice to keep the 670 just giving my advice.

also i would have gotten the samsung 2x4GB ram for around $40 at microcenter since 8GB is all you will need and the ram overclocks like a beast

also this SSD is pretty great
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/plextor-internal-hard-driv...
around the same price and has a marvell controller
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February 14, 2013 5:33:12 AM

aside from the cooler master heatsink (i have some real bad beef against them), i'd say it's a pretty good build for an all-rounder amd build. though for the same price intel would be faster. its still great to see someone rallying under the banner of amd. that earns you my respect... for whats it worth.
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February 14, 2013 12:49:35 PM

boulbox said:
I myself would go Nvidia since the 670 does not need a strong single thread to run as much as the 7970 of course it is your choice to keep the 670 just giving my advice.





I went with a $250 part (Spaphire 7870 XT - the tahiti based card). Beyond wanting to support AMD it is also because AMD tends to do better at higher resolution. if you look at the summary FPS charts in this link :
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Club_3D/HD_7870_joke...
you can see the following order:

for 1920 by 1200 (% are relative FPS perf on over 15+ games vs a 7870 LE)
Standard 7870 (92% perf compared to my card)
Tahiti based 7870 (100% - basically my card)
660TI (101%)
7950 (103%)

for 2560 by 1600 (% are relative FPS perf on over 15+ gamesvs a 7870 LE)

Standard 7870 (91% perf compared to my card)
660TI (97%)
Tahiti based 7870 (100% basically my card)
7950 (105%)

(TH's chart show a bigger lead for the 7870LE vs 660TI at their extreme index chart)

Since I was going for 2560 by 1440 I felt that AMD is better because for my resolution the $250 part outperforms a $280 to $300 Nvidia part. However, I know there are other considerations that some people like about Nvidia (not looking to start a nvidia vs AMD thread).


Also you mention that AMD CPUs hold back AMD GPUs and that they don't hold back Nvidia as much. Do you have a link that shows this for setups like mine (not something like 2 cards in crossfire vs 2 cards in SLI)? I would be curious to read through it.
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