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post #1 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
 
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Desktop Computer Buying Discussion

Im getting it from Memory Express, and they are going to assemble it. Do you know any other good sites that allow you to assemble a computer online?

Case:

Cooler Master-Elite 310 /w window.- $47.99

Scythe
Mini-KAZE ULTRA 40mm x 20mm Silent Mini Fan- $4.99

1M blue LED lighting.

Processor:

AMD Phenom™ II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz w/ 8MB Cache (Retail Box, Socket AM3)- $99.99

SCythe Ninja 3 CPU Cooler- $44.99


Motherboard:

Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H w/ Radeon HD 4250, DualDDR3 1333, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, 1394, Hybrid CrossFireX, HDMI-$102.99


RAM MEMORY:

8GB Ripjaws X Series PC3-12800 Dual Channel DDR3 Kit (2 x 4GB) - $76.99

Power Supply:
VX 550W Power Supply w/ 120mm Fan-$89.99



How is all of this looking in regards to:

-Is the case big enough, and does it have enough cooling?

-Is there enough cooling? Is there too much (like can I take away some of the fans to save money)?

-How good is the processor? Should I pay an extra $100 and get a Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition 3.2 GHz /w 9MB cache (or for the same price of $199, should I get the X6 1100T /w 3.3 GHz?


-How well will the motherboard work with the processor? Any recomendations?

-Is the power supply good enough? I plan to install 2 1 TB harddrives ( WD 1TB Caviar Blue7200rpm SATA III w/ 32MB Cache),

a blu ray burner ( LG
CH12 Super Multi Blue 12x Internal SATA Blu-ray Disc Reader / Combo Drive, Black w/ Lightscribe),

and maybe another video card (itll be around 450-550W).

Will the PSU be enough?


How good are the HDD (In regards to speed and if they will work well with my motherboard) and how good is the blu ray burner?


If not this motherboard, whats the best one for the processor I specified? I need at least HDMI out, gigabit lan, USB 3.0, and preferably the best option for my hdd.

I mainly plan to use this computer, to watch HD movies through netflix, and the pc would be connected to my tv via HDMI. I might do some gaming, mainly flight simulator X (if you have this game, would this pc be good enough for nearly max settings -If i have to Ill buy a new video card, but Ive heard fsx is a very cpu reliant game. Will the 2 extra cores (if I go for a X6 model) be better for fsx?)

Will the ram work with the motherboard?

hows the cooling? Is it enough?

Will the PSU be big enough?
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post #2 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 11:59 AM
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I always recommend you talk to the retailer when having them build a system. They are putting them together everyday and can give you a much better idea of the compatibility of products.

Recommended PSU size depends on the demands you place on it. Ask your retailer for a recommendation. 550W is probably overkill if you don't have a discrete graphics card.

Finally, I wouldn't spend my money on AMD now. Search the forum as I recommend going Sandy Bridge these days.
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post #3 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 12:10 PM
 
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Case is fine, and the extra 120mm fan is fine too. I would install your 120mm on the window side, and pick up a Corsair or Antec CPU water cooling system (requires a 120mm fan location). Reduces the stock cpu fan to almost if not, nothing, and cools it much more effectively. They are also self maintained.

Processor is fine too. skip the upgrade and get that cpu cooling system instead!

I would also get a 120gb vertex 3 SSD and just one 1TB HDD.

Ram, everything else is fine.

Everything
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post #4 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 12:32 PM
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As much as I want AMD to succeed, Intel's processor products are flat-out better at the moment in almost every measurable way. If $200 is in the cards for your processor, get a i5-2500K.
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post #5 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 12:52 PM
 
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Not better by much, and at huge price difference!

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post #6 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 01:18 PM
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I don't think there's anything wrong with AMD if you're building a budget system - how many quad-core processors does Intel offer in the sub-$100 range? If you're building a mid-to-high-end machine, however, Intel pretty much owns the market.

The only suggestions I have is to save yourself some money and ditch the after-market CPU cooler, unless you're planning on some significant overclocking - I've got an X4 640 running at 10% overclock with the stock heatsink/fan, and if the temperature readings are accurate, it's running at room temperature when idle and ~40°C under load.

The PSU is also more than enough for your needs, as Hugh pointed out. I only have a 430W unit powering 3 HDDs and a GTS 450 (running 24/7) and haven't run across any issues.
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post #7 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 01:28 PM
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OP says he is spending $199 for processor. Extra $40 gets you an I5-2500 with good quality on-board graphics and lower power consumption. Same price gets you an I5-2300.
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post #8 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Costa View Post
Not better by much, and at huge price difference!
1. The OP says that he is buying at Memory Express, so lets use their prices as a reference.

2. The OP also said that he was considering a Phenom II X6 1100T. $214 (I just looked it up, but the rules apparently forbid a direct link to MemEx, so look it up yourself).

3. I proposed the alternate solution of buying a i5 2500K processor which sells for $209.99 at MemEx. Again, look it up.

So the "huge price difference" is $-4 for the Intel chip.

Now, lets look at the performance difference.

Lets take a game benchmark that isn't video card limited:

http://techreport.com/r.x/sandy-bridge/civv-lgv.gif

So, if you spend the extra $4 on the AMD chip you gain a ... oh, wait, the i5 2500K is 43% faster.

Whats that you say? I'm biased for single threaded performance by whipping out a game that isn't perfectly multithreaded?

Okay. How about this highly threaded benchmark that can use all 6 cores on the AMD chip:

http://techreport.com/r.x/sandy-brid...e-particle.gif

That's right. Intel's 4-core 2500K still spanks AMD's high end 6-core 1100T. By 24%.

And that's not even getting into the overclocking potential and power consumption of these two options, both areas where the i5 comes out way ahead.
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post #9 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 08:53 PM
 
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What if anything is the marginal extra cost of a mobo for the Intel chip vs the AMD chip? That should be figured in as well.

And ( if this link is allowed otherwise delete it)

Ask Ars

http://arstechnica.com/ask-ars/2011/...ies-part-i.ars


Also there is in Ars Technica an bi annual article about building a budget box, gamer box and a God box which is always interesting
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post #10 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-21, 10:42 PM
 
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The place i compared quoted the 1090t at 179, 1100t at 199, while the intel i5 2500k was 229, then again. I hadn't really compared them. Generally, AMD's processors were cheaper when comparing cost per performance. Intel's cpu costs have dropped, then again, the i5 and i7's were not released yesterday either.

Hardwareheaven compared intels i7 and amd's 1100t's and they weren't far in performance.

Everything
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post #11 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-22, 01:13 AM
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I don't think the list price of Sandy Bridge processors have changed since their release. The i5-2500K was always just over $200 and the i7-2600K was always just over $300.

Oh, and I did a quick skim of the HardwareHeaven review site and found numerous issues with their reviews, not to mention their horrible site design/navigation system. I recommend AnandTech and The Tech Report for finding high quality PC hardware reviews. They've both been around for a long time and have stellar track records.
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post #12 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-22, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Good research danceswithlysol. Makes some good points. Thanks.

Costa, you said to go with water cooling. Why is this. Generally how much does a decent one cost?
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post #13 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-22, 12:31 PM
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Let me make a system recommendation.

Core i5 2500K: ~$210
Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3: ~$115
Intel 311 Series 20GB 2.5IN SLC SSD: ~$132 (NCIX)
+ a big, quiet hard drive (2TB Caviar Green drive?)

(then your choice of case, PSU, RAM, etc)

The interesting thing about the Z68 chipset is it allows you to setup a SSD caching arrangement, where a 20GB SLC drive acts as a disk cache for a much larger hard drive. You can see the performance characteristics of such a configuration here.

The main benefit of such a configuration is the user no longer needs to manage a SSD "small boot drive", and this is something that I would probably configure for someone who might write a lot of big files (videos, games), but not understand what should be written to the SSD (swap file, OS, apps but not big games, etc) and what should be on the secondary HDD.

With a SSD and Caviar Green drive combo the storage solution would be very quiet.

Even if you are a technology enthusiast that may be interested in the full performance of a SSD drive, if you get a smaller SSD for budget reasons (<= 120GB) there are a number of items that you may not be able to fit on your SSD like your Steam folder but you would like better performance for the games you actually play.

Its not as fast as a single big SSD, but it is a lot less expensive, and you don't need to think about what is stored on what drive anymore.

Before anyone jumps in and says "OMG! $132 for a SSD, what a ripoff", please note that this is a SLC drive not a MLC drive, so it is better optimized for writing, and a cache buffer is written to all the time.

If you're totally cool with the two drive solution, go get yourself a budget 120GB SSD (last gen Sandforce controller-based drive perhaps) along with a 2TB "storage" drive, you can do that for a little bit more money. While your processor choice is important, not having your system solely dependent on spinning rust for storage is arguably even more important from an overall system responsiveness perspective.
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post #14 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-22, 04:18 PM
 
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These water cooling systems are about a 60 to 120 bucks. It keeps your pc cooler and quieter. As far as water cooling, generally they require a lot space for the reservoir, radiator, pump, and tubes. There are extreme builds and simple solutions. This is a one piece, maintenance free system. You mount the heatsink onto your cpu and the fan/radiator onto your chassis. The liquid is already in the system.

http://www.corsair.com/cooling/hydro-series.html
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?Family=Mzcx

There are three types (simple cpu only systems):
-Radiators with a single 120 mm fan, using only a single chassis' fan location.
-Radiators with a fan on each side of the radiator, using only a single chassis' fan location
-Corsair also has a radiator that occupies two 120mm fan chassis locations, which holds a bigger radiator, and two fans.

I'd go for the single fan, using the single 120mm fan chassis location for you. Especially since you don't plan on overclocking. Again; it's quieter than using a 80mm (what they usually are) fan of the cpu's heatsink, and it's much more effective at cooling.

DancesWithLysol, that was the first site that google gave me when I punched in a cpu in the search. I'm not that familiar with hh, but i'm all for checking out the opinions of any site with a honest review. I don't know who is anymore.

Also, pretty sure you meant 120, instead of 20gb for the intel ssd, lol.

Everything
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post #15 of 93 (permalink) Old 2011-06-22, 04:25 PM
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If you absolutely need it today, go ahead.
Otherwise I'd wait to see what AMD's next gen offerings bring to the table.

In the next couple of months you'll either see Intel remain on top or AMD regain their priceerformance crown.

Either way, you're going to see the price of the old gen drop.

I won't force a specific brand down your throat like people like to do on every forum on the internet ()
or bicker over the eternal AMD vs Intel flame war.

But I will recommend you wait a month or two to see how the PC landscape changes. Most likely it will be in your favour price-wise, regardless of the outcome.
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