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Old 12-10-2009, 11:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Hi all. If you can't tell I'm a noob from these questions, you'll probably tell from my one-post post count! ;P

So I have approximately $750 to spend with about $10 over/under on the limit limit (not including shipping, which is being paid for by a family member). I am ordering one of these two rigs off IBuyPower's custom configurators, and I'm trying to get the most bang for my limited buck in as awesome a gaming PC as I can afford. I have two builds. One is AMD/ATI @ $748 total; the other is Intel/nVidia @ $756 total (but I have to order a low-end GPU to replace with a better card to save money).

Setup I: AMD/ATI
Case ( PSI CycloneX Gaming Tower Case - Black )
Processor ( AMD Phenom™ II X2 550 Black Edition Dual-Core CPU )
Motherboard ( Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P -- AMD 770 Chipset w/7.1 Sound, Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0, PCI-E MB )
Memory ( 4 GB [2 GB X2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module - Corsair or Major Brand )
Video Card ( ATI Radeon HD 5770 - 1GB - Single Card )
Case Lighting ( None )
Power Supply ( 700 Watt -- Power Supply - SLI Ready )
Processor Cooling ( [Free Upgrade] iBUYPOWER AMD Liquid CPU Cooling Fan System Kit )
Video Card Brand ( Major Brand Powered by ATI or NVIDIA )
Primary Hard Drive ( 500 GB HARD DRIVE -- 16M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s - Single Drive )
Data Hard Drive ( None )
2nd Optical Drive ( None )
Optical Drive ( 22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive - Black )
External Hard Drives [USB 2.0/eSATA] ( None )
Sound Card ( 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard )
Speaker System ( None )
Network Card ( Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100) )
Floppy Drive ( None )
Monitor ( None )
Keyboard ( iBUYPOWER USB Keyboard - Black )
Operating System ( Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium + [Free 60-Day !!!] Microsoft Office 2007(Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access ....) - 64-Bit )
PRICE: $748.00 + $85.00 3-Day Shipping

Setup II: Intel/nVidia (switching out the 9400 GPU for an EVGA 9800 GT 512MB)
Case ( PSI CycloneX Gaming Tower Case - Black )
Processor ( Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E8500 (2x 3.16GHz/6MB L2 Cache/1333FSB) )
Motherboard ( Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3LR -- Intel P45 Chipset w/7.1 Sound, Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0, PCI-E MB )
Memory ( 4 GB [2 GB X2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module - Corsair or Major Brand )
Video Card ( NVIDIA GeForce 9400GT - 512MB - Single Card )
Case Lighting ( None )
Power Supply ( 700 Watt -- Power Supply - SLI Ready )
Processor Cooling ( [Free Upgrade] INTEL Certified Liquid CPU Cooling System kit )
Video Card Brand ( Major Brand Powered by ATI or NVIDIA )
Primary Hard Drive ( 320 GB HARD DRIVE -- 16M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s - Single Drive )
Data Hard Drive ( None )
2nd Optical Drive ( None )
Optical Drive ( 22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive - Black )
External Hard Drives [USB 2.0/eSATA] ( None )
Sound Card ( 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard )
Speaker System ( None )
Network Card ( Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100) )
Floppy Drive ( None )
Monitor ( None )
Keyboard ( iBUYPOWER USB Keyboard - Black )
Operating System ( Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium + [Free 60-Day !!!] Microsoft Office 2007(Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access ....) - 64-Bit )
PRICE: $756.00 + $85.00 3-Day Shipping



The only thing holding me back from jumping all over the AMD/ATI build is:
a. I've never used AMD or ATI in a PC before. I'm hearing AMD's processor clock rates are marginally behind Intel's, and that ATI drivers are typically faulty, at least compared to nVidia's.
b. I have no idea how the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition compares to a Core 2 Duo E8500 (haven't found any reliable benchmarks), or if the difference is substantial enough to mean I shouldn't go for the AMD/ATI combo
c. in the same lieu, that processor on the Intel/nVid setup is pretty amazing IMO, but the Radeon HD 5770 is fantastic and may be superior for gaming
d. I don't know which one will flat-out perform better for gaming (we're talking 4-16+ hours of straight gaming on titles that are presumably more GPU-intensive than CPU-intensive -- think Crysis/Warfare, Champions Online, Aion, Left 4 Dead 2).



Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear back with your critique!
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

for just straight gaming, the first amd/ati build is better.

neither of the cpus are bad or slow, just that in straight synthetic benchmarks, the e8500 is faster, but with the gfx card it comes with, or even the gfx card you plan to switch it with (9800gt) the first amd/ati build is still better overall.

have you thought about building it yourself though? you would be able to get better parts for your money and youd know exactly what parts go in.
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin Man View Post
for just straight gaming, the first amd/ati build is better.

neither of the cpus are bad or slow, just that in straight synthetic benchmarks, the e8500 is faster, but with the gfx card it comes with, or even the gfx card you plan to switch it with (9800gt) the first amd/ati build is still better overall.

have you thought about building it yourself though? you would be able to get better parts for your money and youd know exactly what parts go in.
I wish I was able to build it myself -- I have the know-how and time -- but the problem is that the money is on my parents' credit card (I don't own one), and of course they said I could only buy it from a site they trusted and I had to buy a previously assembled PC. They gave me the option of Dell, NewEgg (whole PC only), CyberPower or IBuyPower -- I went with IBuyPower and used their custom configurator on their AMD DDR3 rig to get that setup.

I was leaning towards the AMD/ATI from the start, and I think you've sold me on that setup! Thanks!
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Can you supply the link of each build on ibuypower so i can tinker with it a bit?

looking at the intel build
-can you choose a different mobo, and ram? Specifically get a mobo with ddr2 supported ram and switch ram to ddr2. Does that save any money? the performance hit would be minimal.
-Can you switch the e8500 to e8400? how much would that save? likely they making you pay alot more for e8500 but performance over e8400 isnt worth it depending on how much it is extra.
-700watt is overkill, can you save money by switching to a lower watt psu? 500w is plenty for that.
(i have e8400 and 8800gt (same thing as 9800 gt), and i have a watt meter that i can plug my system into and the watt draw from the wall for the entire system when playing a game is only ~240w.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkolk View Post
Can you supply the link of each build on ibuypower so i can tinker with it a bit?

looking at the intel build
-can you choose a different mobo, and ram? Specifically get a mobo with ddr2 supported ram and switch ram to ddr2. Does that save any money? the performance hit would be minimal.
-Can you switch the e8500 to e8400? how much would that save? likely they making you pay alot more for e8500 but performance over e8400 isnt worth it depending on how much it is extra.
-700watt is overkill, can you save money by switching to a lower watt psu? 500w is plenty for that.
(i have e8400 and 8800gt (same thing as 9800 gt), and i have a watt meter that i can plug my system into and the watt draw from the wall for the entire system when playing a game is only ~240w.
I'd love to supply a link to the builds, but I'm not sure how I can unless you'd be okay with PMing me an email addy to forward them to.

1. I'll have to take a look at that again, but it only saved me like $30 on the build the last time I checked, so I still had enough either way.
2. There's a $20 or $30 dollar difference between the two, not enough for me to want to lower it I think, unless I should do so for the sake of improving the build elsewhere for gaming.
3. The weird thing is 500-650+ watt PSUs were all MORE expensive than the 700W. The closest I found was 450W for the same price. I assume it has something to do with brand names.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

is ur intel build, $756 without the 9800gt? then your spending another $100 on the 9800gt for a total of $856?
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Neither build looks amazing. Your listing components but not any brands. Without a brand name you could be buying a Ultra Power Supply or parts of a simular quality (Ultra is very bad).
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Would your parents be swayed to allow you to build it on your own if an entire forum of tech-experts recommended it? Show them the forums!
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NDRuno View Post
I'd love to supply a link to the builds, but I'm not sure how I can unless you'd be okay with PMing me an email addy to forward them to.

1. I'll have to take a look at that again, but it only saved me like $30 on the build the last time I checked, so I still had enough either way.
2. There's a $20 or $30 dollar difference between the two, not enough for me to want to lower it I think, unless I should do so for the sake of improving the build elsewhere for gaming.
3. The weird thing is 500-650+ watt PSUs were all MORE expensive than the 700W. The closest I found was 450W for the same price. I assume it has something to do with brand names.
That could tell you something about the quality of the 700W. Brand names are important for the PSU.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: $750 limit, two gaming rigs, one winner! AMD/ATI versus Intel/nVidia setups?

Hi - working on the same issues - Bkolk helped me out alot yesterday . I will be calling iBUYPOWER today to get name brands and I recommend you do the same. I got a good setup - I think, about $100 more than your budget.
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