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Old 10-20-2009, 05:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question New Computer, New Technology

Hey folks. New here.

I build my own computers and generally try to educate myself on the technology when building a new machine. It's been about 3 years since my last build, and I haven't been paying attention at all to the movements in the computer components market since then, so I need a bit of help with compatibility (and a few concepts).

I've always been an NVIDIA / AMD person, so as I'm figuring out what to buy for my new build, I'm going the same route again.

I'm looking at these new 'Phenom II X4' processors, but my research has confused me concerning cores. In particular, I've been eying the '940 Black Edition Quad Core (HDZ940XCGIBOX)' but when I was reading about the quad core chips on various review sites, I've heard mixed reviews about them. Basically that quad core chips aren't that useful for most applications (I primarily do gaming, but also drawing and photo editing), and instead I should just stick with a dual-core version. I don't have a problem with the expense, but if the extra cores aren't really being used or won't be noticed by anyone who isn't a die-hard performance freak, what's the pros / cons here?

Also, should I be looking at AM3 boards, or AM2+? Seems there's not a lot for AM3 out, but I don't want to buy a board that's got a socket that's going away.

Just so you know where I'm coming from experience-wise, my current main machine is as follows:

-----
Windows XP 32bit
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 5200+
Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S5 S-Series
EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 640 DDR3
Ultra 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Dual Channel (x2)
Ultra 600W PSU
-----

It's an okay machine that doesn't give me too much lip, but I'd like to build a new machine with the stuff out now (plus I love doing this kind of thing so that's an excuse, too).

Right now, my component browsing has the following in my 'wish list' for the new machine (I do not know if I have a good match for the components, so that's something I'm looking for someone to help me with) :

-----
Windows 7 Ultimate - 64bit
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Quad Core (HDZ940XCGIBOX)
ASUS M4N82 Deluxe - Socket AM3, NForce 980a SLI, Hybrid SLI
GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP Superclocked Edition 1792MB DDR3
Dual Channel 4GB PC8500 DDR2 Memory - 1066MHz 4096MB (x2)
Creative Labs SB X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Champ
Ultra X4 Modular PSU - 1050W
-----

I'm planning on throwing in a Seagate 1TB main drive with one or more 2TB Seagates for storage. SATA of course. I'll probably at first re-use the DVD burners from my current build as well.


So any advice would be great! Will the mobo I have picked, and the processor / vid-card work? Will it work well? Suggestions on the best RAM choice would be great, too. That setup for RAM I have listed above is really just something I slapped in and haven't spent much time examining.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Computer, New Technology

It's a waste of money to buy a GTX 295, it's been replaced by the Radeon 5870. Its a single card that's cheaper and around the same performance for $100 less.

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Old 10-20-2009, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by alexsabree View Post
It's a waste of money to buy a GTX 295, it's been replaced by the Radeon 5870. Its a single card that's cheaper and around the same performance for $100 less.
The GTX 295 and the top 5870 are pretty close, that's true. However I still put my money in NVIDIA (and probably will continue to do so until enough time has passed for the AMD-ATI acquisition to mature).

That said, though, from what I've seen in a number of reviews, I could go with a pair of GTX 285's SLi for about the same price as one 295. I suppose that's a thought.

There's another reason I want to stick with NVIDIA, and that is that I want to tinker with using my old 8800GTS as a physics card in the new system. I don't know how that will pan with an ATI main.


What about the rest of my post? Comments on mobo, processor?
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Computer, New Technology

Buying NVIDIA just to play with a dedicated card for Physx is a waste of money in my opinion... Not too many games even support Physics processing yet. I would go with a 5870. Better performance at a much better price.

The CPU is a good pick, not sure about the motherboard though, I don't know AMD boards very well.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Computer, New Technology

The Ultra Power Supply is a waste of good money. I wouldn't use a Ultra if it was Free. And I like Nvidia myself, but I would take the 5870 over the GTX295.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Computer, New Technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by PC_Jammer View Post
The GTX 295 and the top 5870 are pretty close, that's true. However I still put my money in NVIDIA (and probably will continue to do so until enough time has passed for the AMD-ATI acquisition to mature).

That said, though, from what I've seen in a number of reviews, I could go with a pair of GTX 285's SLi for about the same price as one 295. I suppose that's a thought.

There's another reason I want to stick with NVIDIA, and that is that I want to tinker with using my old 8800GTS as a physics card in the new system. I don't know how that will pan with an ATI main.


What about the rest of my post? Comments on mobo, processor?
go with the PII 940, more and more apps are utilizing the extra 2 cores. go ahead with a good AM3 mobo and some good DDR3 ram, as long as you have the cash for it.

like this and this,

Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9D-4GBRH - Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards

or if you did not want to go with the AMD, a core i7 860 or 750 would be good too.

and as far as the graphics card goes, get something cheap like a 4870 for now and wait until nvidia has released their DX 11 cards as well.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The PhysX bit isn't my sole reason for staying with NVIDIA. I just said that having an ATI main card would probably make PhysX impossible.

It's more a matter of "show me a significant reason to go back to ATI." The 5870 is cheaper than the 295 and doesn't do that much worse or better, which is cool for a $100 cheaper card, but after reviewing the 5870 reports, my socks are still on my feet. It's not that I don't appreciate the suggestion, though.

The only thing I saw from the ATI card that gave me interest was the DirectX 11 and Shader 5.0. But how much difference is there currently between DX10 and DX11? Or S4 vs S5? If it's only a couple of points on a benchmark, or a couple frames a second, it doesn't seem to be that undeniable of a choice. Plus NVIDIA will be coming along with its 300 cards that run DX11 and S5, so that advantage goes away.

You say there's no reason to go NVIDIA, but I see several reasons:

1. I currently have and am familiar with NVIDIA cards and chipsets

2. I've been an NVIDIA customer for years without getting burned

3. From what I see, there's just not enough reason to jump.


I'm not trying to be argumentative or whatnot, but give me some solid reasons other than cost and a couple benchmark points.

I mean, we're not just talking switching GPU manufacturers, we're probably talking a change in mobo chipset, and possibly a change in CPU as well (if new chipset doesn't work as well with AMD procs).

I'd love to save the cash, don't get me wrong. The $100 less is nice. I'm sure times have changed in the 6 or so years since my last ATI was sentenced to microwave disco, but in the past ATI has cut costs by producing cards with shoddy layouts, poor workmanship, buggy interfaces and support, with "astounding" leaps in performance that wash away in time.

But lets say I do go to the ATI-side. What's the best solution for the rest of a PC built around 1 (or even 2) Radeon 5870's? Best chipset? RAM? AMD processor? (don't get me started about Intel...there's a chance of me going back to ATI, but I'd sooner set fire to my router than touch an Intel chip).

ATI's multi-gcard system is Crossfire, right? How does that compare to SLi? Pros, cons? Maybe it's just 'cause I'm an NVIDIA person, but I've heard more about SLi than Crossfire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
go with the PII 940, more and more apps are utilizing the extra 2 cores. go ahead with a good AM3 mobo and some good DDR3 ram, as long as you have the cash for it.
I've been building with MSI and Gigabyte for some time, but every time I build a board from either of those two manufacturers, I'm left really frustrated. Their configuration instructions are always written in pseudo-English-Asian, their support is just as bad, making upgrades and configuration annoying, not to mention a bit nerve-wracking. (There's nothing like trying to update your BIOS, hoping you have the right files because the website is in gibberish, telling you you'll either be chipping a toaster, or the correct motherboard.) I do like how those companies tend to offer a lot of features, though. Bells and whistles are great.

I've never owned an ASUS board but have always heard better than average comments about them, so I figured this time 'round I'd spring for an ASUS setup. The current limited selection in AM3 boards makes the choices few but compromising. I may end up having to go back to MSI/Gigabyte just to get the features I want/need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
and as far as the graphics card goes, get something cheap like a 4870 for now and wait until nvidia has released their DX 11 cards as well.
That's a good point. I don't know when NVIDIA's coming out with their 300 cards, though. I like the GTX series 200's, the 295 isn't a fixed plan. It's just been out long enough to be stable and is "bleeding" edge. I like to invest in the best components available so they'll still be kicking butt years down the road when I get around to building another box.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The 295 is not "bleeding edge" lol? Its just two gpus on one card, no different then sli.

Right now ATI and the 5850/5870 are "The" cards to get. If you want Nvidia then you'll just be wasting money buying a high end 200 series. The 300's won't be out till January at the earliest, so right now the 5000 series ATIs are an obvious choice if you have some money to spend.

Also the intel i7 920 is better then a phenom II 940 by quiet a bit I believe. I have the 940 and love it, but if I had more money to spend on a pc, I'd go i7 920 and never think about it again. Overclocks like a champ, super fast, a triple channel memory controller.

IMO you should get:

i7 920
EVGA x58 chipset board or the Asus P6t deluxe
OCZ gold or platinums 6gb ram
Corsair 750w+ PSU
5870 or 2X5870

More expensive then an AMD build, though it should be more futureproof.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The 295 is not "bleeding edge" lol? Its just two gpus on one card, no different then sli.
The GTX 295 is NVIDIA's current top card offering for the consumer desktop, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirkpitt45 View Post
Also the intel i7 920 is better then a phenom II 940 by quiet a bit I believe.
Like I said above, I wouldn't touch an Intel chip again if it came with a free Ferrari and supermodel. Besides, an Intel based machine would be more expensive to build, would consume more juice, and I could cook lunch on the case while I use the chip cooler to melt platinum.
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PC_Jammer View Post
Like I said above, I wouldn't touch an Intel chip again if it came with a free Ferrari and supermodel. Besides, an Intel based machine would be more expensive to build, would consume more juice, and I could cook lunch on the case while I use the chip cooler to melt platinum.
that part about being more expensive, in some cases, yes, but the rest is just your opinion.

for the gpu; if getting the same, if not better, performance as the 295 while having support for more features and costing a considerable amount less isnt enough to show you that the 5870 is the better deal, then it looks like youve already made up your mind on that.

for the rest of your build; if you want to be kinda "future proof" and have options for upgrading with amd, then get a 790x/gx/fx am3 mobo with ddr3 ram, with either the phenom ii x4 955 or 965, since the 940 is am2+ only.
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