A few questions on a new system

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aireoth
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A few questions on a new system

Postby aireoth » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

I know tech changes very quickly, as I used to build my own systems. Still I've been out of the home built computers and components since late 2006 with a old AMD Opteron around 1.6Ghz that I had impressivly overclocked close to 2.8Ghz with a beefy fan. Since then I've been out of the market due to travel and university, and I switched to a laptop. Now my lappy is getting old, and its game/video editing legs are starting to crumble, and as I no longer have uni to worry about I'm looking at building a new, budget minded system.

Key uses for this system will be Gaming and Video editing, my current monitor can support 1400x900, and I will likely get a 1920 sometime at the end of this year or early new year. I have been cruising the hardware reviews, but all the latest equipment is making my head spin a bit, its easy to tell what the 'best' gpu's are, but mid-range seems a little fuzzy.

So far I'm leaning towards i7 because of the Toms Hardware system builder results at $1,250 here:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/core-2-overclock,review-31511-15.html

The i7 system specs are here:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/core-i7-overclock,review-31478.html

I will be buying in about 2 months now, so hopefully prices will come down. Looking to spend about $1,500 canadian, so I'll peg that somewhere around the $1,350us mark.

Basically I'm looking for a some input on GPU and CPU types, should I really be considering the i7, or go with the Core 2?

I'm currently leaning towards nVidia as a GPU, mainly because my friends have had countless problems with ATi driver support in games, however that was about a year ago, and I like what I read about the ATi 4850/70's. Pros/cons?

I am an overclocker, so will be looking at OC friendly motherboards, and cooling upgrades, though no interest in water cooled, just fans and quality cases.

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Axman
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Axman » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:20 pm UTC

aireoth wrote:Key uses for this system will be Gaming and Video editing, my current monitor can support 1400x900, and I will likely get a 1920 sometime at the end of this year or early new year.
ATI 4800 and NVIDIA 250 (these are the same as 9800 GTX+) and better can handle 1920x1200, but if you're looking for high levels of detail, you should consider multi-GPU. CrossFire tends to scale a little better than SLI, which also requires that NVIDIA includes a profile of the game in question for SLI to work 100% of the time. (There are work-arounds, though.)

So far I'm leaning towards i7 because of the Toms Hardware system builder results at $1,250 here:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/core-2-overclock,review-31511-15.html
If you're at all serious about gaming, money spent towards video power completely eclipses money spent anywhere else. I would say GTX 260 or HD 4870 at the minimum, followed by dual lesser 200- or 4800-series cards--as long as you've got two good cores driving them, CPU doesn't matter so much.

Basically I'm looking for a some input on GPU and CPU types, should I really be considering the i7, or go with the Core 2?
Intel 775 chipsets (P45, etc) only support CrossFire, but you're debating the wrong issue. It's whether or not you should decide between i7 or Phenom II. I look at it like this: spend everything you can on two good video cards, and build the rest of the PC around the money left over.

I'm currently leaning towards nVidia as a GPU, mainly because my friends have had countless problems with ATi driver support in games
As a serious driver-jockey, I find this a little hard to believe; ATI doesn't pack in the features quite like NVIDIA but they also don't pack in the bugs.

I am an overclocker, so will be looking at OC friendly motherboards, and cooling upgrades, though no interest in water cooled, just fans and quality cases.
On a budget? Biostar T-Power.

To sum, GPU > CPU > motherboard > RAM. Spend accordingly.

My video preferred video card configs are, from least to most costly:

1x 9800 GT
1x HD 4850
1x GTX 260-216
2x HD 4850s -or- 2x GTX 250s
1x HD 4870 X2 -or- 2x GTX 260-216s
1x HD 4870 X2 AND 1x HD 4870 1GB

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Emu*
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Emu* » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:35 pm UTC

I know you haven't mentioned noise level desires (or I missed that bit), but http://www.silentpcreview.com/ does very good scientific reviews of PC components.

It is also probable that a heatsink capable of shifting standard amounts of heat at low noise/airspeed will also be able to shift almost whatever heat your overclocked and overvolted chips push out, without sounding like a leaf-blower.

The levels of electronic data provided there is also good.
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aireoth
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby aireoth » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:11 am UTC

Its not just for gaming, as it will also be used for home movies and editing video for a film club, using Avid. I would say the split will be 65/35 gaming vs editing.

On that note I'm going to push to build around the 8470 X2, which is $600 canadian, leaving me with a remaining budget of $900, I'm gonna troll the forums and reviews looking for CPU info now.

*added* My friends with ATi cards are also a bit dense when it comes to computers, hardware and drivers. One of them even went 62-bit when all he uses it for is gaming and some word processing.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Mzyxptlk » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:03 pm UTC

Axman wrote:My video preferred video card configs are, from least to most costly:

1x 9800 GT
1x HD 4850
1x GTX 260-216
2x HD 4850s -or- 2x GTX 250s
1x HD 4870 X2 -or- 2x GTX 260-216s
1x HD 4870 X2 AND 1x HD 4870 1GB

Did you ignore the new NVIDIA cards for a reason?
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Axman
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Axman » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:39 pm UTC

Yeah, I haven't benched a GTX 295 yet, although I am today. I suspect that a GTX 295 will be an excellent choice against 1x HD 4870 X2 or 2x GTX 260-216s from reading other people's stuff.

I stand by my claims that the GTX 280 and 285 are just overpriced. There's some leeway at the multi-GPU/ 2560x1600 ridiculomungous resolution point, where they come in handy, but they're still expensive even in that circumstance.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Mzyxptlk » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:40 am UTC

aireoth wrote:*added* My friends with ATi cards are also a bit dense when it comes to computers, hardware and drivers. One of them even went 62-bit when all he uses it for is gaming and some word processing.

I assume you mean 64-bit. I don't see any reason switching to 64-bit is a bad thing, if your hardware has the drivers for it.
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aireoth
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby aireoth » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:41 am UTC

oops yea, I meant 64bit. As I said though most of my friends running ATi couldn't care less about drivers, and as far as I know 64bit systems are quite tricky to run, one piece out of place and it seems to cause problems.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Mzyxptlk » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:27 pm UTC

aireoth wrote:oops yea, I meant 64bit. As I said though most of my friends running ATi couldn't care less about drivers, and as far as I know 64bit systems are quite tricky to run, one piece out of place and it seems to cause problems.

My desktop runs 64-bit Vista like a charm, never had any issues with it (that I wouldn't have had with 32-bit). That said, I've only ever installed it on one computer, and my desktop was brand new when I installed Vista 64 on it, 3 months ago.

Axman wrote:I stand by my claims that the GTX 280 and 285 are just overpriced. There's some leeway at the multi-GPU/ 2560x1600 ridiculomungous resolution point, where they come in handy, but they're still expensive even in that circumstance.

Tom's seems to agree with this. In any case, the 4870 is now so ridiculously cheap that choosing NVIDIA cards is basically throwing your money away, despite that the 295 is the fastest card on the market.
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aireoth
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby aireoth » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

Ok so now its a toss up between the GTX 295 and the HD 4870 x2, both cards are pretty much the same price where I can get them.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby mosc » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:34 pm UTC

I would advise against an i7 unless your budget is very large. Mid range budgets should stick to core duos. Spend the money on the graphics card. Personally, I'd just pick up a 4870 and be done with it. It's plenty for today's games. Save a few pennies and buy a newer card in a couple years. Buy a nice monitor and speakers if what I'm suggesting is below your budget. You'll get a lot of mileage out of those.
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Lardman » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:37 am UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:
aireoth wrote:oops yea, I meant 64bit. As I said though most of my friends running ATi couldn't care less about drivers, and as far as I know 64bit systems are quite tricky to run, one piece out of place and it seems to cause problems.

My desktop runs 64-bit Vista like a charm, never had any issues with it (that I wouldn't have had with 32-bit). That said, I've only ever installed it on one computer, and my desktop was brand new when I installed Vista 64 on it, 3 months ago.

Axman wrote:I stand by my claims that the GTX 280 and 285 are just overpriced. There's some leeway at the multi-GPU/ 2560x1600 ridiculomungous resolution point, where they come in handy, but they're still expensive even in that circumstance.

Tom's seems to agree with this. In any case, the 4870 is now so ridiculously cheap that choosing NVIDIA cards is basically throwing your money away, despite that the 295 is the fastest card on the market.

The 280 and 285 are overpriced indeed. Most (If not all) reviews will show the 4870 around 20-25% behind. The 1GB model of 4870 in crossfire will seriously show you some nice framerates.

If that ain't enough for you, 2 GTX285's in SLi will be a good, albeit expensive option.
New pricing coming out for the ATi 4850 and 4870 in the next month may make your options head towards the red team, however.
Image
Source here

Alternatively, waiting until april for the 4890 may be a choice too - Rumors flying around that it's a completely revamped R770 chip.
Source here: http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?optio ... 9&Itemid=1

The GTX295 is pretty much hands down the winner, but in a month? Back to ATi with 2x 4890 if the rumors of a revamped chip are true.
My opinion would be to go with a 4870 for now, then upgrade later.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby aireoth » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:58 am UTC

OK so here is the two systems I'm looking at, I could switch to Intel and it would make the nVidia setup the same price, and ATi about 70$ more.

ATi AMD

Biostar TA790GX128M ATX AM2+/AM3 AMD790GX 2PCI-E 2PCI RAID Video Sound GBLAN CrossFireX Motherboard $130.99
AMD Phenom™ II X4 940 Quad-Core Black Edition 3.0GHz w/ 8MB Cache (Retail Box) $289.99
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDTV-Out, HDMI $609.99
Corsair TX 750W Power Supply w/ 140mm Fan $134.99
Mushkin XP2-8500 Xtreme Performance DDR2 SDRAM (5-5-5-15), 4GB Dual Pack $109.99

Total : $1275.95
Notes: In this config I have either early potential to grab a second GPU, or a new case, or a sound card.

nVidia AMD

Biostar TPower N750 Motherboard - $212.99
AMD Phenom™ II X4 940 Quad-Core Black Edition 3.0GHz w/ 8MB Cache (Retail Box) $289.99
Corsair TX 750W Power Supply w/ 140mm Fan $134.99
Mushkin XP2-8500 Xtreme Performance DDR2 SDRAM (5-5-5-15), 4GB Dual Pack $109.99
eVGA e-GeForce GTX 295 1792MB PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDMI, HDTV-Out $629.99
Total : $1377.95
Notes: I would probably add a sound card

The main cost in the nVidia setup is the more expensive Biostar MB, though its still below my budget.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Mzyxptlk » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

Lardman wrote:http://i43.tinypic.com/2u408c7.gif
Source here

That table is actually utterly useless to compare ATI cards to Nvidia ones. Their architectures are so completely different that it really is like comparing a dolphin to a refrigerator.
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby mosc » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

If you are getting a 4870x2 or a 295, you don't need an SLi or Crossfire motherboard. You can get by with a <$100 board in BOTH cases. No need to waste money on boards like that.
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Lardman » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:20 pm UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:
Lardman wrote:http://i43.tinypic.com/2u408c7.gif
Source here

That table is actually utterly useless to compare ATI cards to Nvidia ones. Their architectures are so completely different that it really is like comparing a dolphin to a refrigerator.


In terms of performance, however, it's somewhat accurate. It was more a pricing table than anything.
The 4870 is the slight better of the GTX260 (Or now, 265), 4850 being the better of the 9800GTX+ (The GTX250 is slightly better, with 1GB of onboard memory and some optimizations)

This is obviously an average, not coming down to specific games. Most reviews find the ATi cards excelling at heavy loads, IE 8xAntiAliasing, so on.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Mzyxptlk » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

Lardman wrote:In terms of performance, however, it's somewhat accurate. It was more a pricing table than anything.

I am not sure if you are agreeing or disagreeing with me, you're contradicting yourself.
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby TheOtherDOOMGuy » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:03 pm UTC

I would NOT recommend the GTX 260.
If ur gonna go that way, get the 280, save a lot of trouble.

Better yet, go for the 9800GTX, a much nicer card, for price range.
If possible, SLi it, but like that guy near the start said, there are some probs to be overcome (not hard tho)
I wouldnt really recommend a Radeon card, as they've gone downhill very quickly this past while, and its really difficult to get the same sort of performance out of them, for the same price.

For CPU, dont worry too much about the brand of card.
Go dual core, and get plenty of GHz.
2.8-3 should be good for you.

By all means, if u have enough, go for quad-core, but its not essential.

Last, but not least, the basics, RAM. Lots. (Just in case u havent considered it yet.)
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby felixalias » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:28 pm UTC

TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:I would NOT recommend the GTX 260.
If ur gonna go that way, get the 280, save a lot of trouble.


What trouble exactly would you be saving? And speaking as an NVIDIA fan, 4870's are some of the nicest cards on the market right now, performing fairly close to their NVIDIA equivalent card priced nearly 100$ more.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby aireoth » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:10 pm UTC

Ok, I'm buying in one month now, which will be next paycheck. Pretty similar to the system above, though I'm torn between the HD 4870 x2 and the 295 GTX, as they are very close to the same price in Canada. Probably going with a X4 Phenom II 940, OC it as much as I can, and perhaps squeez a second GPU in (especially if its the 4870 x2 as I can pop in 1x HD 4870 1GB).

Thoughts?

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby felixalias » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:39 pm UTC

I haven't had much experience with Phenom II's, so I can't say how they overclock, but an E8400 with a good cooler will be able to get to around 4ghz on air, and nearing 5ghz on water.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby Axman » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:25 pm UTC

aireoth wrote:Ok, I'm buying in one month now, which will be next paycheck. Pretty similar to the system above, though I'm torn between the HD 4870 x2 and the 295 GTX, as they are very close to the same price in Canada. Probably going with a X4 Phenom II 940, OC it as much as I can, and perhaps squeez a second GPU in (especially if its the 4870 x2 as I can pop in 1x HD 4870 1GB).

Thoughts?

This config is one of the most powerful on the market to-date. It's only relevant to 1920x1200 displays and up. If your monitor stops at 1680x1050, a 4870 X2 is absolutely enough. (So is a GTX 285, or a 4850 X2, or 2x GTX 260-216s...)

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby b.i.o » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:00 pm UTC

felixalias wrote:I haven't had much experience with Phenom II's, so I can't say how they overclock

Pretty well, from what I've heard.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby TheOtherDOOMGuy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:05 pm UTC

felixalias wrote:What trouble exactly would you be saving? And speaking as an NVIDIA fan, 4870's are some of the nicest cards on the market right now, performing fairly close to their NVIDIA equivalent card priced nearly 100$ more.



Well speaking as a long term gamer, and actually preferring the Radeon to the GeForce myself, the Radeon just doesnt perform as well, purely from gaming perspective.
The support for the Radeon is much poorer than in the past, with games going heavily for the nVidia cards, why I dont know.

And regarding the 260.
Ive had some compatibilty problems with this card when I am building machines. They tend to be less stable, for some reason I cant comprehend, and it takes a lot of twerking, and changing parts that work with it to make it usable.
Dont ask me why, this just seems to happen to me and this card.
Ive used about 5 of them now, but still the same prob with all of them.

Never had this problem with th 280, so I honestly cant explain it.

But regarding the 9800GTX, its just because its still a great card, u can pick 1 up far cheaper than a 280, maybe SLi it then.
Just from personal experience, I know the 280 is more powerful, and all, but since the 260, I dont fully trust it.
So that was just my 0.02 Euro.
Anyway, whenever u get ur new machine, enjoy.
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby b.i.o » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:02 pm UTC

TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:Well speaking as a long term gamer, and actually preferring the Radeon to the GeForce myself, the Radeon just doesnt perform as well, purely from gaming perspective.
The support for the Radeon is much poorer than in the past, with games going heavily for the nVidia cards, why I dont know.

Completely wrong. That would have been right a year or two ago, but not now at all.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby TheOtherDOOMGuy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:41 pm UTC

b.i.o wrote:Completely wrong. That would have been right a year or two ago, but not now at all.

I wish it was wrong.
The Radeon does not get the same support. Trust me, I have 3 gaming rigs running at th min, twerking them for friends, for full spec.
1 has GTX 260, that I built myself
1 has 280
And 1 has Radeon 4870
Dont get me wrong, theres still support for the radeon, just not as detailed or as good as the Geforce.
Tho, in retrospect, this may be because radeon users tend to work more intimately with their machines.
At least every guy I know with a radeon card does, anyway.
I know that doesnt make much sense, but I cant think how to put it into words.
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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby b.i.o » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:09 am UTC

TheOtherDOOMGuy wrote:I know that doesnt make much sense, but I cant think how to put it into words.

That's pretty obvious, because you're making absolutely no sense.

The point you appeared to be making in the post above is completely different than the point you appeared to be making in the post I originally responded to.

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Re: A few questions on a new system

Postby felixalias » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:29 am UTC

The GTX 260 works fine, and so does the 4870. Just because you've had apparently bad luck with certain cards, doesn't mean the entire model is broken. In fact, the only recent graphics card that has earned its criticism for lack of support was the 9800 GX2 (not to be confused with the architecture of the GTX 295, they do not share the same problems).


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