Rip Van Winkle Needs a Current-Tech Crash Course.

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
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When I'm not actively looking to build/upgrade a system, I tune out from the scene and sites like this and am thus unaware of all the latest lingo when I come back. For a decade of building and several builds and upgrades this worked out fine, but now I'm really, really confused and hope I can get some quick lessons and guidance. My current rig is in the sig and I'm looking to get much faster as economically as possible. TIA!

The rig will be mixed use with an emphasis on eye-candy FPS games like Crysis, Photoshop (have CS3 currently), music creation (Acid) and HD video creation (Premiere), along with the usual smattering of other apps.

Budget is $1000-$1200 with $1500 an acceptable high end and prices under a grand appreciated. I'm most likely going to buy from NewEgg. I know the tables have turned and AMD is on the skids, so I'm returning to Intel after three straight AMD rigs. (I go where the performance is.)

I'm going to be carrying over a pair of PNY 8800GTs to SLI, so a Crossfire mobo is a non-starter. I'm also carrying over my 700W PSU, so my budget doesn't need to include those pieces. I'm not sure what I want to do about a case, but I'd prefer one that's big enough to take today's huge GPUs (I'll probably move up to whatever replace the GX260); preferably that mount the HDs sideways like the Antec Sonata does.

I don't really have time to mess around with trying to wring every last possible MHz out of an OCed system. I'd like to get some extra performance out of my system, but not at the cost of stability and a bunch of noisy fans. I've had enough wind tunnel systems in my life and I'm done with the noise. My current system whispers compared to its predecessors.

I want at least 8GB RAM in my rig, meaning Vista x64 will be running the show, but I'd also like to have a dual-boot or VM of 32-bit WinXP Pro. How hard is that to set up? Should I just go with Home Premium 64 or Ultimate?

Nehalem/i7 is too new, buggy and pricey for my tastes and when you can buy 4GB of DDR2-1066 for $50, spending $250 for 6GB of DDR3 kinda blows unless it's giving four times the performance.

My key questions concern the current C2D Quad nomenclature and code names. It used to be "higher numbers/more $$$ = better", but it doesn't seem so clear cut. I checked the system builder thread and the advice was a little contradictory to me, thus this thread.

Hard drive advice would be appreciated, too. I'm going to need tons of space for all this video, etc. Not sure if I want to get into RAID or not, because I'd ideally need RAID5 for maximum data security. Don't sweat this too much.

Hope this gives enough basic info for people to advice me. Thanks again, in advance.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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3
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Originally posted by: DefRef

Nehalem/i7 is too new, buggy and pricey for my tastes

My key questions concern the current C2D Quad nomenclature and code names. It used to be "higher numbers/more $$$ = better",

Hard drive advice would be appreciated, too. I'm going to need tons of space for all this video, etc. Not sure if I want to get into RAID or not, because I'd ideally need RAID5 for maximum data security. Don't sweat this too much.
* "Buggy", where did you read that?
* Most apps benefit from pure clock speed. Get a fast 45nm Core 2 Duo, unless your specific apps are written for more than 2 cores.
* Don't bother with RAID. Get a 300GB VelociRaptor (if your budget allows), for your OS & apps. And a 1TB WD "Black" for bulk storage.

 

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
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* Sorry to be unclear; I was referring to the half-baked condition of i7 mobos as the AT roundup review discussed. Doesn't matter how good the chips are if the boards are manure. Also, $300+ for a fraking mobo makes my heart flutter. I hated spending two bills for my LANPartys, but they came with a ton of swag in the box for the extra coin.

* I'm figuring that more apps will be coming online, especially in the multimedia creation arena that will leverage more than 2 cores (along with CUDA), so paying a bit more for quad-core is OK. The Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz is $310 and Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz is $270. While the latter is $40 cheaper and 500 MHz faster, it has half the L2 cache (6MB vs 12MB), so what's the actual differential?

* What mobo to put either of these on? I'm even more bewildered by those options.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Originally posted by: DefRef
* I'm figuring that more apps will be coming online, especially in the multimedia creation arena that will leverage more than 2 cores (along with CUDA), so paying a bit more for quad-core is OK. The Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz is $310 and Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz is $270. While the latter is $40 cheaper and 500 MHz faster, it has half the L2 cache (6MB vs 12MB), so what's the actual differential?

* What mobo to put either of these on? I'm even more bewildered by those options.
L2 cache makes very little difference in the real world.
Besides the L2 differences, one is a quad core while the other is dual core.

"more apps will be coming online, especially in the multimedia creation arena that will leverage more than 2 cores"...

The apps may or may not materialize as you antisipate. But if your thought process is geared in that direction, the Core i7 is the logical choice.

 

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
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OK, I'm getting a distinct "get the cheaper dual-core CPU" vibe off the answers so far. What mobo should I plop this thing onto that could also accept a quad-core somewhere down the line when it'll be of certain benefit? I'm afraid of having an orphaned platform like those bastards at AMD left me with on my current rig as then whacked S939 about 3 months after I bought in and proceeded to make everything AM2 and thus left me with no CPU upgrade options worth bothering with.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
"I'm afraid of having an orphaned platform like those bastards at AMD left me with on my current rig as then whacked S939 about 3 months after I bought in and proceeded to make everything AM2"

Socket 775 is near the end of its life... Socket 1366 is the next step.
The foreseeable future is Core i7. :laugh:


If you can live with being a bargain hunter, the E7300 OC'd to 3.33GHz on a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R MB with 4GBs of G.Skill F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ (1.8-1.9v) DDR2-800, makes a great combo.
Just a little over $250 after rebates.
 

tynopik

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2004
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Originally posted by: Blain
If you can live with being a bargain hunter, the E7300 OC'd to 3.33GHz on a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R MB

that MB doesn't support SLI
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Originally posted by: tynopik
Originally posted by: Blain
If you can live with being a bargain hunter, the E7300 OC'd to 3.33GHz on a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R MB

that MB doesn't support SLI
In order to get SLI support, he'd have to use an nVidia based MB or make the break to Core i7.

 

jae

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Jul 31, 2001
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Asus P5N-D mobo, with a Q9400 or Q9300, (2) 2x2GB Corsair or G.Skill DDR2-800, Antec 900, WD640, WD 1TB BLK, Vista x64 Home Prem.

If your apps dont utilize quad-cores just step down to e8400 or e8500.
 

Denithor

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2004
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Honestly, i7 sounds like your best option.

Maybe overclock your 3800+ and live with that for a few more months while you wait for the motherboards to mature a bit?
 

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
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I was going to ask how this combo of an E8600 and EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 for $360 AR would be, but on 2nd look, I can't believe the thing only has 4 SATA ports and the user reviews consistently complain about the orientation of them. My 3-year-old mobo came with EIGHT SATA jacks, so WTF is this stinginess?!?

If MHZ trumps all, any reason not to go with the E8600? If I go with that, what should I put under it and beside it?

Regarding cases, a co-worker got this ENERMAX Uber Chakra monsters and loves it, but it's too big to fit under my desk. Heightwise, the top USB ports are lost because my keyboard tray just clear the tower's height, and it's too deep to fit under. I need something about 20" on a side (H & D). I currently have a Thermaltake Soprano and I don't like the full-height door and the hard drives mount lengthwise and thus I have to cram to get the 8800s in, so there's no way a GX260 or similar would fit. Sideways HD mounting is mandatory.
 

DSF

Diamond Member
Oct 6, 2007
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The reason not to go with the E8600 is that it's only 166 MHz faster than the much less expensive E8500.

As far as cases that meet specific requirements you may want to post in the Cases & Cooling section, or PM Zepper. He knows more about cases than anyone else I've seen on here.
 

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
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DSF - You're reply is exactly why I started this thread. I had no idea there was such a price differential for such a meaningless speed reduction; one that can be easily OCed past. There's a combo with the E8500 and an EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 nForce 780i for $323 AR and this mobo is tri-SLI (I could stick an old 8800GTS in slot #3 for PhysX) and has 6 SATA ports. Anyone have any comments on this combo?
 

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
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After looking thru the reviews for 780i mobos and realizing that 790i boards are just a little cheaper that i7 boards, I've decided to bite the bullet and go to an i7 build. Currently I'm leaning toward a Core i7 920 and GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 combo for $579 with the ASUS P6T-Deluxe as a possibility, based on the AT roundup. I saw a note that the eVGA X58 board is now good with the latest BIOS, but haven't found specifics. Any enlightenment that could be provided on these options would be appreciated. It appears the 920 is a good OCer; is it?
 

OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
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Don't forget in your price calculations DDR3 for the i7

IMO it's too early to adopt the i7 >.<

The price/performance is just not there in real applications.
 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
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Originally posted by: DefRef
After looking thru the reviews for 780i mobos and realizing that 790i boards are just a little cheaper that i7 boards, I've decided to bite the bullet and go to an i7 build. Currently I'm leaning toward a Core i7 920 and GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 combo for $579 with the ASUS P6T-Deluxe as a possibility, based on the AT roundup. I saw a note that the eVGA X58 board is now good with the latest BIOS, but haven't found specifics. Any enlightenment that could be provided on these options would be appreciated. It appears the 920 is a good OCer; is it?

I will volunteer that now might be a good time to sell off your 8800GTs and put the cash toward a new single-card solution that you may CrossFire/SLI in the future.

And your masters at AMD have heard your pleas .... :shocked:

ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX: $189
(combo deal with Vista Ultimate 64-bit: $309 AR)

G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066: $110
(on the Asus QVL list)

HIS Hightech H487F1GP Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5: $230 AR

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB: $200 AR
(for your OS/Apps - I'm thinkin' you can rebuild your RAID with those 4 HDs)

That's around $850 ARs. It's up to you, now. You can buy a Phenom 9850 BE for $160 (and wait until Summer/Fall for a price drop and AM3) or snag an X2 4850e for $57 and 'jump' on Deneb next month (or better yet, in Feb).

Now. I'm going to confuse you. The initial 45nm Phenom II Deneb next month will be an AM2+ microprocessor with a DDR2 memory controller. In February the first Phenom II AM3 microprocessors will be available (others - I think the Phenom 945 - are scheduled for release in April). The AM3 Phenom II will have both a DDR2 and DDR3 memory controller and work in both AM2+ and AM3 motherboards - giving you a future upgrade path for your mobo/ram (and the anticipated goodness of AM3). Thank you, AMD!

So. Got that? You will be tested later. And I tend to agree with your initial assessment that $110 worth of 8Gb of DDR2-1066 pretty much whips $220 worth of 6Gb DDR3-1333. You might even save enough money to buy the MainConcept plug-in for Premiere!

(and sorry I dumped that POS HD 4870 1Gb on you - :laugh: )







 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
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Ooops!

I'm also thinking that your DFI s939 mobo that you have handled with loving care may readily be purchased in FS/T







 

DefRef

Diamond Member
Nov 9, 2000
4,041
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Originally posted by: OverVolt
Don't forget in your price calculations DDR3 for the i7 IMO it's too early to adopt the i7 >.<
The price/performance is just not there in real applications.
I went looked at the price delta between DDR2 and DDR3 and while DDR3 is hella more expensive, you have to remember that I paid $236 for 2GB of plain ol' DDR three years ago, so getting three times as much RAM for $175-$200 doesn't kill me.

I looked up my order (3 yrs. ago tomorrow!) and I paid $760 for the mobo, CPU and RAM and am pondering spending $20 more now for 3X the RAM, quad-cores and the ability to SLI and park another card on for PhysX. Sure, I'd like to pay three bills less, but when that means getting a platform that appears at the end of its life, what's the sense of that?

I don't know how often you guys build rigs. but I'm looking to get at least two years out of this build so my choices are either the bleeding edge of the next gen or the cooling remains of the last gen. Even my girlfriend is telling me to spend the extra loot for something that's not going to be outdated. Ideally, I'd hold off until next summer, but when I'm finding my XPS M1530 laptop to preferably for editing video in Premiere because it has a C2D and 3GB RAM and doesn't bog down like my PC, it's time to move on.

Sorry, heyheybooboo, but as I said up top, AMD isn't an option this time. Period. They simply don't have the stuff now and I'm not convinced they'll be anything but the budget/Intel-hater choice for the foreseeable future. BTW, the HDs are all different sizes, so they can't be turned into RAID bait.