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Old January 2, 2011, 06:16 AM
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Dear friends

I'm going to assemble my 1st ever D.I.Y PC soon with a budget of $4000 Singapore Dollars or ~2500 USD. However, I'm unsure of whether the CPU that I pick is an overkill or just right. Therefore, could you kind people advise me on the CPU to use?

Do take note that Singapore does not have all the DIY brands; Scythe Mugen, Mushkin and Gelid Tranquilo are not available in Singapore.

Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA, some Biostar and ECS motherboards are available, Coolermaster, Corsair, Antec, XFX, Sapphire, Palit, Thermaltake, Noctua, Prolimatech, Seasonic and Lian Li are also available although not the entire range espcially the customized units.

My PC is going to be used for:

- Moderate gaming; COD, Medal of Honor, Crysis, Mass Effect, etc... I hope that my PC can still run games at medium resolution 2 years from now and am open to upgading the GPU if necessary

- Moderate photoshop; editing microscope images, Western Blot, photos taken during vacations

- I don't need HDMI as I'm fine with DVI

- I'm not mounting a SSD for now as they cost a bomb in Singapore.

At this moment, I intend to get a LGA 1366 processor even though Sandy Bridge is almost upon us as I would like to have some extra PCIe lanes on hand especially a full PCIs X16 lane. AMD Bulldozer is fine especially if it arrives by March 2011 but is AMD a good choice for moderate gaming?

These are my options:

1) Intel i7-980X + Asus Sabertooth X58 / Gigabyte X58A-UD3R / MSI X58A-GD65 + GTX570 along with a little overclocking (100-200MHz)

2) Intel i7-960 + Asus Rampage3 Formula / P6X58D / Gigabyte X58A - UD7 / - UD3 + Noctua NH-D14 + GTX580 with some heavier overcloking (at least 400-500 MHz).

These are the other components of my PC:

WD Caviar Black 640GB/1TB (undecided)
CM HAF-X or Antec DF-85
Corsair HX850W / CM Silent Pro Gold 850W / Antec TP 850W PSU
1333MHz or 1666MHz 6GB triple channel RAM.

Which CPU should I get based on my needs? Also, if you think the PSU.casing etc should be changed, please feel free to comment too.

Thanks a lot for you help!

PS: Let me know if you need more information
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Old January 2, 2011, 06:55 AM
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An I7930+GTX580 would be enough to support any gaming needs you have.
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Old January 2, 2011, 07:03 AM
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The price/performance for a 980x is extremely bad because it is an extreme edition chip. However, I can tell you, from personal experience, that it is a very powerful chip. For the tasks you have listed, you won't need a 980x, as an i7 960 is more than enough. I know this because I used to have an i7 920, which was still a bit overkill. As for the motherboards, since you are only doing moderate overclocking, I don't see the need of such a high end board (Rampage 3). Unless you're looking for extra features, a simple Gigabyte or Asus should suffice.

I think it would be a better idea to spend extra money on a high end graphic card than an extreme edition processor. As for the Bulldozer platform, perhaps someone will have more information on it, as I have none.

I like your case selection because I think the HAF series looks good and also because the HAF series is good for air cooling (hence the name), which I assume you are doing. As for RAM, I like going with a cheap kit (like OCZ Gold, low end G Skill, etc.) because I find that high RAM frequencies don't affect system performance that much. Why not go for a 12GB (3x4GB) kit instead, since RAM prices are really low right now. The Corsair/Antec PSU's are very good and have served me well. I am currently using a Corsair HX850W PSU in my rig (see my tab) and I think it's awesome. It's really quiet and gives me no trouble. I'm not too sure about CM PSU's though.

Don't forget about an aftermarket cooling solution for your CPU, though. Overclocking on stock cooling is ill-advised. The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme did pretty well, but there are newer coolers out there that perform better, for less money.
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Old January 2, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivanlyf_2011 View Post
My PC is going to be used for:

- Moderate gaming; COD, Medal of Honor, Crysis, Mass Effect, etc... I hope that my PC can still run games at medium resolution 2 years from now and am open to upgading the GPU if necessary

- Moderate photoshop; editing microscope images, Western Blot, photos taken during vacations

- I don't need HDMI as I'm fine with DVI

- I'm not mounting a SSD for now as they cost a bomb in Singapore.

At this moment, I intend to get a LGA 1366 processor even though Sandy Bridge is almost upon us as I would like to have some extra PCIe lanes on hand especially a full PCIs X16 lane. AMD Bulldozer is fine especially if it arrives by March 2011 but is AMD a good choice for moderate gaming?

These are my options:

1) Intel i7-980X + Asus Sabertooth X58 / Gigabyte X58A-UD3R / MSI X58A-GD65 + GTX570 along with a little overclocking (100-200MHz)

2) Intel i7-960 + Asus Rampage3 Formula / P6X58D / Gigabyte X58A - UD7 / - UD3 + Noctua NH-D14 + GTX580 with some heavier overcloking (at least 400-500 MHz).
980X is not a good idea for gaming really, as you will not get full use out of it, especially if you plan to only overclock a little. It has unlocked multipliers that allows for easier overclocking over 4GHZ essentially.

Gaming is mostly bound to your GPU, not your CPU. Photoshop will utilize the cpu better than gaming will, but unless you do heavy photoshop work, the 980X may be of little use to you (for the extra cost).

Your other choices look good. The Sabretooth seems like a solid board, and I love the PCI-E layout of the Rampage III Formula (but its expensive). You could pair a 930 as stoanee mentioned with either of these boards, and do a little overclocking. Right now I am liking the Asus Rampage III Formula I have, and with your budget you seem to be able to afford it. The board has great PCI-E, Intel Lan, and dual bios chips in case overclocking goes awry. But really, the Sabretooth is probably good enough, or even the Gigabyte.

Quote:
These are the other components of my PC:

WD Caviar Black 640GB/1TB (undecided)
CM HAF-X or Antec DF-85
Corsair HX850W / CM Silent Pro Gold 850W / Antec TP 850W PSU
1333MHz or 1666MHz 6GB triple channel RAM.

Which CPU should I get based on my needs? Also, if you think the PSU.casing etc should be changed, please feel free to comment too.
Hard drive looks good, but you should get at least a 1TB drive. The WD Blacks are a great choice. The HAF-X is a great choice too. I don't like the cable management of Antec cases, but I have not used that perticular Antec one. the Corsair 850HX is a great, efficient PSU (I have one).

If you plan on any cpu overclocking, get 1600MHZ ram. Not may folks plan on using 1333MHZ ram with a 980X...

Based on your comments, the 980X is not a good choice. It offers a few extra cores, but the overclocking options you are paying for may go unused. If you want the extra cores, you may be able to pick up an i7 970 on Ebay for cheap. Otherwise, get the 930 and add a good air cooler and overclock that a little. The Coolermaster Hyper 212+ is a good cooler for mild-mid overclocks.

I can't suggest much on the AMD side. For gaming, the AMD is as good as Intel on the cpu side. Intel will offer better photoshop performance. For the GPU, you can't go wrong with either AMD or nVidia really (boils down to price in your area).
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Old January 2, 2011, 08:01 AM
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Hi guys

A special thanks to the 3 of you for your advice. I'm so sorry for the typos in this thread.

I think I will go along with your recommendations of i7-960 and the Rampage III Formula. So the R3F is my 1st choice and Sabertooth X58 is my second choice. However, you guys may want to know that here in Singapore, the Sabertooth X58 has the same price as the Gigabyte X58A-UD3 at ~ 246 USD. Anyone wants me to arrange Fedex to your place?? =)

As for the CPU cooler, the Noctua NH-D14 is my 1st choice, then the Prolimatech Megahalems and V6GT as the 3rd choice. Although some websites have rated the Megahalems as better than the NH-D14, the lack of bundled fans means a greater cost which I have no wish to incur and besides, I have no idea which brands of fan are good and whether they fit. We have very little fan brands here...

With regards to RAM, I'm unable to buy a 12GB kit as it costs 3 times more than a 6GB kit...in fact, the price difference is sufficient for me to buy another tower + another triple channel kit or even a spare PSU! However, why would 1600MHz RAM be better for overclocking the CPU? I've read that the Core series has a different method of overclocking because the FSB is no more and, one needs to overclock the RAM as well?

I'm cooling my CPU on air as water cooling is not widely available in Singapore at this moment. And yes, if I get the i7-960, it's the WD Cabiar Black 1TB for me.

Finally, thanks for the advice on the Casing and PSU.

PS: My reply will be delayed as it is now 12am, 3rd January 2011 in Singapore. Nevertheless, I solicit your comments and advice and will reply them ASAP.

Thank you guys so much.
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Old January 2, 2011, 08:14 AM
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Core i7s run at default 1066MHZ bus. You overclock the 'FSB' (or basically, the BCLK in the bios) to overclock the CPU. 1600MHZ ram gives your room to overclock the CPU. With 1600MHZ ram, you will not run out of room. With 1333MHZ, you will come close or even run out.

If you don't plan to OC, then 1333 is good enough.
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Old January 2, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivanlyf_2011 View Post
Hi guys
...
However, you guys may want to know that here in Singapore, the Sabertooth X58 has the same price as the Gigabyte X58A-UD3 at ~ 246 USD.
...
With regards to RAM, I'm unable to buy a 12GB kit as it costs 3 times more than a 6GB kit...
Right, I totally forgot about your location. How much more expensive is the R3F compared to the Sabertooth?
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Old January 2, 2011, 12:16 PM
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In your budget range, I really doubt you'd see any benefit by going with AMD, especially for gaming. I can't say too much about bulldozer, but it will have the same optimization problems that keep AMD performing worse than intel. The only reason to go amd is either brand preference or a much lower budget than you have. the i5-750 or 760 will usually tie or beat the Phenom II X6 in PC mark scores. The i7 line will beat the X6 for gaming hands down.

Edit: I forgot one thing... If you decided to go for extreme gaming (max settings + AA @ 2650x1600), you'll probably see a benefit saving $$ with amd to spend on an extra GPU.
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Old January 2, 2011, 12:34 PM
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if you want to spend that much cash on your system, at least see whats what or not with amd's new chips, unless you got to build now.

worst case scenario they'll drive prices down.

regardless, as per above, a proper i7 quad oc'ed will be a massive bang per buck vs the hexa.
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Old January 2, 2011, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkh2 View Post
Right, I totally forgot about your location. How much more expensive is the R3F compared to the Sabertooth?
Hi there bkh2...

The price difference between these 2 models is ~ 95 USD or 123 Singapore dollars.

But the price might get lower as there's a cash discount at times..

Thanks _dangtx_ and draemn for your suggestions regarding AMD. I might get them if there's a budget change or they are released in Singapore within the next 3 months.

But just to check with you guys, most of the mainstream AMD motherboards are only compatible with ATI GPUs right?

If we want to use Nvidia, we must use Nvidia qualified AMD motherboards correct?

Are there any drawbacks on Nvidia on AMD mobos like not full data transfer, certain incompatible models, lack of drivers etc...

Thanks once again guys!
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