AMD Phenom II, first time system builder

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swedelander

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Approximate Purchase Date: Over The Next Couple Days/Weeks (Just received a copy of Elder Scrolls V Skyrim and my older Intel CPU socket 775 said "isnt going to happen" when I placed the DVD disk in to install) *tears run down cheeks as I hold bonus premium map*

Budget Range: $500-600 US

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Moderate Gaming, Internet, Netflix, Watching Movies (DVD)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Storage Drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg

Country: US

Parts Preferences: AMD Phenom II CPU, AM3 ATX mobo, ATX Mid Tower Case

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Current Monitor is Compaq FS7600 (1,280 x 1,024 max resolution)
http://www.amazon.com/HP-FS7600-Compaq-Monitor/dp/B0007D7WOW

Additional Comments: This is my first time build and was wanting to use the $500 Gaming PC from September System Builder Marathon. I couldnt find the "seagate barracuda st500dm002 500 gb" listed in build on newegg and wanted to know if it would be possible to use a "older" hard drive out of another computer (I have listed it below) and/or list a similar hard drive as the seagate that could be purchased from newegg. Also if there is anything that needs changed or wouldnt be compatible? All comments, suggestions, help are welcome and greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to view my post

MoBo: ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157176

Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102948

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808

Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148262

Optical: SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151233

Case: NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146061

Power: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371034

CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986
 
I suggest spending $15 more to get a PSU that'll allow you to CF in the future. You may say you don't plan to now but it'll be better than buying a single card since CF 6870 gives you about 10-20% better performance than a GTX 580, plus the wattage will future proof you.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341049
Currently just $70 after promo code and before rebates a solid buy.

For the motherboard, get this just to have AM3+ as an option and 8x/8x for Crossfire, plus you get USB 3 and SATA 6gb/s (SATA 3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157272
 

vx53c

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mmm http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/skyrim-performance-benchmark,review-32318-9.html
Specifically for skyrim i5 is king. For everything else too :D
Let's get building!
i5 2400 (190$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115074
Gigabyte z68ma-d2h (111$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128495R
Case Gamma Classic (36$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146061
Xfx 6950 (240$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150523
Corsair 2x4gb (40$ (for real??)) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186
The same dvd-rw (19$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151233
Corsair cx430 (45$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026

Some rebates apply but i didn't count them in.
Total: 681$

We got way out of the budget eh? But it is a good computer :(
OK then! Let's shave off.
i3 2100 (125$ saving 65$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078&Tpk=i3%202100
sadly the 6950 has to go too :(
xfx 6870 (175$ saving 65$) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150561
 

vx53c

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I don't know about Xfire 6870s. With the microstuttering and the powerdraw demanding that he now needs more watts, it kind of equalizes the price he would pay for a 6950 that will xfire splendidly later on, with the appropriate change of the psu. I am worried though, that the juice in the amd will not be enough to sustain the 2x6950.
 
I am going to have to doubt the 6950 and i5 2400 running on that CX430 even if it did you can expect a short life of the CX430.
You're looking at a rough 158w TDP for the 6950
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-6950-6970-review/11
Then a 95w TDP for the i5 2400, that's already about 250w. The 430 is rated 80% gives it roughly 344w on average. That's a little close for comfort since the 250w is not even including the rest of the system under load yet. But that's just me.

IMO, CPU doesn't matter that much in gaming, those benches show that at 1080P the 2500K is only 9 Frames faster than a roughly stock 965 (easily achieved by upping the multiplier on the 955, don't even need to adjust voltages). At that little tiny difference you're looking at $70+ increase in price. You're better of getting a better GPU than spending that on the CPU.

As for the i3 2100, I think the 955 is sufficient, specially since you can overclock with the 955 giving it the little boosts that clock speed seems to show in Skyrim. IMO OP's build is fine.
 
Microstuttering is made a huge deal when it is hardly. It's not a big notice, when I microstutter it lasts maybe a second, that's pretty bearable. With current driver updates I've barely noticed any if at all of stuttering during BF3 prolonged sessions.

Also 6870 CF is only requiring a power draw of 300w. Since 1 6870 only need 151w at max load. 750w is plenty.

If anything 6950 1gb shouldn't be running on the CX430w you recommended. I just rechecked TDPs, and the 6950 1GB has a TDP of 200, that would put the 6950 1GB + i5 2400 at a total of 300w which is very close to the CX430's average output. You're basically torturing the CX430 every time system's at load.
 

vx53c

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Yes, all this is true. I still wouldn't get amd for gaming.
And yeah, probably a 500watt psu. A little more here and a little more there and i guess i concur, either up the budget or go amd. It is still a shame getting old tech. Might as well go completely cheap with H61 or 780amd microboards
 


That's not what efficiency means. A 430W can (or should be able to, and I'm sure Corsair's a brand you can trust) output 430W. 80% Effiency means it's drawing 430/.8 = ~540W from the wall doing so!
 

vx53c

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Indeed that is what efficiency means, the percentage of the power drawn from the wall transfered to the system. Still it sounds odd having a 6950 on a 430watt psu. It will work regardless, but aging factor kicks in after some years and that is what concerns me. Out of the box all will play, after 4 years, i don't know. Corsair should pull through, then again, were it my own system i would put a 500 ocz, or i would never have picked these parts and i would end up with an enermax monster.
 

swedelander

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I definitely see your point about the 40GB HDD, I had not given thought to the amount of space the OS would take up. I had a Toshiba Laptop that went out on me over the summer and held on to it, I just opened it up and this is what I came up with Toshiba HDD2H24 250 GB 5400 RPM 2.5-Inch 8 MB Cache SATA Internal Hard Drive
http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-HDD2H24-2-5-Inch-Cache-Internal/dp/B001V7R4VY
I would be going with a slower drive but this work with an adapter plate to mount into the Internal 3.5 Drive Bay of the case till I could budget in for a new one? Also would I be able to reinstall Windows 7 OEM and use the same key code onto a new HDD at a later date if I went the above route?
I also like the idea of going with a better PSU and having a system or at least some components that would be future proof or could be used in a build down the road. I dont see myself going with the crossfire option or upgrading to a AMD FX series anytime in the near future due to budget constraints so not sure that I would benefit from the 8x8x crossfire support and AM3+ on the ASRock mobo
As far as PC games that I'm wanting to play!!! I'm so ready to F5 on this old computer and jump into some great looking games like Crysis 2, Dead Space 2, Deus Ex, B3, CoD MW3, might even give Rift or Blizzards Cataclysm another go
 

cutebeans

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swedelander

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I know the AMD Phenom II has been out for a few and its not the latest nor best out on the market. As I type this i'm running on a P4 3.2 Prescott with 800 FSB placed into a Foxconn mobo, I get CPU hiccups just using the forums and browsing the internet. I have given a good deal of thought to going with an intel and a 1155 mobo but because of build restrictions due to cost a i5 2500K was out of the picture and when I compare the AMD to intel's budget CPU (i3) I decided to go with the Phenom II X4 955BE. Not only because the cost seems higher for the quality intel parts but also because I would have four cores over the i3 duel that was locked and even though they seem to benchmark the same in games I have to factor in that I will have other programs running in the background
 

vx53c

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Yes of course, good thinking. Those where my thoughts when i proposed the i5 2400. Not too expensive but not as cheap as the AMD, but core to core it will wipe the floor with the phenom. I got another suggestion to you, wait for cyber monday, it is not that far away. Have both systems on trigger, come cyber monday see how much they cost, or consult for other parts that will be on sale, you pull the trigger on one of them.
 

need4speeds

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-That is a very strange HDD.

-40gb and it's sata and not ide is pretty rare.

-If looks like some sort of oem replacement drive. The specs are not typical of 40gb era hdd's that packed 5 platters to get only 40gb.

150 MB/sec transfer rate
4.17 ms average latency
10.0 ms seek time
Lightweight and slim design

The specs actually are respectable.

-Use the 40gb as the boot drive "C". Install your program folder and steam install to drive "D". (you could make it drive x or something if you want)
Try and remember to install games/programs/media folders to this larger drive so your 40gb boot drive does not fill up.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136505

$109.99 Western Digital Elements 1.5TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive
"Cons: Slow USB 2.0 interface
Ran very hot, but this is easily explained by the fact my drive contained a Caviar Black drive."

-find a unpopular external drive model like this, with a useless usb 2.0 interface,
inside is usually just a 3.5" desktop sata drive.

-The 2.5" ones are usually laptop drives inside.

-Most use the cheaper/slower "green" 5200rpm models.

-There is no guarantee they use a regular hdd in these externals, you will have to look at some comments for that drive model.


-Later on buy a new sataIII ssd drive, use the software for the drive to copy your os install 40gb drive to the new ssd drive. This way the second drive can stay the same.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148503
$129.99 Seagate Expansion 2TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148681
$199.99 Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM
-there is a good chance the external 2tb has this drive inside it.
 

vx53c

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For me all this amd planning with old tech is a lost cause. You can probably scrap one up and hardware recycle and make this for 200$. It will take time though...
You can find 50$ phenom 2 on the ads forums and so on. A decent monitor for like 90$.
All this debate for old tech being sold 3 years after for prices compared to new tech. Might as well get a used phenom ii x4 840 and a cheapo a5m78l le eh?
 
Well just to be clear guys OP DOESNT NEED A NEW HDD! Swedelander, you can just can an adapter for your old laptop HDD to save some money on the spot. Also still i suggest going for the 955 mainly because at lower res the skyrim benchmarks show that the 955 and the 2500k show minimal differences in frames so just stick with the 955 and save money. Id suggest sticking with the 6870 to future proof.
 

swedelander

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Thats great news to hear I can use the HDD out of the old laptop and save some money least till the prices drop back down some. Was wanting to stick with the 6870 as well and pick up a new monitor at some point. I know this build centers around some older tech but it's just to get my "foot in the door" as I gain more confidence, better understanding and the ability to bring more parts to the table for future builds (i.e case, fans, PSU, monitor ect.)
 

andrewcarr

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Here is something I would consider for $600
operating system of course ($99.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116986
DVD/CD drive the cheaper the better ($17.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827135204
I have personally built a computer with this case had no problems with it but you can substitute another. ($64.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811147145
Yet another product I have used and would use for a motherboard. ($79.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813138316
thermal paste ($12.98)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 35-100-007
Depending what case you get I would get different CPU coolers if you were to get a large case I would use a 120mm cooler ($29.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835233082
but the case I chose I would go with a 92mm cooler due to the side fan the case has ($24.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835233081
keyboard ($15.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6823109077
mouse ($7.99) it is cheap but I own one and I like it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6826664015
Phenom ll X4 processor at 3.2 that overclocks great if you ever want to ($124.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103808
Power supply I have in my computer good power usage at low loads ($54.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817194038
Don't know why hard drives went up in price so much I got a 750gb WD black 2 months ago for $55 but this should be good ($51.99) I believe it is the same one you picked out too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136979
memory at 4gb this is fine and can be upgraded in the future ($26.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231425
Lastly graphics a 6750 for $104.99 but with rebate come to ($74.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814150572
Total price is $603.87
If you don't mind spending more you can get a better graphics card.
 

swedelander

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Andrewcarr thank you for your reply and I'm curious to see the components you listed for the build but the links for newegg posted do not seem to work.
 
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