Couple of questions regarding processor and graphics card choice for a new PC

By LetterofMarque · 22 replies
Apr 1, 2011
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  1. Hi,

    I'm thinking of building a new PC (or more accurately speccing a new-build PC from a manufacturer), and I have a couple of options regarding the processor and graphics card. I'll mainly be using it for games and the internet.

    Firstly, am I right in thinking that the Intel multicore processors are now generally considered superior to AMD? That's what I've been reading, anyway.

    Anyway, assuming I'm correct in this assumption, I have two options regarding the processor- I can either go with the Intel i7 970 or the new i7 2600K (both are the same price). I think I'm leaning towards the 970, because as far as I can tell from what I've read, it's basically a 980X Extreme Edition without the unlocked multiplier and has 6 cores versus the 2600K's 4, plus I'm a bit wary of going with the 2600K considering it's had some faults so far. However, it is the "newer" processor, so I'm not too sure. Also, if it affects things, the 2600K is professionally overclocked to 4.8GHz, while the 970 doesn't appear to be overclocked at all.

    Regarding graphics cards, I have a couple of options on those too.

    Standard option (no upcharge) is the nVidia GTX580 (1536MB).

    Then, if I go with the 2600K, I can upgrade to the 3GB NVIDIA GTX590 Dual-GPU Graphics card (for about £100).

    If I go with the 970, I can upgrade to the 4GB Dual-GPU AMD HD 6990 for £150.

    Any ideas?


    Which processor is better- Intel i7 970 or i7 2600K (overclocked to 4.8GHz)?

    Which graphics card is best- nVidia 1536MB GTX580, Dual-GPU 3GB NVIDIA GTX590 (£100 upcharge) or Dual-GPU 4GB AMD HD 6990 (£150 upcharge)?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me,

    Dave :)
  2. rogue12

    rogue12 TS Member Posts: 47

    2600k and for gpu comes down to features, its 3d, cuda and physx (nvidia) vs eyefinity (radeon) as both gpus are pretty much equal in games performance
  3. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks very much for the reply :)

    Any reason why you'd go for the 2600K?

    Are you saying the nvidia is better because it has more features, or are you saying it doesn't really matter?
  4. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    pretty much the gtx 590 and amd 6990 are about equal it just depends on the game and as far as gaming goes both cpus are good but id go with the 2600K over the 970 because the 970 is overpriced idk how u could get the 970 for the same price since here the 2600K is a little over $300 USD and the 970 is over $600 USD. IMO id get the gtx 580 and wait a while and grab another one for sli which will be faster than both the other cards also do note that sli gtx 570 are about the same or faster than the gtx 590 and cost around the same also crossfire 6970s are really fast also :)
  5. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Those manufactures have a pretty big profit margin; you'd save a ton of cash by building it yourself and it'll probably be better too.
  6. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ^^ i can get it for the same price as for some reason the manufacturer has systems (i'm not building it myself) with both those processors for the same price. Not sure why, but I'm not complaining if the 970 is worth a lot more, lol. I guess, considering they are the same price, your advice would be to go for the dearer one with the extra cores? Or does the overclocking of the 2600K render those benefits moot?

    Again, regarding the SLI/crossfire (by that I presume you mean two graphics cards), I don't know if I'd be up to doing that myself. I think the manufacturer offers that as an option, but it's a lot more expensive... :(

    ^ yeah, I realise that, but I'm not sure I'm up to building one myself, either. How much work is involved, just out of interest? The big problem is, and I see this on guitar forums too (guitar is my main interest), most of these things are not a lot of work if you're good at it and interested in it, but can be a pain if you aren't. :D

    Thanks very much for your help, by the way :)
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    That's what I mean, two GTX580's or two 6970's cost nearly the same as a GTX590 or 6990 respectively. They're just charging a lot of money to people who don't understand that the only thing you need to do is snap a cable onto the cards. Legitimately less than a minute of work. A minute more if they're going to boot the computer and check that SLI/CF is recognized by the drivers.

    I don't know exactly how you'd quantify how hard it is, but I can say that I thought it was pretty simple. "Plug and play" as they say.

    EDIT: Also the fact that they're charging the same for the 970 and 2600K means they're probably ripping you off on that 2600K. I'd pick the 2600K btw.
  8. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter


    yeah, I know what you mean, both regarding difficulty (one person's plug and play is another's PIA) and getting ripped off by manufacturers... unfortunately I suspect I know just enough about computers to get blinded by the marketing departments :(

    Problem is if I try to do it myself and mess it up, I'm out a load of money. Granted if I let them do it I'm out of money too, but at least I have a working computer.

    Would you still pick the 2600K if it were the same price as the 970? If so, why?
  9. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    the 2600k is around 25-30% faster than the i7 clock for clock and will overclock to around 4.8 ghz vs around 4.4 for the 970 in gaming the 2600k is the best choice but if you did say a lot of 3D rendering or encoding then the 970 would be better because it has 2 more cores to work with.
  10. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ah ok, thanks, that makes sense.

    Yeah I'm not going to be doing anything fancy like that, just games. So the extra cores don't matter too much for gaming, then?
  11. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    The 2600K will more than adequate for any gaming you want to do, especially overclocked. Just curious, do you have any details on some of the other system components like power supply, motherboard, memory and so forth?
  12. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Wow that's a ton of money.
    It'd cost maybe $1600 USD if you built it. A few hundred more for OS/Blu-ray.
    I don't doubt that any of those computers would be fast, though I'd want an SSD.
  14. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    yeah, but I mean I'm in the UK, so prices are going to be a lot dearer here even if I build it myself.

    I'm not too well up on computer prices in the US, but I know how guitar and amp prices differ in America (you're talking half to two-thirds the European prices, most of the time) and I assume computer parts are similar.

    Granted I would still probably save a fair bit if I built it myself, just I don't know if I'm up to that. :D

    SSD? You mean solid state storage? I think there's an option to get that for each of the systems... what are the advantages of that? It's pretty expensive, though, so unless it's absolutely necessary...
  15. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    You might want to do a little research on mesh custom build before actually making your purchase. Really couldn't find that much about them but did come across this review on review center.

    Here's how the same review site rates another custom build house called arbico. Did a google on uk custom build gaming pc and it looks like there are a number of other alternatives that might be worth checking out.
  16. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks, I'll check those out.

    Only thing is, I've used mesh before and I know they're at least half-decent. Like, they're not going to take my money and not send me a computer. I'm very wary of online reviews, you don't know who's writing them, etc. etc. But of course I'll check them out to see what they say. :)

    EDIT: yeah those reviews aren't great, are they? :(

    I know I had no problems with my first computer, but I actually ordered one a while back and cancelled the order (because the new 2600k was just released, and I didn't want to pay a ton of money for something which was out of date before I started), and they took a very long time to refund my money (and promised me a couple of different dates which turned out to be untrue). They were also hard to get on the phone when you phoned up about an existing order, yet you got straight through when you used the number for giving them a new order. :suspiciou So I would say that I wasn't particularly impressed myself with them either. I know I said I don't trust online reviews, but when they back up your own experiences you start to believe them a lot more, lol.

    Only thing is, am I willing to chance someone else I've never or barely even heard of? :suspiciou
  17. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I don't really know about the price differences.
    Of course solid state storage is not necessary; it's just much faster.
  18. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ^ Thanks.

    Read all the arbico reviews, and while it seems to be better than mesh (almost all the mesh ones were horror stories), there were a couple of not exactly glowing arbico ones too which would make me a bit wary...

    I think the problem is that normally things go ok, so even companies with bad customer service survive because most customers don't have to use it :(
  19. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

  20. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter


    yeah normally the governments know what they're doing, once you add on VAT and customs you're not normally saving that much, plus you're screwed if something goes wrong... going to be the wrong voltage for europe too...
  21. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    There actually is a Cyberpower UK - haven't checked their ratings though.
  22. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    If you pick up a powersupply that doesn't support international voltage, you definitely picked up a very poor powersupply.
    And I have to disagree that you won't be saving a lot, but if you don't think you're up to building one then I suppose you don't really have a choice.

    EDIT: Not sure how the government is relevant, but I'm also going to have to disagree and say that they don't know what they're doing :).
  23. LetterofMarque

    LetterofMarque TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ah, sorry I didn't reply sooner, I forgot about this thread as I thought the discussion had finished. :eek:

    I agree the government is rubbish, I just meant they know what they're doing when it comes to screwing you over with customs fees and taxes in order to dissuade you from buying from abroad. :D :( I don't know about computers, but I've looked into it for guitars and amps and VAT here is 20%, and then customs fees are another 4-5%, and that's charged on the postage fee as well. That really eats into any savings you make.

    Don't get me wrong, i realise building one would be cheaper, just I'm not sure I'm up to it. I just meant buying from abroad (whether parts to build it myself, or a fully built system) was probably not going to be worth it in the long run.

    I didn't realise computer power supplies supported a variety of voltages, that's cool if they do, thanks.

    I'll take a look at cyberpower, thanks for the link.

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