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Some help with a new PC

By whitescar911 · 14 replies
Mar 10, 2010
  1. Hello i require some help about building a new PC. But theres much i dont know so i have a few questions.

    First is about videos cards i WAS going to get a ATI 5970 but after doing some looking around on many forums it seems that while its a great card im left wondering if its worth getting or should go for one ATI other less expensive 5*** cards and wait until something better comes out but even then would i get the most out of it because im only willing to get one moniter. Then theres Nvidia, i was reading on wiki that the new 300 series from them were just "re-branded" 200 cards and that 400 cards were the next real jump from Nvidia and that they were beening released Q1 2010 but as far as i know there hasnt been a release date for the 400 cards and seeing as i wont get the money for my new PC until late march early april im not sure if i should wait.

    My next point is CPU's the only gaming processors i really know about are the i7 from intel but again i dont know much about them. I was looking at the i7 975 but again from im told its performance doesnt match its price and i dont know if my budget (£1600) will stretch to a i7 975 and 5970 or one of the new Nivida cards(if i do decide to get one). So i guess my question here is whats the best i7 processor in terms of money and performance or even the AMD CPU's which i know even less about.

    Next thing i wanted to ask is about monitors and ties in with the video card question. I would like to get a HD monitor in 30-40 inch range but from i know about the next generation of video cards is that to get the most out of these new cards its best to get more then one monitor/screen but like i said above i only want one due to the fact that it can be rather expensive, i dont want to have to keep turning my head all over place to see whats going on and i dont like the thick black lines you get were 1 moniter ends and another begins. The only other option i have is to get a 2500x1600 res monitor but they themselves are again very expensive i just dont know which way to go, are 2500x1600 even classed as HD. I also havent a clue about Hz ratios or anything else to be honest so i guess what i would like to know here is;

    1. Are 2500x1600 res monitors worth getting over 1080p

    2. what would you say are the top 5 things a decent HD monitor should have

    And BTW i will be using it mostly for gaming but i would like to use for watching sports events like football in HD every now and again but i dont know if you can use a monitor like that.

    Lastly some extra infomation that im meant to give when posting here.

    Will be used for gaming mostly and internet browsing and watching films.

    My budget for the PC is £1600 and about £600-£700 for the monitor but i couldnt go much higher but really dont want to.

    Im from england

    I will buy most if not all parts online, seems cheaper to me.

    No used parts if i can help it

    Haven't brought any parts yet because i haven't got the money im owed yet

    And im thinking about windows 7
    P.S if you have an idea for rig for £1600 post it :D.

    Thank you
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Hi whitescar911.

    First off, since you won't be building the PC until late March, you might as well wait for nVidia to release their Fermi chips. It's slated for March 26th. That will give you more options and you may expect the prices of some of the high end Radeon 5000 Series cards to come down slightly depending on nVidia's pricing policy.
    Among the present cards, the HD 5970 would be a fantastic choice.

    Now for the CPU. If you're willing to spend money on the i7 975 you might as well wait for Intel's 6 core Gulftown processors to be released. On the other hand, I personally feel that the i7 920 would be a better option considering price / performance ratio. As for AMD, they have some very good processors in the Phenom II X4 955 and 965. However, the i7 definitely would be a slightly better option. In gaming, though, you won't notice a significant difference.
  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    I'll add my thoughts in the same order that you asked the questions...
    The HD5970 is essentially Crossfire-on-a stick -two downclocked HD5870's if you like, that are comparable to Crossfired HD 5850's . According to Scan you will pay a 10% premium for the single card. Not worth the premium IMO.
    The nVidia GTX480 will likely equate roughly to a HD 5870 in performance, so whether it represents an option for you depends on pricing (and the likely pricing drops in AMD cards as Ritwik intimated) and whether you value 3D Surround Vision, PhysX over Eyefinity and AVIVO.

    Regarding CPU, I would endorse Ritwik again here, although the 920 will begin to be phased out so it's successor, the 930 would the choice here. Any CPU, whether you pick Intel or AMD will bottleneck performance of the enthusiast grade graphics cards you have evinced interest in so CPU overclocking will likely play some role in your decision making.
    There is very little difference in the overclocking ability and performance gained by doing so across the Core i7 lineup. Most will be able to operate (with appropriate cooling) in the 3.6GHz-4GHz performance envelope that is the "sweet spot" for gaming. Any more core speed does not usually translate into better gameplay.

    2560x1600 monitors lend themselves well to gaming but are typically limited to 30" in size. If you want a larger screen then you have the option of using a larger HDTV, if you don't already own one. All 2560x1600 panels (as far as I am aware) are PVA or IPS type LCD's that offer excellent colour depth. A great number of 1920x1080/1920x1200 panels use inferior TN+film construction that reduces cost but reduces colour reproduction. Best advice I can give is to try before you buy.
    5 things a HD monitor should have? Are you trying to run a contest?
    a. Colour
    b. Colour
    c. viewing angle (typically 178 degrees for a good panel)
    d. Colour
    e. Viewing flexibility ( monitor's height, swivel and mounting adjustment)

    Virtually all new spec monitors will have either HDMI or DisplayPort connectivity alongside the more traditional DVI.

    Windows 7 x64 -Yes.
  4. whitescar911

    whitescar911 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the infomation and help you gave. I looked around for more information on the new 6 core CPU from intel, i saw an artical about them on this very site and it said it going to be called the intel i7 980x and that it will be out sometime in march with $999 price point(£663) is that true? And seeing as the 975 price seems to be droping to about £400-£600 and ATI 5970 to about £500 i may be able to get both and still have about £500 to spend on RAM a case etc. But does spending just over £1000 on a both of these seem like a decent price? I mean i know new hardware is always beening released(ATI 6*** should be out by chirstmas i think) but only thing i have to play on is a laptop that was waaaay overpriced and i didnt know any better and i'd rather not have it happen again. And i could always stick in another 5970 when prices go even lower.

    Also you said colour 3 times when i asked about the monitor, but what makes it so it has good colour. Someone who had just brought a HDTV said it should run at 100Hz and have certain contrast ratio, are there any other spec it should have that might give it better colour if you see what i mean.
  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    The i7 920 / 930 when overclocked would give you a very good performance. Even comparable to the i7 975. Especially for gaming, you won't feel any difference among the processors I listed above (including the AMDs).

    As for the GPU, like DBZ mentioned, the HD 5970 gives performance equivalent to a pair of CrossFired HD 5850s. 2x HD 5850 would cost about $100 less than a single HD 5970. They will have a lower power consumption inspite of being CF. However, going for the single HD 5970 will allow you to add another in future. But from what I've read, 2x HD 5970 doesn't really offer much of a performance boost over the single HD 5970. It's also pretty unnecessary for resolutions below 2560x1600.

    Now, have I confused you even more? :D
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    You're sooo smart Rit...., but yet, you haven't confused me. Ah, you say you weren't talking to me? Oops, my bad.

    Has it been mentioned that Microcenter always sells the i7-920 for $199.99..? Since our OP is quoting prices in pounds, I suppose that point is moot.
  7. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    1£ = Roughly 1.5$ (correct me if I am wrong please)
  8. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    If you plan on getting a 1920x1080 HD monitor/TV then the HD 5970/ Crossfired HD 5850 is plenty. Quad Crossfire ( 2 x HD 5970) would likely suffer from driver issues at new games release in many cases. You would also need to factor in a PSU of around 850w with 2 x PCIe 6 pin and 2 x PCIe 8pin connectors.
    AMD will most likely bring out a HD 5890 (speedbinned overclocked 5870) fairly soon which may (or may not) be optioned with 2Gb memory, which is likely to being price drops for the HD 5870/5850. The HD 5970 (at least in reference form) could become quite scarce if the projects like the Fusion Render Cloud computing solution gain traction. Any platform that requires 500 HD5970's is going to have an impact on retail availability

    Colour reproduction is largely dependant upon what screen process is used. Cheaper panels use TN+film (Twisted Nematic) and usually provide "flatter" and less vibrant colours, while VA (Vertical Alignment) and IPS (In plane switching) offer better colour reproduction. A wiki entry here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD
    The contrast ratio on most TV's and 2560x1600 monitors is of a fixed resolution, so scaling needs to done at graphics driver level which can result in less than optimum picture quality. A faster refresh rate ( 100, 120 or 240Hz) will generally allow for a smoother visual experience. As I mentioned earlier, there is no substitute for the Mk. 1 eyeball in judging picture quality. Ideally some familiar gameplay on the monitors/TV's you are interested in should stand you in good stead as you can judge colour/build quality, screen menu/options, response time (ghosting) and ergodynamics to your satisfaction before committing to the purchase.
  9. whitescar911

    whitescar911 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well from whay u guys have told me a i7 920/930 doesnt seem like a bad idea(altho i guess iwould have OC it which i know nothing about and never done before) As for video cards im still undecided i still got the 5970 on my mind, as i always wanted to play crysis at full 1900x1080 max settings and from what i've seen on youtube that card destroys crysis, maybe other cards can do it too i don't know.

    About that cloud server thing you said, i heard about this on tech program we have in the UK like 1-2 years ago i was really looking forward to it but it seems to me that most thought it was a loooong way off and very hard to do due to the fact that not everyone has the same connection speed and it wouldn't surpise me if it started out with very few servers if it ever did take off. That being said i think its great they have made so much progress and hopefully the age of having to keep upgrading our PC with more expensive hardware will come to an end.....maybe...maybe not but we will see.
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Alas! I fail once again! :D Hope you're doing good Cap. :)
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    Brace yourselves...Two Cents Incoming......

    TN panels are the fastest responding type. I have read several reviews berating a new Samsung with a CPVA type panel ; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001332 (It's "currently unavailable" status makes me think i should have grabbed one a while ago). To continue, the bad reviews were elicited from gamers due to the slow response. TN panels are only 6 bit color, the other types are 8 bit. My personal issue with TN, is with the abysmally small viewing angle. How anybody is supposed to believe a 160 to 170 degree viewing angle in either direction is beyond my simple powers of comprehension.

    In any event, manufacturers are gradually sneaking this crap into TVs up to about 32 inches.....! The moral of this part of the story is boys and girls, make certain you buy a TV 37 inchews or larger, at that size the manufacturers simply can't get away with foisting TN off on you, since the viewing angle is so poor.

    Decent panels are disappearing due to their cost, and people's lack of appreciation for their benefits. A better utilization for MVA and better panels is photo editing. A gamer with the monitor on his or her desk, is less likely to be affected by the viewing angle issue, since the viewing position is fixed, and the saturated "cartoonish" colors of the brightest TN monitors actually might enhance game play.

    I like to go into electronics departs and kneel in front of the TVs. I know what you're thinking, that these are the Gods I pray to. Not so, when you get under TN, the image will go into something resembling a negative. My little way of figuring out which brands are naughty, and which brands are nice.
  12. whitescar911

    whitescar911 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So basicly im looking for a TV that has VA or IPS 100Hz + with at least 160º 170º viewing angle and is at least 37"? Also does this apply to 2500x1600 monitors? Angle wise if i want to watch tv i can just slid along my desk.
  13. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Virtually all 2560x1600 monitors are M-PVA and IPS. This site shows that the typical viewing for both technologies is 178/178 (degrees horizontal/vertical) . I think you will find that most (if not all) 2560x1600 panels are 60Hz refresh rate. For 120Hz, in a monitor, you would need to look at 1920x1080 panels designed for 3-D viewing (but perfectly fine for non-3D use) like this Acer
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,522   +2,312

    Whoops, attempting clarity seems to have caused some confusion.

    DBZ is quite correct in that a true "monitor" (2560 X 1600) would likely be IPS Newegg lists 5 of these in their inventory; http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010190020 1309825151&name=30" At minimum these are a $1000.00, to well over $2000.00. These are all 30" panels.

    A modern TV will suffice as a monitor. However the resol;ution would be limited to 1920 X 1080. These would be available in up to 240Hz refresh rates.

    Most all of the TV of 26" are now TN, some of the 32" might be, but anything 37" and above would be MVA or better, with a corresponding 176 X 176 degree to 178 X 178 degree minimum angle of view.

    There are I believe some compromises in using a TV as the sole computer monitor. I've never been able to get the outer desktop icons to display correctly without being partly off the screen. I don't say it can't be done, it just hasn't worked for me.

    DBZ, Be aware that Acer 3D you've linked is TN, I only mention this so as we're not comparing apples to oranges
  15. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Cheers captain. Hadn't really investigated monitors with higher refresh rates as the only ones that don't seem to default to 60Hz at optimal resolution seem to be the 3D/120Hz variety. I still have vivid memories of supposed 3-D movie features that left me with a nagging headache/eyestrain for a day or two afterwards, so I'm in no rush to try out the "new technology".
    I figured that most of these 120Hz panels might have some limitations as they don't seem overly expensive considering they are first generation new tech. I would have presumed that there would be a market for 100+Hz refresh/MVA or IPS 1920x1200 (or 1080) and 2560x1600 panels for professional graphics/film/photographic work, but if there are they seem mightly thin on the ground.
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