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Suggestions for a new build

By Tank ยท 67 replies
Sep 13, 2009
  1. Hello everyone. I am new here and been lurking for a little while, so finally signed up. Looking forward to being here and meeting some new people and learning some stuff! I will cut right to it.

    I want to build a new machine, strictly for gaming, music, watching movies and creating some HD video, but there won't be much of that, maybe 2 or 3 times a year. I am a diehard AMD fan, so even though Intel is pulling ahead right now, I am still going to run a AMD CPU.

    I have a question that is a total newb question, but I honestly just cannot remember, it's escaped my brain. I want to run a 140 watt CPU, but the motherboard I want does not support them, it shows on it's support list only up to 125W CPU's. The CPU I would LIKE to run is the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 GHZ CPU. The motherboards I am now considering are these:

    GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (140W CPU supported)
    M4A785TD-V EVO (140W CPU supported)
    M4A79XTD EVO - Has HD output on it, really like this.

    So which board is best? I have absolutely no problem spending $300 on a Motherboard if it is worth it. I wonder what that HD output is like, does it work well? Or is that option more geared towards people who want to run a HD TV as there monitor? Maybe there is a better MB then all of these I am not even considering sense I don't know about it?

    All I know forsure is, I want to watercool, and I want 2 GeForce 295's, have not decided if I am just going to WC the CPU, or the CPU, and both cards, or what to cool, hoping someone can shed some light on a good WC kit or pieces for me, really don't know much there. I had one WC kit, but it was a cheap Thermaltake when they first came out, thats as far as my WC experience goes.

    As far as budget goes, I guess between $3000-$4000 is about right. Looking for suggestions on everything, good full tower case, best LCD monitor out there for gaming, all of it, I would like to hear it.

    Thank you and good to be here!
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Rule No. 1. No brand new motherboard or video graphics card is worth the stress and the downtime ... the quality control is never as good as it should be.

    Look for real results. Do you have solid reasons why you want the 140W cpu based upon your own experience?
    Same question applies to the water cooled units. Do you really want to put up with the trouble they cause, when so many have gone back to air cooled?
    If your decisions are based upon your own experience and that of your friends, there is no arguement, but try to avoid going on what you have read in a magazine or on-line, because nearly everything is sales fluff.
    In my opinion, the power supply and memory are two of the most important creatures in your case, and you didn't even mention them?

    Mainly, you make it sound like your mind is made up, and you are simply hunting others who will agree with you... but $300 might not be enough for the right motherboard... I would plan on $330 or so... don't forget shipping.

    The seller who is easy to return components is better than the price anyway.

    Which board is best? Three is no "BEST" just a lot of opinions so talk to users who play what you play.
  3. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    How much are you planning to OC on your system? Water cooling otherwise would not make much sense.

    As for the mobo, an AMD 790FX chipset from Gigabyte / ASUS / DFI would be a good choice with the Phenom II X4 965BE.

    Two GTX 295s seem a little too much. You might wait a while for ATI to release the DX11 cards. However, if you are thinking of putting in 2 cards, HD4870x2 would be a good option.

    Anyway, with that kind of budget you could get yourself all that you want! LOL! All the best with your build. :)
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    I think you will be disappointed by going with 2 GTX 295's if you want want quad crossfire consider 2 of the HD 4870 x2's Ritwik suggested. the reason being that SLI has a ways to go with driver development to get the advantage from 2 cards like the 295. ATI has done a much better job with CF driver development. if not a pair of GTX 260's does very well, at a third of the price.
  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    At the present time is there anything that comes close to utilising Quad CrossFire?
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    that really depends on the cards you choose and the configuration. some cards crossfire/SLI better than others, and that depends on the driver development,system configuration, and the game for that matter. it used to be that more than two cards was usless, now for the right setup, a third can be benificial, the fourth can be a diminishing return, but (on paper) DX 11 equipment may be able to use 4 cards(or GPU's) much more efficiently. well see :)
  7. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    I know we'll see red. :p

    When exactly are you getting those? :D
  8. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    as soon as they go into mass production, ATI says that will happen late October, early November :)
  9. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Lucky you!!! (Envious me!) LOL!!! :D
  10. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    The reason I wanted to go with the 140W CPU was simply the higher clock rate, it is not much more than the 955. I have considered buying the 955, and some people have suggested to overclock it, but, in doing that, I will still demand more wattage from the MB then it is suppose to give, which may burn it out. Being as the 955 is 125W at stock speeds, the MB's for it go up to 125W, nothing more, as far as I know.

    I really have not heard of any trouble with Watercooling. I will admit, I had trouble with my first kit. Had a leak develop, which landed ON my Video card, I got lucky, everything worked after a few days drying time. It also clogged on me though? I was never able to figure out how that sealed system got something in it, to clog? It happened 2 times. However, as I mentioned before, that was when WC was new to the market, and it was Thermaltakes first and cheapest WC kit...not the best experience to base an assumption off of.

    As far as RAM goes, I am really looking for help there. I honestly do not know what the best option would be for me.

    Power supply will be a Ultra X3 modular 1000 watt or 1600 watt.

    As far as $300 not being enough for a motherboard, I have browsed everything I think and the most expensive I have come across was only $220 or something? Where are these $300 boards?

    I will not be overclocking at all, so I am considering running Coolermasters new WC kit, as I think it would be more than adequate for not OC'ing, and it has eye appeal, which has always been huge for me, it will be an impressive system look to say the least.

    So 2 GTX 295's is not worth it?? I will admit I just picked the 2 best cards and assumed it would kick ***, but, I could be wrong. If someone could shed some more light on this before I order $1100 worth of graphics cards, I would appreciate it.
  11. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    How much RAM do you want to put in. I'm assuming about 8 Gigs? Check the compatible RAM list of the motherboard you choose.

    If you're bent on WC, up to you.

    IMO quad cards are not necessary. But again YMMV. If you want that then I second what red said. Two HD4870x2.

    How much are you willing to spend on a case. You may want to check out MountainMods.

    As far as $300 boards go for AMD, I think there are none.
  12. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    RAM will be 8GB, as far as I know, 2 GB sticks are the biggest you can get right now, correct?

    I know running 2 cards might be, useless right now, but wouldn't it be safe to say that at this time next year, running 2 of these would still be more than adequate?

    I tried to find the HD4870X2 on newegg, and it is no longer available apparently, can someone link me to this card please? I haven't heard anything about it, nor do I know how it stands up against the 295. I did not even consider ATI as I am a diehard Nvidia fan, however, if ATI is leaps and bounds ahead, that adjustment could be made. I have no intentions of running more than 1 monitor, and if I do, it will be for desktop applications, not games.

    Case I was thinking of the Coolermaster HAF full tower.

    Shows how long I have been out of the PC scene, I didn't know ATI was part of AMD...I gotta catch up haha.
  13. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    ATI is not leaps ahead of nVidia. However, with them releasing DX11 cards in a couple of months you may see them gaining a definitive advantage. But are you willing to wait that long?

    The ATI HD 4870 is a very good card which is comparable to the GTX 260 (a lttle better maybe). The 4870x2 is a single board containing 2 cores. That would be equivalent to 2 GTX 260s in SLI.

    Why the ATI was recommended was because combining to GTX 295s in SLI you won't get any noticeable performance gains compared to two HD 4870x2 in CrossFire which come cheaper. In fact if you CF two HD 4870s (not even 4870x2) it should do very nicely with all applications and games.

    The HAF 932 should be a good case.
  14. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    Well actually as far as price goes. At my local store, the 4870X2, is $522 per card. The Geforce GTX 295 superclocked edition, is $600 per card. To me, that price difference is not enough to sway me away from Nvidia...IF it would be a better option. I really do not have the understanding right now of the latest graphics, so, I was just hoping more or less, someone could tell me what to do there, there has to be a GPU guru here somewheres! If 2 4870X2's is better, I will go with that, if 2 GTX 295'S is better, thats cool too!

    I must admit that HDMI on the ATI card looks mighty tempting, it'd be nice to watch some videos on the PC on the ol HD plasma!
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    You need to factor in the resolution; using a GTX 295 with a 22-24" screen is just a waste of cash. The real power of that card is only realised on 30" screens capable of resolutions upto 2560x1600. So if you are going to game at 1680x1050 or 1920x1080, get a GTX 275 and be done with it.

    I would not recommend an AMD build for you; a better option would be a P55-based board like the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 and the Core i5 750. Extremely OC-friendly and far faster than any AMD CPU in the same price range.

    For RAM, pick the highest frequency kit your board can support without an OC. I recommend buying from OCZ, Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, Patriot, mushkin and G.SKILL for the best results. FYI, the first three are considered to be the "Holy Trinity" when it comes to RAM kits; their OC-friendly lines of memory (OCZ's Reaper & FlexXLC, Crucial's Ballistix\Ballistix Tracer and Corsair's Dominator) are considered to be the best choices for a gaming build.

    In addition, consider the XFX 850 Black Edition PSU as a good PSU choice. It has the same internals and performance as the awesome Seasonic M12D and comes with a 5-year warranty to boot. It will easily be able to power two GTX 275s in SLI, should you choose to add one in later for a performance boost.

    Lastly, for watercooling, make sure you use the right type of coolant and additives for a smooth experience. Distilled water is best (tap water has minerals and algae and causes algal bloom formation, clogging up pipes) and you can add any additives like Water Wetter (to increase the cooling capacity of the liquid) and UV reactive dyes (for aesthetic reasons). Xoxide.com offers a large range of dyes and additives for this purpose.
  16. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    Resolution was one thing I forgot to mention. I do plan to run the PC on the HD TV in the living room sometimes, but probably only a few times every few months, for a few hours.

    One thing I forgot to ask is, where have monitors gotten to these days? Are LCD's catching up yet in terms of refresh rates and being able to reproduce an accurate black? I have a friend who refuses to buy LCD's, sticks with old CRT's, says LCD's suck for gaming, I currently run an LCD, and my only complaint is refresh rate and the black is not as black as it should be. What's the best choice in the 22'' size range nowadays?

    So even with the right motherboard and 2 PCI-E 16X slots, that second card won't be used at all, or hardly at all? The ASUS M4N82 Deluxe should be able to make use of both cards, not?

    I don't know, maybe I am better off to wait for DX11??
  17. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Hi Tank,
    LCD monitors have caught up yes, you might notice the contrast ratios that they all use as a selling point. while they are arrived at by different criteria....and are largely useless, LCD are now better at reproducing color than CRT monitors. response times are also at 2-5ms for most. way beyond what is needed to eliminate screen tear. as far as the second card not being used, its more of a case of weather its needed. with a 22" monitor, one high end card will suffice for most games. if you get into the above 22" a second card can be very useful for demanding games. Your friend will not have a choice soon but to use LCD as CRT's are being phased out because of their much higher power consumption. your friend has obviously not used a LCD monitor recently.:)
    as far as waiting for DX11, that wholly depends on how important it is to you see the next generation of capabilities of the new GPU's you can go to you-tube and see presentations on DX11 and its features, and see if they look like they are of importance to you.
  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Look for a 22" monitor with a max resolution of 1920x1080 from Samsung, Dell, Acer, Hanns.G, Viewsonic, ASUS or LG.

    For that kind of resolution, I wouldn't recommend anything more powerful than a GTX 275, since the extra horsepower of the GTX 295 would be wasted at that resolution. Two of them would certainly not be needed; one GTX 295 is more than enough for anything you may want to run.

    It's not an issue of whether the motherboard will be able to utilize the power of the cards, more about software and games that will take advantage of both cards. Few new games will show you the full benefit of a dual-card setup, since it usually takes some time before driver support is up to par. Rather than being dependent on drivers for good performance, I would rather you just go the tried-and-tested way and stick with a single GPU for now. You could always add another in if you feel you need more performance. I doubt you would need to though.

    As for the CRT vs LCD debate, CRT's are only better at producing crisper blacks. Their main drawbacks are their power consumption (very high compared to LCDs), their heat output (again, hotter than LCDs) and the fact that they strain the eye much, much more than LCD screens do.
  19. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    IF I just read this correctly, the ASUS M4N82 Deluxe can only run DDR2 memory. Is this because it is a board geared for SLI? I notice with boards for AMD AM3's geared for Crossfire setups, they can run DDR3, and if you want to run SLI, you are limited to DDR2 memory only, why is this? Is this actually the case. In my opinion, to build a new system now, and put in DDR2 memory, is simply foolish. DDR3 is available, and it is faster, why in the heck not utilize that??

    Any specific monitor suggestions? 19 is the smallest I want to go, I guess up to 22 or 24 would be the biggest.

    I never bothered to look but is the GTX 295 a dual GPU setup as well, just 2 cores on one board like the 4870X2?

    If most games and software cannot take advantage of dual GTX 295's, and there are driver and software issues with getting 2 cards to run correctly on most things, is it possible to more or less, "shut down" one card? If it became a problem, I figured I could just disable one card, and run on when, and then when something comes along I can take advantage of both cards with, I can just wake it up and go on my way! Is this possible?

    I myself strongly dislike CRT's, I just wasn't sure what the best option was for gaming.
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    The DDR2 support is to ensure compatibility with older AM2 and AM2+ CPUs. An AM3 motherboard will only accept AM3 chips, since they are the only ones that have an on-chip DDR3 memory controller.

    And yes, the GTX 295 is a dual-GPU card. And no, you cannot disable an individual GPU core.
  21. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

  22. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    I meant disable one card entirely, not one GPU. I still would like to run 2 video cards, and previously it was made to sound that running 2 can become a software issue, so I figured if this is true, maybe I could just shut down one entire card, and let the other one run by itself.

    So basically I guess AMD CPU's are made to work with AMD chipsets and ATI video cards, that's probably my best bet for stability, AMD with Nvidia video cards seems to be a harder and harder thing to master successfully.

    Any monitor suggestions anyone?
  23. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    You cannot disable one GPU on a dual-GPU card, and unless you pull it out, you cannot keep a second video card plugged into the slot and "switch it off" via software.

    And there are no compatibility issues I know of between AMD chipsets and NVIDIA video cards, or between NVIDIA chipsets and ATI cards.

    I recommend the Acer X213Hbid & X233Hbid and ASUS VH226H as excellent choices.
  24. Tank

    Tank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 36

    All right, thank you!

    So just to clarify, I CAN run DDR3 with a AMD AM3 CPU and a Nvidia card?
  25. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Yes you can...
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