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Cee-Kay

New AM3 build

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Hi Guys,

I wondered if you could have a look of the current spec of PC I was thinking of building. I would greatly appreciate your comments...

Spec #1

  • Case - Existing Antec Three Hundred Gaming Case
  • MB - Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P (AM3) €110
  • CPU - AMD Phenom II 550 Dual Core 3.1Ghz (Black Edition) €90
  • Cooler - Existing Akasa Nero Heatpipe Cooler
  • RAM - Kingston ValueRAM 4GB DDR3 1333 (2x2GB) €59
  • PSU - Corsair HX450 450W (Modular) €68
  • GPU - Sapphire HD 4770 512MB GDDR5 PCI-e (with a full copy of Grid) €84
  • HDD - Existing WD Raptor 150GB
  • Optical - LG H22LS30 Lighscribe Black SATA OEM - €27.94

-OR-

Spec #2

  • Case - Existing Antec Three Hundred Gaming Case
  • MB - Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P (AM3) €146.95 (Bought)
  • CPU - AMD Phenom II 720 Triple Core 2.8Ghz (Black Edition) €108 (Bought)
  • Cooler - Existing Akasa Nero Heatpipe Cooler
  • RAM - Mushkin Xtreme 996657 4GB (2x2gb) DDR3 1600Mhz €85 (Bought)
  • PSU - Corsair HX620 620W (Modular) €104.95 (Bought)
  • GPU - Sapphire HD 4770 512MB GDDR5 PCI-e (with a full copy of Grid) €84 (Bought)
  • HDD - Existing WD Raptor 150GB
  • Storage - WD Green/Blue/Black (Unsure - future purchase)

I will probably end up choosing the more expensive option, since I don't plan on replacing the system for a couple of years, but at some point I will also need to purchase some additional storage space and perhaps a dedicated RAID card as suggested by a number of board members here. I'm assuming the on-board RAID of both motherboards would be sufficient for RAID-0/1?

Thanks again for any comments/suggestions you may have.

EDIT: Build complete! :thumbup

Edited by Cee-Kay

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It's hard to say what is better between those motherboards. The FX based one support better over clocking and has the second PCI-E 16x electronically at 16x while the X has a 16x electronically at 8x. The FX also has the second NIC and 2 extra SATA ports.

By the way, for an optical unit I would just use a PATA one so you keep one SATA free for the future drives you are going to place. RAID 0/1 is good enough of that chipset.

And, the triple core for sure ;).

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@puntoMX

Thanks for your reply and confirming the differences between them -- they were the only changes I could see :).

It's the motherboard that causing me the greatest difficulty in deciding, as I want to future-proof the system as much as possible (if there's such a thing these days!) with what I'll actually use/need e.g. 2x graphics cards in Crossfire etc.

I think I'll definitely go with the Tri-core (despite being slightly slower) particularly since I can't afford to go for a Quad-core Phenom II. I've heard there is a possibility of unlocking the fourth core with this range of motherboards (which I may or may not try). Are you happy with your Gigabyte board?

Do you think it's worth investing in 1600Mhz DDR3 as opposed to 1333Mhz? (Roughly €10-15 extra), also I'm assuming I should go with the higher capacity Corsair PSU? (Currently €19 difference).

I added the optical as currently I have no internal DVD burner, only an external LG drive, but I think it would be good to have one internally as well (even though I'm sure I could boot from the external drive no problem!).

I was planning on having up to six hard drives on the light blue coloured ports (the FXT model) i.e. 2x for the OS (RAID-0) and up to 4x drives for redundancy of my data (RAID-5) do you think I would have any difficultly in using the SATA optical drive on the white coloured ports (Gigabyte chipset?)

Thanks!

Edited by Cee-Kay

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If you are talking about crossfire, than I would pick the UD5P without thinking, plus you would do better by taking some 600W PSU rather than the 450W you picked now.

I only use one external optical drive and I must say that it's enough; it's only used to install an OS or some apps. A SATA optical drive will not get you any problems but why spoil a SATA port for it ;).

About the memory; 10-15€ over the 59€... pick the 1600MHz I would say.

Yes, I'm verry pleased with Gigabyte, so are my customers. Most motherboards come now with 3 year warranty in America but in Europe that would be 2 years I think.

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I've just come back from a local supermarket and saw the latest PCFormat mag. In it there is an article about the AMD Phenom II 3 core.

It seems that on a certain batch the dormant forth core can be activated.

Yes I know, I should have bought it

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@G8YMW

It seems people were having the most luck in unlocking the fourth core with batches produced by AMD which had four fully working cores (produced late 2008 I believe), but had one core disabled in order for them to keep up with the initial demand.

Tri-core/dual-core processors sold today are more likely than not quad core processors with one/two cores not passing product testing i.e. damage during manufacture etc. (a practice used by many companies including Intel). Personally I won't be paying quad-core prices so I'm not expecting four working cores, but it would be an added bonus if it did :).

The bios version seems to be just as important as the motherboard itself for unlocking the processors, something AMD obviously want motherboard manufacturers to stop.

Btw how much is that magazine selling for nowadays? I remember reading it for quite some time, but stopped buying it when the price was moving towards the £6 range (this was a couple of years ago).

@puntoMX

Do you think the Corsair HX520 would be sufficient? Or would you recommend I go for the HX620? (An additional €20). As for the external optical drive I tend to use it for the same tasks you do, so that will likely be something I'll drop and use the difference to pay for one of the other components.

Edited by Cee-Kay

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Do you think the Corsair HX520 would be sufficient? Or would you recommend I go for the HX620? (An additional €20). As for the external optical drive I tend to use it for the same tasks you do, so that will likely be something I'll drop and use the difference to pay for one of the other components.
The HX520 would do the trick, but if it's 20€ more for the HX620 I would say it's tempting. Max load on every 12V line of both models is the same; 18A, but the combined load is 480W for the HX520 and 600W for the HX620, so there is the biggest difference. Other than that, the HX620 comes with some extra SATA cables and can deliver a bit more juice at the 5V line so that could could get in handy when you stuff your system with harddisks ;).

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I ordered the AMD processor and graphics card (which came today) as they were going in-and-out of stock.

I got the tripple-core processor for €108 (as opposed to €126) so that will pay the difference for the higher model psu (always better to be safe than sorry right?)

Thanks again Punto! :).

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Nice deal on the CPU. And if you want to be on the safe side, go with the higher model PSU.

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I would be going with the UD5P as well, has 2x16bit PCIE slots. I just read a review on the 550 dual core, seems it is a bit of a world beater:D

It also is reported that not all 3core and dual core Phenoms are defective, seems that some of them can have the disabled core re-enabled

using the BIOS menu of Gigabyte boards and UD5P is one of them. :)

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Bad news...

I went to get the latest prices for the last two components I need (the motherboard and the PSU) and the store I was going to purchase from no longer sells the HX620! :realmad:

They still sell the motherboard so that's not a problem, but any other company (online or otherwise) want quite a bit more for the HX620 (between €125-140 delivered!)

So I could really use some help in choosing an alternative power supply.

Here are the models I've picked from the same store which I purchased the Graphics card and the CPU from...

  • Corsair VX550 550W €77
  • Antec Earthwatts 650W €78.95
  • Corsair HX520 520W (Modular) €86.95
  • Antec TruePower New 550W (Modular) €87.95
  • Corsair TX650 650W €92

I would prefer a modular power supply since my Antec Three Hundred may get a bit crowed when I start adding extra components in the near future (i.e. hard drives -- 5 max, and perhaps a second ATI Radeon HD 4770).

I was thinking about going for the Corsair HX520, but I'm not sure if that would leave me with enough of a margin power wise.

I would appreciate your suggestions.

Thanks! :thumbup

EDIT: Never mind, I eventually found another retailer, which had the motherboard and the PSU in stock (slightly cheaper with free delivery -- panic over!) :whistle:

Just need to wait for them to arrive along with the RAM, which I purchased elsewhere. Once I’ve built my new rig, I may be persuaded to post a few pics :).

Edited by Cee-Kay

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that HX520 would have been more than enough for that rig to be honest. it looks power hungry, but it isn't. at full load i would estimate the power usage to be around 350W maximum.

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Yep its graphics cards that suck a lot of power and it only has a 4770 which does not use that much power at all so a high quality 520W should be fine.

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Thanks for your comments guys! :thumbup

Yes the HX520 would more than likely of been sufficient and I probably would of bought it, if I didn't find the HX620 (it was only €20 more, but with free postage the difference was closer to €10).

The other reason I went for the higher model was to ensure I had sufficent power for several hard drives (I'm thinking mostly spin-up here) and perhaps in the future a Crossfire setup.

The small number of reviews/previews of two 4770's in Crossfire all showed different idle and peak values for the two cards (although they do use less than a pair of 4850's), so it wasn't the easiest task working out how much juice the other components they were using required.

In the end it was better to be safe than sorry :).

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