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Choosing a CPU: AMD Phenom 9950

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by the_professor, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. the_professor New Member

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    Hello world,

    During the process of researching and collecting information to assist with building my computer, some of which can be found in the following thread:
    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=73664

    ...I have come across a few separate subjects within the process that require some extra digging. To allow for a better discussion of specific topics within an all-encompassing and, for me, slightly overwhelming category of computer tech talk, I will extract the subjects that would benefit from a separate and more focused discussion. This will also help me with not becoming overwhelmed by the process.

    My initial steps included skimming the surface of all computer components in a particular order and has since progressed into more thorough digging into the each component's subject. I created a list of all the parts I am (or was) interested in, though I am going through revisions so that I may replace components in the list - tweak it, basically - prior to purchasing the parts. You will find early drafts of the list in the thread linked above. I suspect that list will go through at least a few more minor revisions and at least one or two major revisions before finalizing my preferred options.

    Here is a direct link to "version 1.5" of my list.

    Purpose of this computer: 1/2 music production, 1/2 gaming; and a little extra multimedia mixed in, for use with movies/tv shows.

    Price range for this computer: $1,000 to $1,500 (if possible), though I might go a little higher.

    I recently posted a message on:
    "Choosing a GPU: NVIDIA 9800 GTX, NVIDIA GTX 260, or switching to ATI"
    "Choosing a Motherboard: ASUS, AM2+ Socket, NVIDIA/SLI Chipset, or switch to non-ASUS"
    "Choosing RAM: For 64-bit Quad Core (AMD Phenom 9950)"

    As a side note: the description of the "System Builder's Advice" forum reads, "Are you planning to build a new computer or looking to upgrade yours? Get feedback from the community here for your whole project." I'll leave that to my "whole project" and this one specific piece of my computer puzzle open to discussion here. There is not a CPU-specific forum, which is surprising but that's okay, and I'm not discussing "Overclocking & Cooling" in this topic, so this "General Hardware" forum is the perfect place! Now... back to the topic...

    I am 100% positive that I want the "AMD Phenom 9950" CPU and around 95-99% positive that I want the "NVIDIA 9800 GTX" GPU. (The 95-99% on the GPU involves the motherboard, which will be explained elsewhere.)

    CPU:

    I have come across two versions of the Phenom, though I am unsure which one to get. It would help if I knew how they are different and the pros/cons to their differences.

    I am aware of the 125W and 140W, though I am unaware of the pros/cons in each.

    I am aware of the "OEM" and "Retail" (at newegg.com), though I am unaware of the specific contents included within each and which contents I would really need.

    Here are the two CPUs I am referring to:

    "AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 140W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - OEM"
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103285
    ($169.00)

    or

    "AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Retail"
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103291
    ($184.99)

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  2. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    As I stated in one of your other threads, Intel's quad offerings are much better for what you want to do. It wins in price/performance hands down. Perhaps you should keep your system build to one thread to avoid this cross-thread confusion. People helping you find this much easier.
    WarEagleAU, spearman914 and CDdude55 say thanks.
  3. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    The top Phenom doesnt include a Heat sink fan(meaning you will need to buy your own)

    Also the Phenom at the bottom uses less power tho

    But overall, besides the Heat sink they are very similar. I assume you dont want to buy a heatsink fan, so the bottom Phenom is fine.
  4. Steevo

    Steevo

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    A phenom with a new Asus T series board would be a good choice, many here are taking them over 3.2Ghz with a marginal volt increase and decent air cooling, I messed up and ordered abit too soon and got my Asus M3A32-MVP and am landlocked in Vista X64 at 3.1Ghz but can boot at 3.4 easily and have got a boot at 3.5+ but not stable enough to run memtest.


    $$$$$ it is the best choice out there and it will supply a X-fire or SLI setup with enough crunch power.
    10 Million points folded for TPU
  5. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    I also agree with erocker, intel's current offerings are very satisfying and very overclockable.

    I have a Intel QX6700(quad core) myself and i love it, even if i don't OC.

    Intel is so far on top of there game interms of price and performance as erocker mentioned. So i would recommend going intel.

    But if you are very attached to AMD, i don't see a problem.(besides that Phenoms aren't really good OCers.)
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  6. Pinchy New Member

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    Definitely an Intel Quad.
  7. the_professor New Member

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    Regarding the 4 "Choosing..." threads, keeping these 4 specific topics merged into one thread is exactly what will confuse me. It is important that I have a clear and concise understanding of each topic with minimal merging/mixing of other related topics. Merged discussions can take place in the "whole project" thread. At present, I am on a bit of a "crunch" schedule for building the computer for testing purposes; I need to understand these 4 specific topics as "unmixed" as possible. Please see the following:

    By "heat sink fan" does that mean the actual fan and that "metal box-looking thing"?

    The actual "heat sink" is the "metal box" thing, right? (Well not literally box, but sometimes cube-shaped, and the fan attaches to it?)

    I've read that it would be a good idea to actually get a separate heatsinkfan-device for the AMD, that the stock one is ancient. Is that a common thing?

    What does that mean when a CPU uses more or less power?

    I would be completely okay with buying a heat sink fan device if it means it will be better than the generic one that comes with the CPU.

    Excellent... so ASUS "T" series is a good series to choose from. Thank you. :)

    This computer will be AMD, yes. ;) I actually plan on switching things up with my next computer, which will include Intel. (I'm curious about what the future holds for the 6 core or something, haven't read details yet, I might have that wrong.)

    ;)
  8. Pinchy New Member

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    Hmm I didn't realise you were so focused on an AMD phenom.

    Well in that case, to answer your question; the difference between OEM and retail is that the OEM is JUST the chip itself, retail contains your box/cooler/manual and chip.
  9. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    Yes, they mean there is no fan or heatsink with it(the metal base is heatsink) you would need to buy a heat sink fan. Comes with only the CPU.

    The heat slink is referring to the metal box like base and the fan is at the top, now a days CPU's get really hot so they put a fan on top of the heatsink, so when they say no Heatsink included it means no heat sink or fan, just CPU.

    The stock Heatsink fan is good if you dont plan to overclock your CPU. If you do, then i would recommend getting a better heatsink fan.

    When a CPU uses less power that means it draws less power from your wall outlet and power supply, Quads need lots of power to keep all core running, so they pull more power from the wall and PSU(power supply) then a Dual and Single core CPU.
  10. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    Heatsink Fan= Heatsink+ fan on top or at side of heatsink

    [​IMG]


    Older CPU's were able to just use the heat sink tho that looked like this:

    [​IMG]
  11. the_professor New Member

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    This time around, yep, AMD. The next computer will be Intel. :)

    Okay. I will definitely buy a separate heatsink+fan. :)

    I don't plan on overclocking but I'd like to have it ready if I want to learn how.

    So is the 140W actually better than the 125W? Or vice versa?

    I'm not sure how to measure "better" in terms of watts. :)

    Awesome. Yeah, I understand the heatsink+fan better now. I know I'll need that AS5 stuff, too, though how do I properly apply it? (Where/etc.)

    I read that a "pea-sized" drop goes on top of the CPU before putting the metal thing... erm... the heatsink ;) on top. Though I might have that totally wrong. It's a very careful thing to do, I know. I don't want to do it wrong.

    Are there any videos out there showing good CPU installation with use of the thermal paste?

    My old desktop has that ancient heatsink! (No fan.) :)
  12. CDdude55

    CDdude55 Crazy 4 TPU!!!

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    Well, for most people they would rather have a lower power consuming CPU(less electric bill)

    Having 140W doesnt really mean the CPU is better, but then again the better the CPU the more power it consumes normally(More cores makes the need for more power)

    As for thermal paste, it depends, some people put a pea sized dot in the middle and spread it around, some people just put a dot. Since its a quad and your getting a better Heatsink fan you can just put a pea sized amout in the middle and the heatsink will spread it into a nice oval shape over the CPU.

    This guy spreads it out tho:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7rPqCvCt0g
  13. the_professor New Member

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    Putting my electric bill aside, would 140W "out-do" 125W? Or is it irrelevant and just get the 125W? :)

    Or maybe just go with the one that costs less money? (Since I'll be getting a separate heatsink + fan.)

    Cool video! And I've bookmarked the website that he mentions at the end of the video.

    Would it be too much to put a pea-size drop, spread it evenly like in that video, then put a pea-size drop and not spread it (letting the heatsink take care of it)?

    EDIT/UPDATE:

    I'm going to get the 125W.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008

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