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Need help with final selection of: PSU/RAM/GPU

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by xyzunit, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. xyzunit New Member

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    Hi.
    I'm building a PC.


    Case: Rosewill Blackbone ATX Mid Tower

    Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth 990FX

    Processor: AMD FX-8120

    Hard Drive: I have an old 640GB hard drive sitting in an old gaming computer that stopped working for some reason (you can see the system specs on the left, under my username. It always had stability issues, but I'm not smart enough to figure out what is wrong.)

    RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900)
    or G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900)
    I don't know which is better -- they both sound like they work just fine with my motherboard.

    Video Card: I am trying to select the best possible Radeon HD 6870 for future Crossfire use.
    This appears to be the best rated option on Newegg, but I was hoping that someone could either explain to me why it merits the extra cost, or show me a viable alternative for around $170.



    As far as a power supply goes, I am pretty much in the dark.
    I saw these: Corsair 650W and Corsair 850W but I don't know if 650W is too low and 850W is too high. Also, the pricetag on the 850W is a little out of my range, but if I need something that strong to run Crossfire, I will get it.


    I already purchased the CPU & Motherboard from Microcenter because they offer a great deal on my motherboard. So right now my budget dictates that I can afford:

    1 Radeon HD 6870
    ~$50 case
    ~$100 PSU
    8 Gigs of RAM

    but eventually (in about 2 months) I would like to add an additional HD 6870, Two 1TB HD's in RAID 0, a SSD, 8 more Gigs of RAM, and a swanky CPU Cooler.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  2. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    the 650 will be plenty I wish you had come here before ordering because the FX chip isnt as fast as the Phenom II's ._. for 90% of things the
    not that the FX chip is "slow" but it gets beaten by its older sibling in nearly every benchmark save for the ones that can use all 8 threads
    two ramkits you picked out are pretty much identical
    Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM... might perform SLIGHTLY better 9-9-9-27timings vrs 9-10-9-28
    you should be able to get 9 9 9 27 out of either the snipers or RJX's @ 1.55-1.58v
    if you are gonna do cross fire go with the 850wat and don't bother using the stock heat sink at all its complete garbage pickup a hyper212 EVO or something at least
    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Contin...
    water cooling is highly recomended with the 8150 if you intend to push a EXTREME overclock(beyond 4.3) there power hungry hot running bastards
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  3. entropy13

    entropy13

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    Oh, you bought the CPU and motherboard already? How much for the both of them? If it's more than $290, then that is NOT a good deal at all.
  4. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    xyzunit says thanks.
  5. dark2099

    dark2099

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    I'd go for the 850w PSU personally, not sure the 650w will cut it if you go for crossfire. Also, my guess that 6870 is more expensive because it is one of the original launch reference design, which either is in very limited stock or no longer produced, replaced by non reference designs offering better cooling or better power circuitry. It will allow for voltage control with programs like Sapphire Trixx and MSI Afterburner, where as some non reference cards won't I think.
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  6. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

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  7. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    My system wouldn't even post with a 550-watt and a 6870. I recommend that you go with at least 800-watts for safe measure.

    Edit: There no such thing as a power supply that is too big. Nothing bad happens with a bigger power supply however very bad things can happen if it is too small.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  8. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    There are a few things to note before I answer your questions.

    You went with Bulldozer. Hopefully, you made that decision because you do a lot of graphics/video editing, and the extra cores will be helpful. If you got it because the Microcenter sales rep. told you too then we have a problem of understanding.

    Stock coolers suck. This is not a generalization, they are designed as the minimum possible cooler that will prevent your system from getting throttled, assuming you're in a magical room where they set every climate variable. In the real world you can spend $20 and get something substantially better. You should always spend the money there, always!

    To your questions:
    1) 650 watts may be a bit low. Bulldozer pulls some significant power, and if you're looking for an eventual crossfire you'll need even more power. I know it's a little beyond the budget, but you'd do well to go with the 850 watt unit. You can always look at competitor brands to save you some money...
    2) There is very little difference between 6870 iterations. The cooling system may change, and the voltage regulation and management (VRM) can change. These changes generally improve above the reference model performance, and thus are often a very good thing. If you intend to overclock substantially then you need to do a bit of research. If you'll be running the graphics card stock, then choose one with a warranty you can deal with. The card you cited wasn't bad, but there are better warranties out there. I'm partial to XFX, but your mileage there may vary.
    3) RAM is, generally, RAM. Both of these sets have the same timings, voltages, and frequencies. Go with the one that you think will be cheaper, and still available when you upgrade. Having matched memory after an upgrade is surprisingly important in some situations, and all overclocking. My money, I'd go with the snipers. Ripjawx is going to get better faster, as it is a flagship line of RAM for Gskill.
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  9. xyzunit New Member

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    To all posters: I researched my CPU. For the price point and what I will be using it for, it is the best possible purchase. However, I appreciate the concern.


    lilhasselhoffer: Awesome post, thank you very much.
    1) OK. I will try to find a good deal in the 850W range :)
    2) XFX, warranties, good stuff. I will do some searching. The ASUS board I bought has a 5-year warranty, and that was definitely the kicker over a similar Gigabyte model.
    3) Will go for the Snipers.
    4) I'll get a CPU cooler on Friday, because you have convinced me of the importance. I keep wanting to forget that this Zambezi is 125W.

    Aquinus: Right. I wanted to shoot lower on the Wattage for $$$ purposes, but I suppose rebuilding a PC would cost way more! That MSI card is awful expensive, but I will definitely take your recommendation into consideration.

    jsfitz54: Sniper. Will do.

    dark2099: Sounds like a whole new can of worms to research.

    entropy13: $300 after taxes. It is what I wanted at the price I was willing to pay, so unless there is some deal hanging out in the clouds, I'm content.

    OneMoar: I'll probably get the CM 212 based on your recommendation and 5 eggs.
    I know dick-all about RAM timings. I'll try to research the Ballistix more.
    I considered getting the 1100T, but it was more money and I will be making use of extra cores.
    Water-cooling is an expensive venture -- if I remember correctly. If I fall onto a pile of (non-drug-related) cash, I will jump all over it. For the first few months, I won't be overclocking -- I just want a stable system.
  10. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Oh, I completely understand but the PSU is the most under-rated hardware in computer builds. I've gone cheap with PSUs in the past too and I've got lucky. I have friends who haven't been. Just keep in mind that it is the little box that provides power for your entire machine and it is responsible for giving it the right amount at the right voltage and the more you stress it the harder it is for it to do its job correctly.

    Best of luck with your new build, nothing is more satisfying than a new rig. :cool:

    Edit: ...except for having a child, but a computer is cheaper to take care of. :)
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  11. entropy13

    entropy13

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    "Some" deal? Actually, any of the cheaper Sandy Bridge i5's plus any of the cheaper LGA 1155 boards are already better than the CPU/motherboard you got. And that's with non-discounted prices. But we can't really do anything about that now, since you already bought them.


    And considering how badly Crossfire is implemented compared to SLI, you're way better off just buying one big card rather than 2x 6870s.
  12. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    What makes you say Crossfire is worse than SLI? Ever since 6000-series was released scaling has been pretty good. If you take a look at some of Guru3d's reviews you will see the 6870 getting close to 7970 performance in some games. Not to say that it goes quite that fast, but it handles pretty well from what I've seen.

    I'm actually going to be running with two 6870s later in the week, I'll let you know how it goes. Not with my current hardware, of course.
  13. xyzunit New Member

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    Your first post wasn't informative at all, so I crafted a reply that would leave you ample room to elaborate (which would save you from sounding like an ass).

    Then you post this:
    And that's with non-discounted prices. But we can't really do anything about that now, since you already bought them.

    This is the part of your post that is really throwing me. Microcenter has a return policy. I have 30 more days to dick around on the web while Intel fanboys throw their mountain-dew-and-nacho-cheese stuffed feces at me.

    You are either in a bad mood or socially challenged, because your posts seem designed to elicit a negative response that I don't really want to give. (life can be shitty, so if there is something going on, feel free to open up instead of taking it out.)

    From the different sources I investigated, I discovered that there are some categories in which the FX-8120 isn't the end-all be-all. However, it appeared to me that this chip would better suit my needs. Maybe you just play games all day on your machine, and that is fine. My needs are not your needs. I don't want a chip that pummels the FX-8120 in Starcraft II, but takes a backseat on graphic/video/music production. And I definitely don't want it to sit on a motherboard that doesn't have a granite warranty.

    Everything I have read about Crossfire with two 6870's shows great scaling. I can't afford one $400 graphics card right now. If I could, I wouldn't ask for help - I'd just buy an Alienware (I can hear you scoffing, and it sounds pathetic). I'm trying to build a computer right now and upgrade it later when I have the funds. I wrote that in previous posts.


    =========================================

    At any rate, read the fucking title before you post in a thread. I didn't ask for help selecting a CPU/Motherboard because I ALREADY MADE THAT DECISION. If you would like to start leading the blind through the valley of the shadow of death, do it with kindness instead of snark. Fuck.
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  14. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Boom goes the dynamite! Well thought out post, my friend. Few people realize that the benchmarks that Bulldozer prevails in are highly multi-threaded tasks such as working with media and video encoding. Not everyones goal is to have a CPU that strictly does good with games, that isn't everyones goal.

    ...and thank you for expanding on my Crossfire point, but once again I have no real world experience with it to back up the claim, but I will before the end of the week. :cool:

    Do I hear some Intel/nVidia fan-boy arguments on the other end? Don't assume you know what everyone is going to use their rig for. I don't buy AMD video cards for performance (even though they perform very well,) but rather for image quality. I've owned a number of both ATi (at the time,) and nVidia video cards and ATi/AMD has always astonished me.

    Not to say nVidia is bad, but I've had the most problems with an 8600 GTS and 7900 GT when I owned those two a number of years ago and I had so much fun when the video memory on my 7900 GT started failing when it gave me rainbow colored dots over my display, however XFX was happy to replace it at the time. I just prefer AMD across the board.

    Once again, best of luck with your rig, my friend. I almost considered getting a bulldozer, but I have the money, so I'm getting a SB-E for the quad-channel memory controller and the 8-dimm slots because I run a lot of memory intensive applications while running a number of virtual machines. I'm getting a i7 3820 because it suits my needs, not because the 2500k has great per-thread performance.
  15. xyzunit New Member

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    Yikes. Take good care of that beast :D
  16. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    I baby all of the rigs I build. I'm hoping to have some number before the end of the week on how it performs and what not. Thank god for tax returns. :cool:
  17. xenocide

    xenocide

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    Well considering you STILL HAVE NOT SAID WHAT YOU WANTED THE PC FOR, we're left to assume you won't need 8 cores. And the bottom line is, nobody can really know whether or not you want to computer for streaming Internet Porn all day, Video Editting, or to use as a fancy paperweight. If I recall the guidelines for this section make it clear you should post what you intend to use the system for, as long as your budget. You've hinted that you wanted it for some gaming (mentioning SC2) and that you wanted a CPU that didn't lag in video/audio production, but since you keep sidestepping the issue, we have no damn clue.

    Lets look at how it does with Encoding and other production related tasks;

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4955/the-bulldozer-review-amd-fx8150-tested/7

    That's just one review, and even on multi-threaded applications it often struggles to beat the i5's of this generation. Also, that's the 8150, you got the 8120, which means you'd have to overclock to even see that performance. Don't like Anandtech? Fine then;

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8150-zambezi-bulldozer-990fx,3043.html

    Checking the media encoding category, we see that even on threaded applications the i5's are just as good and often better. When they are behind it's not by a ton. If you plan on overlocking, the i5's offer a little weaker overclocks, but they use a fraction the amount of power, so your concern over buying a Power Supply becomes a huge issue.

    Now when it comes to the issue of Crossfire 6870's, he wasn't saying Crossfire was inferior on paper to SLi, but in practice there are a lot of issues at play. AMD notoriously has problems with Crossfire Profiles, which often leaves you running only 1 card. They also are notorious for Driver issues, as an AMD user for 3 years now, I can tell you that;s very much true, and when you have 2 cards in the miss there is so much room for problems. Crossfire Scaling is great these days, but if you want to play a title at launch that doesn't have good Crossfire Profiles, you're just left with a single underpowered card. A single card solution is always better for that reason.

    Then there's the issue of power consumption, case restrictions, heat generation, and the list goes on. You stated you wanted a $50 case, which means you're going to end up with a solid Mid-Tower (which I reccomend the Rosewill Challenger for) which means you'd be working in a very tight space and would need to maximize the number of fans in the case to make sure there was no possibility of those cards overheating. You said you weren't focused on gaming, so why get a solution that is tailored towards gaming when you can spend the same amount of money and get something that is easier and more reliable?

    Nobody here is trying to insult you, but you came and posted here looking for information, don't get insulted when people point out some issues here and there.
  18. xyzunit New Member

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    I have read those articles.
    Here is one of mine.
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-fx-8150--8120-6100-and-4100-performance-review/1
    At any rate, you aren't going to convince me to switch to Intel. I would have made a thread titled something like, "convince me to switch to Intel -- but I'm not going to tell you what programs I'll be using," if I needed convincing. Maybe AMD needs naive characters like myself to support it.

    Right. Which is why I will be purchasing an HD 6870.
    From what I have read:
    6870 in x-fire = ~310 watts
    560ti in sli = ~400 watts & hotter unless I dropped lots of extra cash

    After spending most of today doing some more research, I've landed on this video card:
    XFX Double D HD-687A-ZDFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
    The price is exactly where I want it to be, it has a solid warranty, and nice temps based on user reviews.

    I don't plan on playing many games at launch. I like to wait for drivers and bugs to get fixed (and prices to go down :p). The ones I will be playing once my initial rig (w/o x-fire, ssd & more RAM) is running are: CS:S, CS 1.6, CS:promod, League of Legends. As soon as I have the cash, maybe in 2 weeks, I'll buy BF3 and perhaps give SWTOR a go. Down the road, I expect to play Half-Life Episode Whatever, and Diablo III.

    I had planned on the Rosewill Blackbone but it looks like the Challenger has a little more space, better fans and other sensible stuff. I'll head to Coinstar to make do.

    If I could get next weeks paycheck today, I would buy: OCZ ZX Series 850W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Gold in a heartbeat. That can't happen, short of magic. So now I'm almost settled on: CORSAIR Gaming Series GS800 800W.
    Unfortunately, the 15% promo ends mid-week (wtf?) so I may take a risk with this Mushkin Enhanced 800W on Friday. Corsair's track record and warranty are damn appealing, though.

    I don't see myself trying to set any records overclocking. I'm likely going to buy the CM 212 EVO, and leave the clock speeds at stock until I learn the ins and outs of OCing.

    I really appreciate your reply! I know my first few sentences seem abrasive, but I'm very set on my CPU choice, and now I am trying to work with that choice, not against it.
  19. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    CORSAIR Gaming Series GS800 800W ATX12V v2.3 SLI R...

    That is the exact same PSU that I'm currently using. You will not be disappointed. The only thing I dont like about it is how it isn't modular and that is something I'm regretting for cable management purposes (which is a small part of the reason why I'm getting a new PSU) but as a PSU, it performs great.
  20. xenocide

    xenocide

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    I would stay away from XFX GPU's, since their early days as a premium Nvidia Factory-OC manufacturer, their quality has declined substantially.
  21. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    I had a GeForce 7900 GT where the video memory failed and they replaced it with an 8600 GTS in two weeks. Their RMA was fast, and the 8600 stock was about the same performance and had *MUCH* more over-clock headroom. XFX has one of the better replacement processes if you ask me.

    Honestly, I've had great luck with MSI branded video cards and motherboards.
  22. xenocide

    xenocide

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    They HAD, great suppot back then. These days XFX is pretty mediocre, and leaning towards terrible with decisions to chop their warranties and cut corners on QA. Everyones experiences are different, but I haven't heard too many positive things about XFX since the 7xxx\8xxx series of Nvidia cards, and almost nothing good about their ATi\AMD offerings.
  23. Norton

    Norton WCG-TPU Team Captain

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    FYI-
    This Xigmatek is a good option to the 212 EVO... a little cheaper, 8mm heatpipes, and a solid mounting system (just installed one on an AMD system over the weekend- runs cools and quiet!!)

    XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU C...
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    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  24. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    That's too bad. I still have my XFX 8600 GTS and it over-clocks like a champ. I can almost hit 2ghz on the shader domain. Maybe I'll put that in my new rig for physics.
  25. xyzunit New Member

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    Awesome! I'll read some reviews and weigh pros/cons.

    Initially, it looks like the EVO pushes more air, but gets louder. They both have similar temp readings though. So I need to consider what will happen when there are two beastly GPUs in the case. It looks like the Xig would work with the RAM modules I have in mind :)


    As far as choosing XFX, I'll make some threads on forums. See whats what. As of right now, the card I'm choosing sounds like it has great temps.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012

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