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Looking at a new computer and possible upgrade options


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#1 Sei

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 03:32 PM

So I was thinking about getting a new computer, and I'm really liking this one so far, but some of the specs are less than desirable.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Se...&CatId=4928

One that stands out to me is the PSU. I don't think it's on the above linked specs page, but I believe it is a 460W. Now, I don't have any experience in building computers, but this seems rather low to me. Does anyone have suggestions as to how I should upgrade this, as well as any other general suggestions for this computer?

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 01:21 AM

...that product is unavailable. You can build yourself a PC, it just takes time and patience. It's easy and we're here to help. The specs aren't that good, the CPU could be better, the power supply should be better, and the graphics card isn't that good. What is your budget and purpose when looking for a new PC?

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#3 Sei

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 01:28 AM

It's not available from that site, but I know where it is.

Anyways, I'm looking for gaming/video performance as well as it being able to multitask and do image editing/rendering as well. My budget is around $1400 CAD. I was looking at the parts in that computer, and it seems just buying them would cost me more than that =/.

Planning to go with Win7, already have all the peripherals I need, it's just the computer.

Edited by Sei, 26 December 2009 - 01:35 AM.


#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 05:09 PM

You can get a PC with better specs for $1,400 CAD. If you're willing to build a PC, below is a suggested setup.

Case: Sunbeam Transformer IC-TR-US-BA-WOPSU Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - It is a little flashy, but it is one of the least expensive Full ATX cases around. I suggest full ATX cases as they are deeper than the Mid ATX kind. This means they can handle the huge graphics cards and have plenty of room for components. $79 (Before $25 mail-in rebate)

Motherboard: MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Not a bad motherboard, it supports AMD's AM3 CPU's, DDR3 RAM, and can use Crossfire. This is considered a high-end board due to the chipset, the 790FX. That chipset allows for you to use two graphics cards at once at their maximum data speed. This means that, unlike, say the 790GX or 790X, Crossfire performance is as good as it can be. $184

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz - In terms of performance, this CPU can hold it's own against the i7 920. Since this CPU is Black Edition, the multiplier is unlocked making overclocking very easy. $204

Power Supply: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W - This is far more power than you will need, for now. If you later decide to add more graphics cards or other components, or overclock, the extra overhead will be helpful. $94 (Before $25 mail-in rebate)

Graphics Card: GIGABYTE GV-R585D5-1GD-B Radeon HD 5850 - This is one of the best graphics cards on the market and completely blows away all of Nvidia's single GPU cards. This is far more powerful than the GTX 260 that the other build had. $333

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 DHX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - This is fast and reliable memory. Since your motherboard can take two of these kits, at 8GB total, I suggest buying two. Remember, you need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $191 ($95 times two kits)

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache - Plenty of space. $69

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - A simple optical drive is all you need. $32

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - You already mentioned you wanted Windows 7. $121

Grand Total: $1,315 (Before Rebates)

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#5 Sei

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 06:39 PM

I noticed that you put DDR3 1600, but I found this comment on a review on the mobo. What do you think?

Cons: Ha! although the board will run 4GB 2X2 flawlessly, it will only run 8GB at DDR3 1333. I know how to tweek and to no avail. Called MSI tech Suppurt and they confirmed that this board will not run 8GB at DDR3 1600 stock speed. (I mean stock, not overclocked. I know for a fact that the MSI 980 board will run 8GB at DDR3 1600 stock and they said because both boards are made by different manufacturers.


Also it seems this mobo doesn't support triple channel DDR3.

I also had a friend suggest getting some thermal compound for the heatsink. Is there a heatsink in the parts you mentioned above and what do you think about the compound?

I believe that CPU doesn't have hyperthreading, so I'm sort of wondering how to compare it to the i7-920. It uses more power at 140W as opposed to the 920's 130W as well.

The HDD and DVD drive seem to be an OEM drive. I would need to get cables/screws no? Any other parts in here I need to get other things for?

Sorry for all the questions, my knowledge of computer hardware is rather lacking. Thanks for all your input!

Edited by Sei, 26 December 2009 - 08:43 PM.


#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:13 AM

I will answer your questions in multiple parts.

1. According to MSI's website: DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600*/1800*/2133*(OC). The ones with the *'s are overclocked versions and you may need to specify the speeds in the BIOS to run at those levels. However, the price difference between the DDR3-1600 and the DDR3-1333 is a few dollars. With the 1600 RAM, you can overclock to those speeds but usually they will run at 1333 without any modifications.

2. No AMD chipset supports triple-channel memory, also, only the higher end Intel motherboards (X58) support that feature. This isn't much of a drawback, yet, as dual channel will work just as well. On almost every platform, Intel or AMD, the difference in performance, for now, between triple and dual channel is minimal as there is plenty of bandwidth available already. In gaming, you may lose a single frame per second by using a dual channel setup instead of a triple.

3. Yes, the CPU comes with a heatsink that has thermal compound already pre-applied. Of course, if you're planning to overclock, most people with a Black Edition CPU do, you may want an aftermarket cooler that moves more air. The Thermaltake CL-P0456 140mm CPU Cooler is a great cooler, but is very expensive. Alternatively, you can use the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler which is less expensive but has a smaller fan. The larger the fan, the more air it can move at lower RPM's. Given the size of the fans, you may want to install them on the motherboard before mounting the motherboard inside the case.

4. Hyperthreading is an Intel only technology that allows for simultaneous processing of multiple threads. Ultimately, there isn't much difference, in terms of actual performance, between an i7 920 and a Phenom II 965. Enthusiasts of both AMD and Intel love to argue over such things. Gaming benchmarks, running at 1920x1200 resolution seem to indicate that they are usually within about 5 FPS of each other. Of course, those benchmarks can vary due to a number of factors such as differences between components, drivers, and application optimizations. They both handle performance tasks very well. Keep in mind that both the i7 and the Phenom II X4 are quad core CPU's and not all games and applications can take advantage of all four cores. Differences between the i7 950 and the Phenom II 965 are far more substantial, but so is the price. The 140W Phenom II 965 is of an older, less energy efficient, design. To save money I chose it, however, there is a 125W version of it here. It's the exact same processor, only it uses less power and costs more.

5. OEM drives are drives that come as a single unit without any manuals or other components. When you open the box it comes in, all you have is a drive. The data cables for the drives come with the motherboard, the power cables come with the power supply, and the screws often come with the case. There are some cases that have a screwless design. Installing a drive is ridiculously easy so I can understand Newegg offering a drive and nothing else.

Edited by DJBPace07, 27 December 2009 - 12:15 AM.

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#7 Sei

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:22 AM

Thanks for your detailed answers. I think I may try my hand at building this :thumbsup:. It may take me a few weeks to get everything set in stone and for the parts to get here and all, but I would very much appreciate your help once I have everything to start putting together.

I'll let you know if I have any more questions.

Edited by Sei, 27 December 2009 - 05:16 PM.


#8 Sei

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 05:17 PM

It seems the RAM got sold out before I could get to it. Should I wait for more stock or do you know of something comparable?

Also I noticed the mobo says

CPU Type Phenom II X4 / Phenom II X3
(Supports AMD CPU with 140W power requirement)


Will it support the 125W CPU you linked above?

The mobo has a 24-pin power connector while the PSU is 20+4 pin, does this matter at all?

Edited by Sei, 27 December 2009 - 07:25 PM.


#9 DJBPace07

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:14 PM

RAM gets sold out all the time, the motherboard can take DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600*/1800*/2133. Any of those will work, however, the speed will always default to 1333 if you get faster RAM. The faster the speed, the better the performance. That is, unless you overclock the RAM. You can get any of these following RAM kits: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600, A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600, CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333. The motherboard supports AM3 CPU's up to 140W, so you're good with a 125W CPU. Some motherboards aren't designed for CPU's that require a higher wattage, so motherboard manufacturers will list the maximum wattage. All motherboards have a supported CPU's list, to make extra sure, I checked it, both the 140W and 125W Phenom II 965's were on there. As for the power supply, the 20+4 pin is standard and will work too, this is why it has the "+4" for motherboards that need the 24 pins. You can simply plug in the 20-pin connector, then the 4-pin next to it. Don't worry, it can only be plugged in one way.

Edited by DJBPace07, 27 December 2009 - 10:20 PM.

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#10 Sei

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 12:32 AM

I decided to go with the A-Data RAM.

So despite all the nagging from my dad about incompatibility, I've ordered the parts and they're on the way. I think I've clarified enough (I'm also assuming you know what you're doing xD ) to reasonably assume there won't be any incompatibility issues with the hardware, and I hope you think so too.

I'm the type to read manuals so once I get the parts I'll probably spend quite a bit of time on those. I'll be sure to drop any questions I have here though.

Do you have any tips on building? I hear people are rather notorious for damaging a CPU during installation, and that wouldn't be such a great thing (putting a non-functional machine and the "I told you so"s from my dad aside).

Edited by Sei, 28 December 2009 - 01:28 AM.


#11 audioAl

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 07:08 AM

Sei: I build HTPC's and I will assist you also, the main thing about building is to remain calm and "Grounded", when you go to build this new pc, you want to do it from start to finish. The cpu will have a small arrow showing you which way to install the chip. Never try to force the chip, it will fall into the die when it is properly set down. Don't take a long break when building your first pc. You may get lost as to which step you were on. Study the power supply wiring carefully. Find tutorials to study, and be fresh the day you build the pc. Alan
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit/Intel e5300 cpu/ASRock G41M-LE mainboard/G max4500 onboard graphics/4gigs OCZ 800Mhz ram/ VIA onboard HD Vinyl audio/Yamaha RX-V465 HT receiver/ Cambridge SoundWorks and Infinity RS1001 speakers

#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 05:50 PM

If you want to catch up on some reading, you can read the motherboard manual by downloading it from the MSI website. You have to go to the download section of the site and find the exact motherboard. Follow the motherboard instructions carefully. There are various tutorials online that will go, step-by-step, into how to build a PC. There are also various online videos you can watch and some of the written tutorials have pictures.

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#13 Sei

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:44 AM

Everything's together and up and running =D I'll post again if I need help with anything, thanks!

Edited by Sei, 09 January 2010 - 10:26 PM.





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