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Pre Build Questions AMD ATI $1600

2533 Views 54 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Wrench97
Hello TSF community! I have alot of technical questions for you guys. I do have a rough build but can't select specific components w/o more info. If I need to divide up these questions and make separate posts in Motherboards and Overclocking forums, please let me know.

Nothing I post here is in stone. Everything can be changed. I specifically want the quickest PC possible, not necessarily the fastest. Extremely fast load times for apps and games. What I mean for games isn't loading up the game but loading in a map, scenario, or loading a new area in an MMO.

I will likely buy the components in August.

1. Budget: $1600

2. Brands: AMD, ATI, not set in stone. I am open to Intel and Nvidia but I prefer to pair AMD with ATI and Intel with Nvidia. I want to match graphics brand with mobo chipset as well.

3. Multitasking: Common applications I have open at the same time would be WoW, Firefox, chat program with voice and a media player (avi's, DVD, Blu Ray). This is about all I can do on my old dual core cpu. If I had more cores I would likely have more going on.

4. Gaming: I'll be doing alot of gaming. I don't play FPS's very often. I play World of Warcraft, will buy Starcraft 2 soon and I am looking at a couple other games that I would like to try out with this new system. (Crysis, Far Cry 2, Dragon Age... Something newer that will look amazing)

5. Calculations: Not alot. I may try some encoding in the future but have not made plans yet.

6. Overclocking: It looks alot more user friendly now so I will want to select components that can be overclocked. I am not someone who enjoy's tweaking and experimenting all the time. I would like to do some overclocking/ tweaking after my system is built then never ever mess with the settings again! :p

7. Storage: My budget is too tight for large storage but I would eventually need more than 2 TB. I found a 5400 RPM 2TB HD for around $110, a very good price! I want to get an SSD or two SSD's in raid for my main HD. 60GB might be too little so I am looking at a pair of 40-64GB in Raid 0. I have been using 7200 RPM boot drives for 10 years. It is time for somethign faster. A 150GB Raptor @ 10,000 RPM is the same price as a low GB SSD so I'd choose an SSD.

I have my heart set on an SSD. The only thing with a higher priority in my build is graphics. I do not want to have to micro or macro manage my SSD or SSD's in raid 0. I am aware I will have to change a few things such as storing browser cache on a regular HDD but I would like to set it up and forget about it. Once again I do not like experimenting or tweaking constantly in order to keep stuff working properly. If this technology is still too new for a set it and forget it mentality, let me know.

8. Legacy Support: None.

9. Operating System: I have Windows 7 Professional ready to install. I will probably go 64 bit.

10. Case: The smaller and quieter the better. I just want to be sure there is plenty of airflow room and can fit a full size graphics card.

11. Accessories: Yes, I have selected a mouse, keyboard. monitor, maybe speakers.

12. Recycled Components: I'll be using my old monitor as a second monitor on the new system. 1680X1050 22" DVI. I might have to use my current 400GB Sata HD if I cannot afford the 2TB storage drive for $120.

13. Monitor: Full HD widescreen.

14. Stores:

15. Location: USA

CPU:$160 Phenom II X4 (or X6 $200)
Mobo:$145 790, 880, 890 North Bridge
RAM:$120 2X2GB, 4GB total
GPU:$425 Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB
Display:$189 23.6" 1080p
Kb&Ms:$68 Logitech, both wired
Blu Ray$80

Sub Total: $1497
SSD X2 $ 280

Total: $1773 + shipping


I am looking at AMD's Phenom II X6 1055T. The 1055T is 2.8Ghz and I read on another post here that gaming is all about the Ghz not cores. If I am only using three or fewer cores they will be clocked to 3.3Ghz. This CPU isn't a Black Edition so it is not unlocked.

Will my multitasking use more than three cores, causing the CPU to clock down to 2.8Ghz? Should I go with a four core Black Edition Deneb instead of a six core?

Can it still be overclocked? How would this overclocking compare to the options for an unlocked Black Edition(1090T) or four core unlocked Deneb? Does a mobo with core unlocker unlock non Black Edition CPU's?

The six core Phenom II CPU's have an onboard memory controller? Would this CPU be using the Mobo's Northbridge or the IMC? The IMC shows that it supports DDR3 1066 and 1333. Is this overclockable?

Mobo & RAM Q's

I am looking at AMD Northbridge and socket AM3. The mobo is the hardest component to select because I am unsure what ratio of DDR3 and FSB speeds I need in order to overclock it. My mistake on my last build, five years ago, was the mobo's RAM voltage capabilities. I had to get mediocre RAM because my budget mobo couldn't power the faster dimms. Overlooking one tiny spec that isn't even listed on retail sites caused two RMA's and added weeks to the completion time of my system build.

Once I have a mobo selected I can look on the manufacturers site for which RAM is compatible. However, do I need to purchase RAM with specs that have room to overclock or buy RAM with heat spreaders etc...?

Do I need to know how much overclocking I will do before I buy the components? For example a mobo that supports DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/ 1333/1066. Do I need to decide how much I will overclock it, say, to 1800 and be sure I buy the DDR3 1800? If I did overclock the mobo (fsb?) to 1800 and use 1800 RAM would I need to overclock a part of the CPU for it all to work together?

Thank you for taking the time to go through this long post! I appreciate it :)
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All AMD CPU's have the memory controller built into the CPU.

Go with the faster quad core the programs that will take full advantage of the extra cores at this time are video/3d editing/rendering software. With AMD CPU's things start getting flaky above 1600 ram speeds, I usually settle for getting 1600 out it, it's more the CPU then the motherboard that controls the speed the faster cpu's are easier to over clock the ram on, look for ram with BEMP Or AMD Black Edition designed ram>
Thanks for the reply, wrench97. Going four core will make parts selection easier. Would you recommend an aftermarket CPU cooler to overclock? Also, do you know alot about SSD's? Do you think the technology is too new so I should expect bugs and glitches?

I did some reading and it looks like I want to get a mobo with AMD SB850 South Bridge. This leaves a couple options but first I am wondering what is good and bad about onboard graphics if I buy a nice graphics card. Is it just going to cause more heat? Disable it or use it for second monitor? I always thought onboard is useful in case something goes wrong with the main graphics card, but in ten years nothing has ever happened to any of my cards.

I also brought up the AMD SB850 South Bridge because it didn't look like it is on any mobo's that also have AOD. I found AOD on the 790 series mobo's. The RAM looks good otherwise. Does it need to be paired with AOD compatible 790 series mobo?

Why are motherboard RAM speeds listed if the controller is on the CPU? An easy way to show how fast the FSB can be clocked?
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AMD overdrive is software from AMD, I don't personally use it.
The speeds are listed because the motherboard can also limit the speed, but all boards out will handle the speeds the CPU's can.
The 890 boards are just a update of the 790's to add the Sata 3 6Gbs controller
That said this is probably one of the best performance AMD boards currently out>
With this being a good choice in the 790> (Sata 2 only)

I find motherboards without integrated graphics easier to overclock and they most often have better chipset cooling(heatsinks).

SSD's are faster but not a lot faster for the price, to get the most out of one you would want to use a Sata 3 6Gbs drive and not a Sata 2 3Gbs drive, to date I find their durability to be most advantageous in laptops more so then the speed increase you see from them in desktops, the initial speed is high but tends to drop off as large amounts of data are transferred, so a small data transfer and seek time are very good but as the file size increases they drop down to speeds just above standard drives.
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Thanks for the SSD info. I had not thought of sorting by interface to check for Sata 3 compatibility to take advantage of an SSD's full capabilities.

Know any case experts? I looked at three of the cases in the pre build sections but I am looking for something quiet. Should I buy third party case soundproofing or maybe buy another Antec P183? I have used the Antec P183 for about 5 years and love the easy sliding in and out of all the drives, rubber washers for metal vibration, thumb screws (First time I used thumb screws was in a Lian Li and I still have a Lian Li in the livingroom), and sound dampening. Know of any similar cases or websites I can find quality cases with sound dampening? I am just looking for more variety but I am happy with the Antec.
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I say stick with what you have and buy a sound dampening kit.
Lian Li and Antec are top of the line for quiet, the P183 is a very good case still although these days I don't get a lot of guys wanting to spend much on the case:(.

The Sonata III is also quiet but a bit cramped with large video cards.
Im still itching to try the corsair obsidian 800
I saw the obsidian! Heck of a case :)

Which brand of cables would be better, if any?
Link Depot, Okgear, Rosewill

The images Newegg has show left angle and right angle to be exactly the same thing. Is there a particular type of Sata 3 cables I would want to purchase? I read in Newegg comments that I may need to shave off a side of the end of the cable in order to fit two next to each other.

Here is a link to Sata 3 cables in case you'd like to have a look.
Left and right appear similar in the images but are not, because the port is keyed and the the cable can only plug into it in one orientation. Nipon or link depot would be my choice.
Here are the Altec Lansing speakers I am thinking about buying. Also, the Creative I compared them too. They have the same wattage but the Altec Lansing has more watts in the satellites while the Creative's have more in the subwoofer. Seems to me like the Altecs would be a better choice.

Altec Lansing

Lite On used to make good opticals. What brands are good nowadays? I chose this 8x BD ROM as I was disappointed with a Sony BDP BX2 set top box's loading time at a relatives house.
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Too late to edit my above post ^^^

Here is the monitor I have now, followed by a Newegg link.
ViewSonic Optiquest Series Q22wb Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 900:1

I watch movies on a smaller, older LCD because this one is too dark. I am not sure which stat would improve this other than brightness but the 1080p monitor I am looking to buy has the same 300 cd/m2 brightness stat. I don't want to end up with an equally dark monitor. The one on my list is ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD. Newegg link for this one:
The Asus monitors are pretty bright, but I think it best to visit a brick and mortar store in your area and check out monitors,

The Altec speakers would be my choice, the higher wattage in the woofer will just get more Bass to make the windows rattle:)
Thanks for all the info so far! I am closing in on a specific build but it is over budget. haha

Installing Raid turns Sata connectors 1-4 into raid connectors? Does this mean I can't use 3 and 4 unless they are in raid? The last two, 5 and 6, would be my 2TB HDD and an optical.

Do I need to buy software to play Blu Ray and DVD movies?

Do I need to add a USB flash drive to my list for BIOS flashing and raid drivers? Does it matter if it is encrypted?

Which brand(s) of thermal paste do I want? Five years ago arctic silver was the best. Is this still true?

I found a cooler that is perfect. It is expensive but near silent. From what I have read it will fit into the P183 case but it will be snug. The Noctua site lists it as compatible with the M4A89GTD Pro/USB3.

Noctua cpu cooler link:
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No you should be able to configure any set of Sata connectors into Raid, I'm not a big fan of software raid and rarely mess with it.

Win7 will play back BR movies if using a BR drive.

For Bios flashing a usb drive will need to formatted to Fat or Fat32 so no encryption.

I use AS5 or AS Cremeque both work well, The Noctua did come with AS5 I think they now come with MX3 which is a good choice to use.
The Noctua comes with NT-H1 for paste, it's very good.
Thanks to you guys I have a pre build parts list! It is too expensive. I may drop the speakers and 2 TB HD to lower the price. All the links are too Newegg. Please criticize my build and include your own opinions as well. :)


ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

SAPPHIRE 100281-3SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16

OCZ AMD Black Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Antec P183 Black Aluminum / Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified


CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler

Boot Drive
Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC

Storage Drive
Seagate Barracuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1

ALTEC LANSING MX6021 200 Watts RMS 2.1 Expressionist Ultra

Logitech M500 Tilt Wheel USB Corded Laser 1000 dpi Mouse

Logitech Comfort Wave 450 Black 104 Normal Keys USB Wired

Sata III Cables Qty: 4
Link Depot 19.69" SATA III Round Cable with Latch Model LD-SATA3-0.5M

HDMI Cable
Nippon Labs Premium High Performance HDMI Cable 6 ft. HDMI TO HDMI Cable A/V Gold Plated for 1080P
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The 2t drive is a 5900 rpm drive, I would want a 7200 drive even if just for storage, I have been using the 640 WD 32meg cache 5 year warranty at times they go on sale for the low to mid $60's >

The motherboard will come with 2 Sata cables.
Is the PSU strong enough to handle everything?
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