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Advice on this build please.

by vsxd412 / August 19, 2008 3:11 PM PDT

I am new to building and just want to make sure that I am not missing something before I order this computer. Please don't be to harsh. Thanks in advance.

-AMD Phenom 9950 BLACK EDITION 2.6GHz Socket AM2+ 140W Quad-Core
Processor Model HD995ZFAGHBOX
-CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
-Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
-MSI K9A2 Platinum AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard
-BFG Tech BFGE88512GTSE GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI
Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
(PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
Model TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF
-Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s
Hard Drive
-Pioneer 20X DVD

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What uses
by Jimmy Greystone / August 19, 2008 6:44 PM PDT

What uses will this system have? It kind of makes a difference on the opinion of the system. It would be a huge waste of money for someone just looking for a web browser, email, and word processor system. It looks to be pretty good from a gamer perspective, though the video card is on the lower end of the high end spectrum, soon to be relegated to the upper mid-range level. I would also wonder if the system was going to be run in single or dual channel mode.

For the most part, dual channel memory is just a sinkhole for money, offering little to no benefit performance wise. I liken it to having this beautiful new 8 lane freeway running through town, when pretty much every other road in town is full of potholes, speed bumps, misc junk that fell out the back of some truck, etc. Once you GET to the freeway, you can really cruse, but it's getting to and then on the freeway that's the problem. Communication speeds between RAM and the CPU are the freeway, and communication with every other part of the system would be the roads full of potholes, speed bumps, and various other traffic hazards that greatly limit speed. The hard drive would be like an old country road that's really just a couple of wheel ruts, after it's rained.

So if you don't run the RAM in dual channel mode, you're left with 4GB, and if you have 4GB you should probably be running a 64-bit OS so you can take full advantage of it. That raises a few minor driver related points.

I'm also not entirely sure what the FSB speed is on the Phenom processors, since AMD integrated the memory controller onto the chip die some time back. But RAM timings can be very important with multi-core chips. It's probably safest if your RAM speed is either exactly half, exactly the same, or exactly twice the FSB speed. However, I would go to some place like the Tom's Hardware forums to get more competent advice on that. AMD chips may not be as sensitive to this as Intel chips.

Anyway, the rest seems fine, except a 74GB hard drive seems a bit stingy. With 1TB drives going for under $200US, it seems like you could do better. Unless you plan to have a second higher capacity drive for storage purposes, and that drive is strictly for applications and other things where you might want every minor performance edge you can get.

If it's a gaming system, I'd say it's not too shabby, and for almost everything else, I'd say it's obscenely overpowered.

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looks fine, but
by ramarc / August 20, 2008 12:23 AM PDT

why the old 74gb raptor? new 640gb and 750gb 7200rpm drives are pretty close to the 150gb raptor (which is faster than the 74gb version) in performance and you won't be pinched for diskspace (and you'll save $50-$70).
150gb raptor vs 74gb raptor:
640gb/750gb vs 150gb raptor:

the 8800gts/512 is slower than an hd 4850 overall so don't pay more than $140 or so. this one is $160 before $30 rebate:

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by vsxd412 / August 20, 2008 1:34 AM PDT

This is mainly going to be for gaming. I usually have multiple programs open too: iTunes, Firefox, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, TextPad, Visual Studio, WoW. I now WoW doesn't demand much from a PC but I am looking down the road. I had picked out a 150gb Raptor but then it went out of stock on and I haven't seen it since. I was planning on scrubbing my current drive and using it as storage, leaving the raptor for programs. I chose the graphics card because I am on a bit of a budget and figured that it would be the easiest thing to upgrade later. The memory is dual channel because on my first build I was told that it was faster. I am planning on running XP Pro. I am not trying to justify my choices here, just trying to give you insight on why I made those decisions. Thanks for your help and please keep the advice coming if you have it.

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No need
by Jimmy Greystone / August 20, 2008 2:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Uses

No need to justify anything, all that really matters in the end is that you're happy with it.

But with the programs you listed, I would most definitely not only consider more RAM, but a 64-bit OS so you can exceed the 4GB limitation of a 32-bit OS. I know there's a 64-bit version of Photoshop, or at the very least, Adobe is working on one. It would likely see a good performance boost from running on a 64-bit OS. VisualStudio might as well. Either way, the both of those programs will benefit from having more RAM, especially if you work with large photos or compile large programs.

I know a lot of people knock it, but I don't find Vista to be all THAT bad. For the most part it doesn't have much to offer over XP, but it does seem to have some excellent caching systems if you have the RAM to let it devote to it. You might really want to think about getting a copy of Vista x64, just so you can have 4GB+ of RAM. Just stay away from XP Pro x64, which not only suffers from a lack of drivers in a lot of cases, but is something of an evolutionary dead end. You can't upgrade it to Vista x64, you can't upgrade it with the 32-bit Vista, and odds are the next version of Windows will be the same way. But you can't upgrade a 32-bit OS to a 64-bit one, you have to format, so you're really probably better off going with a 64-bit OS now when you're building a new system.

Whether or not you decide to go with a 64-bit OS, given you use Photoshop and VisualStudio, I'd go for at least 3GB of RAM. I imagine that ever since Adobe took over Macromedia, DreamWeaver has only gotten more memory hungry as well.

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by vsxd412 / August 20, 2008 2:31 AM PDT
In reply to: No need

You are telling me that I should get a 64-bit OS so I can exceed 4gigs of RAM, but at the end of your post you say I should get at least 3gigs of RAM. Also, in my original post I state I am getting 4gigs (2 x 2gigs). I really do appreciate your input.

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