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by Matt A. / January 24, 2008 7:45 AM PST

Ok, I'm planning on starting my very first pc build! Unfortunately, I am rather lost in some areas...

First off, I would like to say that this is mainly a gaming rig. I am planning on running such games as Crysis and Far Cry 2, and I am planning on running them EXTREMELY WELL. Secondly, (And what is my 2nd most prevailing problem) is that I am stuck on deciding whether to go with NVidia or ATI (was thinking ATI due to smaller price tag), SLI vs CrossfireX, etc.

Now I realize that ATI is a bit behind NVidia at the moment with it's Radeon HD 3870/50 vs the Geforce 8800 series. So my main question about that is do you think ATI will ever catch up? And will 4 CrossfireX 3870/50's out perform 2 SLI 8800's? Finally, when a game box says "Runs best on NVidia/ATI" does that REALLY mean anything? I was thinking more along the lines of no, but I could be wrong.

Now for CPU's. If I choose to go with NVidia, I will choose a Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600. But the AMD processors are where I am having problems. I am stuck between the AMD Athalon FX-74 Windsor 3.0GHz Dual Core Processor and the Phenom Quad Core series. The highest speed of the best Phenom CPU is 2.3GHz vs the 3.0GHz of the FX-74. This is where my big question comes in: Is the slower quad core CPU better than the faster dual core CPU?

Next is the motherboard which I have picked out for both setups. The XFX nForce 680i LT SLI and the MSI K9A2 Platinum AM2+/AM2 AMD 790 FX ATX which is CrossfireX compatible with 4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots.

RAM isn't really an issue.

As far as a DVD-ROM drive, this is what I have picked out: ASUS Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM ATAPI/E-IDE. How will that work?

Next up is the power supply. I am thinking I will probobly need to run a 1000 watt PSU for either setup, but they are so expensive! $200(!)... (This brings up my main issue, price, but I'll get into that later.)

Finally we have the GPU. For ATI I am thinking of starting with dual Radeon Visiontek Radeon HD 3850 OC Edition 512MB cards. For NVidia I will probobly go with a single KFA2 GeForce 8600 GT Video Card 512MB for starters.

Then on top of all this, I have a $350 monitor that I will buy. It's a 24" Sceptre 1080p, 2ms DVI Widescreen with a 4000:1 contrast ratio and built in speakers. Now this is WAY excessive as far as I am concerned, but it is the only monitor I can find with a 1900x1200 resolution and all the above features. If anyone can suggest me a cheaper monitor with those general specs (Will compromise on the contrast ratio, but absolutely not on the resolution.) at around 19" would be great.

Finally, the above rig (excluding monitor) runs me about $1100, which is a bit rich for my blood especially with that monitor looming overhead. I would like to lower the price by about $200 and would also appreciate any help/answers regarding my above questions.

Thanks a ton.

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by Matt A. / January 24, 2008 9:53 AM PST

Anyone? I really need some help...

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by Matt A. / January 24, 2008 10:10 AM PST

One last thing: I was just on AMD's website and they said that they had another quad core series out called the Opteron... Could someone tell me the advantages of this verses the other CPU's, because I am starting to feel very lost at the moment...

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pc build
by ramarc / January 25, 2008 1:10 AM PST

first, nothing runs crysis extremely well at high settings. it will even tax dual 8800gtx cards.

the nvidia 8800gt/512 and 8800gts/512 are the best performing video cards in the $250-$400 range. here's the current pecking order: 8800gts/512, 8800gt/512, hd 3870/512, 8800gt/256 or hd3850/512, hd3850/256. nvidia will be releasing a 9600gt shortly that should slot be close to the hd3850. also, ati is releasing a hd3870x2 (dual gpu) that should beat the 8800gts/512 in crossfile optimized games.

nvidia sli will generally benefit more games than crossfire so check benchmarks to make sure dual cards will boost performance in the games you want to play.

no amd cpus can compete with the upper half of intel's core2duo lineup. the fastest phenom is slower than a q6600 in almost all benchmarks. the q6600 will be obsoleted by the q9000 series which should debut in the next month or so. a q9550 will be much faster for the same price ($320). likewise, the e8400 is a 3ghz dual core that is faster than all athlons/fxs and will cost less than $200.

the 680i chipset has been superseded by the 780i. if you want to run the latest q9000 series quad cores, a 680i based motherboard won't do it. you also have not mentioned any x38/x48 motherboards. if you want crossfire, they'll support it also.

dvd burners are commodity items. they all work about the same. a good 650w power supply is fine for your build.

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by Matt A. / January 25, 2008 5:30 AM PST
In reply to: pc build

Um, correct me if I'm wrong but I think the GeForce 8800 Ultra is the best, then the 8800 GTX followed by the GT and GTS respectively. I think that the HD 3870x2 has already been released as has the 9600, if I remember correctly (I was just looking at the ATI card last night). And I think that the 9600 is NVidia's answer to this, sporting dual 8800 GT(X?)'s in one card. In a review of the ATI dual GPU card, the reviewer stated that it was the most powerful card on the market. Now I don't know if the 9600 had been released by press time on that articel, though.

So games have to be crossfire optimized? Why would SLI be better? Wouldn't it be worse because it sports 1 less (if you are going with uber SLI, 2 if not) card? This is very confusing...

How about the AMD Athalon 64 FX-74? That looks like a very good CPU, IMO. It received higher performance rates compared to core 2 duo's, but not the core 2 quads. And is AMD planning any new processors for upcoming near future releases?

Thanks for the help!

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re: reply
by ramarc / January 25, 2008 6:06 AM PST
In reply to: reply

read these benchmarks.

the 8800gts/512 is as fast as a gtx and basically obsoletes it (just like 8800gt/512 obsoleted the 8800gts/640). it also makes the ultra cost ineffective... why spend $200 more for indistinguishable performance in half of the popular titles?

9600gt has not been released, its delayed. 3870x2 are out but amd doesn't won't have any in the channel for a week or so.

the fx is slower than a 3ghz core2duo. read these benchmarks and remember that they're using the x6800 which is superseded (and outperformed) by e8400 ($200).

amd's new phenoms are less than phenomenal and can only compete as low cost alternatives to lower-end core2duos.

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by Matt A. / January 25, 2008 7:04 AM PST
In reply to: re: reply

Um, okay I feel the need to say that I am not particularly skilled with all the number/letter combos like those seen with the CPU's...

So now knowing which NVidia GPU is better, it just comes down to NVidia vs ATI, and I can't choose!!! I know there are AMD/NVidia mobos, but are there any Intel/ATI mobos? It is very hard for some reason... Can you help?

I see now what you were talking about with the CPU. I was looking at these (older?) benchmarks:

So now I guess my other remaining questions would be: If I bought a cheap core 2 quad, how easy is it to overclock?, and Should I even bother with quad core for another 2 years?

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by Matt A. / January 27, 2008 1:33 AM PST
In reply to: re: reply


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Let's see what it takes to run CRYSIS at top settings.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 27, 2008 1:51 AM PST writes...

"Crysis on a custom Q6600 quad core system with three 8800 GTXs running at a full resolution of 1920 x 1080. And if that wasn't enough, the game's settings were all cranked to very high."

Reading in you find that in some scenes the frame rate was still dipping into the teens.

-> Hopefully this will give you an idea of the hardware required to get this game to maximum.

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Lots of questions...
by crazykev78 / February 17, 2010 7:52 AM PST

You can usually run two ATI cards that are above 1GB for less than what you are spending. I would go with the AMD processor, more options usually less expensive. The Phenom is better for the price, and definitely go with the quad core. You can get a better deal on the monitor if you try;,, You also have to choose if you want to run DDR3 for your ram and AMD is running dual channel DDR3, while Intel will run Tri-channel. You could probably build a good rig for $800 with what you want. I also suggest setting up raid as your configuration, this will help with data transfer. Also go with 64-bit OS, this will allow the most out of your motherboard and ram.


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Graphic card update
by striko2009 / February 27, 2010 5:47 AM PST
In reply to: Lots of questions...


have currently ATI X1950GT/512MB and want to upgrade with better video card. Have found XFX 4870/1GB GDDR5 which is currently my favorite beside HD5770/1Gb.
Need your advise which one is better to buy and which one will fit into my current configuration:
C2D E6750 2x2,66Mhz
MB Gigabyte P35-DS3
2GB DDR2 @800
PSU 400W
Thnks for your help!


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