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Critique of Phenom x2 build

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm about to build a new system, and I was hoping for some advice/criticism on what I've got planned. I was trying to keep the costs down somewhat, though they seem to keep spiraling upwards no matter what I do. My original plan was to get a Phenom II X4 965 B.E. for ~$165, but after seeing that quite a few people have successfully unlocked the dormant cores on their Phenom II X2 555 B.E.s, I decided to go with the $90 cpu and cross my fingers that I'll be successful as well. I figure if I can't unlock the cores, I can always sell it and just buy an x4.

Here's what I've got planned:
MSI NF750-G55 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - $80 after MIR
AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - C3 Revision - $90
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $60
ZOTAC ZT-40404-10P SYNERGY GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $140 after MIR
Antec TruePower New TP-650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE - $90 (just missed $20 MIR )
COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Intel Core i7 compatible - $35
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $65
---
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9S-4GBRL - $41 x 2

OR

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL - $85

Total cost of the system with AS5, sata cables, accessories and whatnot will be around $670. I already have a DVD burner.

Are there any problems with compatibility with the above setup? Is there some special magic mojo with the dual channel kit, or can I save $5 by just ordering the two single sticks? I haven't been into building systems for years now, so I'm a clueless noob. I almost ordered an Asus M4A89GTD.

I'm open to suggestions about different configurations. I'd be willing to spend (a little) more if it means a good increase in performance or reliability. I'd be thrilled to spend less if I could do so without a major decrease in the above, but I'm kind of hoping to stay at roughly this level because I'll likely keep this system for the next 6 or 7 years. To put in into perspective, I'm upgrading from an Athlon 2900+ with 1g of DDR ram and a Geforce 6800GT. I'm loathe to buy a new system b/c my current one does absolutely everything I need it to do flawlessly, with the exception of playing games, which, while I'd love to be able to do, isn't the end of the world. After all, who can ever tire of playing Deus Ex? I've been toying with the idea of upgrading for two or three years now, and have finally decided to bite the bullet thanks to Eve Online's latest update. Despite the fact that until Tuesday morning around 6am my computer could run 4 processes of Eve, a six year old game, at once without a hitch, as of the latest patch I've been relegated to outdated and insufficient processor which can't handle the raw, unadorned glory of Eve status. It's okay, though, I'm not angry, because the tradeoff is that the character portrait generation system now has realistically flowing locks of hair. It's totally worth it. And I can always play on my 1.5Ghz Celeron M laptop with integrated Intel graphics which, while it can't play Eve except on the lowest settings and at a speedy 20fps, CAN handle SSE2 instructions, so I can see those shiny, glorious tresses in stutterview(tm). Because it's not as deprecated and underpowered as my main system.

Back on subject, I'd considered a core i5 750 system because I like the lower power requirements (and therefore heat output?) and because a year or two ago when I was thinking about putting a system together, it seemed the best bang for the buck. However, I've read about 10,000 reviews comparing the i5 750 against the phenom x4 965 in the last few days, and they seem fairly evenly matched as far as performance. For every review that shows a clear advantage for the i5, there's one that shows the phenom pulling ahead. In the end, the deciding factor for me was the possible upgrade path, or in the case of the i5, lack of it. I'm still using the 2900+ because AMD switched to another socket for their next line of chips, and upgrading the mobo means the DDR ram, the IDE drives, and the AGP video card all have to go too. In short, whole new computer. I don't want to get hemmed in like that again, and from what I've read, there's only one processor above the i5 that fits its socket, with no more planned in the future. Intel seems to change sockets like I change my underwear. Maybe more often. Whereas AMD seems committed, at least for the next generation or so, to AM3.

That said, if there's some compelling reason to go with the i5, other than "phoenm suxxors", I'm willing to consider it.
post #2 of 9
Take a look at this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817207007 $60 after mir ($6 s&h)
Great psu.

Memory - stay away from generic 1333 ram. Spend $2-$3 more for better ram.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820161283 $45 shipped
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820161283 $45 shipped
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820104203 $39 after mir (these are Cas9, but the hyperx series is usually good overclocking ram)

CPU cooler: If you are going to spend the money, get a better performing one for the same or less $$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103065 $37 shipped (same price, but much better performance and sound levels - 120mm fan vs. 92mm fans)
Or when these get back in stock:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835233003

For the GPU, spend just a little more to get quite a bit in return: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127518 $170 after mir

Case: for $5 more you can get this: http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?inv...KKN2-R&cat=CAS Comes with all the fans you should need and room for more. Also, the black inside looks nice and has good cable management options.
Edited by Badwrench - 1/20/11 at 7:19am
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It's so little!
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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badwrench View Post
Take a look at this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817207007 $60 after mir ($6 s&h)
Great psu.

Memory - stay away from generic 1333 ram. Spend $2-$3 more for better ram.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820161283 $45 shipped
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820161283 $45 shipped
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820104203 $39 after mir (these are Cas9, but the hyperx series is usually good overclocking ram)

CPU cooler: If you are going to spend the money, get a better performing one for the same or less $$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103065 $37 shipped (same price, but much better performance and sound levels - 120mm fan vs. 92mm fans)
Or when these get back in stock:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835233003

For the GPU, spend just a little more to get quite a bit in return: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127518 $170 after mir

Case: for $5 more you can get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127518 Comes with all the fans you should need and room for more. Also, the black inside looks nice and has good cable management options.
all good but... the gtx 460 doubles as a case now? lol
post #4 of 9
I agree with Badwrench about the RAM and PSU, those options are better for not much more money. Unfortunately the CPU landscape isn't that clear now because although Intel ditched sk 1056 after only one year, AM3 will reach end of life by the time Buldozer comes. AMD's mid-2011 CPUs will run on different sockets, so AM3 is a dead end, too. As such about the motherboard and processor I have these suggestions:
*about the i5 750 you're right. However for the same price there is the new SandyBridge i5 2400 with 4 real cores and 4x free multiplier overclocking. It's not as good as having a BE processor with unlimited multiplier, but +4x is also acceptable.
*about AM3: at most what you're gonna be able to place is the Phenom II x6 1100T. Bulldozer will use AM3+, not AM3. AM3 processors will work on AM3+ boards, but AM3+ processors won't work on AM3 boards.
*about the 750i board: not a good choice. It's very old tech (rebranded nForce 5 SLI w/ newer SB) and offer no advantage. Motherboards based on AMD 870/880/890 are as expensive, faster, offer newer tech and with a simple fix can be unlocked to support SLI; AMD boards are also better at unlocking dormant CPU cores.
*processor: if you're decided on AM3 for gaming there are some other good options. For now Phenom II x2's L3 cache can offer as good performance as having 1 extra core. In the close future games are likely to benefit from more cores and buying an Athlon II x4 may be a better investment.

Welcome to the forum
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Th0m0_202 View Post
all good but... the gtx 460 doubles as a case now? lol
Fixxed
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It's so little!
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samsung 840 samsung  Thermaltake water 3.0 win7 64bit 
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viewsonic 27" Cooler master qfr cooler master 700 corsair 250d 
MouseMouse PadAudio
anker vertical ocz sony 5.25" bookshelfs 
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960t M4A89GTD-proUSB3 pny 660Ti samsung wonder ram 
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1TB Samsung F3 Samsung 840 250GB LG external DVD/R 212 evo 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 ViewSonic ViewSonic VX2739wm model m Cooler Master Silent Pro 700 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post
I agree with Badwrench about the RAM and PSU, those options are better for not much more money. Unfortunately the CPU landscape isn't that clear now because although Intel ditched sk 1056 after only one year, AM3 will reach end of life by the time Buldozer comes. AMD's mid-2011 CPUs will run on different sockets, so AM3 is a dead end, too. As such about the motherboard and processor I have these suggestions:
*about the i5 750 you're right. However for the same price there is the new SandyBridge i5 2400 with 4 real cores and 4x free multiplier overclocking. It's not as good as having a BE processor with unlimited multiplier, but +4x is also acceptable.
*about AM3: at most what you're gonna be able to place is the Phenom II x6 1100T. Bulldozer will use AM3+, not AM3. AM3 processors will work on AM3+ boards, but AM3+ processors won't work on AM3 boards.
*about the 750i board: not a good choice. It's very old tech (rebranded nForce 5 SLI w/ newer SB) and offer no advantage. Motherboards based on AMD 870/880/890 are as expensive, faster, offer newer tech and with a simple fix can be unlocked to support SLI; AMD boards are also better at unlocking dormant CPU cores.
*processor: if you're decided on AM3 for gaming there are some other good options. For now Phenom II x2's L3 cache can offer as good performance as having 1 extra core. In the close future games are likely to benefit from more cores and buying an Athlon II x4 may be a better investment.

Welcome to the forum
I agree about the mobo. I figured you just really liked the idea of having all Nvidea stuff, but unless you are planning on going sli and don't like the idea of the sli hack, then you will get better performance from an amd chipset.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131402 $84 after mir
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It's so little!
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820104203 $39 after mir (these are Cas9, but the hyperx series is usually good overclocking ram)
Those Hyper-X blu are very good , I just picked up 2 sets. They will do 6,7,6,20 @ 1333 1.5v or 7,8,7,24 @ 1600 1.65v
They also reach 2008 (stable) with 9,9,9,24.
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post #8 of 9
check those deals out :
CPU+mobo
PSU
Video
Ram
Cooler
Case1
Case2
Case3

something in ur price range
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Diablo 3 24/7
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. I'll go over them tonight and tomorrow. As far as the mobo, I just chose that one because it was the only one I found on Newegg that was SLI compatible and had 2 full speed PCIe2 slots. I did see a post on here detailing a hack to make crossfire mobo's work with sli, but I got the impression upon skimming through it that the hack was by no means a sure thing. I'll go back and read it more carefully.

I hadn't heard about the sandybridge. Or rather, I'd read about it but thought it was coming down the pipeline, like Bulldozer. Is the LGA 1155 planned to be the socket for the next cpu line from Intel? Is it likely to have a good upgrade path? Sucks about the AM3. I thought it was planned to be the socket of choice for AMD for a while.
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