What defines crazy when it comes to new PC parts?

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by Sokar, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

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    So, I'm starting to look at upgrading to a new desktop PC to replace my athalon 64 3200+ that I've been running for the past few years. While it's a great PC, I tend to upgrade every few years, and I'm hoping to build a new one that will last me for the next 4 years or so to carry through my second degree. I realize that it can be cheaper in the long run to buy a mid-level pc and update the components as they drop in price, and generally that works I find for hard drives, burners, and to an extent video cards, but in terms of the motherboard, case, and processor, I prefer to go all out since that seems to end up paying off in the long run. So far it's worked, since my current rig has lasted me about twice as long as many of the people I know have had their pc's last (compatibility-wise at least).

    I've started shopping around for parts, and while I'm in no rush to get this thing together, I'll likely be peicing it together in the next few months or so. However, I've been looking into the new quad core processors, and I've come across one in particular that looks incredible. But, it's $1130!!, and I doubt it will be dropping any time soon.

    The chip itself is the Intel Core2 Extreme Processor QX9650, which runs at 3.0 GHz, has 12MB cache (2 x 6Mb), and has a 45 nm architecture. All of this sounds great, but I've never had much experience with the 'extreme' line of intel processors, and have generally stuck with AMD processors for the past 2 desktops that I've had. However, it seems intel is pulling ahead of AMD at the moment, so I think I'll try out an intel chip this go around.

    Does anyone have experience with the extreme chips, or have any opinions on spending close to the cost of a laptop on the processor alone? Granted I'm not planning on pushing my pc to it's absolute limits, but it's nice to have that extra power I've found to be able to do things either that much faster, or with that fewer crashes because the pc can't handle it. I paid a premium to jump onto the 64 bit processor line (I'd say I'm an early adopter of new technologies), but while the performance is great, I've yet to see much that takes advantage of the 64 bit processor, and it's kind of a dissapointment. I don't want to end up with the same dissapointment from the quad core, but I'm not sure that it will end up being the same.

    I'll admit that I'm not always up to speed with the latest in computing, but I do try to keep up, and I find getting opinions from real users of technology from a variety of walks of life (such as from this forum) tends to be more useful than reading benchmark tests on the internet.
     
  2. Emperor Mengde

    Emperor Mengde Instrumentalist

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    I'm actually doing the same right now, and have been doing a ton of research on it. I would say you can do either one of two things if you want to get yourself a good, fairly future proof quad core:

    If you want to buy now, then pick up either the Q6600 or X3210. Both are great chips, although I would recommend the latter if you're going to overclock since it can take higher temps than the Q6600 and will clock just as high, eventhough it starts at a lower clock speed.

    If you can wait another 3 months or so then the new Intel Quad Cores should be out, the Q9450 will be out for around $350. Same specs as the QX9650 except for lower clock speed (2.66) and without the unlocked upwards multiplier. However, you should be able overclock it to the levels of a stock QX9650 and save yourself alot of money. Granted, the QX9650 will probably clock higher than the Q9450, but the cost is just too high.

    Even if you do want to upgrade right now you could always get a P35 or x38 motherboard and just pick up an e2160 for ~$80 (this is what I'm doing), and then upgrade to quad core when the prices drop a bit later this year, or just wait it out until Intel unveils their new processors end of this year/beginning of next.
     
  3. NIDARAM12

    NIDARAM12 Robot art guy

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    I'm thinking of building my next pc, but man, building a computer from scratch definitely isn't as easy as people say it is. There are so many different processor, memory, and mobo choices that there isn't a clear cut "winner" and you need to make sure that everything is compatible. PC component sites are always kind of ambiguous to someone who only knows how to install parts, not pick the right ones :p  All of the numbers and names are all Greek to me.
     
  4. Emperor Mengde

    Emperor Mengde Instrumentalist

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    Yeah, it took me a good 2 or 3 weeks of reading up on components to actually begin to understand everything enough to pick them out. I just pulled the trigger on my order today, we'll see if everything works together as well as it should.
     
  5. drippy

    drippy is a freethinker.

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    If the goal is a gaming rig, the latest PC Gamer (Feb 2008) is a good starting point.

    http://www.pcgamer.com/inthisissue.html

    They offer suggestions on components that give the best bang for the buck...the ones that are the "sweet spot" for performance and price. There's also a step by step guide on how to put everything together.
     
  6. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a real fan of overclocking, since the higher temperatures can degrade the components faster, and the goal in my case is to build something that will be current or at least semi current for the next 4 or 5 years, and will last without breaking down.

    This Q9450 sounds intriguing though. I'll have to take a look at that. The extra 0.4 GHz probably won't make a huge difference, but when it comes to games I've read that clock speed is more important than multicore processing. Still, it's not so much a gaming rig that I'm looking at, so that might not be super important.

    I want something that will handle graphically heavy tasks like gaming and video editing (hence why I would be buying a high end video card and probably a fair amount of ram), but part of that is more because operating systems seem to be going more and more resource intensive. When Vista is eventually replaced, I want to be able to at least have an entry level pc for the next OS. It's worked pretty well with my current pc, so I'm hoping to repeat that luck.

    Nidaram12, you're definitely right about there being a lot of options, and no clear cut winner. I think in the pc world though there will rarely if ever be a clear cut winner in most aspects. Look at windows vs mac. I swore I would never buy a mac, and yet I have a macbook sitting on my desk... I also have always backed AMD and ATI, yet now it appears that Nvidia is the way to go, and Intel is the current front runner with their cooler running processors and better overall performance. In two months that might all change though. I've found the only way to not drive yourself crazy is to focus on what's here and now (or in the near future) and not focus on the past winners or the promises of distant releases in technology. Companies seem to learn from their mistakes a bit better than they used to it seems, and what was a major oversight in last year's line is now fixed or improved upon to put them in the spotlight. In the same way, promises made about far distant lines often end up becoming vapourware or are outdone far before this new 'ultimate' technology even hits the market.

    The best thing to do is to ask questions, get opinions, and if possible, get a friend with some idea of what they're talking about to go with you if you aren't sure about something.
     
  7. Emperor Mengde

    Emperor Mengde Instrumentalist

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    I hear what you're saying about overclocking, but it shouldn't be an issue as long as you have good cooling, you watch your temps, and you don't try to push your hardware to the absolute edge of what it can take. But it is a hassle too, you have to keep trying different timings and voltages out, then run stability tests and monitor temps, and wash, rinse, repeat. If you're not into that then it's certainly not worth the effort.

    As for the quad core dual core thing, in video gaming it really won't make much of a difference, and you may as well save money and go with a dual core. However, I've seen many people praise quad cores for alot of the more processor intensive tasks like video editing, encoding, and the like. Right now I couldn't justify a quad because I don't do enough of those things to matter, but when their prices come down I'll likely upgrade.
     
  8. thepoetrydude

    thepoetrydude Well-Known Member

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    I'm getting ready to build a new machine myself and at the foundation is a Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q6700 on a Intel® Desktop Board DG33TL, I'm thinking of using getting an Antec p190 case for it. My hard drives will be a Western digital 150 raptor as the primary os/ software and a seagate 1tb for storage. Not sure on the video card yet, but definitely gonna be a good one like an 8800 gts or similar. I'll run vista home premium x64 bit and have 4gb of ram. I've already got the ram, cpu, mobo, dvd burner and am just saving for the other components.
     
  9. Shin-Gouki

    Shin-Gouki Rebuilding Veteran

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    My machine is fine right now, Athlon 64 X2 4800+ with 4 GB Ram and a Geforce 8600 GTS (Wil be Adding a second to SLI soon). However I do have my eye on the Phenom quad core as when the next Bios update comes out for my Motherboard it will be able to take it.
     
  10. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

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    Whenever I hear the name of AMD's new 'phenom' processor I always laugh and think it's gotta have something to do with the Undertaker...

    I'm still impressed with AMD overall. They always seem to have a pretty resonable price on their stuff (at least the stuff I've bought), and you really get a lot of performance out of them. The only thing I don't really like I guess is that they tend to run pretty hot. Still though, with the right cooling that's not an issue. I'll see how the phenom processors are doing, but I've heard they aren't quite the same level as the new core 2 quads, so I'm still leaning towards the core 2.


    Thepoetrydude - I was looking at the exact same case. It's pretty expensive, but the power supply makes it worth it I think
     
  11. thepoetrydude

    thepoetrydude Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the psu is nice, and I like the room and cable management. I saw it at outpost.com recently for $100 less than list price. I'm waiting for the new ati x2 video cards to come out so I can compare em to the 8800 series, though. it's tough to find just the right video card sometimes.
     
  12. RabidYak

    RabidYak Go Ninja Go Ninja Go

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    I got a Q6600, 4gb of PC8500 Crucial Ballistix, a 512mb 8800GTS, ASUS Maximus Formula mobo and assorted other stuff in the post today to build my new beastie box..

    The bill was a bit hefty since I brought the entire system in one go, but it'll be on the frontline for 2 or 3 years and will do the same again afterwards as my secondary machine.
     
  13. Emperor Mengde

    Emperor Mengde Instrumentalist

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    Nice setup. I considered going all out buying parts, but then decided that I game way more on my 360 anyway so it was best to save some money and go more middle of the road. Plus I wanted to play around with OC'ing without the risk of killing expensive parts.

    Anyway, got my computer up and running the other night and finally got around to tweaking it. Right now I have the e2160 running at 333 FSB x9 = 3.0 GHZ. Not bad if I do say so myself, and the sucker still stays really cool (failed in Prime after 5 minutes at first, found out that for some reason the board decided to undervolt it at stock, once I set it to the stock voltage it's been stable, although still haven't done a good 12 hour test).

    Also running the GSkill pc6400 memory I got at 1:1 with tighter timings than stock (4-4-4-12 instead of 5-5-5-15) since it's running slower than it's rated 400 MHz.

    Probably have more headroom for overclocking (still 40C away from the TJunction max, voltage still at 1.3250), but if it stays stable I probably won't mess around with it too much.
     
  14. RabidYak

    RabidYak Go Ninja Go Ninja Go

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    I've got the Q6600 runing at 3.0 using overclock presets in the BIOS, which only pushed the load temprature up 2c over the stock 2.4 when I briefly stressed it at both settings earlier today. I'm cooling it with a Tuniq Tower 120 and its in a dirty big Akasa Eclipse case, so thats probably why the increase is so low. I could probably take it up to 3.2 or 3.4 without much hassle, but 3.0 is what I was aiming for and i'd rather have a good margin of safety.

    I'll get it chewing on Orange Box and Crysis sometime next week, just waiting for an x64 copy of Vista to arrive before I push it out into the trenches.
     
  15. Heatbag

    Heatbag Well-Known Member

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    Ebay:
    Ah yes good ol' vdroop, wat mobo do you have?
     
  16. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

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    I've seen reviews of the 45nm chips being overclocked to 4ghz on air cooling. Pretty impressive.
     
  17. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

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    Holy crap!! I definitely think air cooling is the current way to go. water cooling is a neat idea and all, but I think it's still too new and expensive to justify the use in most systems. Don't get me wrong, my friend has 2 pc's running water cooling and he hasn't had any problems, but I still fear a pinhole leak causing my pc to short out and die a fiery death.

    Personally, I'd prefer to go for oil submersion cooling if I was going for new cooling ideas. At least a leak only makes a mess, not burns your house down.
     

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