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View Full Version : My first non-939 rig since 2003; I finally pulled the trigger


ragejg
07-14-09, 04:56 PM
My desk and media rig have been the same for the last year. I was fussy about my choice of parts and built an x2 and Opteron rig, both using an Asus 939/AGP mobo, and equipped them with RAID 0 setups, 3gb DDR, and AGP HD 3850s.

Though they were older generation rigs, they gamed nicely.

I decided recently that I would upgrade at least the media/gaming PC this summer.

Here's what I picked up at GREAT prices:

- Asus M3A (AMD 770/SB600) AM2+ motherboard

- Phenom II x3 720 Black Edition (unlocked multi w00t!)

- PowerColor HD4870 512mb

- 2x2gb G.Skill DDR2 1066

This rig will be used for movies of varying bitrates, Hulu, Boxee, and gaming, ... at 720p. My 26" Sanyo LCD soldiers on in the living room, lol.



Existing components being carried over are:

- Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
-- Hooked to a Denon 5.1 receiver set up @ 2.1... I'm not sure of what the best connection method will be though... (pointers?)

- Antec Earthwatts 650W PSU

- LG DVD-RW (Blu-Ray's goin' in this winter)

- 2x Maxtor server-grade 7.2k 8mb 120gb ATA-133's in RAID 0, hooked up via PATA-SATA adapters

- Sunbeam Tuniq case (brushed aluminum, simple, cooled by 120mm fans)

- MS Wireless Laser Desktop 6000

- 360 wireless pad

- 2 Game Elements Recoil (PS2) pads

...


The 939 x2/3850/3gb setup really has done me right as a media and gaming rig. But I think I'll be able to get newer games and NOT have to kick one or two things down to medium now.

I really believe that AMD got it right with the Phenom IIs. I believe that this $119 cpu will perform beyond its price point.... I just hope the rig I built around it allows for well-rounded performance in my always-on media rig.

The desk rig... it gets a 4800x2 and will live out its days occasionally playing Source Engine games @ 12x10. I think it'll remain happy for a while yet. But I think the media rig's gonna make me forget about anything 939 for a long while.


:captnkill::captnkill::captnkill::captnkill:

Sazar
07-14-09, 05:00 PM
Cool beans :D

I still have a 939 chugging along for my HTPC/TDU race-sim getup :D

LT.Schaffer
07-15-09, 01:57 PM
I also still have a 939 setup running my dedicated LAN Coop Server

AMD Athlon X2 4200+
ABIT AV8 K8T800 Pro
GameXStream 700W
Evga 6800 Ultra

:)

betterdan
07-15-09, 02:42 PM
I owned a 939 Athlon 3800+ for a couple years up until last month. I just gave the tired out thing to somebody at work along with the mb and 2 gb of OCZ ram.

Good riddance and on to better things.

nekrosoft13
07-15-09, 03:03 PM
still have one 939 over here, a 4200+ in the family PC.

ragejg
07-15-09, 03:26 PM
Good riddance and on to better things.

I feel that way with regards to trying to OC the k8t800 Pro chipset, but ultimately, having a single platform give me all the performance I need from 2004 to 2009, I think that's remarkable.

I mean heck, if I could get the BEST OCing AGP 939 mobo out there (what is it anyway?) and 4gb or so of some great RAM, OC to 3.2ghz or more and massage my 3850 to a slightly better OC, the dang thing would probably keep right up with any new Phenom II x2 550-based rig, while playing any game quite happily.

As it stands, with it receiving a 4800+ (replacing the Opty 165) and probably getting a light OC to ~2.8ghz, the setups' still gonna perform great.

I'm not gonna try to go balls-out on the 939 rig once the 4800+'s in there though. I'll just try for a stable OC and be happy with what I get. It only needs to game occasionally @ 12x10, and it's not my "heavy use" pc.

It's kinda like if in '05 someone took a circa late 2000 kt266 mobo and loaded it up with 2gb RAM, a pin-modded Barton running @ over 2ghz, used 2 old 5400rpm HD's in RAID 0 and plugged a 7800 GS into it. You'd be running Doom3 just fine on a mobo built when Quake 3 was new. ;)

Retro tech ftw.

Medion
07-15-09, 03:28 PM
Just curious, how much did you spend on it when all was said and done?

ragejg
07-15-09, 03:53 PM
on my new parts for th am2+ rig:

Asus M3A: approx $25 @ [h]
cpu/vidcard combo @ newegg: $230
4gb RAM: $46

Other existing parts that are a year or more old that are part of the rig:

Case: $50
Audigy 2 zs bought new last yr: $40
2x Maxtor 120gb HDs were free
DVD/RW: $60
Fans: $20
Keyboard/mouse: $60

So not counting the TV/monitor and xbox/PS2-ish pads I've sunk approx $530 into it over the last year, but I'm getting around $160 back due to trading old parts in... so a net of about 370...

(My math reasoning skills are limited, so forgive my scattershot explanation)

Why do you ask, Medion?

Medion
07-15-09, 04:00 PM
Asus M3A: approx $25 @ [h]
cpu/vidcard combo @ newegg: $230
4gb RAM: $46

I'm selling or have sold most of the media rig to pay for this... why do you ask, Medion?

I've seen too many techies build uber media rigs to play HD content on their 26" LCD monitors, when the same or less cash could be spent on a 46" HD TV or larger, and a BRD player. You're smarter than that, having spent peanuts, and may come close to a profit when all is said an done.

Still, my preference is to have a mid-range PC in the office, and to have my 46" Samsung w/360 and PS3 in the living room :)

ragejg
07-15-09, 04:07 PM
If support ends for good gamepad support in PC games, and a well-built PC suddenly CAN'T be an all-around workhorse for gaming/productivity/entertainment, then I'll go with a console. But for now, being able to watch SNL clips, then edit a pic in Paint.NET and post it in my Picasa account, browse forums, use OpenOffice.org to edit and print a document on my network and then jump into some Gears of War all while remaining comfortably on my couch... I wouldn't trade that experience for much. This particular PC experience is well integrated into my GF and I's life.

Sazar
07-15-09, 04:18 PM
I've seen too many techies build uber media rigs to play HD content on their 26" LCD monitors, when the same or less cash could be spent on a 46" HD TV or larger, and a BRD player. You're smarter than that, having spent peanuts, and may come close to a profit when all is said an done.

Still, my preference is to have a mid-range PC in the office, and to have my 46" Samsung w/360 and PS3 in the living room :)

Some people do like a little more beef with their HTPC's just for some lighter gaming and/or sims or other games with game-pads.

FPS's, not so much but GoW is playable with a gamepad :)

ragejg
07-15-09, 04:53 PM
I'll be getting SF4, Bioshock and Mirror's Edge this fall for this AM2+ rig, and will be hoping and praying that Lost Planet 2 and/or Gears of War 2 come out for PC for the holidays.

nekrosoft13
07-15-09, 04:58 PM
Some people do like a little more beef with their HTPC's just for some lighter gaming and/or sims or other games with game-pads.

FPS's, not so much but GoW is playable with a gamepad :)

yap, plus a HTPC can do a lot more then some simple BD player

ragejg
07-15-09, 05:06 PM
So I guess this AM2+ rig is gonna be more like a mainstream/enthusiast gaming rig that's just been "pressed" into some HTPC duties.

:p

I'll gladly pay a few extra bones on my elec. bill to have top-notch visuals in my paltry 2-5 hrs of gaming/week. After geting blown away by the HD 3850 in AGP flavor (upgraded quickly from 6800 Vanilla to 7800GS to HD3850), I really don't want anything less than what today's ~$100 - $150 video cards can offer.

I am a bit blue however @ the fact that back in the day you could spend $60 on a TbredB 1700, OC it and get the best gaming experience as long as you had a GF3 ti200 or GF4 ti4200 which were pretty inexpensive cards... Now it's at least $100 a piece for cpu & gpu.

Times change, I guess. We're paying for lots more transistors and bandwidth.

Sazar
07-15-09, 05:32 PM
I'll be getting SF4, Bioshock and Mirror's Edge this fall for this AM2+ rig, and will be hoping and praying that Lost Planet 2 and/or Gears of War 2 come out for PC for the holidays.

If you get SF4, make sure you get the competition controller. I can't even do half the moves on the regular controllers :(

My buddy lent me his competition controller (and I've only had the game a couple of days) and I finally was able to pull off some simple moves :(

Woe is me for my chubby fingers :o

marqmajere
07-15-09, 11:32 PM
Very cool bro. You will love how it plays games. :)

ragejg
07-17-09, 10:55 PM
I hate starting things off with a "crap" but I have to.

...

I can't POST.

It appears that the old BIOS in the M3A won't just give me an "Unidentified CPU" message, it just plain won't POST.

So I've got this thing pieced together, but now I have to BORROW an old AM2 cpu so I can POST and flash the BIOS!!

Argh. I will try to remain patient and optimistic.

ragejg
07-21-09, 09:14 PM
woohoo!

A local friend came through with an AM2 4800+, and I was able to flash the BIOS to support the Phenom II... now it's time to get rolling on the install.

Waow. There's options in these new BIOSes that confound me. I'm probably gonna have some questions as I try and tweak this 3 core monstah.

ragejg
07-24-09, 09:56 PM
Ok, it's all together. Time to run some benchies etc.

I ditched the RAID setup after driver troubles for a single WD2500AAKS Blue Caviar. Given what I'm used to (legacy ATA drives in poorly-optimized RAID setups) this drive will be fine.
I don't have many of the newest games to bench, but of course I'll be able to get some bleeding-edge demos or benchmarks to run for the 2-3-4 core comparison...

And I've gotta try overclocking yet. Have yet to check my temps, I'll get a good scope on stock performance vs the x2 4800/DDR1 before I go crankin' things up.

Was gonna check some Halo 2 out @ 720p with 8xAA/TAA/16xAF/Catalyst AI On real quick after next reboot, just to see how well this rig can handle being slightly choked.

What should I bench with game-wise?

I have:

Stalker Clear Sky
TF2
Portal
HL2, LC, Ep1, CSS
Audiosurf
Assassin's Creed
Gears of War
UT3
Lost Planet
Quake 4
FEAR
Doom3
GTA: San Andreas
KOTOR
UT2K4
Call of Duty 1
Aquanox

... I think that's it. I'm sure not all of these will be happy with Vista X64.

For benches I usually use:

Sandra
SuperPi (just ran this @ out-of-box stock and got 24 sec for 1M)

... but I could be arsed to run other stuff as well. I used to run all the PassMarks and PCMarks, but I ended up finding that Sandra did a pretty good jarb on its own with some help from SuperPi.

So marqmajere and ummm.. crap, who got the pimpin' x4 setup? ...Yeah, you two. What games do we have in common?

Shamrock
07-24-09, 10:54 PM
LOL, you mean me? I have the x4 955 BE

I only have CoD 1 and FEAR that you have.

Currently installed:
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Command & Conquer 3 (and Kane's Wrath)
Company of Heroes
Elder Scrolls Oblivion
Fallout 3
GRID
rFactor
World in Conflict

Have these but not installed, can install them if need to:
FarCry 2
NFS Undercover
NFS Pro Street
Richard Burns Rally

ragejg
07-24-09, 11:05 PM
Ok, FEAR's definitely do-able.... I hardly know jack about the game but IIRC it still thumps on good systems quite hard.

ragejg
07-25-09, 09:13 AM
WOW, the NB on this motherboard is hot as heck!! I placed an extra 60mm fan between the (hot) 4870 and the cpu fan to try and alleviate the issue. I think it's helping a little bit.

Plus, due to lack of "official" support for the PhII, stock voltage is accidentally set @ 1.42V. So my idle temp is 40-44C.

Voltage adjustment in BIOS is completely wonky... available voltage is from 0.825 to 1.0825v or something screwy like that...

I may screw with it and see if those numbers are actually indicative of a different voltage.

I can't use Overdrive on this 770 chipset, and since AIGear thinks the system is already OCed it won't start up.

Is there a Windows OCing utility that is a good alternative to Overdrive?

I'd really like to get teh voltage down to the stock 1.325, and if I can't do that and have to keep it @ 1.42, I'll probably just crank the multi up, as 1.42 is a voltage conducive to around 3.4-3.8ghz... I don't want my temps to go crazy though, although I've heard that the Phenom II's have a higher temperature ceiling than the original Phenoms.

So this is NOT an OCing motherboard. I may still be able to get some extra mhz out of it, but heck, this is a 2.8 ghz triple core cpu coupled with an HD 4870... it's plenty fast on its own.

This rig kicked Halo 2's @ss. Completely. That's a good indication despite the game's age.

I'm gonna try Stalker: Clear Sky next... and if I can get Sandra running right I'll run some benches on that as well.

Woodelf
08-03-09, 06:39 PM
Well I still have a 939 and it's still awesome....well not really. But I did get a 9800gtx+ for it, which is awesome-r.......really. I have $300 saved up so far for my MB/i7920/ram upgrade tho. Maybe this month (I've been saying that since the 8800gtx's came out).