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View Full Version : Need budget interim build advice please


hawkeyefan
04-02-10, 07:39 PM
I can scrape together about $500 or so in the next couple weeks for a quick build to hold me over until later in the summer...any suggestions would be great.

current primary/gaming rig:
X2 3800+ Toledo naked @ 3.0 / BigTyphoon
PCPnC Silencer 750
4GB mis-matched UCCC
8800GT
X-Fi Gamer
various hdds
boxen
Vista x64

this is what I'm thinking:

Phenom II X2 555
AM3 board capable of SLI w/ACC in bios (and pray for 3 or 4 cores unlocked)
GTX275 + keep 8800GT for PhysX and GPUGRID
2x2GB of ??? - haven't been paying attention to DDR3. something cheap that OCs well enough.
reuse the X-Fi, PSU, Vista, case and HDDs

Does this seem reasonable or is there a better way to go about this for the money? Thinking I should be able to do with for ~$450-500 and wind up with a reasonably decent budget gamer/cruncher to last through the summer.

ragejg
04-02-10, 08:56 PM
My Gigabyte motherboard is only like $50 and it has functional ACC.

At this point, screw the 275... for that price you can get a very overclockable 5830 that whups on the 275 even at stock speeds.

... And go with 4gb RAM... but that's just my opinion.

logan
04-02-10, 09:03 PM
Would any of this new hardware (video card) carry over to the system you'll buy later this year? If not, I wouldn't spend $500 now only to spend another $1000+ 3-4 months later. I didn't think the X2 3800+ was that old, but the benchmarks I'm looking at are against some of the later P4 processors. I recently picked up a Phenom II X2 550 and a GA-MA785G-UD3H for ~$160 to build a lesser second system for my main desktop (split the ram from my other machine and used an old 8800GT) and installed Windows on my e8400+gtx260 for gaming. The 550 seems pretty close to my e8400 performance-wise, a hare behind in most benchmarks that I saw. Prior to that I had an AMD64 3200+ and the e8400 was a decent upgrade. You'd be upgrading from a processor that's better than my AMD64 to one that's probably not as good as my e8400.

-- edit --

I was able to get all 4 cores enabled with the GA-MA785G-UD3H and build the Linux kernel a few times without issue, but mprime is pushing my temps up too high. AMD's specs for the 550 (http://products.amd.com/en-us/DesktopCPUDetail.aspx?id=621&f1=&f2=&f3=&f4=&f5=&f6=&f7=&f8=&f9=&f10=&f11=&f12=&f13=) say the maximum operating temperature is 70c and both tests I ran (small and large FFTs) quickly pushed it up to 69c, where I stopped it. Cooling in this case has always been an issue. I'll need to make some adjustments before I can continue stress testing.

hawkeyefan
04-03-10, 12:50 AM
My Gigabyte motherboard is only like $50 and it has functional ACC.

At this point, screw the 275... for that price you can get a very overclockable 5830 that whups on the 275 even at stock speeds.

... And go with 4gb RAM... but that's just my opinion.

I should have been clearer with the "2x2GB" RAM and just said 4GB. Ya know what I mean. :p

My only hesitation with teh 5830 is that I was hoping to get the 275+8800gt on the same board for PhysX and GPUGRID but is that even possible on an AM3 board? Or would I be stuck with AM2+ to make that work, and if so, is there any downside to that option other than DDR2?

I guess if there is no way to make that work, the 5830 obviously makes more sense for DX11 and raw horsepower and I'd have to run F@H instead of GPUGRID. In that case I'd probably just throw the s939 and and 8800gt in an old case just for crunching alone. I have enough spare parts lying around to make that work.

Just saw that Microcenter was giving away Gigabyte GA-MA78LM-S2H AM2+ mATX boards for FREE with the purchase of a handful of chips including the X2 555 but they ran out by the time I spotted the deal.:( Something like that would be perfect I would think, as I can use it as an HTPC in a few months.


Would any of this new hardware (video card) carry over to the system you'll buy later this year? If not, I wouldn't spend $500 now only to spend another $1000+ 3-4 months later. I didn't think the X2 3800+ was that old, but the benchmarks I'm looking at are against some of the later P4 processors. I recently picked up a Phenom II X2 550 and a GA-MA785G-UD3H for ~$160 to build a lesser second system for my main desktop (split the ram from my other machine and used an old 8800GT) and installed Windows on my e8400+gtx260 for gaming. The 550 seems pretty close to my e8400 performance-wise, a hare behind in most benchmarks that I saw. Prior to that I had an AMD64 3200+ and the e8400 was a decent upgrade. You'd be upgrading from a processor that's better than my AMD64 to one that's probably not as good as my e8400.

-- edit --

I was able to get all 4 cores enabled with the GA-MA785G-UD3H and build the Linux kernel a few times without issue, but mprime is pushing my temps up too high. AMD's specs for the 550 (http://products.amd.com/en-us/DesktopCPUDetail.aspx?id=621&f1=&f2=&f3=&f4=&f5=&f6=&f7=&f8=&f9=&f10=&f11=&f12=&f13=) say the maximum operating temperature is 70c and both tests I ran (small and large FFTs) quickly pushed it up to 69c, where I stopped it. Cooling in this case has always been an issue. I'll need to make some adjustments before I can continue stress testing.

Thanks for the input, logan. Yeah, my 3800+ even at the same clockspeed is quite a bit worse IPC than your Wolfdale. Cooling I can deal with, I might have to go through a couple chips to get all four cores unlocked I would guess. Is there anything I need to be aware of with the 550 and 555 as far as steppings to ensure decent odds of unlocking cores? I know back in the s939 days, at least, I sort of had a far idea what I was getting into based stepping and batch numbers.

Some of this newly purchased hardware would transfer over to the "permanent" build in late summer or fall, yeah. Whatever else would go into an HTPC or just become another little crunching rig. I'm seriously debating a dual Xeon or Thuban/Magny Cours crunching workhorse towards fall and then either using it as a gaming rig also, or just keeping the one I build now for gaming. If I end up gaming on the workstation, then this new build would go to HTPC or whatever. So there would be total reuse of components in one form or another.

I just don't know which way to go exactly. I can't spare much cash now but it's been so long since I've last upgraded that I have no easy drop-in upgrade option, it's pretty much the whole works. Or at least the major components (cpu, mobo, ram, vga).

hawkeyefan
04-03-10, 12:51 AM
My Gigabyte motherboard is only like $50 and it has functional ACC.

I just looked at your sig and noticed it's the same one Microcenter was giving away but ran out of. Crap! :headexplode:

Does that board overclock decently? Any limitations with that, chipset or otherwise?

ragejg
04-03-10, 01:26 AM
Not really. My PSU limited my initial overclocks, but after the switch (now the Antec 650 is where it should be and so is the XClio) I should be able to run 3.2-3.4 @ x4 stable with my x3 720BE (right now I'm testing x4 3.1 which has never given me a problem). For the price this motherboard kicks @ss. For what it's worth it also supports the higher DDR2 standard (1066).

ragejg
04-03-10, 01:28 AM
That motherboard I have is an AM3 board. AMD has allowed their partners to build AM3 boards with DDR2 support. Budget gamers FTW.

logan
04-03-10, 01:41 AM
I was initially looking for a real upgrade for my e8400, but I just couldn't find the right hardware for the right price and I really wanted a second system, so I settled for the 550.

The core unlocking is new to me... I remember reading about it when I was researching the processor, but tonight was the first time I tried. All I did with my Gigabyte motherboard was go into the BIOS and set "EC Firmware Selection" to "Hybrid" and ACC to Auto. My machine booted without issue and Linux saw all 4 cores. I came across a video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huKVYW4duiU) where the guy mentions a success rate of 80%. I don't know where he go that percentage from or if it's accurate. It really does sound like alot of people are managing to unlock one or more cores successfully, although some have had to update their bios first before they can attempt it. Some suggest increasing or decreasing voltage if you fail to POST, others fail to POST no matter what. If a cpu stress test (like Prime95/mprime) fails, then the CPU just can't handle it and you'll need to make adjustments or go back to 2 cores. There's a pretty good sized thread on Tom's (thttp://www.tomshardware.com/forum/253156-29-phenom-turns-phenom) that'll probably answer some of your questions.

I've been running the large FFT test in mprime with 3 threads for ~1.5 hours now. The load is touching all 4 cores, usually cycling 95%, 95%, 25%, 75% between all 4, sometimes leaving one core with no/minimal load. It may not be ideal, but I just can't seem to get the CPU to stay under 69c by running with 4 threads. With 3 I'm anywhere from 63-66c, and that's with the side of my case off and a fan blowing on it. That's uncomfortably close to the upper limit, but still within tolerance. I don't think I'll leave this running overnight though... I'd hate to wake up to a dead system. :P A few more hours of this tomorrow and I'll feel pretty comfortable running this way, so long as I can do something about the temperatures.

Ditching the stock cooler is another common suggestion. I have an Arctic Cooler Pro 7 in my other system, maybe I'll try another one.

hawkeyefan
04-03-10, 01:55 AM
Not really. My PSU limited my initial overclocks, but after the switch (now the Antec 650 is where it should be and so is the XClio) I should be able to run 3.2-3.4 @ x4 stable with my x3 720BE (right now I'm testing x4 3.1 which has never given me a problem). For the price this motherboard kicks @ss. For what it's worth it also supports the higher DDR2 standard (1066).

That motherboard I have is an AM3 board. AMD has allowed their partners to build AM3 boards with DDR2 support. Budget gamers FTW.


Yeah, that looks like the ticket. Can't believe I missed out on the freebie, but they just updated their site to include a $30 instant savings on the same four CPUs + any compatible board. So I just need to find a suitable replacement that OCs well and has the right SB to allow unlocking cores via ACC. That should be any 785 board if I understand correctly? Time for more research.:o

I'll try to find a good RAM list and see what's up with those but it looks like:

Phenom II X2 555 BE
OZC OCZ2G10664GK DDR2 1066 4GB
GA-MA785GM-US2H AM2+/AM3

for $285 before $20 M.I.R. @ Microcenter +
Sapphire 5830 @ Newegg for $239 shipped

So, ~ $525 after taxes and everything. I can deal with that.

hawkeyefan
04-03-10, 02:03 AM
Thanks a lot, logan. Great stuff. Bookmarked that thread @ Tom's.

I have a TT Big Typhoon that I can use for now on the 555 which should be sufficient I would think. It keeps the 90nm 3800+ under 50c full load with the stock fan even at 1.554v. If not I'll just grab a TRUE or whatever.

ragejg
04-03-10, 06:09 AM
Right now a 5850 is only $40 more than a 5830 ... so if you can afford that it'd be worth it.

IMO the 5830 will be really worth it once it hits $219 or $199.

logan
04-03-10, 05:20 PM
I undervolted my unlocked 550 from 1.35v to 1.20v and reran one series of large FFT tests in mprime with 3 and 4 threads (each ran for about 15 minutes). cpu temps were 54-46c with 3 threads and a solid 59c with 4. I'm pretty comfortable with this, although I may still look at an aftermarket cooler anyway. I'll let mprime run for a while yet to check the stability, but so far so good.

hawkeyefan
04-04-10, 12:03 AM
Right now a 5850 is only $40 more than a 5830 ... so if you can afford that it'd be worth it.

IMO the 5830 will be really worth it once it hits $219 or $199.

Man, it's only $239 right now...

The cheapest 5850 I've seen is ~$290 but that isn't all bad necessarily.

I just accepted a job offer about five hours ago in an industry that will have me less dependent on annual fluctuations in demand and provide a more consistent income but with a lower ceiling in a good year. Which is just great. Last year I made a sixth of what I made the year prior.:( Better yet, I start on Monday and will be pulling income immediately.

So now I'm thinking piss on the interim build and just go with an i7 somethingsomething, and it just became easier to justify the 5850. I'll probably take logan's suggestion and build what I really want, if I can just figure out what that is right now...

Really do appreciate all the help guys, and I may still do a cheaper version of this build as an HTPC because it seems perfect for that and the girl has been bugging me to build one.