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Old 09-15-11, 01:18 AM   #11
bob saget
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Vancouver, originally Russia
Posts: 23,138
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Default Re: New Build - Suggestions Please

Originally Posted by Redeemed View Post
Well, to clarify my stance regarding PSUs- they're very much the heart of any computer system. Think about it- they provide the life blood (electricity) for your computer. Whether it is just checking e-mail, playing video games, or rendering HD video you want a solid, reliable PSU. One that is a high-quality build, provides clean power to each component and is rediculously reliable, stable, and if something were to happen like a power surge will protect your components.

I mentioned that the one you chose wouldn't be my first pick simply because I've never used one. Since I'm so particular regarding PSUs I stick to brands that have done well for me. I'm sold on Silverstone, OCZ, and SeaSonic. That isn't to say those are the three only good brands, just that they're the three brands I stick with.

Antec used to be a rather crap company regarding PSUs. However, over the past couple years they seem to have really stepped up their game. If I saw a very good deal on a PSU of theirs that met my needs I'd not be opposed to buying it and trying them out.

It's just the thing of it is, a PSU isn't like the CPU, RAM, HDD, or Video Card where you want to be upgrading it ever year. No, instead you want to buy one and run it as long as possible. Take the PSU I have, the one in my sig. It's a SilverStone Zeus ST85ZF , 850 watts with up to 70A when combining the 12v rails. I bought it back in 2006 just before purchasing my two 640MB 8800GTSs. I bought it to power those two cards and... to last me a long time. 6 years later it's still going strong. I've changed CPUs, MOBOs, RAM, HDDs, Video Cards, and even Cases but I've kept this PSU through all those upgrades. If you read that review I did drop near $300 for this PSU back then, but it was money well spent as I've not needed to purchase another PSU since then.

That said, $300 for a PSU now days is a stretch. As I said before Antec has really improved their PSUs over the years and $170 after MIR for that 850 watt PSU is pretty amazing, especially considering all the amps it's pushing on each 12v line. However, that many amps per 12v line is also something to be wary of. 160a total for the 12v rail... seems... a bit too good to be true. You normally wont see that till you get to well over 1000 watts. Here's a 1200 Watt Silverstone that only has 100A on a single 12v rail. Now when you break up the 12v rail into several you are able to squeeze more amps onto for the given wattage but that only goes so far. Here's a 1500 watt Silverstone with eight 12v rails, 25A each. That's 200A total for your 12v rails. That is a lot of freakin' power.

My point is the fact that Antec is pushing so much power through each rail with so little wattage would be concerning to me. With the hardware you've presently chosen your friend won't be pushing the PSU anywhere near it's limits. At most he may put that PSU under ~50% load but not much beyond that. The single most power consuming component in your build is the videocard and the one chosen is a very efficient unit.

I'm not certain what your budget is precisely, so I'm not certain what PSU to recommend. For myself I'd stick with Silverstone first, OCZ second, Seasonic third. Corsair and Antec make great units from the reviews I've read however... a review cannot let you know whether a PSU will last 5 years, 10 years, or only 6 months. However, when picking out a psu there are several things you can do to help increase the odds of the PSU lasting. One is buy more than you need. If you need only 550watts (meaning, you'll be consuming 550watts), don't buy a 550 watt PSU. Purchase 750watts or greater. If you'll be using 750watts then buy a 1KW or greater PSU. And of course, make certain it's from a reputable brand.

The key here is that when you're computer is under load, the PSU doesn't have to be. Even if your CPU is pegged at 100%, your GPU pegged at 100%, and RAM 100%- doesn't mean your PSU has to be pegged at 100%. The key here is when putting your system under "load" the PSU itself is actually not at full load. At most I've consumed up to 650watts with my system. That's 200 watts under what my PSU is able to deliver. I've never, not once, had my PSU itself under full load providing it's peak 850watts. But there have been numerous occassions where my CPU, RAM, GPUs, or all of the above have been fully taxed. So by having a PSU that is greater than what I'll actually consume I'm putting less strain and less wear and tear on the unit. And with it already being a solid unit I'm ensuring it'll last me all that much longer.

As it stands I don't have any immediate plans to replace this PSU. It is over half a decade old so, come to think of it within the next year or two I may want to consider a replacement and retire this one from my primary rig. But as you can tell it's not a major concern of mine.

So just keep these things in mind when choosing a PSU. So many amps on that 12v line kinda' throws me off of that PSU. I'm sure it'll deliver that, but for how long can it sustain that? I'd be wary of it. The downside of a PSU is that if it fails, it can take the entire computer with it. Imagine what could happen if your PSU fails and it shoots 12v down the 3.3v line, all the components it could damage... now with all the power that PSU can pump to each 12v rail, if it fails, it can also pump a ton of power through circuitry not designed for that kinda' juice.

For the hardware you've chosen I'd stay at an 850watt PSU. Preferrably a single 12v rail, but four 12v rails wont hurt anything either. Here's an 850watt Corsair with 70a on a single 12v rail. $120 after MIR. I'd honestly go with that one over the Antec you chose.

Anyhow, sorry for the long winded post there it's just the PSU is a very critical component for any build so I always feel it appropriate to spend the most time on the PSU compared to other components.

As to the CPU, RAM, and Video card- your call ultimately. I'm sold on G.Skill as I've had such great luck with them. Again though, that's not saying they're the only solid company out there. $40 for 8GB however... freakin' steal.

The CPU, well that 970 will be faster in single-threaded apps because of it's higher clock speed. So if he'll be running a lot of older programs, or just a lot of programs that aren't multi-threaded then he'll see a greater benefit with a faster quad core. If he is planning on playing mostly newer titles than I'd go with a six-core. 3.2Ghz 1090T for $170. Only $30 more than the 970 you originally chose and it will be more beneficial long-term if he's planning on running modern apps. Multi-threaded applications are the future, so having a system built around that premise will help it age better. But if he won't be using modern programs and will mostly run older programs, older programs aren't mult-threaded typically so a higher clock speed per core would be more beneficial for him.

And then on that video card... well, that's a tough one. The 6870 isn't a slow GPU and with 2GB of RAM... that's a lot of framebuffer. What resolution will he be gaming at? Will he be concerned with anti-aliasing? The only reason I've been eyeing that exact 6870 is because it's under $200 after MIR. I'd also suspect it has a bit more OC headroom than what that factory OC is. Spec wise it's not too far behind a 6950 while it could save you $50. Maybe stick with that GPU and put that $50 towards the six core CPU.

Come to think about, with the money shaved off from that Corsair PSU, money shaved off from that G.Skill RAM you could jump him up to the 1100T six-core which has a 3.7GHz turbo mode. If he's running a single threaded app he'd see great performance there because of the higher clock speed.

That's probably the direction I'd go- get that 850watt Corsair PSU - $120 after MIR (saved $50). You can now put that $50 towards the CPU and you already have that PhenomII x6 1100T without spending any extra money. This RAM is showing up as $51 on it's direct page, but if you look here it's saying $39. I just added it to my cart and it showed $51. Wierd. You may contact Newegg and see if that's a typo or what. It was showing $39 last night with no indication of that being a sale of any kind, just a regular price drop. If you can get that RAM it'll shave another $15 off the build cost.

Sorry about the long post and long read- but didn't feel like cutting any corners on the explainations and without know how up to speed you are on all of this I'd rather error on the side of caution by explaining more than you needed, than not enough. I hope it was helpful.

When you have it all put together be sure to post back with your impressions.
easily the longest post i have ever seen on nvnews.

for helping others, 'deemed.
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