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    What $1200 Gets You

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    JGZinv
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    What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/12/2009, 12:26 am

    Well I don't have the rebate entirely back yet, but I
    had to do some quick buying to get some rebates, so
    I spec'd and bought all the parts for a new desktop.

    Case - Cooler Master HAF 932 $150
    Mobo - Asus Striker II Extreme $234.08
    PSU - Corsair 650 watt $100
    CPU - Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz $168
    GPU - EVGA GTX 275 Superclocked Edition w/ COD5 $270
    RAM - 2GB Corsair DDR3 1600 $64
    Cooler - Noctua NH-U12P $60
    HD - Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB $65
    Optical - Samsung SH-S223Q $30
    Paste - Arctic Silver 5 $9
    Shipping - Ground $8

    Total $1158.08

    I'm going to use an existing monitor. But I should have about $110
    in rebates (40 of which I may have screwed up on). Plus there should
    be some cashback from Microsoft, and I get COD5 and another game free.

    Should be very interesting.... still have to figure out what to do for my laptop needs, but this should handle the power end of things for a while.


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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by AlexT on 5/12/2009, 7:02 am

    Wow...that's awfuly a lot of $.
    Here's what i think:

    First - buying such expensive motherboard is not reasonable. I don't see anything interesting in Stiker unless you absolutely need very powerful SLI configuration. It's good for nothing else. but E8400 is no good for SLI either - you need 4 core then.
    My recommendation for CPU - E8400 (to save money) or Q9550 (for powerful system), but i'd get Phenom II for AM3 socket (with DDR3) which beat both anyway and cost less while a lot newer/advanced or wait for i5 (september)

    Mobo get Asus P5Q pro or delux on P45 for single GPU + possibility of adding 2nd one in future = 130$

    While choise of videocard is good - it's a lot more expansive than GTX 260 216sp. Once GTX260 is overclocked it's about as fast as 275 so it's about money.

    Ram - you don't realy need DDR3. Not for this line of processors with non-integrated memory controller - they won't benefit from it. Whatever they gain from increased bandwith is killed by latency (CL). I'd get DDR2 1066 if i were you it's a lot cheaper.

    HDD - small, i'd recommend Samsung F1 - fastest 1TB HDD around.

    I think buying this configuration right now is not very good idea. It's old. Core2 architecture outlived itself and is now will be replaced by i5 which is coming in august-september at about 200$ price. Also AMD Phenom II is giving intel hard times at the moment and surely beat E8400 while at similar cost so i'd suggest to wait.
    I wanted to replace my E8400 for something with 4 cores but decided to wait for i5/newer Phenom IIs myself.
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/12/2009, 11:49 am

    AlexT wrote:Wow...that's awfuly a lot of $.
    Here's what i think:

    First - buying such expensive motherboard is not reasonable. I don't see anything interesting in Stiker unless you absolutely need very powerful SLI configuration.


    I didn't plan on going to SLI, or at least not for quite some time.
    Originally I was leaning towards a MSI X58 Platinum SLI, or the Asus Wifi enabled mobo. The Msi lost the fight first when I decided to not use Core i7, and then when I found out it had ram and power issues. The Wifi model had better scores than the striker, but it was actually higher cost and didn't have accessories.


    It's good for nothing else. but E8400 is no good for SLI either - you need 4 core then.

    I beg to differ. Unless the game or program is designed for quad core, of which there are very few right now, at best you can see 15 to 30% increases, up to the 3rd core, and almost no gain with the 4th core in use. I used a 2.4 GHz C2D with half as much cache in the Sager laptop, and I was able to run Crysis or whatever just fine. But again, I wasn't planning on going with SLI to start with. Even with SLI, you're looking at about a 20% increase in overall frame rates, at the expense of a second card.

    My recommendation for CPU - E8400 (to save money) or Q9550 (for powerful system), but i'd get Phenom II for AM3 socket (with DDR3) which beat both anyway and cost less while a lot newer/advanced or wait for i5 (september)

    I originally wanted to go with the Core i7 920 Quad, but my amount of funds changed around and plus the i7 940 and extreme is being discontinued. Going with a regular Quad costs almost exactly the same as an i7. I'm not a big AMD fanboy, and the reviews clearly show Intel has the lead with processors, plus there's Win 7 virtualization support to think about.

    Mobo get Asus P5Q pro or delux on P45 for single GPU + possibility of adding 2nd one in future = 130$

    If I upgrade in the future, I'll probably just swap the mobo, cpu, and ram for whatever is good at the time. About a 400 upgrade, but I imagine the system will be ok for 2-3 years.

    While choise of videocard is good - it's a lot more expansive than GTX 260 216sp. Once GTX260 is overclocked it's about as fast as 275 so it's about money.

    Looking at the tests on the 260 vs. 275, the 275 beats the 260 by a fairly decent margin and is closer to the GTX 280 or 295 (I forget which). You actually have to use two 260s to get over and above a 275.
    This 275 that I bought is already overclocked. If I went with the 260's in SLI, again that would be more expensive than a single 275, plus there would be more power draw, and I don't play any games that would need SLI. I'm more partial to small screens actually. Large resolutions hurt my eyes.

    Ram - you don't realy need DDR3. Not for this line of processors with non-integrated memory controller - they won't benefit from it. Whatever they gain from increased bandwith is killed by latency (CL). I'd get DDR2 1066 if i were you it's a lot cheaper.

    It was cheaper than Crucial's memory for the same motherboard.
    Agreed on the rest of that though.

    HDD - small, i'd recommend Samsung F1 - fastest 1TB HDD around.

    I've been partial to WD drives really. I've only seen two fail in 10
    years. and they were replaced without a lot of hassle. Granted I would prefer more storage, but my budget is tight. In the future I may just stick two 2 TB or four 1 TB drives in there.

    I think buying this configuration right now is not very good idea. It's old. Core2 architecture outlived itself and is now will be replaced by i5 which is coming in august-september at about 200$ price. Also AMD Phenom II is giving intel hard times at the moment and surely beat E8400 while at similar cost so i'd suggest to wait.
    I wanted to replace my E8400 for something with 4 cores but decided to wait for i5/newer Phenom IIs myself.

    Most AMD based motherboards are Crossfire specific, and don't support SLI. Which while I'm not using SLI, I'd prefer it available. Every ATI product I've ever bought has been a pain in the butt with either support being dropped, or drivers. So Nvidia clearly wins in that category. I mentioned I was going for a Core i7, and the issues of quad above.

    Didn't know an i5 series was coming out, but as a result the C2D has dropped some, and I really can't wait even to the end of the month. I need to get my computers reestablished so I get back to fixing things around here, my mod project, etc etc etc.


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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by AlexT on 5/12/2009, 1:44 pm

    JGZinv wrote:I didn't plan on going to SLI, or at least not for quite some time. Originally I was leaning towards a MSI X58 Platinum SLI, or the Asus Wifi enabled mobo. The Msi lost the fight first when I decided to not use Core i7, and then when I found out it had ram and power issues. The Wifi model had better scores than the striker, but it was actually higher cost and didn't have accessories.
    X58 and all X serie is "SLI/Crossfire" chipsets. Just like those Nvidia ultra and SLI ones. You pay a lot more money to get 16x/16x PCI-E lines - that's what it all about and that's it. There's no point if you're not going for dual-GPU configuration. And yes - you don't need i7 - it's for serious tasks (i.e. work, graphics, render etc). Games won't benefit from 3 channel memory controller. What's important - unlike i7 - the i5 will have integrated PCI-E controller - should be very good for videocard performance.
    And why integrated Wi-Fi worth extra 100$? Buy 15$ wi-fi card which will always be better than integrated one Smile
    I beg to differ. Unless the game or program is designed for quad core, of which there are very few right now, at best you can see 15 to 30% increases, up to the 3rd core, and almost no gain with the 4th core in use. I used a 2.4 GHz C2D with half as much cache in the Sager laptop, and I was able to run Crysis or whatever just fine. But again, I wasn't planning on going with SLI to start with. Even with SLI, you're looking at about a 20% increase in overall frame rates, at the expense of a second card.
    I'd agree with you 1/2 year ago or 1 year...but not now and certainly not for the future. You probably haven't checked latest benchmarks. I monitor this situation and among titles that came to shelves this year 50-60% can use 4 cores. And among those you'll see in septemberit will be like 80% or more. If you interested - i can dig many tests for you to discuss it further.I was in doubt myself since my E8400 is nicely overclocked to 4.2Ghz, but i already feel like it's time is at end. Can live with it if you have it, but i wouldn't buy it atm. And SLI need 4 cores because while you can't multi-thread preparation of GPU specific Direct3D calculations with current DirectX10 - you can do it for 2 GPUs so all tests show great difference between 2 and 4 cores when using multi-gpu. And DX11 will kill 2 cores for sure.
    I originally wanted to go with the Core i7 920 Quad, but my amount of funds changed around and plus the i7 940 and extreme is being discontinued. Going with a regular Quad costs almost exactly the same as an i7. I'm not a big AMD fanboy, and the reviews clearly show Intel has the lead with processors, plus there's Win 7 virtualization support to think about.
    I7 940 is idiotic CPU for "strange" people. Paying 240$ more for...like 0,3 ghz? I'd overclock 920 to 3.5 with ease...

    Well, you'd be surprised - I7 is beaten by AMD Phenom II in many (or even most) of the games. And it's 500-600$ worth of hardware vs 300$ or less. Check Tom's hardware guide. I'm no fan either, but why the hell i got to pay 300$ for C2Q 9550 if it's beaten by 200$ AMD processor? Let alone i7 which cost 300 + 240 per mobo. I buy stuff with best speed/money ratio and don't care who made it Smile
    If I upgrade in the future, I'll probably just swap the mobo, cpu, and ram for whatever is good at the time. About a 400 upgrade, but I imagine the system will be ok for 2-3 years.
    I wouldn't be too sure. Total support for 4 cores and DX11 may kill it at the end of the year. i5 is coming in september and will cost starting at 200$ and it's 4 cores . It may sound harsh, but it's how i see it at the moment and that's what keeping me from buying C2Q. Though i must agree - if you realy need PC now - don't get C2Q, it's waste of money. It's like buying air conditioner at the end of the summer.You can then upgrade to C2Q when they'll be cheap once I5 is out.
    Looking at the tests on the 260 vs. 275, the 275 beats the 260 by a fairly decent margin and is closer to the GTX 280 or 295 (I
    forget which). You actually have to use two 260s to get over and above a 275.
    You kidding, right? I wouldn't call 10-15% that Smile http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-275-review-test/11
    Pretty close to me. Difference is explained by difference in clock. Set same clock and you get same result -3%. I'm not paying 100$ extra for 3% so i bought GTX260 about 2 months ago though money is not exatly most limiting factor in my life i must say... Just advise. Don't get me wrong - i like GTX275 because it has same emount of TDU as GTX280 and only bus width/memory is cut, but that doesn't affect anything (it's already too wide). but 100$ difference... if it's 50$ then yes - absolutely.
    This 275 that I bought is already overclocked. If I went with the 260's in SLI, again that would be more expensive than a single 275, plus there would be more power draw, and I don't play any games that would need SLI. I'm more partial to small screens actually. Large resolutions hurt my eyes.
    Oh, actualy two GTX260 in sli would beat ... from GTX275 with 70% difference in FPS.Smile
    Whatever factory OC they do is laughable. My GTX260 is working at 680MHz GPU (576 standard). Your GTX275 standard clock is 633 but is able to OC up to 730! So while i'm saying 100$ can't justify the difference, 60$ sure can Smile Anyway - it's good GPU. I just don't upgrade to it because i wait for upcoming 40nm GTX300 or ATI if it will beat it.

    I've been partial to WD drives really. I've only seen two fail in 10 years. and they were replaced without a lot of hassle. Granted I would prefer more storage, but my budget is tight. In the future I may just stick two 2 TB or four 1 TB drives in there.
    I'd only use multi-HDDs if i were going for raid. Usualy 2 are good choise - twice the HDD speed! 4 HDD...oh my, that's awfuly lot of noise. Smile

    Most AMD based motherboards are Crossfire specific, and don't support SLI. Which while I'm not using SLI, I'd prefer it available. Every ATI product I've ever bought has been a pain in the butt with either support being dropped, or drivers. So Nvidia clearly wins in that category. I mentioned I was going for a Core i7, and the issues of quad above.
    Yes, but same goes for intel. And i don't recommend dual-gpu configurations. I had it - didn't like it. There's micro-shutters, picture isn't as smooth as with single GPU at same FPS etc.

    Didn't know an i5 series was coming out, but as a result the C2D has dropped some, and I really can't wait even to the end of
    the month. I need to get my computers reestablished so I get back to fixing things around here, my mod project, etc etc etc.
    I see. Then the only thing i can realy complain about is your MOBO which is SLI specific and is useless to you unless you SLI in future. Rest is fine, especialy E8400 if you need computer right now is good choise. At least it's sure not as useless investment as C2Q vs coming soon i5.
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/12/2009, 2:24 pm

    Yeah I just ran the numbers and I may have screwed up on some of the rebates.
    But my minimum cashback/rebates should bring my total to 1072.54 (diff 84.95) and
    if I could get the other rebates to drop through, I could be looking at 1025.77 (131.72).

    I don't think I did too bad under the circumstances though.
    I'll get another $10 off since my neighbor is going to buy the thermal paste,
    since I'll also use it on his comp.

    How stressed out you comp is greatly depends on how you're using it.
    Most intensive things I'm doing right now is Photoshop, and trying to get into
    3DS max. Games, which COD5 will be the newest game I've got when it comes in.
    Otherwise I still play tachyon, and freespace 2, which ran maxed on sub-1000Mhz pentiums.

    Since you appear to be really steeped in this stuff, you have a suggestion for a
    15 inch or larger laptop, in the $200 to 300 range? I'm thinking fixer upper, or eBay.

    Also, do you know if Logitech mice and keyboards are keyed to their own USB receiver?
    I sit in an office where another guy uses a Logitech wireless mouse, and I'd like to
    get a wireless keyboard set for the new desktop. I don't know that they won't interfere with each other though. Return shipping is a pain in the butt.


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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by AlexT on 5/12/2009, 3:17 pm

    I had some experience with it - started my own computer shop right after i graduated. It even grown into small company before i decided to go seek adventures Laughing

    Yep, nothing too bad here - i'd say it's optimal configuration (except for mobo Razz) but hey - at least you got a lot of features and quality with it, btw - it's onboard sound is better than any .... you'd get with other mobo so...

    Don't worry about photoshop and games - there's realy not too much difference and if you'll overclock your E8400 to 3.8 (quite easy i'd say) it will beat many 4 cores thanks to clocks anyway. 4.0 beats most for sure. Photoshop CS4 uses your GPU for accelerating all stuff btw so it only cares about CPU when you do stuff like RAW>Jpeg conversion.
    The only thing you'll lack 4 cores among mentioned is 3D max...rendering is something where 4 or more cores rock, no exceptions. But mostly when rendering, not when working.

    As for notebook - today's market of notebooks is in chaos. Everyone is trying to sell stuff no matter what so there are fantastic offers everyday. When it comes to 400$ price niche i'd say any brand you know is good enough - it's all about price. Sometimes you can get 600$ worth asus for 400 - you buy it. Etc.
    It all depends on specific model line. There's a winner for each price level, but in the end - they're all of about the same configuration. All Core 2 duo these days and stuff and models with PVA/MVA etc panels are still more expensive than 400"...
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/12/2009, 3:46 pm

    OK, any ideas on that logitech stuff?


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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/12/2009, 6:07 pm



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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by AlexT on 5/12/2009, 7:05 pm

    I never use any wireless input devices because of lag so can't realy suggest anything about them... Though i myself use Logitech G5. Can't say it was worth 70$ but at that time i couldn't find better shape...
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/12/2009, 7:09 pm

    I'm still using a 15 year old trackman marble+ trackball mouse.
    Wish they made a wireless version of the same exact thing.

    I've got generic wired keyboards, but was really looking for something wireless, maybe
    with N rollover, and easy on the fingers.


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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by AlexT on 5/13/2009, 6:43 am

    Trackball? Well..while i think it was very nice and interesting tool for graphics before wacom took over with tablets - i think it's not exactly what you need for games...Though if you're used to it i can understand how you feel Smile
    Though to tell you the truth - right now i like to play games with my wacom Very Happy It may sound weird, but in reality - it's probably the most precise and fast method of control out there. And it's great for strategies so you never know...
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by Almael on 5/13/2009, 10:56 am

    I don't recommend wireless or IR controlers of any kind, because you will have driver and other control issues not to mention Vista issues especially with games.
    A trackball is indeed good for precise control short of a tablet, but it's not good for games, because controlling a finger costs more brainpower than the hand.
    It's already troubling controlling the character with the left hand for direction, running, melee, grenade etc.. if you add the trackball....well, don't throw things around.
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by JGZinv on 5/13/2009, 11:43 am

    I'll challenge both of ya to a game in Tachyon. 2 on 1 even.
    There's only two people that were known for playing with trackballs, me.. and Bloodstar.
    I'm the only one left. ^_^

    Mine looks like this -

    It's not the typical trackball design, and it's not been copied exactly since.


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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by Almael on 5/16/2009, 12:03 pm

    JGZinv wrote:I'll challenge both of ya to a game in Tachyon. 2 on 1 even.
    There's only two people that were known for playing with trackballs, me.. and Bloodstar.
    I'm the only one left. ^_^

    Mine looks like this -

    It's not the typical trackball design, and it's not been copied exactly since.
    Too bad I don't have it anmore.
    Mine looked like the same (3 years ago) just a bit more compact, though.
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    Re: What $1200 Gets You

    Post by AlexT on 5/16/2009, 7:00 pm

    I have kinda similar problem but with keyboard - i use only ergonomic keyboards. Right now i use Microsoft 4000

    Unfortunately while it's excelent keyboard -it's not gaming model and after year of use letters began to wear off the keys. Rest is as new - works great, there's that "leather" kind of stuff you lay hands on (very nice and soft) but it's not designed for heavy use like Logitech G15 for example. It's too bad that people continue to use uncomfortable old style keyboards so new models just don't appear Sad "i'm used to it" they say, phew.. If they'd be doing 500 symbols/minute they'd want something better Smile

    Also, i probably mentioned it somewhere... right now i'm having fun playing games with my wacom intuos3 SE tablet Smile It may seem creazy at first but i kinda receive best of both worlds - controlling direction with hand movement + some minor aiming adjustment with fingers. I noticed that my accuracy improved.

    As for mices - it's important to choose one individualy. Photos or specifications can't tell you much - it must be good for your hand so
    always try it a lot in store before you buy it. I never save on things like mouse/keyboard and before i got G5 i tried many Razer, Logitech, Microsoft SteelSeries etc. models but most didn't feel right in my hand. I'm not entirely happy with G5, but so far haven't found better one.

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