Computer building help (renamed)

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Computer building help (renamed)

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:39 am

Current part selection:

CPU - i5-2500k
Video Card - HIS Radeon HD 6950
MoBo - P67 or Z68
Memory - 2x4GB Kingston
Hard Drive - Western Digital 1TB
SSD - 120GB Agility 3
PSU - PC Power and Cooling Silencer 760W
CD/DVD - 24x
Sound Card - Possibly N/A
NIC - Possibly N/A
OS - Windows 7
Case - Probably getting one from a friend, but don't remember which it as at the moment

The plan is to use my computer primarily for WoW/Rift/SC2/whatever new game catches my interest. I also want it to last a decent amount of time (3-5 years would be good for me considering my typical computer replacement rate...) Money isn't a huge concern, but I don't want to waste an extra $200 on something that isn't worth it.

I guess I'm just looking for what will give me the most bang for my buck that won't need to be replaced in a short amount of time.
Last edited by Skye1013 on Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:44 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Talaii » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:28 am

The 6970 is much, much faster. Whether it's worth it depends a lot on the rest of your computer. If you have a small, low-res screen; then the extra horsepower of the better card will mostly go unused. On the other hand: At 1920x1080, the 5770 offers barely-playable framerates in a lot of current games: On a typical screen you'll have to cut image quality to get the game to run. That's the games available today, in 3-5 years, with more demanding games, you'll need to cut it back even further to get things running smoothly.

Personally, I would get the better card, and hold onto it for a while. Having said that: Unless you have a high-res monitor (one of the 27-30inch 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 monitors, or plan on using an eyefinity setup) the high-end cards are fairly pointless. For running games at 1920x1080 or thereabouts, I would go for the midrange of the current generation, not the midrange of the previous. The 6850 and 6870 are $30-50 more than that 5770, and give quite nice performance bumps over it. The 6XXX series also scales much better with multiple cards, if you wanted to add an extra one later. The Green Team options (at least from the Amazon prices) seem a little disappointing in that range: The 460 1G used to be a good deal, but the 6850 is now better value. The 560 and 560Ti are decent enough cards, but not priced as aggressively as the ATi equivalents (560 is a touch slower than a 6850, the 560Ti is a bit faster than the 6870). The 570 is a good card, but it's back up into the same price range as the 6970.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:28 am

Sorry, guess I should have mentioned that I'm not trying to limit myself to either/or of those two cards, but I appreciate the info. I currently have a Hannspree HF229H monitor, so I'm not sure how that would factor into things. It has served me well so far, but that doesn't mean I won't pick up a new one after building my new desktop.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Talaii » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:14 pm

Looks like that's a 1680x1050 monitor (from a quick google). You could probably get away with a 5770 with that res; as long as you didn't care too much about maxing out all the image quality settings. However, I think the 6850 or 6870 would be a better fit; certainly in a couple of years they should cope better with the newer games. And don't waste your money on a top-end video card with that monitor; you'd be much better off with a good 1080p monitor and a midrange video card than a 1680x1050 monitor and a 6970.

If you wanted to get a new monitor, I'd personally recommend a Dell U2211 or U2311, although take that with a grain of salt - for some reason, the Dell monitors are a lot cheaper here in Australia than in the US, when most computer components are the other way around. For example, I got my U2711 for AUD$680, when it's $1100 on the Dell US site.

I actually have a 6970 myself; but my situation is a bit different. I'm trying to run a 2560x1440 monitor (the aforementioned U2711), and the mid-range cards struggle with that many pixels. But unless you're willing to invest in your screens too, it's not worth the money.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:46 am

Ok, so I was looking at some options available on base and they have the 5770 for $160, and I believe it was either the 6850 or 6870 for $222. Any thoughts on those, since the price difference isn't that far off?
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Talaii » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:08 pm

I'll let the numbers speak for themselves. Similar power consumption, much better performance (and that's the 6850, the 6870 is even better).
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby TDav23 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:17 pm

This may be of no interest to you any longer, but the post caught my attention and you may still yet care. The radeon 6950 2GB is actually physically identical to its "big brother" the 6970 2GB, the difference being some of the shaders being disabled. You can actually flash the bios of the 6950 to that of the 6970 and basically turn it into the latter. Doesn't harm the card, and should anything go wrong, there is a switch on the card itself for manipulating the bios from its original.
This just in case you are still in the market for a card and were looking for a more high-end card (and will save you seventy or more bucks off of the 6970).
Not sure if the same applies to the 1GB versions of the cards however.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:03 am

What would be the difference in getting the 1GB vs the 2GB version? Slightly faster speeds? FPS? Nothing noticeable?
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Talaii » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:38 am

Skye1013 wrote:What would be the difference in getting the 1GB vs the 2GB version? Slightly faster speeds? FPS? Nothing noticeable?


If you are trying to unlock, you need a reference design 2GB model. Some People have also reported that newer cards lack the second BIOS, so if things don't work you could be in trouble.

As for memory vs performance, more than 1GB helps at really high resolutions (more than 1080p), or wth high resolution textures. It won't make any performance difference unless your game is using more than 1GB, at which point performance will degrade. Most games now are designed for around 1GB of video memory, so at 1080p it won't make much difference.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:04 am

Yeah, I don't think I'll be trying to flash the bios any time soon. Too new to this to feel like risking something like that :D. Thanks everyone for your help, I think I'll probably end up grabbing the 6850 or 6950. Guess the next step is deciding on a processor, which will narrow down my MoBo choices (right?)

Any helpful tips on selecting a processor?
"me no gay, me friends gay, me no like you call me gay, you dumb dumb" -bldavis
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Talaii » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:13 am

Skye1013 wrote:Yeah, I don't think I'll be trying to flash the bios any time soon. Too new to this to feel like risking something like that :D. Thanks everyone for your help, I think I'll probably end up grabbing the 6850 or 6950. Guess the next step is deciding on a processor, which will narrow down my MoBo choices (right?)

Any helpful tips on selecting a processor?


Sandy bridge! Unless you're waiting for bulldozer, they are basically the best around, and aren't too expensive. Best bang for the buck is an i5-2500k + random P67 or Z68 board. They are quite power-efficient, and fairly cheap ($200 for the CPU, $100-$150 for a board, depending on features), and they overclock really well. The 2600k is technically better, but it's overpriced unless you're running stuff that takes advantage of hyperthreading (ie: not games). It's only a little faster, and costs a lot more.
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:07 am

Like this?

Also... back to the video card for a minute...

What's the difference between these...other than the brand and difference in price (on some)?

No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4

I'm planning to eventually get a dual monitor setup (which all four of those appear to support), but does it matter if it has the "blue" ports or the "white" ports (other than what my monitors use?)
"me no gay, me friends gay, me no like you call me gay, you dumb dumb" -bldavis
"Here are the values that I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you wanna be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for." -Ellen Degeneres
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Re: Radeon HD 5770 vs Radeon HD 6970

Postby Talaii » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:52 am

That's the CPU, yes.

As far as the video cards go:
Stock card is 800/1250MHz (core/memory). Blower cooler (designed to vent out the back of the case). Single link + dual-link DVI, HDMI, two mini-displayports. The custom coolers are generally a little better if you're using a single card, but they are designed to vent heat "upwards" (away from the card, inside the case) rather than out the rear of the card, so they may require more from your case ventilation, and tend to cope less well with Crossfire (where you have two cards next to each other).
MSI is 850/1300MHz (core/memory), custom cooler. Stock outputs.
HIS is 840/1280MHz (core/memory), custom cooler. Stock outputs.
Sapphire is stock speeds and outputs, with a custom cooler.
Visiontek looks like a completely stock card.

So the MSI and HIS are slightly faster than the others out of the box (you can overclock any of them yourself, just be aware that it voids your warranty. Doesn't mean they'll notice if you try and RMA it anyway, however). If you're only using one card, one of the custom coolers may be better than the stock on the visiontek model, but it depends on case airflow. If you want to get an idea of performance, you'll need to find a review that used that specific model of card, which can be difficult.

Not sure about warranty and service differences, I don't have any experience with dealing with the American divisions of the companies.
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Re: Computer building help (renamed)

Postby Skye1013 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:21 am

Ok, so with them being the same price, the HIS would be the "better" buy over the VisionTek?

Will the motherboard affect anything in regards to gameplay/speed/etc., or am I good to go just picking up the cheapest I can find?

Edit: changed the name of the thread since it's not just dealing with those two cards anymore :). Also edited the first post to show what my current status is on part selections, in case anyone is interested/has additional insight.
"me no gay, me friends gay, me no like you call me gay, you dumb dumb" -bldavis
"Here are the values that I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you wanna be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for." -Ellen Degeneres
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Re: Computer building help (renamed)

Postby Talaii » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:29 am

Skye1013 wrote:Ok, so with them being the same price, the HIS would be the "better" buy over the VisionTek?

Will the motherboard affect anything in regards to gameplay/speed/etc., or am I good to go just picking up the cheapest I can find?

Edit: changed the name of the thread since it's not just dealing with those two cards anymore :). Also edited the first post to show what my current status is on part selections, in case anyone is interested/has additional insight.


Yes, probably, for the video cards. If you wanted to manually overclock, I'm not sure which would be better (it would depend on which cooler is better), but if you won't do that, go for the one with the faster out-of-the-box clocks.

Motherboard: The expensive motherboards tend to have better power circuitry (for better overclocking). I'd go with a P67 or Z68 chipset (rather than H61 or H67) since it will let you overclock. Z68 lets you use the on-chip graphics on the CPU, but since you're buying a discrete graphics card, that's a non-issue. If you want to be able to add another graphics card in crossfire later, get a board that supports it - meaning two PCIe x16 slots. And that's two slots wired to the CPU (generally advertised as "either x16 or x8/x8", some motherboards have a "x16 slot, running at x4" which means the second slot is wired to the southbridge, and they won't handle crossfire well). But yeah, unless you're trying for a massive overclock (which I doubt), or you want to run 3- or 4-card crossfire, then don't worry about getting a high-end/expensive motherboard. Just look for the features you want (USB3/bluetooth/etc), and try and get a brand you trust. Also note: That's a 2500k CPU, not a 2500. The k at the end means you can overclock it, basically (they also have slightly better built-in graphics, and cost a few dollars more).

As far as why I recommend overclocking: The Sandy Bridge chips are basically designed for it. It's easy and quick to bump most of the chips to at least around 4GHz, and they run cool enough that you generally won't have any cooling issues. Just get some sort of third-party heatsink (the one amazon threw up as "usually bought with this CPU..." is $28), raise the multiplier a bit, and then run something fairly intensive for a while to make sure it doesn't crash.

Hard disk: First off, that drive you have linked (the Hitachi 3TB) is a coolspin drive (equivalent to the WD green drives, or the Samsung EcoGreens or the Seagate Barracuda greens) - it's a slower drive, more aimed at lower power consumption than better performance. If you're going to have much in the way of apps and other frequently-accessed content on it, it might be worth getting a 7200rpm drive instead, they are faster. Second, it's not price-efficient. For the price of the 3TB drive ($153), you could almost get a pair of the 2TB drives (2x$79.99). Much better to go with the 2TB drives, and either get a pair of them (if you'll need that much space), or spend some of the money you save on getting a 7200rpm drive instead. As far as specific brands, I hear good things about the Samsung drives, but as far as I'm aware they are all fairly similar.

SSD: An SSD will give a huge increase in general system responsiveness, etc. Get one if you can. If you want a cheap one, the Agility 3s look nice, and the 60G version is only $116. If you're spending a bit more, I'd recommend the 120G Vertex 3 (same company, same controller chip, somewhat better flash memory). Whichever you get, make sure you connect it to the Sata 6.0Gbp/s on your motherboard (both the P67 and Z68 chipsets come with two 6.0Gbp/s ports and four 3.0Gbp/s, so most motherboards will have at least a couple of each wired up).

DVD drive doesn't really matter. If you want to watch blurays, get a bluray drive, otherwise pick out something cheap. With steam/other digital distribution stuff more common now, you could probably even go without if you wanted (there are instructions for making a bootable thumb drive to install windows available from a quick google).

Networking: If you want a wireless card, I have heard good things about the TP-link (cheaper) and Edimax (better, but more expensive) adapters. Personally, I have a USB one I can use when necessary, and otherwise just use wired - wired is faster and more stable than wireless, in my experience. The quality of wireless does depend a lot on how many networks there are nearby, along with a bunch of other factors. Anyway, as far as which type to go: If you have a wireless G or 2.4GHz 802.11n AP, the 2.4GHz-only adapters are cheaper. If you have a dual-band router (or have problems with 2.4GHz congestion near where you live) a dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) adapter/access point might be a better investment. But in the end, wired will always be better, if you can manage it (and your motherboard will have built-in gigabit, so it'll be cheaper, too).

Sound card: If you've got a receiver with HDMI in/out, you could run your screen through that (computer -> receiver -> screen) and use HDMI sound. If so, don't bother with a sound card. If not, I'd wait and see how good the motherboard's built-in sound is - generally it's alright, and unless you've got a good sound setup or amazing headphones, you won't notice a difference. I hear good things about the Asus Xonar cards, but again: Don't spend the money unless you're unsatisfied with what you get for free.

Case and PSU: Case is mostly a matter of personal preference. Make sure it's big enough to fit an 11" graphics card (the 6950s are 10.5" or so). Other than that, it's mostly up to you, though better ventilation will allow your video card/CPU fans to do less work, meaning things should be a bit quieter. Personally, I love the Fractal Design cases - I dislike the excessive LED lighting/coloured bling on most of the "enthusiast/gamer" cases. Power supply comes down to brand. You'll want at least 500W or so (650-700W minimum if you want to Crossfire later), and just get something from a reputable brand. I'm a big fan of Antec - I've had good experiences with their support, and I've built a lot of computers with their power supplies and rarely had problems. I hear good things about the Corsair AX series, but they are aimed more at the high-end market (800W+). Anyway, I'm actually using an Antec Sonata III right now (with a Radeon 6970, it only JUST fits in). The 500W power supply included runs everything fine, but with the huge graphics card blocking off the middle of the case, the ventilation is pretty poor. I'll probably be buying a Fractal Design tower at some point, in the hope of making things quieter (the GPU fan kicks up to 100% in games, and it's noisy).

RAM: Corsair, G.Skill or Kingston. A kit with two 4GB sticks (8GB total). You probably don't need quite that much now, but RAM is really cheap, so it's a fairly good idea to future-proof. Don't worry too much about speed - if it's only a few dollars more, maybe get DDR3-1600 rather than DDR-1333, but don't fork out for the really fast stuff, and don't waste money getting memory with better timings. The difference (if any) is slight.

Wow, that's a big wall of text. Hope it's helpful, rather than confusing.
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