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Thread: CPU or Graphics card

  1. #1
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    • colinbell's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5B i965
      • CPU:
      • C2D E6600 (Stock)
      • Memory:
      • Corsair TwinX XMS2 DDR2 PC5400 (2 x 1GB)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Radeon X1950GT 256mb
      • PSU:
      • Atrix 500W

    CPU or Graphics card

    It has been a LONG time since I have bought a complete new system for assembly, and now with technology seemingly changing at a weekly rate, I can't keep up!

    Whilst I have attempted to scour the board for information I find myself in at the deep end. Essentially I’m looking to build a new system whilst scrounging as little as possible from my old one, so monitor, peripherals, etc are no problem, as is a (PSU-less) case.

    The main question is what should my focus be on, CPU, or graphics card?

    The system will be used for a combination of light to medium 3D modelling (3DS Max), FEA work, etc, and game playing (mainly MMOs). I don't really have an interest in over-clocking, but good reliability is a must.

    Budget is fairly tight, at say £300-£500, (post-grad students aren't known for their wealth...)

    To give an indication of usage, I currently have a rather antique AMD Athlon XP 2000, with 1GB RAM and an ATI Radeon 9200SE To be honest it gets me by for most things, but is starting to show its age now.


    It may sound like mission-impossible but I would greatly appreciate any advice people could offer, including whether it’s worth waiting for the upcoming price cuts.

    Thanks in advance
    Colin

  2. #2
    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    For rendering in Max (I do the same stuff buddy ) its CPU bound. You want the fastest cpu you can get (or the biggest clocked one )
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

  3. #3
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    IMO, CPU is more important than Graphics card in pretty much all areas. and if you inly want to play MMO's then VGA is'nt all that. get a mid range card and upgrade your monitor or Internet connection?? if applicable

  4. #4
    No-one's Fanboi Thorsson's Avatar
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    • Thorsson's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • i5 3570k
      • Memory:
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      • Storage:
      • 256M4 SSD; 2Tb 7200RPM Barracuda; 2Tb Linkstation
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxxyBrown View Post
    IMO, CPU is more important than Graphics card in pretty much all areas. and if you inly want to play MMO's then VGA is'nt all that. get a mid range card and upgrade your monitor or Internet connection?? if applicable
    I guess you don't play MMOs. Graphically they can be as demanding as any game. OTOH any reasonably modern card is going to seem like heaven after using a 9200SE.

    As far as the CPU goes, the question is whether your version of 3DS Max makes use of multiple cores. If so it's worth waiting until the Q6600 has its price halved (unofficial but widely reported) on July 22. Estimated price after the cut is around £175.

    Don't forget RAM. I feel sure that you should be looking at 2Gb minimum of PC6400 DDR2. 2Gb is around £70 for decent branded memory.

    For video I would suggest a 512Mb RX1950Pro. I found one at Scan the other day, in another thread, for less than £120. You won't get anything seriously better for less than double that, which is too big a chunk of your budget.

    That leaves you enough money for a decent motherboard. Best for future-proofing is one based on the new P35 (Bearlake) chipset. If you wait for the CPU cut, the market will have settled down on these motherboards and you might be able to stretch to 4Gb RAM and stay within £500.

    Except I forgot you need a PSU. So 2Gb it is then.
    Last edited by Thorsson; 20-06-2007 at 09:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Yeah dude! NightshadowUK's Avatar
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    • NightshadowUK's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI Z87M GAMING
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 4670K [4GHz w/ Macho Rev.B]
      • Memory:
      • 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LP
      • Storage:
      • 240GB Crucial M500 & 1TB HGST 7K1000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 4GB Sapphire 290X Vapor-X
      • PSU:
      • 620W Corsair HX
      • Case:
      • Silverstone TJ08B-E [AP181 & NF-S12B]
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 Home Premium [64bit]
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2412M
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 200Mb
    - Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 ~ £140.60
    - Asus P5B i965 ~ £65.67
    - 2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2 PC2-6400 x 2 ~ £133.10
    - 256MB Sapphire Radeon X1950GT ~ £86.00
    - 520W Corsair HX ~ £68.02

    Total ~ £493.39

  6. #6
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    • staffsMike's system
      • Motherboard:
      • evga 680i
      • CPU:
      • e6600
      • Memory:
      • geil ultra pc6400
      • Storage:
      • WD 320gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • leadtek 8800 GTS 640mb
      • PSU:
      • ocz gameXstream 700w
      • Case:
      • akasa eclipse
      • Monitor(s):
      • dell 2007wfp and Lg L194WT
      • Internet:
      • pipex homecall
    You might do well to wait for the proposed price cuts on july 22nd ..that way you could pick up a quad core (q6600) for around £180. But obviously with that something else will have to take a hit.

    The spec Nightshadow has given is pretty good to be honest..and if you feel like overclocking..as that chip will get to 3GHz so easily.. you could spend the £10 saved on the e-plus version of the p5b which is a fantastic board for light overclocking.

  7. #7
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    • colinbell's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5B i965
      • CPU:
      • C2D E6600 (Stock)
      • Memory:
      • Corsair TwinX XMS2 DDR2 PC5400 (2 x 1GB)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Radeon X1950GT 256mb
      • PSU:
      • Atrix 500W
    Thanks for the speedy replies. I'm tempted to wait for the price cuts for the quad core, but TBH my brother picked one up recently (Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core QX6700) and it is absolutely wasted on day to day use (more money then sense - but probably made Scan very happy with a £2000 total purchase...) Newer versions of 3DS Max can make the most of the 4-cores when rendering, but since I wouldn't be doing any serious rendering on a daily basis, it seems like over-kill.

    Having taken into account what has been said here, and on other similar posts (special thanks go to NightShadow for making finding the exact products easier ), I have come up with the following: (apologies for no URLs, under the 5 post minimum)

    • CPU:
      Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, Socket 775, 2.4 GHz [£140.99]
    • MoBo:
      Asus P5B i965, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID [£65.67]
    • PSU:
      430w Seasonic S12II-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0 *New v2 [£46.99]
    • HDD:
      160GB Samsung HD160HJ SpinPoint T166, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ [£33.95]
    • DVD:
      Optiarc (Sony/NEC) AD-7170S-0B 18x DVD±R, 8x DVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, DVD-RAM x12, SATA, Black, OEM [£20.20]
    • RAM:
      2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-12 [£66.55]
    • Graphics:
      256MB XFX 7600GT PCI-E (x16), Mem 1450MHz, GPU 570MHz, 12Pipes, Dual Link DVI/HDTV [£66.96]


    Total: £441 inc. VAT.

    [Note, I decided on purchasing a SATA HDD and DVD to keep old computer complete to give to the other half, whilst the existing monitor is a 19" (1280x1024)]

    This still feels like its far more powerful than I really need...

    Would it be better to go for an AMD? Since I don't see myself over-clocking at all (as stated reliability is more important than performance).

    Are there any areas in which money could be saved if any particular component stands out as being over-powered in comparison to the system as a whole? Or visa-versa if there is a particular weak link?
    Last edited by colinbell; 20-06-2007 at 05:58 PM. Reason: Prices added, as advised by Andy (all inc. VAT) - All from Scan

  8. #8
    Will work for beer... nichomach's Avatar
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    • nichomach's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 95W
      • Memory:
      • 16GB DR3
      • Storage:
      • 1x250GB Maxtor SATAII, 1x 400GB Hitachi SATAII
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Zotac GTX 1060 3GB
      • PSU:
      • Coolermaster 500W
      • Case:
      • Coolermaster Elite 430
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 20" TFT
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media Cable
    I'm as much an AMD fanboi as anyone (both my home and work rigs run on Opterons at the moment), but in just about every area, Core2Duo performs not just slightly better but a lot better. That's a good spec; stick to it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Andy3536's Avatar
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    • Andy3536's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte GA-880GMA
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 95w @3.8
      • Memory:
      • 4GB Corsair XMS3 1600MHz
      • Storage:
      • 1T WD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ATI 4870
      • PSU:
      • Corsair 750
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      • Antec P-182
    Quote Originally Posted by colinbell View Post
    Thanks for the speedy replies. I'm tempted to wait for the price cuts for the quad core, but TBH my brother picked one up recently (Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core QX6700) and it is absolutely wasted on day to day use (more money then sense - but probably made Scan very happy with a £2000 total purchase...) Newer versions of 3DS Max can make the most of the 4-cores when rendering, but since I wouldn't be doing any serious rendering on a daily basis, it seems like over-kill.

    Having taken into account what has been said here, and on other similar posts (special thanks go to NightShadow for making finding the exact products easier ), I have come up with the following: (apologies for no URLs, under the 5 post minimum)

    • CPU:
      Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, Socket 775, 2.4 GHz
    • MoBo:
      Asus P5B i965, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID
    • PSU:
      430w Seasonic S12II-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0 *New v2
    • HDD:
      160GB Samsung HD160HJ SpinPoint T166, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ
    • DVD:
      Optiarc (Sony/NEC) AD-7170S-0B 18x DVD±R, 8x DVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, DVD-RAM x12, SATA, Black, OEM
    • RAM:
      2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-12
    • Graphics:
      256MB XFX 7600GT PCI-E (x16), Mem 1450MHz, GPU 570MHz, 12Pipes, Dual Link DVI/HDTV


    Total: £441 inc. VAT.

    [Note, I decided on purchasing a SATA HDD and DVD to keep old computer complete to give to the other half, whilst the existing monitor is a 19" (1280x1024)]

    This still feels like its far more powerful than I really need...

    Would it be better to go for an AMD? Since I don't see myself over-clocking at all (as stated reliability is more important than performance).

    Are there any areas in which money could be saved if any particular component stands out as being over-powered in comparison to the system as a whole? Or visa-versa if there is a particular weak link?
    If you want to save money then you need to list the prices you have, for example the ram you've listed, there are many by corsair with a massive price difference. You can get 2 x 1gig of ram from £64 to £250 and beyond. The only thing you would need to add is an operating system. But what you have looks like a good spec.

  10. #10
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    • staffsMike's system
      • Motherboard:
      • evga 680i
      • CPU:
      • e6600
      • Memory:
      • geil ultra pc6400
      • Storage:
      • WD 320gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • leadtek 8800 GTS 640mb
      • PSU:
      • ocz gameXstream 700w
      • Case:
      • akasa eclipse
      • Monitor(s):
      • dell 2007wfp and Lg L194WT
      • Internet:
      • pipex homecall
    Thats overclocking RAM really (high latencies though)..are you planning on overclocking? If you do want pc6400 there are better sets around for a cheaper and with tighter timings (cas4 rather than cas5).

    If you're not going to overclock then pc5400 ram would be more than enough leaving room for 1333mhz cpu upgrades as well.

  11. #11
    Yeah dude! NightshadowUK's Avatar
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    • NightshadowUK's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI Z87M GAMING
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 4670K [4GHz w/ Macho Rev.B]
      • Memory:
      • 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LP
      • Storage:
      • 240GB Crucial M500 & 1TB HGST 7K1000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 4GB Sapphire 290X Vapor-X
      • PSU:
      • 620W Corsair HX
      • Case:
      • Silverstone TJ08B-E [AP181 & NF-S12B]
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 Home Premium [64bit]
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2412M
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 200Mb
    Mike's right, if you're not overclocking save £20 and go with:

    - 2GB (2X1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2 PC5400 ~ £46.46

    Then use that £20 and swap the 7600GT for a:

    - 256MB Sapphire Radeon X1950GT ~ £86.00

    The difference at 1280x1024 is shown here --> TH VGA Chart

    Quote Originally Posted by colinbell View Post
    (special thanks go to NightShadow for making finding the exact products easier )
    You're very welcome.
    Last edited by NightshadowUK; 20-06-2007 at 06:46 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something
    I'm in a simmular boat to you Colin, I cannot really fault the spec you've given bar Nightshadow's changes.

    I'd say your best Nvidia option would be a 7900GS, but at a £90 starting price as much as I like Nvidia, for that price the x1950GT is very nice and a far better option.

    I'd also add that you might want to consider the E4400 for £88.11 if you need to shave a bit more off the price. (saveing £50)

    I don't know what case or it's cooling state is, so you might want to pick up a case fan.
    Older case fans are often rather noisy, I know that when I recently got a Zalman quiet fan to replace my old 80mm case fan, the Zalman is both quieter and chucks out more air.
    Maybe a heat sink & fan just for lower noise.

    The one thing that I still morn is the loss of 3dlabs/wildcat they produced the best cards for rendering but have been killed off by Nvidia & ATi before I could ever afford one

  13. #13
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    • colinbell's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5B i965
      • CPU:
      • C2D E6600 (Stock)
      • Memory:
      • Corsair TwinX XMS2 DDR2 PC5400 (2 x 1GB)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Radeon X1950GT 256mb
      • PSU:
      • Atrix 500W
    Fair comment on the CPU Pob, might consider it. I'm actually getting the order together right now. The case I have has 80mm case fans at the front, which light up blue (that makes me cool right? ), and two additional 80mm fans at the back. No side or top fans though. Hopefully that should be alright with the stock CPU cooler, at stock speeds. They are rather noisy, but I actually rather like the noise, I find it strangely comforting...

    I have also made the changes recommended by NightShadow, although for an extra £8 I'm tempted by the x1950Pro rather than the GT, but not sure how much difference that would make. Any ideas?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something
    My only worry on the x1950Pro seems to be quite a few people reporting problems / failiers, seems like they are cooking them selves although that just might be the 512mb version.

    The Asus x1950Pro at £99.16 looks pritty good and has a better heatsin & fan

    EDIT2: Also not sure what monitor you have, does it have DVI? as these cards are dvi only connectors, the Asus one does come with a dvi to d-sub dongle, not sure about the Sapphire
    Last edited by Pob255; 20-06-2007 at 11:25 PM. Reason: added card

  15. #15
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    • colinbell's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5B i965
      • CPU:
      • C2D E6600 (Stock)
      • Memory:
      • Corsair TwinX XMS2 DDR2 PC5400 (2 x 1GB)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Radeon X1950GT 256mb
      • PSU:
      • Atrix 500W

    Why is it never simple???

    Whilst assembling the above order I thought i'd check out the price and opinion of Vista. This has been covered extensively in other posts, so I won't start a new flame war here. Bottom line is i'll stick to XP for now, simply for backwards compatibilty and reliaibilty. However when reading these other posts I found out that I couldn't simply use my old OEM copy of XP, hence requiring me to fork out another £60+

    Still can't decide if its worth going pro/x64, but its really starting to add up now. (£500+)

  16. #16
    I need a coffee jamena's Avatar
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    you could drop back to the 7600GT and you could downsize the cpu. I'd have thought either the E2xxx series or the e4xxx series might do just fine. Plus the cheaper parts Nightshadow recommended in his last post. a G33 board with future support for quad-core penryn might be better than the 965 board?

    On the other hand you're not into overclocking so AM2 parts (esp motherboards) would make the rig a decent chunk cheaper. They seem to match intel more or less at the same price points as far as cpus go at stock but the motherboards can be a lot cheaper.

    You could also opt to buy a faster cpu now and cope with onboard graphics until you can afford to upgrade the gfx?
    Last edited by jamena; 21-06-2007 at 08:51 AM.

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