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post #1 of 32 Old 02-13-2013, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to upgrade my HTPC to be used for gaming as well. I have had a xbox 360 since it launched and I am really starting to look into pc gaming. It will be used with my Mitsubishi HC4000 projector outputting 1080p. I have never used a PC to game before so I guess what I am wondering is how will my setup I am looking to build how it will stack up and what settings it should work with.

Parts I will be using from my current HTPC will be
Case: NZXT Source 220
SSD: 120gb Crucial M4 boot drive
Hard Drives: Three 3tb Hard Drives
CPU Cooler - NZXT Respire T40
Samsung Blu-Ray Drive


New Parts
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128521)
CPU: AMD FX-8320 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113285)
Ram: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB DDR3 1866 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231460)
Power Supply: Antec NEO ECO 620C (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371031)
Video Card: HIS IceQ H787Q2G2M Radeon HD 7870 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161404)

Any feedback is appreciated Thanks
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-13-2013, 10:08 PM
 
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I have an FX-8350 and love it. I chose it though as it gave me a smooth upgrade path from my Phenom II X4 without having to swap out RAM, motherboard and CPU all at the same time. If you are buying all three parts at once, then go Intel. The i5 3570 is a great value at $200-215. If you insist on sticking with the FX-83xx, then spend the extra $20 and get the FX-8350. Shifting to Intel will also cost you another $20 in motherboard price as well.

RAM: The difference between DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1866 in day to day use is something you will never notice. Drop back down to 1600, then pick up a 2x8GB set instead. Having that extra 8GB for Windows to precache with will improve your experience. Having data in ram before you even know you wanted to load up a new program is far faster than waiting for stuff to load in from an SSD, or dog-slow HDDs.

Video: AMD video drivers are great if you want to plug in to a single desktop monitor. Once you want to do anything remotely fancy like plug in to a TV? They crap their pants real quick. I'm running a Radeon 6870 for another couple of days while I wait for my GTX660 to arrive. That 6870 is a great piece of hardware tied to terrible software. Game support is slow to arrive. It handles 3x monitor setups poorly. It does a terrible job at stereoscopy. It saves underscan settings per resolution, defaulting to 5% underscan. This means that every time you want to use a mildly different resolution on your HTPC, you then have to go in and fiddle with underscan settings again. Your TV doesn't overscan at all? AMD doesn't care. It's going to render everything with a thick black border for you anyway. Oh, and no adaptive vsync.

Seriously, if you want to spend $230, then get a GTX660. Even if the hardware is ever so slightly slower, the driver support more than makes up for it. As an added bonus, adaptive vsync will let you run a lower frame rate than that 7870 while maintaining a more fluid feeling experience. This means you can run prettier settings without sacrificing fluidity.

PSU: You aren't driving anything terribly hungry. Spend the same amount, drop down to a 550w Antec unit, and get the modular version instead. Less cables to deal with will mean more in the long run than 70w that you aren't using.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371016
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 04:20 AM
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http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/548?vs=660

With AMD on a HTPC you will have to set overscan... Whoopty-doo!

For $20 more you can get a 7870xt or a 660ti. Both are easily worth the upgrade.

The 6300 is normally as good for gaming as the 8320. If you plan on say encoding video then the 8320 or 8350 are easily better. Even the cheapest i5 will best everything AMD has for gaming though.

Edit: This will probably be followed by an extremely long-winded and pointless response by DLJ as to why AMD is horrible.
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 11:33 AM
 
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Jesus Christ dude, get over yourself.
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

I have an FX-8350 and love it. I chose it though as it gave me a smooth upgrade path from my Phenom II X4 without having to swap out RAM, motherboard and CPU all at the same time. If you are buying all three parts at once, then go Intel. The i5 3570 is a great value at $200-215. If you insist on sticking with the FX-83xx, then spend the extra $20 and get the FX-8350. Shifting to Intel will also cost you another $20 in motherboard price as well.

RAM: The difference between DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1866 in day to day use is something you will never notice. Drop back down to 1600, then pick up a 2x8GB set instead. Having that extra 8GB for Windows to precache with will improve your experience. Having data in ram before you even know you wanted to load up a new program is far faster than waiting for stuff to load in from an SSD, or dog-slow HDDs.

Video: AMD video drivers are great if you want to plug in to a single desktop monitor. Once you want to do anything remotely fancy like plug in to a TV? They crap their pants real quick. I'm running a Radeon 6870 for another couple of days while I wait for my GTX660 to arrive. That 6870 is a great piece of hardware tied to terrible software. Game support is slow to arrive. It handles 3x monitor setups poorly. It does a terrible job at stereoscopy. It saves underscan settings per resolution, defaulting to 5% underscan. This means that every time you want to use a mildly different resolution on your HTPC, you then have to go in and fiddle with underscan settings again. Your TV doesn't overscan at all? AMD doesn't care. It's going to render everything with a thick black border for you anyway. Oh, and no adaptive vsync.

Seriously, if you want to spend $230, then get a GTX660. Even if the hardware is ever so slightly slower, the driver support more than makes up for it. As an added bonus, adaptive vsync will let you run a lower frame rate than that 7870 while maintaining a more fluid feeling experience. This means you can run prettier settings without sacrificing fluidity.

PSU: You aren't driving anything terribly hungry. Spend the same amount, drop down to a 550w Antec unit, and get the modular version instead. Less cables to deal with will mean more in the long run than 70w that you aren't using.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371016

Tell that to my 6870 which is currently driving 4 monitors. Handles them just fine. (INB4 "the top monitor is off-center" I know, the mount had to be put in a wall stud and I just really don't care to move my desk. Deal with it.)


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post #6 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyb22 View Post

I am looking to upgrade my HTPC to be used for gaming as well. I have had a xbox 360 since it launched and I am really starting to look into pc gaming. It will be used with my Mitsubishi HC4000 projector outputting 1080p. I have never used a PC to game before so I guess what I am wondering is how will my setup I am looking to build how it will stack up and what settings it should work with.

Parts I will be using from my current HTPC will be
Case: NZXT Source 220
SSD: 120gb Crucial M4 boot drive
Hard Drives: Three 3tb Hard Drives
CPU Cooler - NZXT Respire T40
Samsung Blu-Ray Drive


New Parts
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128521)
CPU: AMD FX-8320 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113285)
Ram: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB DDR3 1866 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231460)
Power Supply: Antec NEO ECO 620C (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371031)
Video Card: HIS IceQ H787Q2G2M Radeon HD 7870 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161404)

Any feedback is appreciated Thanks
Looks good.

Might be overkill on the PSU, but you may end up wanting the extra power down the line. RAM is dirt cheap these days, so you could always add more. But for most uses, you'd never need/notice anything more than 8GB (darklordjames is about the only one on the internet who believes otherwise). And for many games, that HD7870 will outperform more expensive nVidia cards (even at the next tier). It's the absolute best bang for your buck in GPUs IMO. Highly recommended.

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post #7 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

Tell that to my 6870 which is currently driving 4 monitors. Handles them just fine. (INB4 "the top monitor is off-center" I know, the mount had to be put in a wall stud and I just really don't care to move my desk. Deal with it.)



No no no no no.

You gotta follow that up with a snarky gif and you of all people should know that!


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post #8 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

No no no no no.

You gotta follow that up with a snarky gif and you of all people should know that!


Ok to make up for that, here-


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post #9 of 32 Old 02-14-2013, 08:32 PM
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 01:34 AM
 
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"Tell that to my 6870 which is currently driving 4 monitors. Handles them just fine."

"Handles" them, yes. Does it well? No. Aside from the 6000 series' pretty nasty rolling vsync issue on monitors #3-6 (If you haven't seen it, don't go looking for it. It can't be unseen), it rather inelegantly handles 3x wide gaming with a non-extended desktop. You either end up breaking basic Windows functionality like properly working Maximize, have to manually toggle between discreet desktop mode and Eyefinity mode, have to do a lot of fiddling with the HydraVision package, or only game on one monitor.

You'll note that in post #2 I stated that I own a 6870. I know exactly how poorly they work in a 3x wide setup. The 6000 series was the best option at the time for single-card 3+ monitor support as the overpriced and discontinued GTX295 was the only Nvidia option in April 2010. Now though? Nah. smile.gif

This is just one of the many ways in which the AMD Radeon software seriously drags down some pretty nice hardware. It really is too bad that video drivers still exist and that that functionality hasn't migrated back to the OS yet.


"darklordjames is about the only one on the internet who believes otherwise"

Basic 2nd Grade math agrees with me too. You don't have to add too many gigs together to break the 8GB point. On an 8GB system Windows spends a hell of a lot of time trying to dump as much stuff as possible to the swapfile, and you end up waiting on that to happen as you load up a new app. You wait again on the swapfile as things get loaded back in to ram when you come out of an app you just finished with.

I have nothing but Steam and Chrome open at this exact moment. The result is an even 10.0GB is in use. None of that needed to dump to disk as I ran out of space on an 8GB system, and none of it will have to dump to disk when I load up Skyrim or TF2 later, both of which have a sizable chunk sitting in the 11GB that Windows has predicted and cached. There is no way you can tell us with a straight face that "some data transfer" takes just as little time as "zero data transfer".

Waiting on the swapfile sucks, even on an SSD. The move from 8GB to 16GB removes a large portion of that wait, with the end result being a better user experience. It's amazing how much push-back I constantly see here in regards to $40 more worth of ram, on the same board that repeatedly advocates $400 videocards.
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post #11 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Waiting on the swapfile sucks, even on an SSD. The move from 8GB to 16GB removes a large portion of that wait, with the end result being a better user experience. It's amazing how much push-back I constantly see here in regards to $40 more worth of ram, on the same board that repeatedly advocates $400 videocards.

Folks push back because you overhype it and make a big deal over it. I don't think anyone is against the idea of it on principle, but in most situations presented on this forum ("Help me build a super computer for $165.00!") it is a waste of money. RAM is cheap, but so are SSDs. 4GB RAM is $20 and 32GB is $140. You can buy a 128GB SSD for less than the difference or a 256GB SSD for only a little bit more.

For someone unable or unwilling to spend money on an SSD, loading up on 32GB (or 24GB or whatever) will certainly help him more than not having either, but the impact of "moar ramz" is still limited because you are still bottlenecked by the HDD for many parts of or wholes of files and applications that are not cached. For someone that is willing to put up the cash toward an SSD, it will do more for IO consistency across the whole span of his applications and files under all situations.

I'm grateful to have both (32GB+SSD), but if someone has to choose between them, then bang for the buck I would take an SSD over more RAM and encourage others to do so unless they have a specific application that demands more RAM (Premiere, ArchiCAD, etc.).
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post #12 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

I have an FX-8350 and love it. I chose it though as it gave me a smooth upgrade path from my Phenom II X4 without having to swap out RAM, motherboard and CPU all at the same time. If you are buying all three parts at once, then go Intel. The i5 3570 is a great value at $200-215. If you insist on sticking with the FX-83xx, then spend the extra $20 and get the FX-8350. Shifting to Intel will also cost you another $20 in motherboard price as well.

I wanted to ask, I have the motherboard that the OP has, but I have a FX-6100. I am not a fan of the CPU, however, I don't feel like needing to uninstall windows and back up everything, since I have alot of content in my hard drive, so if I can just upgrade my CPU and keep the motherboard, I would be fine with upgrading to the FX-8350. I mainly want much better performance from emulators like PCSX2 and dolphin, as well as other CPU intensive games. The BIOS version on my motherboard has been updated to the F11 (last october's) version from gigabyte's website, which should be compatible with a FX 8350 I assume.
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post #13 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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Double check Gigabyte's bios changelog to see if the newest FX chips are supported. October is about when everyone pushed out their FX-x3xx updates, so you're probably good to go.

Compared to the FX-6100, you'd pick up the fourth FPU unit, and a nice clock speed jump. The architecture of the FX-8350 is about as fast clock for clock as the Phenom II, instead of a bit slower like the FX-x1xx series. In effect, it will feel like your current CPU running at roughly 4.3ghz while clocked at the 4.12ghz that I normally see mine auto-clocked to.

It won't be world-changing, but moving from my Phenom II X4 3.0ghz to the FX-8350 I saw the most change in single-threaded titles. Torchlight II used to struggle a bit on the Phenom as it loaded up one thread, ignoring the other three cores. I'd get 35fps in the busier fights, versus the 60fps when nothing was going on. Now it dips to 55fps occasionally during heavy fighting, with the FX-8350 being the only system change. More evenly threaded stuff like Left 4 Dead that sits at 30% on four cores? The occasional sub-second dips below 60fps are less frequent, but not $200 less frequent. smile.gif

Open up task manager and see if your emulators lean heavily on one core like Torchlight, or are more evenly spread like Skyrim. That will tell you whether a FX-8350 is a smart move.

To be clear, I love my FX-8350. I made a conscious decision to take a 5% performance hit over the $40 more at the time i5 3570 to have a smoother upgrade path that required less cash up front. Now that they are the same price? Buying new like the OP: go i5. The CPU is the same price and board costs $20 more. Upgrading an AM3 board: FX-8350 is a great choice.
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post #14 of 32 Old 02-16-2013, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Double check Gigabyte's bios changelog to see if the newest FX chips are supported. October is about when everyone pushed out their FX-x3xx updates, so you're probably good to go.

Compared to the FX-6100, you'd pick up the fourth FPU unit, and a nice clock speed jump. The architecture of the FX-8350 is about as fast clock for clock as the Phenom II, instead of a bit slower like the FX-x1xx series. In effect, it will feel like your current CPU running at roughly 4.3ghz while clocked at the 4.12ghz that I normally see mine auto-clocked to.

It won't be world-changing, but moving from my Phenom II X4 3.0ghz to the FX-8350 I saw the most change in single-threaded titles. Torchlight II used to struggle a bit on the Phenom as it loaded up one thread, ignoring the other three cores. I'd get 35fps in the busier fights, versus the 60fps when nothing was going on. Now it dips to 55fps occasionally during heavy fighting, with the FX-8350 being the only system change. More evenly threaded stuff like Left 4 Dead that sits at 30% on four cores? The occasional sub-second dips below 60fps are less frequent, but not $200 less frequent. smile.gif

Open up task manager and see if your emulators lean heavily on one core like Torchlight, or are more evenly spread like Skyrim. That will tell you whether a FX-8350 is a smart move.

To be clear, I love my FX-8350. I made a conscious decision to take a 5% performance hit over the $40 more at the time i5 3570 to have a smoother upgrade path that required less cash up front. Now that they are the same price? Buying new like the OP: go i5. The CPU is the same price and board costs $20 more. Upgrading an AM3 board: FX-8350 is a great choice.

I check on gigabyte's website, and it does work with the FX-8350, so it should be a seamless upgrade.

I have been reading the CPU measurements on task manager as you suggested. Both emulators seem to work differently. Dolphin seem to maximize mostly dual core, although there is some use of the other cores. Keep in mind there may appear to be weird drops in RAM usage, it has nothing to do with the emulators, so I wouldn't call these benchmarks legitimate, but I want to get a better idea on how to optimize the emulators. I also have a Nvidia GTX 660, which seems to handle the GPU side pretty well.

I get about 20-25 FPS on Sonic Colors via Dolphin, which doesn't run in slow motion like PCSX2, but I wouldn't call it playable.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I also tested out God of War and Persona 4. Since PCSX3 does not have a functional frame-skip option, games can run in slow motion

God of War runs at about 30-35 FPS without frameskipping, and appears to be in slow motion. None of the threads reach near 100 percent, although it seems to favor a dual core set up.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Persona 4, perhaps the more generous of the emulated PS2 games, remains at the 60 FPS mark (although it appears to be running half it's frame rate, so I assume the game had a frame rate cap of 30), with drops sometimes when certain effects are used. This is during the dungeon crawling sections.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

There are a few areas where the game drops alot in framerate (has some metallic bird causing problems) here is where a certain reflection effect drops it down to 20 FPS without frame skipping. Interesingly, the CPU performance isn't much different after running this section for about a couple of minutes.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

It might be that I'm not really embracing how to modify the emulators to make them work properly, but I was considering going for a better CPU, but it's probably other things other than CPU usage.

Thanks for the help.
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post #15 of 32 Old 02-16-2013, 02:46 AM
 
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Let's establish initially that the FX-x3xx series is about 10% quicker than the FX-x1xx series, clock for clock. So, to even out the comparison think of the FX-8350 running at 4.1ghz, and your FX-6100 running at an even 3.0ghz. In effect, the FX-8350 will give you a 36% speed boost in cases where you are hitting the wall in clockspeed.

GRAPH 1: Your first Dolphin graph shows Cores 0 and 2 being hit really hard. These are two of your three cores that have floating point units, so we can say that Dolphin really wants two, fast FPU units as it doesn't seem to care about Core 4. Core 1 that bounces around at 65% usage is certainly hitting 100% for fractions of a second, but not long enough to show up as peaked out in Task Manager, meaning Dolphin also wants a single, fast integer unit, which you have six of. Moving to an FX-8350 will give you more FPUs and integer units that Dolphin cares nothing about, but the clockspeed increase will help out a lot. If I were to estimate, I'd say you'd see your framerates jump from an unpleasant 20-25fps to a reasonable console-level 30fps with minor dips below 30. An i5 3570 would probably push that up another frame or two, but it will cost you the price of a motherboard to pair up with it.

GRAPH 2: PCSX2 looks to be really nicely multithreaded, and heavily dependant on integer units, which you have six of. Performance will likely scale in the direction of clockspeed by probably 25%, plus in the addition of more cores by probably 20%. This is one of those "best case scenario" events that very much favors the way AMD put together their new architecture. Unfortunately, 35fps + 45% is still only 50fps. You'll still be a bit slo-mo, waiting on further plugin advancements to pick up that extra 10fps to hit a solid 60fps. An i5 would probably be worse in this case than your current FX-6100, and a lot worse than an FX-8350. An i7 3770 would probably do really well, maybe even hitting the magic 60fps mark, but with an extra cost of $100 for mobo and $100 for CPU.

GRAPH 3: It will smooth out a bit, but the change won't be anything amazing. An i5 likely wouldn't do any better.

GRAPH 4: You are probably hitting the limits of a poorly optimized instruction set that relies on the GPU. A couple of GPU plugin revisions will likely smooth that out a bit. Core 2 and Core 3 are being hit pretty heavily so I'd guess you'll see a jump to around 25fps with the FX-8350. Probably another frame or two on the i5 3570.

In task manager did you hit View > Update Speed > High? Normal is default, but Fast will help you catch more drastic spikes. Normal tends to smooth spike off a bit. I wouldn't be surprised to see the spikes reach quite a bit higher on GRAPH 2 when set to High Update Speed.

I was huge in to PSX/N64 emulation back in the late 90s. Hell, I was even a writer and head mod for one of the major emulation blogs/forums/IRC back before "blog" was a word. smile.gif I've fallen out of the scene, but try to keep tabs on where Dolphin and PCSX2 are heading. They're both slowly coming along, but certainly making progress. I still don't think either is really usable for playing games, but they've been waiting on clock speed increases for so long that just aren't coming. We need a solid 6-8ghz for good Wii/PS2 emulation, and probably around 100ghz or some amazing breakthroughs in parallelism for accurate emulation.

Anyway, yes, I'd say an FX-8350 is your most effective spend in this case. It will not make things perfect though. If you wanted perfect, you'd buy a PS2 and Wii, right? wink.gif
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post #16 of 32 Old 02-16-2013, 09:26 AM
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I have always found pcsx2 to be mainly gpu limited. Some games you really need to change the options to get them to run right. I haven't tried God of War so I won't comment further on that.

Dolphin was unplayable last time I tried it(it has been a long time).
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post #17 of 32 Old 03-03-2013, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the reply's. I have one other question. How often do you usually update your gaming PC? Does the video card need to be updated every year? Im assuming the CPU would be good a couple of years? Thanks
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post #18 of 32 Old 03-04-2013, 12:27 AM
 
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"How often do you usually update your gaming PC? Does the video card need to be updated every year? Im assuming the CPU would be good a couple of years?"

It depends on where we are in the console cycle. As an example, any PC built in 2005 looked pretty crappy by mid-2007 as PC game requirements saw a large increase with the release of the 360/PS3. The requirements slowed from 2008-2011, and have remained essentially static through 2011-2012. The result is that PCs built in 2008 still held up pretty well come 2013. The same thing happened upon the release of the PS2/GCN/Xbox, and PSX/N64.

Following the trend that has held true ever since we've been making multi-platform games, a PC built right now will look dated by mid-2015. A new video card will likely refresh it pretty well if you start with an 8-thread CPU now. Six threads are going to be the norm pretty shortly in terms of game preference, just as three threads is currently. If you start with a four-thread machine today, that CPU will also look rather dated in two years. The question is of course which eight-thread CPU will have longer legs? The i7 that only has four cores, but each pair of hyperthreads has full access to each core? Or is it the FX-8xxx that has eight discrete integer units with the sacrifice of only four FPU units total? Coin toss. We don't know.

As with most PC upgrades, buying to future-proof is a sucker's game. Buy the cheapest thing that will do what you want right now, then replace it later once it's no longer adequate.

A new mobo/CPU/ram/GPU combo dropped in the system in late-2015 will likely run you pretty well until mid-2019 in terms of meeting new PC game requirements while still giving you a rather pleasant experience.
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post #19 of 32 Old 03-04-2013, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answer. I have never built a gaming PC before and have been reading up on them alot and got nervous when I read some of the stuff about people upgrading there computer every year. Since I am not a hardcore gamer but do pay a good amount of games I was getting a little reluctant to thinking about putting $500 every year into upgrading it. I am really just looking to have an all in one system I can use in my home theater room.
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post #20 of 32 Old 03-04-2013, 07:02 AM
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My HTPC runs an I3-3220, 8GB RAM and a 560ti 1GB. It all fits in my Silverstone GD05B case. It works great for movies, music and most games. I don't play FPS's on my HTPC, mainly racing and 3rd person games.

I have 3 cougar 120mm PWM's for cooling and it's all controlled with Speedfan. It's quiet while not in use or watching movies, with gaming it gets a "little" louder but I cannot hear it from my couch.

Main HT
Speakers: Polk Audio CS2, Monitor 70's, Monitor 30's, BIC F12 12" Sub
Receiver: Onkyo TX-NR809
TV: 47" Vizio 120hz 1080p SV470XVT
HTPC: Intel Core i3-3220, 8GB DDR3 1600, 560ti 1GB, 3TB of HDD's, LG Bluray
Bluray: Pioneer BDP-150
Gaming: HTPC, Xbox 360, Wii
Other: Turtle Beach X41 7.1 Headset,...
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post #21 of 32 Old 03-04-2013, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyb22 View Post

Thanks for the answer. I have never built a gaming PC before and have been reading up on them alot and got nervous when I read some of the stuff about people upgrading there computer every year. Since I am not a hardcore gamer but do pay a good amount of games I was getting a little reluctant to thinking about putting $500 every year into upgrading it. I am really just looking to have an all in one system I can use in my home theater room.

New processors and graphics cards come out every year or two so some people feel the need to upgrade b/c of this. If you want to always be able to play every game at the absolute highest settings then you really do need to upgrade your graphics card fairly often. A lot of people don't care that much or can't afford to upgrade every year.

Assuming you bought the 8320, you shouldn't have to worry about upgrading that too much. Like DLJ said we are most likely going to see a jump in how powerful of a GPU you need with the new consoles coming out.
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post #22 of 32 Old 03-04-2013, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyb22 View Post

Thanks for all the reply's. I have one other question. How often do you usually update your gaming PC? Does the video card need to be updated every year? Im assuming the CPU would be good a couple of years? Thanks

I leave room for upgrades normally but with kids every 4 years (used to be every year). Bare bones systems are a great way to do this. I normally go with the most single card solution i can afford at the time and when prices drop in a year out 2 add a new card. . Already added a 2nd card, dont think my PSU will handle a 3rd card so new system for me in a few years.
So dreading going to Win 8 in a year or 2
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post #23 of 32 Old 03-22-2013, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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OK guys I think I came to a final build here is what I came up with

CPU: AMD FX-6300 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113286)
Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 R2.0 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131873)
GPU: EVGA 660 TI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130810)
Ram: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148545)
PSU: Corsair CX600 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139028)

The reason I am going with the FX-6300 is beacause I can get the CPU and Motherboard for $119. I cant pass up that deal.
Do you think I would be better off with the 660ti or 7870xt? (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202024&Tpk=7870xt&IsVirtualParent=1)

Thanks
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post #24 of 32 Old 03-22-2013, 05:43 PM
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Having a quick glance the ASUS M5A97 R2.0 is CrossfireX only. I'm not sure if that's important to you or not. It may be since your planning on going with a 660ti.

I installed a 7950 on a motherboard today and it was dead, and thought I would have to RMA. Then I installed it on another motherboard and it lived. Being totally confused I tried a 660ti in both boards and it worked in both. The 7950 gave me a smug look as if saying "what we have here is a failure to communicate." I'm not saying the AMD is a bad card by any means, but it certainly has attitude.
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post #25 of 32 Old 03-23-2013, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyb22 View Post

OK guys I think I came to a final build here is what I came up with

CPU: AMD FX-6300 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113286)
Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 R2.0 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131873)
GPU: EVGA 660 TI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130810)
Ram: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148545)
PSU: Corsair CX600 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139028)

The reason I am going with the FX-6300 is beacause I can get the CPU and Motherboard for $119. I cant pass up that deal.
Do you think I would be better off with the 660ti or 7870xt? (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202024&Tpk=7870xt&IsVirtualParent=1)

Thanks

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1651/pg13/sapphire-hd-7870-xt-with-boost-tahiti-le-graphics-card-review-conclusion.html

7870xt review for you. Considering you save $70 and get 2 free games(tomb raider is a great game) the 7870xt seems like the obvious pick to me.

As for lurker's problems, that sounds like a motherboard compatibility problem. Update your firmware smile.gif
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post #26 of 32 Old 03-23-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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Andy - Your system went all unbalanced again. You're looking to pair up a $300 video card with what amounts to a 3-core CPU when it comes to gaming. 3-core CPUs are what you put in to "iTunes and Interwebs" only machines, like my girl's Athlon X3 3.5ghz. They are not for something that you want to play games on.

If you are desperate to save $100, then drop the GPU down to a $200 GTX 660 and stick with an i5 3750 or FX-8350. Your experience will be better in the long run.

This "deal" that you "can't pass up" will just end up costing you more as you'll have to swap out the CPU sooner. Buy the right thing the first time.
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post #27 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 04:49 AM
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Andy - Your system went all unbalanced again. You're looking to pair up a $300 video card with what amounts to a 3-core CPU when it comes to gaming. 3-core CPUs are what you put in to "iTunes and Interwebs" only machines, like my girl's Athlon X3 3.5ghz. They are not for something that you want to play games on.

If you are desperate to save $100, then drop the GPU down to a $200 GTX 660 and stick with an i5 3750 or FX-8350. Your experience will be better in the long run.

This "deal" that you "can't pass up" will just end up costing you more as you'll have to swap out the CPU sooner. Buy the right thing the first time.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/699?vs=202

It's really not fair to compare it to an athlon x3. It does just slightly worse than the 8350 in most game benchmarks and ties an 8320. It can easily be overclocked to be as fast as an 8350 in all current games. I wouldn't buy the 4300(reduced l3 cache) but the 6300 is a good deal, especially at that price. The next step up is getting an i5 if all you are concerned about is games.
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post #28 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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OK I have decided to go with the i5-3570k and now need to decide if the 660ti is worth $70 over the 7870xt. Thanks guys
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post #29 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 10:54 AM
 
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Good choice on the CPU. I found it real hard to justify the 660ti over the standard 660. Same memory bandwidth, roughly the same clocks, just 5/7ths the cores. At 1080p you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference. It's kind of like how it's real hard to justify the 680 when the 670 has the same memory bandwidth, 90% the core clock, and 7/8ths the cores.

I'd stick with Nvidia simply for the drivers. The launch of Tomb Raider reminded us that Nvidia being late with their drivers is a rarity. On the AMD side, it's par for the course.
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post #30 of 32 Old 03-29-2013, 02:44 PM
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Went through a rather bizarre upgrade with my HTPC. smile.gif

Had A8-3850 based rig which worked great for HTPC duties (read: watching streamed video and rips), unusable for any decent gaming at 1080p (slide show).
Wife's computer has GeForce 560 (with ivy bridge i3 cpu, do not remember which one exactly), my current PC has GeForce 660ti.
Got GeForce Titan for my desktop PC, plan was to put a new 7870 into the HTPC, give wife the 660 ti (overkill for Sims but why not) and ebay the 560.
7870 absolutely refused to work properly with the AMD APU (heh) - HDMI audio dropouts which I could not fix no matter what.

As a result, put the 7870 into wife's PC (working great) and put GeForce 660 ti into the HTPC with the AMD APU which also works great. Obviously underpowered for the card but I'm kinda tired of electronic Lego for now.
Found it quite ironic that AMD APU will absolutely not work properly with the Radeon.
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