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#1
Gorgon

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So, I'm looking to buy a mobo, ram sticks and processor combination . For now my GFX, a HD7950, will be salvaged as will the case. The biggest question is what CPU to get. I don't upgrade very often.

 

Aside from gaming I use it for PS and 3Dsmax, so more ram and processing power will be much appreciated.  



#2
samm

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Budget?

 

The older PS versions I've known didn't support graphics card to accelerate certain operations, and were bound to single thread performance of the CPU. Which would currently mean to get Haswell. 3Dsmax, as far as the internet tells me, profits from multiple threads so going the AMD FX-route would not be out of the question, or if Intel, to get a Haswell i7 or a Xeon ... V3. For anything less vague, as noted initially, available budget or at least a market segment would be a helpful indicator.



#3
Gorgon

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Neighbourhood of 4000 DKK./ 500 Euro.



#4
kirottu

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For that price range I would go for AMD FX processor.

#5
Humanoid

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Despite the stick it's copping, Haswell is still the best consumer-level CPU you can get, and it should be within budget, if just barely.

 

Unfortunately DDR3 prices have spiked this year to the highest they've been in a long time.



#6
Gorgon

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http://www.asus.com/...#specifications

 

OK so I'm looking at the specifications on the ram. Are the numbers FSB speeds ?. How do I make sure the ram I chose are compatible when the designations on the kits I see mention PC 17000, latency timings, and not much other than that. Will they run with a small overclock and is that even relevant anymore. Will anything called DDR 3 do ?. 

 

So yes, I kinda decided to spend what I need to and stretch the budget to fit.  I want a large bundle of ram that isn't too slow. 



#7
Humanoid

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Intel recommend a maximum voltage of 1.5v, and that's probably the only spec I'd stick to, avoid the 1.65V stuff. There's a perception that lower voltage stuff is better quality and has better headroom to be pushed, and I don't disagree: there are two lower voltage standards at 1.35V and 1.25V.

Modern PCs don't use the FSB terminology as such, but still, to derive the frequency of the RAM from the rating there, divide by 8 (and round a bit). e.g. PC17000 ~= 2133MHz.

#8
Gorth

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Will anything called DDR 3 do ?.


No.

If the specs in the link are correct, it uses 'Dual Channel Memory Architecture '

Most DDR3 ram sold today seems to be tri- or quad channel. Might be worth double checking.

Humanoid already covered the FSB numbers. Latency, often shown as something like 9-9-9-10 is an indicator of the rams "responsiveness" to various operations. The lower, the faster. Most people don't care much about those numbers anyway ;)

FSB and number of channels matters.

#9
Humanoid

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The majority of DDR3 sold today is in pairs, i.e. dual channel kits. All that means though is that they've been tested together. So something marketed as tri-channel is basically the same product, except there happens to be three sticks in the pack that have been tested together, and so forth. There is no such thing as a dual(or whatever)-channel stick of RAM, the terminology only applies to the kits.

At the consumer level, tri-channel was mainly used for the first get i7-9xx Nehalems, and quad-channel is in the current high end SB-E and forthcoming IB-E platforms, so there's not much market for them.

As far as consumer advice goes, memory frequency really only matters when using integrated graphics, and latency, well, it's really of trivial effect for anything. Still, better rated memory tends to indicate that it's further away from its theoretical limit, and therefore can be said to be potentially more reliable.

So to answer the direct question: Will anything called DDR3 do? The answer is a qualified yes. As in, it'll almost certainly work, but some of them will mean running your system out of spec, which may technically invalidate your warranty if anything goes wrong. Neither Intel or Asus will support you using 1.65V memory, whilst on the other hand, Asus will support the higher RAM frequencies marked 'OC', even if Intel do not.

Edited by Humanoid, 31 July 2013 - 01:16 AM.


#10
Humanoid

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Few more points:

- The low voltage standards of 1.35V and 1.25V are officially called DDR3L and DDR3U respectively. This does not affect cross-compatibility, any motherboard that accepts DDR3 will run them. The only real tradeoff here is cost, though the difference is usually not significant. Low voltage DDR3 has the bonus of additional overclocking headroom, as there's no issue with running them up to Intel's maximum recommendation of 1.5V, which should allow for higher frequencies to be stable.

- As general advice, it's almost always better to run fewer sticks than filling out all your slots - that is to say, on dual-channel platforms, run two larger capacity sticks instead of four smaller ones. This is mainly done to minimise the potential points of failure. In theory it probably also results in a tiny bit less latency, but essentially that's immeasurable.

- A lot of vendors these days try to capitalise on the bling factor, providing stupidly tall and awkwardly shaped heatspreaders on their non-budget products. These are largely cosmetic, memory does not run hot enough for any one solution to meaningfully differentiate itself from the other. If you're planning on running a custom CPU cooler (which I tend to be in favour of), be sure that tall memory coolers don't get in the way.

- Don't forget to set the correct profile for your memory in the BIOS once installed. By default they'll usually be set to some conservative setting which all platforms can run. The XMP profile(s), which are embedded in the memory, will set the correct (i.e. the maximum they were tested at) settings for your memory, so usually it's just a matter of turning that on.

- DDR3 prices are unfortunately at a long-term high currently. While memory prices have always been very volatile, the driver in this case is more serious than it has been in the past. Until last year, there were only four manufacturers of DDR3 chips (as distinct from the vendors who solder the chips onto circuit boards): Samsung, Hynix, Micron and Elpida. Elpida has gone broke, leaving the pool of suppliers smaller than ever. Further, the manufacturers have been known to engage in cartel behaviour in the past, and while they technically may not be doing so now, it is in none of their interests to increase production and cause a return to the average price. So while prices will undoubtedly fall again as DDR4 looms, most observers expect the new price plateaus to be a fair bit higher than they have been in the past.

- That said, Skylake and Haswell-E, the first generation Intel CPUs which will use DDR4, are still a couple years off.

#11
ManifestedISO

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Good god I love well-spoken real-life techno-babble. Well done.



#12
Sensuki

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Intel i5, budget mobo and 8 or 16GB RAM should fit the bill if you are a set and forget person (ie not an ocd overclocker). 8GB is prob fine, I've been running 4 until recently and that was enough to run win7 and any game, I only upgraded because I'm using GNS3 to emulate lots of routers.

I usually buy secondhand, you'd easily be able to get a good intel cpu secondhand for 2/3 or less of the retail cost or whatever.

Edited by Sensuki, 08 August 2013 - 10:20 PM.


#13
Raithe

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Well I'm throwing an i5 4670k on a Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3HP board with 2 sticks of 4Gb Corsair DDR3 1600Mhz.

I'm being able to salvage my  GTX 560 Ti graphics card and a couple of harddrives from my old machine..

 

As soon as I go out manana and pick up a sata Optical drive, I'll be able to tidy up all my cabling, then install Windows 7 on a 128Gb SSD.

 

I still can't believe I forgot that my old DVD drives were IDE and that most "modern" motherboards just don't bother with that these days.



#14
Gorgon

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Update
 
Ok so I have now changed gears and am doing a build from scratch with a few components salvaged from my old box. I am partially limited by availability, but I would wait if it were important enough. 
 
 
CPU : Core i7 / 3.5 GHz / LGA1150 Socket / 8 MB L2 / Intel Boxed
CPU Cooler : still looking into options. 
 
 
Board :
MSI Z87-G45 GAMING
Intel Z87 Express / ATX / CPU: 0 / LGA1150 Socket / 1066 MHz / 1333 MHz / 1600 MHz / 1866 MHz / 2000 MHz / 2133 MHz / 2200 MHz / 2400 MHz.
 
 
Ram :
Kingston HyperX 4 x 8 GB
4 x 8 GB (32 GB) / DDR3 SDRAM / PC3-12800 / 1600 MHz / ? Bit / ? ns / CL9 / 1.5 V 
 
 
GFX:
Radeon HD 7950 3mb (salvaged)
 
 
Case:
Fractal design redefine series 
 
PS:
Corsair TX750W
 
Storage:
 
Samsung 840 EVO MZ-7TE250 250 GB SSD.
 
Kingston SSDnow 90GB (salvaged)
 
Samsung 1TB spindle (salvaged)


#15
Gorgon

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The 32 gb ram is for large file handling in Photosop and Painter. One of the SSDs will be used for scratch disk the other for the system. With the ever increasing size of raw formats in digital cameras there are enthusiasts using 64 gb and 128 gb server based builds. My practical limit is 32. 

 

First question that comes to mind is whether the PS will be sufficient for upgrades. Will it SLI two new cards for instance. Without measuring equipment it's kinda hard to know exactly how much you need, and maybe it's impossible to plan completely for upgrades anyway.



#16
Humanoid

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PSU is easily enough, yes.



#17
Gorgon

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Any  thoughts on CPU cooling. I don't know the effective OC potential of the CPU other than there are architecture improvements over sandy bridge that allows for more room to experiment. Is it worth doing for a little extra muscle.

 

Quiet is good though. I chose a HD7950 rather than a HD7970 on my last GFX buy because it had the smallest decibel number available. 

 

http://www.quietpc.com/lga1156-coolers

 

There are several fanless offerings on that list, probably not the OC choice though.



#18
Humanoid

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Haswell will overclock to a lower frequency than Sandy did - don't be surprised if you only yield low-to-mid 4s instead of the high 4s. But it's okay in that the architectural improvements means the lower clocked Haswell is still faster. I think I mentioned in the other thread that the pick for silent CPU air cooling was the Thermalright Macho 2, but it's somewhat hard to find. The newish Scythe Mugen 4 looks good, and should be available in Europe (as opposed to America where apparently they have no current distributor).

 

Oops, didn't read your link before posting the above. Yes, get the Mugen 4. The heatsink itself is as good as any single-tower design, and the included fan is very good. It certainly won't limit Haswell overclocking - which is limited by one thing and one thing only: Intel's cost-cutting decision to use crappy thermal paste which is bonded poorly between the heatspreader and the CPU die. They did the same thing with Ivy too, as opposed to Sandy which was soldered onto its heatspreader. The sad thing here is it means temperatures of Haswell are about 20°C higher than they need to be purely because it saves Intel a buck (or probably less, even) per CPU.


Edited by Humanoid, 28 October 2013 - 07:34 AM.


#19
Gorgon

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So the power supply is a no go, the only local webshop which had it listed have given up finding one for me within a reasonable time. Fractal design make gold+ standard PSUs and the price is pretty competitive, I am contemplating swapping the board for one that is EC compliant, but I only have 650w and 800w to chose from. If I am going for energy preservation in my build SLI nolonger makes sense anyway, but it would still be nice to have the option. 

 

 

Is the 800w option going to suck more power than it needs to because I will be using it possibly below it's ideal operating range. I am more than a little scared and confused by electricity. ;P

 

 

http://www.fractal-d...a/tesla-r2-650w



#20
Humanoid

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Not meaningfully so. PSU efficiency operates along a curve. I'm using Wikipedia numbers here, but a gold-certified PSU for example has to be at least 88% efficient at 20% load, 92% efficient at 50% load, and 88% efficient at 100% load. So theoretically you're most economical if you match your average load with the peak in the given PSU's efficiency curve. But as the numbers show there, the difference is bugger-all. It's probably 10W of inefficiency in the worst case scenario. So instead pick based on the tried and true criteria, acoustics.

 

Never heard of the Fractal Design PSU, though it's most certainly not made by them. Most end-user PSUs are rebranded models from a comparatively small pool of OEMs. It gets confusing because different wattages of PSU of the same brand and indeed within the same series can be made by different companies. For example, the Corsair TX650 and TX750 are completely different, one is great and the other mediocre (forget which is which). A search for "Fractal Design Tesla OEM" unfortunately isn't particularly illuminating, so I have no idea how good it is.

 

Personally I always lean towards Seasonic because they're both a premium brand for end users and also an OEM, no rebranding shenanigans going on there. Seasonic also make units for, among others, Antec, Corsair, Coolermaster and XFX amongst others. There's a partial list of models by OEM here.

 

Copied a snippet to show how ridiculous it can get:

Silverstone Element ST60EF 600W – made by Enhance
Silverstone Element ST65EF 650W – made by Seventeam
Silverstone Element ST70EF 700W – made by FSP


Edited by Humanoid, 29 October 2013 - 03:33 AM.





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