Component reference 08/04/09

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Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:21 am

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Older thread here

This is meant as a quick reference guide to allow you to see at a glance how different components compare in terms of performance.

Obviously performance does vary depending on the applications you're using, so bear in mind this is just intended as a rough guide. Factors such as power usage/noise/cost are taken into account and may make a faster component appear lower down than than a slower one in places (this mainly applies to the graphics cards list).

Have tried to cut down the extraneous blather as much as possible this time around.


I - CPUs

Every CPU now is at least dual core, and usually these are the best value processors you can get. Intel's E8x00 series can be the fastest CPUs around due to their higher clock speeds. The trend is toward more cores though, and there are some really great value quads out there.

Core i7 is a performance leader, but there is a huge price premium to pay for it which makes it relatively poor value. It has very expensive technologies (QPI) that are only of any use in multi-socket systems (ie servers), so for a desktop system it doesn't make much sense to be paying for it.

'Lynnfield' (possibly marketed as Core i5 when it launches) uses a different socket and dispenses with QPI. Will replace current Core 2 Quads (Q8x00 and Q9x00 models) while being faster than i7 and half the price.

Some of the best value models to consider are asterisked.


Core i7 965
Core i7 940
Phenom II X4 955*
Lynnfield 2.66GHz (~3.6GHz turbo mode)
Core i7 920
Core 2 E8500
Phenom II X4 940
Core 2 Q9450*
Lynnfield 2.13GHz (no HT, ~3.2GHz turbo)
Core 2 E8400*
Phenom II X4 920
Phenom II X3 720*
Core 2 Q9300*
Athlon X2 7850* (a Phenom II X3 720 with an extra core disabled at half the price!)
Core 2 E6850
Core 2 E8200
Phenom II X4 810
Phenom II X3 710*
Phenom II X2 550* (launching very soon, E8400 performance, 4GHz overclock on air for around £70, can unlock all four cores - one for the tweakers!)
Phenom X4 9850
Athlon X2 250*
Core 2 Q8200*
Core 2 E6600
Core 2 Q6600
Phenom X4 9750
Core 2 E7200*
Core 2 Duo E6550
AthlonX2 6400+
Core 2 Duo E6300
Phenom X3 8750
Phenom X4 9550
Phenom X3 8650
AthlonX2 6000+
Phenom 9900
Core 2 Duo E4600
Phenom X3 8450
AthlonX2 5600+
Core 2 Duo E4500
AMD Phenom 9600
AthlonX2 5200+
Core 2 Duo E4300
AthlonX2 5000+
AthlonFX57
AthlonFX 55
Pentium E2200
AthlonX2 4800+
AthlonX2 4400+
Pentium E2180
Athlon64 4400+
Athlon64 4200+
AthlonX2 4200+
Pentium E2160
Athlon64 4000+
AthlonFX 53
Athlon64 3800+
AthlonX2 3800+
Celeron E2100
AthlonFX 51
Athlon 3700+
Pentium EE 3.72GHz
Pentium4 670
Athlon64 3500+
Pentium EE 3.46GHz
Athlon64 3400+
Athlon64 3200+
Pentium EE 3.40GHz
Pentium4 570
Pentium4 660
Pentium EE 840
Pentium4 560
Athlon64 3000+
Sempron64 3400+
Pentium4 650
Pentium4 550
Sempron 3300+
Pentium4 640
Pentium4 540
Pentium D 830
Athlon64 2800+
Pentium4 630
Pentium D 820
Sempron 3100+
Sempron64 3000+
Pentium4 530
Sempron64 2800+
Pentium4 520
AthlonXP 3200+
Sempron64 2600+

II - Graphics

For really high resolutions, ie 2560x1600, multiGPU can make sense. nVidia's SLI tends to be less troublesome that Ati's crossfire. If you don't have an SLI motherboard you can buy an SLI-on-a-stick single slot/double card such as the GTX295. Ati's X2 cards are similar, but a bit more elegant as they are just single cards with two GPUs rather than two cards bolted together.

Geforce GTX280 SLI
GeForce GTX260 216 SLI
GeForce GTX295
Radeon 4870 X2*
Radeon 4890 OC*
GeForce GTX275* (very even with overclocked Radeon 4890s)
Radeon 4850 X2*
Radeon HD4850 Crossfire
GTX285
GeForce GTX280
Radeon 4890*
GeForce GTX260 216*
Radeon HD4870*
GeForce 9800 GX2
GeForce 8800GTS512SLI
8800GT 512MB SLI
GeForce GTX260
HD4850 1GB
Radeon HD4850*
GeForce GTX250*
Radeon HD4770
GeForce 9800GTX+*
Radeon HD3870X2
Radeon HD2900XT Crossfire
GeForce 8800GTS 512MB
GeForce 8800Ultra
GeForce 8800GTX
GeForce9800GTX
Geforce 9800GT
Geforce 8800GT 512MB*
Radeon HD4830*
GeForce 9600GT*
Radeon HD3870 512MB
Radeon HD2900XT
GeForce 7900GTX SLI
Geforce 8800GTS 640MB
Radeon HD3850 256MB
Geforce 7950GT SLI
X1900XTX Crossfire
X1900XT Crossfire
GeForce 8800GTS 320MB*
GeForce 8800GS 384MB
GeForce 9600GSO 384MB (Exactly the same card as the 8800GS)
GeForce 7950GX2
GeForce 7800GTX 512 Crossfire
GeForce 7800GTX SLI
Radeon X1800XT Crossfire
X1900XTX
Radeon HD2900Pro
X1900XT
GeForce 7800GTX 512
GeForce 7800GT SLI
GeForce7950GT
Radeon X1900GT
Radeon X1950GT
Radeon X1800XT
GeForce 7800GTX
GeForce 7900GTO
GeForce 7600GT SLI
Radeon X850XT Crossfire
GeForce 6800Ultra SLI
GeForce 6800GT SLI
Radeon X1800XL Crossfire
Geforce 7800GT
Radeon X1800XL
Radeon HD2600XT
GeForce 8600GTS
Radeon X850XT
GeForce 6800Ultra
Radeon X850Pro
Radeon X800XT
Radeon X800XL
GeForce 6800GT
Radeon X1600XT
Radeon X800GTO
6600GT SLI
GeForce 6800
Radeon X800GT
GeForce 6600GT
6600 SLI
Radeon X700Pro
Radeon X1300Pro
GeForce 6600
Radeon X600XT
Radeon X600Pro
GeForce 6200
GeForce 6200 TurboCache
Radeon X300
GeForce 6150 IGP
Geforce 6100 IGP
Radeon X300 HyperMemory
Radeon Xpress 200 IGP

III - Hard drives

SSDs
Intel X25-E SLC
Intel X25-M MLC
Corsair P265 / Samsung PB22-J (same drive, different sticker)
Corsair S128 (Samsung controller, modest speeds, relatively cheap)

OCZ Vertex/Indilinx (If you dare! OCZ product after all :rolleyes: )

Don't get a drive with a jmicron controller!

Traditional drives...

WD VelociRaptor VR150
WD1500AD (Raptor 150GB/16MB)
WD6400AAKS**
WD7500AYYS*
WD7500AAKS**
Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB** (NB - check compatibility issues with nVidia chipsets!)
Hitachi 7K1000**
WD740ADFD (Raptor 74GB/16MB/NCQ)
Hitachi T7K500 500GB
Seagate 1.5TB (but beware the firmware bug causing drive failures - make sure your unit has the fixed firmware!)

(The above are all more or less interchangeable in terms of performance)

// bit of a gap here!

Hitachi E7K500
WD740GD (Raptor 74GB/8MB)
Samsung HD501LJ 500GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1000GB
WD5000AAKS
Hitachi T7K500 320GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ES 1000GB
WD4000AAKS
Samsung HD401LJ 400GB

//everything else!

IV - Audio

For 90% of users modern onboard solutions are perfectly adequate, even for gaming. For enthusiasts however...

ASUS Xonar D2X (C-Media Oxygen HD)
ASUS Xonar DX (C-Media Oxygen HD) ** (a cut down version of the D2X, half the price and a really superb solution for 99% of people)
Auzentech X-Fi Prelude (Creative X-Fi) * (better than Creative's own XiFi implementations)
X-Fi Xtreme Music *
X-Fi Xtreme Platinum
Auzentech X-Meridian (C-Media Oxygen HD)
Sondigo Inferno (C-Media Oxygen HD)
Audigy series


Hardware acceleration in Windows Vista is a little complex. Games relying on EAX and/or DirectSound 3D will need an OpenAL wrapper to provide hardware acceleration. Creative provide this on the XiFi series via the "AlChemy" drivers, but the best solution is ASUS' "DirectSound 3D GX 2.0" because it just works on everything and doesn't require specific game support like AlChemy.

The same technology also emulates EAX5.0 on the ASUS cards, and does so really well. For anyone wanting hardware accelerated 3D positional audio in Windows Vista in apps which don't have native OpenAL support, the ASUS cards are the best solution, far ahead of the only other solution which can do it which is the XiFi+AlChemy.

In terms of audio quality, again the ASUS cards are the best on the market followed by the Auzentech XiFi prelude, then the XiFi Xtreme Music which used to be a market leader.

V - RAM

Corsair or Crucial if you just want it to work without faffing around.

Other decent brands are Kingston, Geil, Adata, Samsung. Brands to avoid are ones like the dirt-cheap generics... Elixir is a common one for instance. OCZ is pretty dire. YMMV

Faster RAM (and this doesn't just mean clock speed) makes very little performance difference - certainly nothing you will notice outside of benchmarks - so don't spend too much more for it as the money is far better spent on a faster CPU or GPU.

4GB is overkill for a desktop PC and you will never, ever make use of it unless you're using specialist apps... in which case you'll know how much you need anyway. The fact that RAM is so cheap means that it is trivial to kit out a rig with 4GB/6GB so it's a non-issue really.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Mister666 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:17 am

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Cheers Larch. I'm currently speccing up all the bits for a new PC I'm gonna be building soon so this is mighty handy. :)

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Mister666 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:52 pm

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Aaaand it's ordered. :D

All from Scan, most bits off their today only deals including the CPU and motherboard bundle.

Coolermaster Elite 335 Case
Corsair HX520 PSU
Asus P5Q-E Motherboard
Core2Duo E8400 CPU
Corsair 4gb RAM kit
Radeon HD4850 1gb GPU
WD6400AAKS HDD
LG DVDRW
USB Wireless network adapter
Vista Home Premium 64bit

£703 including delivery and ScanSure so if I fuck it up whilst installing bits, they'll replace em. :)

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:02 pm

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Nice one m8, although personally I'd have run the W7 beta/RC for 6 months rather than pay for Vista :P

You'll have to give it a good work out with some L4D sessions with us m8! :D

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Mister666 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:06 pm

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Yeah, I do hate Vista, and considered sticking with XP, but it's more expensive to buy an OEM XP (seems ludicrous, but we all know why they do that, it worked on me anyway!).
I'm sure that once I get to grips with Vista properly it won't be too bad. Also I've heard that it will be easier and cheaper to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista once it's available as they won't be supporting upgrades from XP. Not really looked into it too much tho.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:39 pm

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I'd just run the W7 Beta for free :)

RC is on May 5th

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Mister666 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:05 pm

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Aye but I've already ordered it now. :p

Besides, I'm a bit dubious about using a beta/RC OS on what is going to be my main PC. Plus I assume I'd only have to reformat and reinstall when the real thing comes out anyway.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Cacker on Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:32 pm

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ha. I have CackerSure .. if I fack something up it's ... oi ... this doesn't work. besides .. it's very difficult to know whether it died specifically because you did something wrong. I mean, apart from shorting out the mobo somehow, all the connectors are pretty much fool proof. you could drop a spanner or a gallon of super conducting beer into your mobo etc, but generally, if it doesn't work .. its a manufacturing fault that's escaped their 'test 1 in 10,000 CBA testing practice'.

Okay, you might use Jelly instead of AS5 on your CPU, but you can always cover that up and say "ffs, cpu doesn't work".

Luckily the CPU doesn't have an errorlog that says 'muppet put jelly on me'.
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Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:30 pm

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Those of a cynical disposition may feel moved to point out that Vista SP1 is Windows 7 Alpha :E


"But Windows 7, in release candidate guise, is already a towering achievement that casts Windows Vista immediately in its shadow. I've often opined that the true measure of any OS is how painful it renders using its predecessor. And now, several long months after moving to Windows 7 full time, I can honestly state that Windows 7 makes Windows Vista look like a bad dream by comparison. Among many other things, Vista is sluggish compared to 7, and it doesn't remember window sizes and customization styles.

...

The Windows 7 RC could literally ship as the final version of the product."


Of course, yeah... 'officially' it isn't done yet.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Mister666 on Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:19 pm

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Hmph. Maybe I should have waited a couple of months and ordered the new kit with a copy of Windows 7. :/

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:52 pm

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Well... it's personal preference I suppose. I know on my main rig XP is finally going to be led round the back of the sheds and shot next week when the RC is made public.

My copy of Vista Ulimate shall be preserved and serve as a warning to future generations.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby LSM on Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:53 pm

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Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:22 am

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Looks like Vista SP2 has hit RTM and is on MSDN... should be public soon so keep an eye out for it!

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby DrKazza on Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:35 am

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RTM?
That's The REVEREND Dr. Kazza to you.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:43 am

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Release To Manufacturing, ie the final 'public' version.


You get Alpha builds, then Beta builds... like the Windows 7 Beta was build 7000 and RC1 (Release Candidate 1) is build 7100 ... Windows 7 RTM will probably be something like build 7200

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby DrKazza on Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:09 am

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<sorry to derail larch>

hey 666....
have a looksie here...
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/5144 ... orial.html
you can upgrade vista to 7 without fucking too much stuff up (allegedly)... doesn't need a fresh install!

Kaz

p.s. what happens when the full release comes out... I suppose there's a final patch and then it asks you to put in a validation key or you get disabled?
That's The REVEREND Dr. Kazza to you.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby larchy on Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:49 am

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nah, the RC keys run until July 2010

After that it just starts nagging you that your key is no longer valid, same as the Beta which runs out in August this year IIRC.

You can upgrade from 7000 to 7100 (Beta to RC) with a few minor installer tweaks, and I'd be surprised if you can't go from RC to RTM in a similar fashion. Still, a fresh install is always best regardless.

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Cacker on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:15 am

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hmm .. really temtped by 7. want to get off RAID too.

at least my 7 install would be legal. ><
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Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Mister666 on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:53 am

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DrKazza wrote:<sorry to derail larch>

hey 666....
have a looksie here...
http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/5144 ... orial.html
you can upgrade vista to 7 without fucking too much stuff up (allegedly)... doesn't need a fresh install!

Kaz

p.s. what happens when the full release comes out... I suppose there's a final patch and then it asks you to put in a validation key or you get disabled?


Cheers Kazza, will take a look.
Won't be building the new PC til next week anyway during my week off work when I actually have some free time!

Re: Component reference 08/04/09

Postby Cacker on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:01 am

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O_O .. prolly prefer a clean install .. but hmmm . tempted.
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