Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

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Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:26 pm

Ok, so I'm about to buy a barebones kit from Tiger Direct. I need a new PC for music production, and I have very little $$$ for this. I was looking at this:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... u=B69-0399

The included HDD is 5900 RPM, so I'm going to use a 7200 RPM instead for my system, something like this:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=2459

Now I realize that the PSU built-in to the case probably isn't the best, but I'm on a budget. Do you think it will be sufficient? Also, for the time being I plan on using the built-in graphics card. I'm not using this for gaming, strictly for music production. I already have a high-quality external audio interface, so I won't be using the on-board sound card. I'm going from a single-core 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 w/ 2 GB RAM...how much of an increase in performance do you think I will see?

Finally, when I called Tiger Direct, the salesman was telling about this "PC Tune-Up" software. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... &CatId=988
He claims that it will unlock all the cores and give me 40% more performance. Now, I'm a total noob with this stuff. Was he just trying to upsell me, or is this a product that would actually help me? I already have a list of things to do to optimize your PC for audio production (such as setting your processor scheduling to background tasks).

Thanks!
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:29 pm

I am sure that someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the Phenom II X4 840 is a Propus core chip which have only 4 cores. It is the Zosma chips which are failed Thubans (six core chips with only four active cores). Those are Phenom II X4 960T chips.

Also, though I have not done it, I think that core unlocking is done in the bios of the motherboard, not in software. So I am skeptical of the claim of the salesman...particularly since I see no mention of core unlocking anywhere on CA's page for the software. MSI does have a BIOS-free core unlocking tool for some of their their AMD 8xx series motherboards.

Also, do you have an OS that you are installing on the new system or do you need to account for a Windows license?

Quite honestly, even a dual-core i3 will give the Phenom X4 a run for its money and the integrated graphics are better than the rather dated motherboard in the combo.

If you are adding a 7200 RPM hard drive...which is not a bad decision...go with a 1 TB model like this one which will only run you about $20 more for twice the capacity of the drive that you noted.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:48 pm

[SDG]Mantis wrote:I am sure that someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the Phenom II X4 840 is a Propus core chip which have only 4 cores. It is the Zosma chips which are failed Thubans (six core chips with only four active cores). Those are Phenom II X4 960T chips.

Also, though I have not done it, I think that core unlocking is done in the bios of the motherboard, not in software. So I am skeptical of the claim of the salesman...particularly since I see no mention of core unlocking anywhere on CA's page for the software. MSI does have a BIOS-free core unlocking tool for some of their their AMD 8xx series motherboards.

Also, do you have an OS that you are installing on the new system or do you need to account for a Windows license?

Quite honestly, even a dual-core i3 will give the Phenom X4 a run for its money and the integrated graphics are better than the rather dated motherboard in the combo.

If you are adding a 7200 RPM hard drive...which is not a bad decision...go with a 1 TB model like this one which will only run you about $20 more for twice the capacity of the drive that you noted.


Ahh, forgot to mention that. I already purchased Windows 7 Ultimate. Regarding the i3 system... it seems that components for the intel systems are more expensive. Could you see me doing any better with that amount of money? Again, I'm really tight on cash at the moment.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:44 am

futilerecordings wrote:Ahh, forgot to mention that. I already purchased Windows 7 Ultimate. Regarding the i3 system... it seems that components for the intel systems are more expensive. Could you see me doing any better with that amount of money? Again, I'm really tight on cash at the moment.


To be honest, anything that you do from a P4 is going to be night and day in terms of performance. The advantage of an i3 is that you get something that:

1. is about as fast as the X4 in question.
2. has better integrated graphics
2. has a modern motherboard that you can update the system in the future.

If you like Tiger Direct, you could go with this kit. It only has 4GB of ram get the second stick for $20. If you stick to TigerDirect, add this 1TB 7200RPM drive for $55. Total system cost $355.

You were looking at $320 for a less upgradable, slightly slower system with a 500GB system drive. If you go with any of three (Hitachi, WD, or Seagate) 500GB 7200RPM drives, you can save yourself $15. Not a good bargain in my book. But then you get a $20 price difference. And you can drop any second generation Core chip onto that motherboard for an upgrade if you need more processing power.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:36 am

Interesting. So you think that the dual-core i3 would be faster/more powerful than that quad-core AMD? The only issue I have w/ that i3 kit you listed is that it doesn't seem to have any standard PCI slots, and I need one. I have a DSP processing card (UAD-1) for my digital audio workstation, and it's the first generation PCI version. It basically gives me an additional 1 GHz of processing power. If I go w/ the i3, I wouldn't be able to use it. However, if the i3 is significantly faster than the AMD, it would be worth it. Regarding the graphics, I typically set the option in the OS to "optimize for best performance" which turns off a lot of the graphics in order to perform better. I'll have to think about it, but I appreciate your feedback. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:54 am

futilerecordings wrote:Interesting. So you think that the dual-core i3 would be faster/more powerful than that quad-core AMD?


No, it won't be.

For music mixing and media encoding, I recommend getting a quad core these days. A Llano system might not be a bad idea if you're looking to use the IGP.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:04 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
futilerecordings wrote:Interesting. So you think that the dual-core i3 would be faster/more powerful than that quad-core AMD?


No, it won't be.

For music mixing and media encoding, I recommend getting a quad core these days. A Llano system might not be a bad idea if you're looking to use the IGP.


Llano? That's the newer line of AMD processors, right? Unfortunately my budget is very small, so one of these barebones kits is pretty much my only option. They give you some pretty decent savings by going that route. I appreciate the feedback. I guess I'm just wondering if, for about $300, I could do any better. I already have a mid-tower case that I can use, as well as a SATA DVD drive. So I guess I would need a MoBo, CPU, PSU, RAM, & HDD. The MoBo must have a standard PCI slot for my UAD DSP card. The ONLY thing I want is performance, I couldn't care less about graphics (in fact, I disable all the fancy stuff to yield better performance). Thanks!
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:14 pm

$463 Llano kit

$340 +$100 Deneb kit

$329 +tax Inspiron 570

$519 +tax XPS 8300
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:51 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
futilerecordings wrote:Interesting. So you think that the dual-core i3 would be faster/more powerful than that quad-core AMD?


No, it won't be.

For music mixing and media encoding, I recommend getting a quad core these days. A Llano system might not be a bad idea if you're looking to use the IGP.


That's the older i3. And a faster X4.

The 840 has less cache than a 955 even though it has the same clock speed.

A more accurate comparison would be this one.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:59 am

What you have listed here is a good deal and it will work. It seem like you already looked at Tech Report CPU benchmarks. The app that you are using I don't know how many cpu cores it can use? The links I have listed below shows a alternate system configuration . The new PC cost is about $463.00 shipping included. The major difference is this has AMD six core processor with 6MB of L3 cache instead of AMD four core with no L3 cache. The power supply you have listed will work, but I don't like to skimp on the power supply. I don't think you will need the PC Tune-Up software. No Sata 6Gb control on the motherboard, also on motherboard you listed. Sata 6Gb hard drives are backwards compatible. I am assuming you have already a keyboard, mouse and monitor.. What I have listed is AMD, your app might only use two cpu cores, then the Intel I3-2100 would be faster. Benchmarks can be deceptive, are they only showing integrated graphics or something else? How many cpu cores does this game benchmark take advantage of? Things can range widely from one application to the next.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827151233
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811156241
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148697
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138199
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817152028
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820226095
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103849
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:00 am

CMOl wrote:What you have listed here is a good deal and it will work. It seem like you already looked at Tech Report CPU benchmarks. The app that you are using I don't know how many cpu cores it can use? The links I have listed below shows a alternate system configuration . The new PC cost is about $463.00 shipping included. The major difference is this has AMD six core processor with 6MB of L3 cache instead of AMD four core with no L3 cache. The power supply you have listed will work, but I don't like to skimp on the power supply. I don't think you will need the PC Tune-Up software. No Sata 6Gb control on the motherboard, also on motherboard you listed. Sata 6Gb hard drives are backwards compatible. I am assuming you have already a keyboard, mouse and monitor.. What I have listed is AMD, your app might only use two cpu cores, then the Intel I3-2100 would be faster. Benchmarks can be deceptive, are they only showing integrated graphics or something else? How many cpu cores does this game benchmark take advantage of? Things can range widely from one application to the next.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827151233
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811156241
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148697
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138199
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817152028
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820226095
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103849


Thanks for the reply! I'm a total noob, and a lot of these specs are beyond my understanding. L3 cache? I have no idea what that is or how it benefits me. Any chance you can explain? The SATA 6 Gb... I guess that's the transfer rate? Compared to 3 Gb?
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:37 pm

Most of those parts make for a reasonable budget build.

I usually prefer a brand-name power supply, but if you don't load it down, it will probably be okay (though how good voltage regulation will be is anyone's guess, PSUs that come with cases tend to be on the cheap side). The case is probably a little on the flimsy side, but functional. I'd recommend making a homemade fan filter for the bottom floor of the case using either a dryer sheet, or a worn-out nylon stocking. This goes double if you have pets that shed.

The hard drive is the only other thing I'm not a fan of; I'd prefer a 7200rpm model, and based on my more recent experiences with Seagate, I'd prefer Western Digital, something in their Caviar Black line (5-year warranty). Slightly pricier than their Caviar Blue line, but IMHO, worth it.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=2459

Integrated graphics will be fine as long as you're not gaming, and this system is such an improvement over what you have that you can certainly wait to add a graphics card until you've saved up additional funds (if gaming is something you wish to do).

For $279, all told, it's not bad.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:13 pm

[SDG]Mantis wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:
futilerecordings wrote:Interesting. So you think that the dual-core i3 would be faster/more powerful than that quad-core AMD?


No, it won't be.

For music mixing and media encoding, I recommend getting a quad core these days. A Llano system might not be a bad idea if you're looking to use the IGP.


That's the older i3. And a faster X4.

The 840 has less cache than a 955 even though it has the same clock speed.

A more accurate comparison would be this one.



The i3 2100 is (slightly) more expensive ($124) than the X4 955 ($119) or 840 ($109), not to mention that AMD motherboards tend to be cheaper than intel ones. In addition, getting an AM3+ motherboard now means that the OP can upgrade to Bulldozer in a year or two without having to buy new RAM or a new motherboard. The writing is still on the wall whether Ivy Bridge will be compatible with existing motherboards.

Alternatively, buying a Llano system now also means that he will likely be able to upgrade to Trinity when that comes out.

The performance differences are small between AMD and intel at the low end pricepoint, but going AMD can potentially save lots of money in the long run if the OP chooses to upgrade incrementally.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:03 pm

Voldenuit wrote:The i3 2100 is (slightly) more expensive ($124) than the X4 955 ($119) or 840 ($109), not to mention that AMD motherboards tend to be cheaper than intel ones. In addition, getting an AM3+ motherboard now means that the OP can upgrade to Bulldozer in a year or two without having to buy new RAM or a new motherboard. The writing is still on the wall whether Ivy Bridge will be compatible with existing motherboards.

Alternatively, buying a Llano system now also means that he will likely be able to upgrade to Trinity when that comes out.

The performance differences are small between AMD and intel at the low end pricepoint, but going AMD can potentially save lots of money in the long run if the OP chooses to upgrade incrementally.


Agreed on all points. The OP was looking at budget DIY kits. Without the kit discounts, you're quickly adding cost to the system. FM1, AM3+ or 1155 motherboard allow a clear upgrade path. The OP's AM3 MB has both a somewhat dated chipset and very limited upgrade options. The i3 is available at similar cost, has similar performance, and has an 1155 MB that would allow a drop-in upgrade to a Sandybridge i5 or i7 both of which would be significant upgrades.

An FM1 or AM3+ also have clear upgrade paths with comparable performance options available.

Basic advice: when you are building your own budget system look at all options and consider upgrade paths if you do have more funds available in the future.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:05 pm

Wow... Thanks so much for the replies. Definitely a lot to think about. To further complicate things, there's a third kit I'm considering:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... &CatId=332
This is my second attempt at building a system. My first attempt was w/ the above kit, but I returned the 1055t chip and got the 1100t. Well, it didn't work. I started thread here, and everyone was helpful, but I was unable to determine the cause of the issue, so I sent it all back. viewtopic.php?f=33&t=77133
I really like the idea of the 6-core AMD, I've read great reviews about them. But I'm obviously hesitant to buy the same EXACT kit again. I would think everything would be compatible if Tiger Direct is selling it as a kit, so I'm guessing it was a faulty...something. It was weird because it would boot up, I could view my desktop, but doing something as trivial as opening a folder would completely freeze up the system. Anyway, thanks for all the feedback! Any additional comments/suggestions are welcomed. At this point, I'm leaning toward the AMD x4 w/ an additional 7200 RPM HDD, but I'm still kinda lusting over that x6...
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:26 pm

Those motherboards with the NVidia chipsets are pretty bad. You'd probably have better luck with an AMD 880G or 785G motherboard.

If you like shopping at Tiger Direct, consider these.
$400 -30MIR Thuban
$402 -60MIR Deneb
$410 -40MIR Llano
$404 -40MIR Llano

The kits that I linked from Newegg yesterday may be a better deal.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:41 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Those motherboards with the NVidia chipsets are pretty bad. You'd probably have better luck with an AMD 880G or 785G motherboard.

If you like shopping at Tiger Direct, consider these.
$400 -30MIR Thuban
$402 -60MIR Deneb
$410 -40MIR Llano
$404 -40MIR Llano

The kits that I linked from Newegg yesterday may be a better deal.


I wasn't aware that Newegg had kits like that. I saw their "barebones" kits, but they weren't really what I was looking for. Thanks for the heads up, I might go that route. The one combo you linked yesterday for $338 might work, but it is stretching my budget. I'd have to add a 7200 RPM HDD, so I'd be almost at $400 (I already have Win7). I'm gonna check out some more of the combos at newegg and take it from there. Thanks again!
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:52 am

Also, in case I didn't mention it, I do have a case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... v4%20black) as well as a DVD drive, so I can do without purchasing those. So I guess I REALLY only need the MoBo, CPU, HDD, RAM & PSU. I was just going to sell this case, as the kits from Tiger include a case and you save money doing it that way. However, if anyone can suggest a better option in terms of building a system from scratch, please let me know. Thanks again!
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:16 am

Information you asked for.
L3 Cache is shared between all the cores of the cpu, it's like memory. Games , 3d modeling and rendering, etc applications have code that is consistently be used and L3 cache is a lot faster than system memory, newer software would probably take more advantage of it. Sata 6Gb controller transfer rates of up to six gigabits per second. Bit is in machine code, 8 bits is equal to one byte(used in hard drive terms). Sata 3Gb controller max read speed is close to 300 Megabytes per second, and Sata 6Gb controller is double that. Sata 6.0Gb internal hard, normal read and write is not over 200 Megabytes per second, you would get some benefits hooking it up to Sata 6Gb controller. The computer I have is running a Amd Phenom ll X6 1090T processor in it. I don't know you tried to build a computer before? I have seen a generic case with a power supply before. Case had no air circulation in it, and the power supply was noisy. If I had to guess why you were having problems, it would be the power supply. If I was buying either a AMD or INTEL cpu I would try to stay with their North and South Bridge chipsets. I don't you had case and cdrom? System cost below including shipping is about $339.00

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148697
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138199
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817152028
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820226095
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103849
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:45 am

Start out with a decent power supply, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026 corsair 430 watt $47, $37 AR

i3-2100 & z68 combo $215 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.717545

Get a $50, 8gb ddr3 1.5v memory kit and you are at $312, with a hard drive to buy yet. Don't know if that meets your budget or not.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:06 am

futilerecordings wrote:Also, in case I didn't mention it, I do have a case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... v4%20black) as well as a DVD drive, so I can do without purchasing those. So I guess I REALLY only need the MoBo, CPU, HDD, RAM & PSU. I was just going to sell this case, as the kits from Tiger include a case and you save money doing it that way. However, if anyone can suggest a better option in terms of building a system from scratch, please let me know. Thanks again!


You may wish to skip the build kit if you already have a case.
If you already have a case, I'd consider using that and re-allocating money towards a power supply. Clean power is important to everything you add to your system.

This isn't super-flashy, but it will do the job well. Same as Coran Fixx's recommendation.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817139026

Buy 4GB of brand-name budget RAM. In my case, I've had great luck with G.Skill, so I'd go this route.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231253

Save money by going with a Western Digital Caviar Blue. You still get 7200rpm, and you get a 3-year warranty.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822136769

Like a power supply. the motherboard is the heart of your system, worth splurging a little on. If we stick with integrated AMD graphics and room for expansion, the 890GX chipset mainboards are a good choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813157244

Processor time. I'm thinking AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103808

That leaves us at $345 (not including shipping) for a seriously capable system using your existing parts. The mainboard will have two memory sockets empty so you can upgrade RAM, and give you a modern chipset with a fair degree of flexibility. You can upgrade the graphics card down the road if you need to. If you have any money left at this point, I'd consider supplanting or replacing the DVD-ROM drive with a DVD writer for another $20.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827118039

You may wish to have better case fans, or an aftermarket CPU cooler. If you do, we can make some good suggestions there if you have the money. I'd probably look at the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus if you're thinking aftermarket CPU cooling on a budget.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... r%20212%2b
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:33 am

In general, I agree with LoneWolf15.

But another option is, for $40 more than the motherboard/CPU combo, this combo at NewEgg. It is a Sandy Bridge i5 and an ASUS motherboard. That's a lot more processing power than the Phenom II X4.

I know you're on a tight budget, but that's a reasonably significant upgrade.

Again, though any of the options here: i3, Phenom II X4 (with AM3+ motherboard), Llano all are major upgrades to your existing system and all would have upgrade paths.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:42 am

[SDG]Mantis wrote:In general, I agree with LoneWolf15


And in general, I agree with you that the i5 is a faster processor.

However, by going with that mainboard, you get only two RAM sockets, limiting upgrades without replacing RAM, and from what I've read, the 890GX's Radeon 4290 graphics are equal to or (in some cases) faster than the Intel HD 2000, at least when using a quad-core CPU. Finally, you can pair an inexpensive Radeon 5450 with an 890GX board for Hybrid Crossfire, upping game performance on a budget.

If there's a quality motherboard/Core i5 combo that split the difference and had four RAM sockets and has a reasonable price, I'd say go for it; otherwise, I'd go with the Phenom II.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:51 am

LoneWolf15 wrote:If there's a quality motherboard/Core i5 combo that split the difference and had four RAM sockets and has a reasonable price, I'd say go for it; otherwise, I'd go with the Phenom II.


The Hybrid crossfire gains are pretty minor. But I take your point with the motherboard. Here are an Intel uATX and ASUS ATX combos with the same i5-2300. They are about $45 and $52 more than what you were looking at...but a good upgrade nevertheless.

A though: check if you have a Microcenter near you. You could conceivably get a i5-2500k (with the better HD3000 graphics) and motherboard in the $250 range. The i5-2500k with an ECS P67H2-A3 would be $252 with tax at my nearest Microcenter. There are also other, larger name, motherboards (ASUS, Gigabyte, etc.) available for a bit more. That was just the cheapest 4 memory slot ATX motherboard. That gives you more expansions slots and an mATX. Not everyone is near one, but they do sometimes have great deals. And they have a killer price on the i5-2500k ($180 pre tax) and $40 off select motherboards when bought with the processor.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:27 am

[SDG]Mantis wrote:In general, I agree with LoneWolf15.

But another option is, for $40 more than the motherboard/CPU combo, this combo at NewEgg. It is a Sandy Bridge i5 and an ASUS motherboard. That's a lot more processing power than the Phenom II X4.

I know you're on a tight budget, but that's a reasonably significant upgrade.

Again, though any of the options here: i3, Phenom II X4 (with AM3+ motherboard), Llano all are major upgrades to your existing system and all would have upgrade paths.


I'm curious... that i5 is a Quad-core 3.1 GHz, the x4 is quad-core 3.2 GHz. What makes the i5 faster? I realize that specs, in many cases, don't tell the whole story... is that the case here?

Anyway, I'm PROBABLY gonna go w/ the x4 kit. I'm not too concerned w/ upgrade paths at the moment. At this price point, I won't feel bad if I had to buy a new system in 3 or 4 years. But for what I'm doing (music production) I won't need to upgrade once I get a system that can handle my software w/ stability. I'm not 100% sure yet, and I'm not gonna order anything until Monday, so I'd be happy to hear any other comments. Thanks to everyone for all the help!
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:44 am

CMOl wrote:L3 Cache is shared between all the cores of the cpu, it's like memory. Games , 3d modeling and rendering, etc applications have code that is consistently be used and L3 cache is a lot faster than system memory, newer software would probably take more advantage of it.

For applications which are heavily multi-threaded, it can also help performance in that data that needs to be shared between threads running on different cores can be shared via the L3 cache on the chip, instead of getting flushed back out to DRAM and read back in. (L2 cache does this too, but it is much smaller; so without an L3, you hit the threshold where data needs to get flushed out to DRAM sooner.)
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:25 am

futilerecordings wrote:I'm curious... that i5 is a Quad-core 3.1 GHz, the x4 is quad-core 3.2 GHz. What makes the i5 faster? I realize that specs, in many cases, don't tell the whole story... is that the case here?


Architectural differences in the chip. Both might process x86 instruction sets...and a number of other command sets like AMD64, but they do so in different ways. I think that P4's peaked around 3.8 GHz. And even in a single-threaded application, the i5 is going to be faster even. The processing path is just that much more efficient.

Anyway, I'm PROBABLY gonna go w/ the x4 kit. I'm not too concerned w/ upgrade paths at the moment. At this price point, I won't feel bad if I had to buy a new system in 3 or 4 years. But for what I'm doing (music production) I won't need to upgrade once I get a system that can handle my software w/ stability. I'm not 100% sure yet, and I'm not gonna order anything until Monday, so I'd be happy to hear any other comments. Thanks to everyone for all the help!


If you haven't upgraded since a P4, you'll be happy with the results. For reference, here is a comparison of efficiency between some first generation Core processors, Sandy Bridge (second generation Core), and Phenom II X4 and X6 processors. It shows just how large the Sandy Bridge gains were. TR also did an article on Sandy Bridge that compares it with a range of other CPUs.
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Re: Building new PC (again)...thoughts?

Postposted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:26 pm

[SDG]Mantis wrote:
futilerecordings wrote:I'm curious... that i5 is a Quad-core 3.1 GHz, the x4 is quad-core 3.2 GHz. What makes the i5 faster? I realize that specs, in many cases, don't tell the whole story... is that the case here?


Architectural differences in the chip. Both might process x86 instruction sets...and a number of other command sets like AMD64, but they do so in different ways. I think that P4's peaked around 3.8 GHz. And even in a single-threaded application, the i5 is going to be faster even. The processing path is just that much more efficient.

Anyway, I'm PROBABLY gonna go w/ the x4 kit. I'm not too concerned w/ upgrade paths at the moment. At this price point, I won't feel bad if I had to buy a new system in 3 or 4 years. But for what I'm doing (music production) I won't need to upgrade once I get a system that can handle my software w/ stability. I'm not 100% sure yet, and I'm not gonna order anything until Monday, so I'd be happy to hear any other comments. Thanks to everyone for all the help!


If you haven't upgraded since a P4, you'll be happy with the results. For reference, here is a comparison of efficiency between some first generation Core processors, Sandy Bridge (second generation Core), and Phenom II X4 and X6 processors. It shows just how large the Sandy Bridge gains were. TR also did an article on Sandy Bridge that compares it with a range of other CPUs.


Cool... it's looking like I'm going w/ the X4, however I'm not sold yet. The intel stuff just seems to be of a overall higher quality. For $400 I can get an i5 kit:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... &CatId=333
However, it includes a low-power HDD, so I'd need to get a 7200 RPM HDD, so that adds another $50. Plus a second stick of 4 GB RAM, so we're almost at $500 now. The other downfall if I go that direction, is that the MoBo doesn't seem to include a standard PCI slot. I have a first generation UAD DSP card for my DAW, and I have a bunch of high-end plug-ins for it. It only has about 1 GHz of processing power, but I use the plug-ins a lot. However, w/ an i5 CPU, I don't think I'd really miss the DSP power, and there are plenty of high-end native plug-ins on the market these days.

They have i3 kits for the same price as the x4 kit, which would give me the upgrade path you guys mentioned. But from I've read, the i3 is relatively pointless considering what else is out there. Hmmm...
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