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  • gregounech - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    FIRST YAY. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Moron Reply
  • davegraham - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    is something missing here? Reply
  • meth0s - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Maybe this went up a bit early ;-) Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Hey, I'll give you props for trying. Can't get it right every time. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Oh, I get it. This is the blip for RSS feeds.

    Can't wait for the rest of it!
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Whoa! Not sure what happened there, but I was still editing the article and putting it into the CMS when you guys started looking at it. LOL. It's now finished so read at your leisure. Reply
  • davegraham - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link prob, Jarred. Reply
  • Zink - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    You should scale the cases so readers can see how much bigger than a 300 the 800D is. Reply
  • marc1000 - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    yes, the size of the case is important too. I quit buyn a HAF912 because it won't fit in my desk. I will have to change the desk first! :( Reply
  • ericloewe - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    I think Virtu is actually by Lucid, not Intel Reply
  • odditude - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    It also doesn't require Z68 - I just ordered an Intel DH67GDB3 that supports it. Reply
  • Termie - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    You linked to the EVGA GTX460 1GB "SE" model, but in your writeup and linked benchmark, you are referring to the non-SE model. The SE model is not comparable to the HD6850, and is not a good deal at $115 after rebate. May I recommend the ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP 768MB, which is currently on Newegg for $115 after $30 rebate? If you're willing to go over $1000 pre-rebate, the EVGA GTX460 1GB non-SE model is also available for $170 with a $40 rebate. Reply
  • cobalt42 - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    True, that is the SE model, and that fact should probably have been mentioned. I think it's still definitely a good deal though. It's factory overclocked, with a higher clockspeed than the 768MB, and the extra RAM and memory bandwidth can make a big difference even at 1920x1200 resolutions and moderate AA, so for about the same price I'd pick the SE 1GB over the 768MB, personally. The only thing you're getting by going up to the non-SE is an extra SM's worth of shader processors. (Non-SE 1GB is probably the best deal, but the extra $20 here would have put them over budget.) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Sorry, that was my bad. Zach had the 6850 in there initially, but after discussing it with Ryan I switched out for the GTX 460. Unfortunately, I accidentally snagged an SE instead of the full 460; I've updated the prices and text accordingly, but it's only a $10 increase after MIR (and $5 increase before MIR). Reply
  • GatoRat - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Why jump from sub 1000 to 2000? For about 1200-1400, you can build a pretty good Core i7 2600 based system. Reply
  • DanNeely - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    The first paragraph of the $2k build discusses a $1400 build (upgrade the GPU + PSU on the $1k build) Reply
  • StormyParis - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    I'm all for spending money on fancy things (not !), but could we at least get a handful of benchmarks to know what that extra cash is buying ? A very appreciated extra would be a CPU vs GPU upgrade tryout, where we can see for the 2 lower builds where extra money would be well spent (my guess, GPU, always ?)

    Apart from that, thanks for a nice article, especially the first page which helps understand the ungodly mess that Intel's CPU/GPU/Chipset catalog is.
  • another user - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    > Unlike the Core i3 models, however, the Sandy Bridge Pentiums do not support Intel’s Quick Sync Video technology or DDR3-1333 RAM

    According to Pentiums G8xx do support DDR3 1333.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Reminds me of Cramer pumping up stocks in the summer of 2008. Oh yeah, great time to buy! Why would any sane person recommend an i3-2100 + a 6570 for a combined $180 when you will be able to get a llano cpu and motherboard for less than that, and it will game better?

    Of course llano isnt out yet, and of course this is a "sandy bridge" buyer's guide. But gimme a break... who you foolin? The timing on this is laughably conspicuous. Right now is an especially wise time to buy! No, it's not.

    It's ok to kiss the hand of your master, but jeez you dont have to lick it.
  • fic2 - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    I thought the top end Llano was rumored to be $170. Also pretty sure that an i3-2100 would beat it in most things except software that could use all 4 cores of the high end Llano. Plus, with the Llano you really have no place to go upwards without buying a new mb. With i3 at least you could get an i5 or i7 next year for a speed boost. Probably also find the i5 or i7 used once the Ivy Bridges start coming out. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    That's the kind of tone I expect from the 14 year-olds who post at Engadget (the comments there are incredibly obnoxious). Would it have been possible to make your point without being a jerk about it?

    Regarding the actual content of your post (as opposed to tone), have you seen this?
    It seems unlikely that Llano will have better gaming performance than the 6570 (given that it performs a little worse than a 5570 which is slower than the 6570). And the i3-2100 will

    And have you seen this? Except for highly threaded workloads, the i3-2100 is generally faster than Llano.

    So indeed, it might be a good time to buy. While it's possible that Llano will be cheap enough that it will be a better value proposition, you won't be kicking yourself about the performance differential.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    We already have a pretty good idea of what Llano has to offer: slower CPU but faster IGP. If you care about gaming, as mentioned in this very guide, you'll want to add a discrete GPU regardless. Llano's IGP might look pretty good on a 1366x768 laptop, which is where we praised the performance. On a 1680x1050 or more likely 1920x1080 desktop, if you're playing any games you'll want a lot more than 6550D. Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    The article also makes an interesting note that for everyday use you'd be hard pressed to notice much of a difference between the i3 and lower priced AMD proccessors. This is key for just about everyone outside of enthusiasts I think as we have hit a bit of a wall with even the cheapest cpu's being "good enough" "fast enough" for the masses on most applications. Reply
  • mczak - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    I say it's not good value, get a HD6670 instead.
    All reviews of HD6570 I've seen were using gddr5, and guess what every single one you can buy is using ddr3 (some even with lower than reference memory clock) - just like HD6450. BUT some of the HD6670 are using ddr3 too actually (especially the cheaper ones, I don't think AMD even told anyone ddr3 cards of HD6670 would exist) looks like the real cards are all at least 95$ which moves them close to HD5750/HD6750 levels unfortunately. So if you're going for best performance/price you're probably looking at HD5750/HD6750 from the red team (the HD5770/6770 are no doubt faster but pretty much the same perf/price wise).
    Or if you really want to get a cheaper card, just step down to HD5570, which is only 65$ instead of 80$ (it's got some less alus but with that low memory bandwidth it probably won't make much difference anyway - just be careful and don't get a HD5570 with ddr2(!!!) memory).
  • TrackSmart - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    I agree. Also, if you want to game, it's worth spending just a few dollars more for much better performance. Especially when the 5770 is often on sale for around $100. Sometimes under $100 with rebates. Reply
  • duploxxx - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Now I have read and loved lots of info from anandtech site for years, but this must be one of THE MOST STUPID buyers guide I have ever seen.

    Do we realy need to start believing that for every review Anandtech is posting on the Intel part's you get a kind of bonus, it was already horrible on the computex time, but what happend here? to much AMD lately so you got kicked by Intel Marketing guys to do something in favor??? for every build created you need to downplay AMD for everything????

    Succinctly, the second-gen Core CPUs are astonishingly powerful and sip electricity.
    I been so impressed by a new CPU as I have by
    It’s also a great time to build an Intel-based
    if you buy a Core i7-2600K now, you’ll be at the near pinnacle of desktop computing for at least 5-6 months.
    It really is remarkable that such a powerful computer can be assembled for less than $500.....but you only have a cpu :)
    cuts through genomic datasets like a hot knife through butter, and it noticeably reduced the time it takes me to get answers to my research questions
    Video encoders and gamers alike will see remarkably improved results versus even the first-gen Core i5-750. Oh, and rare is the Core i5-2500K that can’t overclock to 4.4GHz on air, with the stock cooler.

    WTF is this kind of guide I only smoke SNB, don't wait for BD and x79 guide, if BD can compete your magical 2600K might drop in price or get replaced by just another day.... how does that feel after such an anandtech remarkable praise to buy this stuff NOW, not to mention the additional parts... like an old outdated NV460 ???? or a 580 that really nobody needs unless you have a high-end large screen which is not even within the guide???? low budget antec and biostar just to be able to scratch the expensive 2500K in a 1000$ build and so on....

    damn how the hell did you ever get to post reviews in the first place.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    How much will 2600K drop in price if Bulldozer is actually competitive? $100? Intel doesn't sell Core i3 parts for less than about $130, Core i5 stops at about $185, and Core i7 currently starts at around $250 (i7-950). So IF you wait 2.5 months, and IF Bulldozer is competitive, you can save yourself $50 to $100. Generally speaking, if you wait three months, you'll always get at least a $100 increase in performance or decrease in price.

    Tell me this: what is wrong with GTX 460? It's not as shiny and new as GTX 560! It uses an "old" die spin that results in yields not being as good and clocking not being as high. I suppose we should all throw out anything that isn't less than six months old while we're at it? We apparently shouldn't look at GTX 580 either, even though the text spent 500 words discussing why we selected that GPU. Why? Ryan has tested more GPUs that you're likely to see, and I've used CF and SLI enough to agree, that for $450 I'd rather have a single GTX 580 than any CF or SLI setup. It won't be faster in some games, but the headaches of CF/SLI often aren't worth the performance increases you get when it works right.

    But, if you read that paragraph, we already spelled all of this out, including links to where you can buy the alternatives. So, what is your rationale for not wanting a 580 in there? The lack of a large screen? Wait, let me see... "and really you should have at least a 27” WQHD panel if you’re looking at this sort of graphics setup." Wow. Your complaint was addressed right there. And the opening paragraph on the high end helps as well: "If you’re looking for all that gaming performance without dropping two grand, take the midrange build and add the GPU(s) and power supply from the list below."

    Sorry you didn't like Zach's review, or apparently any of my editing. I am still in full agreement with Zach: right now is an AWESOME time to buy an Intel desktop, because there's nothing coming out in the next three months on the Intel side that will really make it outdated. Ivy Bridge is the next major revision, and that's still 6 months out. LGA 2011 is not for the mainstream users. Will AMD have something to entice people away? Llano can do something on the low-end (which we already acknowledged in the intro), and Bulldozer might do something at the mid- and high-end, but we won't know until September. For those that don't even care what AMD releases (I know plenty of businesses and users that won't even consider a non-Intel PC), this guide has them covered.
  • ckryan - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    Thank you, Jarred.

    Hell, I'm on my second iteration of my 2500k build -- and my system is basically the $1000 system. My MSI Cyclone GTX 460 is superb for me as a "medium" gamer at 1900x1200. Mine also has an absurd amount of headroom in the tank for those times when a 25+% clock boost is called for. Your conclusions are very much on point. Migrating to SB from a quad core Phenom/Athlon II is worth just for the smile it puts on your face. Apparently some people like to take the fun out of everything -- it is supposed to be fun, isn't it?
  • marc1000 - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    yeah, we will always have someone complaining about ANY buyers guide. don't bother with them. I have an old c2duo e7200 (oc to 3.16ghz) and was impressed with the performance of an i3-530 on a notebook. I'm just waiting for some ca$h to buy my i5-2500k.... Reply
  • GullLars - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    I agree on the 2500K + GTX 460 being a great build for "medium" gamers, so don't take the next part as an attack on that system.

    Regarding the last part of your post, if you already have a quad Phenom II / Athlon II, migrating to a LGA 1155 build will require you to get both a motherboard and CPU, combined cost ~$300-350. If you don't already have an SSD, a 128GB Vertex 3, M4, or 510 will give you a noticably better improvement than going to the 2500K system outside number crunching.

    For gaming, an Athlon/Phenom II x4 >2,5GHz won't slow down a 460 noticably at 1900x1200 medium. There may be a few FPS difference, but both will be perfectly playable, and the GPU will be the determining factor.
  • marc1000 - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    for light use my c2duo is perfectly fine. I even do "almost medium" gaming because I invested in a radeon 5770 (it goes fine with my 1680x1050 monitor). but when I need to convert a blu-ray disc (legally bought), my system goes to its knees... it takes 5 to 6 hours for a single disk. at this task the sandy bridge cpus are faster than phenom II, and for anyone with even older hardware like me, it's about 5 times faster... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    True. If you're upgrading a PC as opposed to buying new, the point at which it becomes important varies from individual to individual. I'm still running a Core 2 Quad desktop, and my wife is on Core 2 Duo -- only my gaming rig is running Core i7 (Bloomfield). My current go-to laptop is a Sandy Bridge quad-core that's actually faster than my Core 2 Quad desktop, but all my apps are still running happily on the C2Q.

    If you are already running in an AMD ecosystem, there's really no point to upgrading to Llano right now. Even if it's compatible with your motherboard, all you'd really get is lower power draw and a faster IGP. Considering you can get a much faster dGPU for $50, why bother? And as far as power goes, let's say Llano saves you 20W on average; at $0.15 per kWh (which is actually more than a lot of people in the US pay), you'd need to run 24/7 for five years to recoup the cost of a $100 investment. In five years, I can pretty much guarantee you'd have upgraded at least once if not twice from Llano.
  • ckryan - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    I decided to build a new system based on SB in part pretty much just cause I wanted to. A quad core Athlon/Phenom II isn't exactly feeble and it wasn't "holding me back". I didn't need to upgrade, I just wanted to upgrade. The 2500k/2600k might be a great deal ahead of the K10.5 architecture but it's not like AMDs are obsolete. Part of my decision to upgrade was based on the fact that I needed to build a system for a family member -- so I just upgraded my system and handed down my AMD system -- which is still way more powerful a system than was necessary. I bought an H67 and a 2500k which was great, but then I decided to get a P67 board. To be clear, in the few games I do play I get better framerates... but it's largely academic. I say if you're building a system for someone else, esp. if they're not a gamer than an H67/Core i3 is a great way to go. Which is what I'm planning to do with my "old" Biostar TH67+. Reply
  • marc1000 - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    yeah, giving away our older parts is a great reason to upgrade! =D

    I guess that this "upgrading cycle" is more of an addiction than a necessity. I'm planning to whom I will give my old system as soon as I buy that 2500k!
  • jjj - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    "an AWESOME time to buy an Intel desktop, because there's nothing coming out in the next three months on the Intel side "

    Why would anyone sane buy based on brand name,how does it matter if it's Intel or AMD side and how is 3 MONTHS !?! a significant period of time?

    We have BD coming soon,you say september and it would be nice to tell us what makes you think it is september and not august since all public info suggests august,.There is SB-E this year and i guess we can hope BD will force Intel to price it better than it was planned and then Ivy Bridge could arrive in 7-10 months.It's maybe the worst time to buy a new desktop in YEARS.

    That aside,there are a lot of "best Intel something" articles lately on the internets,i really do hope this wasn't a payed article,or written at Intel's request. You guys are already almost never criticizing any products you review,always looking for the upside and that's starting to be annoying.You might need to keep good relations with hardware makers but objectivity is way more important or you'll end up being the next THG.
  • marc1000 - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    I don't agree with you. I don't believe they are saying any of this because of brand names. It's because of real performance. See, I'm an AMD supporter - each and every GPU I used is ATI/AMD (since the times of geforce2mx ruling the market, I was buying the radeon9000). I even bought an Athlon 64 system when it was faster than any Pentium. but since the core2duo, the intel CPU's are the best performers. I really hope that AMD will deliver a capable CPU with the next iteration of bulldozer, but right now you can't go wrong when buying any of the new sandy bridge cpus. Reply
  • duploxxx - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    difference between initail buyers guide and this version :)

    In the end it's all about levelling a build, first of all you mention a pricerange, but you forget to add kyb-mouse-speakers and screens, so to what extend does a buyer only assign parts to the case and content..... never they look at the full picture.

    THe budget 500$ is off for a SNB anyhow right now, it is totally out of balance, you have more then CPU power enough for general usage and you get an IGP that is worth é&é&é&é sure general desktop usage is fine, but not meant to play any decent game at all, so you need a GPU anyhow.

    a very low budget mobo, the MSI -e35 has at least USB3 support....
    the caviar blue is slow against black series and others like spinpoint....

    THe 1000$ build is also not balanced. there is no need for the 2500K a 2400 will do more then ok for such a rig, for the difference in price you get a 6870 from asus or the his also in rebate with much better price/performance/power ratio then this 460. THe antec psu i would trade it in for a corsair anyday. cheap case that ain't really that looking unless you have a -25j old public. While the 60GB SSD does serve it's purpose here it is narrow on size and performance.... again balance the needs

    The 2000$ build well nothing to add, but then again select all major parts doesn't always provide the best ratio price/perf/power. you could easily take the 2500K here (no need for those HT cores anyway in daily usage), go with a 570 or 6970. buy a faster and better ssd, intel 68 chipset that isn' t really added value beside higher price.... throwing with money but forget for a total complete build you actually need 500$ more for the peripherals at the same level.

    last thing.... its nice searching for the cheapest prices everywhere on the net, but the chances that buyers actually go search for 3 different sites for the lowest $ cost for each part is hardly the case.

    Sure you can mention the fact that AMD has nothing new to offer right now so you don't throw them in, but the 500-1000$ range is still a valid range to compare both where they will do more then well for any user. The non-intel PC users is just lack of IT mind, old school ready for retirement in this branche.....

  • hi87 - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    You're a joke Duploxx. Just stfu. Anything that is not pro-AMD you hate on.

    I'm not a fanboy, I'm just sick of your trolling on anything that's about Intel. Damn, how childish are you?
  • Broheim - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    +1 Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    What's interesting about the $1000 range system is how many of us have come to many of the same conclusions. My system would be very comparable on all the key components save perhaps the Power Supply.. (using an 650HX from Corsair) Altho I don't see anything wrong with using Antec's 400W either. Reply
  • duploxxx - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    spoken by one who believes atom is better then e-350 :)
    yeah right

    I didn't reply on the fact that they don't offer an AMD design just the way they talk about certain products and there unbalanced designs which are much to CPU centric.... but then again that's all what matter's
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    How can you say that? They gave the nod to the 260 and the 945 as being competent cpu's for todays users with gains being in most instances marginal at best (for the budget entry)

    Fact remains systems today regardless of CPU choice(s) are all pretty stellar. This isn't the days of the celeron where you take really big hits for budget builds.
  • duploxxx - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    As far as I am aware the internet and forums are there to use by those who want. So who are you to decide if I should write or not, second I will decide for myself what I prefer or not.

    stating someone is a fanboy and you as the responder is obviously not is al ready very questionable.

    That doesn't change the fact that while this is an SNB oriented guide that Anadtech should have withdrawn them from downplaying another company or even referring to it, afterall it is a guide to a buy a cpu from 1 company only. And it doesn't change the fact that these design builds have no real design pupose besides a price range and they are all build with oversized cpu and downsizing all other parts just to be able to fit in the budget of 500 and 1000$.
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    They sorta have to mention them as they are a factor... I am a huge amd fan and I thought the comments they made in reference to amd were quite favorable. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    well that happens off course when the buyers guide content changes..... most here didn't see the first article. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, June 17, 2011 - link

    It's pretty likely that bulldozer will just beat out Nahalem. I'd be surprised if it was competitive with Sandy Bridge, let alone the next CPU coming out, on 22nm. I forget the code name but you know what I'm talking about. I think AMD is in trouble as far as CPU's go. They're just falling farther and farther behind.

    I really hope they pull out another Athlon 64 soon so Intel drops their crazy pricing and ludachris motherboard policies. Stupid no native USB 3.0, 2 SATA 6GBPS ports? really? Really?
  • GullLars - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    Kinda OT, but LudaChris is a rapper, and the name is a pun on Ludicrous+Chris. :P Reply
  • Andreos - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    As it is, I have already built my SB system, and you guys are basically a day late and a dolla short. Some of your component choices are strange, if not mystifying. Folks ought to read the motherboard reviews on Newegg before plunking down their money on some of your recommendations. I think you guys are caught up way too much on theoretical considerations and personal technology fetishes, and need to get back to the practical aspects of system building. Reply
  • DanNeely - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    Start of the $2k build page: "There are areas where this system will be close to twice as fast as the midrange build, but that’s mostly in games and comes courtesy of the dual GPUs." As listed the system has a single high end GPU, not CF/SLI midrange cards. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    Fixed. We had initially put 6950 CF in the build, but Ryan talked us out of that. It's still an alternative, though, so now it's "graphics card(s)". :-) Reply
  • Mcgoober - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    Umm...problem. The Antec HCG 400 has only 1 pci-e connector. All GTX 460s need 2 pci-e connectors and using a molex adapter on that PS isn't going to work but I'll let you figure out why. Not to mention 400 watts for that build is probably the worst advice ever. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    I've updated the text slightly to address your question. You'll need a Molex to PCIe for the second PEG connector, but trust me: you're not going to use 400W with the components we've listed. We already mentioned that adding a second GPU would need a larger PSU, but I was running 5850 CrossFire off of a 450W PSU (using Molex to PEG adapters on the second card) for about a year without problems. So why am I not running that anymore? Simply put, a single 5870 2GB card is proving to be a better experience overall. Reply
  • bl4C - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    Jarred, are you a gamer or a casual gamer ?
    i find it strange that you're almost "recommending" a 450W PSU for a 5850 CF setup ... the total system power draw under full load could/would be well over 450W

    maybe you're only a causal gamer ?
    in that case you probably won't be stressing you graphic cards that much, but then there wouldn't have been any need to go CF ... and that might explain also why the single 5870 is a better experience for you

    anyway, your comment puzzles me, as it is coming from a writer for the (personally respected) Anandtech site ... it sounds almost like an argument from a salesman: "this is a great piece of hardware ... i have one at home myself", trying to pesuade you into buying :D
    no offense, but puzzling ... why would you be using a 450 PSU for a CF setup ? (in the context of somebody who works for Anandtech :D ... )

    about the article itself, probably the title says it all:
    "Sandy Bridge Buyer’s Guide"
    it's just that, and if you look it it like that, and beyond the components-price tables (actually read it :) ), it can be helpful for people just wanting to buy a Sandy Bridge system (emphasis on "a")
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    I beat Crysis and Crysis: Warhead, Mass Effect 2, and several other games on the 5850 CrossFire setups. I'm currently playing through Crysis 2 with the 5870 (it's part of why I switched; CrossFire was broken for over a month after release), I play Left 4 Dead 2 on occasion, and I'm working on Dragon Age (never did beat it) so that I can play Dragon Age 2, along with playing Fallout: New Vegas. I've played other games as well (Trine, Shadowgrounds, Shadowgrounds Survivor recently) as well. If that's only a "casual" gamer, well, I'd like you to talk to my wife.

    Why only a 450W PSU? Because when I'm not gaming, my overclocked Core i7-965 idles at around 170W (and it was around 125W with 5850 CF). Since there are many hours in a day where I'm not gaming, maximum efficiency comes into play. A 750W PSU is generally less efficient at ~150W load than a 450W PSU. Actually, I even have a 750W PSU I'm going to swap in at some point, but only so I can go to 5870 CrossFire. Until I make that upgrade, the current PSU is running perfectly fine.

    IMO, there are far too many people who remain convinced that just because NVIDIA and AMD generally say you need at least 650W for SLI/CF, it's true. AMD and NVIDIA need to worry about people buying a cheap 500W PSU and having it die and kill their GPUs and other components because it really couldn't handle a 500W load (or even 400W). My current PSU is actually a Thermaltake LightPower 450W -- not even SLI or CF certified! The horror! Again, I've tested a variety of games and apps, and under load with 5850 CrossFire I never managed to exceed 400W at the wall; as an 80 Plus Bronze PSU, it's likely running at 83-85% efficiency, so the highest load I measured (using a Kill-A-Watt) was 385W, which translates to a PSU output of around 320-325W. I suppose if I were to load up Furmark and run Cinebench at the same time, I could draw more power, but I'm still 125W south of the rated output.
  • DanNeely - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Efficiency curves tend to be more or less flat between 20 and 80% load. 1 or 2% variation is negligible. My preference for a PSU that exceeds maximum load by 200-300W is driven by noise considerations. It's only the last few hundred watts of load that cause the PSU fan to spin up above idle, so my overprovisioned PSUs never switch out of all but silent mode. My CPU is water cooled and uses quiet 1350 RPM fans. The GPU is currently an issue; but my planned fall build will include a larger rad so I can bring it into the loop as well. Reply
  • toyota - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    its still a bad idea recommending just a 400 watt psu for that level of pc. 360 watts MAX on the 12v line is not a lot to work with and if you oc that i5 and gtx460 significantly you will be asking for it. it also limits upgrades because if you decide you want something that uses more power you will need a new psu. 500-550 watt psus with around 40 amps should be the recommendation for a system of that level. Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    I think they were making a point with the inclusion of the 400W PSU. Alot of enthusiasts would be surprised at what you can get up and running on 400-500W units if they are of good quality. Most of us are not PSU experts afterall and tend to opt out for beefier units which are more often then not overkill. Reply
  • BernardP - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    "... right now is an especially wise time to buy into a Sandy Bridge system..."

    I would respectfully beg to differ. If one doesn't absolutely have to buy now, it seems safer to wait at most a couple of months to see what Bulldozer has to offer before buying. We already have credible leaks abour BD pricing, and it should be competitive with SB. Relative performance info is what is missing now.
  • GullLars - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    A posibble alternative to the 510 is Crucial M4, the 128GB versions of both are different from the 256GB ones performance wise, and it makes the M4 look better. I'd only advice 510 over 320 for scratch-disk duty, or heavy sequential loads. The vertex 3 is also a better choice than 510 IMO for boot drive on such a build, if you're not building it for someone else who require stability without ever getting support from you again.

    A nice way to waste/spend money past what you have put up there is RAID-0 of 2x 128GB SSDs, be that 510, M4, or Vertex 3. The 67 motherboards have 2x 6Gbps ports, and can handle 1000MB/s of bandwidth and >100K IOPS.
  • SantaAna12 - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    "... right now is an especially wise time to buy into a Sandy Bridge system..."

    Why are you saying this? I remember you flat refusal to talk about the this. Shades of Toms Hardware comedy IMO.
  • scott967a - Saturday, June 18, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure about the RAM choice -- seems to be 1600-CAS 9. Wouldn't CAS 7 be a better fit at that speed? Also it seems like that RAM is spec'ed at 1.65v. I've seen many claims that that's too high on an SB system? Reply
  • Germanicus - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Jared: If this is true, it is really pathetic. So performance, power consumption, reliability, and cost were all superior on an AMD system they'd still buy Intel? I hope you're letting them know that it is foolish to discount one company over another simply because of a name.

    Where is the logic??
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Big business often has no logic; that's what carried Intel through the Pentium 4/Pentium D era where Athlon 64/X2 were superior in performance, power, and cost (with reliability being the one potential drawback, not because of AMD but because of the motherboards). Even today, I still get plenty of people that ask me about laptops and desktops and only know that "Intel Inside is important". Reply
  • Germanicus - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    I'd hope you're doing best by your customers and informing them that "Intel Inside" really is *not* important, and that they should be swayed by blue men and cute marketing jingles. I have to imagine if you let them know they could save money by not opting for Intel they'd be all ears. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    I let them know the current market -- not that I have a lot of customers, mind you. And the current market is pretty simple: AMD is less expensive and not as fast. Up until Llano, AMD also used more power, but the difference in power is not so much as to be a significant issue. Long-term, ever since Core 2 came out, I have generally recommended Intel, but for those interested in saving money I have built quite a few AMD setups. During the Athlon 64/X2 vs. Pentium 4/D era, 95% of the systems I built were AMD. P4 vs. Athlon XP was about 50/50.

    For laptops, my recommendations tend more heavily towards Intel. I don't recommend netbooks, but I have had a couple people purchase HP dm1z on my recommendation. There have also been a few $400 sales for AMD laptops that I've told people about. Mostly, though, battery life is important on laptops and Intel had that and performance on their side, so they won out. Now I have to juggle the fGPU vs. IGP aspect, but I can tell you my experience is 90% of the time the people I'm helping get a laptop (usually over 35 years old) put absolutely no weight on graphics, since the only real reason to get faster than HD 2000/3000 is if you want to play games.
  • marc1000 - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    in some cases, "intel inside" (or "amd inside") is actually important. business users and big companies have other considerations to make. see, I'm a DBA and I know that AMD and Intel cpu's handle floating point in different ways. if you create and test an application using a system from one vendor, and when you publish that app on a production server that has a different CPU, you will have problems on the float and real columns inside your tables. this is just one example.

    so, if a company has already used Intel (or AMD) cpu's on their servers, they have to take these issues in consideration when buying new servers or even desktops.
  • Fallen Kell - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    I just upgraded the CPU/motherboard/RAM. I went from a Gigabyte X48-DQ6+E6600+4GB DDR2 to the following:

    MSI Z68A-GD80 motherboard
    G.Skill 4x4GB DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
    Intel SSD 510 120GB
    4x WD 2TB Green
    LG GGC-H20L Blu-Ray/HD-DVD combo drive
    3x Sony 200 disc DVD+/-RW Burner/Changer
    Powercolor HD5750 SCS3
    Enermax Modu82+ 625W power supply
    Antec Remote Fusion MAX case (minus the Tri-cool fans which are way too loud, Scythe S-Flex F 120mm rear fan and Noctua 140mm side fan replaced them)
    Noctua NH-D14 heatsink (yes it fits in that case)

    I am still in the process of re-installing everything, but this system is absolutely awesome. System temps are 28C and CPU temp 45C while re-encoding a blu-ray iso into a mkv file. I still need to configure my recording software again and setup Mediaportal for the front-end (and configure any software tweaks like LAV, FFDShow, etc). But from what I have seen so far, I am really liking it.
  • arorarah - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    I would like to purchase a new computer which will be mainly used as an HTPC and for HD video transcoding but no gaming.

    Please find below the configuration:

    Processor - Intel i3-2105
    Motherboard - Intel DH67BL
    Ram - Kingston 4GB X 1 - Value Ram DDR 3 - 1333 MHZ
    Power Supply - Corsair CX430 ($50)
    Cabinet - NZXT Gama Classic - ($42)

    I have a DVD Writer a 1 TB Seagate HDD.

    1) Please let me know if the above configuration is alright for my needs
    2) Is there any noticeable difference between the HD 2000 and HD 3000 while watching 1080p videos or doing video Transcoding?

    The Antec Cabinet and PSU metioned in the Article are quite expensive in India.
    The Cabinet is about $78
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Might want to make sure the Kingston memory is the 1.5V variant and I've always found that Intel Branded boards are higher priced. Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    "Oh, and rare is the Core i5-2500K that can’t overclock to 4.4GHz on air, with the stock cooler."


    In my experience the stock cooler isn't good enough for overclocking.. I keep my place relatively cool so ambient temperatures are usually lower then most but wow.. On a lark I was doing quick overclocks with the 2500k using the stock cooler and I quickly went past my comfort zone of 60C with a few benchmarks.. (not even the most demanding ones!) After that I scaled back to stock and opted to not OC until I had a aftermarket cooler in there. I really don't think the stock cooler is good enough if you plan to overclock.
  • arorarah - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Thank you so much just4u. I'll check if the Kingston ram is 1.5V.

    I am getting the i3-2100 and the intel DH67BL motherboard for for $218 in India. Its a good price. However, the intel i3-2105 has not been launched in India as yet.

    I wanted to know if there is any noticeable difference between the HD 2000 and HD 3000 while watching 1080p videos or Transcoding video.

    If there is no noticeable difference then I need not wait for the i3-2105 and can purchase the i3-2100 instead.

    Thanks. I really appreciate your help.
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    It's not as impressive as the HD3000 but.. supposedly it decodes just as well and should offer the same sort of quality for video playback. Reply
  • arorarah - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Thank you so much just4U. I 'll wait and purchase the i3-2105. Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    I didn't want to sway your choice one way or another but since you've decided... I don't really know why Intel even released the 2000. It's an improvement yes but it's certainly not in a class with the 3000. You'd think (since it outdoes the competition in most respects) they'd have opted out for it being the standard but... no. Had to offer a lesser alternative that's really not much better then the 785 chipset. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    It's all about market segments -- Intel wants to have things they can point to and say, "See, i5 is better than i3, and i7 is better than i5!" Since CPU performance has mostly leveled off, they start doing things like Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost, HD2000/3000, and Quick Sync. If you're not going to use Quick Sync and you're just running basic tasks, even the Pentium SNB chips are still plenty fast for basic use. Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Oh I agree.. but look what their doing.. One of the i5's has the 3000 graphics.. a future i3 many of their mobility products. Granted some of these are their top products for each series but you kind of roll your eyes at it all and explaining it to potentials buyers not in the know is a trial at the best of times. Reply
  • P_Turner - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link


    As you pointed out, the Sandy Bridge Pentium G620 does not support DDR3-1333 RAM.

    Does that mean that the system wouldn't boot, or just that the memory would run as DDR3-1066?

    Thanks in advance, Paul
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Nearly all memory (unless it's really bad) will work at lower speeds, often with better timings. So if you get DDR3-1600 CL9, you can usually run that at DDR3-1333 CL8, or DDR3-1066 CL6. The real determiner of speed is often the cycle time, and as you can see below, DDR3-1600 CL9 is actually a faster cycle than DDR3-1066 CL7, meaning it should work at CL7 no problem, and probably even CL6.

    DDR3-1600 CL9 cycle time = 5.625ns
    DDR3-1333 CL8 cycle time = 6.000ns
    DDR3-1066 CL7 cycle time = 6.563ns
    DDR3-1066 CL6 cycle time = 5.625ns
  • P_Turner - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link


    I wouldn't ordinarily clutter up the comments to say "thank you," but your response goes well beyond the call of duty.

    Now let's hope that next year's Ivy Bridge really is backwards compatible with a Z68 chipset mobo purchased this summer.
  • L. - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Again ... such a failure.

    Seriously.. you're spending 1k on a box and you take an SSD, and a cheap GFX when for 70 more you can get a 6950 ...

    And don't get me started on the 2k box ... you manage NOT to have SLI/CFX on a 2k box ... are you paid by boutiques to justify their ridiculous pricing or something ?
  • cjs150 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    There is now always something new coming over the horizon, whether in Motherboards, CPUs, GPUS, SSDs etc.

    The issue is whether you need to buy (I do as my 8 year old computer died last week) and what do you need the computer for.

    My monitor does not do 1920x1080, so GPUs does not need to be top of the range, but I do like gaming. I do want to do a lot of video encoding (OK, I meant rip my Blu-ray collection onto that nice NAS I bought last week!)

    So: 2600K seems a good choice.

    More ram is always a good idea, but absolute top speed is probably overkill.

    SSD is a must. Once you have used it as the boot drive and for key programs (but, for me, not for windows swap file) you will never go back. Might as well be sata 6.

    1 TB Hard disk is good - more storage than ever likely to need (thanks to a 6TB Raid in the NAS) but I like silence so might go for a 500 Gb 2.5" HD and stick it into a Scythe HD silencing box.

    GPU is a tricky choice. NVidia 560 (with option to go to SLI) should be enough for me

    Big disagreement is choice of case. The new Fractal Design cases look very good and are a lot cheaper.

    I only have one question:

    Why do we need ATX boards these days? Sound is handled fine by the motherboard. What cards do people run that they need more than 4 slots? Sure there are speed kings (and queens) running triple or quad SLI but other than those I really fail to see why anyone needs more than a micro-atx board
  • L. - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Most configs would fit on a mini-ITX if there were no thermal issues with those.
    a 2600K for your needs is completely overkill.. check out the forums if you want advice.
    Also, micro ATX w/ sli can be sometimes too small, if you want slots apart + some other stuff in pcie ..
  • glassd - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    As much as I like the GTX 580, with a bit of searching you can get a pair of 6950's for about the same price as 1 GTX 580. Thanks to the really good scaling of the 6950 in crossfire you get way more gaming performance out of the the 6950's compared to the GTX 580. Unless you have a specific need for CUDA, I would recommend a pair for 6950's over a single GTX 580 for the high end build. Reply
  • otpi - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Just ordered parts last week and reading this made me happy ^^

    I basically bought the "what can you get for 2000$", 'tho I got a GTX 560ti, and have a 800D with an AX750 psu.
  • Bigroy - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - link

    AMD keeps supplying their loyal customers with budget buys. Take for example a 740 Heka Triple Core black edition. For eighty seven dollars, you get an unlocked Quad Core that can run at 3.6 Gightz. A Full ATX 100 dollar ASUS Board will unlock the 4th core. That is my machine and very happy with it. Add some Quick Corsair memory and CPU fan, and ASUS 5770 for $120 and you get a poor man's computer that will play all games. Problem with the new expensive intel chips is that they have not been tested, and I mean four to five years of gaming and video processing. I don't believe in the budget i3 computer, because you can just as well buy it at Walmart. And that is not what gamers build. Antec Power Supplies, Corsair Memory, Water cooled CPU's and Lian Li Cases. That is a budget build for gaming. You are talking Walmart with your build. Won't last a year. So try building the i3 again, but this time with good parts and see how much it comes out to. Reply
  • monkeyboy311 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    I want to build a budget system for my Dad. He does the basics, surf the web, email, HD videos, Popcap style games (casual games). Is it worth waiting for AMD Llano or should I go with this system? Reply
  • handyjarhead - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    Would I need to buy a CPU cooler for this computer or would it be fine without one? Reply
  • martixy - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    Articles like these are the reason I love anandtech! Reply
  • Anato - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Keep hanging, no point to move LGA-1155 as its close to parallel move. So wait SNB-E and if you need then go, but X58 is still very capable system. I wouldn't by SNB-E for gaming but for work it might be upgrade if data-runs need it. Reply

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