power. I determined that the CPU was overheating by looking
at the temperature in the BIOS. I checked the CPU fan and it
was turning. I took a closer look and found that the fan was
wobbly. It needs to be securely attached to the CPU. There
are two little plastic posts on the motherboard which the fan
needs to snap on to and I found that one of them broke off. So
I started researching.
Goals: I want something that can keep up with DOOM 3 and
Quake 4 (Linux) at my monitor's maximum resolution (1680 X 1050).
My old card is an nVidia GeForce FX 5500. It's an AGP card with
256 MB RAM. I can bring up Quake 4 at 1680 X 1050 but it's like
a slide show. Best playable resolution is 800 X 600. My buddies
tell me AGP is the bottleneck... you need PCI Express for the
higher res games.
My old system has 2 GB of RAM which isn't quite cutting it
anymore. (Is Eclipse a pig these days or what?)
so I want more memory, but that is pretty easy
Generally I want to build a pretty high end system that will
have adequate performance (or be upgradeable to have adequate
performance) for some years to come, without spending for the
absolute top of the line latest-and-greatest.
- GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P AMD 790FX AM3 Phenom II/Athlon X4/Athlon X3/Athlon X2 Socket AM3 5200 MT/s PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333) ATX Motherboard
- AMD HDZ965FBGIBOX Black Edition 3.40 GHz 4000 MHz AM3 4 x 512KB Desktop Processor
- HIS H487FN1GP Radeon HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express x16 (2.0v) Video Card
- OCZ OCZ3OB1600LV4GK 4GB PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) Dual Channel Memory
I priced this on ZipZoomFly and Newegg and ZipZoomFly came
in about $5 lower.
Since Intel still has not apologized and made restitution for its
impertinent prosecution of Perl guru Randal Schwartz, my CPU choice remains AMD. Plus AMD just seems to offer better
Here are some of the articles that helped me reach this decision:
- AMD's Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
- Phenom II X4 965: A Look at CPU/MB Bundle Pricing
- Best Graphics Cards For The Money: September '09
- Roundup: Four 790FX Socket AM3 Motherboards
- The Radeon HD 4870 1GB: The Card to Get
I was a bit surprised to see ATI graphics cards getting
these glowing reviews. The last time I researched a purchase
nVidia was the hot card and ATI was viewed as kind of an
also-ran. The HD 4870 is not the absolute hottest card
available but it is a Crossfire card and my
motherboard choice has a second PCI-E slot, so I can add
a second card if needed.
Memory-wise I'm getting 4 GB RAM plus two open slots, seems
like enough for the forseeable future.
I settled on the 790 FX chipset. I knew I was going to
buy a graphics card separately so it didn't make sense
to get something with an integrated graphics processor
like the 785. Of the four 790FX motherboards reviewed
in the article, only the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P had a legacy
parallel port allowing me to continue using my 15 year
old HP Laserjet 6, so I chose this one.