Description

This PC was originally built in 2010.

AMD Phenom II x4 955 Black Edition Asrock M3A770DE motherboard (sb7xx based) 2x2gb DDR1333 Radeon HD 5770

Since then I've made some minor updates to the system over the last 3 years, originally the system hard disk was the 500GB WD green in the parts list, I moved to a Spinpoint F3 and relegated the WD Green to a backup disk. I had an additional WD Green from another system that I salvaged for use with Windows 8's File History feature.

In April I switched out the original PSU, an Antec Earthwatts 430D for the Seasonic X750 Gold (closest I could find was 760 on here)

In late June I moved to replaced the GPU with the 7870 below, I found that the Phenom II was bottlenecking the 7870 significantly so I moved to a Haswell chip.

The case I have had since I was in 8th grade. At one point I had 4 of these (2 were the previous generation model), I now only have this one and another just like it. For some reason I can't bring myself to part with this case. I actually built the PC in a different case in 2010 and decided to move it over to this one that was sitting in a closet at that time.

The cost below is not accurate.

Edit: Also, thanks to auxy from ##hardware on Freenode for helping me identify the bottleneck

Comments

  • 76 months ago
  • 3 points

I had that same case for 7 years, only the mid tower version and it was black. It was really easy to work with, only wish cooling options were better back then, as 80mm fans can be annoyingly loud.

I will say I have a hard time believing the 955 was bottle necking the 7870, those are two models often paired together with good results.

The only other thing that jumped out was why you chose a Z87 motherboard with a locked processor? Otherwise this is a nice build that should be adequate for a few years.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

I originally planned on saving some money with an H87 board and this CPU, but none of the H87 boards I had access to had a TOSLINK port. This was really important for me and an add on card would cost about the difference in price between the boards so I just went with the more expensive board that included the TOSLINK port as well as a the possibility of crossfire down the road.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

When I first bought the 7870 I didn't think it would be bottlenecked either, but it turns out it was. I saw a dramatic improvement in fps in my games.

For instance,

Most Wanted 2012 would dip to around 24 - 30 fps much of the time with the Phenom II. With the new chip it is nearly a constant 60 fps.

Splinter Cell Conviction would drop below 20 fps in certain places, with the new chip it runs at 60 fps with occasional drops to 45 in very intensive parts.

Benchmarks for Hitman Absolution also improved dramatically going from a max fps of around 45 before to around 125.

Some games like Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite remained about the same.

  • 76 months ago
  • 3 points

I'm the one who advised totes to buy a new motherboard and CPU when he was having some sporadic performance problems.

The real problem isn't the CPU, it's the bus, such that it is in modern systems; specifically, it's the performance of the main memory.

Video games have always been bottlenecked by the memory performance of the system on which they run; this was very obvious in the Quake III Arena days when using quirky hacks to enable bank interleaving on VIA chipsets could gain the machines of that day 20-30 FPS.

AMD's chips have suffered from terrible memory performance for a long time. Things are improving with the FX series and especially the APUs, but they're still playing catch-up with Intel (like everyone else.) Intel's current chips achieve very near the theoretical maximum speed of their RAM, such that it, in many cases, is no longer a bottleneck for the system.

The CPU performance of the Phenom IIs is sufficient, but the AM3 platform is ancient, and that's what really drags the gaming performance of those machines down.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

Add an ssd and then it is going to be great.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

I plan to at some point, I just didn't want to spend the extra money right now. An SSD might cost me as much as my processor.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Okay, fair enough.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

Sick build dude, love the case :D

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

How's the case workin' for ya? I have the same case except it's a black version and there's a floppy disk stuck in one of the slots. (obviously my build is a sleeper build- check it out!) It works really well, including great air flow even with my poor cable management. The only disadvantages are that the side fans get really freakin' loud (doesn't bother me though, I use headphones and I've drowned it out), and the side of the case gets REALLY hot because of the metal it's made of. (Even though my computer doesn't go over 62 C avg. temperature...) Do you have those kind of problems?

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

I took a look at your build. I think the black actually looks much better than mine. I agree about the airflow, this case worked great even when I had just one 80mm in the front and nothing else. It is a bit loud with 4 80mm fans going but it's not that much louder than my fractal r4. I think the material the case is made out of actually contributes to a wind tunnel sort of effect and makes it slightly louder. I don't have any problems with the side of the case getting hot, I'm not sure why that would be happening for you, the board is on standoffs and there's plenty of buffer on the other side. It's a stellar case but it has no cable management, usb 3.0, access for replacing the cpu mount, sound dampening, stuff that has come to be pretty standard in modern cases. I might not keep it for my next build... but who knows. Oh, one thing I don't understand is why is your PSU so far above that horizontal bar? In my case that bar is used to support the PSU from below so the screws aren't under major stress.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, thanks... and about the screws and side temperature, I don't even know... our cases might be different. Yours is made of a hard sort of metal material, right?

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for nostalgia!

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't see a 955 limiting a 7870.

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

It doesn't, for the higher end gpu the old phenom are not the greatest.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

*955