View Full Version : scalable upgrade on computer...please advise

06-09-2008, 07:50 PM
hello all, thinking of getting another computer...but a little unsure on what to get.
i'm running an ancient P4 3.0 with 1gb memory...so anything i get will be an improvement.

now, i've done A LOT of researching on this forum and others...and searched many website
reviews comparing the various cpu's, researched manufacturers to make sure components are compatible...and even searched on wikipedia for technical specifications.
(actually, wikipedia has been pretty informative on the future of intel
processors...and figuring what chipset supports what )

and even though it's been very informative learning about the newer cpu's...
it's still kind of confusing (after reading so many pages, you sometimes get mixed up
about what so and so said about this and that!)

there's a lot of comparisons using SYSMARK, PCMARK, 3DMARK, XVID encoding,rendering in 3Dmax and Cinebench...etc, etc.

so many bar graphs!, on one test a cpu will be better than another, and on another
test the other cpu is better that the former...
that's what makes it confusing...which test is more relevant?
and how do those tests apply to what i need the computer for?

so this is what i've boiled it down to...hopefully you guys can give some insight or correct
me if my info is wrong.

i'm game modeling using maya 7, Zbrush 3.1, Mudbox 1.0.7, Photoshop and Xnormal. (XP Pro 32 bit)
now even though game models have low poly counts...sculpting in zbrush and mudbox results
in models with a few million polys.

cost IS an object, and so is scalability (i should be able to change cpu after a year or so,
and still be pretty fast)...
so that's why i chose the following: please advise.

cpu: Q6600 2.4ghz ($200 on sale) or E8400 3.0ghz ($200)

(read somewhere that for some apps the E8400 is faster than the Q6600, for maya too?)
i though about AMD, but according to anandtech, the Phenom X4 9750 is
comparable/below the above two intels, also they'll be changing to socket AM3 soon,
so it doesn't seem like there's much upgrading if i got an AMD rig, unless i got another mobo.

mobo: Asrock 4Core1600TWINS-P35 Socket 775 Intel P35 ($100)

(this mobo, can support FSB 1600, so i can get a QX9770 when they drop to $200 :)
then again when/if it drops to $200, hopefully it won't be obselete!
also, it supports DDR3 1333 mhz if i had to change memory.

memory: Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz E.P.P. Memory (2x1024)

(they're $30on sale right now, so i'll get 2 of them....4x1gb for $60)
i'm running XP Pro 32 bit...so i would only be using 3.4gb right?...(still better than 2gb)
btw, is there a big performance difference between 4x1gb and 2x2gb?
and is there any problem getting 2 sets of this memory, considering that
one set does not EXACTLY match the other set, even though they are the same

gpu: XFX Geforce 8800 GT 512mb DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 dual DVI SLI ready ($150 on sale)

(i read about the issues with this card an Maya, but it seems some of the people
here have figured out a workaround configuring the drivers....hope they're right!)
the sale price is the main reason in choosing this card.
warning: on some, the fan on the card runs 100% all the time,
but according to newegg reviews, XFX will send another fan or replace the card.

psu: Corsair MPSU-520HX 520w ($90 on sale)
(seems to have pretty good reviews, and a good deal with the rebates)

after all this research, it occurred to me that all this scalability was based around a $100
mobo...which kind of doesn't make sense considering all the other components are more
but it's very tempting to know that when/if the QX9770 drops dramatically in price,
and if i wanted an upgrade, all i'd have to do is change cpu and this setup should handle it.
hope my info is correct and that you guys can advise.

well sorry for the extra long post, but i didn't want to get flamed for not researching and
explaining myself :)

thanks in advance.

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