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I'm putting together a gaming rig. I've already got the blah-blah stuff (case, power supply, a couple of disc drives) and I figure I can afford the guts (motherboard, cpu and memory) for a build timeframe of February 16, 17, 18 (an observed 3-day weekend where I work). I've got an idea how I want to go with it, but my big question is future video card readiness.

 

I see that PCIe-16 curently comes in three flavors: 2.0, 2.1 and 3 and I've read that 3 has double the bandwidth of 2.x (a good thing). But I'm having trouble getting a handle on the physical, if any, difference(s) in the cards and/or motherboards. One of the things I read seems to indicate that a v2.1 motherboard can be upgraded to run v3 cards. Is that the case or is there something special about the cards' slots themselves? I'd be willing to invest a little more in a motherboard now and delay the video card(s) a bit in order to be sure that when I do that's all I'll need to get.

 

Along the same lines, it seems that an APU's advantage over a CPU is limited to the former's ability to handle graphics without the need for a seperate video card, though not as well as a CPU with a video card. Am I on target with that or did I miss the boat (or maybe the whole fleet)?

 

Bear in mind that I'm not...repeat, not...very tech-savvy. So please construct any responses somewhat like you're trying to explain advanced mathematics to a three-year old.

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Regarding an "APU" of verious mfgs. vs "CPU/GPU" combo, the bandwidth of the APU just isn't there yet and quite possibly, might not ever be. For extremely intense gaming or any video processing, discrete components are still the way to go.

 

Be very, very sure about the motherboard firmware process upgrading pci-e 2.1 to v3. It's just not that simple and it's very possible to "brick" the mobo. You can always run a pci-e 2.1 in a 3 slot and be able to upgrade to pci-e 3 later on and have the bus to handle the card's potential bandwidth. The physical size of the card, its power connections, cooling, and thermal footprint are good specs to consider.

 

Get the absolute fastest memory with the tightests timing you can afford. You won't regret it down the road.

 

If you're planning on overclocking, there are other considerations to into account as well.

 

Good building.

 

plug_nickel

Edited by almccoyjr

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Thanx for the help, almccoyjr.

 

One more question, though, and it's regarding memory. I've rather narrowed it down to two choices, virtually identical except for the price. Ultimately I'm going for 32G in four sticks and the difference is nine bucks per stick (and yes, $36.00 matters to me. That's nearly two days' worth of gas to drive back and forth to work.). The only performance difference (on the website) is the cheaper set's latency is 11ms while the more expensive is 10 and the timing is 9-9-9 and 10-11-11-30, respectively. First, I have no idea what the timing numbers mean, and second how significant is 1ms latency. Does that mean it's going to add one millisecond for every calculation required to create a frame or just one millisecond total for that frame?

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Timing alone really doesn't mean anthing. Timing coupled with the speed of the ram and at what base voltage, 1.35_1.5_1.65, is where performance vs dollar (value) lies.

 

What brand and speed are you looking at?

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Kingston for $128 and ADATA for $156. Tale of the tape for both is identical:

 

DDR3 Desktop

speed 2133MHz

size 2x8192MB

 

My mainboard does support 2133MHz.

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Unless you're going for a serious system overclock or some extreme benching, you really wouldn't see any difference between the two sets of timings @2133.

 

Curious...why is it that you're eventually going to have 32gb? If this rig is going to be primarily for gaming, there's really no benefit in having 32gb unless you're looking at running a ram drive. If that's the case, then depending on the board's memory controller and the software you use to create the ram drive, you could see a very slight difference when running in a dynamic, real time save mode while in the game.

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Curious...why is it that you're eventually going to have 32gb? If this rig is going to be primarily for gaming, there's really no benefit in having 32gb unless you're looking at running a ram drive.

 

GP's. Just figured more RAM=better performance. If there'd be no significant increase between 16 and 32 I'll save the extra nickel. That is, until games advance to the point at which there is. And history teaches that, eventually, that will happen. But by then the extra 16GB will be significantly cheaper, too. Thanx for the info.

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