1. #1
    Legendary! Chickat's Avatar
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    How do you tell the difference between computer parts?

    I dont understand how you can tell what parts are better. Is it in the names, or do you guys know whats better from researching each part?
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  2. #2
    Usually part numbers can tell you a lot.

    Like with AMD graphics cards (taking the HD 7970 GHz):

    HD - series
    7 - generation ("Southern Islands" architecture)
    9 - position of the card in the hierarchy (the high-end)
    7 - chip type
    0 - this is just to make it four numbers (not aware of any significance to this number)
    GHz - graphics processor runs at a higher speed than non-GHz 7970 graphics cards

    Compared to the HD 7750
    7 - same generation as the 7970
    7 - lower end of the hierarchy
    5 - slower than the HD 7770
    0
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  3. #3
    Herald of the Titans Varyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickat View Post
    I dont understand how you can tell what parts are better. Is it in the names, or do you guys know whats better from researching each part?
    certain brands have better track records with certain products. (asus motherboards, corsair ram and power supplies, intel processors, EVGA video cards, come to mind)

    almost every brand has a numbering system, explained pretty well by butler above.

  4. #4
    You can also check benchmarks out there to see how things stack up with what you like to do.

  5. #5
    It's a little bit of both.

    Some are easy, as Butler example is. But some are harder, and may require further study. Try comparing the 6970 to the 7870 for example, 7870 is obviously newer, but the 6970 higher end (in it's generation). So you got to search around a bit, read some benchmarks etc.

    A CPUs power is done in the same way. If it's the same generation, it's pretty easy. i3(dual core)<i5(quad core)<i7(quad/hexa with hyperthreading), then read the number at the end to see which one is better. Comparing cross manufacturer (amd vs intel), you pretty much have to read a review with a benchmark attached.

    Telling if 1 GPU is better than a GPU (in the same price segment) from another manufacturer (take 7970 vs 670 for example) is near impossible. Some games favor x more than y, some resolution favor y over x etc. But you can safely assume that a 7970 is BETTER than a 7950, as you can say that 680 is BETTER than a 670.

    As for intel IB/SB CPUs

    K = unlocked multiplier (up to a factor of 57)
    P = Onboard graphics deactivated, but clocked slightly higher.
    S = 65W Power (as opposed to the standard 95+)
    T = 35-45W power
    X = extreme. Adjustable multiplier with no limit.
    M = Mobile (laptops etc)
    QM = Quadcore mobile

  6. #6
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/2

    Is the best way for those to easily compare items these days if they do not know how to research pc parts. well for main parts that is...other items require a bit more research. overclock.net and http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/ and guru3d.com are my go to these days.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Chickat View Post
    I dont understand how you can tell what parts are better. Is it in the names, or do you guys know whats better from researching each part?
    Newer is usually better. This very simple rule of thumb is then backed up with benchmark results.

    Component naming tells which parts are newer and if they're aimed for cheap-ass or enthusiast segments and so on, but sometimes there are (deliberately) misleading naming here and there to fool people into buying shit they think is good. Basically you have to learn the naming scheme of the three major manufacturers (AMD, Intel and Nvidia) to be able to be able to put the relative performance into right ballpark.
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  8. #8
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    just lurk around these forums for some time and suddenly you realize you know a damm lot about hardware hierachy. (and just finding the name game/benchmarks when in doubt ofc)

  9. #9
    I've been studying cards since my first Diamond Monster 3D in like 1996 or something, and they always have a new scheme for numerical ordering. It's just a matter of reading as many reviews as possible. Keep up with the new cards and new releases. NVIDIA and ATI both have variances in their numbering schemes as well.

  10. #10
    Brewmaster Biernot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chickat View Post
    I dont understand how you can tell what parts are better. Is it in the names, or do you guys know whats better from researching each part?
    There are 3 (4) approaches to tell, what parts are better or worse:

    1. Names
    As Butler Log pointed out, from the name of a product you can - in a lot of situations, but not all - determine the age/generation and the rough performance level. This is fairly obvious if you just compare products of the same generation, but can get trickier if you compare different manufacturers (e.g. Nvidia vs. AMD) or different generations (e.g. Radeon 7xxx vs. Radeon 5xxx). That's why there is

    2. Benchmarks
    There are a lot of sites and reviews that measure the performance of parts (CPU, GPU, HDD, SSD, etc.). A good one for CPU and GPU would be Anandtech (Bench). There are some other criteria other than pure performance (like heat and noise), but some sites also list these in their charts.
    However there are things that can't be measured in numbers, and for these you have

    3. Reviews
    For nearly each and every product there are a dozen (if not more) reviews out there on the internet. Some in writing, some with a lot of images, some as videos. Those can tell you things like "How easy is it to install parts in this case?" or "How does this mouse feel?". Also don't forget the consumer reviews on sites like newegg (each product has a "Feedback" tab).

    4. Personal Experience
    While above three points will cover 99% of all questions you might have (and some you wouldn't even think of), for some products you just need to "feel it yourself". This includes mainly peripherals, that you personally are in touch with when you use the computer (mouse / keyboard). ***
    Of course for most people this last point will be difficult, because you have to buy it first. But some of us here actually work daily with computers and might have hands-on experience with certain products and can answer questions that aren't in any review.


    *** A good example would be the comparison between mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX blue and brown switches. All the reviews say, that blues are loud ("clicky") and browns are silent. While this might be true for the actual switch, the most noise from mechanical keyboards is often from the key hitting the frame ("bottoming-out"), because those keyboards tend to have a harder and more massive frame (usually reinforced with a steel bottom) and the keys are often made from more rigid plastic which makes this sound "harder".
    The sound of the actual blue switch is a "soft click", while the sound from bottoming out is a "loud clack".

  11. #11
    Titan Synthaxx's Avatar
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    From many years of experience with NVIDIA, it's quite simple on that side. The top single-gpu card from the previous generation will be roughly equivalent to the penultimate single-gpu card from this generation. For example, and remember we're being very rough in our results, GTX480 = GTX570 = GTX660ti.

    The difference between each of them lies in heat, noise and power. The same card of each generation will drop power usage massively. For example;
    GTX580: 244W Power
    GTX680: 195W Power

    GTX570: 219W Power
    GTX670: 170W Power

    The temperatures don't see such incredible differences, but they are more efficient and the temperature does see some difference. It's just not as startling. Noise of cards generally gets lower. I don't have stats on this, but the GTX580 i had sounded like a hairdryer. The GTX670 i currently have sound more like a loud computer fan, but it's not got an annoying whine to it. We are talking about at max speed here. However, on the way up to that speed, the 670 is much more pleasing and not as loud.

    So, to finish up;
    GTX = Prefix (Other is GT, but it's only used for low spec cards)
    6 = Series/Generation
    7 = Chip
    0 = Spec, but rarely is it anything other than 0 these days (there used to be cards with 5 instead, but they're rare).

    Older NVIDIA cards used 4 numbers and the prefix was a suffix, e.g. 8800GT, and 8800GTX, but they can generally be understood in a similar manner.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Synthaxx View Post
    From many years of experience with NVIDIA, it's quite simple on that side.
    Except the "fun" surprise of GTX550Ii.

    For many many years Nvidia has named certain cards with "Ti" to denominate improved versions of high end and top of the range cards. 560Ti was quite notably faster than plain 560, but on the other hand 550Ti is basically a sham and still worthless shit for gaming just like plain 550.
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  13. #13
    Titan Synthaxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesseblah View Post
    Except the "fun" surprise of GTX550Ii.

    For many many years Nvidia has named certain cards with "Ti" to denominate improved versions of high end and top of the range cards. 560Ti was quite notably faster than plain 560, but on the other hand 550Ti is basically a sham and still worthless shit for gaming just like plain 550.
    Ah yes. To be fair, the 560Ti was in a great place for price-performance. Below a 570 in both but being fairly ideal for most people. Anything below an X60 card is destined to be a media card or flash gaming card these days it seems, but they've still got enough power in to be suitable for medium quality on near enough every game (except the high end titles like BF3 at extreme resolutions, though next gens low-mid range should be very comfortable with even that).

    Then there was the good old LE suffix to denote already terrible cards now with the shame of telling people you're too cheap to be able to afford a proper card, or even the TC used for cards with the minimum amount of onboard VRAM. Surprisingly my 6200TC did pretty well with a modded version of some of the Far Cry maps i made (more grass, faked HDR-Bloom as an addition in many areas), but for anything above that, yeah, terrible card was terrible (but then again, these are from the days where 256MB VRAM was a huge amount... how far we've come in such a short space of time, where 2GB is now fairly standard).

    It was actually more impressive for someone to say they were still using a Voodoo 3 over something with an LE prefix (hell, Voodoo 3 3000 cost me £15 from ebay many years after it's release, but it was the first card i could comfortably game on, absolutely smoked 3DMark2001).

    Actually, i should have added the GTS suffix too. That's another one NVIDIA use and it's not quite GTX, but somewhere above GT, though i don't think it's been used for a while.

    These days, it's all GT and GTX as prefixes, and an optional Ti suffix just to mix things up a little.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Chickat View Post
    I dont understand how you can tell what parts are better. Is it in the names, or do you guys know whats better from researching each part?
    Most people will just be grabbing suggestions from actual benchmarks from tech sites, you can't really rely on the naming as in the end it is pretty arbitrary and I swear sometimes they just randomly change their naming system up to screw with the unwary.

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