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December 26, 2005 3:03:05 PM

I'm looking for advice/recommendations for building a cost effective system. It will be used primarily for working with music, photoshop and video on a fairly serious hobbyist level.
I have been considering dual core, but I really don't want to overbuy. (I'm not a gamer.) But for a reasonable increase in price I don't mind having extra features, performance, or upgradeability.

Could go intel or amd. I'd like to have built in firewire. Don't know if I really need pci-e. Seems like there are more low cost options for video card with AGP.

Any recommendations of cpu/mobo/graphics card will be appreciated.

Also, I think I have seen some bundles that include WinXP. That would be nice if anyone knows of any such deals.

Thanks in advance,
Feesh

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December 26, 2005 3:27:32 PM

Put some money in a good soundcard, gamer/movie soundcards like ones embedded in motherboards or lowprice soundblasters will ruin your music making experince bigtime.

Atleast get a 24bit/96khrz soundcard like a M-Audio Audiophile 2496 or a TerraTec Phase 22. These are pretty cheap but gives 24/96 mixing and low latency for music programs with ASO driver support. Up from there there is no limit in price for audio hardware, only you must set a limit.

For Photoshop/Video editing you will not gain any advantage with a expensive gamer graphic card. Photoshop/Premier/Vegas/Aftereffects runns happily on all from embedded graphicscards to highend pci-express gamer beasts. If you want to improve your photoshop/video editing experience get two good monitors and a videocard that can do extended desktop with good framerates. Matrox G550, Ati 9550 or Nvidia 6200 all seems got options for your need. AGP is all good for you.

Don't buy a motherboard without firewire. If you do video editing you will need it as it is the only reasonable choice to hook up video cameras.

Don't expect to get what you pay for in dual core/ dual cpu. Most applications are still heavily single threaded. To get advance from dual set up you will need special software. There are however specialised software for both image and video rendering. But if your hobby, don't waste you money and get more ram.

An AMD 939 CPU and mobo is a little less expensive than a 478 CPU+mobo. I have both Intel and AMD machines, doesn't seem much difference when kept to the same price range.

k
December 26, 2005 4:43:38 PM

I think knalle's advice is made with good intentions, but some of it seems questionable.

First of all, if you do quite a bit of work with music, photoshop and video then a dual core system is definitely for you. Especially if you don't play much games. Most media encoding or creation software is multithreaded and can get large benefits from a dual core processor. The Socket 478 that knalle mentioned is outdated. If you don't want to spend much money then your dual core choices are the X2 3800+ from AMD, and the 830D from Intel. They both cost about the same in the low $300s. For media creation tasks and encoding they both perform comparatively. The X2 3800+ runs cooler. However, if you want an Intel you should wait another week as Intel will be releasing the 930D on December 27 to replace the 830D. The 930D consumes 79% the power of the 830D and has double the L2 cache which will help alleviate the bandwidth constaints of the 830D.

Most motherboards now have built-in firewire so that isn't really a concern. For graphics card you would want to stick with PCIe since its the current standard and replaced AGP. Since you do video encoding you should look at the ATI X1xxx series. They offer hardware based video encoding to improve performance. If you don't play games a X1300PRO or X1600PRO will be enough and should costs between $100-$150.
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December 26, 2005 4:51:47 PM

Quote:
Since you do video encoding you should look at the ATI X1xxx series. They offer hardware based video encoding to improve performance. If you don't play games a X1300PRO or X1600PRO will be enough and should costs between $100-$150.


If your a hobby video editor the ATI X1xxx will not yet have hardware accelerated support in neither Vegas, Premiere or AfterEffects. You will need special hardware for a boost there.

ATI and Nvidia only offers advances to gamers and consumer usage. No seriouse music or video software i know about have hardware support for the ATI or Nvidia offerings. Save your money unless this is for games.

k
December 26, 2005 4:59:04 PM

Quote:
The Socket 478 that knalle mentioned is outdated.


Oh, i forgot to say that you'll get all this second hand cheap. I'm not talking about a new system from the store.

k
December 26, 2005 5:10:56 PM

Dual Core option is best I feel for you but which speed depends on your budget. Dual Core is best when doing multimedia applications like yourself and generally improves performacne when switching between applications. I think that is what you really want to hear. In terms of sound you could go for a high end one, eg Creative X-Fi range but to be honest head for a Creative Audigy 2 ZS series. I am guessing from doing Multimedia you would like to hear some great sound... as you aren't playing games don't fuss with a gfx card to much the one mentioned in the earlier post is perfect. Lash out on sound I say and spoil yourself :wink:

Sound - Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro
Speakers - Logitech ZS5500 (truely awesome 8O )
December 26, 2005 5:18:00 PM

Don't get a Creative Audigy, don't even go to a shop where they sell games to get your soundcard. Go to a music store. Audigy still is consumer grade stuff even if they claim to be "prosumer".

And don't even buy speakers, you should plug into a proper receiver, pc speakers are not good for anything else than monitoring your sound afterwards. Use your stereo.

k
December 26, 2005 5:42:44 PM

With the new pentium dual core you mention coming out very soon, do you think that will cause prices in general to come down. Combined with after Christmas sales, would it be a good time to be patient?

If I went with amd 3800 dual core, what would a good choice for a reliable moderately price mobo?
a b à CPUs
December 27, 2005 4:09:08 AM

Oh no, not another A8N-VM! The Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS is a better solution for most people.
December 27, 2005 12:53:34 PM

Quote:
Oh no, not another A8N-VM! The Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS is a better solution for most people.


That does look interesting. I will have to see if they have an ATX version. The only time I built with a micro, I struggled with the connections because of the limited space.

Feesh
December 27, 2005 1:32:35 PM

I've always found it's micro ATX cases that make micro systems such a PITA. mATX mobos are fine, you just need to put them in a normal sized case.

It's only ever been a lack of expansion slots that puts me off mATX boards. Don't discount that board just because it's small.
December 27, 2005 2:02:00 PM

Many programs out right now are already hyperthread optimized. I have a DVD creation program that has a patch that can improve performance up to 30% with P4s. I cant say much more than that since I dont have intel chips. I would reccomend an X2 CPU just beacause. It will pay for itself in the future guaranteed. There are dual core optimized programs and there will be many more. All it needs is a patch. You shouldnt be short sighted on this fact unless you dont want to spend 300 bucks on a CPU. Now as for ATI's X1000 series of GPUs, that is more of a long shot or at least a long wait. They have released a beta program that offers basic encoding but as of yet, it DOES NOT use the GPU to help. I still think it is a logical progression to use the GPU so I am waiting to see what both NVIDIA and ATI will offer in the near future. So here is my reccomendations (it is biased cuz its what I am buying since I am in the same shoes as you) X2 3800 CPU, Biostar Tforce 6100 mobo(onboard 6100 graphics), and 1GB of basic DDR 400. All for $475 or so. I dont think that is overkill at all and it allows for ample overclocking and I can choose my GPU when the time comes although my gaming experience will be lacking for now I think. And hey! It even has o/b firewire...
December 27, 2005 2:28:36 PM

Quote:
I can choose my GPU when the time comes although my gaming experience will be lacking for now I think.


Are you suggesting that with that board I don't need a seperate graphics card if I am not gaming? That would be sweet.
December 27, 2005 2:38:34 PM

Here is the deal bruddah, the Nvidia 6100 can do all the non gaming crap you need it to do. You dont need to buy a separate card. When it comes to games though...... It defeinitely leave something to be desired. I dont own it so I cant speak on it. But right now I am playing Rome:total war on intel extreme graphics2 so i think it is safe to say the 6100 series is probobly twice as powerful. it will chew up 128 MB of your RAM though so make sure you get more than 512 MB of it. Also, you cant overclock your CPU too well with this mobo until you get a separate graphics card. Since the mobo is using your system RAM to push graphics, there is a set limit to how high it can run. One web sight (I cant remember the name) got a 220 Mhz overclock while using the onboard graphics. With a separate GPU, they pushed a 2ghz A64 to 2.6 ghz. Not bad for a "value" mobo.
December 27, 2005 2:56:34 PM

Cool. Saving those $$ will help me justify the dual core.

Do you think prices on cpu will come down significantly in the next few weeks?

Have you heard of any dual core cpu bundled with WinXP?

Is XP Media Center version something I should be considering?

Feesh
December 27, 2005 3:09:09 PM

No. There is no reason for prices on AMD CPUs to go down. They perform too well against comparable Intel CPUs and are still a little cheaper. if you take a look at socket 754 chips, they are still expensive cmpared to 939 chips. As supplies dwindle and there are rubes wanting to upgrade that dead end socket 754 platform, those prices will stay high. They will then drop off when there is no more demand (ie it totally blows) Good examples are the XP 3000 and 3200 (stoopidly priced for a few months) and the entire socket 478 prescott line. Dont hold your breath. The X2 is the end of the line for socket 939 users. One year from now, all those A64 3200 and 3500 users will be wanting to get that last minute upgrade instead of migrating to socket M2. Buy now, buy later. It doesnt matter. Dual core will always command a premium over single core until ALL chips are dual core. I honestly cant say anything about windows and stuff.
December 27, 2005 4:30:37 PM

Quote:
They perform too well against comparable Intel CPUs and are still a little cheaper.

Actually, even the CNET dual core fight that some people felt was skewed in AMD's favour showed that Intel has the price/performance advantage for the low end parts. The 820D has the best ratio, but its performance is so low to begin with that it really isn't justified. The 830D actually has a better price/performance ratio to the X2 3800+ since its priced lower yet performs comparable to the X2 3800+ on most applications except games. Those ratios will only improve since the 920D and 930D will be introduced at the same prices as the 820D and 830D yet offer a bit more performance.

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-10442_7-6389077-8.html?tag...

These were the price/performance ratios calculated by Schmide from the thread that discussed the CNET review.
[code:1:ac5c6e47c1] 4200 8.9 400 0.02225
3800 8.4 320 0.02625
830D 8.3 310 0.02677
820D 7.8 240 0.03250[/code:1:ac5c6e47c1]
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December 27, 2005 7:15:48 PM

You don't need a separate graphics card with the Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS either, and it's a better chipset than the 6100.

Of course it has a PCI-Express x16 slot so I'd go with a graphics card personally.
a b à CPUs
December 27, 2005 7:18:39 PM

Why are you considering XP Media Center Edition 2005?
December 27, 2005 7:28:40 PM

Quote:
Why are you considering XP Media Center Edition 2005?


I have noticed that that version of the os is being bundled with multi media systems and assumed that it has some features specific to those kinds of applications.

Do you have a recommendation?
December 27, 2005 7:37:22 PM

Media Centre Edition is for people who want a digital media hub. It's good if you plan on recording TV, displaying DVDs on your TV or hooking up your computer to your receiver to listen to your mp3 connection. Most of these functions can be found from third-party software and its mostly for fun anyways. If you are planning on running professional software anyways then XP Professional is fine.
a b à CPUs
December 27, 2005 8:01:31 PM

It has most of the same features found in ATI's MultiMedia center package (free), but with more overhead and less adjustability.
December 27, 2005 8:25:03 PM

Good to know. Thank you and thank everyone for their valuable input.

This is a great forum- I'm happy to have found you all!

Happy New Year!

Feesh
!