Well, actually, I'm picking up the elements and the store will assemble them for me (I'm a complete novice in PCs...).
I've done a bit of homework and come up with this system :
E6400 or E6600
Asus P5B or P5B Deluxe
Corsair XMS2 2GB (PC2 5400) 675MHz. Cas Latency : 4 (not sure what it means but I pretend I know...)
Case : Antec Piano Sonata II with the fan replaced by a Scythe S-Flex 120mm
Barracuda 250GB or 400GB, SATA 3Gb/s
Video card : nVidia Geforce 7600 GS (ASUS EN7600GS Silencer Series 256MB)
DVD Writer : NEC ND 3550A
I don't play with my PC and have no intention of trying to overclock it. My main use is for Photoshop and other heavy post processing softwares.
My questions are :
1. what do you think ? Am I missing something ? Would you pick something different for my needs ?
2. do I need the P5B Deluxe ? I definitely need at least 2 Firewire ports but I guess I could add a card to the P5B ? Any other significant advantage of the Deluxe ? Snce I'm not going to buy an extra sound card, is the sound card of the Deluxe better than that of the P5B ?
3. could I save money on the video card, knowing, again, that I don't play and have no intention to ? I play some DVDs though... Which one would you recommend ?
4. do I need an heatsink (again, no overclocking) ?
What kind of heavy post processing? All graphic editing?
Assuming you're after graphic editing only it looks good to me. I'd go with a slightly faster CPU like the E6600 since "heavy post processing" uses the CPU more than anything else (hard drive too). With the nice Raptor you should put your operating system on that and use the big hard drive(s) for storage.
1. Overall it looks decent. What kind of power supply? I hope it's 500 watts or more, 500 to 600 watts is a good range to choose. It's better to have extra power available from the power supply than not enough. If your power supply is short on power you can have PC unstability and lockups to no end.
2. For your basic needs there's no need for the P5B Deluxe, but if you have the money go for it (it's not a deluxe for no reason, mainly for the features). If you're concerned about cooling and fans, the P5B Deluxe does have much better chipset cooling with its heatpipes.
3. I'd not skimp too much on the video card, afterall you're going to be using Photoshop. Depending on the graphic size you're working with, with enough video ram on the graphics card it can load it entirely into the card when you're working with it making editing smoother.
4. I'm assuming you mean a CPU heatsink, yes you must have one. If you're buying a retail CPU it should come with one. Lately the retail heatsinks have been fairly good instead of the crappy ones they used to provide. You should be good with the retail heatsink that comes with the CPU.
agree with you in most points, except about the psu. a good 500W is good enough, as both the video card and cpu, which are the most energy demanding parts, are very efficient at power consumption.
seems like a good machine for what's gonna be used for
Video Card: I know you don't plan on playing games but ATI is known to have better video quality and since you play DVD's, I recommend the following X850XT. It is ~$122 after shipping which is ~17 dollars more than the Gigabyte 7600GS which would be the one that I would recommend.
Motherboard: The deluxe does have a better sound chip but if that's a concern, it'd be better to get a Creative Sound Card even though you mentioned you weren't getting one. The deluxe also has a couple more SATA ports, but I don't think it'll be a concern. It also has more RAID options, but what they do for you, I don't know. And since you don't want gaming, having SLI would be a waste.
I think the P5B is more than adequate for your needs except for the fact that it doesn't have any firewire support. Even so, the deluxe only has 1 port and since you need two, you'll have to buy a card to get extra firewire ports for either case.
Memory: Newegg has it for $160 after rebates. For this price don't let anyone else convince you to only get 1GB. And with Vista around the corner (at least compared to the age of the universe), you'll need the 2GB.
Heatsink: You'll still need to use the one that comes with the C2D CPU. Since you are having someone put it together, have them take off the thermal pad that might be on the heatsink and put on some Arctic Silver 5 (~6 bucks) to help keep the chip a bit cooler.
PSU: I like the Hiper 530W PSU. It's ~90 bucks but I like the molex cables to keep everything clean in the case. Hiper PSU
NOTE: After reading the post that the case comes with a 450W PSU, that will be adequate.
Get your memory from there. Cheaper that way, only $150
DDR2 is going up in price, goddamn Supply and Demand curves.
I say go with the 7600GS. Even if performance is comparable, it is a newer card, which means no fear of discontinuing support for a while. ATI does have slightly better images, but the new ATI cards won't be out for a while, unless you want to wait. Then I would recommend one of the new ones... maybe the X1300XT.
The Antec Sonata 450W is fine. You have a low wattage CPU, GPU and no OC'ing. 450W is fine. The Sonata is also a decent case, dunno why you want to replace the fan, but thats your call.
P5B should be enough, if you want a better sound card, maybe an older Audigy since they have a firewire port built in, you can find them for a decent price.
These just show that the X850XT is the more powerful card.
From Newegg, there is only one 7600GT that's the same price as the X850XT and that's only after a mail-in-rebate. Grant it, the 7600 has Pixel Shader 3 but you're not gaming so this doesn't matter.
For better DVD visuals and it being cheaper which is what you wanted the X850XT would be the one to get.
Not sure I would opt for an x850XT over a 7600GT. Mainly due to the 7600GT making use of nVIDIA's PureVideo De-interlacing features. DVD playback is much better on nVIDIA's 7600GT then on ATi's x8x0 series. Of course ATi's x1x00 series and it's support of AVIVO takes the cake (by a WIDE margin).
If he's not gaming then an x1800GTO/XT would be his best bet for the best Video Playback, image quality, clarity and sharpness.
Though, since the 7600GT is a relatively inexpensive card ($120 after MIR), I think something like the X1600XT would better fit the bill than a X1800GTO(XT). I would wait for a couple of weeks for the X1650XT. It's suppose to be 99 bucks.
I've read so many negative reviews by knowledgeable people of ATI products that I'm a bit confused now... A video card does not look very important to me (I'm much more focused on the CPU, RAM and hard drives), as, except for some DVDs (mainly my daughter's...), I don't think it will be used much (Photoshop does not have 3D capabilities and that's 60% of my PC's use, the rest being internet, word processing and DVDs).
I'm sure any "normal" card, preferably with 2 DVI ports (as I have 2 monitors and I find the quality of the image better through DVI), will do the trick.
I was looking at the Antec Sonata case. i heard its tough to menuveur in it and, its better to get a case without a PSU so you can get a reliable more powerful and stable ones. Installing a PSU is easy (coming from a first time builder). i like the aluminum cases.