For over a month now I have read every article out there on the web and every review.
I am more confused today than I was then.
I am a general computer user. I have one computer that I use for everthing.
I run AutoCad, accounting packages, spreadsheet, surf the web and play the occational game. I am on the computer for about 2 hours each night. My life is super busy (work plus wife is diabled). The only time I get to watch TV is when working on the computer.
I tend to keep a computer for a long time. I am still running a PIII on my old PII board. I have and all-in-wonder card so I can watch tv while I work.
I want a "fast" unit but still want to be stable.
I figure I can run xp 64 (am running xp pro now) and then vista when it comes out.
I want to buy this by the end of the year to get it in on this years books (run a small one person business).
From what I read (and please any advice would be greatly appreciated):
Processor: E6400 is a good processor and is a "good" buy right now
Motherboard: Here I am confused. I don't need SLI or Crossfire but it seems I must get this to stay with the newest chipset. Intel Bad Axe 2 gets a good rating but the cpu multiplier can't be changed. EVGA has a well rated board. The 680i chipset seems to be great for overclocking but till had a few bugs in it. Both boards are $249.99 at newegg.
Drive: I do a lot of openning and closing files, programs, .... I was told the Raptor is good at this.
Memory: 2 gigs seems to be what is recommended for vista
DVD: looking at an sata unit, faster thank ide?
video: again, here I am stuck. I was going for an nvida unit (7000 series) but like the idea of VIVO on ATI cards (1800 or 1900 series).
TV: would like to watch tv, record old vhs tapes onto disk and record a few tv shows. Don't really need a tuner (use a cable box) but can't find a program yet to monitor the input of the VIVO if I use the ATI card. Maybe go external USB unit?
i am also an autocad user, for years,
a common mishap is that people think they need a hell of a gfx card for autocad?
this isn't true, the only time you use your grafics card in autocad is when orbitting 3d objects (shaded, hidden,..)
real renderings are full CPU work, for accuracy.
maybe an all-in-wonder card is the best for you?
ram: 2 GB should be ok
looks like you are good on-track for your setup, keep it going
I'm by no means an expert in this (and I still run a 1.2 Ghz P3 myself - hence the name). I'm in the same boat as you, and here's what I've kinda decided upon (though I do think I will wait just a bit as I'm not in a rush to do anything by year end).
Processor - I think the 6300 is a "better buy" and can easily overclock to well beyound the 6400 on most boards.
MOBO - any P965 will work well. I'm not sure which of them will work with the upcoming 1333 bus chips coming out next year, and any help there would be appreciated. The Gigabite and Asus boards in the $130-$160 range are a very popular choice. I'm partial to Asus as my P3 board is Asus and run strong for about 8 years now!! Like you said, you don't need SLI or X-fire, so why pay for it? If you did want to wait, I've heard great things about the upcoming 650 chipset by Nvidia, but there isn't a lot of stuf out on them yet, and you might not be able to get it by year end.
OS - Heard bad stuff about the 64 bit version of XP, just stay with XP Pro until Vista works all it's stuff out. You may be able to use the copy you have now and not have to buy a new one....
HD - Raptors are ripoffs unless you absolutely, positively need the latest and greatest. Even the 74 GB is about $160!! Get the Western Digital Caviar or Seagate Barracuda. 250Gb will be about $80 and 320 GB around $100. Much more storage space, much lower price......a bit lower performance.
Memory - 2 GB should be fine for you. I bet you're still using around 512 with a P2/P3 board. Corsair is the most well known here, their value line 2GB 800 kit should work fine for you.
Case - any
DVD - and IDE burner can be purchased for about $35 or so. No need to go SATA here.
Video - you'll get a lot of suggestions here. I'm partial to Nvidia and thus don't know much on the ATI side. I'm thinking to stay away from ATI if you've got an Intel chip anyway, as ATI is now owned by AMD. I think the "sweet spot" is the 7900GS, but if you really don't game much, the 7600GT should be fine for you, and save you a bit of green.
TV - Nvidia is making TV cards, but I'm not familiar with them. I haven't used one since I got my TIVO...
I hope this helps. Also, are you planning to overclock at all? If so, a more specific mobo and memory recommendation could be made.
TV: would like to watch tv, record old vhs tapes onto disk and record a few tv shows.
You want Windows XP Media Center Edition - not XP 64.
cpu multiplier can't be changed
Since the E6400 multiplier is locked this shouldn't be an issue for you. A 975X Crossfire or 680i SLI motherboard is "enthusiast" item - you may want to look at the mainstream P965 motherboards - Asus P5B-Deluxe or Gigabyte DQ6 or DS3.
DVD: looking at an sata unit, faster thank ide?
SATA or IDE doesnt really matter. The speed of the DVD hardware is the limiting factor.
What is your overall budget? Any hardware moving over to the new system? Need a monitor?
Completely new system, everthing I own is much too old to carry over. The system I use at home is six years old with a processor upgrade (PII 400 to PIII 600 about two years ago).
I need everything new including a monitor (figure 19 or 21" led flat screen, digital, widescreen).
I was told to stay away from Multi media, was told it uses a lot of propriator items? Most of what I do is business, watching tv is just something I would like to do as I don't own a dvd recorder.
The only reason I would over clock is to get the most out of the processor as I can. Won't need it now but in a few years I'm sure it will seem slow and I will want to get everything I can out of it (my PIII didn't look slow till I put avast on it ... unit almost stopped).
Budget ..... I was hoping to stay in the $1000 - $1500 range. Since I keep a computer so long it would not kill me to move up to $1500 - $2000.
You don't need an overclocking system. You can if you want, but your money is much better spent on decent overall components that will last. A Core2Duo system is a HUGE, HUGE step up from what you have now, and you won't really notice the difference between some overclocking. Seriously, you'll think you're now driving a Ferrari compared to what you have now.
If you use your computer for a bit of everything, and only a couple hours in the evening, then you don't need hardcore components. Save your money and invest it into parts that offer a better "return" (ie-more RAM, bigger monitor, bigger hard drive, etc).
If you want a respectable system, here's one. I'm sure people may have other ideas in mind, but this will certainly do what you want. You may look at other minor things such as a TV tuner card, speakers, etc. But the basics are all here, everything you'd need to run a very good system for you needs:
TOTAL: $1,318. Downgrading the vid card will save you $150 on top of this and will be fine.
This setup will also let you do some very respectable overclocking too, if you are so inclined. You can downgrade the video card to a 7600GT if you don't do much gaming, and instead upsize the CPU to a 6400 or 6600 and live in the FAST LANE
Forget XP 64. Don't bother. Get Media Edition or wait for Vista.
Most of what I do is business, watching tv is just something I would like to do as I don't own a dvd recorder.
Would you like to record your favorite TV programs to watch when ever you have the time? XP Media Center Edition can do that for you, plus a lot more. And unless you're going to dump all versions of Windows and get LINUX you're going to be using proprietary software. Proprietary isn't necessarily a bad thing. Inform yourself and make up your own mind. Win XP Media Center Edition
You don't need Win XP Pro and you REALLY don't need Win XP 64!
A 19" or 20" widescreen LCD monitor is a good choice.