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New System Build. Thoughts?

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February 12, 2008 5:11:03 PM

This computer will be used primarily for browsing and e-mail, media viewing, audio encoding, and some moderate video editing.There is no set budget for the build beyond a maximum total of approximately $1,500. In almost all cases, I've tried to choose items which give the most value per dollar. Please let me know if you think I should make any substitutions or if you are aware of any good deals currently out there for these parts. I have a few questions listed below the parts.

Case:
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16811129021

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16813128059

CPU:
Intel Pentium E2180 Processor HH80557PG0411M - 2.0GHz, 1MB Cache, 800MHz FSB, Allendale - $69.99 ($49.99 w/ MIR)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3505668&CatId=2852&SRCCODE=WEBGOOCPU1&CMP=KNC-GOOGL

Memory:
G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16820231122

HDD:
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - $169.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16822136012
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16822136073

Video Card:
XFX PVT84JUDD3 GeForce 8600GT XXX 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card - $109.99 ($79.99 w/ MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150229

Optical Drive:
SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - $26.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16827151153

PSU:
Corsair VX 550W Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX - $67.99
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-vx-550w-power-supply/q/loc/101/205852646.html

Monitor:
SAMSUNG 226BW Black 22" 2 ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1(DC 3000:1) - $319.99 ($279.99 w/ MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16824001096

Keyboard:
Saitek PZ30AU Black USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard - $34.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16823175103

Mouse:
Logitech MX518 2-Tone 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB + PS/2 Wired Optical Gaming-Grade Mouse - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16826104178

Speaker System:
Logitech Z-2300 200 watts RMS 2.1 Speaker System - $90.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16836121122

OS:
Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM - $111.49
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16832116204

Total cost (w/ MIRs included): $1357.36

Questions:

1) I purchased a copy of Windows Vista 32-Bit Business Edition last year through my university. Do you think it would be worth it to shell out another $100 for the 64-bit Home Premium or will the 32-bit Business Edition be sufficient?
2) There are a lot of GeForce video cards in the $79.99-$149.99 price range. How do you feel about the 256MB 8600GT? Is there a better value option?
3) Will that PSU be fine for this system?
4) Thoughts on the monitor?
5) Is the Raptor a complete splurge considering my needs?

I'd really appreciate any feedback you could provide.

Thank you.

More about : system build thoughts

February 12, 2008 6:23:06 PM

Nice build, I'd just replace both hard disks with a single WD7500AAKS 750GB or SpinPoint F1 1TB. The speed will actually go up in video editing, and you'd have more space for the same money.

1. Is there a feature in the Home Premium that the Business version lacks and you need it? Click below to compare.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/editions/choose.mspx
As far as I can see, you'd get Media Center (good if you watch or record TV shows), a tool to burn DVDs (Nero Express is probably just as good and it comes with lots of DVD drives for free), Windows Movie Maker (no idea if it's any good), and some games. I really can't answer this for you. You need to research these features and decide for yourself if they're worth it. Maybe you can just download or buy alternative programs to get those features.
Also keep in mind that Vista Business has some neat features that you would lose. The 64-bit version would use all 4 GB of RAM, while the 32-bit will be limited to 3.5 GB (maybe 3.25, not sure, but with that video card I expect 3.5).

2. You did not mention games. If you only play Solitaire the 8600GT 256MB is plenty. If you want to be able to play something more advanced get an HD 3850, it's by far the best card under $200. I assume you're not interested in even more powerful (but more expensive cards) like the 8800GT or 8800GTS G92 or HD 3870X2.
By the way, you're getting a free Company of Heroes game with your 8600GT but no sane person would buy the 8600GT to play Company of Heroes :)  No idea how newegg got the idea to bundle them together. Also, you're better off with a 512MB 8600GT than with the 256MB version, but then the price goes up a lot and the HD 3850 is much better value than the 8600GT 512MB.

3) yes the 550VX is enough even for a Q6600/HD 3850 combination (which I strongly recommend, if you can stretch the budget enough). Maybe without the Raptor and Windows you can, I hope so.

4) Good monitor.

5) Nah, Raptor and budget build are a very bad combination. Get a Raptor after you've got the very best video card and CPU you can. It's a luxury and doesn't even bring much improvement over more recent drives with perpendicular magnetic recording.

Edit: Q6600 - this makes a big difference in audio/video editing and encoding. However, if you only do that rarely, it's overkill and the E2180 will be fine. So what if it takes 50 minutes instead of 20, if you only do it once a week...

February 12, 2008 9:02:17 PM

1) Ditch the Raptor, get a second HDD for OS
Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive OEM ***$49.99***
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$130 saved from raptor

2) Purchase a 512 8800GT Vid card.
EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card ***$239.99***
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-cost + $129

3) Purchase a Q6600
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor ***275.99***
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

**also the Wolfdale E8400 is only $240.00 which is another good choice.


Total = $225.00 more with the Quad ($190.00 with E8400) But the machine is 40% faster combined with the Vid card upgrade.

Even If you choose not to get a better processor I would still do #1 and #2, swap the Raptor for a FAR better Vid card at same price.
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February 13, 2008 1:24:46 AM

Thanks for the input, guys. I really appreciate it. I've used several of your suggestions. Here's the updated build:

Case:
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16811129021

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16813128059

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor - $275.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

Memory:
G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16820231122

HDD:
Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136075
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16822136073

Video Card:
EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $239.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130318

Optical Drive:
SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B - $26.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16827151153

PSU:
Corsair VX 550W Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX - $67.99
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-vx-550w-power-supply/q/loc/101/205852646.html

Monitor:
SAMSUNG 226BW Black 22" 2 ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1(DC 3000:1) - $319.99 ($279.99 w/ MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16824001096

Keyboard:
Saitek PZ30AU Black USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard - $34.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16823175103

Mouse:
Logitech MX518 2-Tone 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB + PS/2 Wired Optical Gaming-Grade Mouse - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16826104178

Speaker System:
Logitech Z-2300 200 watts RMS 2.1 Speaker System - $90.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16836121122

OS:
Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Business - $0

Total cost (w/ MIRs included): $1,511.87

Are there any other thoughts or concerns? I think this should be extremely solid for my needs.
February 13, 2008 2:41:25 AM

Very respectable build :) 

I'd get the P182 case for $90 after rebate and shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129025&Tpk=P182
It's quieter than the Antec 900, and that will help because the 8800GT can be rather noisy.

About the hard disk:
The two disks you picked cost 56+105=$161 together after shipping, and they offer 660 GB total.
This WD7500AAKS costs $155 after shipping, offers 750 GB, and it's faster than either of those older models.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136131
You can of course make a 160 GB partition for the OS to separate OS from data. The only disadvantage going this way will be when you copy things from the OS partition to the data partition or viceversa - then the two separate hard disks will be better indeed. Most of the time though, I think you will only use one partition at a time and you will get better speed with the 750 GB disk. Mind you, the WD5000AAKS is good too, I have 3 of those myself, but I wouldn't buy them today.

Edit: OK, now I'm just being mean: the GA-P35-DS3L comes with two SATA cables. If you buy two smaller hard disks and let the DVD burner have one cable, you will need to spend another $9 or whatever for a third SATA cable :) 
February 13, 2008 3:55:28 AM

Good points, aevm.

I was actually considering the P182 case when I was first putting the build together. The information about the noise levels is helpful. I think I'll make the switch. Another $20 off the total too!

Yeah, I was still a little questionable on the HDD selections. I can't imagine too many scenarios where the hard disk will need to work between the OS and data partitions that would impact performance in any meaningful way. You make an interesting point about the SATA cables as well. Haha. Thanks for the link.

Any other critiques would be great!
!