New Rig, I think I got it now...Let me know what you think.
After initial suggestions of some of the good folks here and some research on recent announcements, I agree with the suggestions that bang for the buck right now is much better than building a leading edge system. If Nehalem were here today, then things might be different but this build should hold me over a year or so and buy me some relief from the price premiums the first Nehalem systems will demand.
I am considering a much more expensive case and PSU combo. I willing to pay for the quality if its really good. This would last for a looong time so I might do it. But the combo above is such a good deal.. I'm on the fence.
I am not a gamer at all, but I use my PC 12hrs/day for many tasks. I have a real-time stock trading platform (2 real time apps), TV tuner/DVR, Development platform that includes video encoding and photoshop, RSS reader and usually 12 tabs open in IE among other things.
Of course this breaks my 6 year old XP machine all the time. I'm looking to get into a Rig that can handle this and give me some room for the future.
We are coming up on some stuff being released soon and I'd like to build a system that has a good bang for the buck but I won't shy away from something expensive if its good. This will be a 4 monitor (i plan to use my 2 existing displays till they die, than replace and add).
Max Budget is $3500 for the system (w/o adding monitors right now). Of course, if I can leave a little room it would be good so I can get one of the new monitors sooner.
Processor: I want to consider the lastest Quad Core CPUs. Right now that means the Intel QX9650. Anyone know if anything coming within the next 3/4 weeks. Obviously these are way expensive so I'll may have to make a call on this. I may OC it a bit, but not much. I'm looking for great performance and stability.
While I'll be doing a lot with with video, since I don't game, I don't need SLI. So, Is the nVidia platform (780i or the upcoming 790i) something I shouldn't consider at all? I'm partial to nVidia cards and I'll be looking for the specs on the upcoming 9800GX2 and whatever else they have on tap in the next month.
MoBo: Of course the MB will flow from Processor and Video but I want to make sure I end up with a solid performer and I like what I've read about ASUS boards. So I'll probably choose one from that lineup.
Memory: I'd like to stack this thing with 8GB of Ram since I'll be running Vista 64. I suppose I will max out at 1333 for now. I could do 4MB a lot cheaper so I may consider that for the short term.
Drive: WD Raptor 150 as primary drive, will add 2 Hitachi 1TB drives in RAID 1.
I'm looking for HDMI out which i could get on a board or on the GPU.
After I settle on these items, I'll do another round to figure out what case, PSU and other accessories I'll need.
Drive: I see that the 7200.11 has higher capcity and throughput (3.0Gps vs 1.5Gbs) but isn't the real bottleneck on a HD the RPMs? I'm not worried about capacity since this drive will be primarily for the OS. I'll have two other 1TB drives for storage in Raid.
Processor: It looks like you are steering me away from the  45nm [/edit] quad cores. Is the price/perf ratio that out of whack with the Quads right now?
Memory: Sorta the same question with Memory. With the new proc, mem and Mobo able to support 1333 FSB, why not go for that, or is it that the price/perf ration is not worth it?
Hi Groo, thanks.
That seems to be the issue for me... do it now or in 6 months. If I upgrade the proc in 6 months, I'll probably want to upgrade the memory to match and possibly be stuck with a MoBo that can't take that faster memory in 6 months.
I usually don't like to mess with the computer once I've set it up, but I've done it before so it may make sense to go that route.
Its nice that the people here are always focused on trying to save money and get the right price/performance ratio.
Perhaps I should make two builds and just choose one based on my $$ pain threshold.
I like your comment on Raid5 drives. That makes sense I think I'll do that with 4 drives to get the right balance of perf/security/storage space.
You seriously want to spend over $1000 on a QX9650?
You really, really don't need it. A $250 Q6600 will be more than enough to handle your applications, even more so with a minor OC. I have used a Q6600 for over a year.
Pick a budget and try to stick to it. But remember that when building a computer it's very easy to waste thousands of dollars on things you don't need. Example: a non gamer buying a QX9650, maybe with 3 8800GTX's in 3-way SLI.
I have a QX9650 and love it, but when I have multiple multimedia applications open along with multiple browser windows, my processor use never goes above 9% (!!). Right now, I'm running 12 tabs, iTunes, and my music production hardware/software/drivers. I kid you not, my CPU usage is fluxuating from 2 to 3%, hittting 4 or 5% once every couple of minutes.. And that's stock speeds.
To be truthful, I really haven't found an application that requires it yet, and I don't think I will for a good while. I'm happy to have it, no doubt, but I paid a $800 price premium on top of the Q6600 to get it.
That's good to know. I constantly bring my system to a stand still with the number of Apps I run (some of them are pigs). So I want to be sure about my overhead room as I will be running more demanding apps (TV/DVR out over hdmi, Video encoding in HD and compiler) in addtion to what I do now (two real time stock trading platforms + and various other apps).
Thanks for your strong opinions on this. I agree on the GPU, I dont need to do SLI so I should go mid range.
I assume your talking about Nehalem. I would like to wait for that but I don't think I can. Its probably still 6 months out and it will be a premium then...
I've updated the Original Post to reflect some changes in my thinking based on all of your feedback.
Please let me know what you think of my latest build. I'm going more for bang for the buck than leading edge so the budget has gone down.
That power supply is beyond overkill for what you need to do. Your processor and video card should be the most power hungry components in your system. You're only running one mid-range GPU, and even if you upgrade your CPU later, the newer 45nm chips will use less power than your 65nm Q6600. If the load is significantly lower than its max output, the PSU isn't going to be working very efficiently and you'll just be wasting electricity.
I've heard several time, especaily with RAID 5, that onboard controlers cut corners and cost performance. because they use software to controle the RAID. consider geting a seperate discrete Raid card. its not like your hurting for expansion slots.
maybe some of the new onboards are better, but its worth researching first.
I realize the PSU is overkill for now. But my assumption is that I can re-use a PSU like this when I build a new system in a year or so. I'll do some more research on this issue and look at the Corsair too.