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Building a future-proof general purpose desktop

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April 18, 2008 12:01:51 AM

I am in desparate need to upgrade my pc. Here are my current specs on my home pc. I understand that anything that I get will be several times as powerful than my current pc.

AMD Athlon 1800+
512MB pc2100 DDR RAM
Compaq motherboard
80 GB hard drive
ATI Radeon 9600 SE
Ubuntu 8.04

I will be using this for basic home movie video editing, web surfing, virtualization of several OS's, and possibly playing several RTS games or RPGs( C&C3 and Neverwinter Nights 2) occasionally. I would also like this to be future-proof for at least the next 5 years. My budget is 1000 dollars. I have some ideas what I would like but I would like a few opinions on alternatives, mainly in the video card section. Not really sure what would be adequate for these purposes. Thanks. I will post my ideas on a version of a build later.
April 18, 2008 12:12:54 AM

8800GTS
4GB (2x2GB) of DDR2 800 RAM
WD 640GB SATA HD
Get almost any C2D and overclock to 2.7GHz or higher (definitely higher a year or two from now)
April 18, 2008 12:23:02 AM

For $1000 get a cheaper PCI-E 2.0 8800GT, 2 to 4GB of DDR2-1066 or DDR2-800 RAM, and a wolfdale CPU (if you can find one).

Get a SATA\3gbps Hard drive that has 16\32mb cache and at least 7200rpm. (If you need more data, you can always use your old PC's drive as a backup device)

I guess maybe get a Quad-Core CPU if you will be virtualizing multiple OSes and doing multi-tasking and video editing.

Just use your old monitor and Windows, and you can build a really decent and future-proof PC that will last years, depending on how out-of-date you are willing to be at the time.
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April 18, 2008 12:24:19 AM

not a helpful comment however, future proof is impossible in the computer world. Unless you have lot's of money.
April 18, 2008 6:10:07 AM

"Future proof" is one of those catch phrase that means jacksh*t.

For example, the Wolfdales (Dual Core E8xxx) and Yorkfield (Quad Core Q9xxx) are socket T (LGA775). They represent the last generation before Intel introduces the Nehalem CPU which is socket B and H at the end of this year or beginning of next year. Those CPUs will not be compatible with LGA775 motherboards.

If "future proofing" means 6 months - 12 months then okay, you can build a "future proof" PC.
April 18, 2008 6:35:30 AM

quad cores, and sixty four bits ago, our single core fathers set forth to build a future proof system that could be passed on to the kids....

A 1 GHz p3 works great today for creating and editing documents, and cruising the web. in 5 years we may actually see straight 64 bit operating systems, and microsoft will likely still be around, so you'll need a bit of ram.

Fast dual core plus 4 Gb of ram - leaving room to upgrade to 8 GB later on should last you a while. Quad core with 4 GB of ram, and a quality cooler, and a 500 GB hard drive will run more than excellently for years to come in all situations.

hopefully by 2012 we will see fun technologies like bio or holographic storage, quantum computing, and direct brain connections, but we can't have everything.
April 18, 2008 7:15:57 AM

I would like to see the phrase "Future Proof" added to an Oxymoron list.

Trying to build a PC today that will not be obsolete tomorrow is practically impossible.

April 18, 2008 7:39:20 AM

For a 5 year system I would go with a Q6600 cpu.

Id build this system:

Q6600 CPU 234.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard 89.99 + 7.00 Shipping Total 96.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler 36.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory 84.00 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: 179.99 + 16.99 shipping Total 196.98
http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA13068...

Hard Drive 89.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermal Paste 5.99 + 4.99 Shipping Total 10.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner 33.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply 89.99 + 10.25 Shipping Total 100.24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vista OS 99.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card 219.99 + 7.00 Shipping Total 226.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

120mm case fans 9.99 + 5.99 Shipping (Qty 2) Total 31.96

Total is 1244.09, of course there were some rebates in there you need to mail back, track each link and you can see how much they are so you will actually pay more and get back the rebates later making your actual total after rebates what I said above.

This is a rig that I would personally build for that long of a period but you can tone it down by getting a different case, slightly cheaper video card (9600GT 179.99) cheaper dual core CPU and trimming off the 120mm case fans.

This is just a suggestion and is a very solid build. Tweak a few things on the list to make it what you want price wise or keep it like it is and dig a little deeper to get a better system.

Good luck...
April 18, 2008 7:45:32 AM

I agree theres little to no future proofing, but we can all agree the better the system the longer it should last, hypothetically.

My previous system was a P4 3.0Ghz Prescott with an Asus P4C 800-E Deluxe motherboard and I used it over 4 years and sold the motherboard and processor for 200.00 on ebay. Thats about as future proof as you can get.

So, you can make a system to last 4-5 years no problem but you will realize there are so many systems out there many times over faster than yours. If you can keep your mindset in reality you can make a system last longer than most of us allow... ;) 

April 19, 2008 12:34:03 PM

Thanks everyone for the ideas. I have been thinking about Nehalem. my wife is letting me do this around Christmas this year. So that is Nehalem timeframe. I think that I will be looking at all Nehalem news until then to see if it would be worth it to build one based on the new architecture. I think that I would be shooting myself in the foot if I don't. I don't do anything anyone would consider "high-end" but I would like to start Folding@Home. So I am definitely thinking about, if I don't go Nehalem, that the q9300 or the Q9450 would do the job well. I think that I will try to max out the ram to 8 gigs since i will be running 64 bit vista and Linux.

Ultimately I think that based on what I am using now, anything will be lightyears ahead of what I have now.
April 19, 2008 12:42:31 PM

This is the ideas that I have been thinking about for my new system

NOTE: this is a rough list of components. unsure of motherboard to use. really like Asus P5E3( gotta have that express gate)

q9450
scythe ninja mini
8gb ddr3 memory
Asus P5E3
Seagate 320gb and 1TB Sata 2 drives ( for the video editing)
8800gt or if they release it 9800gt
SATA DVD Burner
Vista and Ubuntu
April 19, 2008 2:50:38 PM

Im using a Presler Pentuim D 3.2 that acts as my media center and it does folding @ home now and it does great. Folding @ home, as Im sure you know ramps up cpu useage when its idle and releases it when the system needs it for daily tasks. My cpu usually runs around 60-80% daily.

If I were you, I would use the current system you have now to do the folding @ home to keep your new system totally free to do things you want to do. Thats just my opinion. My main rig doesnt have anything extra on it so I know its not junked up with programs running in the background slowing my system down. The less you install on your main rig the better offf you will be, IMO.

From what your saying you will be doing, anything current will be well more than enough. Its good if you can wait a few months due to all of the releases coming out. So technically you will be better off in the long run for waiting as long as you can...
April 19, 2008 8:20:18 PM

Dont bother building a intel system at the moment, beacause the nehalem architecture is coming out end of this year and 2009, with this Intel are changing their sockets. if you need something now, your best bet would be to make a AMD system.
April 19, 2008 9:22:08 PM

englandr753 said:
For a 5 year system I would go with a Q6600 cpu.

Id build this system:

Good luck...


That would die in terms of enthusiast in one year, performance in 2.

E2160 Build for now then jump on bloomfield/lynnfield IMO
April 20, 2008 3:32:50 AM

acidpython said:
That would die in terms of enthusiast in one year, performance in 2.

E2160 Build for now then jump on bloomfield/lynnfield IMO


Ok, that will last 12 more months then what?...

You can always wait and there will always be something better about to be released. If your always trying to stay on the cutting edge then what you say is true. Otherwise the Q6600 will do fine for a 4-5 year system.

Read or Reread the OP's original post and it says "for basic home movie video editing, web surfing, virtualization of several OS's, and possibly playing several RTS games or RPGs( C&C3 and Neverwinter Nights 2) occasionally."

Nothing about being an enthusiast and having bleeding edge technology for 5 years. ;) 

April 20, 2008 12:21:39 PM

olimd said:
Dont bother building a intel system at the moment, beacause the nehalem architecture is coming out end of this year and 2009, with this Intel are changing their sockets. if you need something now, your best bet would be to make a AMD system.


Nah, you'd be better off with the Gigabyte all solid capacitor and E2180 OCed to 3.0GHz until Nehalem came out.
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