Budget $700 PC... Photograper - Artist.

My old P4 has had 2 hardware breakdowns in the last couple of weeks (CPU Fan, Stick of Ram went bad)... It was rather a wake up call when the local PC guy called my system old (I went to him to buy a new fan). So it's time to start working on building a new one.

I'm a photographer and a traditional artist so I need enough power edit my image files (600+ dpi scans of letter sized paper) in GIMP without a lot of lag. I had 768 MB of ram on my older computer and it doesn't lag much with the graphics files that I edit as long as I don't have anything other than an IM, and firewall, in the background. I'm light on gaming as the most power and graphics demanding games of choice are Mabinogi, and The Sims (the original, not 2.)

Also, I'll be running XP Professional.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
Gskill 2 x 1GB DDR2 800 PC2-6400
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB ( I have an 80 and I use only about 2/3rds if that much of it.)
RAIDMAX Smilodon case. I like the looks and 500 watt PSU… If you know of something cheaper please suggest it.

Can anyone suggest a CPU fan, and cooler? To be honest I have no idea on how to pick out a good one. I know you look to match them to the socket.

Graphics… Something with an NVIDIA chipset… I’ve been looking around but a lot of cards seem overpowered for what I need… My current computer has a eVGA 5500GT and it works well for everything I do currently. Looking to the future as to buying games, the only ones I’m currently interested in is The Sims 2, and mayhaps the sims 3.

As for optical drives I have a CD burner that I can move over as well as a CD Rom (the sims won’t play on the CD burner) I’m also looking at DVD +/- RW for backups. Are DVD/CD RW Combo drives a good idea?

My apologies for leaving so many holes, this is the first time I’ve tried to put together a build completely solo. So I’m going at it a step at a time. Thanks in advance for the help.
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  1. Best opening yet. Very clear objectives.

    The games you mentioned are not very demanding. You just have to meet/exceed the recommended sys. req.

    The new build list looks good. It just needs a psu that is to be determined after gpu selection.

    If you don't overclock, the stock fan is fine. If you do or if you like a cool cpu, get the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283.

    The Sims is 3D. The new ones will probably be more gpu-hungry. This chart will help you determine the right gpu. The 8500 would be the minimal. There is a version of it with passive cooling (only heatsink). It doesn't make any noise. Should be under a $100.


    Once you determine the gpu, look at the system req. on the gpu website. That will help you determine the psu. As for makes, go with tier 1/2/3:

    I'm not sure of your ram's price. If you can get 2x2GB for $70-ish, get it. The low pricing won't last when DDR3 becomes mainstream in the summer/fall.

    Search for "diy pc" at youtube that will show you how to build a pc from start to finish.
  2. My apologies for taking so long to reply. I've been looking around at the video cards... The MSI NX8600GT-T2D256E OC GeForce 8600GT seems to me to be the one to go with. I'm more worried about heat than noise.

    The manual for this card recommends at least a 350 watt PSU... So 550 watt to be on the safe side for future expansions? This is the one I was looking at.

    CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 Power Supply - Retail

    That leaves me at $670 (including sales tax & Shipping... I live in TN so newegg has to charge me sales tax)... Now I just need a case, and a DVD/CD RW drive.... I guess this is going to be a $800 PC ^-^;
  3. Yup, that psu is more than enough for the whole pc.

    Look at ASUS DRW-2014S1T & Antec cases. Solo is very quiet & no-frills. Or you can pick up a Sonata III with a quality Earthwatt 500W psu.
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