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Sub $1500 system build challenge

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June 18, 2008 3:41:16 PM

Hello!

I am building a PC, and I am looking for some high-quality user input. Thus, I challenge YOU to build the best multimedia, games, and general use PC possible for sub-$1500! I'm looking for creativity, as I am currently mulling a few set-ups basically stemming from certain brand allegiances, which is certainly cost/performance unhealthy!

Rules:
Final price MUST be sub-$1500 ($1499.99 OK!).
Final price MUST include shipping (UPS Ground, as itemized by Newegg).
MUST use www.newegg.com for all components.
No allegiances to brands! Anything goes ....
(Note: raw performance -- GPU/CPU/MB/RAM much more important than fancy form factors, over-the-top bells and whistles).

MUST include all components except:
Hard Drive (optional).
Optical (optional -- Blu-Ray would be a HUGE bonus!)

Mouse, keyboard, speakers unnecessary!

PC uses:
-General: web + excel + word.
-Multimedia: Media Player always playing, DVD encoding, CD ripping.
-Graphics: presentation creation (Pagemaker, Photoshop).
-Games: All modern FPS (Crysis, COD4, Far Cry 2 (for the future!)). Also some RPG and RTS, but I think maximizing for COD4 / Crysis is more important.
-Science: may involve large amounts of data (photo) transfer. Thus, could benefit from simple RAID set-up.
-Tinkering: will definitely overclock, interested in advanced cooling options (but not necessary). SLI / Crossfire would be cool.

You get the idea!

Thanks -- I will share build ideas and comments if responses evolve, but I don't want to cloud anyone's judgment beforehand!

June 18, 2008 3:44:19 PM

Also: must include widescreen LCD monitor. 24" preferred.
June 18, 2008 3:56:02 PM

*Yawn*
EDIT: Now you tell us about the monitor. The problem is the a good 24" monitor is $659. You can get 24" monitors for less but they use TN panels which produce crappy colors. Colors would be important in your work I would think.

High Middle Range Build: ~$1500 Currently: $1838.17 with a 24" monitor and 8GB subtract $94 for 4GB
$1556.12 with 22" monitor shipped before rebates/$1462.13 with 4GB of RAM

MIR of $10 on the memory and $20 on the PSU.

CPU: Intel Core2Duo Q9300 Quad- Price included in case price
Motherboard: Asus P5Q Pro- $149.99
RAM: Patriot 4GB DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 x2 (8GB total) $187.98 before MIR (93.99 each)
Hard Drive: Optional
Optical Drive: Optional
Case:Antec P182 - Save $50 on this case with combo- 359.98
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling 610W $109.99 before MIR
OS: Vista Home Prem 64-bit 94.99
Video Card: AMD Radeon 4850 video card (will be out next week) $199
Arctic Cooling MX-2 compound
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket- $7.00

Monitor:
SAMSUNG 245T-BLACK Black 24" 6ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail $659.99
OR
SAMSUNG ToC T220HD Rose Black 22" 5ms HDMI Widescreen $399.99

The monitor really breaks the bank. Now you could drop to 4GB of RAM, but for photo editing thats a big hit. It would spending the $56 over your budget to have 8GB.
Related resources
June 18, 2008 4:16:55 PM

Thanks, nice job.

What do you think of the KDS 24" at $349.99? Gets high ratings (maybe mostly do to low price?) but I have never seen before ... you're right, colors are important, but could let slide if the the ~$250 extra is providing only marginal return (suppose I gotta get myself out to a Fry's and see for myself ... )

What do you think about Antec EA650 650 W PSU for $79.99?

Also, with the E8400 also possible for $279.98 with P182 combo ....

I think the Asus P5Q Pro is the way to go, as is (hopefully) the ATI 4850 ...

And don't Yawn ... you love this!
June 18, 2008 4:19:37 PM

Maybe I am getting greedy, wanting to sacrifice quality for size. Maybe 22" Samsung way to go.
June 18, 2008 4:20:47 PM

It is a BIG difference. For Photo work TN panels are considered unacceptable.

E8400 works- quad core will benefit you if you spend a lot of time in Photoshop.

Yawn as in your challenge before you edited in the monitor was so easy :p 

June 18, 2008 4:21:23 PM

staser88 said:
Maybe I am getting greedy, wanting to sacrifice quality for size. Maybe 22" Samsung way to go.


That 22" Samsung also has a HD tuner built in- so you can watch TV on it if you get bored.

June 18, 2008 4:55:02 PM

I think you're right about the monitor ... would be better to have really sharp display w/ HDTV than to have crappy and bulky.

I think I can sacrifice a). 4 gb RAM and b). quad core for dual core (although I'm still pondering ....). I don't think my photoshop work will get so intense as to need such power (I currently do "OK" w/ 4 gb RAM and Opteron 170 overclocked to 2.8 ghz).

Also, I can put a little excitement (and $100) back by telling you that the OS is taken care of -- University license.

Here's what I have, based on shadowduck suggestions and my additions/changes.

Antec P182 + E8400 combo: $279.98. Great suggestion! (+ free shipping!)
ASUS P5Q Pro: $149.99.
ATI 4850: ~$200 (hopefully the numbers ring true).
Mushkin 4 gb (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800: $88.99.
PC Power and Cooling 610W: $109.99 (looks to be better than the Antec).]
Samsung Toc T220HD Rose Black 22": $399.99.
LG Blu-Ray / HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD-R: $159.99.
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120 mm Rifle CPU Cooler: $36.99.

I will scrounge up mouse, keyboard, OS, and HD.

Total, with shipping, and BEFORE rebates: $1442.
Total AFTER rebates: $1407.

Now, can we do better???





June 18, 2008 5:00:06 PM

Oh nice.. not having to buy an OS helps.

Now you know the $159 drive you have there will NOT burn Bluray just read it.

Add the bracket in- push pins are hell, you don't want to deal with them.

June 18, 2008 5:18:09 PM

I know ... I want the Blu-Ray burner sooo bad ... but I can't justify the expense. The bracket is out of stock at the moment, thus I forgot to add. I definitely will get the bracket when purchasing (should add ~$10 ... I'm not exactly certain how Newegg computes shipping ... are all items individual ship prices just summed?) I've already got some thermal paste.

Now ... if we can find some ways to cut cost so that we can Xfire these 4850s ... I guess that would entail scrapping the blu-ray idea. Xfire probably would be marginal return at 1650x1080 anyway.



June 18, 2008 5:28:24 PM

You got it. At anything below 1920x1200 your returns are not that great.
June 18, 2008 6:27:25 PM

I CHALLENGE YOU GUYS... TO DO RESEARCH FOR ME BECAUSE IM LAZY. BEGIN!
June 18, 2008 7:25:12 PM

That was unhelpful, "Oh Snap."

I'm fairly well researched ... got several potential builds going on. The question is ... what are some of the better deals that one may overlook, esp. when thinking within a particular budget? That would be the purpose of the forum, no?

I would point out that shadowduck brought to my attention the P182/CPU combo deal -- which I had indeed overlooked because I had already settled on a cheaper case and was not actively scouring for cases. Combined with the free shipping, this is one of the best deals out there.

And of course, quality versus price is always an interesting topic for discussion, esp. in this case of trying to fit in a 22-24" monitor.

So, I ask of you, "Oh Snap," how are the FPD2485Ws from Gateway?

And, what do you (all) think of NEC Display Solutions ASLCD24WMCX-BK Black 24" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD?
June 18, 2008 8:01:14 PM

Get a JOB!

June 18, 2008 10:19:21 PM

staser88 said:
I think you're right about the monitor ... would be better to have really sharp display w/ HDTV than to have crappy and bulky.

I think I can sacrifice a). 4 gb RAM and b). quad core for dual core (although I'm still pondering ....). I don't think my photoshop work will get so intense as to need such power (I currently do "OK" w/ 4 gb RAM and Opteron 170 overclocked to 2.8 ghz).

Also, I can put a little excitement (and $100) back by telling you that the OS is taken care of -- University license.

Here's what I have, based on shadowduck suggestions and my additions/changes.

Antec P182 + E8400 combo: $279.98. Great suggestion! (+ free shipping!)
ASUS P5Q Pro: $149.99.
ATI 4850: ~$200 (hopefully the numbers ring true).
Mushkin 4 gb (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800: $88.99.
PC Power and Cooling 610W: $109.99 (looks to be better than the Antec).]
Samsung Toc T220HD Rose Black 22": $399.99.
LG Blu-Ray / HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD-R: $159.99.
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120 mm Rifle CPU Cooler: $36.99.

I will scrounge up mouse, keyboard, OS, and HD.

Total, with shipping, and BEFORE rebates: $1442.
Total AFTER rebates: $1407.

Now, can we do better???


Nice build. :) 

If your not going to do any super heavy duty overclocking and you want to save a few dollars, then maybe that heatsink will do you better...also it's not as large as the s1283. That retention bracket will probably knock off 20-30 min. off your build time, and your heatsink won't feel like it's about to fall off. The s1283 is huge, and the push pin set up it comes stock with sucks big time...like really bad. I reccomend that retention bracket for any Xigmatek heatsink. The PSU is on sale along with a $10 rebate. Also that MX-2 thermal compound not only does a better job at dropping your cpu temps compared to artic silver 5, but it has no set up / curring time, it's non conductive, and it last for years unlike artic silver 5.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 ($14.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate)
XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $6.99
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99 ($99.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate)
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CE, CB, TUV, FCC, CCC - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $6.99
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

June 19, 2008 1:13:32 PM

Thanks -- yeah, I think I'll go with this cooling solution (w/ the bracket!).

The Corsair PSU @ 650W was my original power supply choice, and is $10 cheaper than the Pc Power and Cooling @ 610W. I wonder if it there is anything "better" about the PC P&C ... like quieter or more "stable"?

Any further monitor suggestions? I like the 22" samsung, and I like the 24" NEC Accusync ...
!