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Music server build - some questions

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September 2, 2008 6:46:12 PM

My father-in-law is replacing his aging Dell laptop and is looking at all options (laptop, all-in-one and tower system). Knowing that I'm about to start to build a system for myself, he asked me to quote a build for him so he could compare it to off-the-shelf tower systems.

Most of the time the new system would be used for email, web surfing and viewing (not editing) pictures/video but he would like to start streaming music to his audio system from it. He would most likely get a 22" widescreen monitor but a 24" is not out of the question (so up to 1920 x 1200 resolution).

I've listed my ideas for the build below followed by some questions/comments. I'm not sure if there is anything special required for a music server so please let me know if there is something I haven't considered. The following is just a rough build as the shopping wouldn't happen for at least a month, so some things may get swapped for better deals.

CPU: E7200 ($120)
Mobo: GA-EP35-D3SL ($85)
Case/PSU: Antec Sonata III with Antec 500W PSU ($99)
GPU: GeForce 9500GT ($65 with rebate)
RAM: 2 x 2Gb DDR2-667 or DDR2-800 ($75-$90)
Drives: 2 x WD 640 Gb ($170)
OS: Vista Home Premium 32-bit ($99)
Misc: DVD burner, wireless card, keyboard, mouse

Questions/Comments:
- I added a 2nd drive because they've had hard drive failures in the past. I plan on just mirroring the data but would RAID 1 be a better choice (which would mean a mobo change).
- Is the 9500GT overkill and should I consider something cheaper?
- Assuming I don't overclock it, do I have sufficient cooling (the case has one fan)?
- If I wanted to a modest overclock, would the case have enough ventilation (with a CPU fan)?
- I could go with Vista 64-bit but need to check on driver availability for his printers

Thanks






September 2, 2008 7:02:31 PM

Considering his intended usage, I'd say go with the off-the-shelf systems. They are designed for that sort of thing and benefit from volume discounts. You will find it hard to even match their prices if you build yourself. Doing your own build makes sense if you are a gamer and make upgrades often or want to overclock. None of that applies here IMO.

Another thing: do you really want to offer support to your father-in-law if something goes wrong with the PC in the next few years? It's probably best for everybody if he gets a Dell or HP or something like that.

Edit: if you do decide to make your own build, your list is very nice. I'd probably change the MB to GA-EP45-DS3L. That will allow 5 hard disks + 1 DVD instead of a max of 3 HDD+DVD. On the other hand, the GA-EP35-DS3L has 3 PCI slots (the GA-EP45-DS3L only 2). PCI slots are useful for TV tuners and sound cards for example. Both use the same Realtek chip for audio, btw. Ask your father-in-law what is more likely to help him in the future - more disks or more PCI cards.


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September 2, 2008 7:09:39 PM

I suggest an off the shelf system, with a few upgrades. (ie Sound card, more RAM, and better graphics card)
September 2, 2008 7:20:26 PM

aevm said:
Another thing: do you really want to offer support to your father-in-law if something goes wrong with the PC in the next few years? It's probably best for everybody if he gets a Dell or HP or something like that.


Sadly I've become the extended family's support person anyway (being a chip designer automatically qualifies you as being the computer support person for some reason). At least if I build the system I know what's in it.



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