Upgrading from 7 year old comp! Did research, still have Q's. ~ $2,500

Hello all!

Yes, I've been using a 7 year old comp. (Athlon XP 1800+ ) I've added a bit of ram and changed out the graphics card once, but that's been it. Also, getting rid of my 21" CRT and getting LCD's. :)

Here's my answers to the sticky questions: (from HardForum)

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
This pc will be a heavily used, multi-tasking computer. I'm pretty much all over the place. Right now my main focus is on building a business making websites, advertising, marketing, etc. There is a lot of multi-tabbed web browsing/reading/writing, I'm also looking into shooting some movies and pics (yes, pr0n) - and will be slightly editing them. (I don't plan to get into heavy photoshop or video editing, just enough to suffice). I will be doing a little bit of gaming, but really I'm trying to stay away from getting heavy into it. I am looking forward to playing some games I missed out on while my pc was crap, and current and upcoming games. (Assassin's Creed and Diablo 3 when it comes out). I will be using 3 24" LCD monitors for all my multi-tasking/editing/research/etc

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?

a rough max of $2,500, but closer to $2,000 would be better. Tax and shipping included. I would like to keep the actual computer parts closer to $2,000 because I figure the UPS would bring that closer to the $2,500.

3) Where do you live?
New Jersey, USA. Yes, I have to pay Newegg tax. :(

4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. Please be very specific.
Everything basic except monitors, keyboard, mouse. This means: cpu, case, ram, mobo, vid cards, etc.

5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
No parts re-used. Need all new.

6) Will you be overclocking?
I would like to. I never have before, but with the Q9550 chip I want to get, it seems relatively easy? (just increase FSB - yes I've already bookmarked a few OC'ing guides) It is NOT absolutely necessary though.

7) What size monitor do you have or plan to have?
Three 24" LCD monitors. (1920 x 1200 resolution)

8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
As Soon As Possible! :D my old comp is really hampering my activities, and I NEED to have a backup solution in place! (my current comp has a 60gb hard drive, no backup!)

With those answered, here is what I've researched/picked out so far:
(and the short of it is - I need help picking a case, video cards, and a mobo. Beyond that, just making sure the other parts are good)

CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 - $319.99

HSF XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 + Retention Bracket - $36.99 + $6.99 = $43.98

RAM G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $69.99

PSU CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W - $119.99

HDD Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s - $79.99 x 3 = $239.97

CD/DVD burn/read LG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW , 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW, etc - $23.99 x 2 = $47.98

Arctic Silver 5 - $5.99

Operating System Windows XP Pro SP3

Subtotal: $987.88
Tax: $70.47
Shipping: $18.85

Total so far: $1,077.20

Still Need:
Case ~ $250 - Has to be full tower to fit modern video cards, couple of hard drives.
Mobo ~ $250 - one of my concerns is being able to fit the Xigmatek in the "front to back" position so that it blows air directly out of the back of the case. I'm not sure I'm into the whole top case blowhole thing. Would be nice to have Esata port. If wifi is included would be nice, but not necessary. It looks like they have USB wifi receivers now?
Video cards ~ $500 - I need 2 video cards to run 3 24" monitors at 1920 x 1200. I've always been an Nvidia fan. Not entirely opposed to Ati I guess though. Was looking at:
EVGA 512-P3-N874-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ Superclocked Edition 778mhz 512MB - $209.99 x 2 = $419.98 (and there is a $30 MIR on each also)
I wouldn't be opposed to 512MB 4870's I guess - which would be better for my use/video editing..?
(don't know what I'm going to do for sound yet. Probably just use onboard sound and a pair of headphones for now. This isn't included in pc build budget for now.)

Those are rough estimates, but I feel those are realistic estimates. (not specifically that much for each item, just a rough guess) That adds roughly another $1,000 to the build, putting me right around where I wanted to be. (there's 1 $20 MIR for the power supply not included in the total)

Why Win XP and 4 gig of ram? - yes I know about the issue. I'm not ready to move up to Vista 64 bit, there are compatibility questions with software. I like Win XP. I can easily move up to Vista 64 in a year or two if I feel things have improved. Want to stick with Win XP for now. - Question about the whole 4 gig thing. I know that you are supposed to subtract for your video card(s), that is why I was wanting to go with the 512MB video cards. Does it subtract this from the possible working ram all the time, or only when the video cards are using that MB for gaming? (so it would for the main video card running my main screen, but not for the other one running the other 2 screens?)

Do you see any problems with the parts I've picked out so far? Thanks for reading and for suggestions!

I should mention this is my first comp build. Are there any cables or miscellaneous stuff I'd need to pick up that you can think of? I was thinking of getting one of those ESD straps, but my main concern is getting all the hardware in and going to put it together only to discover that I don't have some cable.. that would suck!
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More about upgrading year comp research
  1. Ok for your hi res Monitors, A pair of these will run on your PSU low idle power consumption and for $219(including rebate) They are a steal.
    Possibly this case if you want room. But for Ultra cooling Look out for the New Thermaltake Spedo( not on Egg yet)
    Mobo for SLI
    should be good Best of luck
  2. You need to stop worrying about "problems" with Vista 64.
    Exactly what software are you using that leads you to believe you will have issues?
    Vista 64 is rock solid and there are very few problems as long as all your hardware is relatively new. Release bugs Vista had in the beginning have been resolved for some time now.
    For a new build with modern hardware there is no reason not to be running Vista 64. Simply no reason at all.

    Yes, if you stick with XP 32 bit, the 2 -512 meg cards will limit the amount of main memory available all the time as the address space for them is allocating first. Out of the 4 gig, you'll only have around 2.3 gig left to use. Yet another reason to move on to Vista.
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