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Mid-range computer for 2D design and some light gaming

Last response: in Systems
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November 9, 2008 10:33:13 AM

I posted a thread about this a while ago, some time has passed and the build has changed a fair bit, so here it is, submitted for your comments:

Cabinet Antec Three Hundred
Cooling paste Arctic Silver Arctic Silver 5
Mobo Asus P5Q Pro
Power Corsair TX 650W
CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
Optical Nec AD-7203S
HD Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250 GB SATA2 (4 of them for RAID 10)
CPUcooler Thermaltake Blue Orb II
Graphics Sapphire Radeon HD 4850
RAM Corsair Dominator TWIN2X8500C5D 4096MB, DDR2,2x2GB

Questions and comments:

Am I good to go with RAID10 or will I have to buy something extra?

I'm investing a bit in the graphics card due to the work Nvidia did with Adobe for CS4 - does this mean I'll be better off with a card from Nvidia?

There are no prices listed because I'm buying this in Norway, but it'll cost around 9000 NOK, which, according to google, is about 1300 USD.

I've messed around with computer-guts before, but this is my first complete build, so be kind :) 
November 9, 2008 2:22:32 PM

you might want to conside a 1 gig version of the graphics card.

many people question a raid performanc gain with onboard raid contrndolers. a high end addon might be better

you might be better of with 2x 500 gig or better 7200.11 in raid 0 or use the same 2 in a matrix array to raid 0 the OS and software, but Raid 1 your data files
November 9, 2008 3:17:48 PM

i would go with 2x 500 gb like groo mentioned.

(i know you live in norway, but i'm just linking to the the product so you can see)

WD 6400 AAKS 640gb hd.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i would also drop the Q9400, if you're gonna go for a 45nm quad, you should invest a little bit more and get the Q9550 because of the 12mb L2 cache compared to the Q9400's 6mb

BUT...you stated you want a comp for 2d design and light gaming, so i would recommend you drop the Q9400 all together and instead go with a Q6600 and do a light OC on it to 3.0ghz, save some money :) 
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November 9, 2008 7:05:27 PM

Just for the record, I'm not looking to spend more money here - I'm already spending more than I was planning.

I'm not sure I understand the comments about the RAID setup, am I better off just saving money by just buying a fast HDD (because the onboard controller isn't all that great) and spending some more on the better CPU?

Matrix Array sounds fancy and complicated - is it?

The annoying shop I have a weird selection of processors: http://www.norek.no/k/kl.aspx?bn=10491 - no Q6600 or Q9450, which both seem quite pupular :??: 
November 9, 2008 7:19:57 PM

2 faster, larger HDDs should be cheaper than the 4 you mentioned.
as the onboard controler might not give you that much of a speed bonus for raid 10, a raid 1 made of bigger faster HDDs might give comperable performance.

1 great big one should be even cheaper.

I've never used matrix arrays. Its an Inel thing. my desktop is AMD
my understanding is that you break up the HDD into partitions, then raid 0 i partion from each drive and raid 1 another partition from each drive.

not all Intel southbridges do this, not sure about the one you listed.

the best way to save money would be to downgrade to DDR2 800
November 10, 2008 7:39:02 AM

Good advice

Okay, couldn't find any WD 6400s over here, but did find the 500GB, 7200.11 rpm Barracuda HDDs, and I save more than enough buying two of those to upgrade to Q9550.

I hope I'm not not setting up any bottlenecks here - how do you look for those, anyway?
November 10, 2008 2:59:39 PM

2 ways, intentionaly slow portions of the system and see how much it affect the performance doing what you want
or just look at the individual vista scores.
obviosly the first one is better and the second one is easier, but your whole system will probably give 5.9s.

I realy don't think your bottlenecking for your intended task. for gaming, your a bit high on CPU and a little low on GPU.

I think the q9550 is a good move for you. the only other possible consideration would be upgrading to 8 gigs of system memory if CS4 is optimised for 64 bit. but I've never looked into the heart of the Adobe Creative Suite.

you might want to find some adobe forum to ask about the memory and vid card.

November 10, 2008 4:37:37 PM

Fun fact: the windows version of CS4 is optimised for 64bit, the mac one is not :D 

I will be upgrading to 8 gigs at some point

I'll be getting the 1 gig version of the graphics card since it actually wasn't that much more expensive.. I'm blowing my budget, but not by very much.

I'll also get a Scythe Katana 2 cooler instead of the Thermaltake one, since I'm a bit worried about the size.

So I think that should be it - thank you both for helping :) 
!