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Looking to build a mid-high range Desktop for under $1500

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Last response: in Systems
November 20, 2008 3:45:25 AM

Hi Guys,

Technology moves so fast in 4's like reading another language now.

Here's what I need:

1. Processor - I think I've decided on the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650

2. Video Card - I think I'm going with the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 280

3. Sound Card - ????

4. Case - ????

5. Memory - ?????

6. Disk Drives - ????? (I kinda like having 2 hard drives...maybe even in a RAID 0 config...thoughts?)

Anything else I'm forgetting? I'd ap preciate some help filling in the blanks.

I typically like to stick with mid-high range parts, as I feel this is the best value. I'm looking for the best bang for the buck... under $1500 total.

I'd apprecaite any and all input.



P.S. The computer will be used for occassional gaming on Vista 64 bit. I also do some sound processing and mixing using Guitar Rig and Nuendo... and I use MIcrosoft office, etc...

More about : build mid high range desktop 1500

November 20, 2008 4:01:19 AM

You're going to have an interesting time putting together a PC with a GTX 280 and a Q9650 for under $1500. You're forgetting a motherboard, and you need to factor in the cost of windows and a PSU as well. You'll suddenly find that taking a few hundred dollars more off of your budget.

Don't bother with RAID 0. I can't stand that garbage. You're better off with a single drive. You can get a higher capacity drive for cheap now, so there's no need for a data risking redundant array of inexpensive disks.

You're also better off with 32-bit.

Oh, and you want a GTX 280 and a Q9650 for "occasional gaming"? Talk about overkill.
November 20, 2008 4:09:39 AM

Whoops...yep, forgot a motherboard...

Ok, maybe it's overkill... let's start over.

Here's what I need:

Here's what I need:

1. Processor - ????

2. Video Card - ?????

3. Sound Card - ????

4. Case - ????

5. Memory - ?????

6. Disk Drives - ????? (I kinda like having 2 hard drives...maybe even in a RAID 0 config...thoughts?)

7. Motherboard - ??????

The guy that posted last probably has a point... I just want something where the total cost of the hardware (i.e. the 7 items above) is $1500 or under.

Cost of windows, etc...that's just extra.

Back to the drawing board...any ideas? (I do want go go with 64 bit, and will use VMWare to have a 32 bit virtual machine to run certain things, etc.
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November 20, 2008 7:34:24 AM

I'm only familiar with UK prices, but bearing that in mind;

CPU - The 9550 is quite a bit cheaper than the 9650. Get the 9550 with a decent aftermarket cooler and o/c it.

Memory - Get 4Gb of RAM as 2x2Gb. You can add another 4Gb later if you want/need to. Go for PC8500 RAM if you intend to overclock quite a lot, otherwise go for some good PC6400 .

GFX - A 4870 1024Mb or 260-216 maxcore will probably be more than enough for your needs.

M/b - The X48 chipset seems to be quite popular at the moment, but if you're not too fussed about Crossfire, get a good P45 board (such as Asus P5Q Pro), which are also highly rated.

Case - depends what you like. If you want a huge case with window and flashing lights, get an Antec 900 or 1200. If you like small and subtle, an Antec 300 or Hiper Osiris might suit you.

HDD - RAID0 is overkill. A single, fast drive is ample. the Samsung F1 640Gb is popular. Get a second large capacity drive for storage (you could even do this later to save money now)

Sound card - not really a requirement these days - most people seem happy with onboard. The Asus Xonar comes well recommended, but I've heard Creative have finally sorted out the Xi-fi drivers for Vista64 now, so that's also an option. Given your budget, I'd leave out a sound card for now and add one later if you're not happy with the on-board.

Don't forget to get a SATA DVD drive either.
November 20, 2008 12:20:45 PM

Llama Man, thanks a ton!

Would you classify that as a medium-high range system? Sonds good.

Another buddy of mine came up with a setup too... does anyone have an opinion about which one you'd go for? Llama's in the last message, or this one from my buddy?

Maybe mix 'n match?

M/B - Intel BOXDX58SO LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard

Processor - Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 Quad-Core Processor

Memory - CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Vid Card - GIGABYTE GV-N26OC-896H-B GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

HD - Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KSRTL 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

DVD Drive - LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe

Case - Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $40 discount w/ Antec power supply combo, ends 11/25


What do you think of this one compared to llama's? I have no idea.

Also...what is the recommended powersupply for these particular setups?

Thanks a ton guys.

November 20, 2008 1:03:55 PM

Mobo: Asus Rampage Formula

PSU: Antec Signature Series 850w

HD: Wester Digital 6401AALS

Memory: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB)

Heatsink: XIGMATEK HDT-S1284EE

Bracket for heatsink:

DVD Burner: 2 x SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+-R

Sound Card:

Video Card: Asus 4870 1GB

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit

CPU: Q9550
Frys Electronics has it on sale with a free ECS Mobo for $229.99

This comes to about $1500 without a case.
November 20, 2008 1:07:49 PM

Oh wow... thanks Ragman. Holy I've got 3 potential systems to buy...and I don't know which one to pick!

Anyone have any thoughts as to which of these 3 is a better computer, best bang for the buck? Or maybe mix and match some parts?

November 20, 2008 1:13:10 PM

If you want to go with the i7 and X58, here's a set up that comes in at budget.

CPU - i7 920 - $305

Motherboard - Gigabyte X58 $299 - combo deal with GTX260 216 or combo with a HD4870 1GB

GPU - GTX260 216 EVGA $220 with combo

RAM 3x2GB DDR3 1333 - Corsair XMS3 $250

Case - Coolermaster 690 $75

PSU - Corsair 750w $100 after rebate

HD - WD 640GB SATA $70

Burner - LG SATA $22

OS - Vista Home Premium 64bit $100

$1,460 before shipping

A Q9550, X48, 4 GB of DDR2 800 1.8v RAM would be cheaper, the i7/X58 is a new release and may have teething problems
November 20, 2008 3:37:05 PM

You guys are awesome. Thanks so much.

Just 2 last questions.

1. If this was YOUR system, would you go with the i7 processor, or the Q9550? Have there been problems that you've heard of with the i7? Would it be risky?

2. It terms of bang for buck, do you think dirtmountain's setup would be best? For my needs (occassional gaming with the latest titles...doing my sound processing/mixing...and using MS Office on a daily basis) would I be good for at least a couple years?

Thanks guys...I'm ready to buy.

November 20, 2008 3:38:33 PM

Whoops...and question #3.. Would it be worth it try and stay on budget and get 8 gigs of ram instead of 6?
November 20, 2008 6:22:50 PM

If this were my system and i did the type of things you did.........i'd probably go with the i7. The i7/X58 is new, but they've been up and working on them since about June, i'd sure keep an eye out in different forums for problems/bugs etc. and new BIOS editions. The i7/X58 would be better in terms of longevity for a system, could always replace the CPU with a newer 1366 socket CPU. 6 GB of RAM should be fine, you'd still have 3 sockets to bump up to 9 or 12 if needed later, but i wouldn't do it unless it's needed.

*EDIT* i put a GTX260 216 in the build, you might want a HD4870 1GB or 512. You can either crossfire or SLI with that board, so you might want to research which way you'd go with the graphics either ATI or Nvidia.
November 20, 2008 8:04:00 PM

Thanks dirtmountain...I think I'm going to go with what you posted. Anyone got anything to add, or things to consider about this system, or the others presented previously?