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7 yrs ago, u guys helped me build a $2.5K dream machine. Round 2

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December 10, 2008 10:23:46 PM

About 7 years ago you guys helped me build a $2500 dream machine. That system served me well. And I owe the community here an endless amount of gratitude.

Well I'm here for my next machine, but don't have access to the same amount of disposable funds. I have about $1,000 MAX to spend.

I'm going to use the machine as an ultimate media machine. For gaming, watching movies, and general web surfing.

My two biggest priorities are:

1. Super hi-res graphics (want to allocate as much budget to this area as needed to get a top of the line display)

2. Crystal clear sound (does anybody have any recommendations for a nice pair of surround sound hd audio headphones? and a good sound card that would work well with it?)

3. speed (enough cpu and ram to play latest games on higher settings).

Obviously with only 1K i'm going to be limited. But I'd like to poor as much resources as my budget will allow (based on the priority given above)

Thanks for any help in advance!


December 10, 2008 11:28:14 PM

Newegg would have the following in stock. I'll list estimated prices.

An ASUS or Gigabyte P45 MB = $140

2 x Radeon 4850 = $300

Penryn C2D E8500 = $190

2 x 2G PC26400 = $50

22" LCD = $250

Vista 64 HP OEM = $100

600w PSU = $50

500GB SATA HD = 60

Total $1150 before rebates
December 10, 2008 11:43:58 PM

Well first off, what size is your monitor and what resolution do you plan on playing? Or do you actually need to include a monitor with this build? If its been 7 years since your previous build, your probably still using a CRT screeen!
December 10, 2008 11:44:12 PM

badge said:
Newegg would have the following in stock. I'll list estimated prices.

An ASUS or Gigabyte P45 MB = $140

2 x Radeon 4850 = $300

Penryn C2D E8500 = $190

2 x 2G PC26400 = $50

22" LCD = $250

Vista 64 HP OEM = $100

600w PSU = $50

500GB SATA HD = 60

Total $1150 before rebates



Good estimates, however the Acer 22" is $20-40 below $200 and any money saved on that could be put into a higher quality PSU, like a Corsair 650TX.
December 10, 2008 11:53:26 PM

Plus...4850's in crossfire on a P45 NB with a 4GHz. 45nm DC pushing them! Beats a socket A by a little. 8)
December 11, 2008 12:11:30 AM

could get the Acer 19" with 1680x1050 resolution for only 139. (newegg)
December 11, 2008 12:48:08 AM

Not quite sure why anyone would want to run 1680x1050 resolution on a 19" screen.
December 11, 2008 10:49:15 AM

Yes, I'm on a viewsonic optiquest that you guys recommended (CRT) "21. It looks like it's straight out of a movie from the 80s at this point.
December 11, 2008 10:58:26 AM

badge said:
Newegg would have the following in stock. I'll list estimated prices.

An ASUS or Gigabyte P45 MB = $140

2 x Radeon 4850 = $300

Penryn C2D E8500 = $190

2 x 2G PC26400 = $50

22" LCD = $250

Vista 64 HP OEM = $100

600w PSU = $50

500GB SATA HD = 60

Total $1150 before rebates


Looks good. Right now I'm on 1200/1000 resolution. What type of resolution would I get out of a machine like this? Any recommendations on brands for the 22" LCD?

500GB HD = $60 only :o  wow, technology has changed.

Anybody have any objections to this build? If not, I'm going to start purchasing. Thanks guys.
December 11, 2008 2:53:57 PM

Don't bother with 2x4850, go for a gtx260+ (cheaper, more performance).

I'd say get a 640gig wd hdd for 20$ more (faster, more space).

For ultimate headset, try pc350 from sennheiser (alternatively, hd595 is the version without the microphone). It is expensive but worth it if you really want "high-end" audio.

btw, a 22inch is 1680x1050. 24 is the step up at 1920x1200. You can find weird 22's at 1920x1080 (which is technically FullHD 1080p).
December 11, 2008 3:13:33 PM

Thanks anti... Would your suggestions require a new mobo, or can I still use the same one Badge suggested?
December 11, 2008 3:25:04 PM

Here are some recommendations!

ASUS M3A78-T --Motherboard (Or look at the M3A79 Deluxe)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom X4 9950 --Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(Last time I checked, There was a great Combo Deal with this mobo and processor!)

X2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 --Hard drives
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe --DVD Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(If it's within your budget, I'd also recommend a Blue-Ray Drive!)
December 11, 2008 3:29:20 PM

just asking what are the old 2500 dream machine components
December 11, 2008 4:02:54 PM

nope, you can still get a p5q pro.
December 11, 2008 4:20:16 PM

AngeloR said:
just asking what are the old 2500 dream machine components


I'm interested to know too. I wonder if it beats my 6 year old Pentium III 800Mhz baby :D 
December 11, 2008 4:29:17 PM

AngeloR said:
just asking what are the old 2500 dream machine components


I've since upgraded the motherboard, the processor, and the ram.

But here is what I can remember of the very original machine:

AMD Athlon 1400+
Seagate Barracuda 60gb harddrive
2 x 256MB Crucial DDR ram (this was when ddr was new)
Viewsonic Optiquest 21" CRT monitor
NVidia GeForce FX (128 MB)
Plextor 24/16/48 CD Burner
Lite-on DVD drive (some cheap one)
Soundblaster Audigy 1
Klipsch 5.1 ProMedia Surround Sound
Originally had windows 2000, then upgraded to XP when it came out.

Majority of the expense was in the Klipsch speakers ($3-500 at the time), and the Viewsonic Optiquest monitor (that was $600+), and the Graphic Card was $300+

I used a site like pricewatch.com or something, to find all the cheapest prices on each part. 75% of the system was bought at newegg.

I also had an expensive case (100% aluminum, it was huge), heatsink, and power supply. something like 440W, 420 tru.

The original system was very loud, but had awesome graphics. It was nice for its time.
December 11, 2008 4:38:10 PM

BrianX91 said:
Here are some recommendations!

ASUS M3A78-T --Motherboard (Or look at the M3A79 Deluxe)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom X4 9950 --Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(Last time I checked, There was a great Combo Deal with this mobo and processor!)

X2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 --Hard drives
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe --DVD Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(If it's within your budget, I'd also recommend a Blue-Ray Drive!)


I'm definitely tempted to get a blu-ray drive. I have a PS3, but I'm going to sell it to help with the purchase of this new system, and I have a blu-ray collection I'd like to keep.

Any good recommendations on a nice blu-ray drive?
December 11, 2008 7:32:26 PM

just remember that to get fullHD from your Blueray, you need a 24inch monitor for 1920x1200 (or a bastardized 22inch at 1920x1080).
December 12, 2008 12:37:42 PM

I'm definitely going 24" , with 1920x1200 resolution, with a blu-ray drive. still undecided between Batch's graphic card suggestion, and anti's.

Do I go with the 2x4850, or go for a gtx260+ ? No offense Anti, just looking for more input (two heads are better than one =D)

I'm going to be doing some heavy gaming ... I hear intel is better than AMD for gamers. Is this just AMD-haters commentary, or is their truth to that?

I've been pretty happy with my old AMD cpu's... and I like Brian's build.

Just hoping to get some more feedback on the CPU and the Graphic Card.

Also...any suggestions on power supply and case? .. I can add another $300-$500 to the budget. (christmas bonus is better than I expected)
December 12, 2008 9:28:10 PM

You'll need that extra cash.

Here is my take on 3 options:

2 X 4850 - Faster, when it works. Not all games will support crossfire well. Still for most titles the best FPS per dollar spent at around $280.

Single 4870 1GB - At a little under $260, this is a great card. Beats out the GTX 260+ in at least some titles. Crossfire boards are generally more stable than SLI boards right now, with the exception of x58... but that's too pricey.

GTX 260+ (core 216 version) - Great card. Many game titles are more optimized for NVidia. Only draw back is you would have to have an SLI board to run a second.

Given your budget, I think you would be happiest with some upgrade room.
Get a P45 board like the Gigabyte UD3P and a single 4870 1GB. Later on you can add a second one.
December 13, 2008 12:06:21 PM

go with a 485x2
December 15, 2008 2:17:41 PM

Thanks Proxi and John, your suggestions have been noted...

Alright, I need some suggestions on a sound card that will work well with the pc350 sennheiser headphones, and I need some more feedback on the CPU to go with. Intel or AMD, and what version? As always i'm looking for the best bang for the buck.
December 15, 2008 4:20:01 PM

I recently purchased an xi-fi fatal1ty card (I used on-board before hand) and I plan to get the pc350 for xmas. I think that for sound cards, the top choices are either a xonar or a xi-fi. The fatal1ty shows better performance on games and I gambled that I wouldn't be able to hear the difference between that and a xonar (also, I didn't want to **** around with an extra power cable). So anyway, I recommend that ;) 

For the vid cards, as you can see from my profile, I also own a 4870 1gig. Atm, between that and a gtx260+, it's a toss-up. Going for a xfire 4850 is more noisy and doesn't let you upgrade as well as a single 4870 :p 
December 15, 2008 4:42:34 PM

I would recommend the GO q6600 quad core or E8400 core 2 Duo. Both of these are great overclockers. Also you are going to need a aftermarket heat sink, I would recommend the direct touch Xigmatek heat sink with the $8 bracket. I would also recommend this psu and motherboard in combo http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... and buy the EVGA GTX 260 core 216 Graphics Card.
Can't help you much with the sound card, I just use the one on the Mothrboard.

Hope this helps
December 15, 2008 5:02:49 PM

metabeta said:
Thanks Proxi and John, your suggestions have been noted...

Alright, I need some suggestions on a sound card that will work well with the pc350 sennheiser headphones, and I need some more feedback on the CPU to go with. Intel or AMD, and what version? As always i'm looking for the best bang for the buck.



right now intel C2d's and C2Q's kill almost anything amd makes. as for bang for the buck people are getting upwards of 3.8gHz's with the intel 7300 c2d proc on aircooling... rocksolid 24 hour orthos stable for a 120 dollar chip. check out this article below for more info.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclocking-core-2...




December 16, 2008 11:54:56 PM

LOL love you guys. Wish I could buy all of you a beer or something. Thank you! I'm still doing research. This is a big purchase, and I want to dot all my I's, and cross all my T's. Thanks for all of the feedback so far. I'll definitely update the thread with pictures and links to my final build for those browsers who are looking for a similar system.
December 17, 2008 12:19:50 AM

You dont need a 24" to get the "full" benefit from Blu-ray. A 22" wide at 1680 x 1050 will run in true 1080p, trust me I run it daily.
December 17, 2008 4:49:46 PM

@spathotan: Considering the 1080p standard is 1920x1080 you can NOT get "true" 1080p on a resolution of 1680x1050. Now I'm not saying it is possible to tell the difference between the resolutions when watching video.

Also since HDTV is in an aspect ratio of 16:9 it will need to be reduced even more then 1680x1050 to be viewed properly on a screen with that max resolution. (1680x945ish)

antiacid was correct
December 17, 2008 5:22:19 PM

If you do a lot of movie watching, you might want to conisder getting a large screen. This monitor is getting a little bit older but none the less is 1080p and 19x12. I actually own one of these and its one of the better monitors I have in the house even though its a few years old now. Great for gaming too with fast refresh rate.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 17, 2008 5:31:35 PM

spathotan said:
You dont need a 24" to get the "full" benefit from Blu-ray. A 22" wide at 1680 x 1050 will run in true 1080p, trust me I run it daily.


I'd like to see where you're getting the extra 240 pixels of width from. 1080p is 1920x1080. 1680x1050 cannot show all the resolution, though it won't look at all bad. Still, to actually get the full 1080p, the minimum is one of the new 22" widescreen 16:9 panels at 1920x1080.
December 17, 2008 9:19:19 PM

What I ment was, my Blu-rays run in 1080p. Given the differences in resolution between 16x50 and 19x80 it dosent matter, the quality will be the same on both images one will just be smaller.

My point stands.
December 17, 2008 9:29:08 PM

spathotan - If your monitor doesn't physically have at least 1920x1080 pixels it's not running at full resolution regardless of what you think/say. It may look nice, but it's not full 1080p.
December 17, 2008 9:35:44 PM

spathotan said:
What I ment was, my Blu-rays run in 1080p. Given the differences in resolution between 16x50 and 19x80 it dosent matter, the quality will be the same on both images one will just be smaller.

My point stands.

The quality will not be the same. The resolution simply isn't there. It looks quite good, no doubt, and you don't have a problem with it, but the quality is definitely not the same. Your point does not stand.
December 17, 2008 9:40:03 PM

cjl said:
The quality will not be the same. The resolution simply isn't there. It looks quite good, no doubt, and you don't have a problem with it, but the quality is definitely not the same. Your point does not stand.

+1 - That's what I was trying to say.
December 19, 2008 12:23:02 PM
December 19, 2008 2:18:23 PM

You need both the blu-ray player and the dvd burner? That's about the only thing I would question. I really don't think you ned the second burner.

Other than that, this is a pretty solid looking build. I say keep everything as is. Let us know how it turns out.
December 19, 2008 4:54:26 PM

Got rid of the second burner, purchased through live cashback, got 2.75% off the entire $1490.

I"m originally from Los Angeles, so whenever I made newegg purchases it cost me tax. I reside in Dallas, TX, now, so this time, no tax! Saved me another $130 or so.

Plus I got another $50-75 in rebates.

I'm looking at about $1300 total/shipped for this system:

* P45 UD3P Gigabyte MOBO
* C2D E8500 CPU 3.16ghz
* G.Skill 2 x 2GB PC2 6400 RAM
* WD 640GB 7200
* SAPHIRE HD 4870 1GB
* Corsair 750W PSU
* LG Blu-ray/HD-DVD/DVD+R
* Hanns 28" WS LCD Monitor 1900x1200

Will use onboard sound for now, and definitely looking for a deal on those pc350 headphones.


December 19, 2008 5:00:39 PM

That's a very nice system! Not a bad price in the end either. Nice job.
December 19, 2008 5:22:04 PM

Thanks shortstuff.

I forgot to mention the Antec 900 Mid-Tower case that came in that package as well.

Anyway, I need a good suggestion on a functional/responsive mouse (preferably wired).

Also, need suggestion on keyboard. And/or any other accessories i might need for this system (gaming, office use, etc)
December 21, 2008 6:02:24 PM

Ok, I did some research and purchased the Logitech G5 Laser Mouse, as well as the Saitek Eclipse II keyboard. Both received great reviews amongst many technology sites.

I also found the Sennheiser PC 350 Gaming Headset at Amazon and purchased it for $155

Creative also had deal on X-Fi Fatal1ty sound card (refurbished), so I purchased it as well for $75.00

The system is now up to $1700ish total. But it's looking smoking hot.

December 21, 2008 6:05:48 PM

edit: another member here posted a link to a good tutorial, and I will be building this machine myself.
!