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Recommend me parts to build a dual monitor setup work pc

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February 10, 2009 11:19:26 PM

Hi,

Right now I am using a Toshiba M50 laptop as the processing power and connecting external mouse, LCD, and external keyboard as well. Never liked small laptop displays. Its painfully slow for me even at 1.2gb RAM.

What I have right now is a Dell 1905FP monitor, 19" LCD. I want to build an Intel work PC that can support dual monitors. I noticed that 19" is out of date right now, but I would rather use this 1280x1024 resolution monitor to build a pc rather than leave it lying around.
http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/dell-ultrasharp-19...
Possible if GC can have virtual dekstop for the extra LCD and ability to rotate views. My LCD can be rotated 90 degrees. Sometimes I need to view my work vertically. as I can read more pdf text that way rather than making it wide. Is it possible to have 2 monitors work in vertical resolution but both monitors are placed left and right of each other?

6 USB 2.0 slots would be nice. Firewire optional but nice to have.

The work PC also needs to be small and does not consume power. The pc may be running 24/7.

If it can support a TV tuner card build into it, that would be nice as well since don't have a TV and plan to use one of the monitors as a TV screen. As for games, I do play Farcry and have yet to play the newest C&C game and Crysis since my 6800GT card is not worthy of those games. I don't think I will be playing high end games. But I do play SimCity. So in summary, what is the cheapest I can get with the details below: I will be opening lots of FF tabs, pdf files, and may do some torrenting. May use Maya or video editing software on pc.

Intel CPU
RAM-does not have to have low latency but the higher amount the better. I don't want 20 pdf files and 30 FF tabs and torrent to have any effect on my work.
OS: XP or Vista Ultimate/Pro (have not decided. I have XP pro, not sure about migrating to Vista though)
Dual monitors 19" (current LCD+another LCD)
Small Form Factor-Space is a big issue for me.
TV capabilities (if possible using the LCD)
Graphic card: depend on LCD and TV setup.
Soundcard-onboard/card
Keyboard- (need to find one ergonomic keyboard. I used a Microsoft comfort curve 2000 keyboard but it does not last long. Keys not working properly after 2 years in use)
Mouse -current Logitech VX Revolution
Speakers- Edifier MP221 USB/bat/AC speakers.
HD: most value for money capacity HD.
Optical drive: Should I invest in blue Ray drives? or a normal DL drive is more than enough?
Cost-As cheap as it can get without compromising parts.

Plan to build PC in within 6 months. Thanks.
February 11, 2009 1:21:21 AM

mystvearn said:
Plan to build PC in within 6 months.
Seriously, you showed up six months too early.
Here is one suggested system for under $500 (minus monitor and copy of Vista) fixed motherboard link
They explain the reasons they chose the parts they did and give alternatives. Maybe a few tweaks here and there and you should be close to want you want. You'll have to decide on a budget eventually if only to decide how much to spend on the individual parts so be thinking about that. Then we fit what you want inside your budget.

I'm nearly certain you don't want or need to pay the extra $$ for Vista Ultimate: Vista versions compared

Having two different sized monitors side by side isnt as awkward as it might seem to you. It actually works quiet well so I'd suggest going for one of the nice 22" 1680x1050 monitors. 1680 in portrait mode will show more of a document than 1280 res. And it just so happens to be really nice for that occasional game when you're ready to relax.

How small does the PC actually need to be? And it will consume some power - they're not yet that energy efficient.

Using an LCD monitor as a TV screen is quite easy, just add a TV tuner card. Unless we're talking about HD TV?
And unless you're going to be watching Blu-Ray HiDef movies on your PC you'll be find with an ordinary DVD burner optical drive.

A keyboard is too important to take someone else's recommendations. Find a PC superstore and give the keyboard there a hard look and choose the one that best suits you. Also a good idea to do the same with monitors. Scout them out in retail stores and then order the model you like best online.
February 11, 2009 1:28:16 AM

Ask again in 5 months. The things that make most sense now will no longer be the best by then.

I have a setup with two monitors side by side, basically doing 1680x2 horizontally and 1050 vertically. Any recent card from nVidia or ATI can do that, no worries.

You have a problem there with conflicting requirements. A graphic card suitable for Crysis is not suitable for a HTPC and a small-form factor case. It would not fit in the case and it would overheat. Also, it looks like you need a quad CPU for all that multitasking, but that's wrong for an HTPC. No idea how you're going to solve it, TBH. The usual solution is to make two totally different PCs, but that's expensive.

Right now, WD6401AALS is the best HDD you can buy. There are bigger disks (even 2TB disks), faster disks (Spinpoint F1 1TB, Velociraptor), plenty of cheaper disks, but this model has the best balance of speed/reliability/price per GB I can think of.

If you intend to buy Blu-Ray movies you will need a Blu-Ray drive. You'll also need a monitor capable of 1920x1080 (there are a few 22" monitors that can do that, and any 24" or larger can do it too). Otherwise there's no point in buying a Blu-Ray drive.
Related resources
February 11, 2009 3:00:33 AM

I am based in UK and the hardware does not come fast and the price is dearer. It has the same numbers as US prices but the difference is in the Pound sign. I don't know why this is so. I may start making the pc next month if everything has been sorted out.

I want a more working computer, and don't want a HTPC oriented pc cause the system I am going to build is the only hardware in the living room which is mainly for work and some sort of entertainment when I want to watch TV's or have a break. I don't watch movies, so a blu-ray burner/reader is not needed. I am not going to play Crysis, those graphic cards are expansive. A controller would be good I guess if you want to view it from a distance like a movie, but that is occasional. Work is more important.

As for TV, I am pretty sure you can get HD signals in the UK now, I think BBC has HD now. Maybe I should invest in a digital tv tuner?

Are you suggesting I get 2x22" LCD monitors? I was thinking of only buying one and using the 19" which I currently have. Or will the display be weird if I have 2 monitors of not same max resolution/same size?

Micro ATX or any mini ATX which is slim would do the job as long as I get all those in order. The work table is a limited real estate which I desperately need.

Looks like Vista Home Premium is the one. Maybe I can find some student discount somewhere. I am a student doing research.
February 11, 2009 4:07:50 AM

Using one 19" LCD and one 22" LCD will not be a problem.
A slim case will limit the video card you can install. You can also get streaming TV content over the Internet.

Also check http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/
February 11, 2009 6:24:28 AM

mystvearn said:
Micro ATX or any mini ATX which is slim would do the job as long as I get all those in order. The work table is a limited real estate which I desperately need.
hope this idea doesn't seem "crazy", but maybe an old fashioned solution could help there. maybe "hang" the case under the side or rear of the table (straps, brackets, whatnot from a hardware store..)
February 11, 2009 7:34:15 AM

Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I am a bit confused with the amount of data now.

I know Hauppauge. Its quite a good brand. But after visiting the http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/ site it says Scotland will only be digital in 2010. So, that is sometime away.

From the http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2009/02/03/what-hardwa... website, I notice the item prices going up. I thought pc components always go down not up.

Well if I am going to put a tv tuner aerial then placing the pc on the floor would limit the distance I can pull the antenna? Do you pay TV license fees for PC based tv tuners?

So mini ATX then? I don't want to buy Vista actually, I am planning to Jump from XP>7 directly. Looks like 7 will launch next year?
February 11, 2009 10:24:02 AM

That is interesting. Assuming your motherboard has onboard VGA/DVI out. I thought only low end motherboards come with those and mainstream motherboards and high end does not have it?
February 11, 2009 12:22:22 PM

Are ASRock motherboards good? I don't think they are reliable.
February 11, 2009 5:30:23 PM

mystvearn said:
I notice the item prices going up. I thought pc components always go down not up.
The long term trend is definitely down. But PC parts are an international commodity and prices can fluctuate with national currencies. And popular items in limited supply can also see spot price increases. RAM prices have gone up a lot over the past several months so that is one component that is bucking the long term trend.

February 11, 2009 5:33:39 PM

ASRock motherboards are mostly OK. It can depend a lot on the specific model though. Some choices are better than others.
Ideally you want to find a couple good published reviews on the parts you choose.
February 11, 2009 9:04:04 PM

Yes, I was thinking in MSI, ASUS, gigabyte area :p 

Better wait for pound to be high again then.
!