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Updated: Please check my $650 build.

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February 11, 2009 9:15:02 PM

EDIT: As of 2-13-09. Comments welcome.
I don't want to go any higher than below, but if I can cut prices without cutting performance or getting louder than yay! I picked all the parts really looking at audible levels as well, just not on performance.
February 11, 2009 9:24:58 PM

cdenny1 said:
May try ubuntu if photoshop works


No photoshop in Linux. Since you're a student you should be able to get a very good price on Windows.
February 11, 2009 11:13:30 PM

Gathered thoughts and revised original post.
Related resources
February 12, 2009 12:12:05 AM

You'd want a quad and most of those are CPU bound so the investment in a high end GPU is not required ^^ That said here is a suggested configuration taking ti account some juicy combos on Egg hehe

February 12, 2009 12:20:54 AM

^Actually OP can spend money on a workstation GPU or softmod a normal gaming card in to one which would help quite a bit in Maya, Rhino, 3DS and other 3D modeling or CAD programs. Not to mention if OP's using CS4 he can get GPU acceleration for filters,etc. (Note: Must be running Vista x64/x86 or XP x86; Won't work with XP x64)

============
My recommendations:
Q6600 (or other quad core)

P45-UD3P or P45-UD3L or P45-UD3R (Depending on if you need RAID, CrossFire,etc)

PC Power & Cooling 610 or Corsair 400CX or other good quality PSU from Antec, OCZ. DO NOT SKIMP ON PSU

WD 640GB (or you can re use the 160GB)

2*2GB DDR2 800 GSkill PI (or even 8GB)

Vista or XP x64 (You MUST run a x64 OS to use more than 3.5GB)
(Note: Be careful with XP x64, you may run in to not having XP x64 drivers for a particular device ie printer)

Video card is a tough choice. You can do two things:

1. Get a regular gaming card that can be softmoded to enable the workstation drivers to run on it (ie 8800GTS to Quadro 4600) (I would personally do this)

2. Buy a workstation card, which is quite expensive.

Also any chance of upping the budget to $500-550?

Total cost for Q6600 + P45-UD3L + 640GB + 4GB DDR2 800 G Skill PI is $423 already. So with a Corsair 400CX (after MIR) is $464.
February 12, 2009 12:25:51 AM

Thanks for the awesome replies guys, just want to clarify though, $450 is no longer the budget--thats what I thought was reasonable but after some looking I realized its unrealistic (I want this to last at least 4 years).
February 12, 2009 12:29:28 AM

So what is the actual budget? Max budget?
February 12, 2009 12:32:06 AM

well, as high as needed, but at $700 i start to bite my nails.
February 12, 2009 3:20:53 AM

A bit more expensive than I'd like.
Would partitioning 100gb to os and 540gb for files, as well as the 160gb for files be good?

Is this overboard for my uses, or good?
Plus, I want it to be really quiet.
February 12, 2009 4:09:31 AM

^5

"Question is, what do I need to run these apps smoothly, but not at lightspeed. I know that performance increases as price does, but at a decelerating rate. I am looking for the relative maximum at which point everything just starts to "come together"."

Probably one of the best questions/comments I have read in a long time!
February 12, 2009 4:32:22 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^Actually OP can spend money on a workstation GPU or softmod a normal gaming card in to one which would help quite a bit in Maya, Rhino, 3DS and other 3D modeling or CAD programs. Not to mention if OP's using CS4 he can get GPU acceleration for filters,etc. (Note: Must be running Vista x64/x86 or XP x86; Won't work with XP x64)

============
My recommendations:
Q6600 (or other quad core)

P45-UD3P or P45-UD3L or P45-UD3R (Depending on if you need RAID, CrossFire,etc)

PC Power & Cooling 610 or Corsair 400CX or other good quality PSU from Antec, OCZ. DO NOT SKIMP ON PSU

WD 640GB (or you can re use the 160GB)

2*2GB DDR2 800 GSkill PI (or even 8GB)

Vista or XP x64 (You MUST run a x64 OS to use more than 3.5GB)
(Note: Be careful with XP x64, you may run in to not having XP x64 drivers for a particular device ie printer)

Video card is a tough choice. You can do two things:

1. Get a regular gaming card that can be softmoded to enable the workstation drivers to run on it (ie 8800GTS to Quadro 4600) (I would personally do this)

2. Buy a workstation card, which is quite expensive.

Also any chance of upping the budget to $500-550?

Total cost for Q6600 + P45-UD3L + 640GB + 4GB DDR2 800 G Skill PI is $423 already. So with a Corsair 400CX (after MIR) is $464.


Say about softmodding, this is something I'm very interested in since I'll be working with Solidworks. Do I have to go Nvidia or do the Ati cards have a Fire Gl Softmoding abilities? If you have some links on this I would appreciate it. Here's a link to my own build I'm coming up with [http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261334-31-budget-system-build-better#t1897883].
February 12, 2009 9:24:44 PM

C'mon guys, 140 views and only 6 posts aside from mine?
Any information is great, and will appreciate every last bit.
February 12, 2009 11:15:02 PM

One of the problems is this forum caters mostly to gamers. Some of them are very hardcore gamers into serious overclocking. You won't find too much about professional mutimedia design, video editing, or image editing here.

I used to work as a professional image editor for a national company. It was for magazine and newspaper advertising. When I left the company three years ago they were still using AMD socket 939 single core systems with Adobe Photoshop. The budget people kept telling us there wasn't any money for anything better.

About that time I built my own personal dual core system. I was a webmaster for a local club so I was still editing images in my spare time. I did see an improvement. Right now I am having a hard time justifying an upgrade to a quad core system because I only edit one photo at a time. I certainly don't need a quad core to type code or script for a web page.

I don't know anything about video editing so I am not qualified to write about that. However, from a few other threads here and a few articles I read, it appears that a quad core system is the way to go for video editing.

At the complex where I now work there are quite a few technology companies. A few weeks ago an employee walked into the building carrying an Antec 1200 case which is popular with gamers. I asked him if he was a gamer and he replied he was not. He was an engineer working on a research project that required a heavy duty system. He was using Linux and some sort of vector software. He lost me with his technical jargon.
February 13, 2009 4:21:21 AM

Look at OP.
February 13, 2009 4:45:40 PM

DUH! Wha' happened?

Ditch the Rosewill psu and get a high quality psu such as Corsair or PC Power & Cooling. Both earn consistently high marks in technical reviews and comparisons. They are very stable and reliable. Corsair and PCP&C are the two brands most often recommended by veteran posters at this forum.
February 13, 2009 9:52:40 PM

^+1 for ditching the Rosewill.

mudanes said:
Say about softmodding, this is something I'm very interested in since I'll be working with Solidworks. Do I have to go Nvidia or do the Ati cards have a Fire Gl Softmoding abilities? If you have some links on this I would appreciate it. Here's a link to my own build I'm coming up with [http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261334-31-budget-system-build-better#t1897883].

Read:
http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=539
^For nVidia cards

I was unable to find the ATI mod, but it dose exist.
February 14, 2009 2:51:10 AM

this?

This will last 4+ years right?
I got the 7200.10 160gb hard drive because I already have one, and I want to Raid 0 the two of them (I've researched and found that it's faster than one caviar black 640gb hdd, dont need all that space yet, its cheaper, and I just got the hard drive two weeks ago so I dont want to waste it). I've never done Raid--any tips or pointers for the mobo, or vista ultimate 64-bit?
I don't want to get this, then when it comes to fall it's all outdated and crappy. No crazy price drops are going to occur soon are they?

Thanks for all the help, and you may have noticed that I always want to be sure of everything before I make a purchase ;) 
February 14, 2009 5:14:08 AM

If your thinking of RAID, look at a mirrored or stripped array. It's too easy for an array to fail. Without any backup to restore from, you lose it all.
February 14, 2009 11:54:34 AM

Also if you plan to move the RAID array to another PC I recommend you get a RAID card.
February 14, 2009 4:10:40 PM

LG 22x DVD Burner
$25
Cooler Master Centurion RC-534
$55
Sapphire Radeon HD4830
$99
PC Power & Cooling PPCS500 500W
$62 - $15MIR = $48
Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB DDR2 1066
$70 - $20MIR = $50
[Combo]
AMD Phenom II X4 920
GIGABYTE MA78G-DS3HP 780g
$318 - $44 - $30 = $244
Total = $570

When choosing I looked at all the reviews, focusing on the setup being silent and best value.

Thanks.
I will post again after I set it all up and see how it performs.
!