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Suggestions for building an all-around system (not gaming) for $1000

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March 8, 2009 7:29:22 PM

Starting to consider building a new system. I built my last desktop in 2001 and it has been running with 0 problems until now. Now it's just feels slow overall and since I have not upgraded anything within the system in 8-9 years and want a techie project to do, I want to start from scratch and build a completely new system. I used to be a pretty big gamer but not so much anymore. Just want to build a good all-around system that will also be decent for gaming when needed (no need to run Crysis at max res with AA).

Looking at the threads, most of the "build me a system for $X" seem to be directed toward building gaming systems and not just a good all-around system. Am I right in guessing that both gaming and all-around systems would probably use similar cases, PSUs, RAM, HD, DVD, and MOBO and the only differences budget-wise are how much money is put into the CPU vs. the graphics card(s)?

I'd greatly appreciate suggestions for building a strong all-around system for $1000. I'll be needing to purchase a new monitor and OS but don't want to include that in the budget (I'm already assuming $100 for the OS and a little under $180 for something like a Asus VH222H 21.5" monitor). So I suppose we can assume the total budget is $1300 but keep in $280 for the OS/monitor.

What would be a good balance between CPU/graphics card/MOBO for an all-around system in this price range? Computer will be used for standard things along with audio and video encoding and digital photography manipulation.

Thanks again in advance!
March 8, 2009 7:48:15 PM

P5Q Pro and Q9550:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Ram: Corsair 4gb DDR2-800 ($25 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drive: LG Sata
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: Saphire 4870 (this is typically thought of as a gaming card, but its so cheap for what you are getting, you might as well get the better card. Going with a lower end card will not allow you to game at your res, and this card isn't that much more expensive).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: CM 690
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair 550VX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: S1283v Dark Knight (for a slight overclock so you can get max performance out of the CPU)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: WD 640gb Caviar Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So that total comes to about $870 before you get $60 for MIR and then plus shipping costs (probably about $40). That is a pretty good all around system that will do all basic daily tasks, as well as do fairly well in games. You got several options from here to do with the spare:

1. Pocket the extra cash and save it for later, Or use it to get a 24" monitor.
2. Upgrade the Case to something really nice like a Lian Li or Silverstone that will look sleek and last you for 4-5 more rebuilds of your PC (the CM 690 case is great value for what you pay for it, but a $200 case will be nicer/quieter/bigger ect)
3. Upgrade to an i7 platform, but this may require you to increase your budget a little as well. An i7 will be much better at encoding and media file conversion like you said you will be doing, but will cost you about $200 more for the Ram, CPU and Mobo, you can keep all the other components the same (or downgrade the GPU to a $50 card if you really won't game at all). These would be the components I would suggest for an i7, keeping the price managable:
CPU and mobo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Ram: OCZ Platinum 6gb 1600mhz.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4. Go with the Core 2 build up there and upgrade a couple of components like getting a couple 1tb drives for storage, maybe a better GPU, or upping the CPU to Q9650, tv tuner...ect
a b 4 Gaming
March 8, 2009 8:02:16 PM

For some reason the Corsair 650TX and 550VX are both the same price (after rebate) at the moment. The 550VX is actually plenty of power, but for the same over all price? Why not "super size" ;) 
Corsair is very good about rebate fulfillment.

The list above are all very good choices for an all-rounder that could last nearly as long as your previous system.
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
March 8, 2009 8:06:54 PM

MathWiz579 said:
Am I right in guessing that both gaming and all-around systems would probably use similar cases, PSUs, RAM, HD, DVD, and MOBO and the only differences budget-wise are how much money is put into the CPU vs. the graphics card(s)?
You pretty much nailed it. Video card choice pretty much determines the size of the PSU as well. And monitor size/resolution and a gaming requirement can dictate video card choices.
March 8, 2009 8:19:10 PM

MathWiz579 said:
Looking at the threads, most of the "build me a system for $X" seem to be directed toward building gaming systems and not just a good all-around system. Am I right in guessing that both gaming and all-around systems would probably use similar cases, PSUs, RAM, HD, DVD, and MOBO and the only differences budget-wise are how much money is put into the CPU vs. the graphics card(s)?

Exactly. The GPU is pretty much the determining factor of whether or not a computer is a "Gaming Computer" or not. You can have two identical PC's except one using on board video and one using a high powered GPU, the One with the high powered GPU would be a "gaming PC", the other a general use PC.
March 8, 2009 11:10:12 PM

I assuming a couple of things here. You don't plan on upgrading your computer until you need to buy a complete new computer again, which could be 8 years from now.
You will never run two video cards in SLI or Crossfire.
You won't overclock you CPU.
You can live without gaming on your computer but its nice to have.

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

Pretty similar the xthekidx build excepted with a Phenom II 940 BE processor but with 8GB DDR2 800. $1,153.89 total less $65 MIR. Includes the monitor you mentioned with the OS. The 23.6 ASUS is a good upgrade for $70. I really like the decision to go with 16:9 format as I think the 16:10 format awkward in a 16:9 world. I left in the after market CPU cooler, just because it will keep your CPU cool (for a repeat shot at a 8 year cycle) wether you OC or not and give you to run near silent.
March 8, 2009 11:28:04 PM

Great suggestions thus far, thanks!

I am hoping that this will be a one-build, little upgrade, system.

I'm interested in overclocking as I hear it's not as difficult as it used to be to get it stable.

If anyone else has other suggestions, it would be much appreciated!
March 8, 2009 11:33:20 PM

Another good card would be the ati 4850. Good if you don't plan to game much, but want the option to do so. With the 4870 at only $20 more, though, it is worth the upgrade.
March 9, 2009 2:22:58 AM

I hear that Gskill memory is getting a lot of good talk on this site. Is there any benefit of Gskill vs. Corsair in the proposed build above?
March 9, 2009 2:43:10 AM

The corsair is cheap and pretty decent ram, which is why I suggested it. The PI Blacks for Gskill is better memory, but costs more.
March 10, 2009 1:51:12 AM

If I wanted to upgrade the CM 690 case to something like a Lian Li or Silverstone, what would folks suggest as the next "step up"?
!