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Newb buying computer. Would Love some adivse

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July 4, 2009 11:35:12 PM

Hey guys, I am a complete newb and am going to buy a computer (no time or skill to build). The most intensive things I will do are game, encode/decode video, etc (no 3D rendering or graphics editing stuff). But I will do a LOT of multitask stuff (I run tons of windows and apps at once and my current pc cann't handle this).

Here are the main components I want and the final price. Any comments or advise would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.

PSU: coolermaster 850 watt real power pro
CPU: i7 950 overclocked to 3.8 GHz
Asetec Liquid cpu cooling (not many options for cooler...Ultra ChillTech Electro Thermal is other option)
Mother Board: Asus P6T Delux V2 Intel X58
RAM: 12GB Corsair Dominator 1600 MHz DDR3
Video Cards: TWO: ATI Radeon HD 4890 1GB DDR5
HDs: 2 150GB velociraptors in RAID 0 ; 1.5 TB 7200
Sound Card: Creative Labs X-FI Xtremegamer
Optical Drive: LG GGW-H20L 6X Internal Super Multi Blue Blu-Ray Disc Rewriter & HD DVD-ROM Drive

Price: 3K

One Big Question: Is there a Need for 300 GB of velociraptor? What are the best programs to put on the fast hard drives?...I am guessing I wouldnt put all my music and videos and minor applications on that. Maybe the video encoding/decoding software, the OS, and games?



Thanks a Lot for any help
July 4, 2009 11:53:31 PM

Newegg has the cyberpower Pc-gamer extreme 2000 for $2389 which should work fine for you. I've never dealt with cyberpower, so I don't know anything about their customer service. But this system meets most of your specs. Be sure it comes with a free upgrade to windows 7 64 bit before ordering. You can upgrade the memory to 12gb easily; amazon.com has some ocz gold 1333 3x2gb ddr3 for $67 shipped. And 1 tb hardrives are going for around $75 and are fairly easy to install.
July 5, 2009 12:55:50 AM

I'm going to take your "I'm a newb" quite literally, and give advice based on that.

Overall: Your PC looks like a Cyberpower. When I configured "your" Cyberpower, I came to $2177 w/o OC on the i950, and any speakers, monitor, or kb/mouse upgrades. Does that crosscheck well with your price adding in the missing components?

cpu: Running the i950 @3.8 GHz gives you a cpu that should stand up well for quite a while. Most here would settle for an OC'd i920 @ 3.6 or so, and save a couple hundred. You likely don't have that option.

cooler: I don't know if the cooler cools more than the cpu. For the price Cyberpower charges, I doubt it. I've seen no credible reviews of performance, but it should be quiet, zero-maintenance, and perform OK. Just wish I'd seen reviews. Cyberpower also offers the Dark Knight which is known to be good, $10 less, no big deal.

2xVelociraptor, RAID0: High performance, hot, noisy disks that still top the spinning disk charts. Putting them in RAID0 increases performance even further at the expense of halving your MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) because if either disk fails you have lost the files on both. Lotta people don't RAID0 any more, feeling its not worth it. More folks would RAID0 a pair of 500 or 640 WD Black HDs. These cost less, run a bit cooler and quieter, perform "nearly" as well. Most of us are waiting for SSDs to come down in price. ATM, they are also NOT for the novice, since when performance begins to degrade (as it will) you prolly won't know what to do.

This investment will improve your bootup and program start times, and can improve minimum frame rates when disk access is the cause. If you do go RAID0, please immediately invest in a backup vehicle. Even using say Acronis TruImage Home to backup an image of your RAID onto that 1.5TB data drive.

2x4890: A *lot* of graphics power. Hopefully your monitor is at least 1920x1200. If not, it should be. If it isn't, the 2x4890 may run *slower* than cheaper solutions.

Sound Card: Don't bother, unless you have very, very special needs and you know what they are :)  . Sound from the mobo is very good nowadays. Besides, with the mobo you have chosen your sound card (heat source) will sit in between your 2 double-slot 4890s (big heat sources). Would be nice to have an open slot for air circulation.

BluRay: OK, if you must lol. Please don't buy this just because. But if you know you will use it, fine.

Hope this helps a bit. You have a *very* strong system there. Once you get up in that area, you pay more for each extra increment of performance than you "should". But then again, you are a purchaser, not a builder, and the considerations are a bit different.
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July 5, 2009 3:14:21 AM

You are very right sir, cyberpower. I just tried to configure it for about 2200 on there like you are saying, and if i cut out the blue ray and the sound card I am still sitting at 2550 (without OC and even a much lower PSU).
If you didnt mean 3100, I would be very interested in how you did that because I would buy that immediately.

As for the HDs, it looks like I can get this for the same price as :
128GB (64GBx2) Ritek RiDATA 2.5 inch SATA Gaming MLC Solid State Disk

That looks like 1/2 the space but I'm assuming faster and quieter. Any thoughts?
I was confused as to why Intel is so much more than Ritek and why MLC and SLC are so different too.

Thanks a lot for the explanations, "newb" might actually be an understatement for me.

July 5, 2009 3:35:44 AM

I'll go use the configurator again, maybe I blew it lol. Meanwhile, what monitor are you planning to drive - size and native resolution?

As for why they are cheaper, I'll give you a link to a review of SSD technology.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531

It may be more than you want to know. Suffice to say, Intel's offering works. Mostly.

*Please* stay away from SSDs for the time being. The ones that can be counted on to work well are expensive atm, performance varies highly, and degrades with use. Better to configure now with a 500mb WD "Black" as your "C" drive if they offer it.

Early next year - or even later this year - you might buy the right SSD, clone your old C drive to it with the software you're gonna buy for your backup :) , and swap it in. Trust me, even a rookie can do that.

If that makes you nervous, RAID0 a pair of 500MB "Blacks" and forget about it.

July 5, 2009 4:05:23 AM

I had planned on getting the Gateway XHD 3000 monitor. It is 30in and native resolution is 2560 x 1600.
The main reason for this one is that it has SO many connection options.
(I want to connect a Comcast cable box, my Xbox 360, etc.). It will do any of those connection is PiP (so I can watch tv on part while doing other things).

However, it sounds like you may know about monitors, and I really just want a 30in with great resolution that I can do PiP in with a cable box.

Is there any other out there, or any program that allows for PiP with other devices and the OS?

This has been a big concern actually, because that Gateway monitor is like $900 and it also seems to be dropping out of the market (I have seen some scary reviews that it breaks and there is no customer service)

Thanks for the SSD warning. As far as I can tell, the velociraptors are as close as they offer to the black WD. I will stick with that probably, unless the heat and sound you speak of is a real concern...I would like silence when watching a movie or something.
July 5, 2009 5:16:27 AM

1) This rig could heat a small village, so we need to pay attention to the case. Of their cases, the only one I could fully rely on is the Thermaltake Spedo (Full Tower).

Ref: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cases/2009/01/12/coole... and other reviews

2) The parts in this rig will howl when pushed hard. The video cards, case cooling fans . . . you won't notice the fact that the cpu fan is quiet :)  Would like a quiet case, Spedo again is fairly quiet, Storm Sniper does well again for a mid-tower.

3) The base configuration I used was for the Gamer Xtreme XE-K. I first found it by typing "overclock" in their search box. You might find another configuration in the resulting list that shaves a couple bucks - you never know and shopping can be fun. Or type "Gamer Xtreme XE-K" in the search box if you'vehad enuff for the night :) 

This provides a very good case (Coolermaster Storm Sniper - check cooling performance in reference above. Great for a smaller case), 2x4890, i950@3.8GHz, a blu-ray player only, 2x1TB in RAID0, 1TB Data. No speakers, no monitor, cheapest mouse/keyboard. Price = $2299.

ANYTHING you add to it is not going to change its performance by much.

However, changing to Spedo Case (-$15), raptors, 1.5GB Data, LG BluRay/DVD/CD Writer, & 600W 2.1 Speakers = $2,700

Can knock off $100 going with Asus SE mobo if you give up ever using nVidia SLI and 3-Way Crossfire (eg, a 3rd 4890), and another $56 backing off to 1TB on the Data drive. Price = $2544.

No change to the (Cyberpower) psu, dunno who makes it. I wouldn't build one with this psu myself - I'd go brand - but you've got a 3 year warranty and its their spec. You aren't going to add more than an SSD to this PC either lol.

Upgrade your KB and mouse however you like. Just check prices elsewhere before ordering - you may get the same devices at less than the upgrade cost, and even a noob can plug that stuff in. Wired KBs and Mouses are usually better for gaming. There are exceptions to every rule, I suppose, but I don't bother trying.

If you can tolerate the size, I'd go Spedo. If you can't, I'd go Sniper. Newegg them for specs and user comments. Google some reviews and read them.

4) Monitors - No, I don't know them lol. Unfortunately, I don't think many people ever get to see two side-by-side. Even fewer get to see 30" monitors side by side. I use a Dell 27" monitor as my main, it runs at 1920x1200, so I get biggest text possible (Old eyes). Even then I often change to lower res for non-gaming, like this stuff. I also have a Dell 22" alongside it on rig #2. At my other site I have a Dell 24" and a Samsung 24" side by side. Folks raved about the Sammy, I bought it, its a little less than the Dell IMHO.

But if you're a twitchy, competitive FPS type you may want a faster monitor. This is often not compatible with great DVD picture. In any case, I think you'd be best breaking the monitor question out separately here in another section, and perhaps in other forums.
July 5, 2009 5:36:10 AM

Well at least I won't be living in the dream that this thing might be cold and quiet (I knew deep down that was too good to be true).

I cann't thank you enough for all this help. I seriously had no idea anyone would take such steps to guide the lost. You have definitely saved me from some pitfalls and saved me a bunch of money too it looks like.
July 5, 2009 5:47:23 AM

Was a pleasure . . . the question was interesting and the audience was worthwhile :) 
!