Student Graphic Designer looking for help building new computer

Hi there I am looking to build a CPU. This will be my first CPU built from scratch. I have however put together a couple of PC's from old computers I have had and installed OS's and stuff like that. but never completely from scratch. I was going to buy a Dell quad core for 450 bucks but I figure I should come here first and see what I could get or what people recommend. I think I want to go quad core because I want to have this computer for awhile and I think more programs will start supporting it. I know the benchmarks right now are pretty comparable to dual cores for the same price but I am betting on the future. If that is a dumb assumption let me know.

I am looking to spend about 500 bucks for the system.

I will be using photoshop, illustrator, indesign, and more adobe products simultaneously, along with basics like VLC, Firefox, Itunes, and random other little odds and ends running in the background.

I do not need a monitor I have a 22'' DVI connected monitor I have and I have a 32'' Panasonic TC-32LX85 that I can have connected as well. I have a 2.1 klipsch 200 watt speaker system. I have a keyboard and a mouse too. I do not need to purchase an OS because I plan on using windows 7 RC along with Vista as a backup and maybe a little Ubuntu.

I am looking for cheap but quality so I don't mind what website you find parts at.

I think I want to go with an intel processor cause I don't have complete confidence in the future of AMD. sorry to all those who were offended by that comment.

I don't plan on overclocking this PC at all, but it might be something I could get into. I just don't want to buy a bunch of fans and all that stuff. and I will want some sort of graphics card in it but I don't need to be able to run crysis and 60 FPS just something good for the money. although I heard that Adobe is starting to use graphics cards to help with their products so one that does that would be nice.

both of my screens are 720p. and I think they might both be 1,366 x 768 if that matters.

Thanks everyone in advance for your input. first post here so we will see how this goes.
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  1. gaming on this machine? I might need an hour or so before i post again. I'm leaving here in a few mins, but when i get back i'll post some part you can look at. Someone will come with some ideas soon too...

    By the way, Dell BLOWS!!!
  2. Dell's build is probably full of cheap components that won't do as well as you would like.

    On a budget, AMD builds almost always outperform Intel builds at equal price points.

    You don't plan on OCing, so the $190 Phenom II 940 beats out everything at it's price point.

    If you want to drop to dual core, AMD's Phenom II 720 beats the equally priced Intel counterparts in almost everything, and has an extra core to help with multi-tasking.

    There is a good quad-core Phenom 940 build. You could drop the 8GB to 4GB of RAM and grab a video card like you wanted, but for basic use, the IGP on that motherboard is sufficient. Running many Adobe programs at once takes a lot of memory, I've heard, so that's why I put in 8GB.

    The Antec 300 is a good case, it's quite roomy and will hold all of your parts, and a big video card should you want one. It also has good cooling.

    The 430w PSU is of high quality and will do whatever you need it to, including run a mid-range GPU like a GTS250 or HD4850.

    There's an Intel build, but it's a slower processor and a lower-quality mobo with a weaker onboard GPU.

    If you're doing video or 3D rendering, then some Nvidia video cards can help (you'd have to do your own research on this) and speed it up a bit. But for Photoshop and the like, you won't need more than an IGP (to the best of my knowledge).
  3. I don't know what level of graphics you do - but for some programs you really need a professional card to do the job - because the drivers are optimized for this. The relevant data and tests are in these current articles:,2258.html,2154.html,1995.html

    These professional cards come at a premium - but are optimized for specific apps that programers and graphics people use - (all I know really, I am an Immunologist - not a graphics designer). Here is where they can be bought at newegg:
  4. lots of cores, lots of ram, x64 os, try sticking to an ASUS or Gigabyte motherboard with an ATi or Intel chipset (depending on cpu) etc and that should make a solid system.

    Wouldnt touch a dell, there not a bad unit just for upgrading, parts etc there locked down etc
  5. so does anybody agree with Fortunex on the AMD Phenom II 940. I would only overclock if I could do it on stock cooling. I wouldn't mind some other suggestions so I have a couple of choices.
  6. I have to say that for $500 dollars, the AMD solution look like solid choice - I sincerely doubt that dell could ever come close to that performance for the same money. The intel builds will cost more if you want something that can compete with AMD at that price level.
  7. Fortunex I tried recreating the phenom PC you made at new egg. but the prices were different how did you get the combo deal on the MOBO and CPU?
  8. how do you guys feel about this case?

    there is a coupon to take 20 bucks off too so it would be 90 bucks total. is that a good idea?
  9. This is another suggestion if you can't find that casing/psu deal Look for 'combo deals' under the processor stated
    Edit : Ya the case+psu picked out looks a better deal :P
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