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Building a new rig $1400--out of the loop for a year...any suggestions

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May 11, 2009 5:30:07 AM

Please note: see third post where I posted the correct way of listing a PC build advice thread--although the below has some extra info. Thanks!



I put together a new rig last summer but am getting rid of that now...what are people raving about nowadays? Is DDR3 the way to go for memory? Last summer it was uber expensive...now it seems like it might not be too bad. What's the difference between DDR3 and DDR2? is the i7 the way to go as for cpu? Also, what motherboards are reliable and good? Here is what I'm looking for in a PC:

I'd like it to perform all work-related tasks really quickly and with good multitasking despite a bunch of programs being open.

I watch a lot of movies and TV (so obviously I'll be getting a tv tuner) on the computer adn I have a Dell 3007wfp monitor so I'd need a video card that can run such a high resolution well. I also plan on getting a bluray drive (any suggestions?)

I'd like to have firewire on my PC (I had a gigabyte d3sl on my last rig and I didn't realize there was no firewire until I built it lol).

I play occasional games but not too often...so I'd like to get a good bang for the buck video card but not necessarily the absolute top of the line. I got the 8800gt for my summer rig.

I'd also like to get a modular PSU.

As for hard drives...I assume there are no solid state drives out yet that don't have their significant downsides. So I'd be looking for something that's fast and reliable...I don't think I'd need more than 500gb objectively speaking...but I may get something around 1TB just to have an overhead.

I plan to run 32bit windows since it seems that many programs don't work on 64 bit vista (and I assume the same is true for Windows 7).

I'm also thinking about gettin a zalman aftermarket cooler.

Oh, also, I will be running a 5.1 setup of KRK RP5's (and the subwoofer)...these are studio monitors...I do some recording on my PC so I would probably need a pretty nice sound card. My old rig had a creative fatality champion or something like that...

Thanks a lot in advance for the input guys!

Also, budget is around $1000...maybe up to around $1400 if necessary though. Thanks!

More about : building rig 1400 loop year suggestions

May 11, 2009 7:11:03 AM

Hi...Welcome to the Forums...
you would get faster replies if you could post your request based on the stickies...
As it would be easier for us to know youre requirements better and in a easier format to read...
*How To Ask For New Build Advice*
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
May 11, 2009 3:37:04 PM

Thanks, I saw that but wasn't sure if I should use it since I haven't selected any parts yet. But here goes:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (ASAP...tomorrow? haha) BUDGET RANGE: (US$1000-1400)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (watching blu ray movies, TV, multitasking-requiring work, occasional gaming, semi-pro audio recording)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (Newegg is a great reference for parts--I will buy parts from any reliable website when I find the best deal but for reference Newegg is perfect.)

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like a modular PSU, I've had a much better experience with an intel e8400 cpu recently than with AMD's that I've had the years before that so I'm thinking I will go for an i7. Also, a good blu-ray drive and sound card is something i'm looking for. Main thing is, in terms of parts, I don't want to cheap out on un-tested brands...I want to get things from reliable companies that have proven their worth because this computer will eventually be going to med school with me and I want to avoid problems as much as possible.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: not sure...

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (2560x1600 (Dell 3007wfp-hc)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (I have been really happy with the NZXT Lexa (blackline) case and I think I may buy it again for this build)
Related resources
May 11, 2009 3:52:44 PM

CPU - Core i7 920 - ideal chip for today's best performers in computing...

Graphics - For that high resolution...crossfire or sli might be a good idea simply because 1 graphics card may stuggle with GPU intesive games...depending on the game too of course. But if its for medium to high gaming i would recommend 1 GPU - GTX260 or better. So far...anything like the HD 4770 and higher are good too.

RAM - 3GB/6GB DDR3 1333 or better. Most people look at 3GB/6GB DDR3 1600. As for the brands...i would go for Corsair, Crusial, G. Skill, Kingston...and perhaps Mushkin.

DVD ROM - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

See what you think about that burner...
May 11, 2009 4:33:52 PM

As for the GPU, I thin 2x GTX260 may end up putting me over my budget. And I only end up playing games during the summer and very occasionally during the school year...and once I'm in med school, I doubt I will be playing them at all. Essentially, I need something that will run such an insane resolution well, but I don't need to play the latest games at highest quality necessarily. An 8800gt was doing OK before...but it wouldn't run even NFS Undercover at full. An improvement over that would be nice...Or did you mean 1x GTX260? If so, which one is the best:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

My last 2 builds had XFX cards but they seem to be slightly lower rated than the EVGA. I'd like one with a good warranty too ideally.

As for RAM, there is no point for me to get 6gb unless I decide to do 64 bit windows, right? In which case I might as well get 12gb if I did decided to do 64 bit. Have things gotten any more compatible with 64bit than in the past? I've always wanted to move up but am worried that things won't work and it will be a biatch to get some programs going.

As for the blu ray burner--Being able to burn blu rays sounds awesome since I can back up like half my PC on it haha--but isn't media still very expensive now? Maybe I should just get a BD reader for now? I want to make sure it plays any blu ray I throw at it though.

Thanks so much for the help so far!
May 11, 2009 4:42:19 PM

For the graphics...i really think the HD 4770's in crossfire would be ideal for you. $220 for both cards is a steal!! One card is more than enough to at just $99...

I would definately use 3GB/s of RAM. Any of the brands above would be just fine.

As for the burner, there is a cheaper one..or you can just get a 20X DVD burner for $25. This one, you might have to really think about if its worth it to you...
I don't have a blue ray DVD player, but my system can play @ 1920x1080 resolution easy. I watch HD movies on a 16X Sony burner...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

May 11, 2009 4:45:40 PM

Hmm..well if the cheapest bluray reader is only $60 less than the burner, it would be worth getting the burner, I suppose. Especially since the reviews are good.

As for GPU, I have never had a radeon--always Nvidia stuff. Are you talkin gabout these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

If so, the first one (XFX?). They don't have too many reviews--are they tested and proven well?
May 11, 2009 4:52:43 PM

Here's a review on toms that might help you better understand them.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-4770-crossfi...

You don't have to get that card specifially. If you are more comfortable with Nvdia, i would get a GTX260 and look for a good deal with extra games or a higher clocked core...Even a GTS250 would do you fine ^_^

As for a PSU...i would look for a Corsair 600W or better.
May 11, 2009 5:01:51 PM

So you'd suggest a GTX 260 no SLI in that case? I'll read up on that link later today
May 12, 2009 3:32:55 AM

Also, any comments about SSD drives like the $325 intel drive? Is it worth getting/
May 12, 2009 4:30:07 AM

So I realized with the price of i7 mobo, ram and the cpu, I probably can't afford to get the SSD, and I should most likely spend under $200 on video.
May 12, 2009 5:25:27 AM

Hmm...Kill@dor has suggested a proper platform for that price range...

Well you can take a look at this setup for reference...

CPU + Graphics combo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mobo + RAM - For your usage, 12GB of RAM would be a total overkill and 3GB would be like asking for more...So I guess 6GB is the sweetspot...
PS: This mobo has an excellent onboard sound card - SupremeFX X-Fi with 8 Channels Audio...So before buying a sound card, do check out the onboard sound and if it doesn't satisfy you then buy a sound card...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HDD - Well the SSDs still have a hefty price premium...So stick with go fast drives like the WD Black and they would offer very good performance...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power supply - Corsair 650TX - like Kill had said this would be suffice...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

+1 for the BD Burner...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - Your choice...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Well you can take a look at these too...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

Sound card - Again first check out the onboard sound and then buy a sound card if it is not satisfactory...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - $1318 without rebates and shipping...
May 12, 2009 7:33:45 AM

This build includes a modular psu with more than enough juice to push this rig (red LED w/this psu matches the case). It also includes a case with is perfectly suited for your needs if you plan on moving (med school), and you want a case that is handy for travelling/moving. This case is new to the market and so far it has gotten great reviews. Ewiz...the retailer I chose for the mobo has been around for years, is very dependable and has a good reputation for customer service. You want to make sure you flash to the latest bios with that board, and then afterwards download the latest drivers for it. The gtx 275 in this build is a well suited for your monitors resolution not to mention it doesn't use much power.

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id... <--- More pics and specs of the case used in this build.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <---More pics, specs, and customer reviews of the mobo used in this build.

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm <---Xigmetek HS used in this build...rated one of the top HS by "Frostytech".

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-275,226... <---gtx 275 benchmarks and review

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99
COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 ($49.99 after $25.00 Mail-In Rebate)
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U3R $178.99 | $163.99 after rebate
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CrossFireX/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$7.00 Combo Price: $367.98 $20.00 Mail-In Rebate
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99 Free Shipping*
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $4.99
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $249.99 ($229.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 6X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 6X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner 6X Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive Model GGW-H20L - OEM

Total: $1,266.90 | $1,189.90 w/mail in rebates
May 12, 2009 8:43:33 PM

Hmm...so GTX 260 I guess is the way to go since the 285 is $100 more. Also, there are 3 different kinds of WD 640gb black drives on newegg and all are the same price, what is the difference between them?

Finally, what is hte best quality TV tuner to get?

And by the way, the PSU you suggested looks good, but I think I want to stick to something with a better warranty. I saw the thermaltake toughpower 750 modular going for $100 on newegg, mighjt get that. Also, there is no point running 6gb of ram unless i do 64bit windows, right? And 64 bit windows have problems with a lot of software so I think I might stick to 32 for now--what do you guys think?

May 12, 2009 8:45:23 PM

gkay09 said:
Hmm...Kill@dor has suggested a proper platform for that price range...

Well you can take a look at this setup for reference...

CPU + Graphics combo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mobo + RAM - For your usage, 12GB of RAM would be a total overkill and 3GB would be like asking for more...So I guess 6GB is the sweetspot...
PS: This mobo has an excellent onboard sound card - SupremeFX X-Fi with 8 Channels Audio...So before buying a sound card, do check out the onboard sound and if it doesn't satisfy you then buy a sound card...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HDD - Well the SSDs still have a hefty price premium...So stick with go fast drives like the WD Black and they would offer very good performance...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power supply - Corsair 650TX - like Kill had said this would be suffice...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

+1 for the BD Burner...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - Your choice...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Well you can take a look at these too...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

Sound card - Again first check out the onboard sound and then buy a sound card if it is not satisfactory...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - $1318 without rebates and shipping...





Thanks a lot for the reply! I like your PSU but it's not modular unfortunately. Also, as for sound card, is there one that takes inputs from each individual speaker? Normal sound cards like the creative ones have an input for both LR speaker rear speakers and center and sub. But my speakers are studio monitors and EACH have their own single cable. It would begreat of there was a card that integrated the channels that way.
May 12, 2009 8:51:51 PM

I have a Logitech 5.1 set up that intergrates LR & RR speakers with only 3 connections...and its on onboard sound 7.0. You should look into that...
May 12, 2009 8:55:06 PM

Kill@dor said:
I have a Logitech 5.1 set up that intergrates LR & RR speakers with only 3 connections...and its on onboard sound 7.0. You should look into that...



Right--what I'm saying is my 5.1 setup has 6 connections. I used to merge them into 3 connections to work with my old sound card, but the quality would be much better if thery were separated in the sound card.
May 12, 2009 9:07:50 PM

Ah i see...man i'm about to leave work so i'll see what i can find when i get home. If i don't post today, tomorrow is key but i should find something i hope...

All i know are creatives on that subject...and they don't have ones that seperate...at least not ones that i know of unfortunately
May 12, 2009 10:09:06 PM

That's cool--this can be the last part to get anyway--thanks a lot for the help! I think I mainly need ot 100% decide on a motherboard and GPU right now...

Anyone know of a discussion somewhere about a good quality mobo around for i7? I don't need onboard sound or anything, just firewire and good quality. Probably don't even need crossfire or SLI (what's the difference by the way?) unless it's the same price.
May 13, 2009 2:01:22 AM

i3eezenotch said:
Hmm...so GTX 260 I guess is the way to go since the 285 is $100 more. Also, there are 3 different kinds of WD 640gb black drives on newegg and all are the same price, what is the difference between them?

Finally, what is hte best quality TV tuner to get?

And by the way, the PSU you suggested looks good, but I think I want to stick to something with a better warranty. I saw the thermaltake toughpower 750 modular going for $100 on newegg, mighjt get that. Also, there is no point running 6gb of ram unless i do 64bit windows, right? And 64 bit windows have problems with a lot of software so I think I might stick to 32 for now--what do you guys think?


Or you could read what I put in that build I posted for you. It includes a gtx 275.
!