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Proposed i7 build for CS4 and CAD work

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June 17, 2009 4:26:33 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next few weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $1500 USD

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: AVCHD Video Editing w/ CS4 Production Premium Apps, CAD (AutoCad, etc.), MS Office Apps, Internet Surfing, ITunes.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, pen tablet, Boot Drive, RAID 0 array, Optical drives.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Zip Zoom Fly, Antares Digital

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i7 CPU, NVidia GTX 2xx graphics card, Corsair PSU

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Reliability

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Proposed parts list:
(I didn't include links because I still haven't decided where I'm purchasing yet)

Intel i7-920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 8MB Cache CPU (D0 Stepping)

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX

EVGA 896-P3-1171-AR GeForce GTX 275 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK (x2 - 12 GB)

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
(Would use Windows 7 RC1, but it is not "officially" supported yet by Adobe apps, thus no tech support from Adobe)


My original thought was to go with a GTX 260. Will the proposed PSU be adequate for the GTX 275 or should I upgrade to the Corsair TX-850? For that matter, should I just stick with a GTX 260. I don't do any gaming, but Adobe is moving toward using more and more of the GPU power for rendering, etc. I also will be using the machine for CAD work, as I am a Mechanical Engineering student. I also have no plans at this time for more than a single video card.

Will the Antec 900 case be large enough to accomodate a GTX 275, the Xigmatek HSF, along with 4 SATA drives and 2 SATA optical drives? Any problems accessing the 6 SATA ports on the P6T with a large video card?

Thanks for your feedback. I would like a reliable system that will see me through the next 2 years of college.

More about : proposed build cs4 cad work

Anonymous
June 17, 2009 7:45:23 PM

Okay... First off, forget the Antec 900. Its a gaming case and not to mention the fans are really loud. You won't want a distracting blue led case annoy you during work. Instead, get a case in the Antec Sonata Series. These cases are quiet but cool, and will get the job done better.

You don't need a 750 watt power supply for the gtx 275. You should be fine with 550 watt corsair or 650 watt (seriously).

Its nice that you want a gtx 275, but superclocked version? come on... For your information, EVGA includes a free precision overclocking utility that you can get that kind of performance on your own with. The superclocked crap is pure crap. Save the money and get a Sonata case.

I like the P6T deluxe v2, nice choice.

Just a warning on the memory. Don't ever expect the rebate if you go with OCZ. Instead get some Kingston or Corsair ddr3 memory. 6 Gigs should hit the sweet spot.

A cheaper alternative to the Xigmatek would be the Scythe Mugen 2. Its much more cheaper but gets the job done great. I have a 4.1 oc with it :D . I think you're better off to wait for Windows 7. It's compatibility is pretty much on par with vista. In the even tthat you need tech support, just call and say you're having trouble with adobe products on vista, not 7 :D . That said, stick with the rc for now.

The Antec 900 will be a very tight fit with full length video cards like the gtx 275. go with a sonata, slugger.

Also, unlike some other mobos, 6 of the 8 sata ports are angles at 90 degrees. This way, you can plug them in and not interfere with teh video card. Its a con for frequent modders and gamer since it's difficult to access, but it's really convenient cuz it's out of the way of the video card.
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June 17, 2009 8:58:36 PM

I don't see games on your list.
Perhaps a more modest vga card like the GTS250 would suffice.

If you don't mind a clean install in october, then I would use W7 for now. See what W7 costs, and if it works for you. If that would be a problem, then go vista home premium 64 bit now. There is very little more in vista ultimate that justifies the price. Go to the vista web site for a list of differences. Also, since you are a student, look into a discounted academic license.

Corsair 750 is a good psu. But, 650 or 550 would be sufficient. Look also at the PC P&C units in the same range. I like them better because they have rear mounted fans which I think makes for better cooling.

A less expensive case with no "bling" would be the Antec 300.
Consider the Antec solo if you want a quiet case, and your vga card is <10" long. (ie no GTX... cards)
June 17, 2009 9:06:06 PM

leonlee: Thank you for the feedback. I will look at the Antec Sonata series. Do you have any particular model in mind? My PC sits under a desk so I'm looking for USB/Audio ports at the top front of the case, where I can reach them. Would like front panel USB, Audio, and Firewire ports; e-SATA on the front panel is a plus but not a deal breaker.

I want a little overhead in the PSU. I have multiple USB devices (mouse, keyboard, pen tablet, USB keys, etc.) and Firewire devices as well as my backups using e-SATA and Firewire. The Extreme PSU calculator came up with a little over 600 watts for my proposed config, so I figured 750 would give me some headroom in case I get the urge to add a second video card someday.

Currently the EVGA GTX 275 superclocked and standard are the same price at Newegg. Why not go with the SC version for the same $$?

I didn't give much thought to the rebates. Thanks for the heads up on OCZ.
June 17, 2009 9:37:17 PM

geofelt: Thanks for the feedback. I don't use my PC for games, never have. What I'm mainly interested in the GTX 275 is for use with CAD software. I think the 275 is overkill for CS4, but don't want to sit back 6 months from now and wish I had more GPU power for AutoCad. I'm really torn on W7. I don't have a lot of time to mess around with O.S. problems and drivers for some older peripherals I have. I think I need to order Vista with the other hardware or forfeit the OEM pricing if I want it later on. At least that's how it worked when I built my last system using XP OEM. It had to be ordered at the same time as the MB/CPU to get OEM pricing.

As for the PSU, are rear mounted fans better for use with cases that have the PSU mounted at the bottom? I haven't found a good answer for that question yet.
June 17, 2009 11:34:00 PM

I believe there is a windows 7 readiness program that you can download and run on your current system. It should identify any compatibility problems. For the new parts, there should not be any problems.

As an alternative , Look for an upgrade version of home premium instead of OEM.
Upgrade is a retail version which gives you support from microsoft, unlike OEM(AKA system builder),
and allows a more hassel-free ability to transfer the os to a different pc(motherboard).
For $10, microsoft will send you the 64 bit DVD.
I saw Vista home premium upgrade recently at Costco for $85, amazon for $89.
There is a legitimate two step instalation process to install an upgrade version
You install vista from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code.

Just tell the install which version you bought, and do not activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional vista for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the cd again, while running vista and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.

Either type of psu is fine, particularly for bottom mounted psu's. For top mounted, a bottom fan will tend to take in heat from the cpu, increasing the cooling demand on the psu.
The difference is no big deal and can be ignored as an issue.
Anonymous
June 18, 2009 4:17:52 AM

darsmith said:
leonlee: Thank you for the feedback. I will look at the Antec Sonata series. Do you have any particular model in mind? My PC sits under a desk so I'm looking for USB/Audio ports at the top front of the case, where I can reach them. Would like front panel USB, Audio, and Firewire ports; e-SATA on the front panel is a plus but not a deal breaker.

I want a little overhead in the PSU. I have multiple USB devices (mouse, keyboard, pen tablet, USB keys, etc.) and Firewire devices as well as my backups using e-SATA and Firewire. The Extreme PSU calculator came up with a little over 600 watts for my proposed config, so I figured 750 would give me some headroom in case I get the urge to add a second video card someday.

Currently the EVGA GTX 275 superclocked and standard are the same price at Newegg. Why not go with the SC version for the same $$?

I didn't give much thought to the rebates. Thanks for the heads up on OCZ.


How about the antec p182. It's a very high rated case and though the i/o ports are somewhat at the middle, it currently has free shipping on newegg.

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

If the superclocked and the standard versions are the same price. Go straight ahead with the superclocked version and ignore what I said earlier.
June 18, 2009 3:12:53 PM

Anonymous said:
Okay... First off, forget the Antec 900. Its a gaming case and not to mention the fans are really loud. You won't want a distracting blue led case annoy you during work. Instead, get a case in the Antec Sonata Series. These cases are quiet but cool, and will get the job done better.

You don't need a 750 watt power supply for the gtx 275. You should be fine with 550 watt corsair or 650 watt (seriously).

Its nice that you want a gtx 275, but superclocked version? come on... For your information, EVGA includes a free precision overclocking utility that you can get that kind of performance on your own with. The superclocked crap is pure crap. Save the money and get a Sonata case.

I like the P6T deluxe v2, nice choice.

Just a warning on the memory. Don't ever expect the rebate if you go with OCZ. Instead get some Kingston or Corsair ddr3 memory. 6 Gigs should hit the sweet spot.

A cheaper alternative to the Xigmatek would be the Scythe Mugen 2. Its much more cheaper but gets the job done great. I have a 4.1 oc with it :D . I think you're better off to wait for Windows 7. It's compatibility is pretty much on par with vista. In the even tthat you need tech support, just call and say you're having trouble with adobe products on vista, not 7 :D . That said, stick with the rc for now.

The Antec 900 will be a very tight fit with full length video cards like the gtx 275. go with a sonata, slugger.

Also, unlike some other mobos, 6 of the 8 sata ports are angles at 90 degrees. This way, you can plug them in and not interfere with teh video card. Its a con for frequent modders and gamer since it's difficult to access, but it's really convenient cuz it's out of the way of the video card.


-Definitely aggree, antec 900 is for gamers, its loud, annoying, and is lit up inside like a dance floor...
-Secondly, I dont konw but for CS4 and CAD (cad especially), maybe you would want to take and look into the xeon route...
-Also...for your GPU (for cad)...maybe you want to look into the nvidia quadro cards, not geforce, quadro is more business grade stuff with architecture designed for stuff like cad, geforce is more consumer grade and for gaming ;) 

-I am just suggesting you look into those, because If I had to have a PC that I would NOT use for gaming and use for CS4 and CAd, I would have a xeon inside and nvidia quadro inside also :) 
June 18, 2009 5:16:45 PM

blackhawk192: I think the xeon/quadro config is a bit out of my budget. My max is $1500, but I'm trying to keep it under $1400 if possible. I'm hoping to get by on the geforce series of card, but can always upgrade to a quadro series later on (after raising some more funds). What do you all think of the Antec P183? I like some of the Antec non-gaming cases, but I'm not a big fan of the front doors.
June 18, 2009 6:37:24 PM

-Well...I am not saying you need to get a $3200 Xeon X7460 with 6 cores clocked at 2.66Ghz or anything like that...but a cheaper xeon, in my opinion will do the job really well probably the same if not better then a core i7 will. I would say get Intel Xeon W3520, it cost around 20-30 bucks more then a core i7 920 nehalem and I think It might do better in CAD and CS4. And quadro is expensive...no dought, I didn't really notice the budget, I think a good geforce will do fine but when you get the money for an upgrade, quadro should be your route, those cards are designed specifically for stuff like CAD and excel at it, but are really pricy so you can hold off on that, but I still suggest taking that xeon though.
June 18, 2009 6:50:18 PM

OK, thanks. I'll do some pricing and research on a xeon system with room for a quadro upgrade in the future.
June 18, 2009 7:55:00 PM

Well...you can go right to Intel's website and get all the exact specs for all their processors.
-Glad I could help :) 
October 4, 2009 7:47:52 PM

Ok well the rest of the replies pretty much summarized what could be done with your budget. I just might have 2 minor additions to cut ur costs for more performance.

First off even 550 watt seems too much for ur needs. I have a Q9550 processor overclocked to 3.11 ghz with stock cooler. 4 hard disks (no super low power green ones) an optical drive Sony Optiarc DVD Writer and an ati 4950, again overclocked. I just have an AOpen 400 Watt. I never had any problem with the power requirements and for the record, I constantly play games. So i think a quality 450-500 Watt PSU might do for u since u listed a lot of drives there, and i'm sure even 400 Watt would do since u dont play games. By the way the drivers of my video cards in the past automatically underclocked the video card when there wasnt enough power from the PSU (i had a geforce 5800somethingXT back then with a 300W PSU). I think it would somehow alert me now as well if something was wrong.

About going for quadro, well there are illicitly "modified" drivers which enable professional graphics options on ordinary gaming cards. At least i've heard that there used to be. U're kind of concerned about tech support so u probably might not want to use such drivers but still those drivers will make ur professional 3d applications much faster, especially likes of 3ds max
!