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Budget i7 Family/Productivity System

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July 6, 2009 2:51:56 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Today
BUDGET RANGE: ~$1000
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Office Applications, Email/Web way down the list Video Editing
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor (have a 19", speakers, OS
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Microcenter.com/Newegg.com


Looking for suggestions on a new home system to last my family 5+ years (the MoBo on the box I built 7 years ago finally gave way yesterday RIP). I have a Microcenter within 10 minutes of where I live so either NewEgg or MicroCenter are in play for parts. For at least the next year or two (until my kids are older) we won't be using the box for games, just internet, email, office applications and maybe some video editing. The video editing is not critical as it's something we do maybe twice a year, so no need to build up the box for that.

To start with I'd like to be towards the front of processor technology so:
Intel i7 920 $200

and I'm good with the
WD Caviar Black 1 TB HD $100

Now the questions:
1) The box stays in our living room and hasn't moved in years so I don't need a portable case. Is the Antec 300 for $50 the way to go? Since it will be visible, is there something a little more stylish that doesn't cost $100 more?

2) For the Motherboard do I go with the MSI X58 Platinum ($210) or the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P ($230)?

3) I will get 6 GB Ram - do I go with the Corsair 1600 at MC for $110 or the OCZ Platinum 1600 at NE for $105?

4) What should I do for a graphics card in light of the fact I'm not going to be running anything graphics intensive? What's the best cheap option out there?

5) For the PSU, Corsair CMPSU-750TX ($110) or the PC P&C Silencer 750 W ($120)?

6) For the cooler, the Scythe Mugen ($45) or the Sunbeam CCTF ($25)?

Thanks in advance for your help!
July 6, 2009 4:42:13 PM

anyone?
I need to get something up and running this week...
July 6, 2009 5:08:40 PM

1. Since you are not going to use a gaming card and will not be overclocking, you can use a more stylish, less cooled case. You might be surprised by the finish and look of the Antec 300 in person however.

2. The UD4P would be my choice over MSI, or ASRock has a new budget board out that might fit your needs.

3. OCZ Plats would be fine.

4. 4650 would be powerful enough but very inexpensive.

5. Either PSU would be major overkill for the build.

6. CCTF is not an LGA 1366 cooler. Mugen or Xigmatek Sark Knight would both be good budget choices.

Here is a case/PSU suggestion:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Another:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

One more
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
July 6, 2009 5:13:31 PM

On the graphics card - what is your pleasure? For about $40AR you can get a decent basic card to plug in and handle the day to day. A good example is the EVGA 8600GT:

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

For only about $30 more or $70 you can get one with about three times the power should you want to do a little basic gaming. A good example is the HIS 4670 IceQ Turbo:

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

For only about $105AR you can get a card that does a good job on most games at the mainstream level. An example of the latter is the EVGA GTS 250:

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

Given that you otherwise will have a strong mainstream system, I would be inclinded to go for the $105 card - in keeping with the system. On the other hand - why pay more for something if you truely know you will never need it. Your choice.
July 6, 2009 5:27:29 PM

For the purposes you have listed I think the stock cooler would be just fine. And I also agree that the PSU is overkill. You can get away with a quality 450 - 500 PSU with room to spare.

You probably would be fine with 3 GB of RAM, and I don't think the price premium for 1600 over 1333 or even 1066 is worth it and you could always add more later.

I went with the Corsair 1600 6GB kit and I've never seen more then 4.5 GB used during a very heavy Photoshop session.

And I'm sure you're aware that if you're going to be using Windows you need the 64 bit version to use more then 3.5 GB of RAM.
July 6, 2009 5:34:18 PM

For the case, the Antec Sonata III suggested above is a good case with an excellent power supply and a good buy since it is on sale. However I beleive it has a glossy black "paino" finish that I am not parcel too. I chose the Silverstone Kublai KL-01. One feature I like is a bay in front to conveniently change out a hard drive - such as for doing backups or storing video - although I have never used it yet. On sale at $90AR it is a good buy - although after you add the PSU it will cost you about $50 more than the Sonata III.
July 6, 2009 5:34:43 PM

Thanks Guys. I suppose the setup is a little tricky in that, 3 years from now, I expect to buy a much better graphics card, so I'd like to have the other components in place now for that, which is why the setup seems a little out of whack with my usage (I don't want to replace PSU, RAM, etc at that time).

I also realize I left out a critical bit of info when discussing the case - the side of the case it what's visible to the room, not the front, which is why the Antec 300 is "blah."

The Radeon 4670 is great - thanks for that. Found one here for $65 http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Unresolved questions:
1) Given what I described about future use, is the 750 W PSU still overkill (I realize this is hard to answer not knowing what the future graphics card will be, but I'm not going to be running two simultaneous monitors or anything like that - it will always be the family computer in the living room)? If 750 W is overkill, how much do I need?

2) Given that the side of the case is what's going to be exposed to the room (it sits up against the wall) what case would you recommend? Antec 900?

3) Is the Gigabyte UD3R good enough or should I get the UD4P?

thanks again to all!

P.S. I will be running Windows 7.
July 6, 2009 5:45:35 PM

1. Either PSU is nice. The Corsair 650TX is quiet and will power most high end cards easily, so that might be another choice.

2. The problem with a side window is that you can see inside the case :)  You might want a modular PSU for something like that.
Which 650W is this case shipping with I wonder? If it was the TP-650 it night be ideal, although I suspect it's the EA650. A good PSU but ugly.

3. Only problem with the UD3R is the lack of extra memory slots. Not really a big deal.
July 6, 2009 6:07:56 PM

I agree on Corsair 650TX. It will save you $30 over the 750TX and has the power to run two graphics cards. Although if you think you might be a power enthusiast user with two top end graphics cards three years from now - we are talking power tweakers here - then you might want the 750TX to be sure.

The P&C Silencer is the Rolls Royce of PSUs, althought I have seen contradictory info about noise issues. I have seen online reviews at respected sights reporting noticeable noise - not exactly what you want in your living room - and then others reporting the noise at the normal level and some forum posters stating emhatically that there is no noticeable noise.

You might want to become familiar with silentpcreview.com whose purpose is self explanatory. About the PC Silencer 610 they report:

The acoustic performance is fairly good, staying modest in our test setup till well past 300W, which is about as high a peak load as you'll encounter in a sane quiet PC. Above this power level, the fan noise rose to a higher level than any other PSU tested in recent memory. It's a moot point as anything above 30 dBA@1m or so is simply too loud, but the fan behavior is indicative of a decision to keep the unit well-cooled, especially at higher load, even at the cost of higher noise.

Heres the link to the page with the quote (which also includes some nice graphs):

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article864-page4.html

And they have a list of recommended PSUs - with ratings on quality and noise level:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article699-page1.html
July 6, 2009 6:09:11 PM

I basically have the system you are putting together except my gpu's pull about 200 watts each and I'm overclocked 1 ghz over stock.

I'm going to guess my system is drawing an extra 300 - 350 watts then what you are going to build.

I have the Corsair tx850 psu with 840 watts on the 12v rail and the psu is not stressed. You can do the math but I think the Corsair tx650 would be much more than you need.
July 6, 2009 6:11:12 PM

Yes that's my understanding for all PC P&C. Quiet under light to moderate loads, noisy when the fan ramps up.
July 6, 2009 6:16:34 PM

Great help guys - looks like the Corsair 650TX and the Gigabyte UD3R. Only question left is the case, which is more subjective. I'll probably end up going with the Antec Nine Hundred ($100 from Microcenter) unless any of y'all think I should go with something else. Something with either colored fans or a window (or both) on the side.

thanks again for all your help - truly appreciated.
July 6, 2009 9:52:44 PM

Thanks - for the same money I'll stick with the Nine Hundred (just an aesthetic preference). Here's my build:

Intel i7 920 $200
Scythe Mugen-2 $37
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R $185
Corsair 650TX $80
OCZ Platinum 6 GB $105
IceQ Radeon 4670 $65
WD Caviar Black 1 TB $100
Samsung LightScribe 22x DVDRW $30
Antec 900 Case $100

Total: $902
!