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New Cutom Built Workstation

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July 13, 2009 9:13:16 PM

I'm going to be putting together a custom workstation for a co-worker, and could use a little input from the community.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Probably by the end of July.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Typical business applications, lots of multitasking

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Everything BUT the CPU, motherboard, RAM and video card

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or Microcenter

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: We use dual monitors in 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is replacing an old P4 3GHz she has at home, but we run C2D 2GHz in the office. I'm on a pretty strict budget ($500) and really need some horsepower (hence the i7) so she really feels she got her money worth and that this is a significant step up.

This is what I've put together:
Intel Core i7 920 (D0) ~$200 (Microcenter)
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R
OR
Foxconn Renaissance ~$200 for either... honestly I just need a cheap, reliable board. It doesn't need ANY bells and whistles whatsoever. I may just go to Microcenter and ask them for their cheapest X58 board... used or new.
Crucial 3 x 2GB DDR3 1066 ~$80 I just want 6GB of DDR3 RAM... that's it.
EVGA 01G-P3-N945-LR GeForce 9400 GT ~$55 In all honesty, I don't know what the difference between workstation and desktop video cards is, or if it even matters in this situation. Workstation cards just seem to be a lot more expensive. All I really need is something with 2 DVI ports though.

I need cheap but reliable parts, and a solid platform that should hold up for about 5 years without any upgrades. I'm a little over budget with the build above, but I can justify that cost if it'll last her long enough. Let me know what you think.
July 14, 2009 6:29:41 AM

Yeah, the Gigabyte board you've selected is excellent. I'd recommend getting this GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's a tad cheaper, but it performs about 3x better. Everything else looks good, 5 years w/o upgrades is a long time, but if you just use it for work, it'll last.
July 14, 2009 2:53:48 PM

i7 is too expensive for your budget. For $500, i would go with this E5200 rig.

CPU + Motherboard: E5200 + P43 gigabyte combo
GPU: HIS 4670
PSU: 400cx Corsair
Memory: G.Skill Pi Black 2x2gb DDR2 800mhz
HDD: 320gb Western digital or if a Western Digital Black 640gb fits in the budget, get it.
Case: Coolermaster RC-690
OS: Windows 7 RC.
Related resources
July 14, 2009 5:12:08 PM

evongugg said:
i7 is too expensive for your budget. For $500, i would go with this E5200 rig.

CPU + Motherboard: E5200 + P43 gigabyte combo
GPU: HIS 4670
PSU: 400cx Corsair
Memory: G.Skill Pi Black 2x2gb DDR2 800mhz
HDD: 320gb Western digital or if a Western Digital Black 640gb fits in the budget, get it.
Case: Coolermaster RC-690
OS: Windows 7 RC.

Thank you for the input, but please re-read my OP. I only need a CPU, mobo, RAM, and video card. I would go with AMD, but shes a huge multitasker and AMD doesn't do that as well. I'd also go with a Core 2 Duo or Quad, but it's a dead socket, and I want her to be able to have upgrade options in the future.



I'm pretty set on the i7.
The motherboard still seems expensive, but I guess they all are...
I just need the cheapest 6GB of DDR3 RAM i can find.
I may be able to use that video card radiowars suggested. We use dual monitors, but they should all have VGA and DVI connectors, so I don't necessarily need a card with 2 DVI ports.
July 14, 2009 5:32:56 PM

+1^
Gigabyte over Foxconn. That vid card is more than you'll probably ever need, and it has the dual dvi.
July 14, 2009 9:21:02 PM

Ooo good find on the ATI card shortstuff. I may just have to go with that one. I'm hoping to be able to pick everything up from the local Microcenter in the next few days. It looks like everyone agrees that the Gigabyte board is probably the best one I'm going to find in the price range. One sec while I total up the costs of everything...

$200 - i7 920
$185 - Gigabyte board (after MIR)
$??? - DDR3 RAM (can't find exactly what I'm looking for at Microcenter... $80 from newegg)
$??? - Radeon HD 3650 512MB (can't friggin find this at Microcenter either... $30 after MIR from newegg)

$495 - TOTAL (After MIR's)

That's just beautiful lol. Thanks for the help guys. It's nice just to get reassured that I'm getting some decent parts from someone who's not getting payed commission. If anyone has anything else to suggest, I won't be buying anything for at least a few days, so speak up and I'll be listening.
July 14, 2009 9:52:00 PM

Only thing I'd get from the local store is the CPU, that's a sweet deal. The rest of it I doubt they can touch the price on. Stick with newegg and order it.
July 17, 2009 7:26:17 PM

Alright so I've decided that I don't want to go with an i7 after doing some research. It'd be nice to give her an upgrade path, but the upgrade path for LGA 1366 looks like it would be out of her price range anyway, so now I plan on building a Core 2 Duo machine.

I'm interested in either the E8400 or E8500, though there seems to be little difference between the two other than the 8500 is stock clocked just a tiny bit higher and runs about $10-$20 more.

I was also eyeing either of these boards:
ASUS P5QL PRO
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L
They seem to basically be the same board with the same (lack of) features, but from different manufacturers.

Anyone have some opinions they'd like to share with me?
July 17, 2009 7:47:54 PM

The words "upgrade path" and LGA775 don't go together. The best value and upgradeable system right now would be an AMD AM3 build. I don't know where you heard that AMD systems don't multi-task as well as Intel, but it's not true.

Here's what I'd get with your budget and intended use:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $269.99 - $15.00 MIR (CPU + motherboard combo)

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600EB4GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $77.99 - $10.00 MIR

POWERCOLOR AX3650 512MD2 Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $42.99 - $10.00 MIR

Total - $390.97 - $35.00 MIR's
July 17, 2009 8:16:14 PM

I almost don't have a choice in the Intel vs AMD debate, though I do appreciate the effort shortstuff... Everything in the office runs on Intel and probably always will, and I have to stay the course for hardware compatibility reasons especially since I'm not going with the i7 setup.

I'll do some research and see if I can't justify an AMD build, but a quad core would be unnecessary. I basically need the fastest duo core processor available that isn't an "EXTREME(-ly overpriced) EDITION".

I hate putting money (even if it's not mine) into a dead socket, but I don't have the luxury of waiting for i5, and i7 won't fit the budget.

BTW: I've got some RAM I pulled out of our server while doing some troubleshooting a while back. 4x1GB Kingston KVR400D2S4R3/1G. I was planning on just reusing this stuff in the build.
July 17, 2009 8:35:06 PM

That's ECC Registered RAM. I doubt you'll be able to use it in anything but a server motherboard.

I'm still trying to figure out how an AMD quad core is overkill, but you were originally considering an i7 quad core 8 threaded beast. You also said your boss is a "huge multitasker". If that's really true, then a quad core would probably benefit her. Unless you mean she checks her e-mail while surfing the web and playing solitaire at the same time. :) 

I'm just trying to help, but color me confused.
July 17, 2009 8:42:07 PM

kufan64 said:
I almost don't have a choice in the Intel vs AMD debate, though I do appreciate the effort shortstuff... Everything in the office runs on Intel and probably always will, and I have to stay the course for hardware compatibility reasons especially since I'm not going with the i7 setup.


I don't get this. What does having an AMD cpu in a workstation have to do with hardware compatibility? Even if you had to gut a PC for spare parts, the only parts not interchangeable would be the cpu and mobo. And didn't you say it was for a co-workers home pc?

Just curious and a little confused.
July 17, 2009 8:45:44 PM

Oh ho! So there actually is a difference between server and workstaion RAM? I had assumed that was a myth... Thanks for the heads up.

She's one of those people (you know the ones) who has like 100 windows open constantly. She has outlook running, the internet going, a few programs running, etc. etc.

I don't think any programs we use have the ability to utilize quad-core processors.

EDIT: @AMDThunder
Like I said, it's a little out of my hands; everythings always been Intel, and switching to AMD is a change, and change scares people lol... I'm still doing some research to see if I can justify a switch to AMD. Better performance per dollar for what we do is what I'm hoping for.
July 17, 2009 8:52:42 PM

It seems silly even recommending this right now since you can do much better, but here it goes:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $167.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $54.99

POWERCOLOR AX3650 512MD2 Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $42.99 - $10 MIR

Total - $345.96 - $10 MIR

AMD vs. Intel has nothing to do with software compatibility, so the comment "Everything in the office runs on Intel and probably always will" doesn't make any sense. I guess maybe you were talking about hardware, but it still doesn't make any sense IMO.
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