Am thinking of building a new computer – my current computer is a 2500 XP, so you can see why.
Have the current specs in mind:
Core 2 Duo E8400
1TB Samsung Spinpoint Hard Drive (for Media)
500GB Samsung Spinpoint Hard Drive (for OS)
4GB Corsair DDR2 PC2-8500
Sapphire Radion HD 4850
Corsair TX 750W
I generally don’t play any games (but I suppose this could change if I had a computer that could actually play anything half decent) but do lots of DVD burning and video editing (from programmes taken off my PVR and Camcorder) and music creation on Cubase. I also do not Overclock.
Would be grateful for you opinions on the following:
*Are there any of the above components that you think are overkill, not good enough or simply have better alternatives? Or are there any components that I am missing but should think about adding?
*I have been looking online for part prices and have noticed that there are huge variations in price. Where is the best place to get all the components? Are there any particular places for particular components you can recommend or are there single online shops that would be best for the vast majority of the bits?
*For the OS HDD, would it be better to get two 250GB instead of the 500GB and run these as Raid 0. Everything important would be saved on the TB HDD (which would be backed up on another computer), so I am not worried about the data loss problem if one of the HDDs failing in this array, but is running like this so much better than a single HDD in what is already a very fast computer? I suspect that this may well be overkill but again would be grateful for you opinions.
*With regards the OS, I shall be putting XP on for the time being and will probably get Windows 7 when it comes out. Is it worth buying the 64-bit version to make use of all that RAM? What are the pros and cons of this as opposed to the 32-bit version and which would you recommend (I have heard that certain programmes and hardware are less compatible with the former).
Sorry for so many questions, the more you look into it, the more you realise you don't know - a bit like life.
You listed a pretty good system - you obviously did some homework.
The PSU is larger than required for a single video card - the 550w version of the same model is more than ample and would save about $20.
The Antec P182 is an excellent case - although on the higher end of the price range. You might want to consider the Antec Sonata III on sale for $100 with free shipping (thru 7/21) which includes the Antec Earthwatts 500 PSU - still more than ample. Although I am not parcel to the gloss black finish - it would save approx $60 over the P182 with the 550w Corsair PSU.
I have an E8400 in my system, built about a year ago. If I were building it today I would go with the Q9550 and recommend the same for you - it cost about $40 more.
I would go with the 64 bit system to enable using more than about 3.2 GB of memory.
I don't bother with RAID - I don't feel the benefits are worth the effort. But I would recommend you consider a light overclock to improve performance - would definitely consider overclocking before RAID.
If you really don't think you will game much you could save about $40 going with a 4670 video card - which will still do light gaming. However the 4850 is a good mainstream video card.
Good online vendors are newegg.com and Microcenter.com
I have had a look on the net and it does seem that it would be worth sticking the OS on a Western Digital Caviar Black. It also seems that for future proofing and considering the small extra costs, it may be worth going with the Q9550 instead.
With regards the PSU, would 550W also give me some head room for a few extra HDDs, fans, a TV Card, sound card and maxing my RAM in the future? - one thing that I am sure is that I would not be interested in getting two Graphics cards or anything major like that.
With regards the Video Card - I have had a quick look at the 4850 and noticed that there are some problems with its size, heat and compatibility. Do you guys recommend this particular card? (I know that you have to take every review you read with a pinch of salt because nothing is perfect) or would you recommend something else? - many reviewers seem to favour nvidia cards. Also noted that there are many types of 4850 cards (which I hadn't appreciated)and if you still recommend this, which particular type?
Thanks again for the advice, much better than trying to learn sifting through 6 months of computer magazines!
Yes, the 550W should be find with the items you listed. They only use 3v and 5v power - not 12v - so they don't use that much. You might want to become familiar with site that has a power calculator - you can plug in what you think will be your maxed out system and see what is says.
Yes, the 4850 is known to run hotter than most cards and requires good case ventilation. But your timing is excellent - this one is specially designed to deal with the heat issue and is on sale at the moment- only $90AR
Note the IceQ4 and that it does take up two slots as it expels air outside the case - look at those copper heat pipes. You might google a review or two on it - I would bet it comes highly recommended by the experts - its the brother of the 4670 card (a little slower as I mentioned above) that was rated best in its class in one review I saw. At this price, I can't think of any other card I would recommend - ATI or nVidia (generally I prefer - and have - nVidia). What are the compatibility issues you mentiond? Now if you want to spend less - there are slower cards as I mentioned above.
After posting the above, I got curious and looked up a review on the HIS 4850 - here it is. Note that they referred to some aspects of the card as "astounding" and strongly recommended it. Also note that when it was reviewed and recommended about 9 months ago, the newegg price was $230.
Note however that HIS has two versions of the Turbo overcharged models and the one for sale by newegg is the slower one (only the core clock is overclocked - and only a little over the reference design - 650MHz vs. 625MHz so it will not be as fast as the one used in the review - but still a very good video card.