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What approach should I take to get THIS?

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August 5, 2009 2:11:26 AM

Hey Folks,

I need some serious advice as to how to end up with my next high-end PC. I have a decent idea of what parts I want in that PC, but I'm not sure how to make this machine take shape. To start, here's a bit about myself:

- I have an intermediate level of knowledge about PC's and their parts, but I'm absolutely terrified of building my own rig.
- I'm a web designer/developer who spends most of the day in Adobe CS4.
- I do a lot of video transcoding/converting, and am all about multitasking and speed.
- I don't game at all and don't plan on it anytime soon.
- I'm willing to spend about $2,500 to get a system that will be highly upgradeable and future-proof.

My approach thus far has been to configure some systems at high-end, custom PC makers' websites. The only two places where I've felt I've had some success at configuring what I want have been cyberpowerpc.com and pugetsystems.com (I'd love to hear recommendations on other places to configure a fairly high-end rig). People on these forums have made it clear to me that I would save as much as half off if I were to purchase all the parts I want separately and build the system from scratch. However, I don't think I could come to trust myself in attempting to do this. If someone can point out why I might want to think otherwise, I'm all ears.

Here's a list of generic parts I'm fairly certain I want in my new rig:

- Core i7 920 processor (don't think I need anything better)
- 12gig RAM (this is a must; I just have to have as much RAM as possible)
- (at least) 512mb graphics card (don't know if I should have one or two. I have two monitors now; will have 3 eventually)
- 2 x 150gig Velociraptors in RAID 0 (not sure what to do here; just need the fastest disk access possible)
- Full Tower case (or will mid do?) w/ plenty of room for a ton of storage (one of those LCD temp displays on front would be nice)
- No clue about mobo's (just know I need at least 2 eSATA ports)
- No clue about cooling/extras/etc
- Windows Vista Ultimate x64 w/ free (hopefully) upgrade to Win7 Ultimate x64

Like I said before, I think I will end up purchasing a pre-configured system from an online boutique outfit, unless I'm absolutely convinced that I could pull this off via the build approach. I welcome any thoughts to this random, aimless, babbling post of mine. Sorry for being so freaking direction-less; I'm just so confused as to what I should do here.

More about : approach

August 5, 2009 3:41:27 AM

With a budget of $2,500, you're actually right on the line between high end desktop and entry level workstation / server. Since gaming has such a low priority for you, I'd say you would feel more at home with enterprise class hardware. Server class motherboards typically have room for two CPU sockets making 8 core systems doable, but it isn't cheap. They have at least double the RAM slots, but that also takes a small fortune to get anywhere near maxing out. For storage, you can get pretty amazing performance out of 15k SCSI drives, but because of cost, you might be better sticking to consumer grade hard drives. I'd actually recommend against the velociraptors in raid 0, two WD Caviar Blacks will get you almost as good throughput at a fraction of the cost, and at least 5x more storage.

If you start to look at server/workstation stats, keep in mind that they are way more powerful than equivalently clocked consumer chips. This also means they are priced accordingly, and don't come cheap.

If you are going to go with a built to order system, you should at least check out the prices for new and refurbished servers and workstations from any of the major brands. I know a lot of people have plenty of pent up rage against Dell, HP, Lenovo, and the like, and with good reason, though don't think badly of their high end gear. This is where they make their bottom line, and go to much greater lengths to building solid hardware for their most important customers.
August 5, 2009 4:12:45 AM

I don't agree with too much of the above except not getting the velociraptors...their day has come and has long since gone. No need to build a server system if you are not going to use it as a server. The parts are overpriced and you will get lower performance overall compared to a highend desktop/workstation. If you can design web pages you can build a computer! Think of it as a fancy set of lincoln logs.
For photoshop and web design a single midgrade graphics card is all you will need. Something like my current favorite, the 4850.
You want to spend the real money on your MB and cooler so you can get that overclock. I suggest the Asus p6t, but there are some decent sub $200 boards that are good overclockers.
Also, instead of a velociraptor you should get a good SSD drive. I suggest getting one large enough for your OS, programs, and files you'll be working with. Anything stored outside of the SSD drive will lose the speed advantage.
12gb of ram @1600mhz is also the sweet spot right now.
You'll probably want a blu ray drive that can record and read, and maybe a second faster dvd rw drive.
Give me a little time and I can work up a system for you.
Related resources
August 5, 2009 4:51:42 AM

belial2k said:
I don't agree with too much of the above except not getting the velociraptors...their day has come and has long since gone. No need to build a server system if you are not going to use it as a server. The parts are overpriced and you will get lower performance overall compared to a highend desktop/workstation. If you can design web pages you can build a computer! Think of it as a fancy set of lincoln logs.
For photoshop and web design a single midgrade graphics card is all you will need. Something like my current favorite, the 4850.
You want to spend the real money on your MB and cooler so you can get that overclock. I suggest the Asus p6t, but there are some decent sub $200 boards that are good overclockers.
Also, instead of a velociraptor you should get a good SSD drive. I suggest getting one large enough for your OS, programs, and files you'll be working with. Anything stored outside of the SSD drive will lose the speed advantage.
12gb of ram @1600mhz is also the sweet spot right now.
You'll probably want a blu ray drive that can record and read, and maybe a second faster dvd rw drive.
Give me a little time and I can work up a system for you.


I would be more in line with what you are getting at if he wanted a well-rounded system that would be just as good at work as it was at play. He is looking at a computer that is more of a workhorse, and given the intended uses he has in mind, I think there's an argument for the pricier hardware. I was referring to workstation and servers in general, if you look at the hardware specs, most true workstations are built more like servers rather than high-end desktops on the inside. They usually come equipped with Xeon or Opterons, and are derrived from chipsets similar to what servers have.

I think intel and AMD have given us plenty of great options for for high-end desktops, and the i7 is hard to beat for it's performance to price. However, for a system that will have nothing at all to do with gaming and a $2,500 budget, you can get more number crunching performance from the pricier equipment. It's hard to find good benchmarks that look at the whole spectrum of processors, the best I can find on short notice is this one: http://elnexus.com/articles/Nehalem-2P-Benchmarks.aspx

It's more of a propaganda piece for the new Nehalem based Xeons (which would eat up this budget in one gulp), but it does include a range of older Xeons, some Opterons, and most importantly, the consumer core i7's. The i7's do have amazing memory performance, but if you look at the other benchmarks, there's a big gap between consumer grade and enterprise performance.

August 5, 2009 5:03:27 AM

combo deal $570
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail

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

another 6gb of memory - $100
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - $100
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD - $370
OCZ Summit OCZSSD2-1SUM120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

storage HDDsx2 - $190
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

video card - $110
XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Blu Ray Burner - $200
Pioneer Black 8X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner 8X Blu-Ray DVD Burner w/ Software Model BDR-203BKS - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

pwr supply - 120
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

dvd burner - 25
LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler and bracket - 50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.......

total about $1900
if you want to pay me $600 to build it and overclock it
$2500




August 5, 2009 5:16:09 AM

I would build my system if I were you. There are plenty of people here that can help guide you in the right direction.

Although this article specifies building a gaming rig, you can still benefit from the directions and parts needed as it pertains to new current hardware:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/dream_machine


It should give you a general idea on what to expect. Don't let the idea of building your own pc intimidate you. You will let that rob you of the experience that will allow you to enjoy your new pc more than you could imagine...
August 5, 2009 5:19:29 AM

I know what you are saying, but I would put this up against any system for the price whether you use server grade parts or not. The i7 will be blazing fast, and the SSD is one of the fastest on the market. He can move huge files around in seconds rather than minutes. I've given him lots of high grade storage, and a video card that is more than adequate for his needs. No server can compete for anywhere near the price. Besides, the multi cpu servers are made for heavy multitasking...not speed. For his needs pure speed is more important than being able to allocate 100 tasks at once.
August 5, 2009 5:51:18 AM

belial2k said:
combo deal $570
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail

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

another 6gb of memory - $100
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - $100
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD - $370
OCZ Summit OCZSSD2-1SUM120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

storage HDDsx2 - $190
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

video card - $110
XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Blu Ray Burner - $200
Pioneer Black 8X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner 8X Blu-Ray DVD Burner w/ Software Model BDR-203BKS - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

pwr supply - 120
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

dvd burner - 25
LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler and bracket - 50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.......

total about $1900
if you want to pay me $600 to build it and overclock it
$2500



Forget the server idea mentioned b4 .

This build of belial2k is very close to the money shot .
IMO the things to change are
1/ swap the gfx card for a quieter running 4770 [ or even lower spec ] since gfx power is not required for your usage . If you must have color accuracy and professional level color control then buy a fairly basic level quaddro or equivalent ATI work station card
2/ ditch the gamer case . Your computer isnt going to run hot because it wont have a high power consumption gaming gfx card . Buy a nice QUIET case that wont bug you as you work .
Antec 182

I will put it together for $100 LOL . My record for assembling a computer is 17 minutes so its decent money
August 5, 2009 5:53:50 AM

Belial has a solid build for what you want. Build it yourself, like he said "it's just a fancy set of lincoln logs" (accurate assessment) It also pays dividends in the long run with your understanding of how your system is put together and how it operates. I'd add a portable external hard drive, a card reader and a UPS (you'd still be in budget.)

^ good points by the Outlander
August 5, 2009 8:16:33 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Forget the server idea mentioned b4 .

This build of belial2k is very close to the money shot .
IMO the things to change are
1/ swap the gfx card for a quieter running 4770 [ or even lower spec ] since gfx power is not required for your usage . If you must have color accuracy and professional level color control then buy a fairly basic level quaddro or equivalent ATI work station card
2/ ditch the gamer case . Your computer isnt going to run hot because it wont have a high power consumption gaming gfx card . Buy a nice QUIET case that wont bug you as you work .
Antec 182

I will put it together for $100 LOL . My record for assembling a computer is 17 minutes so its decent money


keep in mind the substantial OC on the processor. If you want silent operation I would use a silencio case...but if that is not one of your criteria this case will keep the cpu slightly cooler.
August 5, 2009 4:39:02 PM

A few of the places I've worked at in the past were a biomechanical engineering lab, and hospital radiology department: The workstations they used in those settings always used Xeon or Opteron processors, and I'd say the performance was clearly a cut above what you found in the high end desktops at the time. For high-end desktops, there really isn't a better performing option than core i7s right now. If his budget was smaller actually, there'd be no question that core i7 is the better choice.
August 5, 2009 4:53:53 PM

"I'd say the performance was clearly a cut above what you found in the high end desktops at the time"
..."at the time" are the key words there. The i7 is far ahead of other workstation and server processors for what he'll be doing. I say "other" workstation processors because right now the i7 IS the workstation cpu of choice on high end Dell, HP, and other workstation computers. Servers and workstations are two different things that need two different solutions. The platforms optimized for servers would be very poor for what he needs to do. Maybe in the Pentium 4 days this was not the case, but we are well beyond that now.
August 5, 2009 5:53:36 PM

belial2k said:
"I'd say the performance was clearly a cut above what you found in the high end desktops at the time"
..."at the time" are the key words there. The i7 is far ahead of other workstation and server processors for what he'll be doing. I say "other" workstation processors because right now the i7 IS the workstation cpu of choice on high end Dell, HP, and other workstation computers. Servers and workstations are two different things that need two different solutions. The platforms optimized for servers would be very poor for what he needs to do. Maybe in the Pentium 4 days this was not the case, but we are well beyond that now.


I mentioned "at the time" in reference to those workstations because I wanted to compare the best available workstations back then, to the best available desktops, back then. I also agree with your statement that a Xeon from 5 years ago is no match for a modern i7, but that's not what I was getting at. Intel Xeons have gone through at least 4 generations since then, and the current Xeons will still perform better than high end desktops for raw computing power. i7 architecture is a great advancement, and that is why the next generation of Xeon processors will incorporate i7 architecture (5500-series "Nehalem-EP")

As for i7's being the workstation cpu of choice on high end Dell, HP, and others, where are you finding these core i7 workstations? I just checked the workstation product lines and they were all Xeons or Opterons.

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF25a/12454-124...

http://www.dell.com/business/desktops?~ck=mn#subcats=pr...

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/le/StdA...
August 5, 2009 6:44:34 PM

You are confusing things again. Business class components cost more for two reasons...1) they are meant to be more reliable, and 2) they come with higher levels of support from the manufacturer. Your assumption that they are "more powerful" with lower specs is just plain wrong. Yes, business class workstations use business class hardware...NOT because of performance, but because of reliability and support. Businesses cannot afford downtime, and are willing to sacrifice performance that most of their employees don't need for that extra level of "safety". That being said, you will not find many people with the needs of the OP working on such machines, because speed and performance are more important to people like that who need productivity and ease of use. Just because something cost a lot more does not always mean it performs a lot better.
August 5, 2009 7:28:35 PM

I absolutely love this forum!! Unlike other, un-mentioned sites like this, there seems to be a lot more friendly people who are obviously smart and genuinely want to help idiots like me. I really appreciate what everyone here has had to say; can't say it enough - thanks!!

It seems like the basic sentiment here is that I should not be afraid of building my own and will truly appreciate the process all the more if I do in fact build. Not to mention saving a ton of dough, or getting much more for my money. I think I've been swayed; or at least partially - to those who offered to build/overclock this system for me, were you guys just kidding around, or would that possibly be an option? Does that kind of thing happen around here regularly? I would seriously consider it if you guys were throwing your hat in the ring (obviously for pay). I would do it myself at this point, but I've got a business to run and can't afford to take the time to learn any ins-and-outs I don't already know about.

Another thing that I'm taking away from what people have said is that, while I have a budget of $2,500, I may not have to pay that much to get the parts that I need. For example, the system that belial2k put together looks perfect (thanks so much for putting that together my friend), but I think I could drop several items and still be in good shape, like the Blu-ray burner (although, I've got an HD camcorder now; maybe I should get it), the SSD, and the extra DVD burner. But then again, what he put together does pretty much exactly fit the needs I described in my first post.

I also like what Outlander_04 has to say about swapping in the quieter graphics card and case. This is actually quite important, as my current(ly dead) PC is way too loud.

Anyhow, thanks to everyone again for their input. Would love to hear more. It looks like I won't be going through an online boutique to build this puppy after all!!
August 5, 2009 7:36:07 PM

I found a pretty informative thread over at reduser.net, debating almost the same exact question, and an added benefit is these guys have nearly identical needs to what the OP was looking for.

http://reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?t=32512

These guys were also noting that there isn't a whole lot out there for benchmarks to see which is truly better at tasks such as transcoding and performance using Adobe CS4. It seems that dual quad xeons still hold an advantage over i7s. an i7 has to be overclocked to 3.5Ghz to beat them. The problem then comes down to budget since the i7 is much cheaper, and those savings can go into better components for the rest of the system.

As I see it, there's no performance sacrifice in going with Xeons, yes there is a significant higher cost, but your point on the reliability of the hardware is very valid, and I would say worth the cost if I earned my living as a web developer.

On that thread I found they had links to boutique options that are i7 or Xeon based also, so in the end either way is a viable option, and there's choices for both.
August 5, 2009 7:56:56 PM

I AM a system builder, but I was joking about charging $600 to build it. My typical build fee on a high end system is $300 which includes 1yr labor warranty. You will get all the boxes and paperwork for all the hardware so you can register it as the end user and have those nice long warranties in case something goes wrong in the future. Think about it a little and decide what you want the exact build to be, and if you want me to do it I'll send you my contact info. Another thing to consider is I would need a little lead time to get the parts, assemble the system, burn it in, and then run it through overclocking and testing.
August 5, 2009 8:00:15 PM

Th antec 182 [ or 192 ] are so quiet its hard to tell if theyre even on when you stand next to them

A quiet power supply can help here too .

have a look at the
http://www.silentpcreview.com/
website
This
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article741-page1.html
is their review of the P182

Im sure there are other excellent psu's but I am using a Corsair Hx 620. Its expensive but very very quiet and highly recommended

Since you can type an have the patience to actually read the replies you are getting you will find assembling a PC to be only a mild challenge . All it takes is a screw driver , care and the ability to read the manuals
August 5, 2009 8:08:19 PM

System builders are a good resource, if I didn't know enough about computers to handle builds myself, I'd use one. Working with someone local may be preferable, belial2k certainly knows his stuff, though if you go with a local person, you can get any possible problems you might encounter taken care of quickly at minimal cost. If you're pretty comfortable with keeping a system running, you'll probably get a better quote from guys like belial2k.
August 5, 2009 8:53:41 PM

belial2k said:
I AM a system builder, but I was joking about charging $600 to build it. My typical build fee on a high end system is $300 which includes 1yr labor warranty. You will get all the boxes and paperwork for all the hardware so you can register it as the end user and have those nice long warranties in case something goes wrong in the future. Think about it a little and decide what you want the exact build to be, and if you want me to do it I'll send you my contact info. Another thing to consider is I would need a little lead time to get the parts, assemble the system, burn it in, and then run it through overclocking and testing.


Thanks, belial2k, I'm seriously considering taking you up on that. And I would totally understand that it would take additional time as compared to a boutique to take care of everything; you're only one person. And look at that, you got a recommendation right on the same thread - thanks for the info wathman!

Thanks for the link and info, Outlander_04, I'll check it out tonight. I'll probably be taking your recommendation on both the PSU and case. The quieter the better.
August 6, 2009 3:56:26 AM

Ok gang, thanks to all thus far. I sort of switched "camps" again and went to a couple of different recommended configuration shops online; I created 2 different systems that I'd really like some feedback on as to whether or not they're acceptable for what I need, if the boutique is worthy of ordering from, whether or not anyone would change any particulars of each system setup, and any other general thoughts anyone's willing to chime in with.

The first system I config'd is easy to check out (and I'm hoping this is everyone's "preferred" method to check out specs; otherwise, I'll post them here), just go to the following url (and feel free to make any desired changes to it, then email the system specs to cxdicom(at)gmail(dot)com ):

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saving/show.asp?id=2076484

A general thought from me on this system: I know it's cyberpower, but my argument is look at everything I get for the money! I feel as though I'm getting a great deal (for a pre-configured system) for all that's included w/ this system. Maybe I'm wrong, I dunno.

The 2nd system is more of a byatch to review, as it was done at avadirect.com and they don't allow you to save configs. So I simply screet-shotted the list of specs. See them below in the two images:




Hopefully this all works as planned. You should see two images above.

Anyhow, I'd dare say that these two systems are vying to become the final system that I will purchase. I know I could save money by purchasing the parts separately and building out, but I just keep going back and forth as to whether or not I really want to do that. Plus, I sort of need this system to arrive as quickly as possible, as I'm w/o my main, POS system (that died) and surviving on my somewhat slow lappy for now.

One other thing to note: Neither of these systems reflect the above recommendations made by Outlander_04 for a case and power supply, respectively. I imagine that the final purchase will however, as I was pretty sold on the two products he recommended (for their low noise). Thanks to anyone who cares to weigh in on this quandary I'm in here (yeah, poor me).
August 6, 2009 4:08:32 AM

Can you be more specific about why these are appealing to you more at this point? It is kind of hard to give this sort of advise without knowing your thought process and preferences....but just from my point of view you are going to spend about $1000 more to build those than you could build them yourself. Also there would be a significant performance downgrade in the HDD area compared to the system I proposed...If you feel comfortable doing your own overclock you won't lose any value there, though.
August 6, 2009 4:20:57 AM

Glancing over your second config, can't really complain about any of the major parts, If I was looking for parts and these items were the at the best price points, I wouldn't hesitate on any of them. A few little nitpicks: you're getting a DVD burner and Blu-Ray combo drive? Do you really need both? If you do need both, keep it in the build. Also, what is the extra gigabit PCI NIC for? If they are building this rig with a nice motherboard, you should have 1, if not 2 gigabit NICs onboard. furthermore, I wouldn't use TRENDNET parts for anything. They are fast and cheap, but reliability is somewhat lacking. Out of the major brands for networking products, I'd go with Netgear if on a tight budget.
August 6, 2009 1:03:28 PM

belial2k said:
Can you be more specific about why these are appealing to you more at this point? It is kind of hard to give this sort of advise without knowing your thought process and preferences....but just from my point of view you are going to spend about $1000 more to build those than you could build them yourself. Also there would be a significant performance downgrade in the HDD area compared to the system I proposed...If you feel comfortable doing your own overclock you won't lose any value there, though.


belial2k, I knew someone was going to call me on this rather "strange" behavior on my part, so kudos to you for correctly questioning what the hell I'm thinking. I'm not going to deny that I keep flip-flopping on the whole build vs. buy conundrum, and the reason why I keep coming back to the whole "buy" camp is in no way a diss towards your generous offer to save me a crapload of money and build/overclock this puppy yourself and ship it to me. Basically (and y'all are going to laugh your asses off at me; I deserve it) my wife keeps looking over my shoulder every now and then and keeps saying, "what are you thinking, having someone you don't even know put your PC together, when you can spend a little bit more and get a certified system that you can have the manufacturer deal with if anything goes wrong, and comes w/ a 3-year warranty on parts and labor?". And I pretty much agree with her (I think); yeah, I pay a premium for this extra layer of comfort and security, but it's a failsafe that seems like the logical way to go. If any of you guys disagree, please let me know otherwise and I'll listen to your arguments and take them to heart.

As for why I'm basically skipping over the parts recommendations you made, belial2k, I'd like to explain myself in more detail, but I have to go meet w/ a few clients today and don't have time right now. Believe me, I may very well end up still going w/ what you recommended, but there's just a few subtleties that I want to point out and make open for debate, and I'll do so when I get home later today. Thanks to everyone for their weighing in on this thread; it's really helping me in this process, despite my seemingly changing my mind every five minutes.

August 6, 2009 1:21:26 PM

No feelings hurt here or anything, I was just wondering. I'm not on these forums to make money. I just spend some of my free time here when things are slow, and I still learn a lot here, too.
I think I can see where you want to go with some of the hardware changes, like quiet operation, but some of the others confuse me a bit and will need some explanation.
August 6, 2009 9:23:20 PM

Outlander_04 said:
Th antec 182 [ or 192 ] are so quiet its hard to tell if theyre even on when you stand next to them

A quiet power supply can help here too .

have a look at the
http://www.silentpcreview.com/
website
This
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article741-page1.html
is their review of the P182

Im sure there are other excellent psu's but I am using a Corsair Hx 620. Its expensive but very very quiet and highly recommended

Since you can type an have the patience to actually read the replies you are getting you will find assembling a PC to be only a mild challenge . All it takes is a screw driver , care and the ability to read the manuals


Hey Outlander_04, I've been checking out the Antec 182 and 192 and want to go with the 182 (not crazy about the dual-PSU setup in the 192). The question I have for you is whether you'd go with the 182se (the one w/ the mirror finish on the outside) or just the 182.

I also noticed that the Corsair HX 620 PSU has gotten some very good reviews. Question is, will it be enough juice for the system(s) I've proposed building? I realize it's only 30 watts difference from the PSU's most everyone has been recommending to me (650 watts), but am I better off going w/ a 750 watter or will 620 be just fine, even when my case is totally filled out w/ HDD's and everyone other expansion you can think of? Interested to hear your or anyone else's thoughts.
August 6, 2009 9:46:53 PM

Ok belial2k, I'm home from work and diving head-first into all of this. As for what you mentioned before, I'd like to give you an idea of what my reasoning is when thinking about going w/ the CyberPower pre-configured PC that I set up.

Basically, and for some odd reason, I feel like I'm getting quite a bit more for my dollar than w/ any other system builder I've ran a config through thus far (and I've done a TON of them in the last 2 weeks). In addition to getting everything I've thus far wanted as a base for my system (Core i7 920, Asus P6T Deluxe mobo, 12gb RAM, Vista Ultimate w/ free upgrade to Win7), I also feel like I'm getting a good deal with the inclusion of the following:

- 4 x 500gb SATAII 16mb (admittedly, cache should be 32mb) HDD in RAID 0+1
- 1.5 TB SATAII 32mb 7,200rpm HDD for storage
- free upgrade to Kingston HyperX RAM
- Pioneer 8x Blu-ray disc rewriter
- OPTI-UPS ES1000C 1000VA/700W UPS
- 3 year warranty

For some reason, I feel like all of this is a good deal for $2500...or should I say "felt". You see, I'm flip-flopping back to your "build" camp again...argghhhh, this is driving me nuts! You know what? Never mind my stupid reasoning. You've already shown me that I could get this built for much less if I get all the parts separately and have an expert build/overclock it for me. You're probably thinking I'm either bi-polar or schizophrenic by now (no offense to anyone w/ those disorders; I'm not making light of them). Ok, reset, take a breath, compose....Ok, you know what? I'm going to take you up on your previous offer (that is, if it still stands). Be damned, extended warranty; they're over-rated anyway, right? :-D

PM me when you get a chance and we'll get the ball rolling. Sound good?
August 7, 2009 1:35:43 AM

just a few additional pointers on those last extras you mentioned. Hopefully it will let you come to a final decision and get your system closer to a reality. Those 4x 500gb SATA drives sound like Hitachi Deskstars. It's an adequate, reliable drive though newer models have bested it. Hitachi hasn't announced anything better than these yet though, and they are falling behind WD and Seagate.

The 1.5TB SATAII is probably one of the infamous 7200.11 Baracudas. Supposedly the firmware issue is "fixed," but I still wouldn't want to touch one with a 10 foot pole. the 7200.12s are supposed to be reliable, but I'd wait to see if they live up to the performance and reliability they claim.

Not familiar with OPTI-UPS for power protection, I've always used APC and never been disappointed. If you have a Sam's Club or Costco membership, or know someone who does, they usually carry an APC UPS that's pretty good for an upper end consumer model. When I bought my last one, it was $50 cheaper at Sam's than anywhere else I looked, and I didn't have to worry about shipping. UPS units weigh a ton and can get costly to ship if you don't find a free shipping online deal.
August 7, 2009 3:01:08 AM

wathman said:
just a few additional pointers on those last extras you mentioned. Hopefully it will let you come to a final decision and get your system closer to a reality. Those 4x 500gb SATA drives sound like Hitachi Deskstars. It's an adequate, reliable drive though newer models have bested it. Hitachi hasn't announced anything better than these yet though, and they are falling behind WD and Seagate.

The 1.5TB SATAII is probably one of the infamous 7200.11 Baracudas. Supposedly the firmware issue is "fixed," but I still wouldn't want to touch one with a 10 foot pole. the 7200.12s are supposed to be reliable, but I'd wait to see if they live up to the performance and reliability they claim.

Not familiar with OPTI-UPS for power protection, I've always used APC and never been disappointed. If you have a Sam's Club or Costco membership, or know someone who does, they usually carry an APC UPS that's pretty good for an upper end consumer model. When I bought my last one, it was $50 cheaper at Sam's than anywhere else I looked, and I didn't have to worry about shipping. UPS units weigh a ton and can get costly to ship if you don't find a free shipping online deal.


Thanks for pointing out those details, wathman; that totally breaks the deal for me. Now way am I going w/ Hitachis, and I've already been burned by those infamous Seagate drives (on two occasions!!), so to hell with that.

I've decided to take a "chance" (no offense, belial2k) and have someone build and overclock a system for me from discounted, separate parts that have come recommended on the threads I've started on these forums thus far; that is, if the person I'm hoping will do it is interested in tackling the project. I tend to be a very optimistic person who trusts people inherently, and I've run into nothing but seemingly honest, intelligent and truly helpful people on these forums in my short experience. I think it will be a good choice, and I think I'll be glad in the end, what with the money I'll save vs. going w/ an online boutique outfit.

Again, thanks for your two cents; it helped cement my decision.

August 7, 2009 3:36:23 AM

The HX 620 is easily enough to power a quad core system and powerful gaming card .

A quadcore system without a gaming card will not stress it at all

and then theres the idiot factor . These guys
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/371/9
loaded an HX 620 to 750 Watts and it still ran fine
August 7, 2009 3:42:07 AM

Outlander_04 said:
The HX 620 is easily enough to power a quad core system and powerful gaming card .

A quadcore system without a gaming card will not stress it at all


Terrific! That's probably the way I'll end up going then. Thanks a lot for helping me out.

Oh yeah, what about my first question regarding the Antec case? (maybe you missed it) Any thoughts?
August 7, 2009 3:54:29 AM

The case color wont make a difference except I think the shiny one will look more like fingerprints after a week than anything else
August 7, 2009 12:44:44 PM

This won't really impact your build I think, but I wanted to update my statement regarding Hitachi drives. Turns out there was a very recent announcement I missed and just saw it this morning. Hitachi is releasing the Deskstar 7K2000 that is the world's first 7200RPM 2TB 32MB cache drive. currently WD, and possibly Seagate as well, have lower RPM 2TB drives. Didn't get a whole lot of info from the article other than they should be available very soon.

I still think that 1TB drives are a better option because you get more gigabytes per dollar, and I don't think this drive will change this. They might have a 1TB version, though I can't confirm it. Either way, I wouldn't jump on the new Hitachis until some more details on the new drives come out, so WD drives are still the safe bet.
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