Advice - new video editing/multitaksing desktop

Hi all,

New poster, but long-time lurker here. I am planning on building a new custom computer. Have watned to do this for years, finally at the point where I can justify it.

I've been reading a lot but, honestly, the more I read the more confused I get. I've read a number of the threads here in regards to systems people are proposing. While helpful, they don't always get to what I'm looking for in particular. So I'm throwing myself on the mercy of you all in the hopes that there is some good advice to be doled out.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next 2-3 weeks APPROX BUDGET RANGE: US$750-1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Efficient multitasking, video editing, video importation, playing Flight Sim X, "future proof" system for growth

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, tower case

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: expreience with newegg.com and tigerdirect.com, but open to the best prices.

PARTS PREFERENCES: open to suggestions

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe? I think it's overkill for me at this point.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600x1200 on 24" monitor right now, probably will switch to dual monitor setup w/in 1 year

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I run windows XP pro at this point, probably would upgrade to W7 at some point in the next year or so. I often will multitask and notice a significant slowdown with activities on my current computer (laptop, intel core 2 2Ghz, 2gb ram). In addition, I'm about to undertake a large project to digitize over a hundred hours worth of video and eventually produce a set of DVDs. So I'll have a large amount of video editing and DVD production in the near future. I only ocacsionally play games, most commonly FSX but I'm by no means a big-time gamer. My other goal is to "future proof" the system ... leave room to upgrade down the road rather than replace .... Cost is an issue but not the paramount concern.

Specific questions -

Processor: having a real hard time deciding between i7 and a core 2 duo (E8600) or similar. Also have thought about AMD as a cost-savings. Open to thoughts/ideas from those with experience. I know lots is personal preference ....

Motherboard: tied to processor, obviously.

Memory: Planning at least 6gb, maybe 8 depending on cost. Thoughts?

Graphics: Probably the area I'm least familiar with. I run a 24" samsung external at 1600 x 1200 off of my laptop and like it, but probably would want to go to a dual-monitor setup within a year. I think SLI etc. would be big-time overkill for me, but is it worthwhile to get a compatible card to leave that open as an option down the road?

Other things (HDD, power supply, peripherals) I think I have a handle on, but these fundamental things are holding me up from moving this along .....

Appreciate any thoughts or comments ...

-TN
33 answers Last reply
More about advice video editing multitaksing desktop
  1. Right now it's pretty safe to say that core 2 duos and quads are a very bad idea to go with on a new system, I think most people on here will agree on this. Core i7 and even waiting a couple weeks for Core i5 is a better option. As you pointed out, going with AMD is a better price/performance option right now. Core i7s you can price right under $1000, but you won't get much more beside the essentials at that price. i5s should be more wallet friendly, but are aiming for mainstream performance, and maintaining i7 as the top tier.

    If you go with 6 to 8 GB of memory, seriously consider upgrading to Vista/Win7 right away. Unless you have 64 bit XP (which probably isn't likely) you're just throwing usable memory away until you upgrade.

    I'm not up to the latest on current GFX cards and prices, but I've seen a good number of people pricing in GTX 275s in builds similar to yours.
  2. wathman said:
    Right now it's pretty safe to say that core 2 duos and quads are a very bad idea to go with on a new system, I think most people on here will agree on this. Core i7 and even waiting a couple weeks for Core i5 is a better option. As you pointed out, going with AMD is a better price/performance option right now. Core i7s you can price right under $1000, but you won't get much more beside the essentials at that price. i5s should be more wallet friendly, but are aiming for mainstream performance, and maintaining i7 as the top tier.

    If you go with 6 to 8 GB of memory, seriously consider upgrading to Vista/Win7 right away. Unless you have 64 bit XP (which probably isn't likely) you're just throwing usable memory away until you upgrade.

    I'm not up to the latest on current GFX cards and prices, but I've seen a good number of people pricing in GTX 275s in builds similar to yours.


    Thanks for your input wathman.

    I'll look at the i5s - I saw something earlier about leaked information regarding pricing points, etc. I agree with you - when I priced out the i7 it was at about the top of what I wanted to spend and without some of the extras.

    I am aware of the limitations you cite regarding Vista/Win 7. That's a good point, something to probably consider right away. I have Win 7 RC ready to go but I know it will expire in a few weeks here ...

    What do you like about the GTX 275? Looks very nice, but is a bit pricey. Would it be overkill for what I want to do?
  3. ttlnewbie said:
    Thanks for your input wathman.


    What do you like about the GTX 275? Looks very nice, but is a bit pricey. Would it be overkill for what I want to do?


    If you have the Win 7 RC, it shouldn't expire until sometime next year. It was the Win 7 Beta distributions that had the short life span, and should be no longer used now.

    As for the GTX 275, I'm mostly basing it off a simple pricing formula for building a balanced system that will perform well with gaming. I always try to spend as much on the GPU as I do on the CPU, so the GTX 275 is a fair match for the i7 920 right now. For your specific needs, yeah it's probably a more than you'll use, but since you also mentioned "futureproofing" balancing the system components helps do that.

    Since budget is a primary concern also, you should do fine with a GTX 260, the card classed right below it, and still be staying fairly current in terms of graphics technology. You could also go with ATI based cards that tend to have a higher performance per dollar ratio. a 4870 or 4890 would be more budget oriented choices.
  4. Your Win 7 RC will expire on the first of June next year.

    I have an i7 OC'ed to 3.7 and fsx still slows it down if you run everything on high. But fsx is mostly cpu limited. If you are decoding/encoding mostly I would stick with the i7 over the c2d or amd's.

    What I did was go with a single 4870 and cf them later if I need it. Mind you my monitor is only 1280x1024 so any extra muscle for me would be wasted. A single 4870 is down to $150 these days for the 1gb edition.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150394

    Also, if you do go with the i7, it would be sort of a waste of money to go with 8gb since you'll want to run DDR3 anyways. 6gb is more than enough for most apps right now and the OCZ platinum seems to be the popular choice for performance/$.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227381

    Good luck!
  5. Thanks wathman and zach for the info.

    Wathman - DIdn't know that about the Win 7 RC. I do have it, obviously haven't installed it on anything. Should be interesting to go that route. Read up a bit on the i5s. Seems they should be here in a month or so, not sure if I have the patience to wait that long. :-) The core i7 920 looks to be a decent price point and from a little bit I read it seems amenable to overclocking, which I have no experience with but I am open to looking into.

    Looked at the GTXs as you suggested. I'll look more into the 260 as well. As I said, this machine won't be primarily playing games (just occasional flight sim to practice instrument skills - I'm a pilot); but unfortunately everything I read says that FSX is one of the most intense graphics/CPU games around. SO I'd like to have that capability, with the option to improve it down the road should I go that route.

    Zach - thanks also for your benchmark about FSX. As I said, I'd love to run it well but it's not a make-or-break. I am curious about your second point - why do you favor i7 over c2d/amd quad-core for encoding/decoding? That will be the high-intensity job for the computer and I'd like it to handle that effectively. AMD has some packages that do bring the price down quite a bit - and I was keeping them in the back of my mind. Bad idea?

    Also appreciate the advice on the DDR3. Another newbie question though - why would 8gb be wasted with DDR3? Am I missing something obvious about DDR3 that I don't know? I was always of the mindset "more is better" with memory.

    Your links were great alos, thank you ...

    Would you guys be willing to comment as I put a "package" together over the coming week or so?
  6. i7 controls ram in a triple mode so your ram mus devide evenly into 3 but like 6,12,24 any thing inbetween that is jus robbing performance
  7. ttlnewbie said:
    Thanks wathman and zach for the info.

    Wathman - DIdn't know that about the Win 7 RC. I do have it, obviously haven't installed it on anything. Should be interesting to go that route. Read up a bit on the i5s. Seems they should be here in a month or so, not sure if I have the patience to wait that long. :-) The core i7 920 looks to be a decent price point and from a little bit I read it seems amenable to overclocking, which I have no experience with but I am open to looking into.

    Looked at the GTXs as you suggested. I'll look more into the 260 as well. As I said, this machine won't be primarily playing games (just occasional flight sim to practice instrument skills - I'm a pilot); but unfortunately everything I read says that FSX is one of the most intense graphics/CPU games around. SO I'd like to have that capability, with the option to improve it down the road should I go that route.

    Zach - thanks also for your benchmark about FSX. As I said, I'd love to run it well but it's not a make-or-break. I am curious about your second point - why do you favor i7 over c2d/amd quad-core for encoding/decoding? That will be the high-intensity job for the computer and I'd like it to handle that effectively. AMD has some packages that do bring the price down quite a bit - and I was keeping them in the back of my mind. Bad idea?

    Also appreciate the advice on the DDR3. Another newbie question though - why would 8gb be wasted with DDR3? Am I missing something obvious about DDR3 that I don't know? I was always of the mindset "more is better" with memory.

    Your links were great alos, thank you ...

    Would you guys be willing to comment as I put a "package" together over the coming week or so?



    Yeah, I think for your budget, an i7 rig would be possible, since you mentioned that you would most likely not be playing a lot of games, and the savings from the gpu can be used elsewhere. I have no personal experience with FSX, but if it is mostly cpu limited, an i7 would still be decent since theres plenty of overclocking headroom, in which case a 260 should still be sufficient.

    i7 is favored over the core 2 line because they are at the end of their life cycle. Support for core 2's will slowly taper off, while the AMD and i7 chips listed are still very new.

    Regarding the DDR3 thing that was mentioned. core i7 mother boards use triple channel ram instead of dual chanel, so 2+2+2 would make 2 gigs. while if you stayed with the AMD, it supports dual channel, 2+2 +2+2, and various combinations of such.

    Honestly, from what it sounds like you want to do, an i7 build is exactly what you are looking for.
  8. AMD quad cores from the Phenom II line up are a great option, especially for budget minded people. Core i7s are just simply a faster platform, and have the premium price to show it. Also, i7's performance isn't leaps and bounds ahead of Phenom II, the performance you get per dollar is better with AMD. As for not going with intel's older core 2's, it's just that there will be no new processors for the LGA 775 socket, and you'll be committing yourself to an upgrade dead-end.

    As obsidian said, i7's are optimized for running RAM modules in triple channel, so you get optimal performance with multiples of 3 GB. This does not apply to AMD platforms as they still use dual channel memory.
  9. wathman, jonsy, obsidian. Thanks a lot. You guys are great - this is all really helpful.

    I apprecaite the patience and advice; I've been out of this game for some time thanks to the day job, and a lot of it is new to me, getting back into it.

    I've been reading around, looking at other various threads and such. I understand the dual-core argument and I think I've resolved myself to going quad core. Read quite a bit on a long thread debating(arguing) the i7 vs. AMD phenom ii. I have priced out some options ... the AMD does come out better at the bottom line. I agree it probably has the best price/performance ratio. THe i7 seems to outperform the AMD on the benchmarks that would be most important to me: video encoding/decoding in particular. The question is - and everyone answers this differently - how much of a premium would one be willing to pay for that incremental boost?

    To that end, I agree that the i5 probably does have merit. I wouldn't be oppose to waiting. But based on the "expectations" (still no benchmarks that I have seen - is that correct?) we'd be looking at a $200 price point, versus a $250 price for the i7 920. Not sure if that would be worth waiting a few more weeks or not.

    I'll look a bit more closely at the AMD. Perhaps, as has been suggested, going a little cheaper in the processor allows you to get something better somewhere else.

    Couple quick questions:

    -Does going with the i7 and the requisite motherboard chipset "lock" me out of future upgrades? I have read a bit and I Know the i5/i3 will be on a newer architecture. Is is smarter to wait on the i5 - even at only $50 less upfront - in the idea of being able to plug in a newer chip down the line?

    -I notice the i5 will not have HT. Based on my reading, HT essentially allows the core to split itself so essentially with an i7 it may be able to function (Application specific) as an 8 core system. Is that a correct interpretation? What kind of daily activities would be made better with HT?

    Thanks again guys ...

    -tn
  10. the new i5 and i7 processors coming out for the LGA 1156 socket are going to be mainstream offerings. From what I've been finding, there is no indication that this means the LGA 1366 socket current i7 processors use will be retired anytime soon. Hopefully someone can confirm this, but I think intel will be releasing i7's for both LGA 1156 and LGA 1366 in the future. LGA 1366 has only been around for a couple years. Unless intel wants to alienate loyal early adopters, enthusiasts, and high performance users, they better plan on making more improvements and better processors for X58 boards.

    Your comment about HT is essentially correct, as long as the application in question is optimized for multithreading, 8 cores is always better than 4, even if 4 of those cores are only virtual. Complex calculations, video encoding and decoding should be examples of software that benefits.
  11. the i3(i3 will be like i5 a bit slower an no HT) an i5(estimates put the i5 at 15%-20% under the i7 920) will get a new socket but based on current speculation you wont find better then the i7 1366 boards till we at 22nm wich is bout 4-5 yrs an there is an even more powerful i9 hexa core coming soon that fits into the 1366 i7 board all i7's have HT ,Ht hasn been fully utilised by software yet but microsoft has announced it will make optimised software for HT on win7 platform
  12. For at least this next few generations, the 1366 socket will still be the performance socket for intel, so you don't have to worry about being locked out of upgrades, and even better, if you have money to burn the i9s should be landing sometime next year.

    And regarding waiting for the i5, right now there are speculations, but they are just that, speculation, who knows what might happen with the cores, they could be wildly successful, or an abysmal failure, but regardless of that, the i7 will continue to be the performance chip of intel. It is definitely your choice to wait or not.

    Also about the price difference, you must also consider the cost of an i7 system as a whole, versus the whole cost of a phenom II system, as ddr3 ram + i7 mobos can cost a considerable amount more than a comparably equipped phenom. With that said though, from the tasks that you have mentioned, I would still suggest looking into the i7, and look for some deals and whatnot.
  13. The i5's will definitely be a good processor too, but not quite the performance of the i7. Another feature they will lack(according to what I've read) is DDR3 support, so in that case you would want to go with 8gigs of ram:)

    If encoding is your main objective though, there's no beating the i7 as far as performance. Like some say about the AMD's, you can save money on the CPU and spend it on a better GPU, but since gaming is not your main objective, I'd say that argument is moot.

    Whenever you get one together, post up a list and we'll look it over and see if you got the best bang for your buck!! Good luck!!
  14. zach538467 said:
    The i5's will definitely be a good processor too, but not quite the performance of the i7. Another feature they will lack(according to what I've read) is DDR3 support, so in that case you would want to go with 8gigs of ram:)


    All i5's will support DDR3, just not the triple channel variety.
  15. zach538467 said:
    Another feature they will lack(according to what I've read) is DDR3 support

    The new Intel chips WILL support DDR3 RAM, they just use a dual channel RAM controller instead of the triple channel controllers on the i7 chips. No new chips will use DDR2 RAM. It will be slowly phased out.

    Edit: jbakerlent beat me to it.
  16. Hey All,

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to the questions. I have definitely learned a ton in preparing this and am pretty excited about the prospects of actually building this thing ...

    This is my rough list as it stands right now ... very much open to comments and suggestions .... questions as noted ..

    Processor: Intel i7 920 BX80601920

    MB: ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Mobol
    -Saw this board on another member's build on the board. It seemed to have a lot of the features I would want/need as well as a good deal of expansion space. I am open to other suggestions if people have ideas for other MoBos with a better price/performance value ...

    RAM: Corsair XMS3 Tri Channel 6GB DDR3 1333

    Power Supply: No selection yet. Open to suggestions on what I would need. I do not plan on adding Xfire or SLI at this point. I think the odds of me going to that setup are low, so I am okay with buying a small power supply unless someone has strong ideas otherwise.

    Video Card: XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Other cards that looked like they may work for me: . Gigabyte GV-N26OC-896H GeFore GTX 260 SLI ready or MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv4 SLI.
    -Thoughts on Xfire vs. SLI? I know one tend to be better for some games and vice versa. One of them better for FSX?
    -Suggestions on other cards? Thse

    DVD/RW Drive: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe

    HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA
    -May purchase 2. Likely will need it for the amount of video importing I will be doing.

    Any & all suggestions appreciated ...

    -tn
  17. That RAM has pretty high latencies, if you can afford it try to one with lower latencies. Other than that looks great! For a cheap good quality PSU consider OCZ:
    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

    At your resolution Crossfire isn't necessary.

    If you need more space check out some terabyte drives:
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152102&Tpk=samsung%20spinpoint%201TB
  18. Rumor has it that ATI will have new cards out by mid-September, so waiting a bit to see how that changes the Gfx market is not a bad idea. You can decide if you want the extra performance of the newer cards, or get a better deal with price cuts on current cards.
  19. jbakerlent said:
    That RAM has pretty high latencies, if you can afford it try to one with lower latencies. Other than that looks great! For a cheap good quality PSU consider OCZ:
    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

    At your resolution Crossfire isn't necessary.

    If you need more space check out some terabyte drives:
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152102&Tpk=samsung%20spinpoint%201TB


    Thanks for the input jbaker.

    Patriot DDR2 3 x 2 gbIs this the kind of memory you'd suggest? CAS latency is noted as a 7 on this memory vs. 9 on my first suggestion. I can't say I fully understand the notation (despite Google searching) they use (i.e. 6-6-6-24) but I get the cas speed. Is it worth looking at RAM with a higher clock speed? Most of the reviews I looked at seemed to say the performance gain was small. Is it useful if I were to overclock the i7?

    The PSU looks good. Is OCZ one of the names that people toss around here as being "good" in terms of efficiency and voltage stabilization?

    Also, as far as crossfire, at what resolution does it become an issue? Would going to a dual monitor setup at a similar resolution (I currently have a 24" at 1900x1200 which I love, however, I may convert to 2 smaller screens as I find that easier ot work with for job-related tasks...) Any thoughts on that?

    Any experience with that HDD? Looks like a great deal but I've heard much good stuff about the speed/reliability of the WD black series.

    Wathman - thanks for the info. My only issue is that part of the impetus of this purchase is that I need a computer for a large video import/editing project that is mildly time sensetive. Do you think the upcoming changes from ATI would make it worthwhile to invest in a cheap video card until I see what the new offerings look like? THere's always ebay for the old card, I suppose .. :-) Also, any comments on the rest of the package?
  20. well for time sensitive aspect, you should probably buy now. Already I think we're seeing Gfx card prices fall since people are starting to hold off their planned Gfx card purchases. Retailers would rather off load as many as they can now with smaller price drops. I don't think the performance gain is going to be huge, but can't really confirm this since there isn't any benchmark info yet.
  21. That RAM is ok but you can get some with the same latency at 1333 Mhz or 1600 Mhz so I would get one of those instead. For your crossfire question, in your first post you listed the resolution as 1600, but at 1900 instead of crossfire I would recommend considering the 4890. Or you could just stick with the single 4870 which would be perfectly adequate and upgrade to a 5870 when they're released. As for the HDD, the spinpoints are great drives, but if you prefer WD they also make a Black 1 tb for a little more.
  22. jbakerlent said:
    That RAM is ok but you can get some with the same latency at 1333 Mhz or 1600 Mhz so I would get one of those instead. For your crossfire question, in your first post you listed the resolution as 1600, but at 1900 instead of crossfire I would recommend considering the 4890. Or you could just stick with the single 4870 which would be perfectly adequate and upgrade to a 5870 when they're released. As for the HDD, the spinpoints are great drives, but if you prefer WD they also make a Black 1 tb for a little more.


    Jbaker - can you explain what the clock speed on the RAM means? I get the latency measurement, but what is the difference in performance. The review I read from late 2008 showed only a very small difference in "outcome" with the different speeds. I don't know what the price of the higher speed memory would be, but it does raise a question in my mind of speed improvement vs. cost. Thoughts? Any brands you'd suggest?

    Also, yes - my bad. My 24" monitor I run at 1920 x 1200. I'd like to not make the resolution worse. Thoughts on the impact of a 2nd monitor? I'll look at the 4890 vs. the 4870

    Will look at the WD

    Wathman - thank you once again.
  23. For getting a second monitor, I don't think there will be noticeable performance drops unless you try to do multiple graphically intensive tasks on both screens. If you were to run Flight simulator in windowed mode on one screen, and do video editing on the other at the same time, it might need extra graphics muscle. For just typical stuff like opening a spread sheet on one monitor, with web browser on the other, you won't run into any graphical issues. I run 2 24" Dell monitors off an old 8800GTX and it does fine for daily tasks.
  24. Definitely try to get the higher speed it will be faster if the CL is the same. The problem is above 1600 Mhz the latency increases so much that it negates the clock increase ocz, corsair, patriot, g skill, are all good.
  25. wathman said:
    For getting a second monitor, I don't think there will be noticeable performance drops unless you try to do multiple graphically intensive tasks on both screens. If you were to run Flight simulator in windowed mode on one screen, and do video editing on the other at the same time, it might need extra graphics muscle. For just typical stuff like opening a spread sheet on one monitor, with web browser on the other, you won't run into any graphical issues. I run 2 24" Dell monitors off an old 8800GTX and it does fine for daily tasks.


    I've been told (but have never experienced) that FSX has a dual-screen mode. Any experience with FSX across dual screens? Something tells me that would be pretty intensive and may or may not work ....

    This is not a deal-breaker, however ... just wondering what the capability may be ...
  26. very few games support dual-screen modes so I can't back this up with numbers, but I would think that in this case you would get better performance. I'd also take note of how much GPU RAM is on the cards you select if you want to try dual screens on FSX.
  27. hey wathman - any comments on the MB? -tn
  28. For your needs, it should work fine. AsRock has always made solid boards for overclockers who like to do a lot of manual tweaking. Most of the criticism I've seen against them are inexperienced people who try to overclock. I've never used them before, so I can't say for sure how difficult the BIOS is. The way the PCI Express lanes are divided up, you should get optimal performance for SLI/Crossfire. since the 3rd slot is only 4x PCIe, I only see that 3-way SLI would suffer slightly if you tried to do that, but I've never played with more than 2 Gfx cards at once so can't say for sure.
  29. wathman said:
    For your needs, it should work fine. AsRock has always made solid boards for overclockers who like to do a lot of manual tweaking. Most of the criticism I've seen against them are inexperienced people who try to overclock. I've never used them before, so I can't say for sure how difficult the BIOS is. The way the PCI Express lanes are divided up, you should get optimal performance for SLI/Crossfire. since the 3rd slot is only 4x PCIe, I only see that 3-way SLI would suffer slightly if you tried to do that, but I've never played with more than 2 Gfx cards at once so can't say for sure.


    I really don't see myself having any issues with the 3rd slot, though I might be interested in some overclocking. Is there a better board that might be easier for someone with less experience doing that?

    I read something about someone "frying" their system and blaming it on the board ... made me think again about that today.
  30. part of what makes it a good overclocking board is that it allows you to push limits on voltage and frequency rather easily. Cheaper boards tend to make those type of manipulations difficult to do, or put limits on how much you can change the values. More and more "enthusiast" boards come with overclocking tools that will make it easier to overclock, but these aren't perfect. Right now I'd say the best choices are the Asus P6T, the mid-range EVGA, or Gigabyte boards.
  31. wathman said:
    part of what makes it a good overclocking board is that it allows you to push limits on voltage and frequency rather easily. Cheaper boards tend to make those type of manipulations difficult to do, or put limits on how much you can change the values. More and more "enthusiast" boards come with overclocking tools that will make it easier to overclock, but these aren't perfect. Right now I'd say the best choices are the Asus P6T, the mid-range EVGA, or Gigabyte boards.


    THanks wathman. I've seen a lot of people recommending the gigabyte boards. I'll look at those along with the other two you suggested.
  32. Hi All,

    So I'm back after doing a bit of research, taking all the comments into account here, etc. I have a more definite (though still somewhat open for suggestions) plan in mind now, looking for feedback:

    Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem

    MB: Asus P6T SE LGA versus AsRock X58 Extreme LGA. Both of these boards look quite good. The AsRock is about $40 cheaper. Wathamn noted that Asus may be easier to overclock than the AsRock board and may have more "newbie" friendly features. I'm open to thoughts on this one, or suggestions for another board in that general price range I may not have considered.

    Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream 600W

    Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB

    Memory: Patriot 6GB DDR3 1333. Upgraded at suggestion of this forum. Open to thoughts.

    Graphics Card: Leaning to this one: Gigabyte GV-N260C-896H 896mb DDR3 HDCP Ready SLI ready. Also looked at this slightly more expensive board from EVGA: EVGA 896 GeForece GTX 260 896gb DDR3 SLI ready. There's only about a $10 difference between these two - Anyone have suggestions between these two or another board that would work?

    DVD Burner: Samsung Back DVD Burner with Lightscribe

    Questions:

    -motherboard choice?
    -Is there a benefit to adding a smaller, second hard drive? My thought would be have the OS/programs installed to one drive, and the other drive to be for data (i.e. lots of videos. Would doing this help with the speed of the system?
    -RAM Choice
    -Graphics card choice - between those two? any others?
    -Other items to buy? I've heard that arctic silver 5 thermal compound would be good. Any major tools I would need?

    I'm about ready to order but really would appreciate any last minute input.

    Thanks!

    ttlnewbie
  33. seems you have the basics covered. Most of your remaining questions come down to just brand preferences. When looking at graphics cards, they are all very similar unless you buy OC editions with a hefty factory overclock. Otherwise they only vary by manufacture quality, most notably the cooling system. Best advice is don't buy the most expensive, and don't go too cheap either. Major brands like Gigabyte and EVGA are both safe bets.

    For the 2 HD question, if you buy a significantly faster small drive, along the lines of an SSD, then yes, you will see a clear benefit. If you go with two mechanical drives, the performance gain isn't so significant. In the past, I've moved the windows virtual memory to a secondary drive for a small performance gain, but this tweak doesn't work miracles. Your fastest option would be to buy a matched pair of drives and build a RAID 0 array, but this will make your data a bit more vulnerable, since 1 bad drive means all your data becomes unreadable.

    Also, be aware that with the OCZ power supply, you are pretty much committing to a single graphics card build. You'll need 4 PCI-e connectors to do 2 cards, but I don't think that PSU has more than 2 since the wattage is 600. Most PSU's don't have 4 connectors until they hit the 700-750 range. Otherwise, it's a fine PSU for 1 graphics card.

    Only tool you'll need is a #1 Phillips screwdriver. I've found a flashlight to be helpful at times since even with good overhead lighting, some nooks are hard to see inside the case. A flashlight can bring in lighting at an angle.
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