New Business System i7 Build

First- thanks ahead of time for your help. This a fantastic community- and the first place I always go to for technical information/ direction.

I have decided to build a couple of identical desktop pc’s for my small business. In the past we would usually upgrade every few years with machines from Dell, etc.- but, I am looking to build new machines this time around.

System Usage will be for daily work operations- running MS Office Apps--- especially large Excel spreadsheets, Word, Outlook, etc. We deal with some large, complex spreadsheets (300k+ line item models)/ databases/ linked files/ graphical word documents/ many open windows at times- and would like some machines that aren’t too over the top (I realize we’re not doing any scientific / graphic modeling), but have decent horsepower, fast booting, don’t hiccup w/ multiple windows open, etc.

We will also want each machine to drive two monitors – likely Dell 24” LCD’s – without choking and also be able to watch tv video (probably via an HD card). No plans to play video games- but, want a decent video card that will drive high resolutions and support the two monitors. I’m also assuming that we will go ahead and run with Windows 7. Also, if I can choose hardware that is compatible with Mac OS- I would like to setup one of the machine as dual boot OS at some point.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Looking to make the purchase in the next 1-2 weeks – coinciding with Windows 7 release in late October.

BUDGET RANGE: $1,200 - $1,500 (monitors excluded). I’m looking for good quality/ performance/ value that we can use for 3+ years. (my current machine is a P4- from 2006 – that still works decent on general, everyday operations, but chokes on large excel files). Build below may/ may not have a couple of areas where the price can be optimized.


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers.


OVERCLOCKING: Maybe – If there’s a large performance increase to be gained easily. We’re not playing games, however, I want to make sure there aren’t any issues that I would have to deal with- as one of the machines will be off-site. Right now, I’m guessing stock cooler will be o.k.

STORAGE: I am thinking of going with a smaller SSD drive for the OS/ Applications- and a 1TB drive for primary storage drive. I plan to set up our current machines on wireless/ home office networks to use as backup machines. Not sure I need to do any fancy Raid setup- but, a weekly backup of data to the network drive (I understand this may have an impact on the version of Windows 7 I need?).

DVD: Not worried about Blu-Ray, but will want to put in dual dve readers/ writers for backing up discs, etc.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: D/K – not sure if this is necessary.
OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Ability to drive two Dell 24” LCD monitors, Quiet/ Cool Operation for office environment.

Working Build: Total Price Below = $1,627

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - $279.99

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1PK DSP OEI DVD English - $175

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - $279

Case: LIAN LI PC-61 USB Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case- $90

Power Supply: Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE - $130

Memory: OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - $130

Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - $95

SSD Drive: Kingston SSDNow M Series SNM125-S2/80GB 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) $265

CD/DVD drive : LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X
DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner $32

Graphics Card: Still looking- but assuming I can find something in the $150 range.

TV Tuner: Have an old SD tuner- but, would like a rec on an HDTV tuner capable of grabbing Qam channels. $100
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  1. This looks like a great build, for a gamer, but not too sure if it's exactly what you're looking for. First off I'd suggest saving some money on the CPU. Since you're not doing anything too CPU intensive, try going with the Intel i5.

    By changing the CPU, the mobo will also have to be changed to something with a LGA 1156 socket like this GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3L.

    The PSU also looks like it's a bit overkill for what you're looking for. Since you won't be doing any SLI/Crossfire and not much OC, I would suggest looking for one in the 500/550W range, something like this Corsair.

    For a video card, I'd suggest possibly a Radeon HD 4850 or maybe an HD 4770.

    As for the hard drives, I think it might be best to stay away from the SSD's as they're quite expensive at this time. You might be better just sticking with one Samsung F3 for now and upgrading to SSD when the price is right.
  2. For these needs, you can build something for much less;

    Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail ($109.99 + Free Shipping)

    Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail ($199.99)

    GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3R LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ($139.99 + Free Shipping)

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail ($94.99 + Free Shipping)

    Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G1 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - OEM ($299.99 + Free Shipping)

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM ($79.99 + Free Shipping)

    HIS H467QS1GH Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail ($79.99 + Free Shipping)

    (2) SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM ($63.98)

    Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM ($189.99 + Free Shipping)

    The SSD are a big investment, you would still get great performance from a Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB as your OS/Application drive, and save about $250.

    Total: $1,258.90
    Total w/o SSD: $1,008.90 [This includes the $49.99 Samsung Spinpoint F3]
  3. Does large, complex spreadsheets translate into making good use of multiple cores and hyper threading? If so then the i7 860 or i9 720 would make more sense than an i5. If not the i5 would be the better choice.
  4. "Exclusive PC World tests on three of the first systems to use the new processor, however, show that hyperthreading's benefits largely are application- or even task-specific. For example, on the office applications that most people use--such as Microsoft's Word and Excel--hyperthreading had a neutral or slightly negative impact."

    This was found at PC World.
  5. HT seems to negatively effect a lot of things including many games. If HT will be turned off for anything other than overclocking, I would look at saving some money by choosing a different CPU. i5 might be a better choice.
  6. Thanks for the replies so far. Really giving me some good stuff to think about/ $$$'s to be saved.

    Looks like that article was from 2002--- I know that I did see a good performance increase when I upgraded from Office 2003 to Office 2007- on my Pentium D 3GHz machine. Which, I believe was due to some improvement of program itself. I will do some more research- but, I believe the newest Office may use some hyperthreading to speed things up.
  7. mavanhel said:
    "Exclusive PC World tests on three of the first systems to use the new processor, however, show that hyperthreading's benefits largely are application- or even task-specific. For example, on the office applications that most people use--such as Microsoft's Word and Excel--hyperthreading had a neutral or slightly negative impact."

    This was found at PC World.

    That article is way too old to be meaningful. Its from before there were multi-core CPUs.
  8. For office environments, I think cool cases to handle long hours of intensive use....I'd use an Antec 9xx or 1200 case or an HAF.

    SSD's help you load programs fast .... don't think it will help you much on spreadsheets.

    HD's - newegg has a special now on the 1 TB Seagate 7200.12's $79 (need to sign up for newsletter to get code). HD manufacturers are targeting different market segments. If working on large spreadsheets as opposed to multiple small files, I'd opt for the 7200.12's. If accessing lots of small files would do the Black. See this thread for what HD's do well in certain situations.

    I'd put one HD in each box and use something like this for network storage. The latter is only $249.

    DVD: I'd put one in each box and get a portable to serve when disk to disk is req'd.
  9. It's hard to recommend building a computer when it's for business. Remember that these machines are the source of your livelihood and you can't really risk downtime. Dells, HPs, IBMs, etc are engineered for compatibility and carry warranties and tech support. And lest you think business tech support is the same as consumer tect support, I can assure you they are on different levels entirely.

    YOu don't want to worry about your computers- as a business owner, you want to worry about your business.

    But if you still want to build (it is fun after all), Overclocking is out the window. You need stability and longevity, not the last 10% in performance.

    You don't need expensive 3d cards, for almost all business applications, modern onboard video is good enough. If you want to do discrete cards, newegg has Radeon 4350s for $30.

    Name brand RAM with heatsinks is not necessary. Look in any business class computer- you almost never see heatsinks except in engineering workstations sometimes.

    Why do you want to use SSDs? It's an unnecessary expense. You shouldn't need more than 200GB in a business class machine. Our workstations have 160GB and it's more than enough, and I'm an engineer.

    Why do you want TV tuners in business machines?

    Once you strip out all the gamer type gear, and get down to trying to pay as little as possible for what is a commodity, then the prebuilts start looking very good.
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