APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: I can wait for Windows 7 (10/22) if a clean install is better than an upgrade.
BUDGET RANGE: $1000-1800 After Rebates
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HD video editing, Internet, burning movies, hosting media, Office and Productions apps.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers*
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com is fine.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US
PARTS PREFERENCES: Core i7
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 (HP w2408h)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: The monitor has an HDMI input, which I would like to use. So, I think *audio must come through the HDMI cable. I'm using a Sony consumer grade HD camcorder (AVCHD) and Adobe CS4. My wife uses various Office apps as well as Illustrator/Photoshop for work. I have a 1TB USB drive and a 1TB network drive for nightly backups. Stuff me with RAM and spindles please. Needs to be fast and reliable. No gaming!
The Dark Knight is ~$45, which is also an excellent choice, however I read many reviews that had the Noctua being very quite...and it is...I have it running max RPM and it's quite...I have a Antec 1200 case with all 6 fans (stock) running at the min RPM, the Noctua running at max, the PSU fan, and a GTX 275 graphics card fan running ... and my old Dell 8400 is the louder of the two systems, with ONE fan for the CPU and ONE fan for the PSU. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Dark Knight - $45
you can save another $100 by only using two of the three 1 TB hard drives I have on this list...you've already got the back up solution.
Now you're down to $1640
My thoughts on only getting two hard drives at this point is because technology is changing so fast that I figure I'll add more hard drives as I need them...no sense spening the money now when later I may be able to get twice the storage capacity at the same price...and this is one of the easiest components to add.
Being that this price is at about $1640, if you did not want to have your scratch drive be the OS drive, you could do a RAID 0 with a set of WD 640's and that would put you right at the $1,800 limit.
I was steered away from the Raptor (do a search with "raptor vs caviar") and you'll find that most hold opinions that for the price, the Raptor's just aren't worth it unless you really like to have bragging rights.
If you really wanted something for a fast OS drive, get two WD 640 Black's and do a RAID 0...you'll have a ton more storage at half the cost of ONE Raptor...with a minimal loss of performance.
As far as the storage HDD's...Seagate vs. Western - Pick your poison...both are reputable companies that make solid drives. I simply went with Western because of the 5 year warranty on the Caviar Black's.
On the drives you listed, I saw 3 year warranties
I favor Nvidia, ATI also makes solid cards...again, pick your poison. The only reason I picked the Nvidia is because you were talking about CS4...which I believe has the potential to use the CUDA technology of Nvidia...
Usually a workstation card will be recommended for what your uses will be, however, they are pricier, but play better with rendering...with other changes to your rig, you may be able to swing a full workstation card.
Two things to consider here
- will the graphics card fit?
- will the cpu heatsink fit?
I don't know the answers to those...you'll have to do some searching/asking.
So how did you get the motherboard into the case? Did you have to take the heat sink off and then put it back on again with the motherboard in place?
And what did you do to resolve the collision between the heat sink and that fan support bracket in the 2nd to last picture?
I'm curious because I went through the HP e9180t ordeal with three crashing/hanging/bluescreeing systems and have now given up on HP. I was looking at the exact case you bought, and am thinking of putting together a very similar system.
The heat sink needs to bolt on before the motherboard is screwed down. So I had to close that part of the case and drop the MB in from there, just like any other case. It sucks that I'm not able to use the drop down door feature, but I don't think it would have been practical when all the other wires are in place.
I couldn't use the two fans on the bracket and on the clear part of the case. Aesthetics aside, I'm still not sure which way will keep the CPU cooler: The large heat sink, or a fan on the case directly above it.
I bought and cancelled both an HP 9180 and a Dell XPS 9000. But I'm very happy with my build, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.