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I7 build for photo, audio, video editing, and TV recording

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October 23, 2009 12:38:23 PM

I recently had a terrible experience buying an HP e9180t system (see here for gory details). Short version -- don't buy an i7 from HP!

So instead, I'm thinking of building my own machine, thanks in part to good tips gleaned from reading this forum. Could you check out my ideas below and offer suggestions?

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: as soon as I can figure this all out, preferably within a week or two.

BUDGET RANGE: $1200-1400, prefer to bring this down if possible without sacrificing too much.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photo, video, and audio editing, HDTV record/playback, plus easier stuff like web surfing, MS office, etc.
Photo editing: Lightroom, Photoshop Essentials
Video editing: Pinnacle Studio, and Avid Media Composer
Audio editing: Avid/Digidesign Pro Tools LE
TV recording off clear QAM (unencrypted cable HDTV)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: anywhere reputable, or local to areas north of Boston. Newegg has been my main reference site.

PARTS PREFERENCES:
* Plan to stick with NVIDIA graphics due to Media Composer's requirements
* Need an HDMI output with embedded audio for my HDTV connection, plus DVI for the computer monitor.
* Want a Blu-Ray player that will play movies to my HDTV via HDMI (with audio)
* Plan to stuff a lot of hard drives into the machine eventually, so prefer more SATA ports and drive bays

OVERCLOCKING: probably not; mild OC if anything

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 for both desktop and TV displays

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
* case shouldn't be too gaudy, for my wife's sake :D 
* I value reliability, especially after my bad HP experience. That's one reason I'm avoiding the LGA 1156 motherboards, due to the possible Foxconn socket problem.
* This is my first complete home build, but I did upgrade a Pentium 4 motherboard a while back, so I'm familiar with the basic principles of system building.

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I was inspired in part by this posting from a fellow forum member, Ferdball, who went through the same HP debacle and built his own machine: HD video editing build. So I pretty much started with his config and then made a few modifications for my needs, noted below. Here's what I've come up with so far:

CPU - $288
I might be able to get this cheaper from MicroCenter in Boston, but it would require a bit of driving.
Intel Core i7-920 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

Motherboard - $210
ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131386

Memory - $150
I'm dropping down from 12 GB to 6 GB to save money vs. Ferdball's config:
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145222

OS - $110
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754

=-=-=-

Case - $60 (after $30 instant rebate)
Same case as Ferdball, but different color. I like the foldout motherboard tray, but am not stuck on this case.
RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WB Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156063

As an alternate, cheaper option ($40), I was also thinking of a case like this, but it doesn't look like it has very good cooling:
GIGABYTE GZ-X7BMDX-400 Black SECC / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811233049


Power Supply - $100 (after $60 instant rebate)
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

CPU Fan
I'm thinking of skipping this and using the stock Intel cooler, since I'm not planning to overclock. If I do buy a 3rd-party cooler, I'd like it to be shorter than the Cooler Master V8 that Ferdball used. It was too tall to fit into the Raidmax case without modifications, and prevented the tilt-out motherboard tray from working.

=-=-=-

Optical drive - $130
I don't need to burn Blu-Ray discs, but I would like to play them on my HDTV. So I'm thinking of going with this BD-ROM drive:
LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136162


Hard Drive OS (1), data (2) - $80 each, $240 total
I think I'd rather have the extra space instead of the performance of a VelociRaptor drive.
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Does anyone know the difference between the above Samsung 1TB drive and this one below? It costs $5 more, but looks like it has the same specs. I can't find the above cheaper model on Samsung's website, so I can't tell what differences there are (if any):
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152102

=-=-=-

Video card - $95
I don't need a high-end graphics card, since I'm not doing gaming. I do want an HDMI output with embedded audio to drive my HDTV. As mentioned before, I prefer to stick with NVIDIA for Avid Media Composer compatibility. I'm thinking of something like this:
MSI N9600GT-MD1G GeForce 9600 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127434
Since I don't plan to use SLI, perhaps someone can suggest a cheaper card that would still be good enough?


TV Tuner. I want to have an HD DVR, perhaps with Windows Media Center running the show. I'm debating between these two Hauppauge tuners:
$85 - Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 ATSC/ClearQAM/NTSC TV Tuner PCI w/Remote 1199 PCI Interface
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116033
$125 - Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116036

=-=-=


Total: $1438-1508

So, any suggestions to improve this config? Any ways to shave off some money without sacrificing anything important? I'm running over my budget, but I would rather have a system that works well even if I have to spend a bit more than planned.

Thanks in advance!
October 23, 2009 4:39:53 PM

The F1 is 3 platters, the F3 is 2 platters. Performance wise, there's not much of a difference. F1 is suppose to perform a little better, while the F3 is more quieter and probably more reliable.

Also, if you were planning to run XP Mode, Win 7 Home Premium won't be able to do that.

If you're planning on Dual Monitors in the future, I'd get a video card with Dual-DVI output as well.
October 23, 2009 5:14:12 PM

I would definitely get the HVR-2250 TV tuner. I have both the HVR-1600 and HVR-2250 in my HTPC. The 1600 has one analog tuner and one digital tuner. The 2250 has a dual tuner that can be used for either digital or analog.
Related resources
October 23, 2009 6:17:43 PM

masterasia said:
The F1 is 3 platters, the F3 is 2 platters. Performance wise, there's not much of a difference. F1 is suppose to perform a little better, while the F3 is more quieter and probably more reliable.

Also, if you were planning to run XP Mode, Win 7 Home Premium won't be able to do that.

If you're planning on Dual Monitors in the future, I'd get a video card with Dual-DVI output as well.

Thanks for the info about the Samsung disks; I hadn't been able to dig up that info so far.

I'm not planning to run XP any more, so that's not a problem.

I don't plan to run dual-head any time soon. My wife thinks my 21.5" monitor is really big already! She's used to her netbook :) .

Thanks for the info!
October 23, 2009 6:19:04 PM

Quote:
For a cpu fan i think one of the artic coolings fan will fit your needs http://tsutton.site90.net/imgs/signature_smiley1.jpg

I'm still not sure if I really need anything aftermarket, but thanks for the recommendation. I read some reviews of their coolers over lunch, and they do sound like what I'm looking for -- good performance at a good price. They may not be good enough for serious overclockers, but they look perfect for my situation. Thanks again!
October 23, 2009 6:40:41 PM

It might be worth your drive to MicroCenter. I was there yesterday (Columbus, OH) and they still offer i7 920 @ $199.
October 23, 2009 9:24:31 PM

I forgot a few accessories I will need, so here they are:

Card reader - $10
SUPER TALENT INTAIN1MCR All-in-one Card Reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609298

Keyboard - $9
Logitech Deluxe 250 Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126072

Mouse - $10
Microsoft D1T-00002 Silver 4 Buttons USB or PS/2 Wired Optical Comfort Mouse 3000
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826105189


These aren't too expensive, so I'm not as concerned about these choices as much as the real system itself, but feel free to offer suggestions for improvement on these devices as well.

I am considering driving down to MicroCenter to save myself $75 or so; it sounds like a good deal, and they're probably hoping I pick up some accessories like those above at the same time. It might even work :) .

Thanks!
October 24, 2009 9:29:20 PM

masterasia said:
The F1 is 3 platters, the F3 is 2 platters. Performance wise, there's not much of a difference. F1 is suppose to perform a little better, while the F3 is more quieter and probably more reliable.

I found this review which describes the differences pretty well:
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/storage/2009/10/06/samsung-spinpoint-f3-1tb-review/1

It sounds like the older F1 is a fraction of a ms faster on seek time, but the newer F3 is faster by a fair bit for read and write performance. That site came up with read performance of 125 MB/s for the F3, vs. 93 MB/s for the F1. Write performance was similar: 97 MB/s for the F3, 81 MB/s for the F1.

Since the F3 is faster, and $5 cheaper, they sound like the best choice. Unfortunately, Newegg is out of stock at the moment, so I'll have to wait a bit.
October 27, 2009 11:41:11 AM

I've made a few modifications to my original parts list, mainly downgrading the power supply and changing the graphics card. I think I can get away with a smaller PSU since I'm not getting a monster graphics card. Here's my latest plan:


=-=-=-

CPU - $289
Intel Core i7-920 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

Motherboard - $210
ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131386

Memory - $150
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145222

=-=-=-

OS - $110
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754

=-=-=-

Case - $60 (after $30 instant rebate)
RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WB Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156063

Power Supply - $65 (after $15 instant rebate)
CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

CPU Fan
Stock Intel cooler

=-=-=-

Optical drive - $130
LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136162


Hard Drive OS (1), data (2) - $80 each, $240 total
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

=-=-=-

Video card - $95
PNY XLR8 VCG98GTEE5XEB GeForce 9800 GT EE 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133279


TV Tuner - $125
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116036

=-=-=-

Card reader - $10
SUPER TALENT INTAIN1MCR All-in-one Card Reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609298

Keyboard - $15
Logitech 967740-0403 Black USB Standard Internet 350 USB Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126012

Mouse - $10
Microsoft D1T-00002 Silver 4 Buttons USB or PS/2 Wired Optical Comfort Mouse 3000
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826105189

=-=-=-


Total at Newegg: $1,513.85

Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement. Thanks!
October 27, 2009 1:35:10 PM

Congrats on escaping the big box manufacturers. I also tried Dell, but they added 3 weeks to their 3 week backorder. I think there is a serious problem over there.

Anyway, since my rig is geared toward running Adobe Premier Pro CS4, I posted over there too. There are some pretty hard core computer builders there too. I have nothing to add, but you might glean some more info from some of the stuff Harm Millard posted.

http://forums.adobe.com/message/2313320
October 27, 2009 3:58:45 PM

I see that you went with Kingston HyperX memory instead of the Corsair you were originally planning to buy. What was your reason for the switch?
October 27, 2009 4:13:04 PM

Newegg is local to me here in Southern California. So I ordered everything on Thursday, and it arrived to my house on Friday. All except for the memory. It was coming from Tennessee.

So, I built the beast on Friday (took about 5 hours), and bought whatever memory I could on Saturday. It cost more, but I didn't want to wait.

Good luck with your build. Other than the monsterous heat sink, I have had absolutely no problems. So far, only you me and Linda escaped HP.
October 28, 2009 12:14:46 PM

bluescreen said:
Memory - $150
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145222

I'm thinking of changing my memory selection to this:
Crucial Ballistix Tracer 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148282

These DIMMs aren't quite as fast as the others, but I'm not planning on overclocking much if at all anyway. This RAM is a few dollars cheaper, plus it has LEDs :) . It might be fun to watch memory getting accessed.

I'm also thinking of moving up to a 550w power supply. I'm waiting to see what Newegg has on sale tomorrow, since they're supposed to be running a special deal.
October 28, 2009 12:31:02 PM

I'd recccomend stepping up to the P6T (regular) unless you don't plan on much future expansion or overclocking.
October 28, 2009 1:47:36 PM

jsrudd said:
I'd recccomend stepping up to the P6T (regular) unless you don't plan on much future expansion or overclocking.
What features are missing from the P6T SE that you think are important? I didn't notice anything that seemed significant to me, but I might have missed something when I was researching this last week.

I found two reviews comparing the P6T to the SE. First is this review, and it sounded like the only thing that was really missing was SLI support. I don't plan to utilize that, so I don't mind that it's missing.

I also found this review, which mentions that the heat pipes are a bit skimpier on the SE. They still recommend the board, however, as long as you don't need SLI.

Did I miss any other distinctions between the two motherboards?
Thanks for the suggestion!
October 31, 2009 1:02:55 AM

Well I pulled the trigger. Here's what I bought:

=-=-=-

These components I stuck with my original plan:

CPU: i7-920 ($200 @ Micro Center)
Motherboard: ASUS P6T SE ($210 @ Newegg, $20 rebate)
OS: Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM ($98 @ Micro Center)
Case: Raidmax Smilodon ($60 @ Newegg)
CPU Fan: Stock Intel cooler
Optical drive: LG BD-ROM/DVD±R Burner LightScribe ($100 @ Newegg)
Video card: PNY XLR8 9800 GT EE 512MB ($100 @ Newegg, $20 rebate)
Keyboard: Logitech Standard Internet 350 USB ($15 @ Newegg)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit ($130 @ Newegg)

=-=-=-

These items I switched from my original plan:

Memory:
Newegg ran a combo sale that made this RAM look more appealing, plus a friend recommended it. It comes with a fan to keep the DIMMs cool, and LEDs to make them look cool :) .
Kingston HyperX 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model KHX2000C9D3T1FK3/6GX - Retail
$147.49 after $25 combo discount
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104126


Power Supply - $65 - 10% discount code (and $25 rebate)
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W Modular Power Supply
Based on some friends' recommendations, I stepped back up to a 550w supply, and this one was priced really well. I doubt I'll be pushing it very hard, but it should have enough power for future additions. At this price, it's not that big a gamble in any case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341022


Hard Drive: $110
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1 TB 7200 RPM
The Samsung I wanted is out of stock everywhere, and this WD has slightly faster seek times and comparable transfer rates. So it should serve well as a boot drive and wasn't too much more expensive.


Card reader - $35
AFT XM-35U BLACK USB 2.0 Kiosk Card Reader
I read the reviews of most of the card readers at Newegg, and most of them sound pretty shoddy in workmanship. This one got much better reviews, so I'm hoping for the best. It was comparatively much more expensive, so it had better be decent. :( 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820176016


Mouse - $15
Logitech RX1500 Black 3 Buttons Tilt Wheel USB Corded Laser Mouse
This was a "Shell Shocker" deal from Newegg that looked pretty good.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826104242

=-=-=-

Total: $1,297, -$65 in rebates


I plan to add a couple more drives once those Samsungs (or an equivalent) are back in stock. Thanks to everyone who offered helpful advice!

December 11, 2009 5:12:55 AM

Sorry,
I don't have enough knowledge about this matter.
i just suggest you should take help of any experience person or you also take help of search engine to find it.
Best of Luck


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