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Can it be done? A Multimedia Workhorse for $950

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October 28, 2009 9:15:05 AM

It's been about 6 years since I built my last PC, and a lot has changed in the motherboard/chipset arena since then, as well as with home audio recording. I am desperate for recommendations. I say thank you in advance for looking this over.

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: December 1
BUDGET RANGE: $900-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Sony Vegas 8.0 (audio production), After Effects CS4 (motion graphics. no video capture.), Photoshop CS4, Fruity Loops + lots of FX plugins, Internet browsing (typically with 10-15 tabs open!), light 3D modeling. **no gaming at all on this build**

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, will upgrade later. windows 7 - i'd rather use XP. speakers = got plenty. video cards especially tailored for gaming.
scanner, pen tab, mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or Tiger Direct

PARTS PREFERENCES: smaller case (i'd consider a mid-tower, hoping against hope for something a touch portable without resorting to a MicroATX motherboard), 9600 RPM HDD a must

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe?
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: no idea, :o  ? (if this is used for gaming, i can pass)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I do a *lot* of multi-tasking!

I'll be recording instruments in multi-track audio programs, general music production, motion graphics animation, and image editing/graphic art.

I need special attention in the audio area.
at the very least i will need the ability to record and play back audio at the same time (standard on modern cards?).
the ability to record in 5.1 would be fantastic!
guitar/instrument inputs not necessary but a plus. to explain: on my last setup i ran a standard RCA to mini adapter cable from a mixer to the line in port on a PCI sound card.
I understand a lot of people use USB for recording these days.
Latency is my only concern. When recording audio, I often playback 100+ tracks simultaneously while overdubbing new instruments. The speed of the computer is not terribly important, as I am patient waiting for programs to open and while rendering. It is more important that the computer be dependable and solid when working with a large amount of data. I have a feeling i'm going to need a lot of hefty DDR3 RAM and just the right PSU -- if only because my last machine (i still weep for you, SOL) was *completely* fried by a cheapie. So what do you guys think? Am I asking for too much for $950? I can maybe squeeze another $50 if need be.

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October 28, 2009 9:36:54 AM

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
+
GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Combo Price: $384.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 - $80.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER RC-690
+
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB
Combo Price: $99.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W - $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - $25.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total:* $651.93

You can add a second pair of RAM for 8GB total and a second HDD if you wish for Raid 0. You will need a 64 bit OS though i.e. Windows 7, if you want to use more than 3.5GB of RAM.

Which graphics card do you have?
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October 28, 2009 11:33:20 AM

if its mmedia, id go with a blu rae drive
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October 28, 2009 3:15:19 PM

looking thru ur uses, i guess i was rong about the blu rae thing, a 750 would do just fine, it seems like you concentrate on audio, you wont see a huge leap in perf from 750 to 860. you wont use those eight threads
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October 28, 2009 3:31:34 PM

build said:


Which graphics card do you have?


i could be clearer on this. i currently do need a graphics card (or a motherboard with decent video support), but i have no need for a gamer's GPU setup with 3D bells and whistles as the machine will never run a game.
I will be wanting to render the occasional high-quality video file and view full-screen NTSC1 video files without loss of framerate, basically. i'm not even sure if i need something that can render HD, but I guess that'd be nice given the current HD adoption rate. if i sound a little uneasy talking about GPUs, i assure you i most certainly am! :whistle: 
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