SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: File/Printer Sharing, Burning, Media Conversion (i.e. DVD->PSP/iPod) Future uses:BluRay watching, Forensic/Data Recovery-related work
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: At this time - monitor, KB/mouse, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: NCIX (www.ncix.com) - if I really need to, I'll order from elsewhere but don't care too much about minor differences in cost (i.e. if I have to pay for shipping, it's pointless) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
PARTS PREFERENCES: See comments below.
OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Higher the better
To clarify what I'm looking for:
Back in 2003 I built my first computer and then over the years made minor upgrades to it like a separate TV Tuner, newer PSU and rounded/UV-reactive cables. Some of the parts seem to be EOL (end-of-life) or just stopped working (i.e. fan in PSU) and honestly a ThermalTake Xaser III case is too big for my liking now-a-days. I used to be "in the game" in terms of hardware - meaning knowing what's hot/not, but I fell out of that a few years ago.
With that being said, I'd like to get recommendations for a new box being used as mentioned above - primarily file/printer sharing, burning and media conversion (the big "3"). Obviously the common uses (browsing, IM, word processing) are there but aside from the Big 3 in terms of processing usage, it's really only watching DVDs and streams (i.e. basketball games). Now, for the FUTURE I plan on slapping in a BluRay drive (read-only) and actually being able to get this hooked up to an HDMI-capable screen (please keep this in mind) - so I would like for it to support that down the road. In time this may become something of an HTPC, so I would like for it to be able to hook up to a receiver and TV. Another thing to keep in mind is that I'm partially hearing impaired so I don't care TOO much about noise, but obviously don't want something that'll annoy anyone that's over (lots of complaints with the Xaser III case).
I may be doing some forensic/data recovery-related work, so processing power is nice but I don't need overkill.
Note - I have a 2 Legit 2 Quit version of XP and will be purchasing the 64-bit upgrade to W7.
Breakdown of parts preferences:
CPU - AMD/Quad-Core (Can someone explain the difference between the 'Black' and non-'Black' version?)
HSF - I think stock should do.
- FireWire is a must
- At least 4-8 USB ports
- eSata is a must
- Good onboard sound
- Video (optional - see Video below)
- Supports a 64-bit CPU in the event of a future upgrade
Note on this: I saw the ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO review on Motherboards.org and it seems pretty good - thoughts?
Hard Drives - I have a SATA drive that I can use for the OS - it's a few years old but I don't need to buy unnecessary stuff right now. Recommendation on a good SATA2 1-1.5TB Drive? I just bought a Seagate 1TB (SATA) for 70 bucks (special Halloween sale) but will be using that as an external backup.
Optical - No preference for brands although I bought 3 LG's in the past - no problems with them - good all around burner is all I need. If there's still slot-loading DVDRW's around please point me to one as I broke a tray once.
Case - I'm not looking for something flashy, but black please. I'm not asking for a window, but if it's there, it's there. Minimal number of fans, even if they're bigger but has to have solid airflow. Hiding the cables behind mobo tray is nice. A while back someone posted a case here that was black, quite sleek and simple but it seemed to be real good - can't remember the brand or name of it. Please do not suggest the Antec 300 . Mid-tower should be fine and don't care much for front accessible ports. Oh yeah no doors at the front please. (What do you guys think about the CoolerMaster CM 690?? Although I do know this has support for a # of fans). Fan wise - even if it's 2 or 3 120mm (I think?) fans, that's good enough.
RAM - Right now - 4GB, will probably add more in the future.
Video - I don't see the need to dish out money for a good video card since I won't be doing any heavy stuff so if a mobo has onboard video that'll do, or I'll have to get a cheap video card (suggestions please). In the future I'll add a solid video card for the BluRay watching and HDMI connection.
Sound - No need for a sound card.
PSU - Modular with sleeved cables is preferred- no flashy stuff.
Media Card Reader - looking for an internal one but not one that has the extras (i.e. FW, sound, USB) - just a basic internal card reader (NCIX has one but there's mixed reactions on it) - don't need to buy it immediately aka I can wait for a sale.
WLAN Card/Adaptor - Our house may be set up to have the router away from the box, so if anyone has a suggestion on a good WLAN card/adaptor, please let me know. Don't have a preference of PCI over USB, and don't mind paying a bit more to support the 802.11n standard. I can always buy this later aka keep an eye out for sales elsewhere.
I would prefer NOT to spend in the upper range because I will be upgrading in the future (i.e. BDROM, more HD space, more RAM)...so please keep that in mind.
Sorry for the super long post, but I hope someone can help me out.