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$600-$700 Multitasker - novice builder, please help!

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November 6, 2009 5:03:58 PM

:hello:  Hi, I've been lurking here for a few weeks reading up on building a new PC. This will be my second build, the first one being an AMD Athlon 64 2800+ machine that I built in 2004. That machine is starting to bog down during routine tasks, and upgrading it doesn't make much sense given that the parts are now obsolete. Plus I'd like to upgrade to Windows 7.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-4 weeks

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: photo editing/storage, video editing/storage, web publishing/browsing, office and finance applications, light gaming (I'm mostly a console gamer, shameful I know).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Amazon... but don't care that much if the price is right
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: See below for proposed build

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, moderate SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: prefer for it to be serviceable for the next 5-7 years



Proposed build:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This might be where I need the most advice. I multitask a lot while photo editing and such. Typical situation - using GIMP and Picasa simultaneously with a web browser open, listening to music on Itunes, along with AVG and all of the other background processes. For this reason I'm thinking four cores is better than two faster cores for my purposes. Am I right?

MOBO: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm selecting a board with onboard video to keep the cost down, and because I won't be doing any heavy duty gaming. I will probably want to run dual monitors sometime in the future, (and I think this board will do that?) Of course I can always add a video card or two later if needed.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM $89.99 - $15 CPU Combo deal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think this is compatible with my MOBO, even though Newegg says "Dual Channel Intel Core i5 & Core i7 CPU for P55 motherboard" Am I right?

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC $79.99 -$20.00MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Should be plenty of juice - is there a better value out there?

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $59.99 - $15 MOBO combo deal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I like the looks of it and it is part of a combo deal

HDD:Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" -$74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'll need more storage for photos and videos eventually, but want a fast-ish drive for the OS.

Optical: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA Black 24X DVD Writer - Retail $31.99 -$10.00 OS combo deal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $106.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total: $602.89 + $6.98 shipping - $20 MIR = $589.87

I want the most bang for my buck. Any suggestions on changes that will give me more power for less money are appreciated.
November 6, 2009 5:53:33 PM

The Athlon II X4 will be fine for your needs. The RAM is indeed compatible with the motherboard and the combo with the CPU is even better.

Unfortunately, you'll need to buy a Graphics card if you plan to game on it http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You won't need a motherboard with onboard graphics if your buying a separate Graphics card. This will do http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A 600W PSU is a bit excessive, even a decent 450W will do. This combo looks good:
COOLER MASTER RC-690
+
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP Modular
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Larger HDD and just as fast for $5 more http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

By the way, you'll need a retail CPU cooler if you plan to overclock.
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November 6, 2009 6:16:52 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I don't really plan to run any new games on it so I might stick with the onboard graphics. That PSU/Case combo looks good.

Should I swap the AMD Athlon 2.6 X4 with a AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz for $20 more and gamble on being able to unlock the 4th core?
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November 6, 2009 6:36:48 PM

Gaming + Onboard graphics is a no no :non: . You really oughta get a separate GPU if you plan to do any gaming at all.

I'd stick with the Athlon II X4 to be honest. It's $20 cheaper as you said and you won't need to gamble :p 
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