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$500+ Media Server / Workstation

Please bare with me...I'm new to these parts...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: In the next few weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $500ish (not necessarily including OS)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Act as a media library/server, Downloading audio/video, surfing the net, some light photo and video editing, some web dev work, recording a bit of guitar music (POD Studio GX is taking the place of my old cassette 4-track recorder) and maybe a bit of gaming although most of that is done on the Xbox 360. The 360 also acts as my media extender to my television.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, optical drives

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Comp. Geeks, Tiger Direct

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA / Illinois

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would prefer to run Windows 7 and have a mid-tower case. No bling...

OVERCLOCKING: Not likely but I'm open to tinkering

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: For the last 6 years I've been using a Dell Dimension 4600i (Intel P4 CPU 2.80GHz Socket 478 / Nvidia GeForces 6800 GS/XT video card) and it's finally come to the point where it's no longer serving my needs or upgradable. To run the PlayOn media server alone I really need a dual-core CPU. I've been looking at machines on Dell's site but I keep feeling like I could build a cleaner, more powerful machine at a lower price point that would allow for more upgrades over time. Heck the only things I'll be able to pull out of the Dell are the optical drives and the HDDs. I've swapped out a number of HDDs and video cards over the years but I've never assembled a system from scratch but I'm confident I can do it if it nets me a better machine than I could buy at this price point. I would like a fairly quiet PC since I tend to leave it on 24x7 and listen to a fair amount of music while on the machine.

Any direction at all is a blessing...heck you can tell me if I'd be better off going back to Dell and picking up a refurbished machine.

Thanks,
Craig
19 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about media server workstation
  1. Do you need an OS?

    This build comes to around $420, leaving you some room to buy an OS

    CPU+MOBO- Athlon II X2 2.9 GHz + Gigabyte MOBO - $126
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.290477

    RAM- 4 GB DDR2 800- $90
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145184

    Case + PSU- Antec 430 Watt- $85
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129065

    Hard Drive- Samsung F3 500 GB- $55
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152181

    Graphics card- Saphire HD 4670-$ 65
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102854

    If you don't need an OS, you can up the cpu and graphics card, and if you want the mobo and ram to DDR3. The build above will blow away any netburst-based cpu (p4 and pd) and some core 2 duos. The gpu will also be great for the res you listed.

    Edit: I forgot you listed you wanted this to be a media server; with that in mind, you may just want a second HDD.
  2. how about this build,
    case+mb combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.285335 at $109.98 after discounts and mir
    gpu+psu combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.292676 at $89.98 after mir and discounts
    cpu+mem combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.280156 at $184.99 after discount
    hd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185 at $84.99
    total at $469.94.
    about the quite, I don't think that will be noisy, but if it is, then try and ask someone else, not sure how I can help you in that department.
    if you think you need more cpu power, you can get this x2 720 and mem combo http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.280108 which is $219.99 after discount, so your new total is $504.94
  3. Not a bad build, but there are a few things I would recommend changing.

    You don't need 1600 RAM; AM3 cpus only support 1333. Your better off with lower latencies (and lower voltage, so you can OC more) anyway. Combo-ed with a cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.286536 -$179

    This is a better GPU; you want to stay away from gpus with DDR2.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102854 -$65

    The psu Daggs selected is a good one though, combo or not
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008 -$50
  4. If you are serious about acoustics, there are cases available that have built in sound-deadening material such as:

    Cooler Master Sileo ($50):


    AcoustiCase SoundMaster 360 ($150):


    The former is a good deal, but the latter is rather pricey. You can also add sound dampening material separately, or just get quiet PC components to begin with.
  5. Best answer
    pepperman said:
    Not a bad build, but there are a few things I would recommend changing.

    You don't need 1600 RAM; AM3 cpus only support 1333. Your better off with lower latencies (and lower voltage, so you can OC more) anyway. Combo-ed with a cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.286536 -$179

    didn't know that, then here is a x3 720 be with the same ram you've suggested I think http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.286521 at $190.99 after discount which keeps the original build under 500
    pepperman said:
    This is a better GPU; you want to stay away from gpus with DDR2.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102854 -$65

    The psu Daggs selected is a good one though, combo or not
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008 -$50

    missed that, good call.
    better combo, same gpu you have suggested, antec 550w psu http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.279819 at $104.98 after discounts and mir.
    so to sum it up, using the changes suggested here and in my original post, replacing the cpu+mem and the psu+gpu combos put the build at $490.94
    not bad at all... shame I can't get this in here... :(
  6. Man...you fellows are really masters of the computer building arts.
  7. If you need an OS and want to stay under $500, I recommend you go with my build; if you don't need an OS or you don't mind going a little over $500, I recommend you go with Daggs' modified build.
  8. I notice the motherboards listed have one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. I believe this eliminates SLI, correct? Should I care?
  9. Comsat said:
    I notice the motherboards listed have one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. I believe this eliminates SLI, correct? Should I care?

    no cf, sli is for nvidia, what you can do if you need it take this mb alone http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128411 at $94.99 and this case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119047 $44.98
  10. daggs said:
    no cf, sli is for nvidia, what you can do if you need it take this mb alone http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128411 at $94.99 and this case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119047 $44.98

    What do I miss out on without crossfire? Do I damn the system to earlier obsolescence?
  11. You won't need a dual graphics card system for your intended usage; besides, dual gpu's won't help you unless you're gaming on high resolutions (i.e 1680 x 1050 and higher).
  12. daggs said:
    ...shame I can't get this in here... :(


    huh? I don't follow?
  13. So I'm thinking this is the way to go:

    Case & MB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.285335 - $109.98

    CPU & RAM - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.286521 - $193.00

    GPU & PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.279819 - $104.98

    HD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.279819 at $84.99

    Approximately $498 dollars total.

    Am I missing anything? Are there little odds and ends for assembly I should add to my order?

    Quote:
    Processor: AMD Phenom II X3 720
    MB: Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P
    RAM: 4GB DDR3-1333 Ripjaws
    Video: Radeon HD4670
    Optical: Samsung DVD Burner
    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
    Running Windows 7 Home Premium
  14. Since you said you already had optical drives, no, you aren't missing anything. All the cables you'll need will be with the mobo, and the case should come with screws. All you'll need is yourself and a screwdriver.
  15. Excellent. One last bone-headed question, I would need a 32-bit OS for use with this, correct?
  16. You can use either 32 or 64. I'd actually recommend 64 if you have access to it since you have 4 GB of ram.
  17. ... and since you said you want Windows 7: don't make the mistake of buying a full version. Look for a single OEM ("for System Builders") version - it's $104.99 for Home Professional, either 32 or 64 bit. The OEM version doesn't buy you MS phone support (who needs this?) and will install only one one system, but it's still a better deal than the pricey alternatives.
  18. Comsat said:
    huh? I don't follow?

    where I live, a system like that costs about 150$ more then in the states.
    build looks good, good luck :)
  19. Thanks again guys. I'm gonna place an order this week or early next.
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