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Upgradable Home Office/ Multimedia Build for $800-$1000

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November 25, 2009 4:26:12 AM

Going for my 1st build . . . am learning tons, but my head is spinning with an overwhelming amount of new info, indecision, and a wish for a greater budget. :sarcastic:  I’d greatly appreciate any help you all could give me in building a system. Apologies in advance for the lengthy post, I’m trying to be as specific as possible.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week (Black Friday deals.)

BUDGET RANGE: ($800-$1000) Might be able to expand this for longevity or upgrade-ability.

SYS. USAGE:Web Surfing, Office Programs, Photo/Video Editing, Web Design

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
  • I’m looking for a system that will last me a good 4-5 years and can be upgraded as necessary.
  • I am not a gamer, but am a huge multi-tasker. I frequently watch movies/tv show downloads, while using such programs as Photoshop, Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, with the internet and Word running simultaneously.
  • Since I teach film studies and am getting a Masters in Instructional Technology, I will be venturing into video editing shortly (Adobe premiere)
  • I have years worth of files that I need to transfer from floppy and zip disks.
  • At some point in the near future, I’d like to move to a dual screen set-up.
  • I’d like to set up a Raid 1 system to avoid some of the hard drive crashes and info loss I’ve had in the past year.

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor (have Acer 22" 1920x1080) and IDE dvd/rw. I’ll upgrade these later.

    PREFERRED WEBSITE(S): Any. Microcenter is w/in driving distance and said they will price match. TigerDirect close too.

    Since, I’m still torn btw. I7 920 and I7 860 I am contemplating a couple of builds. (Not sure which processor is the best bet for multi-media and for future upgrades.)

    Build I:
    Processor: Intel Core i7-920 Item=N82E16819115202
    MoBo: Open to suggestions here. Looking for Gigabyte or Asus brand - one of these possibly? http://www.newegg.com/Product
    RAM: OCZ 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
    Item=N82E16820227501

    Build 2:
    Processor: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield Item=N82E16819115214
    MoBo: Open to suggestions here.
    GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3R LGA 1156 Item=N82E16813128401
    GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Item=N82E16813128400
    RAM: OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Item=N82E16820227495

    Same for both builds:
    Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W Item=N82E16817139006
    Video Card: Ge Force 260 or 250?
    Hard Drive: (x2) Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives Item=N82E16822136284
    Case: APEVIA X-DISCOVERY-BK Blk Steel ATX Mid Tower Item=N82E16811144170
    OS: Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate

    Again, ANY and all feedback would be much appreciated! Thanks! :) 
    November 25, 2009 6:35:05 AM

    ^ The 1st Build would be better only because of the 920's Tri-Channel memory controller...And the X58 would get better upgrades compared to the P55 chipsets...So this would last longer...

    Mobo - Get the ASUS P6T or Gigabyte UD4P...

    Graphics card - you wont need even the GTS 250 if you dont game...the newer GT220/ GT240 would be better...

    PSU - 750W ? A quality 500W would suffice...
    November 25, 2009 5:18:55 PM

    Thanks for responding gkay09. I'm building these off of ideas from various sales people at microcenter and tigerdirect, so pulling together accurate details is a bit frustrating at times. For example, both places suggested the 750W power supply.

    3 questions:

    - What is the difference in PCI vs PCIEx4 vs PCIE 16? I assume it's just speed of the connection. Are there any differences in what the slots are used for?

    - Also, what are the key features I should be looking for on a motherboard, beyond processor matching, brand quality and price?

    - Any suggestions on specific graphics cards or brands for my video editing and graphic heavy programs
    November 26, 2009 2:23:22 AM

    For the questions :
    1. Yes you nearly understood it right...Its the speed(bandwidth) of the connection
    PCI - It is a Gen 1 PCI interface - Slow and mainly used for peripherals such as the NIC cards, Sound cards,...which dont require high bandwidth to operate...

    PCIe X4 - PCIexpressX4 - These are faster than the PCI slots(Nearly as fast as the AGP x8 interface) and are also used for add-in cards...You can install a PCIeX16 card on that slot but it would cripple its performance because of the limited bandwidth...

    PCIe X16 - These are the high bandwidth PCIe slots used mainly for graphic cards...

    2. Some of the important features that you must look for are -
    - If you would be expanding your storage, just make sure that the board has many SATA ports(Most of the boards do come with a minimum 6 SATA ports)
    - Just check if the boards has good power management.(For regular use it might not matter but if you intend to overclock the CPU, it would come into account...
    - Check the reviews and forum posts about that board just to make sure that it does have any incompatibility issues with other components or any issues relating to RAID as you will be using it...
    - For a X58 board, always go with a board having 6RAM slots and not 4/ 3 as you would have problems when adding more RAM to the system...
    - Lastly just dont go with brand name alone...See if that product is worth the price...We do tend to pay a high price for premium product but dont fully utilize the so called premium features at all...
    So just go through as many reviews as you can about the product before you make your purchase...

    3. For video editing, check the forums and websites related the apps that you will be using... Currently Nvidia offers a technology called CUDA - http://www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_home.html , that many video editing and graphic heavy programs take advantage of...Even ATI cards have a technology called Stream - http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/TECHNOLOGIES/STREAM-TECH... , which also does the same...But see which technology does your apps make use of...and then buy that company cards...
    As for brands -
    Nvidia - XFX, EVGA, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, BFG
    ATI - XFX, Sapphire, HIS, Powercolor, MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte
    !