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Need Advice on <1200 PC for tv recording/gaming/image editing

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December 13, 2009 8:39:12 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: end of this Dec. 09

BUDGET RANGE: <=1200 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: tv recording/media center, gaming, multi-threaded programming, image editing, internet surfing, and will be on all day long in order to DVR shows

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, circuit city (due to 13% Cacheback deal)

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to have a i7 desktop.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION:

Any suggestions would be great... I am going for a dual monitor setup and I am considering the monitor:
ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is my first time building a PC. I'd appreciate it if I could get advice on the parts I've chosen. When the time does come to upgrade I'd like to be able to re-use as many parts as possible (power supply, case, fans..etc) I am trying to keep the PC parts to less than 1200 (monitors not included), after rebates and BCB this config totals to $1170.

These are the parts I am leaning towards:

-Intel Core i7 920 Processor - 2.66GHz, LGA 1366, 4.8GT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, Quad-Core, HyperThreading, Bloomfield,

-EVGA X58 SLI LE Motherboard - LGA 1366, Intel X58, SATA, SLI Ready, Triple Channel DDR3 support, RAID, Hyperthreading support

-XFX Radeon HD 5770 Video Card - 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual DVI, Display Port, HDMI

-Corsair XMS3 Tri Channel 6GB PC12800 DDR3 Memory - 1600MHz, 6144MB (3 x 2048)

- Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B

- Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

- Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

- Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC

- XIGMATEK Intel Core i7 compatible Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler


I will also be adding the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 2250 (have this already).

Also need a card reader.... I am considering this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Is the Asus P6T a better motherboard? Are there any other better relatively cheap cd/dvd burners? Are there any compatibility issues I might have?
December 13, 2009 12:44:30 PM

i7 would be a total waste for PVR/TV recording cuz a lowly single core 3000+ Sempron can do the job as well. I don't know what games you play, if it's fps/sim, get a better gpu & downgrade the i7 to i5. Have you ever read the Tom's article on the best gaming cpu?

If you get i5 + P55 + HD 5850, this pc will wipe the floor with the one you listed in gaming. My 2 cents.
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December 13, 2009 1:38:04 PM

The hyper-threading will help with programming and running multiple programs at the same time. Running simulations requires me to run about 8-16 benchmarks which I believe their total throughput will be better in the i7 with HT rather than the i5.

On the other hand I know that PVR/TV recording doesnt need much cpu power, but it will require the system to be on all the time so I m not sure which i7 or i5 would be better in terms of long lifetime because of the low but constant use. (I have had laptops for the past 8 years which are always off if not in use).

I read the Toms article and mostly the forums and in terms of best gaming cpu everyone is split... but then there is the trade off of CPU+GPU... where I only found one interesting comparison.

Initially I was also considering the HD 4890 which is the same price as the 5770 but due to the dx11 support thought the 5770 might be better long run... Also adding a second 5770 might make it better than a single 5850 (same $ but split between years). I also looked at the GTX 275 but again they 4890/5770/275 seem to be in the same boat.

Are there any more articles on the graphics cards trade offs paired with i7 and i5 cores?
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December 13, 2009 5:33:52 PM

I am also not sure if I should spend less on the case and reallocate it somewhere else ie graphics card.. Any thoughts on cases?
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December 14, 2009 12:11:38 PM

You have yet to say what games you play. Could be tic tac toe. It's hard to recommend a gpu.

That case is a vaccum for 24/7 operation. You might want the P18x series which is much less of a vaccum. Or even the mid tower one. Antec also has less expensive doorless cases like the Solo for about 85:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think you should make up your mind on the gpu before deciding on a case.
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December 14, 2009 12:20:13 PM

Why get an intel i7-920? Nothing you do takes advantage of it. The i5 should suit you far better, or the i7-860 if you must have hyperthreading (which you don't).

The corresponding 1156/P55 mobo is also a lot cheaper.

It also requires cutting back to 4GB of RAM, but even that's more than you'll ever need.

That case sucks more dust than the average Arabian desert and it's larger than needed. The 902 is better filtered, smaller and cheaper. You might also want to look at the newly released 600, it looks very promising.

I'd stick with the 5770, it sips power, is easy to cool and performs very well. If you are a true gamer, the money saved by the above steps can be used to get a 5850, which will yield a massive performance boost. Consider that I'd say.

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December 14, 2009 12:41:09 PM

p55ibexpeak thanks for your replies!

In terms of games I would play football manager, fifa, and occasionally a shooter game although I have a ps3 too...

So based on these games and considering that I will most likely buy the ASUS VH226H monitor (probably 2 of them)... which GPU would you recommend?

In terms of cases I was also considering the antec 600 (although that would require a different power supply)… but now maybe I should also look into the 902...

Silmarunya thanks for your reply as well!

Wouldn't running many computational intense applications at the same time utilize the hyperthreading? I am also doing some parallel programming. I spend most of the time on research so I would think that having 8 "available" cores would be increasing my throughput. I also seem to need RAM for my applications.. I was actually considering an upgrade to 12 GB for the near future.. depending on how the 6GB worked for me... so I m not sure how the 4GB would be better...

I was also trying to avoid having to do any upgrades within the next 2-3 years (other than ram)... although it seems like it would be necessary due to the graphics card... However upgrading the graphics card is easier than possibly needing to upgrade the cpu/memory as well..

HHmmmm maybe the 1156/P55 is a better choice although the only reason I did not consider it from the beginning was the overclocking issues (socket contact problems) that I read about... and the thought that the 1366 mobo gives me longer lasting benefits in terms of max memory and adding a second gpu...

HHmmm maybe I should go back to the drawing board...
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December 14, 2009 12:49:06 PM

g_patsil said:

Silmarunya thanks for your reply as well!

Wouldn't running many computational intense applications at the same time utilize the hyperthreading? I am also doing some parallel programming. I spend most of the time on research so I would think that having 8 "available" cores would be increasing my throughput. I also seem to need RAM for my applications.. I was actually considering an upgrade to 12 GB for the near future.. depending on how the 6GB worked for me... so I m not sure how the 4GB would be better...

I was also trying to avoid having to do any upgrades within the next 2-3 years (other than ram)... although it seems like it would be necessary due to the graphics card... However upgrading the graphics card is easier than possibly needing to upgrade the cpu/memory as well..

HHmmmm maybe the 1156/P55 is a better choice although the only reason I did not consider it from the beginning was the overclocking issues (socket contact problems) that I read about... and the thought that the 1366 mobo gives me longer lasting benefits in terms of max memory and adding a second gpu...

HHmmm maybe I should go back to the drawing board...


In that case you might see benefit from hyperthreading in the most intensive situation. As such, I certainly recommend the i7-860, but I stand my case that you'll get no benefit at all out of a 920.

I never said 4GB is better than 6, all I said is that even 4 is enough. If you want more RAM, it's easy to get 8GB on a 1156. As 4GB sticks are dropping in price 16GB might also come into view soon.

The faulty sockets are not that much of a problem. Some sockets (I believe even the affordable Gigabyte P55A series) use LOTES sockets which don't display a flaw. The newest Foxconn's are safe as well. The older ones only give issues with extreme overclocking and even that is uncommon. A LOTES socket P55 is still a lot cheaper than a 1366.

A good P55 mobo supports PCI-E 8x/8x which is equal to the 16x/16x offered by 1366 in real world applications. As long as you avoid a 16x/x4 configuration, both 1156 and 1366 will fill in your needs if your job is anything else than CPU/GPU benchmarker :p 

If you only play games like the above, a 5770 should suffice and you don't have to get a 5850 if you want to save some money. The games you mention will run smoothly at highest settings and tommorow's games will work smoothly at high/upper medium settings as well.
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December 15, 2009 12:40:24 PM

Thanks for the reply once again!

ok assuming I switch to the i5 750... to save on money... which mobo do you suggest?

I was looking at these ones:

Intel BOXDP55WB LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

or

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

or possibly this (although this is on the pricier side)

ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

open to others as well (as long as they are cheaper)... and considering a possible switch to the 860 might happen in 1-2 years... if I need the HT...

I would still have the 5770 graphics card and I would switch to the Antec 902 (also per your suggestion... since it looks cooler and seems to be not as loud as the 1200)

which power supply would be good? I was looking at this one:

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

but also considering the

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail


and for RAM:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail

Does this configuration look good?

It comes to around $800-850 which leaves me some money for a monitor as well as possibly buying a sageTV bundle to stream to my HDTV. It also looks like I would be able to maybe upgrade to a i7 860 in a year or two after the price drops a little more...

Any thoughts?

Also any good keyboard/mouse ideas?
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December 15, 2009 1:51:59 PM

FIFA '10? It's kinda demanding. Also, what fps? Crysis Warhead? CoD6? And how do you intend to play the games on the dual monitors? On both or on 1 of them? Max out image quality? HD 5770 would be great for 1920x1080. Go higher like HD 5850 if you game on both monitors with maxed out IQ. But you must do so in windowed mode. The only way.

Go with this mobo instead for USB 3.0 & SATA 6 G/bs. Semi-future proof.

ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Ripjaws is good with P55.

Now onto the case. 902 is a little tigher fit for HD 5770 whose rear power connection sticks out. Or you could move the harddisks to the bottom of the case. It's a mid tower case.

http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/cases/2009/antec-ni...
http://www.techspot.com/articles-info/209/images/Image_...

Your best bet is a full tower case. It'll be a LOT easier to work with. Take your pick:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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December 15, 2009 8:06:38 PM

Does the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 use a foxconn socket?

Would any mid tower have this problem with the HD 5770? Would the antec 300 illusions be any different from the 902 (The 300 illusion is half the price)?

Would there be an airflow problem? or would it be just very tight?
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December 16, 2009 1:21:23 PM

Well, pretty much all mobos use foxconn sockets. The issue is blown out of proportion. I'm using P7P55D with foxconn socket and I'm letting the pc overclock i5 auto no problem.

Mid towers aren't a problem, but it will be a super tight fit for the HD 5770. Yes, this would impede airflow if there's a harddisk right in front of the gpu. If it's only 1 hdd, move it to the bottom.
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January 1, 2010 5:20:21 AM

This is the finalized setup:

Case: Antec 300 illusion
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB
DVD:Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive


CPU: i7-920
Mobo: EVGA 141-BL-E757-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58
Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1G

Total: $1009

Thanks for all the suggestions and help...

I decided on the i7 since the difference between the i7 and i5 was about $100 (i7 920 bought from microcenter the rest from newegg). Now I just have to hope all the parts are good :D 
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