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Assembling a new system built to last

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January 3, 2010 1:07:08 AM

I am putting together a system that will hopefully last me for the next 3 to 4 years. Hoping to buy the parts within the coming week.

System usage will mostly involve: watching movies, surfing the internet, listening to music, and occasionally play a popular gaming title (Batman Arkham Asylum and Prototype would be two titles that I would like to play once having this new system).

My most important requirement is for the system to run smoothly whilst multitasking: listening to music and having several other applications open (including Microsoft office, multiple web broswers and possibly a game such as football manager). When playing games I want the display quality between medium to high.

Please advise me on the following set-up, cost-saving is not the number 1 priority, however if a part is blatantly unnecessary, the money saved would be nice. I just want a well performing system that will last me for the next few years so I won’t have to think of upgrading for a long time.

CPU: Core i5-750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: Gigabyte P55-UD4P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333 Kingston
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card: Gainward GTX 260 896MB DDR3 OR HIS 1GB ATI Radeon 5770
http://www.gainward.com/main/vgapro.php?id=106
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: Seasonic M12D 80+750W OR Antec EartWatts 750W
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/740/10
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE: Antec Sonata II (Reuse but replacing power source)

I just have a few questions regarding the above setup that hopefully you guys can help me with.
1. I think a good PSU would be important because I often leave my computer on overnight to download so a quiet power source is essential. Which PSU would you recommend?
2. Will all the above components fit into my medium tower Sonata II case?
3. This will be my first time attempting to assemble an entire system from scratch, even though there are extensive walkthroughs on putting the various components together, are the risks of damaging the parts from inexperience high enough to justify paying extra for a tech to assemble it?
4. Do the above components mesh together well enough to avoid any bottlenecking issues?
5. I hear that the newer CPUs are prone to overheating, would it be necessary for me to purchase an additional CPU cooling device in addition to the stock given?
6. I will be purchasing a copy of Windows 7 as my OS, but would like to know whether to buy the 32 bit or the 64 bit, what would be the difference?

Thanks in advance for the help guys!
January 3, 2010 3:46:39 PM

1. A low-power home server would be a better match for this task. For GTX 260, a 500W will suffice unless you plan to upgrade the GPU to a next-gen card. Look for 80% or higher efficiency rating in a psu. Antec, OCZ, Sparkle, Fortron, etc. would be good brands.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gtx_260_us...

2. Why wouldn't they? The key thing to look for is form factor which is ATX for the case & mobo & psu. However, you can't have a behind-the-hdd-cage fan if you want the long GTX 260 card. It's a semi-tight fit. Not as a super-tigher fit as a HD 5000 whose power connectors are in the rear.

3. Nope. Unless you're talking about aliens who don't need to touch anything, but beam 'em together. lol. Any technie still can make mistakes. I can. Just make sure you hook up your psu to an outlet and touch it before handling parts. Lay parts out on top of their boxes, memory on anti-static bag (from hdd), on a desk/table top. Don't do it on your carpet. Hold the parts by their edges. Defo not touch any integrated chips.

4. Batman is a pretty demanding game. You've seen the screenshots. Almost life like. In 3D. You may not be able to crank up the image quality to the max. Resolution possibly. Prototype isn't as demanding.

5. You heard that from where? newegg user's comments? You can disregard that. I'm running the 750 on stock cooler with Turbo mode on (auto overclocking) no problem since day 1.

6. The only major difference is 32bit sees up to 4GB and 64bit sees more than 4GB of memory.

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January 3, 2010 4:25:07 PM

If the case is the only thing "coming over", I'd suggest keeping the old PC as a home media server and building a new.

Case - Antec Six Hundred
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - Looking at the newegg product page for the above, I see "Customers also bought" the CP-850 PSU...I have not been able to confirm this as have seen no reviews as yet for that case, but if you can fit the CP-850 in there, it's an unbeatable combination for twin GFX cards. The reason I mention two GFX cards is, depending on your resolution, you may want to consider this option. Considering what you'd save if not buying the Seasonic PSU, this case is almost free.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/batman-arkham-asylu...

A single GeForce 9600 GT isn't going to cut it if you want a 30 FPS minimum frame rate. You'll need a GeForce GTS 250 to play at 1680x1050 with normal PhysX enabled, and a GeForce GTX 260 can just handle 1920x1200. With PhysX set to High, even the GeForce GTX 260 can't handle a minimum frame rate of 30 FPS at 1280x1024, so you should consider a dedicated PhysX card if you want high resolution play (and you have a free PCI Express slot available on your motherboard).

The good news here is that a GeForce GT 220 can be had for as little as $65 online, and as a dedicated PhysX card, it will guarantee that the High PhysX setting won't bottleneck performance. Even at 1920x1200, the GT 220 produced a minimum frame rate of 36 FPS as a dedicated PhysX card. Using more expensive solutions as dedicated PhysX processors didn't produce appreciably higher frame rates, so the GeForce GT 220 is a real PhysX champion for the price.


Quote:
1. I think a good PSU would be important because I often leave my computer on overnight to download so a quiet power source is essential. Which PSU would you recommend?


Start here:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_PSUs

The site is dedicated to silent computing and if it's on the Editor's Choice List here, you can be sure that it is both extremely quiet and an outstanding performer electrically.

Then check this:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article971-page7.html
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

Quote:
2. Will all the above components fit into my medium tower Sonata II case?


My youngest son has an Antec Lanboy and it won't fit in there.....IIRC, the 260 is 10.5 inches long, so we went with a 250 for his box.

Quote:
3. This will be my first time attempting to assemble an entire system from scratch, even though there are extensive walkthroughs on putting the various components together, are the risks of damaging the parts from inexperience high enough to justify paying extra for a tech to assemble it?


One of the reasons I like to have a recent build nearby is so I can see how I did something last time .... hey I'm 55 in a month, I forget :) 

MoBo - newegg lists it as a deactivated item....newer models have USB 3 and 6 GB/s SATA

Consider this for i5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This for i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
4. Do the above components mesh together well enough to avoid any bottlenecking issues?


1156 socket MoBos are limited, to my experience, to either one PCI-E x 16 or two PCI-E x 8 GFX lanes. That means at some point, depending on the GFX cards used, you will saturate the x8 lane and bottleneck the system to an extent. In the batman instance described above, a 260 w/ a 220 for PhysX, that wouldn't be an issue.

BTW, the 5770 ain't gonna do PhysX on Batman. From the above linked THG article.

Turning on PhysX isn't necessary for gameplay, and you'll never miss it if you don't see the effects. However, when PhysX is enabled, it adds superlative nuances and really creates some “wow” moments. The chunky explosions, cloth effects, paper, fog, and environmental detail enhancements are very cool.....There is a high price to pay for PhysX performance, but I have to admit that the eye candy is a lot of fun to watch. Once you've turned it on, it's not something you'll turn off if your hardware can handle it.

Quote:
5. I hear that the newer CPUs are prone to overheating, would it be necessary for me to purchase an additional CPU cooling device in addition to the stock given?


Only to the extent that they are so easily overclockable that they are consuming way more wattage than the Intel stock cooler was designed for. If not OC'ing, then the stock cooler is fine.

Quote:
6. I will be purchasing a copy of Windows 7 as my OS, but would like to know whether to buy the 32 bit or the 64 bit, what would be the difference?


I'd buy the 64 bit pro version....let's you use more than 4 GB if you later want to add and has XP mode of you run into trouble with something.
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