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$1,000 budget power system with some HTPC / gaming

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January 3, 2010 11:57:37 AM

Thanks for your help. My brother and I are building a system. (He's actually building it. He's my younger brother, so I'm the manager.) His wife works at Intel so we get discount parts there. He asked me about mobo's and video cards.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this month or so

BUDGET RANGE: $900-1,100

SYSTEM USAGE, measured in terms of probable time usage: surfing the internet, business applications, gaming, HTPC & watching movies (if hooked up to Hi Def TV)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, Windows 7 OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Just gave away my PS3 and am trying to figure out whether to replace it, or add similar functionality to this build; i.e., internal blu ray drive in computer to play to HDTV. Presumably this build would equal or exceed PS3 in gaming capacity.

Draft budget specs:

Case $130 - includes 650 watt power supply

CPU $150 - I7-860 or I7-920

video card $160

MB $200

HD $100 1tb

Memory - $100 - 4 (or probably 6) gig DDR3 1600

DVD or Blu Ray internal drive with DVD writing...

Thanks! Happy New Year to you and yours. Let me know if you have further questions.
January 3, 2010 3:00:19 PM

The thing with PC Bluray is not the products or availability, it's the software. You need Bluray-capable software. Most BD drives come with Cyberlink, but it must be updated. A bit of things to deal with before you can actually have as good an out-of-the-box experience with a standalone BD player or PS3 (auto-plays movies when inserted). It's FAR from plug & play or pray. Then there's the audio headache. My last ATI HD4800 card switched the default output to the other output after a driver update. Almost pulled my hair out & rma'ed the thing. My nvIDIA Geforce 260 can't output HTMI video on W7 unless I plug in both HDMI AND VGA/D-SUB so that I can switch output after W7 boots up to HDMI by pressing a shortcut key. That's retarded if you ask me. I did google around and found no single solution. Obviously, MS decided to test everything on D-SUB/VGA and TOTALLY neglected the HDMI crowd. Oh yeah, I installed the latest drivers for both cards & fiddled with both Windows & driver settings. Don't get me started with separate Realtek, ATI & nVidia HD audio drivers. They're retarded. Realtek should be the one doing it and no others.

The only semi-perfect experience is Vista where I can switch to any output at will or use only 1 output at a time. So for the time being, I'm sticking with Vista.

Too many restrictions on individual parts. A whole budget for everything will do. Is it ok if I list the parts as long as they're within your total budget? Oh and you can't get 860/920 for $150 from newegg.
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January 3, 2010 8:38:15 PM

Hi P55,

Thanks for your reply and thoughts. Very insightful on the HTPC potential conflicts. So you're in favor of standalone Blu ray player or PS3 (at this point in the product cycle)?

OS - We're going Windows 7. Yours is one of the few positive comments on Vista I've heard.

We're flexible on budget breakdown in general and among parts; i.e., we'll pay a little more now for a better machine lasting longer. So we're happy to get your thoughts, especially on :

I7/57 or the straight I7 (socket 1156 or 1366)?

Related motherboards?

Graphics card?

Here's where we are. Bro bought some cases and power supplies. He's building 2 computers, 1 for him, 1 for me. (See below.)

Total for cases is about $300 but there are $140 in rebates so net is about $80 per case and power supply. He had to get slightly different ones since there was a limit on one rebate per address.

1 x (10011747) AZZA CSAZ-900 Fantom 900 ATX SECC Mid Tower Case Black Retail @ $99.99

1 x (10011753) AZZA PSAZ-650B14 Dynamo 650 650W SLI/CrossFire Power Supply Retail @ $61.99

1 x (10011750) AZZA CSAZ-910 ATX Helios 910 SECC Mid Tower Case Black Retail @ $74.99

1 x (10011754) AZZA PSAZ-850B14 Dynamo 850 850W SLI/CrossFire Power Supply Retail @ $69.99

Thanks again for your help,
Turner
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January 4, 2010 12:29:31 PM

A cheap Bluray is about $100. It works out of the box. No headaches. Some internal PC BD drives don't come with BD software. That means another $100. The only good reason to build a HTPC is to stream content from a subscription or play local files like mkv (HD). If you don't mind the work & extra cost, go ahead & build one.

FYI, the PS3 uses a custom nvidia geforce 7800 gpu which is outdated by today's pc standard. Any modern mid-to-high-end gpus will beat the crap out of PS3 in terms of graphics, but that doesn't mean PC games will look better than PS3's. It depends on the games & developers. The major difference is on pc you CAN change in-game image quality whereas on PS3/XBOX, you can't do that other than resolutions & input/output.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSX_%27Reality_Synthesizer...

With that said, I'm recommending the following:

--
quantity of item 1


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152181
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy



$54.99

select item 2 quantity of item 2


SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814102864
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

Protect Your Investment (expand for options14-102-864S7458|hide options14-102-864S7458)

Service Net Replacement Extended Warranty Plan

The product will be replaced and shipped directly to you at no charge(more info14-102-864.0.18)

* 1 year: $19.99
* 2 year: $35.99

-$10.00 Instant


$164.99
$154.99

1

OCZ Diesel 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Model OCZUSBDSL4G

OCZ Diesel 4GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Model OCZUSBDSL4G - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227331
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy

-$13.99 Saving


$13.99
$0.00

select item 4 quantity of item 4


OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817341019
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

-$20.00 Instant
$25.00 Mail-in Rebate Card17-341-019

$99.99
$79.99

select item 5 quantity of item 5


OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK

OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK - Retail
Item #: N82E16820227346
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

-$12.00 Instant


$89.99
$77.99

select item 6 quantity of item 6


ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131621
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy



$189.99

select item 7 quantity of item 7


LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner

LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner - Retail
Item #: N82E16827136162
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy



$119.99

Subtotal: $677.94
--

Up to $928 before tax & shipping including a $100 case & $150 cpu if you can get that for that price. It'd be i7 860. The mobo supports SLI & Crossfire shall you want to upgrade. It also supports USB 3 & SATA 6. No need for mobo upgrade for a while. The PSU has a rebate so the final price is $55. It's 700W which can power even 2 HD 5870s/5850s or 1 HD 5970.

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

If you want a TB drive, this:

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$84.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 4, 2010 12:56:57 PM

One change to the above. Switch the mobo for a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P. It's a little cheaper, and has the same features.

The CPU would NOT be the i7-860. That's usually $280. It would be the i5-750 for $200 ($150 if you get it from Microcenter). The differences are small (other than the price), but the 860 would be slightly better for multitasking. I highly recommend saving the $80 and getting an i5.
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January 4, 2010 8:09:23 PM

P55,
So in general you would recommend against an HTPC as we could get 90% there with a Blu ray player and Roku box. (if it ain't broke, don't fix it.) In which case we wouldn't need the Blu ray reader in this system, and could go with a dvd read / write drive.
This system will generally game better than a PS3, so no need for a PS3 on that account.
Sounds good!

MadAdmiral,
My sister in law works at Intel, so we could score discounts on those CPU's and mobos.
I just ordered 64 bit Win 7. My brother had ordered 32 bit.
Any other thoughts?
thanks!
Turner
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January 5, 2010 1:15:35 PM

Yes, correct. Swap the BD reader/DVD writer out for a plain Jane DVD burner. Call it a day. That's exactly what I'd do.

MadAdmiral recommended a mobo for a few bucks cheaper. I know Gigabyte. This mobo in particular has this minus.

Quote:
When utilizing the PCI-8X slot SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 becomes disabled.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=1...

Not just newegg, but some other forums said the same thing.

Translation: If you plug a card in the 2nd PCI-E slot, USB 3 & SATA 6 will be disabled. That's a major no no. I know this is a HTPC which rarely uses Crossfire or SLI which both of the boards support. The Asus board is how it is done right. No disabling of anything. Just plug it in. You got the option to go SLI/Crossfire while using USB 3 & SATA 6. That's why I always recommend the ASUS mobo.
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January 5, 2010 1:20:42 PM

I know about the disabling "problem", but if the OP is not going to Crossfire/SLI, save the few bucks.

As far as the i7-860 goes, are you sure there isn't a discount on the i5 as well? It's a better CPU than the 860, and the 860 and 920 are usually the same price anyway. I'd look into it. I would suggest the 920 at that price, but that would add a good $200 to the cost for the motherboard and the extra stick of RAM.
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January 10, 2010 1:43:11 PM

Video cards - do you think it's worth paying a couple extra bucks (~$25) to upgrade from the Sapphire Radeon 5770 to the XFX Radeon 4890? Thanks!
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January 11, 2010 2:10:52 PM

They're different animals. HD 5000 is DirectX 11 for Windows 7 whereas HD 4000 is DirectX 10 for Vista. You can def. run the HD 4890 in W7, but it's last gen. Both cards perform about the same, but HD 4890 wins out in a few games. If you ask me, I'd get the 5770. But I can afford more. :) 
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January 11, 2010 4:02:39 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I know about the disabling "problem", but if the OP is not going to Crossfire/SLI, save the few bucks.

As far as the i7-860 goes, are you sure there isn't a discount on the i5 as well? It's a better CPU than the 860, and the 860 and 920 are usually the same price anyway. I'd look into it. I would suggest the 920 at that price, but that would add a good $200 to the cost for the motherboard and the extra stick of RAM.


Seems like you reccomend the i5's over the i7's in your posts, can you explain why? Also, can you suggest a solid i5 build?
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January 12, 2010 1:58:10 PM

JOSH2010, start a new thread and we'll talk.
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January 12, 2010 6:21:25 PM

p55ibexpeak said:
JOSH2010, start a new thread and we'll talk.

starting
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