Advice on <$800 new build media server/moderate gaming

Hello I've been out of the loop in DIY systems for a while and would like your advice on a new build for a system mainly for watching movies/transcoding movies and stream to my PS3 in the living room. I would like to be able to play games like Starcraft 2 (if it does come out; I don't believe it will require much graphics processing power). Mainly the system will be used for streaming/transcoding movies.

The system will be connected to a 1920X1080 display (TV) and 1920X1200 (monitor), one at a time or simultaneously. Graphics card should have HDMI connectivity.


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watching movies, transcoding movies, play games

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, any type of software (including OS).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg or other online retailer shipping to US. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: intel preferred, non-flashy case, low-noise solutions welcome.

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No, unless it's cheaper to go with SLI.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 (one at a time or simultaneously)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: no flashy case please and less noise preferred.
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  1. Best answer
    OK I threw this together, it should at least be a good starting point.

    Case: Cooler Master 590 -- I personally own this case and love it, it's simple, not flashy and easy to work in.

    Motherboard: Gigabyte P55

    Video Card: ATI 5770

    Power Supply: Corsair 650

    Processor: i5 750

    Memory: Corsair DDR3 1333 at 1.5v

    HD: 500GB WD Black

    Total is $799

    This should give you an idea where to start. You can go for a 5750 video card and save about $20. You can probably find a decent power supply for a little less, but the Corsair is very nice.
  2. Oh and I completely forgot DVD drives if you need them.
  3. Thanks for your help!
  4. I think this would provide and excellent i5 System:

    Intel Core i5-750- Retail - $200 and free shipping

    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s – Retail $185

    You might be interested in an article about the UD – ultra durable – feature of the Gigabyte mobos:,2094.html

    And here is a review on the mobo above and 6 other mobos in the same price range:,2463.html

    The conclusion on the last page of the article states:
    The four boards that remained 100% stable are Gigabyte’s $170 P55-UD4P, Biostar’s $185 TPower I55, Asus’ $195 P7P55D EVO, and EVGA’s $200 P55-SLI. Of these, Gigabyte’s P55-UD4P has the second-highest CPU overclock, highest base clock, highest memory clock for high-end four-module configurations, lowest power consumption, and lowest VRM temperature. Gigabyte’s P55-UD4P also has the lowest price of the four top-quality boards and is thus the best value in its class.

    The UD2 board listed above is a micro-ATX rather than full ATX form factor. The UD4P has a slot for a second graphics card should you later think about adding (but note that the PSU is not sized to SLI or Crossfire) but also already has USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 GB/s - which might be helpful later if you are moving large video files to other devices. You could save $25 by going to the UD3P - you would still have the faster USB and SATA just no second graphics card slot. Here is a quick comparison of the three cards:

    Combo Deal on CPU and Mobo listed above saves $20 – total cost $365

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK - Retail - $97
    Timings: 8-8-8-21

    Graphics Card
    BFG GTS 250 1GB PCI-Express Video Card - Retail - $100 and AR

    NOTE: $20 rebate ends TODAY

    Here is THG list showing the best cards for each budget level and the GTS 260 was selected for the $120 budget level. BFG is my preferred manufacturer and their cards come with a lifetime warranty.,2491.html

    This card does not have an HDMI connector - but according to their website it is HDMI capable (requires adapter and audio cable, sold separately). It also has the nVidia advantage of Physx - I believe more programs will be taking advantage of using the graphics card to offload certain processing from the CPU - like what might be done in transcoding movies.

    COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail - $60 and free shipping

    Note that the 690 costs less than the 590 listed by another above only because of a rebate - the retail price is higher. It also saves an addtional $10 on shipping cost. Here is a quick comparison of the two cases:

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail - $50 AR

    Note that this is an excellent PSU – tier 2 on this list same as the Corsair:

    Hard Drive
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $70 and free shipping

    DVD RW
    Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support - OEM - $35 and free shipping

    Total Cost - $777 - AR and before OS, shipping – where applicable, and taxes
  5. personally i think i have a better hardrive idea. the samsung spinpoint f3 is the best out that is not ssd. i would go with it plus its pretty cheap. SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (more details below). on newegg this runs for about $55
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