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$1200 multimedia design student Computer

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January 21, 2010 2:43:06 AM

My parents are going to buy me a computer in a few days. I need your guys' advice in this build of mine. I've read a lot and formulated a pretty nifty list, I just want to get the most bang per buck and most power efficient rig that I could get.

BUDGET: $1000-1200
USAGE: Sony Vegas pro 9 (currently not editing HD, but soon), learning Adobe Essentials CS4 (Premier, Aftereffects, Flash and stuff), Video recording (Fraps, Camtasia), and your normal word processing and net browsing.

I'm kinda typing in a rush right now, so I'm not going to add prices and links right now, I'll edit it later.

OVERCLOCK: No, I don't know how and Its hot in my place (Philippines)

CPU: Intel Core i7 860 or i5 750
MOBO: MSI CD53 P55 or Asus P755D LE (You guys can suggest ECS, Foxconn and other boards, though the foxconn is one I fear)
GPU: Powercolor 5750 512mb
RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB DDR3 1333mhz (2GBx2)
HDD: 1tb Western Digtal Green Power 64mb OR 1tb Seagate SATA 32mb
PSU: Corsair CMPSU 550 VX 550W
FAN: Coolermaster Hyper 212

MONITOR: AOC 2236VW LED 21" 1920x1080

So guys what is it good? As a student computer do you think I need this? Is this power efficient enough or watt guzzling?

I do not game a lot, only play old games (midnight club 2, warcraft 3, red alert 4, need for speed series)

Do you think I'd need the multithreading of i7 860 for my menial tasks?

Answer me please, quickly guys. I'm going to buy in a few days.
January 21, 2010 3:22:24 AM

CPU
I strongly recommend the i7-860. The tasks you list are not menial but can tax the CPU to the fullest - especially the video editing and encoding applications. The hyperthreading will become more important over time as applications learn to more fully utilize this resource to increase performance.

MOBO
I prefer Gigabyte boards for the overclocking and support provided and the UD – ultra durable – construction/

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gigabyte-ultra-dura...

Also note the Gigabyte ultradurable boards selected by THG in their recent $2,500 Performance and $1,300 Enthusiast Builds:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-new-pc,2497.h...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-own-pc,2503.h...

This would be an excellent for SLI or Crossfire:

GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can also get a more expensive version with that the new SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 incorporated:

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Although note there are some limitations on how it was incorporated into the P55 design:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-performance...

VIDEO CARD
Given the CPU intensive applications you use, I strongly recommend an nVidia card to take advantage of its CUDA technology to assist the CPU on certain tasks. If you are not familiar with CUDA, here are a few articles you might find informative:

Here is an explanation of what CUDA is designed to do – note that the first article is almost two years old and the second one year:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-cuda-gpu,195...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-cuda-gpgpu,2...

And an overview with FAQ from Benchmark Reviews (almost 2 years old):

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Nvidia CUDA 2.0 Delivers Photoshop Plug-in Acceleration
8/22/08
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/nvidia-cuda-photoshop,news-...

Cuda significantly accelerates Photoshop CS4 and Premiere CS4
9/25/08
http://www.overclock.net/graphics-cards-general/389996-...

Adobe announces GPU accelerated Flash
6/3/09
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2009/06/03/adobe-...

NVIDIA CUDA-enabled Applications Roundup
6/12/09
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=719

NVIDIA CUDA video editing application round up
7/8/09
http://www.elitebastards.com/index.php?option=com_conte...

ATI Stream vs. NVIDIA CUDA - GPGPU computing battle royale
8/07/09
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=745

Adobe Sneak Peek: Major GPU Acceleration for Video
11/27/09
http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2009/11/adobe_sneak_peek_m...

I recomend a video card like the following:

ASUS ENGTS250/DI/512MD3 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail - $110 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
Need to see actual link to know exactly which model of RAM you are considering

HDD
I prefer the Seagate drives because of their years of experience and good performance, if you use WD I suggest going with the Black version. The power savings on the Green models is very small but they have a significant performance disadvantage because of it.

The Corsair is an excellent PSU but I recommend getting at least 650w version to facilitate using two graphics cards later.
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January 21, 2010 7:34:40 AM

Thank you for the speedy and well written reply RockyJohn!

Quote:
CPU
I strongly recommend the i7-860. The tasks you list are not menial but can tax the CPU to the fullest - especially the video editing and encoding applications. The hyperthreading will become more important over time as applications learn to more fully utilize this resource to increase performance.


Got it, I'll try to grind my budget to get this baby.

Quote:
MOBO
I prefer Gigabyte boards for the overclocking and support provided and the UD – ultra durable – construction/

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gigabyte-ultra-dura...

Also note the Gigabyte ultradurable boards selected by THG in their recent $2,500 Performance and $1,300 Enthusiast Builds:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-new-pc,2497.h...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-own-pc,2503.h...

I also like Gigabyte but I'm assured that I won't be overclocking that much, so I'm also looking at the features of P55 Asus and MSI boards, so far MSI boards have the most features and others say that features of MSI are second to none.
Quote:

This would be an excellent for SLI or Crossfire:

GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can also get a more expensive version with that the new SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 incorporated:

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Although note there are some limitations on how it was incorporated into the P55 design:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-performance...

Sorry but I don't plan to go dual GPU, it won't help at all in my encoding stuff, 1 strong card would be enough.

Quote:
VIDEO CARD
Given the CPU intensive applications you use, I strongly recommend an nVidia card to take advantage of its CUDA technology to assist the CPU on certain tasks. If you are not familiar with CUDA, here are a few articles you might find informative:

Here is an explanation of what CUDA is designed to do – note that the first article is almost two years old and the second one year:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-cuda-gpu,195...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-cuda-gpgpu,2...

And an overview with FAQ from Benchmark Reviews (almost 2 years old):

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Nvidia CUDA 2.0 Delivers Photoshop Plug-in Acceleration
8/22/08
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/nvidia-cuda-photoshop,news-...

Cuda significantly accelerates Photoshop CS4 and Premiere CS4
9/25/08
http://www.overclock.net/graphics-cards-general/389996-...

Adobe announces GPU accelerated Flash
6/3/09
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2009/06/03/adobe-...

NVIDIA CUDA-enabled Applications Roundup
6/12/09
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=719

NVIDIA CUDA video editing application round up
7/8/09
http://www.elitebastards.com/index.php?option=com_conte...

ATI Stream vs. NVIDIA CUDA - GPGPU computing battle royale
8/07/09
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=745

Adobe Sneak Peek: Major GPU Acceleration for Video
11/27/09
http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2009/11/adobe_sneak_peek_m...

I recomend a video card like the following:

ASUS ENGTS250/DI/512MD3 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail - $110 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Why Gts 250? Could you please explain to me

Quote:
RAM
Need to see actual link to know exactly which model of RAM you are considering


CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1333C9 - Retail

Quote:
HDD
I prefer the Seagate drives because of their years of experience and good performance, if you use WD I suggest going with the Black version. The power savings on the Green models is very small but they have a significant performance disadvantage because of it.


Alright, 1tb Seagate Caviar (don't know the exact model). Do I need more than 1 drive? As in many drives on raid as others suggest?

Quote:
The Corsair is an excellent PSU but I recommend getting at least 650w version to facilitate using two graphics cards later.


Again, I'm quite sure I won't put an additional card in my rig.
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Related resources
January 21, 2010 3:56:54 PM

leoblack9 said:

I also like Gigabyte but I'm assured that I won't be overclocking that much, so I'm also looking at the features of P55 Asus and MSI boards, so far MSI boards have the most features and others say that features of MSI are second to none.


Here is a review of quite a few P55 mobos, including MSI and the Gigabyte board I recommended.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-motherboar...

On the last page it states:

Quote:
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.


GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

leoblack9 said:
Why Gts 250? Could you please explain to me

The GTS 250 because it can take good advantage of the CUDA technology and seems to fit within you budget range.

Its also on the THG list of the best graphics cards for the $110 price bracket. While this ranking is for gaming, if provides some indicator of the power of the card, and the ATI cards don't have CUDA.

Still, if you don't want to allocate that much, you could get by with a GT 220 or 240, depending on what your budget allows. These reviews should give you some idea if the those cards will meet your needs and which might be best, although the reviews are more oriented towards gaming rather than the applications you do:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gt-220,2445...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gt-240,2475...

Specific card recommendations:

BFG Tech BFGEGT2201024D2BE GeForce GT 220 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail - $50 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI N240GT-MD1G GeForce GT 240 1GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail - $65 AR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


leoblack9 said:
Alright, 1tb Seagate Caviar (don't know the exact model). Do I need more than 1 drive? As in many drives on raid as others suggest?

Todays top end HDs are very fast so I don't think you need to worry about RAID right now- at least not for speed. I suggest waiting, saving your money, and planning to get a much faster SSD when the technology matures and prices come down a little more - maybe in about 6 months.

A separate issue that only you can decide is if you want to pay for a second drive in RAID 1 as a mirror drive for backup purposes to protect your data.

The "Caviar" is the WD drive - Seagate is the "Barracuda". Now wouldn't you rather have a fast Barracuda than messy caviar inside your case? I have this Seagate 1 TB drive and am very happy with it:

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





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January 21, 2010 4:20:31 PM

Are you a college student? If so, I trust you are aware of the deals your college bookstore might have on Adobe products. Just last May I purchased Adobe Web Premium CS4, which has an MSRP of $1,699, for only $260. I could have purchased the Production Premium suite for the same amount. Adobe has good student pricing online at its own website but I found my bookstore had the much better deal above.

Also the Microsoft deals for college students to purchase Office Ultimate 2007 (which includes a lot more software than the more common Windows Home and School version - such as the full Outlook Express with business contacts and Access) for only $60

http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimates...
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January 21, 2010 10:52:34 PM


Quote:
Here is a review of quite a few P55 mobos, including MSI and the Gigabyte board I recommended.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-motherboar...

On the last page it states:
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.


GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Aww man, the stores here only have the Gigabyte UD3P which is a notch lower than that you suggest. Is it the same?
Quote:

The GTS 250 because it can take good advantage of the CUDA technology and seems to fit within you budget range.

Its also on the THG list of the best graphics cards for the $110 price bracket. While this ranking is for gaming, if provides some indicator of the power of the card, and the ATI cards don't have CUDA.

Still, if you don't want to allocate that much, you could get by with a GT 220 or 240, depending on what your budget allows. These reviews should give you some idea if the those cards will meet your needs and which might be best, although the reviews are more oriented towards gaming rather than the applications you do:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gt-220,2445...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gt-240,2475...

Specific card recommendations:

BFG Tech BFGEGT2201024D2BE GeForce GT 220 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail - $50 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI N240GT-MD1G GeForce GT 240 1GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail - $65 AR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Yes, I'm actually considering the GT240 now, I like the performance numbers on the GTS 250 but the consumption sways me away, I'm on the brink of being paranoid for a little wattage difference and bringing my power bills sky high.

I've checked some of the programs I'm going to use.. yes Adobe products support CUDA, but I'm still a newbie at it. It's Vegas which I'm quite adept now, and it doesn't use much (except if I buy Divide Frame plugin and some other freebie plugins) GPU, its all CPU currently.
Quote:

Todays top end HDs are very fast so I don't think you need to worry about RAID right now- at least not for speed. I suggest waiting, saving your money, and planning to get a much faster SSD when the technology matures and prices come down a little more - maybe in about 6 months.

A separate issue that only you can decide is if you want to pay for a second drive in RAID 1 as a mirror drive for backup purposes to protect your data.

The "Caviar" is the WD drive - Seagate is the "Barracuda". Now wouldn't you rather have a fast Barracuda than messy caviar inside your case? I have this Seagate 1 TB drive and am very happy with it:

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


Thank you, I'm assured now that I'm going to buy this Seagate drive, and hope that I could save money for future SSDs.

So, should I partition this giant drive into multiple drives and it'll be just as fast?

rockyjohn said:
Are you a college student? If so, I trust you are aware of the deals your college bookstore might have on Adobe products. Just last May I purchased Adobe Web Premium CS4, which has an MSRP of $1,699, for only $260. I could have purchased the Production Premium suite for the same amount. Adobe has good student pricing online at its own website but I found my bookstore had the much better deal above.

Also the Microsoft deals for college students to purchase Office Ultimate 2007 (which includes a lot more software than the more common Windows Home and School version - such as the full Outlook Express with business contacts and Access) for only $60

http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimates...


Yes I signed up for msdnaa, I got choices now, and I already have the Office Ultimate.What else should I get? I also have the CS4 essentials now.
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January 22, 2010 1:57:50 AM

The primary differences between the UD3P and U4PD are:
1. UD3P second x16 slot is only at x4 speed while 4P is at x8 speed so it is good for dual video cards - but using two video cards does not matter to you the difference is unimportant
2. UD4P has more x1 slots for other cards while 3P has more PCI slots.

Here is the comparison:

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...
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January 22, 2010 2:31:15 AM

leoblack9 said:
I've checked some of the programs I'm going to use.. yes Adobe products support CUDA, but I'm still a newbie at it. It's Vegas which I'm quite adept now, and it doesn't use much (except if I buy Divide Frame plugin and some other freebie plugins) GPU, its all CPU currently.

I believe a lot more products will start taking advantage of CUDA technology soon - it is too good a resource to ignore.

leoblack9 said:
So, should I partition this giant drive into multiple drives and it'll be just as fast?

I am not sure what you are asking. Partitioning the drive will not make it appreciably faster. I recommend partitioning the drive for convenience - into what partitions depends on your own use and preferences. However I recommend 4 partitions:
1. OS and applications - keeps this separate from rest of drive to isolate if problems with OS - then only this section will need to be reformated and reloaded. Since many applications change the Windows registry, they would need to be reloaded too. Also isolates this section for doing defragging since it must be done much more frequently.
2. Data - data that needs to be back up - makes it convenient to just back up the whole drive for periodic backups
3. Music and Videos - these are items I don't need to backup because I already have them on disc or I make one-time special discs when I load them
4. Backup partition - I use this to do quick daily backups of data file or special items on data file. Its very quick and easy and protects against accidentally erasure or corruption of data file. Off course it does not gaurd against virus, drive corruption, destruction, or theft. Other regular backups still required.

leoblack9 said:
Yes I signed up for msdnaa, I got choices now, and I already have the Office Ultimate.What else should I get? I also have the CS4 essentials now.

If you are serious about video production, it would be a good idea to get the Production Premium CS4 Suite if you can purchase the $1700 suite for something like $260 as I could have - I chose the Web Premium instead because that is my area of interest. But the Produciton Premium Suite gives you the full editions of Premier Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Flash and more. Here is the complete list of the different suites:

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/compare/
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