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$900 design/gaming PC

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February 23, 2010 8:18:48 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as possible
BUDGET RANGE: $800-$900 (can squeeze $1k but I would prefer not to and use the extra $$ on software)
Before / After Rebates: prefer before but I'm fine with after

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Design (AutoCAD, CS4, & Google SketchUp etc.), Gaming (MMOs, and graphically pretty ones too :p ), WebSurfing (I need suggestions for flawless virus protection), Word processing (Microsoft Office). Anything else should be covered by the rest of it...

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I will be getting the monitor(s), mouse and keyboard separate.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: whichever is reliable and cheap is definitly a plus.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like suggestions on quality parts. I'm not about labels. I'm all about quality and lasting parts.

OVERCLOCKING: probably not
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: probably not?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I'm not picky...

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm a first timer so please explain things to me as if I was a 5 year old :)  I could buy one but I don't feel like dealing with all the poopy trial offers and junk all the manufacturers include on it. Am I asking for too much?

Thanks!!! :hello: 

More about : 900 design gaming

February 23, 2010 8:23:46 PM

Do you need an OS?

We need to know monitor resolution you intend on playing games with so we can suggest an appropriate video card.
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February 23, 2010 8:38:59 PM

Here's a build that will play any game maxed out at 19080 by 12040 resolution.

You have an extra PCI-x16 slot if you want to crossfire down the road.

Total comes to $882 after mail in rebates.


If madadmiral comes in here I'm sure he'd have a better suggestion then what I have selected.

http://i50.tinypic.com/2cdhoib.png

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February 23, 2010 8:40:58 PM

I was going to get Windows 7 and the resolution is going to probably be 1280 x 1024 or higher.
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February 23, 2010 9:07:02 PM

Is the monitor included in the $900?
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February 23, 2010 9:11:21 PM

no someone else is buying the monitor, mouse and keyboard.
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February 23, 2010 9:29:27 PM

Thanks so much! :)  How is this build for upgrading later on?
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February 23, 2010 9:34:19 PM

When the new AMD processors come out the motherboard will support them. And when you start having trouble playing games at desired settings you can pop in another 5850 and you'll be set for another few years.

It also has 2 more ram slots so you can upgrade to 8GB / 12GB ram (2x2GB + 2x2GB OR 2x2GB +2x4GB)

You can always pop in another Hard drive whenever you want, and the power supply has enough watts/amps to supply all of the above.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 24, 2010 12:21:48 AM

What types of design programs do you use? I know that some run a lot better with nVidia GPUs, so you might want to double check that.

whitefang's looks pretty good, but a few tweaks:

CPU/Mobo: X4 925 and Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 $210 after rebate.

RAM: If you don't mind rebate, these Mushkin sticks are the same speed as the first Ripjaws for $105 after rebate.

GPU/PSU: I would see if this combo comes back in stock: HD 5850 and OCZ StealthXStream 700W $325 after rebate

OS: Note that that's the 32 bit version of Windows. You want the 64 bit version. They're the same price.

I believe all of that comes to $887 after rebates.
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February 24, 2010 12:40:20 AM

Oh woops O.o
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February 24, 2010 4:26:23 AM

Thanks for posting! I know I will be using CS4 and AutoCAD. I will probably dabble in Google SketchUp also. As far as I know, those will need the most graphics-wise.
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February 24, 2010 7:29:53 AM

May I suggest that as a designer first and gamer second, according to your list, you might consider a few changes:

A Quad core CPU works much more effectively in the design programs you mentioned, and RAM is everything in handling big files. The above mentioned CPU in the second build is a Triple Core, and of the Athlon range (lacking L3 cache). I would suggest a Phenom II Quad core if possible instead. Also know that most of the AMD line run quite cool stock, and can usually be overclocked by at least a few hundred mhz at stock ratings quite easily, giving you a nice "free" speed boost. Adobe and such design programs scale perfectly with processor speed increases, meaning they work as fast as your computer will ... a fast PC helps your productivity.

The 5850 is a fantastic gaming card, but there are other options. I'm a supporter of the 5770 for mid-range gaming enthusiasts. I'm running a 24" LCD @ 1080p, and honestly, for 90% of the games out there this card kicks serious, fullscreen, graphically awesome, hi-res butt. I know, bragging rights for Crysis will not be mine, but my gaming experience far exceeds my expectations, so I suggest saving the $170 difference between the two cards and spending that money on doubling the RAM and Hard Drive space. The option of adding a 2nd 5770 or upgrading will always exist, and video cards are the fastest component to go out of date these days, it depends on your needs now.

This 5770 should overclock well:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And again, do consider extra HDD space. The programs you mention LOVE to chew up HDD space. I suggest getting a pair of drives if possible, one approx 500gb for the Windows and programs install, and another for your media and data, preferably up near 1 Tb+ if possible. Splitting your data from your operating system can help protect it, and allow you to manage your HDD usage more effectively. The design programs require large page-files therefore need plenty of free HDD space. I like to keep my OS HDD at around 50-60% capacity at the absolute most. Things start taking longer to work or happen beyond there.

Also consider investing in a large, widescreen monitor. The extra desktop space is worth it's weight in gold when manipulating large Photoshop files and spreading out all the panels, also in multitasking (I never fullscreen anything anymore and have multiple windows open at once, great for visual designing).

You will thank yourself in the long run as a student if you invest in these things.

But if it's really the gaming you're into, the above suggestions are spot on.
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April 14, 2010 12:48:12 AM

So after referring to here and a few other sources I have decided on this build (sorry I don't know how to upload a screen shot):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I went low since price is my #1 factor now. I would appreciate any input on my choices and I would also need suggestions/advice on a CD/DVD drive/writer (nothing big, it just needs to work) and what should I look for in a monitor. Let me know if I missed anything.

Thanks for your help!!
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April 14, 2010 5:11:52 PM

Thanks for that suggestion.
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April 14, 2010 6:35:56 PM

You might want to get slightly better case (Antec 200 is a lot better and not that much more expensive for example). After all, you're using hardware that can be somewhat hot, so good cooling matters.

To save a few dollars, get a 955 CPU. It's just as good. Extreme overclockers see a benefit from the 965, but no one else. And since you don't even buy a CPU cooler, you're clearly not an overclocker.
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April 14, 2010 11:35:34 PM

you might want to nix the ati vid card and go with an nvidia one. autocad has problems with the ati catalyst drivers. when they release the 10.4 drivers see what the autocad community says.
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