APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: The sooner the better, but I am willing to wait and buy components over time, if needed, to get the best deal.
BUDGET RANGE: $900 after rebates if possible!
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Multitasking, Media (streaming with media center; watching and recording TV, mp3 playing and converting; movie watching; video ripping, editing, and converting), surfing the internet, photo editing, 3D CAD modeling (in student version of Pro/Engineer), working from home with basic Office programs. I don't play games on my PC.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS (will be using Win7 Pro 64 bit). I plan on buying a monitor separately outside of this price range.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com. I have a Frys locally as well and travel to cities with MicroCenter (I've seen their awesome price on the i7-920 processor for $199). Open to other dependable sites if the price is right.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: Leaning towards Intel i7-920 or i7-930 and x58 socket 1366 for future upgrades. Considered i7-860 and i5-750 as well. I hate waiting for processors while converting or editing videos or photos and typically run many programs at once so that's why I lean towards the ones I mention. Want at least 1TB hard drive and a cheap DVD burner. I thought I could save money on the GPU (since I don't game), but want the option of 2 monitors one of which will be 25" minimum, 1920x1200, and I don't know what is needed for TV watching, recording, or my CAD modeling. Maybe a cheaper 1GB GPU?
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe in the future, but plan on stock heat-sink for now
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Need to buy an LCD (recommendations welcome). Planning on at least 25", likely 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want an understated full-tower case that looks nice without any crazy lights or clear openings. Quiet would be ideal. I don't buy computers very often at all (5 years minimum) so I want something as high end and future ready as possible. I've never built my own machine so any advice is very much appreciated. Thanks!
Possible components so far:
CPU: i7-920 for $199.99 at Microcenter
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R $199 at Microcenter. This is a shot in the dark, but I like the possibility of USB 3.0 if it's worth it.
CPU:[/] i7-920 - Good choice - great lvl CPU and gives you the option to OC later if you want
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R - I am running this board and for the money it is fantastic. As you mentioned the USB 3.0, 6 GBs Sata speed, and also has 6 slots for memory over the previous board that only had 3.
Case: You could go for this one (same as I went with) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - has some decent fans on board with the ability to add more if you need. Also a button to turn off the LED's if you dont want a big glowing case. The front mounted e-sata and 4 fat USB ports are also helpful. Overall good value for money.
Perhaps if you could find some RAM a little cheaper it might make it easier to stay within budget - but this system above would get you close and offer a nice setup
good point! If not gaming then you can go cheaper on the GFX and save more. Just about any GFX card would run the basic's you have mentioned. Depending on the type of CAD work, and your budget, the 57 may still be ok
I was thinking ATI because that is what everyone seems to recommend, but I don't think I need to spend over $100 to meet my needs. Any advice on GPUs below $100? There's so many of them out there, and so many versions of the same board, I'm totally confused about what to go for.
I like that case, and the ability to turn off the LEDs is an option that I like. I've also seen some in the $50 range like the Antec 300 and Cooler Master Elite 335. Are there big advantages to spending more money on the cases? Sorry, but this is one area that I really haven't researched much yet.
They will tell you there are reasons to spend heaps on a case but in most cases it comes down to preference and what you like.
Decide on the size you are after - ATX, tower etc and then get one that you like the look of. You did mention that you wanted a full tower and one that is quiet so bear that in mind when considering the number of fans etc.
Some of the more expensive cases will have extras - adjustable fan controls, front mount ports, better quality fans which would run more quietly etc.
some would say the better option is to go for something that isn't plastic - better build quality. Perhaps one that is "Toolless" so you don't have to worry about if you need to change things out.
Antec and Cooler Master make great cases IMO so you cant really go wrong with options from them.
I chose that CM Scout case for me because I liked the design / build quality. Good cable routing options - heaps of space for HDD's, and with plenty of options to run more fans if needed later on. I think it runs pretty quiet as well - certainly doesn't sound like a jet taking off or anything
The cases you have mentioned and the ones i pointed out are mid towers - not a full tower. But for the system you are running unless you really want a full tower you dont need one
Thanks demandred. I think maybe I'll go to Fry's or something and look at cases to see what the size options are and what size I like. I do like the fan controls as well as the front mounted USB and eSATA so the CM Scout looks nice so far. I'll look into those video cards. The more options people give me, the more confused I'm getting :-).
I need some final help on my build. Hoping to buy tomorrow!
CPU: I already bought the i7-930 at Microcenter
Mobo: Still leaning towards the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R. Has USB 3.0 and is around $200. Concerned with some reviews saying the onboard audio is not great. I'll be using this with a nice set of computer speakers and listening to a lot of music. Any concerns from those that have this board??
GPU: Still can't decide, but want 1GB memory on the card for sure. Could go 5670 or 4850 for around $110, 4670 for around $80. I guess I'm open to the NVidia cards as well if they're recommended, possibly a 9600GT or maybe a GTS 250 if there's a sale.
Case: Considering Storm Scout, Antec 900, CM HAF922. Really like the idea of the 4 USBs and eSata on the Storm Scout, but also like the idea of being able to control the fans. Saw the Antec 300 at Fry's today for $49.99 and would give up the eSata, but it has the ability to control fan speed. I guess I'm leaning towards that to save some money unless I'm better off spending more on the other cases I mentioned.
Hopefully this post finds you before you buy a Graphics card... I highly recommend a professional workstation graphics adapter if you do not game as they are optimized for CAD and video work (encoding, etc.). I used a gaming card for cad for a while and was very frustrated compare to what I used at the office. I invested into an ati v7700 and have not regretted it.