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General Use Home PC - 700-1000$

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April 4, 2010 4:19:36 AM

I'm putting together a new home PC. I have not built one for home use in a number of years (i've been building workstations for my office or for friends). Its time to update my home computer with the latest tech. I've read through a number of reviews/guides recently, and read through the latest posts here. Here is what i've come up with so far.

I need an all around system with some speed (as i'm tired of slow load and processing times!). I dont play any of the latest games and dont expect to any time soon. I do want crisp and fast graphics however.

Please let me know of any suggestions! I am also looking for any ways to cut costs, keep the quality, and perhaps remove waste. Thank you in advance!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This Week

BUDGET RANGE: 700-1000 max

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: general use (work/internet), streaming media, cable tv, music productions, media center, games (rarely).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: NA (Have dated widescreen monitor)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Used to buy all from newegg and zipzoomfly. Suggest any others?

PARTS PREFERENCES: Old fan of Asus, but i'm open to suggestions.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Unknown

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'd prefer a quiet computer.



Items i have currently pieced together:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - May use onboard to keep price down or upgrade to 1 x Radeon 5770

RAM: G.skill ripjaws 4GB 2x2GB DDR 1600 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD: WD Black Sata 6 640GB or Samsung spinpoint. Which is faster? Want to go SSD but may make the switch later as tech develops and prices decrease.

Case: Antec 300 or Coolermaster

Power: Unknown, leaning towards Corsair 650 or 550w

Heatsink: Coolermaster 212

DVD/Blueray: May go DVD burner, or Blueray w/ dvd burner. Depends on where the total system price falls.

I will eventually be adding a m-audio addition for inputting midi for music production.

Thanks again!

More about : general home 700 1000

April 4, 2010 4:34:03 AM

Hmm assuming you are reusing your current LCD - at a pricepoint even lower than your min this was a suggested config for a person with similiar needs but wanted firewire $489 AR Could be a Full HD 23-24" LCD is on the cards :p 
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April 4, 2010 4:35:43 AM


Cut costs = AMD/AM3 Phenom-II x3-Core @ ~2.8++GHz ...

Snappy Graphics get ASUS 890 PRO USB3 with Integrated Hybrid Graphics (great)

Speed everything up = KingstonNOW 64GB SSD (BOOT AND APPS DRIVE $150 snappy!)

... Treat yourself to a 28" LCD from Tiger Direct ($319 @ tiger.com) .. you deserve !

... Samsung makes a great SpinPoint F3 500GB content drive (for DVR, pics, mp3s) $54

Fang or Batuchka can set you up purdy.

= Alvin =
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April 4, 2010 4:41:03 AM



Well, I think my kitty is lo-balling you, a bit ...

I think you can afford to stretch/splurge for some bling that you can really feel ...

Try the boot SSD ... the 890 ASUS or Gigabyte mobo ...

I like the firewire card ... you'll prolly want that ... I like SIIG for compatibility.

... I think the cat gave you too much CPU and not enough mobo ...

= JMO =
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April 4, 2010 4:41:27 AM

Your original build looks very solid. For HDD choice, I recommend the Spinpoint F3, 500GB or 1TB. The F3s are based on the newer 500GB/platter design, so relative to most WDs (that WD Black 640GB, for example, has two 320GB platters), they run faster and more efficiently.
If you can fit the CM690 II Advanced into your budget, I recommend it. It's likely the best sub-$100 case on the market. If not, the Antec 300 Illusion is a good choice too.
If you think you might consider CrossFire 5770s as a future upgrade, get a 650W. If not, 550W is more than sufficient. On that note, I recommend giving the onboard graphics a shot. If you feel it's insufficient, then consider a 5770.
I hope you're looking at the CM 212+. It's a significant upgrade from the original 212. On the other hand, if gaming isn't really a big thing for you, I don't see why you'd need a HSF in the first place.
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April 4, 2010 4:45:15 AM

Regarding the CPU, do you think i'll even see a performance increase with 4 core over 3 core for the type of computing i'll be doing? At what point does the 4th core come into play?

Regarding the GPU: Will onboard on the enw mobos be enough to drive the kind of graphics i'll be using? If i increase my needs i can always drop the Radeon in as mentioned earlier.

Regarding monitor: This may end up doubling as a TV in this room, so maybe i'll use my older monitor elsewhere and opt for a HD LCD as suggested. I DO deserve it, .... dont i?

HD: Is now the right time to go into a SSD as the operating system drive w/ the spinpoint for data? Or should i just partition the spinning disk as my main drive and bide some time?

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April 4, 2010 4:47:54 AM

Yes the effects of a nice big juicy display is often under estimated in the overall PC experience hehe SSD to be honest are a luxury so if you dun like the $$/GB stick to traditional ones
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April 4, 2010 5:01:52 AM

blackjellognomes said:
Your original build looks very solid. For HDD choice, I recommend the Spinpoint F3, 500GB or 1TB. The F3s are based on the newer 500GB/platter design, so relative to most WDs (that WD Black 640GB, for example, has two 320GB platters), they run faster and more efficiently.
If you can fit the CM690 II Advanced into your budget, I recommend it. It's likely the best sub-$100 case on the market. If not, the Antec 300 Illusion is a good choice too.
If you think you might consider CrossFire 5770s as a future upgrade, get a 650W. If not, 550W is more than sufficient. On that note, I recommend giving the onboard graphics a shot. If you feel it's insufficient, then consider a 5770.
I hope you're looking at the CM 212+. It's a significant upgrade from the original 212. On the other hand, if gaming isn't really a big thing for you, I don't see why you'd need a HSF in the first place.



Thanks for the info on the HDs. Certainly i dont want my HD to be a bottleneck, so the faster and more efficient the better.

Regarding the Case, i dont need a flashy case. I do want a very solid build however with good airflow and plenty of space. Perhaps most improtantly, i want sound to be very low. Does the CM690 II muffle sound well in comparison to the other options?

650W is not a major price increase, so to be safe i think i'll go that route.

I didnt know there was a 2nd 212 version, so thanks for that info. I heard the stock fan is loud, so, in the light of keeping the cpu cool and quiet, the 212+ is the way to go from what i read.....
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April 4, 2010 5:11:11 AM


First: I am 50yoa .. My 52" LG 5250 120Hz LCD HDTV is THE FINEST TECH UPGRADE OF MY LIFETIME !! I feel it every day and it is just great ... SATISFACTION !!

Phillips also makes a really good 32"x1080P (2ms) HDTV for under $500 ...

You only need the 4th core if you are editing HDV quality (25Mbits/sec) HD video and rendering longer (over 5 min) segments at 1080P ... 3 Cores will handle any quality that would be legal to upload to You Tube, tho, for instance.

You don't even need a very fast clock ... Anywhere near 3GHz is "snappy" (period).

Get the ASUS board ... you can put a lower end discreet RADEON in there and go multi-monitor or Crossfire for mid-range gaming (not frames/sec sims, but full graphics strategy games, and like.).

This is all HDCP certified and has BluRay quality streaming video support, etc.

. . . S S D > D O >> I T >>> N O W !

You are NOT going to want to do it later and you WILL wish you had !

Speeds up your whole experience and boots under 20sec ... speeds browsing and swapping ... speeds apps/loads/paging ...

... MUCH MORE DEPENDABLE . . . SSDs do not crash ... they deteriorate ... slowly ... starting in about 5 years ... you have a few errors ... they get scrubbed ... and when the whole drive FINALLY stops writing ... you can still read it and back it up for months afterward.

I ALWAYS recommend SSD for small business builds ... for hassle-free stability.

You will be kicking yourself if you cheap out ... I'm jus' say-in' !

= Al =
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April 4, 2010 9:03:29 AM

Alvin Smith said:
*snip*

Wooo there, you're suggesting things that are not even close to necessary for what he needs. While an SSD can be a great thing for people who use their computers for system-intensive things, for someone that is mostly just going to be doing light stuff it's over kill. If you really want an SSD, then getting a cheap low-capacity one just to use as a boot drive would probably be your best bet. You could also get a low capacity normal HDD to use as a boot drive as well.


Personally this is what i'd get. I didn't put in a case, because they are all pretty much the same and there are so many different options that it'd be best for you to decide yourself on what to get.

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April 4, 2010 9:07:24 AM

so a dual core for $140 or amd phenom quad for $140 what would you rather have
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April 4, 2010 1:01:51 PM

DraconianGamer said:
Wooo there, you're suggesting things that are not even close to necessary for what he needs. While an SSD can be a great thing for people who use their computers for system-intensive things, for someone that is mostly just going to be doing light stuff it's over kill. If you really want an SSD, then getting a cheap low-capacity one just to use as a boot drive would probably be your best bet. You could also get a low capacity normal HDD to use as a boot drive as well.


Personally this is what i'd get. I didn't put in a case, because they are all pretty much the same and there are so many different options that it'd be best for you to decide yourself on what to get.

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c364/D_B_M/GuysComp1.jpg


thanks for this feedback. Obsid asked the first question that came up when seeing this: Why to CPU change and which way to go?

I already have the OS so that clears up $100.

I am thinking i would err on the side of caution for my hardware and overpower it a bit, in the event i have need for it in the future. Having not gotten my hands on the newest tech, i'm relying on those of you who have to suggest the right component..... and a little extra rom would ease my mind just in case. :) 

As for SSD (alvin), I've been sying to try this out for some time. Its either put it in as a boot drive on this new build, or buy a cheap one to breath new life into my old thinkpad laptop. Based on Alvins last post I am HEAVILY leaning in that direction. I've heard of the significant speed boost, and frankly i'm surprised its not in any of the lattest guides i've seen some of the larger websited put out on its new builds.

TO ALL: The feedback is excellent and really helping me shape this new system. Keep it coming! I'm excited to see what the result is! hopefully it will be a good reference for all of us non-gamer builders out there.
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April 4, 2010 8:41:26 PM

. . . S S D > D O >> I T >>> N O W !

You are NOT going to want to do it later and you WILL wish you had !

Speeds up your whole experience and boots under 20sec ... speeds browsing and swapping ... speeds apps/loads/paging ...

... MUCH MORE DEPENDABLE . . . SSDs do not crash ... they deteriorate ... slowly ... starting in about 5 years ... you have a few errors ... they get scrubbed ... and when the whole drive FINALLY stops writing ... you can still read it and back it up for months afterward.

I ALWAYS recommend SSD for small business builds ... for hassle-free stability.

You will be kicking yourself if you cheap out ... I'm jus' say-in' !

= Al = said:
. . . S S D > D O >> I T >>> N O W !

You are NOT going to want to do it later and you WILL wish you had !

Speeds up your whole experience and boots under 20sec ... speeds browsing and swapping ... speeds apps/loads/paging ...

... MUCH MORE DEPENDABLE . . . SSDs do not crash ... they deteriorate ... slowly ... starting in about 5 years ... you have a few errors ... they get scrubbed ... and when the whole drive FINALLY stops writing ... you can still read it and back it up for months afterward.

I ALWAYS recommend SSD for small business builds ... for hassle-free stability.

You will be kicking yourself if you cheap out ... I'm jus' say-in' !

= Al =


I have reworked the build i'm working on, per the suggestions given. Please see it below:

Shopping Cart
Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
1 LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
Item #: N82E16827106335
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$31.99

1 COOLER MASTER Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP Black SECC / ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811119152
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$69.99

1 ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131631
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$149.99

1 Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16817371015
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$20.00 Instant

$99.99
$79.99

1 Logitech 920-000264 Black Cordless Ergonomic Desktop Wave - Retail
Item #: N82E16823126033
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$10.00 Instant

$20.00 Mail-in Rebate23-126-033
$84.99
$74.99

1 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Item #: N82E16835100007
Return Policy: Consumable Item Refund Only Return Policy
$9.99

1 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231277
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$105.99

1 AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model HDZ720WFK3DGI - OEM
Item #: N82E16819103652
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy -$5.00 Instant

$109.99
$104.99

1 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16835103065
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$34.99

1 Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2BD/64GB 2.5" Desktop Bundle 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Retail
Item #: N82E16820139133
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
$159.99
Subtotal: $822.90



POTENTIAL UPGRADE (/Sacrifices Made):

1)HDs: I have 2 external Hd's holding my media now. I could add the internal drive for 50-60$ for additonal programs and media now, or wait a bit and do it later after seeing how much of the SSD i use up.

2) CPU: I could upgrade to the 4 core (if i cant unlock the 3 core) and increase the mhz slightly w/ a $60 increase and go for the X4 3.2ghz (Note, i havent overclocked since needing my pencil to cross connections to do so, so i hope its gotten easier since. :)  )

3) I could upgrade to a Blueray player now w/ dvd burner, or upgrade later...no immediate need....
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April 4, 2010 11:53:11 PM

Don't grab an X3 over an i3, in benchmarks the i3 beats it in everything. If you are going to get an X4 (say, an Athlon II), then the i3 will still win in gaming and other low-thread count uses, but the Athlon II will do better in stuff like video encoding. Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2921/2

Also, I don't see a graphics card there....
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April 5, 2010 1:21:57 AM

DraconianGamer said:
Don't grab an X3 over an i3, in benchmarks the i3 beats it in everything. If you are going to get an X4 (say, an Athlon II), then the i3 will still win in gaming and other low-thread count uses, but the Athlon II will do better in stuff like video encoding. Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2921/2

Also, I don't see a graphics card there....


Draco: I was dropping t an X3 to save some money and b/c 1) Some ppl say the performance increase will not be noticable with what i'll be doing and 2) you can manualy unlock the 4th core (sometimes) and oc. However, unless someone can confirm this is a better choice, i am still leaning towards the X4.

as for video Card, I was going to go with a 5770, but thought i would try onboard first and see how it performed since i wont be playing games. However, with that being said, I may be building two of these computers and one of the computers will drive two screens. with that in mind, will onboard still be able to handle this or should i go to the 5770?
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April 5, 2010 4:23:41 AM

Forget i3/i5 !!! INTEL does not even have PCIe2.0 lanes available for SATA-III and USB3 implementations (nasty bottleneck that causes resource compromises) ...

... I would go all the way to an x4Core, by AMD and, if any more than that is needed (it is not) then jump straight to a socket 1366/X58 platform. p55's are not the way to go for anyone who is not a "purely dedicated gamer".

I'm guessing the "NOOB" who is giving you all the bad advice is prolly a teenager, who really has "no clue", beyond gaming.

... I like SSDs more for the reliability and stability, rather than to get much more speed ...

... Given the choice (in this Spring 2010) ... I would choose better display over SSD ...

... I just recommend SSD to "wealthier" builds because, once you load the OS on an SSD, you are not likely to ever have to reload or rebuild your environment (OS/apps/drivers/tweaks/updates/etc.) ever again ... A very nice thought ... peace of mind.

= Alvin =
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April 8, 2010 3:57:39 AM

READY TO ORDER!

OK,i'm ready to pull the trigger. I'm building 2 computers, one for me and one for my Pops. Mine will have the larger storage (1TB) and TV tuner.

Let me know your final thoughts before i finalize the order! :bounce: 

thank you!!!!!!!

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

[If the link does not work, see items below]

Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
2 Link Depot 19.69" SATA III Round Cable with Left Angle Model LD-SATA3L-0.5M
Item #: N82E16812189202
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $5.98

2 Antec Sonata Elite Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811129057
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy -$15.00 Instant
$15.00 Mail-in Rebate
$199.98
$169.98

2 Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817371015
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$20.00 Instant
$199.98
$159.98

2 BYTECC Bracket-35225 2.5 Inch HDD/SSD Mounting Kit For 3.5" Drive Bay or Enclosure
Item #: N82E16817994085
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $13.98

2 SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100283VXL Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814102868
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy -$14.99 Sale
$369.98
$340.00

1 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

1 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX
Item #: N82E16819103674
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy $159.99

1 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835103065
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $34.99

2 ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135204
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $45.98

2 Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2/64GB 2.5" 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820139132
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy -$10.00 Instant
$299.98
$279.98

2 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
Item #: N82E16820231303
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy $239.98

1 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $89.99

2 ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131631
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $299.98

1 Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 Hybrid TV Tuner /Video Recorder 1196 PCI-Express x1 Interface
Item #: N82E16815116028
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy -$10.00 Instant
$59.99
$49.99



https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...


1 Edit - Coolermaster 212 is quantity of 2, not 1.
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April 8, 2010 1:27:09 PM



On the power supply, check. I can easily make that change.

On the DVD Burner, check. Again, not a problem.

On the case: I'm not a fan of the exterior design or the lighted fan (for me or for my pops), and i really felt like the one i picked had better reviews for sound dampening, especially considering it has built in sound insulation. Remember, i want this thing as quiet as can be w/o going to water cooling. Sio, i'm hesitant to make this chnage unless you think my case i picked is deficient in some way.


How about the rest of the build?
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April 8, 2010 4:16:08 PM

Cases are VERY personal ... THE ONLY reason I suggested the HAF is my confidence that it makes a very adequate home for any build and because MOST users like the way it looks ...

... I just saw that you were spending a WHOLE BUNCH on that other case and I wanted to offer you a "most functional" alternative, for something like half the cost.

... You can hardly go wrong with a case that costs as much as the one you picked so, enjoy !

... You want to feel as good about the case as the components inside ... You have to live with it and it should feel great, every time you sit down to it.

That is prolly the MAIN reason I do my own builds ... It gives me much more "ownership" and insight and confidence and ... ... satisfaction ... to have chosen each part ... even with lots of help ... *I* chose.

= Al =
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April 19, 2010 9:32:21 PM

The computer has been assembled, software installed, and its like a dream i dont want to wake from! AMAZING!

A few comments:

1) SSD is working great, i can definately see a noticable speed increase. Most importantly is my outlook database which exceeds 3Gigs. On other computers there is lag time but on this thing it is instantaneous. Definately worth the investment for anyone who reads from a large database type file.

2) The spinpoint drive is also very quite and is working great....dont know if thats the case or the drive but so pfar i'm pleased.

3) This heatsink is a MONSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was scared to open the box. I wasnt sure it was even going to fit in my case, but it did...just barely. its running at around 900rpm, is very quiet, and is keeping my processor at around 40C.

NOTE: the fan that is mounted on the site of the heatsink is blocking my first row of Dimms. The Ripjaw memory has palstic designes on the top (i dont think they're function). The fan wont allow the chip to be put in due to these designs. I used banks 2 and 4, but in the future if i needed to add mroe i could always cut those designes off.

PC is running cool and is near silent. the case even came with an optional blower i was thinking of not using due to noise, but once i put it all in there was no noticable difference.

Oh yea, for those of you considering HDTV cards, just know your card will NOT be able to receive encrypted channels, even if you pay for them...oh well...

Overall i am Very very pleased.

Thanks for everyones advise!
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!