Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Graphic design / light gaming build. bang for the buck.

Last response: in Systems
April 8, 2010 9:12:17 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This Week. Now!! :)  BUDGET RANGE: hmmm. 1kish? look at the parts list, you'll get the idea.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: graphic design & web development, light video editing &3d(as an occasional hobby, design is for work, so its more important), light gaming (really want to play SC2) also outputting to the 1080p tv in my room for movies, some games

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard and mouse for now, unless theres a really awesome deal on a wireless setup. re-using antec sonata 2 case, but replacing the PSU


PARTS PREFERENCES: looking at phenom 2 quad core as best affordable performance

OVERCLOCKING: probably not, cant afford to bsod while working. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: no

MONITOR RESOLUTION: ok, main monitor will be 22" widescreen. will also run a 17" 4:3 cheap-o lcd as aux + testing monitor. will also output to 46" tv for movies, some games.



Here's what I have selected so far:
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
back in the day, oem cpus could be found for much much cheaper, how come i dont see that these days? also, would i be shooting myself in the foot if i stepped down to the dual core model to save $50 or so?

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W

Case: re-using antec sonata 2

Video Card: radeon 5750. not sure which one.
basically its cheapest card that comes with eyefinity, which should help out with all the displays i want to run, and should be plenty to play SC2 at very high settings, according to some beta benchmarks.
how about this one?
SAPPHIRE 100284L Radeon HD 5750

Motherboard: not sure. was looking at these. I need advice here.

RAM: not sure if I should stick to 4 or jump to 8 gigs. I cant do 6 gigs with this chipset? no idea which type of ram i should get

Hard drive: not sure, I was contemplating setting up a raid 1, but will probably just try to backup more often.

DVD drive: re-using old dvd burner, if it still works.

Monitor: will probably buy the 22" in the store so I can look at it. will probably buy an el-cheapo 15" or 17" 1024x768 monitor to use testing web sites and holding extra panels in photoshop, music player, etc. cheap and slim would be nice.

also need a flash card reader.

on the lookout for a greally good deal on wireless mouse / keyboard, otherwise will reuse old ones for now.

I think that about covers it for now, any advice appreciated.

edit: I put it all in a wishlist, including RAM HD and MOBO:
April 8, 2010 1:31:03 PM

Couple quick notes,

For AMD, yes, it is either 4 or 8 GB ram (to keep dual channel).

I think for $50 more for the quad is worth it, even if it may not seem like it now.

Best solution

April 8, 2010 2:36:42 PM

Well, for graphic design and video editing, I'd pick a Core i5 750 2.66GHz over a Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz - the i5 is less than $50 more.

A good motherboard with lots of expansion slots i.e. two extra PCI-e 1x slot if you use a dual-slot graphics card and three PCI slots on the MSI P55-CD53 for $109.99. It lacks CFX or SLI, but you aren't planning to use either, so it all works out.

6GB in triple channel is only currently available for Core i7 900 series. For just light video editing and graphic design, I'd stick with a 2x2GB (4GB total) DDR3 kit, and could easily add more later if required. Considering that you're not overclocking, a low latency 1333MHz kit would suffice. A kit for $119.99 after $10 rebate from newegg is the Patriot Viper II Sector 5 2x2GB kit, 1333MHz with CL7 timings.

Otherwise, if you want to 'save the Earth' (lol), then go for the G.Skill Eco Series 4x4GB DDR3 1333MHz CL7 1.35V kit for the same price.

Don't get the HD 5750 - not because it's a bad card, but for around $10 - $30 more, you can get the HD 5770, which performs noticeably better. You'll want a 1GB version, because of the Eyefinity resolutions that you'll probably be playing at. For $139.99 with $10 rebate, the PowerColour AX5770 Radeon HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 graphic card has both Eyefinity and enough power to play most games on high settings.

Your Antec EarthWatts 650W is major overkill considering you're not going to overclock, and you are only using one graphic card. Something like a Corsair CX400W would be just right, for only $34.99 after $15 rebate.

If you need an HDD, a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200RPM is the way to go - for $89.99, it's a bargain, and these Spinpoint F3s are one of the fastest HDDs available.

In total with all the rebates it costs $784.93 for:

Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz
MSI P55-CD53
Patriot Viper II Sector 5/G.Skill Eco Series 1333MHz CL7 4GB kit
PowerColour Radeon HD 5770 1GB
Corsair CX400W
2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB in Raid 1.

Related resources
April 8, 2010 8:28:34 PM


now, between the pII / i5, I thought I read somewhere that the 1156 socket was going out of production, and that there would be new am3 chips being made for the next few years, so there would be an easy upgrade down the road.

is this just pure speculation? if it's true, I'd take it into account when choosing, but I can't tell. otherwise, yeah its seems like the i5 is the way to go.

for the PSU, I picked that after being told by some fanboy that I needed 800w, plus all kinds of other overkill stuff, so I assumed I would be safe going ~600w what with the raid and better being safe than sorry. I do have the old psu that came with the case, an antec true380s. would this suffice? it is rather old... I bought the case when I was building an athlon xp system. it does have 2 sata connectors?

should I replace it?

and any reason I wouldnt want to go 1600 with the ram?
April 8, 2010 10:40:32 PM

Without overclocking or "fiddling" with the bclk/multiplier, the i5 can't do faster than 1333 for memory speed.
April 9, 2010 4:09:33 AM

the 1156 is intels latest socket, and wont be going anywhere for a while, the i5 lmeow recommended is a great proc, and id have to pretty much agree with every part of his build.
April 13, 2010 1:05:12 AM

thanks for the help.

here's the list in my shopping cart, I'm going to buy it tonight:
found a motherboard combo'd with the cpu thats cheaper than the one reccomended, and supports crossfire if i ever decide to upgrade in a year or 2.
that video card is now unavailable, so here's another, with an extra dvi out, combo'd with some ram that supports the same timings suggested.

HDD and PSU are the same as reccomended

subtotal comes to $695.94, with $55 in mail in rebates, which is about the same as the tax.

also probably going to pick this printer:

then i just have to hunt down a monitor and maybe a new mouse / keyboard..
April 20, 2010 12:51:17 AM

Best answer selected by hotdogfingers.
April 20, 2010 12:52:30 AM

I've had this built for a few days now, thanks for the advice.

I can already tell though, that I'm going to need more ram. in hindsight I probably would have started with 2x4 gb of ram, and possibly expanded in the future.

a faster hdd will also be a likely upgrade in the future, either a barracuda or a small ssd