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Need Advice on i7 Graphic Design PC - Budget $1200 - $1500

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Last response: in Systems
April 14, 2010 9:45:12 PM

Dear all,

I'm looking to build myself a new i7 computer mainly for graphic design.
Before anyone says anything, Yes, I can buy a mac, but I want to build something for myself :p 

Once everything is setup I will be installing osx86 on it as well so i can have the best of both worlds.
My pc right now is a Pentium 4 Dell xps gen 3 ( i think ) which dual boots win7 & osx without a problem.

The computer must be able to run multiple programs at once (Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign and Web browser)

I would like it to be able to handle basic video editing as well but it's not a must.

I've checked out some parts but wanted to get some feed back since I have not built an i7 or anything with SLI/Crossfire and dont want to mess anything up.

Does anyone know if having a SLI / Crossfire setup help with video / graphic editing?

The below parts will be for a SLI / Crossfire system but if anyone has any suggestions, I'm listening.

within 1-2 months

$1200-$1500 Before Rebates

Running Illustrator Photoshop Bridge Firefox at the same time, video editing, gaming, web, etc...

keyboard, mouse, speakers - i just need the system really, i plan to get a second monitor.

newegg,, amazon, tigerdirect, ???

Maybe - I haven't done it before so I'm not sure how comfortable i would be with doing this.

Maybe - If it helps with performance then yes


Don't care about the bling but don't want it to be ugly, I would like a quiet PC


Mother Board:
I've looked up the reviews for a couple and was thinking about either ASUS P6X58D Premium or Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5.
I like the fact that both of those have the new usb 3 and SATA ports.

ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $299.99

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $289.99


Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor - $289.99


COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - $59.99

Is this any good? The articles I read suggested replacing the stock fan/heatsink.
Should i getting something else?


Thermaltake W0319RU 850W ATX 12V 2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $119.99

Should I get something else? More power?


Hard Drives:
I'm not sure what i want to do here.
I know I will be getting a 1TB drive for storage but im not sure about the boot drive.
SSD? or a smaller sata? - Is ssd really worth it? i haven't looked into installing osx on one either.
My original plan was to get two smaller boot drives and have one for windows 7 and one for osx

Western Digital AV-GP WD10EVDS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $89.99


I'm not sure about this either.
I know i want at least 6gb of DDR3
Is there going to be a big difference between 1600 and 2000?
Will i actually be able to get it up to 2000 (read some reviews that some are not able to get full speed)?
I'm a little overwhelmed by the choices here.
Is lower latency better or speed?

I was looking at OCZ and Kingston

OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G2000LV6GK - $200.99
Cas Latency 8
Timing 8-8-8-24

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - $205.99
Cas Latency 7
Timing 7-7-7-24

Kingston HyperX T1 Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model KHX2000C8D3T1FK3/6GX - $239.99
Cas Latency 8


Very confused. I wanted to buy two but I don't want to go crazy here.
My system will not be for 100% gaming but I would like to play some games (starcraft 2 if it ever comes out would be nice).

Again, would having 2 cards help me with video editing and photoshop / illustrator?

Which is better, ATI or NVIDIA ?

I was looking at the following but I'm not even sure if they're any good:

MSI N250GTS TwinFrozr 1G OC GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $279.98

MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - $174.99

XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - $159.99

MSI R5770 and XFX HD-577A-ZNFC are DirectX 11


COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $79.99

I think everything will fit in here.
I would like to have a tool less case if possible.
Don't care about having any led lights etc...


CD/DVD drive:
LG Black SATA DVD Burner - OEM - $24.99


The total is coming to about 1450-1500 for the above parts.

I am willing to swap out parts.
If you think I should getter a better cpu, psu, etc...

I've read articles saying not to get too good/cheap of a video card because you bottleneck your system.
I would like to avoid this.

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.
I seem to be confused most about the RAM, VIDEO CARD and PSU.

Ideas on the case would be helpful as well.

Please let me know if i've overlooked anything.
Again, I'm not really sure if i will be over clocking my system but i do like the idea of being able to get more ram and use usb 3 sata6 in the future.

Thank you all in advance.

More about : advice graphic design budget 1200 1500

Best solution

April 14, 2010 10:47:33 PM

$515 (save $75) ASUS P6X58D-e w/ i7-930

Case / PSU:
Here's some alternates:

1. $230 Antec 1200 w/ CP-850 $230 (Twin GFX cards in SLI / Xfire & Heavy OC)

2. H$310 AF 932 / GX850 $310 (Twin GFX cards in SLI / Xfire & Heavy OC)

3. $160 HAF 922 w/ TX650 (Single GFX cards in SLI / Xfire & Heavy OC or twin ATI GFX and moderate OC)

RAM: DDR3-1600 gets you an easy 4.0 Ghz OC w/ standard mem multiplier
$200 3 x 2GB Corsair DDR3-1600 CAS 7

Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The 2 TB WD Black and XT from Seagate are good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):


Look at the tests that reflect your usage and choose accordingly. Given your stated usage, I'd lean Seagate
$90 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB

GFX - Probably overkill but I am trying to spend all themoney in your budget :) 
$350 Asus ENGTX470/2DI/1280MD5 GTX 470 (Fermi)
$320 ASUS EAH5850 DIRECTCU/2DIS/1GD5 HD 5850

ATI currently has major issues with 2D Graphics ....supposed to be fixed w/ next major driver release,2539...

OTOH, Adobe optimized the latest production suite for nVidia

"Those of you who are rocking out with the new Adobe suite will definitely want to get these."

Heat Sink:

$100 - For 4.0 Ghz and above:

Can go w/ a Xigmatek S1283 for about half the price

$25 Any DVD writer

Total $1515
April 15, 2010 6:52:00 AM

First off since you want to run osx86, you better hit the forums for compatibility for an i7 rig.

Nvidia cards are alot easier to set up on osx.

You might look at this deal the deal ends today, the motherboard might not be osx friendly though.
Related resources
April 15, 2010 8:01:35 PM

daship said:
First off since you want to run osx86, you better hit the forums for compatibility for an i7 rig.

Nvidia cards are alot easier to set up on osx.

You might look at this deal the deal ends today, the motherboard might not be osx friendly though.

Hey daship

the P6X58D can have osx86 installed on it
im not sure how painless it'll be, but it can be done.

I also looked into the msi board, but it did not seem to have sata6 and usb3.
I would like to have these features to help "future proof", i know i will be buying additional hard/flash drives, having faster speeds will be idle.

April 16, 2010 1:40:19 AM

Thanks for all the info JackNaylorPE
It has been very very helpful!

I had no idea asus made a P6X58D- "e"
The only difference i saw was no dual lan?
I read that they also took away some of the on board reset buttons used when oc'ing
Other then that , is there any big difference in the E and premium?

I think i'm going to go with a nvidia chipset for graphics.
Should I buy 2 Asus ENGTX470/2DI/1280MD5 GTX 470 or will one do?
I haven't been able to find too many reviews on the card itself but they look promising.

Question about the heatsink though, is it supposed to have a fan attached to it?
I saw the link for the 120mm fan, but doesn't that go on the case?
Also, whats the cable for?
(these maybe very dumb questions, but i've been out of the game for a while)

Have you / anyone here used a Corsair H50 ?

what are your thoughts on it?

am i just going over board and over budget?

CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX looks good for power and CORSAIR XMS3 6GB for ram.

What about a good boot drive?
I thought smaller would be better?
The 1tb seagate would be fine for storage.
Are SSD's not worth the cost?

Thank you all in advance again :) 
May 24, 2010 12:45:01 PM

Best answer selected by jin410.