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Gamer/Multitasker PC for $750-1250

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April 16, 2010 6:28:17 AM

WARNING: VERY LONG, NO TL;DR PROVIDED.

First off, hello to the many people on Toms Hardware forums. Been an on-off long-time reader of Toms Hardware, and till recently wasnt into socializing online or off-, mainly due to my own personal preference.

That changed quite a bit since medical matters seriously put a dent in what I planned for myself, but thats a story for another time (and obviously another place, therapy perhaps?). This however means that I havent been as up to my hardware geek info as I should and am somewhat lost with all the new toys out there. Core I7? Phenom? SSD's?

Anyway, making the most out of my current predicament, I went with the advice of going "out with the old, in with the new" and started tossing out everything but the essentials (which includes my secondary HDD from my old PC, containing personal, family, and school/work-related materials.) and work my way back up.

So, besides this essential Seagate 320GB SATA 1, everything else has to be brand-new, but within marginally reduced budgets that I'm used to, coming from a not-so-well-off country. (Let me tell you, ask a techie over there who isnt connected to the internet what a Phenom is and he'll have the same expression I had when I first got back to tomshardware.com)

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Anytime from next week to August
- to beat my mother's birthday mostly in August. Considering a ton of changes coming, I'm giving myself time for this. Could make the purchase even before I go home on May 1!

BUDGET: $ 750-1250, lower=better
- Main reason why I choose this stringent budget is because I'm also suffering from the global recession like any other good/bad person on this Earth.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1a. Amateur graphical work and video editing for my last terms in a multimedia course (mostly Adobe suite CS3-4, yeah my school's still migrating to the newer one.)
1b. Gaming at 1680x1050 that wont chop below 30fps on something like CoD:MW2 or something more CPU heavy like SupCom 1, maybe a touch of FRAPS as well.
2. Multi-tasking between chat, surfing, and lighter forms of aformentioned (what can I say, I have fast hands)
3. System stability/survivability in past-40C conditions*

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
|| Monitor (got a 1680x1050 a week ago for myself for current PC back home)
|| Keyboard/mouse combo (ditto)
|| Sound output (good pair of headphones and a cheap 2.1 cause I mainly use headphones to keep the neighbors quiet back home)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
Obviously Newegg, but since I am physically unable to do the build yet, I'm going to most likely hand it off to one of those companies that do it for you, parts purchase and all, and I wouldnt mind a markup and fee, so long as they know what they're doing (I've gone through 2 rigs myself now), and are fair. Side request on a website for em please! :D 

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
Where I come from: Philippines.
Where this rig's going to come from: USA.
- I'm pretty sure some parts just werent meant for tropical humidity and heat, and 24/7 use. Ruggedness is a must.

PARTS PREFERENCES:
|| Always used AMD, though will switch if it means less heat* and more performance.
|| Always used NVIDIA, though will switch if it means more price/performance ratio. Also less heat*
|| ALWAYS ALWAYS used Seagate's 5-year warranty stuff. Personal experience. Proof is this 320GB I've migrated through 2 rigs now and may be retired after this one.
|| Always used Enermax/Antec brand PSU's. Reliable, tough PSU's are a must due to higher-than-acceptable noise from wall sockets at home.
|| Would like a roomy case (though where it will eventually be is a bit tight for a full-tower) with near-100% emphasis on heat management*, preferably with filters in front of case fans.
|| Will need USB 3.0 support and may need memory card reader.
|| Looking forward to 64bit and more RAM, 4-8GB.
?? May need 32/64bit backwards capability due to multitude of older hardware just being sold back home.

OVERCLOCKING: HELL $#@!ING NO*

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No need. No interest. Bad personal experience with the multitude of things I have to do on a PC with either on.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Native 1680x1050 at all times if possible, gaming, etc.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
* This is where I'm pretty much going to drop it all and state up-front, that this PC is going to work in conditions far less than ideal. This means that it's going to face 40+C room temps. Daily. With the A/C on we're talking barely 25C, if it even works. Also, due to the unique humidity and environment where I live, water cooling solutions have and will fail in usage where I come from. I cannot count the many horror stories of rigs not even done with their first 3 months of operation wherein due to the corrosive tropical humidity and heat, they've sprung leaks, radiator failures, and other such disasters that its simply not an option I will even consider.

* Same goes for overclocking, as that just causes too much heat to build up when the air coming in is already as hot as exhaust air out of most rigs. This means it should also be efficient with the watts it throws around inside. I'd like to see those watts not bleed off as waste heat and just cook itself. Cooling is a priority 1. User comfort is a faaaaaaaaaaaaar 2. Would like to see a touch of savings on the power bill. Dust is a minor issue.

Potential need for USB 3.0 support and maybe a memory card all-in-one reader drive.

Potential usage approacing long uptimes 48-72 hours. Stability is a requirement (counter to overclocking as well).

Interested in having a SSD system drive and rest of the data in normal HDD platter drives, need info on life expectancy and available space on current market favorites.

Previous rigs lasted 3-4 years under heavy abuse in similar weather conditions. Expecting the same with this one.

Due to my current state, I am unable to do the build myself, and must hand it off to someone that can do it. Likely its going to be a company that specializes in this. Requesting website/contact info of companies preferably that can ship to the East Coast (where I have relatives that I can ask to handle shipping in the case I've gone home ahead).

Said company should also be knowledgeable in internet security solutions, due to how insecure the internet is in Asia.

Said company should also not be too heavy on the markup and fees, they go into the budget as well :p 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/value-gaming-pc,257...
I've taken a look at the March 2010 SBM rig and found most of the parts to my liking, however, I did not like the idle-load temperature jumps of the CPU and GPU. Those simply run too hot. Also, I've always been lost in the deeper geekspeak that often runs through many of Toms' Hardware, and whilst its fine in many cases, when picking a mobo, it isnt.

I also have NO experience with ATI GPU's, so an ATI-to-NVIDIA translator would be of great help :D 

Secondly, considering the potential amount of multitasking I will do especially surfing (now that I'm not as physically active), I will need advice on how much system RAM I may need for a Win7 system. Same goes for A-V, firewall, and antispyware solutions.

I also have tried Cyberpower's custom builder on their website, selecting parts I never even heard about just to get a feel for the market. Advice would be greatly appreciated at this stage.

Thanks to those who put up with my rather long post and read it to the end :D 
April 16, 2010 7:07:21 AM
April 16, 2010 8:42:31 AM

Some of those prices just made my jaw drop. Hard.

Uhh, could I request a price check on some less insane parts? :( 
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April 16, 2010 8:47:04 AM

^ Specifically Which parts do you want to go cheaper ?
The AMD + HD 5830 comes to around 1K if am not wrong...
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April 16, 2010 8:52:24 AM

And the main reason or the high price is the SSD, that you said you would like to have in your build...
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April 16, 2010 12:17:38 PM

obvious restriction is obvious

if you will keep your computer in 35 degrees environment the minimum you will see on your cpu temp is around 42-43 .... air coolers cannot do anything regarding this doesn't matter if they have stellar performance or not.

my single advise (cause there's a lot of variability in a 1000 $ pc) is to get a processor which runs very cool with a low TDP. dual core i3 would be my pic for such a sistem.

btw, ati > nvidia when it comes to heat generation.
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April 16, 2010 6:36:43 PM

well the amount of variance in a $1000 PC isnt that much anymore when you have to add in a case, system (and data storage, if there are any), OS purchase, shipping/handling, tax, and markup of whoever's going to build it up.

as I've said, this'll have to run in a hot environment, be able to handle amateur/schoolwork pertaining to multimedia (currently video editing) and gaming on the side, will have to be built by someone who can actually stand up.

This also will need to be shipped overseas, so that has to be taken into account.

the main problem with what I could find up on Intel is that they're already pricier than AMD systems just on CPU+mobo combo and in some cases run hotter anyway. Since heat is a big issue, about as equal to price/performance...

I also may reduce my requirement for no-liquid cooling. I've spotted Asustek's all-in-one cheap LC kits and have heard good info from home on em.
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