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~$700 Video Editing/Gaming PC

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April 25, 2010 9:21:34 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:
This week (today would be great)

BUDGET RANGE:
~$700 After Rebates (lower is better, as I'm supposed to squeeze $340 of Win7 and Office in while keeping it below $1K)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
video editing, gaming, home office

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
USA

PARTS PREFERENCES:
AMD CPU with a mid tower case

OVERCLOCKING:
No (this system is for my dad, and he doesn't trust anything but stock settings)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE:
No (may add another Radeon for Crossfire in a couple years though)

MONITOR RESOLUTION:
Unknown, 1920x1080 or lower (not yet purchased)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Although it will be used for gaming, the only games it'll ever run are Civilization 4 and Civilization 5. SysReqs aren't out yet for Civ5, unfortunately, but I'm hoping some of you might have some ballpark estimates and can tell me if I'm going overkill (or short) on the gaming end. Also, it will be used for enthusiast/hobbyist level video editing, and my dad doesn't mind waiting overnight for it to process. Ideal lifespan is 4-5 years; parts don't necessarily need to be carried over to the next system.

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Parts I've chosen (not firm, please offer advice/criticisms/substitutes):
Note: Prices include current sales, shipping, and rebates, but not taxes

Case:
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Price: $69.98

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
Price: $159.00

GPU:
HIS IceQ H567Q1GD Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
Price: $104.99

HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (x2 in RAID 1 setup)
Price (for 2): $109.98

Mobo:
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
Price: $108.99

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
Price: $75.98
It's probably overkill for this build, but it's on an awesome sale right now. If it turns out I need to do a lot more research and can't catch the sale, I'll switch to a PSU with a smaller capacity.

RAM:
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1333LV4GK
Price: $114.99

DVD Burner:
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Writer - Bulk - LightScribe Support - OEM
Price: $31.97

Software:
Microsoft Office Standard 2007 Version Upgrade
Price: $201.94

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Price: $139.99

Summary:
Total cost (taxes not included): $1,117.81
Target price: $1,000.00 or below
I'd like to knock a couple hundred bucks off the build, but I'm not sure which components are expendable given the fact that it needs to work well for both video editing and gaming. Any assistance anyone cares to offer would be greatly appreciated. This forum has already been very helpful, but mostly it's made me realize how little I know! :sweat: 
April 25, 2010 10:31:46 AM

There is a point, when shaving costs, that you can cut your leg off ... you have reached that point.

This is a well balanced rig (ON PAPER) , but some of your choices are not optimal and others are "bad".

Case .. OK ... not optimum

CPU ... Good ... Optimum price/performance and is exactly "appropriate".

GPU is exactly appropriate ... See if Sapphire is not cheaper (is better built).
DEFINATELY look for "Support Eyefinity" in specs ... your choice prolly does.

HDD ... It is typical and practical to have a 2nd HDD (the 1TB version of that F3.
The HDD you chose is the best 500GB available ... I have edited on single-drive notebooks, but it is far from optimum config.

Mobo ... Will work but a poor choice for editing and not "future smart".

PSU is ... MORE than adequate (size and quality) ... 500Watts would be PLENTY.

RAM ... SUCKS ! ... Get RipJaws 1600c7 at same price ... MUch Better !

DVDR ... You can save $5 and have a much better drive ... save $10 if no "SCRIBE".

OS ... Is appropriate ... Unless you (someone) can qualify for academic discount.

We need to talk about what sw apps (editing) you intend to use and what formats you expect to work with , over the life of the system.

In case I don't get back to you .. My prime (most important) suggestion is to go with the Gigabyte 890GX mobo ...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This RipJaws RAM ... 1600c7

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Do you want to play with me ??


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April 25, 2010 1:45:50 PM

You can cut some more corners.
1) Since your dad is okay with a slower processor, instead of the 955 BE, go for 940 or 925. This should save you around 30 bucks.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
2) In case of the psu, you are right, it is way overkill. Get a decent 500 Watts one from Corsair, Antec. This should save you another $25-$30
3) Since you are not overclocking, even an average dual channel DDR3 kit will suffice. Options :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The sum total of all these savings would be about $80
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April 25, 2010 3:38:34 PM

Thanks for the fast responses, guys!

CPU:
ksampanna, I looked at the 940, but it's an AM2+ socket so it can't support DDR3. It seems like DDR3 is the only way to go on a new build.

This 925 is $20 cheaper, but it's also 0.4 GHz slower and only comes with a 1 year warranty (as opposed to 3 years on the 955), which is somewhat troubling.

This 945 is something of a compromise, saving $9 at a loss of only 0.2 GHz and retaining the 3 year warranty. It's also got a lot more reviews on Newegg (mostly positive), which is always comforting. That's the one I'm leaning towards.


GPU:
The Sapphire card is $10 more expensive (no rebate, unlike the HIS). Do you think the difference in build quality is worth $10?


Mobo:
Alvin, can you help me understand why it's a poor choice for editing? It seems like a good board, with fairly fast memory frequencies. The Gigabyte doesn't list 1600 MHz (for the G.Skill Alvin posted) as supported, and I can't overclock anything on this build. I don't see my dad needing SATA 3.0 anytime soon, and he's slow to adopt new peripherals so USB 3.0 isn't really in the cards either. What do you think of buying the mobo I picked out for now and adding USB 3.0 support with a PCIe card down the road? I know integrated solutions tend to be better, but that would limit up-front costs.


PSU:
I'm having a hard time finding a cheaper but still reliable 500W PSU. There's not much in the way of Antecs/Corsairs at that wattage. I found this Thermaltake, and it got good enough reviews on Newegg I'd buy it.
Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0 Power Supply
Price: $69.19

My best option seems to be a 620W Antec. I know it's still too high, but it is relatively inexpensive - it's even cheaper than the Neo Eco 520C, once you add in the mail-in rebate and free shipping. Are these 600W+ PSUs so much higher than my requirements that it's a bad thing? I guess what I'm asking is if it'll draw far more power from the wall than it needs and maybe overheat or something.
Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Price: $59.99


RAM:
I think I'll go with G.Skill. I'm trying to decide between the faster but $17 more expensive set Alvin posted or this:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT


DVDR:
Right you are, Alvin. Here's the new one I found:
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM


Software:
As far as software, my dad will probably only use Windows Movie Maker and the software that came with his Sony Handycam (PMB-picture motion browser) along with any future iterations of those programs. He will be working with AVCHD movies. Eventually he'll be burning them to Blu-Ray, but he's waiting for burner prices to come down before we look at that.
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April 25, 2010 4:44:05 PM

I'd love to chat a good long time about all this but I have play-dates, today.

.. I'll try to pick it back up tonite ... Add one response so the forum will reflag your thread (to me).
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Best solution

April 25, 2010 5:54:16 PM

There's no reason to get the 955 BE processor, since the primary benefit is that it's good for overclocking.

Consider the Athlon II X4 630 instead, at $100 + free shipping.

I suspect the motherboard I'm about to link will get panned, but it seems like good value to me. Since there's no expectation of huge gaming performance, the one PCI 2.0 slot isn't a big hindrance. Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3, includes SATA 6 Gb/s and USB3, which are the primary future-proofing considerations for a non-gaming motherboard these days. And it's $90 + free shipping, and if you feel like factoring in the $10 MIR, it brings it down to $80.

So far, just CPU & mobo, that's about $80 less.

Cases - you might try looking for cases with free shipping in order to save a little money, as the one you've selected has $10 shipping. If you don't want one with a lot of flash, you could try this HEC case though I really can't speak to its quality...it is $35 with free shipping. :) 

I think the rest of your choices (now that you have an inexpensive SATA DVD-R/W drive) are fine. CAS 7 1600 MHz RAM is best price/performance, but if you really need to shave off a few dollars, there's nothing wrong with CAS 9 1333 (or 1066) MHz RAM.

Do you really need Windows 7 Professional and Office 2007 Standard? Most people will really only use the features of Windows 7 Home Premium and Office Home & Student. You might check out the differences, but it appears that mostly it's that the standard edition has Outlook. I guess if that's a big deal for your dad, then it could be worth the $80 or so, but I'd consider just getting Home & Student and switching to Thunderbird (or other free email client of choice).

Same goes for Windows 7 Professional vs. Home Premium. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/defa... Professional gets you XP Mode, domains and network backups.
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April 25, 2010 7:09:39 PM


"My best option seems to be a 620W Antec. I know it's still too high, but it is relatively inexpensive - it's even cheaper than the Neo Eco 520C, once you add in the mail-in rebate and free shipping. Are these 600W+ PSUs so much higher than my requirements that it's a bad thing? I guess what I'm asking is if it'll draw far more power from the wall than it needs and maybe overheat or something."

Your system is not power hungry, & will draw less than half of the max rated power of your psu (if you take a 600W+ psu).
Now the problem is, the PSUs do not perform at their rated efficiency (80+ or 85+) at such a low power load. They only give the highest efficiencies at roughly 85% of their full load. So the 600W psu for your system would be a waste of money.

I think this would be a good one for you
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
don't be put off by the power rating, but read the reviews.


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April 25, 2010 9:00:54 PM

If you are editing HD at 25Mbits/sec., I would disagree (very strongly) with ColdSleep ...

If editing really matters to you and frequent, long-run renders are in your future, then you would want a 965 and 8GB of 1600c7 fast RAM and to clock the buhjeezus out of it ... but of course, your budget precludes that ... so ... 955 IS WAY TO GO ... The L2 cache will actually make a diff.

= Al = (feel free to debate, CoolNap ... I am set with benchmarks)

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April 25, 2010 9:03:20 PM

If you're planning on editing HD at any bitrate, I would think you would want to spend more than $700.

You'll note the OP said that there was no intention of overclocking.

Also, it will be used for enthusiast/hobbyist level video editing, and my dad doesn't mind waiting overnight for it to process. said:
Also, it will be used for enthusiast/hobbyist level video editing, and my dad doesn't mind waiting overnight for it to process.


It sounds to me like this is a general purpose home PC with some light editing and gaming duties included, so that's the direction I went with my recommendation.

I'll agree that my build would be not awesome for professional-level HD editing.
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April 25, 2010 9:28:32 PM

Great suggestions, all.

CPU:
"It sounds to me like this is a general purpose home PC with some light editing and gaming duties included" - that's it exactly. His everyday usage will mainly be Office, with some editing and a fair amount of Civ (10 hrs+) every weekend.

I had considered the Athlon II X4 630 previously, but decided on the 955 BE because it scored so much higher in benchmarks, particularly on games. I think I'll present both and leave the choice up to him - cheap and adequate (I think the 630 will run Civ5 well enough), or $60 more and as good as he can get in this price range. Thanks to both Alvin and coldsleep for your input on this.


Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 AM3 AMD 770 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
This was a really good idea, coldsleep. I'm not opposed to SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 for this build, I just didn't want to pay more for them. Since this board is cheaper, they're great features to have. I believe a single Radeon 5670 will run Civ5 pretty well, so there shouldn't ever be a need for a second card. I mainly wanted two in a crossfire setup so he could have everything maxed out, but with these price constraints this is probably about as good as I can get.


Case:
Rosewill R220-P-BK Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
coldsleep, I think you're right and I was spending too much on the case. Flashy is always nice, but for this build it really isn't a consideration.


Software:
I know Office Home and Student will do for most people, but it does say it's for non-commercial use. My dad will be doing some work from home, at least with Excel, so he's not comfortable using the non-commercial version. Outlook is nice, but not essential; please let me know if you're aware of a cheaper commercial license for Office. He wants Win7 Professional mainly for XP mode so he can run all his old programs with no hassle.


PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
That looks really good, ksampanna. It's exactly equal to the system power requirements suggested by the GPU manufacturer, and the single 12V rail means I don't have to worry about whether or not everything will get enough power (though the GPU doesn't need a separate power connector anyway). I wanted to go with 500W so I could safely add another card in crossfire, but since this mobo can only ever have a single graphics card, that's no longer a concern.
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April 25, 2010 9:37:18 PM

You could try OpenOffice instead of Microsoft if you want a good free alternative. Its very similar to Microsoft Office 2003
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April 25, 2010 9:51:03 PM

Thanks, tserich. I have suggested that, but he really wants Office 2007. Maybe if I show him your post he'll reconsider.
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April 25, 2010 9:52:21 PM

rahl said:

Software:
I know Office Home and Student will do for most people, but it does say it's for non-commercial use. My dad will be doing some work from home, at least with Excel, so he's not comfortable using the non-commercial version. Outlook is nice, but not essential; please let me know if you're aware of a cheaper commercial license for Office. He wants Win7 Professional mainly for XP mode so he can run all his old programs with no hassle.


Fair enough.

It looks like the Office 2007 Standard edition is only $200 right now, if you're sold on that one, you might want to buy it before the sale ends. :) 

Do note that it's an upgrade, however, so you'll need some earlier version of Office or Works or something in order to use it. This looks to be the standard non-upgrade version.

If he knows/thinks he's going to use XP mode, then sure, Win 7 Pro is probably worthwhile.

EDIT: I've used Open Office pretty extensively and it's quite decent. You do have to remember what format you're saving in if you want to make sure that Microsoft Office users can read it. The only real problem is that fancy macros and functions in Excel are not always compatible with the OO spreadsheet program. They can frequently be made compatible, but it may take some re-work.
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April 25, 2010 9:58:55 PM

Perhaps you could install it on your current computer and ask your dad to try using it for a bit. Then he can decide whether he wants to spend 200$ for Microsoft Office
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April 25, 2010 10:01:18 PM

Actually I only saw the term "May be installed on up to three non-commercial home computers." I don't think that means you can't work on stuff for your office at home. I think it means you can't outfit a small internet cafe with this license. I'd say he was safe to use the Home and Student edition.

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April 25, 2010 10:17:43 PM

tserich, if OP's dad's using Excel, then OpenOffice is NOT a good solution. Excel if years ahead of OO Calc. OO is good for doing basic excel work,etc but it's not that great for any serious business use. OO Writer on the other hand, is more or less Office 2003ish.

@OP:
You CAN use Office Home and Student. There is nothing prevention you from doing so (as in no water marks,etc) except for the EULA agreement. The legality of the EULAs are curently debated and many consider it to not hold any legal binding,etc.

If you are a student, you should be able to get Win 7 Pro/Premium from your school for a very cheap price (usually $30-50). Again, there is nothing preventing you from using this for business use. Same goes for Office. My school sells Office Pro for $120.

As for XP Mode, there really is no point unless your dad's running some "old" software which are known not to work with Win 7. If this is the case, you may be better off upgrading that software.

As for Office, if you are tight on money, you could get Office 2010 Beta for a while (Until October 31, 2010): http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/default.aspx


edit:

Btw, I define "business work" as in home office, SMB, etc NOT as bringing work home and working, tele work,etc.
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April 25, 2010 10:59:03 PM

Interesting info, shadow703793. I know there's no physical barrier preventing commercial use of Home and Student, but my dad's painfully honest. He does do some work for himself as well as bringing work home with him, so he has to use something with a commercial license. I'm afraid that precludes software purchased under the "pretense" of student use as well. I'll have another look at Win7 software compatibility though and see if he really needs XP mode.
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April 25, 2010 10:59:40 PM

I'll admit, I lost track of this thread and didn't read every post ... but ... anybody mention Open Office? ... have I gone tangental or redundant?

BTW ... I think the pretense that this rig is (in ANY way) "designed" with video editing (of even SD) as even a passing consideration is livin in a dream world (or on the Moon?) ... Sure ... It "prolly" won't crash if you run Vegas on it ... but that is about all you can say "for" this build, in terms of editing.

Just to be honest.

= Alvin = But that is cool ... Like what ColdSleep quoted from the OP. "Doesn't care".
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April 25, 2010 11:08:41 PM

Quote:
BTW ... I think the pretense that this rig is (in ANY way) "designed" with video editing (of even SD) as even a passing consideration is livin in a dream world (or on the Moon?) ... Sure ... It "prolly" won't crash if you run Vegas on it ... but that is about all you can say "for" this build, in terms of editing.

lol. Depends. For small SD vids, using Vegas this build should be OK.
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April 25, 2010 11:28:32 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Quote:
BTW ... I think the pretense that this rig is (in ANY way) "designed" with video editing (of even SD) as even a passing consideration is livin in a dream world (or on the Moon?) ... Sure ... It "prolly" won't crash if you run Vegas on it ... but that is about all you can say "for" this build, in terms of editing.

lol. Depends. For small SD vids, using Vegas this build should be OK.



Oh... fer shore ... but, here ... Let's play a little game of "Pin the Usage on the Build" ...

... lol ... it is really pointless for me to even try to "take a stand" on this build ... My contribution was pretty much axed with the budget (as someone else also said).

I just didn't want ANYbody, here, to harbor any illusions about "what it is" that is being built, here ... This is not and "edit rig" ... It is not even a "mainstream consumer edit rig" ... Can you make it edit, if you don't care one whit about how long it takes? ... SHHHHHHURRRE ya can. Go for it !

I just don't want ANYBODY on this thread to go off telling clients (here) that this budget gaming rig is anything other than what it is. ... A budget gaming rig ... Can it do Spreadsheets ? ... Shhhhure!

The most senior techs, here, know exactly what I am talkin' 'bout and what I am hoping to avoid.

This *IS* a good home build and will do just about anything, however efficiently (OR NOT!).

All that aside ... I DO NOT wish to put the client "off" of this build ... As others have said ~ "It will function".

From the perspective of the OP's Pappa ... I (Alvin) am just being a "gear snob" ... and he'd be correct.

Go for it !! It really IS "all good".

= Alvin =
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April 25, 2010 11:39:17 PM

Umm... sorry if I'm a total newb here, but these are the relevant Vegas SysReqs as I understand them:
-1 GHz processor (multicore or multiprocessor CPU recommended for HD)
-200 MB hard-disk space for program installation
-1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)

My build has a quad-core 2.8-3.2 GHz processor, plenty of space, and 4 GB reasonably fast RAM. Which part of the system is too weak?
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April 25, 2010 11:41:27 PM

I am sorry about how badly the budget is confining me here, by the way. If only the software wasn't so expensive...
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April 25, 2010 11:44:56 PM

lol, yeah - I'll be looking into one of those systems... just as soon as I win several lotteries. :)  The beautiful thing about computers is that by the time I die, I just might own a system with more power than that thing has.
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April 25, 2010 11:53:20 PM


Hate to say it, but I am old enough to guarantee that you WILL be wearing that thing on your wrist, in ten years !

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April 26, 2010 12:05:55 AM

haha :)  Really though, if you could change one thing about the build to make it capable of editing, what would it be? Is it possible, while only changing one thing? Your earlier post wasn't very encouraging. I really want this to work for my dad's needs. If I have to, I can increase the budget $200 or so - he's worth it.
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April 26, 2010 12:12:58 AM

Naw ... Everything I said in my FIRST POST (go back) ... Is what I really meant and what is also very true.

I am just making a point over "what we are calling this build", here, on this particular forum.

I once had that same card that you have in my own shopping cart, and that was only weeks ago ... but I am using a really whimpy PSU and want 3 monitors and so, now, I have two 9800GT-EEs in my build ... maybe even just one ... AND ... The $94 version of VEGAS is just great and even leads you thru various procedures ... it just works and it "eats anything" you are likely to drag onto your timeline.

I just have a "burr under my saddle" (a moon rock in my EVA boot) because I have just made the move from DV-25 (SD) to HDV and, at full rez and highest constant bit-rate and using the 2-pass method to convert 1080/60i to 1080/30P ...
... Well, I just did a 5 minute fireworks segment that took 7 hours and 42 minutes to render on THIS Northwood 3.2GHz P4 Hyperthreading single core with max RAM.

Yeah ... I am a little sensitive on such issues so, EXCUSE ... (inhale) ... MEEEeeee!


= Al =
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April 26, 2010 12:23:20 PM

Thanks everyone for all your input (especially coldsleep and Alvin). I think this'll serve my dad's needs very well - certainly much better than what I had originally.
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April 26, 2010 12:24:39 PM

Best answer selected by rahl.
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